What skills, background or special abilities would you bring to the Board
First, I am a native San Franciscan - born and raised in District 2. I understand the issues
facing our neighborhoods in District 2, and will continue to engage with our neighborhood leaders on the issues that matter
to District 2 residents. Second, I believe the biggest issue facing San Francisco is our budget deficit, and we need to elect
candidates who have a relevant background to tackle these financial issues, and I am the only candidate in District 2 with
these qualifications - for the past decade I have worked as an attorney, investment banker and small business owner.
What is the biggest problem you would want to address at City Hall?
biggest problem we need to address at City Hall is how we fix our budget - a problem, which is affecting everyday life in
San Francisco. City-wide social services are being cut, taxes are increasing, and the current Board of Supervisors is searching
for every possible way to increase revenue while doing little to encourage economic development.
Using taxes as the primary tool for solving our fiscal problems will not solve our long-term financial issues. We
need to cut City spending, provide tax incentives for our small businesses to thrive, and encourage new businesses to relocate
to San Francisco.
What is the city doing right - and what is it doing
wrong - in dealing with homelessness?
San Francisco has an array of social services dedicated
to our homeless population in our City - from Care Not Cash to Homeward Bound - and we need to continue to promote these services.
I believe the biggest failure has been allowing too many duplicative services to exist - San Francisco spends over $150 million
on social services aimed at the homeless population, yet we still have a large problem - we need to eliminate waste. As Supervisor,
I will ask for a complete review of the non-profit contracting process to end these duplicative contracts, and ensure accountability
for our taxpayer dollars.
City Hall will likely be forced to
make more budget cuts next year. Where would you propose cutting?
I believe reducing our City spending is the first step
towards creating a long-term sustainable budget here in San Francisco. I would propose (1) reducing headcount and (2) reducing
the salaries and fringe benefits of our City employees. Over the past 6 years, the salaries and fringe benefits our San Francisco
employees have risen from $2.0 billion to $3.5 billion a year - a rate of increase that is not sustainable. These are going
to be difficult decisions, and mandate true sacrifice, but it is the only way we will be able to return San Francisco to a
financially sustainable budget.
What additional steps, if any, should
the city take to reduce its unfunded liability for retiree health coverage?
In addition to the steps mentioned
above, I believe every single City employee should contribute equally into the pension system. It is not only unfair but not
sustainable that half of our City employees pay nothing into a fully funded pension system. We simply need to create equality
across the board, and I will make this a top priority.
Has the city
struck a fair balance between tenant and landlord rights? If not, what changes would you advocate?
believe the pendulum has swung too far in the favor of tenant's rights here in San Francisco. I support rent control as it
currently exists, but do not believe in extending these protections as some members of the current Board of Supervisors have
proposed. What has been missing from the dialogue in San Francisco is that many of the landlords are small property owners,
such as my parents, who depend on the income from their rental properties for their retirement, and every provision, which
strengthens rent control, harms the property they rely upon for retirement income.
Should the city's Sanctuary City law extend to juveniles accused of felonies?
is little doubt that our nation was built on the strength and spirit of our immigrant communities. The best example in America
of that spirit is here in San Francisco.
However, the current sanctuary
city policy, while noble in purpose, is flawed in implementation. The Bologna case in San Francisco, for example, highlights
a growing problem where illegal immigrant juvenile offenders are committing crimes and then escaping, repeatedly, into the
That's why I believe we cannot allow juveniles accused
of felonies to find escape in our sanctuary city laws.
Should the city municipalize electric service?
No, I am opposed to San Francisco taking
over electric service. First, the cost is prohibitive - especially in these economic times, I don't believe San Francisco
should be paying what was estimated in 2008 to be between $4 billion and $10 billion to take over the energy grid. We do not
have the resources available.
More importantly, the City of San Francisco
has no expertise in running an electricity service, and I don't believe we should be seeking to add to the infrastructure
of our City - rather we should be seeking ways to realize efficiencies and do more with less.
What can/should the city do to best stimulate private-sector job growth?
provide real tax incentives for existing small businesses. Our small business community is vital - 60 percent of San Franciscans
are employed in small businesses, they provide a significant source of tax revenue, and make up the character of our local
Second, create financial incentives for businesses to
relocate to San Francisco. City Hall has turned San Francisco into an anti-business environment, and we need to change this.
Third, cut the red tape. Opening up a new business in San Francisco is challenging at the best
of times - we need to provide a streamlined process for entrepreneurs.
Francisco is a cultural center known for its restaurants, nightlife and arts. What should City Hall do to maintain that vibrancy?
Also, what direct or indirect financial inducements, if any, should the city offer to keep the 49ers in the city?
best thing City Hall can do to support San Francisco as a cultural center is promote the small business community, which creates
the true vibrancy in our neighborhoods. Through financial and other incentives, we can once again create an environment where
cultural venues are supported by City Hall, and encouraged to open shop in our local neighborhoods.
Although I have had San Francisco 49ers season tickets since I was 8 years old, aside from a
willingness to issue revenue bonds later in the development process, I believe any financing should be done through private
Do you agree with the current system
of 11 district supervisors? If not, what changes would you advocate (in number of supervisors and/or in at-large seats)?
- I believe we need to move towards a "hybrid" system of electing our Supervisors as soon as possible - with 5 elected
City-wide, and 6 elected by district. On a policy level, the current system has promoted candidates who fight for their district
issues at the expense of legislating for the City of San Francisco as a whole. On a system-wide level, through gerrymandering
the current system has allowed candidates to win elections with less than 10,000 votes. While this may have served to keep
power in designated hands, it has not been effective for San Francisco.
do you regard as the most pressing district issue that you would be pursuing at City Hall?
I believe the most pressing
issue in District 2 is the re-vitalization of our merchant corridors. While each corridor suffered significantly in the recent
recession, I believe we need to do everything possible in City Hall to ensure an economic rebound continues. For District
2, these streets represent a major part of our neighborhoods, and where many residents spend a significant part of their time.
As a small business investor, I believe I have a unique background to create policies that will ensure they continue to be
vibrant local hubs of commerce and social activities for District 2 residents.
The Chronicle recommends Mark Farrell for District 2 supervisor