A CITY IN CRISIS
Our home has been hit hard this year.
Over 150,000 of us are unemployed.
Many restaurants made no money in the last quarter. Many may close permanently.
Many small businesses have been closed for 6 months. Many won't ever open again.
Many large employers won’t return until late 2021. Many won't return at all.
Our downtown has been depopulated, save for almost 10,000 lost souls wandering in search of hope.
Almost 450 people overdosed on our streets in 2019, and 2020's numbers will be worse.
The same people have been in charge of our city for decades.
They don’t allow us to build places to live.
They ban the things we create.
They make $12 billion disappear every year.
They are under FBI investigation.
After all this, they vote themselves a big raise.
Their way doesn't work.
We are changing all of this.
Their old way ends today.
Vote Young for BART.
No more hollow sound bites, no more staged photo ops of perfectly clean trains and stations, no more using our transit system as a political platform. No more nonsense. BART is a train, and our whole economy needs it to work.
We shouldn't have to be on our guard all the time. We shouldn't have to be afraid to walk home from the station at night. We shouldn't have to check the seats for syringes before we sit down in the trains.
We deserve trains that run on schedule. We deserve to ride in a train that's clean, and to enjoy our commute in peace. We deserve stations that are vibrant and are a net benefit to the neighborhoods they share with us.
We deserve a healthy, green, prosperous future. But we don't get there without new leadership.
BART weekday ridership remains 89% below 2019 - and it isn't improving. Fares once provided ~70% of BART's operating budget.
BART needs to survive. No transit system, public or private, can withstand a 90% drop in customer revenue for long. It will be late 2021 before San Francisco's central business district even begins to return to work, and even then, most workers are likely to commute only a few days a week.
Here is the reality: riders aren't coming back to their 2019 peak levels for many years. The shift to remote work is real; many workers are leaving the region entirely. There will be difficult decisions to make to ensure BART's financial stability, like suspending expansion projects and making cuts to operating expenses.
At the same time, we must invest in hygiene protocols, clean trains, safe stations, and rail infrastructure to make sure that when riders return, they find a BART system that's better than they remember.
Without these improvements, we risk the San Francisco dream of a low-carbon economy becoming a forgotten idea. Commuters will opt to work from home permanently, depriving San Francisco of vital small business revenue, or climb into their cars, polluting our atmosphere, congesting our streets and contributing to wildfires.
Keep people in crisis at stations' surface levels — closer to the services in the counties.
People in crisis find their way into BART far too easily, and a confrontation between someone in crisis and another BART rider or with BART's police force all too often ends in tragedy.
BART can't provide crisis services; it's not a place to live because access to clean water, bathrooms, and trash services are designed for limited, occasional use. BART doesn't have the budget to be expanding social programs with ridership down 90%!
Let's intervene before someone gets far into the train system and needs to be removed.
BART has an approved design for taller, more secure fare gates that will cost just 5% of BART’s annual budget to roll out in its entirety across all stations. Our current board has declined to fund new gates for years.
I'll vote to change this. People in crisis don't deserve to be abandoned underground, and riders don't deserve to regularly witness a crisis on their way to and from work.
Transform stations into vibrant plazas with housing, retail, services, and entertainment.
Faced with filthy stations, our BART board ran a PR campaign, sweeping the sidewalk around 1 station until more staff was temporarily allocated to just this 1 station. And of course, today, the station largely looks the same as it did before.
If this reminds you of sanitation under the now-indicted Public Works Director Nuru, you're right. We just push problems elsewhere for a little while until they return weeks, days, even hours later. It's an expensive quagmire, and it's designed to be that way.
Is this the best our city can do, when transit systems around the world activate their public spaces with convenience retail, services, food, and entertainment? Let’s create a self-sustaining economy and community in and around our stations, and then we can finally end the cycle of expensive, ineffective temporary solutions.
HOMES FOR THE HOMELESS
BART's creation destroyed San Francisco's grandest boulevard, sparking 50 years of blight and depression. It's time for BART to help us rebuild and recover.
BART's construction in the late sixties was the original cause of Market Street's blight. Echoes of 2020: a vibrant commercial and cultural district was shut down for 3 years. Many businesses closed, never to return. Nearly 50 years later, and after several city attempts to revitalize the area, Market Street near BART stations remains one of the most dangerous places in the city.
While BART looks to build high density housing near public transit, this doesn't go nearly far enough. In addition to market-rate and affordable units, BART must commit to dedicating a portion of its real estate to building transitional step-up housing for San Francisco homeless and behavioral health service providers. San Francisco sacrificed a lot to make BART a reality; now it's time for BART to repay that debt.
Sadly, housing construction like this in the Bay Area takes eons. Until then, the old BART cars are being retired in favor of the Fleet of the Future - let's look at converting these into mobile trailer-style housing that can be deployed on a temporary basis to the areas in our region in the greatest need.
Keep drugs off the trains with new fare gates. Keep convicted drug dealers out of our neighborhoods with the BART ban list.
When Civic Center Station became BART's first unsupervised injection site, the BART board made only a token gesture, and we got back about what we put in. Two years later, passengers still need to walk a gauntlet of drug dealers and users to enter the station. Repeat drug offenders, some arrested dozens of times carrying fentanyl, guns and cash, still linger at the every entrance to my home station - even the 2 entrances BART closed to passengers.
Civic Center and Powell stations remain major endpoints in a conduit that brings fentanyl dealers from the East Bay to our city — where someone dies of an overdose every 20 hours. Early 2020 estimates expect that to double this year.
San Francisco's Street Dealing Task Force noted in their last meeting that most of the clients they work with commute in for work in our neighborhoods. They wonder with exasperation just how can they get their clients to stop selling drugs.
BART’s banned passenger list has been criticized for having a racist history — so reset this entire list to zero. Use this tool instead to ban anyone from BART who has an active, San Francisco court-issued stay-away order from any point within 1 mile of any BART station; anyone caught selling drugs near a BART station, and anyone caught using BART facilities to use an illegal drug.
I will not allow BART to be complicit in a business that kills hundreds of San Franciscans every year.
BART DISTRICT 9
BART District 9 is essential to San Francisco's recovery — in addition to covering most of our central business district, D9 is a vital artery for intracity commutes.
Making all these stations and their surrounding areas more vibrant will have a huge positive impact on so many of our communities — from downtown to and Glen Park and beyond!
I'm a third-generation engineer. My father and grandfather both worked in aerospace; I've had a 25 year career in Internet and high tech. I've started a company and I've run businesses. I know how to do more with less when times get tough, and I know how to build for growth when the boom times return.
My father was born on an American airbase in Kunming, China while my grandfather was stationed there as a pilot in the Flying Tigers. My parents met in New York City in the 1960s, and their mixed-race marriage was sometimes controversial with their families and their cultures, but never with their friends.
We came to San Francisco in the late 1990s where I attended the University of San Francisco on a scholarship that brought me across the country. Having taught myself to code on an Apple II as a kid, I worked contract tech jobs to pay for housing and expenses while earning my degree in English Literature.
San Francisco has been such an amazing place to live and work through the last 25 years. I'm grateful for it. Along the way I learned how to motivate people to overcome any challenge, and that I had within me the potential to inspire, to teach, to mentor, and to lead.
There are so many parts of our society in the Bay Area that need our help right now. We won't be able to make the opportunities I've enjoyed available to everyone if we can't move around reliably and safely.
Join me this November and let's rebuild the safe, clean, reliable BART we all deserve.