The democratic process is working in Pacific Heights, thanks to Supervisor Catherine Stefani. In September, Supervisor Stefani successfully stalled the placement of three Ford Go Bike stations proposed for Pacific Heights — including at Alta Plaza Park — thanks in part to the members of this group’s opposition to an anemic and haphazard community input process and a lack of data justifying site selection and expansion.
This Fall, I asked both Supervisor Stefani and Candidate Nick Josefowitz to personally share their positions on bike share. Supervisor Stefani said that she is continuing to work proactively with Ford Go Bike to relocate stations in our district. She stated that she is using her deep community relationships to identify how neighbors feel about various options before they are presented at a public hearing.
Candidate Josefowitz, who I contacted about Ford Go Bike when the Alta Plaza station was proposed while he was a BART Supervisor (no support was forthcoming), said that he supports bike share. He shared studies citing how bike share could reduce the city’s carbon footprint. When asked for data to back up Ford Go Bike’s plans, including usage data, site selection criteria, and lessons learned from failed bike share programs in other cities, Candidate Josefowitz provided more policy research supporting bike share. He conceded that he would get input from the community on site selection.
Supervisor Stefani is endorsed by Mayor London Breed, who at a rally at Alta Plaza Park today said: “My job is really tough. I know that housing and homelessness are the top issues facing our City. Catherine Stefani knows it, too. I need Catherine Stefani to stay as a Supervisor to be able to deliver for you.”
Candidate Josefowitz is endorsed by The San Francisco Chronicle and State Representative Scott Weiner, who shares with him the priority of building more housing supply near public transportation. Candidate Josefowitz’s wife was a former senior manager at Lyft, which owns Ford Go Bike. She stepped down from her position due to conflict of interest and to support her husband’s campaign.
Obviously, bike share is not the only, nor the most important, issue in the Supervisor’s election. Both candidates understand that homelessness and housing are key.
Supervisor Stefani, a lawyer and former county clerk whose brother is a drug addict, is a strong proponent of conservatorship. 50% of the homeless are mentally ill and/or drug addicted, and the unpleasant but compassionate solution is to force them to receive treatment.
Candidate Josefowitz’s central argument is that the City needs to build more shelter beds. He also believes in using data to stay on top of the homelessness problem and supports conservatorship.
Ultimately, the decision may come down to character and which candidate will be best able to get results at City Hall. Supervisor Stefani, a life-long public servant, is committed to her community and a valued member of Mayor Breed’s team; Breed approvingly called her a “bridge builder.” Will her strong relationships with Mayor Breed and City Hall staff help her drive change?
Candidate Josefowitz is relatively new to the political scene, independently wealthy, ambitious, an outsider, and keen to solve problems; he has ruffled a few feathers with his aggressive campaign but asserts that City Hall needs a shake-up. Will his outside money and influence help him drive change?
While both are excellent candidates, my vote will be with Supervisor Stefani on November 6. Why? The outcome is the evidence. We saw in 2016 what happens when votes are cast out of fear and frustration with the status quo. In contrast, Supervisor Stefani asserted today: “Kindness in politics is a strength, not a weakness. I’m here to not do things TO you, but to do things FOR you.” Change is complex and incremental — it’s just a fact of life, and of politics. Supervisor Stefani may not be a radical choice, but she has proven that when our community speaks, she listens.
— Sabrina Moyle, Steiner Street