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Chiu Sets His Priorities

by Larry Bush on 01/15/2013

in Featured

Thrice-elected Board President David Chiu outlined his hopes for the Board over the next two years in remarks made on January 8 when the new Board took their seats. He provided CitiReport with a copy of his remarks that is presented here.

Colleagues, thank you again for the honor to serve as your President for the next two years.

There are so many people I need to give my heartfelt thanks. I start first with the good people of District 3. To my 70,000 constituents, as well as our neighborhood leaders, thank you for the honor of continuing to represent our northeast neighborhoods, the most amazing neighborhoods in the world.

My close friends, kitchen cabinet, campaign team – you know who you are. You inspire me daily. My City Hall aides. Catherine Rauschuber, Amy Chan, Judson True – thanks for being the best SWAT team at the Board of Supervisors.

My brothers, Stephen and Ed, and their wives, for raising the next generation of Chius.

My wonderful and extremely understanding girlfriend, Candace Chen. There are two people to whom I owe the most thanks who are not here today – my mother and my father. Mom was a little under the weather, so they’re watching this live online from the East Coast. Mom & Dad, I love you. I wish you were with us today. To the audience, can you please clap for them? When my parents immigrated from Taiwan, they hoped their son would follow in dad’s footsteps to become a doctor. Mom and Dad, thank you for supporting me as I follow a different tradition of service.

One amazing thing about this 2013 Board of Supervisors is our diversity, how we got here. Under ranked choice voting, we are the most diverse Board in this history of our city. When we were kids, we lived in a public housing project in the Western Addition, came across the border from the civil wars of Guatemala, played baseball in the Marina, and grew up the sons and daughters of first-generation immigrants. How each of us got here — and the different neighborhoods we represent — give 11 different perspectives – and we reflect the strength and challenges of that collective diversity.

Last night, I re-read my last 2 inaugural speeches. Four years ago, on my first day at City Hall, I asked this Board to “change the tone of politics, to usher in a new tone of civility, cooperation and unity, to move us forward.” While we were all entertained by f-bombs and Donkey Kong, I’m glad that’s behind us.

Two years ago, I asked that we move beyond traditional oppositional politics, of positions reflexively taken because a mayor or some Supervisors had taken an opposite position, because we aren’t voted into office to take positions, but to get things done. While getting things done have later reminded us of a campaign slogan or two, I’m proud that’s what this Board has done in recent years.

Budget reform, pension reform, the America’s Cup, the tech boom, construction cranes building thousands of new housing units all over the city – we moved them forward together. Last November, we passed business tax reform, an affordable housing trust fund, a bond to rebuild our parks — not the work of any one person, but moving our city forward – together.

When our founding fathers set up our democratic system of government, they envisioned that the legislative branch would not be neat and tidy. It is messy, chaotic, the place where different people representing different constituencies throw out ideas, problems and solutions through the legislative grind, to balance society’s interests as we meet the problems of the day.

I view the role of the Board President to set up an environment where we can all succeed. While the last Board succeeded in many fronts, we still have a lot of work to do:

–This morning, I was almost late to Supervisor Breed’s swearing in. My bike lights had been stolen, then Muni was late, then I had trouble hailing a cab. Together, we can do better.

–Dozens of my friends have moved from San Francisco after they found their lifelong partner, had a baby, and decided they couldn’t afford to live in the city anymore. Together, we can do better to reverse family flight, and make sure we all get to live here.

–We still have too many young people not graduating from high school — too many young people who don’t have jobs — too many young people still dying on our streets. Together, we can do better.

–We call ourselves the innovation capital of the world, but there are so many more ways technology can improve city services. Imagine if our city had phone aps that help people avoid having our cars towed, that reserve picnic tables in Golden Gate Park, that automatically tell where you drive over a pothole so a street crew can patch it up. Together, we can do better.

–We can’t solve global warming by ourselves, but we can show how a city does everything we can for the environment. I’m proud of the work my office has done to set standards for energy audits and water recycling, to green nail salons, to support urban gardening. But together, we can do better.

–While we have a hard-working Ethics Commission and San Franciscans have repeatedly voted for ethics reform, we need to do more to be sure laws are enforced, and to close loopholes that cause the public to question our transparency. Together, we can do better.

Now, in a legislature, it’s easy to think of each other as rivals, to be part of one faction or another. But today, there are more of us here who don’t think that the rigid ideological labels of yesterday help.

No one outside of our city sees big differences between us. And there are endless opportunities for each of us to lead.

A few months ago, our beloved San Francisco Giants won the World Series — again. They did it because each member of the team showed up every day, played to their strengths, worked together as a team, and took turns making the big plays.

I want our Board to be that place where every single week, one or more of us leads the way —

 Supervisor Mar bringing a healthier environment

 Supervisor Farrell addressing our looming health care costs

 Supervisor Chu disciplining our budget

 Supervisor Breed getting the jobs that young adults need

 Supervisor Kim making sure our kids graduate

 Supervisor Yee helping small businesses succeed

 Supervisor Wiener fighting for better transportation options

 Supervisor Campos fighting against wage theft

 Supervisor Cohen curbing gun violence

 Supervisor Avalos delivering on local hiring

By the end of our season, if we help each other succeed in getting things done, we’re all going to win. At a time when the public has been worried about fiscal cliffs in Washington and dysfunctionality in Sacramento, it’s up to us to set the example of a shining city on our hills.

Our City of Saint Francis has seen our finest moments when we come together around our shared San Francisco values — marriage equality, universal health care, living wage. As we like to say, as goes San Francisco, so goes California, and as goes California, so goes our country.

For those of us who have been at City Hall for any length of time, we know our time is very short. Supervisors come and go. Cities rise and fall. Colleagues, I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with you — in our time together — to build a city to last. Let’s get to work.

Madam clerk, is there any more business in front of the body? Ladies and gentlemen, we are adjourned.

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