tv [untitled] August 5, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT
>> hello and "welcome to meet your district supervisor. we're here with david chiu from district 3. that includes chinatown, fisherman's wharf, and part of the russian hill neighborhood. he was elected to the board in november of 2008 and has served as board president since january of 2009. we will get to know him and talk about the toughest issues facing them. thank you for joining us today. tell us about your background. >> my parents immigrated to the united states in the 1960's. i was the first kid born in the u.s. my parents sacrificed everything so that their kids could have the opportunities that they wanted when they came here. i grew up in the boston area and lived in different parts of
boston. i went to catholic price school in dorchester, a section of boston. -- i went to catholic high school in dorchester, a section of boston. because of my parents, my brothers and i were all blessed to go to harvard university. that is where i went to school. it was intense. i stayed there for law school and have a master's in public policy from there. those are subjects i decided to study because i was interested in public service and public policy issues and government. >> you grew up in the boston area. what made you want to make the transition and moved to san francisco? what motivated you to get involved in politics question marks before i ran for office, and worked in san francisco as a criminal prosecutor and civil rights attorney. i got to understand how much of
a be in san francisco is to the rest of the world for social justice. i spent a number of years helping to grow a small business. i got to understand the innovative spirit in san francisco. at night, i volunteered as a neighborhood leader and as feature of an affordable housing organization. i learned so much about the challenges facing our neighborhoods and the special jewels that are the urban villages we live in. i ran for office because i wanted to serve the city and protect all that is so special about san francisco. >> what lessons did you learn after campaigning for supervisor? >> san franciscans are incredibly interested in their city government, local politics, and making sure that we remain the most amazing city in the world.
i learned that san franciscans during campaign read everything they are sent in the mail. they love to meet the candidates and engage in conversations with them. i learned how important it is to build bridges between different communities, particularly communities of diversity that we have. i was incredibly honored to have been elected in november of 2008. >> where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? >> i consider myself someone who shares the progressive values that many sentences can hold dear. we have been a beacon to the rest of the world region that many sentences skins hold dear. we have been a beacon to the rest of the world for those. >> you are president of the board. describe the role of the opposition and the responsibilities that come with being the president of the board of supervisors. >> as president, i preside over the weekly meetings we have tuesday at 2:00 here in the
chamber. i also determine which legislations will go to various committees that we have. as a district supervisor, i sit on a number of legislative committees. >> what are some of the biggest issues facing san francisco? >> we have a lot of challenges right now. we're still in the midst of the great recession. we know too many folks who are struggling in minimum-wage jobs. we know folks who have been laid off of work. as a city, we need to do much better at creating an environment where we have more jobs and economic development. we are also extremely challenge in our public transit. we talk about being a transit first city, but everyone has had the experience of sitting in gridlock, waiting for the bus, trying to hail that tab,
walking on pedestrian sidewalks that are not particularly safe. as a city, we need to do more to invest in the first-class transportation system. >> what are some of the biggest issues facing your district? >> in addition to the local economy that impacts the merchant corridors, to many vacant storefronts, transit issues, in every neighborhood we're having a real conversation about how we change, whether we should preserve aspects of the important characters of our neighborhood or think about building new things. there is also a real discussion we're having in many neighborhoods about affordability. i hear from too many tenants in the process of being evicted, homeowners being foreclosed on. we need to think about how all
of us can continue to live in a city where the whole world wants to be. >> it is a great place to be. >> it is a great place to be. how do you balance the needs of your district versus the needs of the city as a whole? >> i have an incredibly diverse district. it encompasses north beach and chinatown. we have the city's famous hills. we have for the world comes to work, the financial district's, where the world comes to shop in union square, where the tourists spend time on fisherman's wharf , and the wonderful polk street neighborhoods. my district encompasses the ethnic and economic diversity that exists throughout the city. i think my district is emblematic of the entire city. you can find every political perspective you can possibly want in district 3.
oftentimes, the interests of my district and the city are aligned. i do not have to think about those differences quite as often as some of my colleagues may have to. >> let's talk about the budget situation. we have been faced with some tough budget decisions again, including where to make cuts and whether or not to increase taxes. how will you approached these hard choices? >> our budget is one of the very top challenges facing city government right now. over each of the years i have served, we have had to balance budget deficits that were around $500 million. this year, we're facing another budget deficit of almost $400 million. fortunately in recent years, we have had some ability to do some one-time budgeting tricks that
allow us to balance the budget that do not exist this year. in past years, we've received federal stimulus money. we received more monies from the state government. last year our labor unions decided to contribute a quarter of a billion dollars to help balance last year's and this year's budget. those are things we do not have the ability to avail ourselves of us we balance the upcoming budget in a few months. we are faced with far fewer options. i think we are going to have to continue to look at very deep and difficult cuts. our priorities have to be insuring and protecting the most basic city services and helping to ensure that we have services to the most vulnerable during this great recession. >> what about the city's housing needs? what should the board due to
address those needs? >> we are a city that is seventh by 7 miles. we have incredible density. we're the densest neighborhoods on the west coast. everyone wants to live here. that drives up housing prices dramatically. the housing costs are driving out working folks, families, the middle class. we need to continue to reinvest, to build, to develop, and maintain a troop stock of affordable housing. i am committed to increase in more funds so that we can build more housing that can be afforded by folks of all economic backgrounds. >> what about the issue of homelessness? >> in recent years during the terrible economy, we have had to cut back significantly. our social-service net, programs
for folks who may have mental illnesses, we have seen many problems become exacerbated on the streets. when you combine that with the fact that we have an affordable housing in most parts of the city, it is no surprise our homeless numbers have gone up in recent years. the city needs to recommit ourselves to the values that our city was named after. st. francis believed in compassion for those who have less -- had less than others. those of us with opportunities have to give back. part of that entails taking care of the most important among us, the folks who have need, including our homeless. >> let's talk about the transportation situation in your district. you mentioned that transit could be better. how is parking and traffic? is there enough muni service
now? >> you are talking to the one member of the board that does not only car. i get around my district by muni, bicycle, or hailing a cab. our transit system is truly challenge. our bosses are late one out of four times. -- our buses are late one out of a quarter times. they're still not as clean and safe as we'd like. we can do better and investing in our muni system. we need more taxicabs on the streets. is difficult to obtain a cab. i support the concept of centralized taxi dispatch systems so you know who you can call to get a cab. i am a big believer in pedestrian bicycling as options
to get around town. many cities in the world have far more people working or on bicycles into blocking or on bicycles. they are pleasant most of transit and are efficient. -- many cities in the world have far more people walking or on bicycles. they are pleasant and efficient forms of transportation. that will take cars off the road and make it easier for those who drive. if we want to create a world- class transportation system, we have to make a commitment to each of these modes of transit to allow us to move where we need to go. >> is it safe for pedestrians on the streets? >> it is not. in recent years, we have had too many pedestrian accidents. there are estimates it costs our cities several hundred millions a year because of traffic accidents, injuries, and
fatalities. i am asking one of our transit agencies to study where we're spending our dollars around the district and whether we invested more money would help to reduce our overall costs that come when a pedestrian is hit by a car. >> let's talk about crime in your district. how is the police department doing? do you have any thoughts on how the city is dealing with crime? >> crime rates have been down, particularly violent crime rates and homicides. that is a good thing. in the first few weeks of 2011, homicides have started to climb back up. we have to be ever vigilant about crimes occurring in all of our neighborhoods. i have been generally satisfied with much of the activity of the san francisco police department.
in my district on nob hill, we have always had too many automobile break-ins. on polk street, there are many incidences of drug dealing and prostitution. in some of the entertainment quarters, we of shootings that happened. these are perennial issues that the police department needs to continually tackle. i am a big fan of the concept of community policing. that is the idea that our local police officers need to establish a better relationship with members of the community, residents, and merchants. through that community partnership, we have seen true successes in being able to combat crime. you have eyes and ears on the street cooperating with the men and women in blue. that helps to reduce crime. i have been pushing our police
department to implement that. >> your district is a well-known nightlife destination. how do you balance the needs of the residents with the needs of the restaurants and bars? >> i moved into my neighborhood in part because we have such a wonderful vibrant nightlife. san francisco is famous for our restaurant scene, are seen, club scene. -- are sbar scene. we have had too much violence around these nighttime venues. i have passed several pieces of legislation to address the security and safety needs of neighborhoods. we all support a healthy, vibrant nightlife. but we also support a safe nightlife that complements our neighborhoods and is not in competition with our neighborhoods. >> what are your thoughts on the
city's economic development? what would you like to change about the approach to developing the economy? >> as a city, i do not think we have been good at creating jobs and economic development. there are things we can do to make life easier for businesses. businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. over the past few years, i have helped to eliminate dozens of fees that have been nickeling our small businesses to death. i have been pushing for more stimulus from city contracts. in the past, those would be awarded mostly to non-san francisco businesses. san francisco needs to do a better job of cultivating business innovation. we need to be the city that competes with silicon valley to
attract clean tech, biotech companies. we can do a better job of nurturing creative industries. we need to create a better economy for our local artists. this is a city that has many thousands of small businesses. as someone who used to run a small business, the city can do a much better job of nurturing that sector. that is part of the life blood of who we are as san franciscans. >> we could do better. are we on the right track? >> i think we are in a transition right now. we have an interim mayor and a new board of supervisors. i do think we have a new tone at city hall to move things forward. we have a lot of challenges we are facing. i am doing everything i can to
put us back on track. >> let's talk about the role of sports in the city's economic future. are you happy with the plans for the america's cup? >> i have been a huge fan of the america's cup. i am proud of this board came together unanimously after a fairly contentious debate to support bringing the america's cup to san francisco in 2013. it is estimated it will not only be an incredible sporting event, not only showcase our city and the natural amphitheater of the bay, but it is estimated to bring in over $1 billion in economic activity with 8000 to 9000 jobs. it will be a lot of fun. i am very excited. >> should we spend money to keep the 49ers? >> i just had a conversation with the head of the organization. i told him that i and many
others would love to do what we can to keep our beloved 49ers here in san francisco. they are having a conversation with santa clara. we think they need to be part of a city that is in their name. there is so much history intertwined between our 49 years and san francisco. i am very committed to doing what i can to keep them here. >> governor brown has proposed to eliminate funding for redevelopment agencies. what is your opinion of the plan? >> we knew that by electing a governor brown he would have to make incredibly difficult choices. i do think this through development proposal goes a bit too far -- redevelopment proposal goes too far. it would be catastrophic to many developments and proposed developments.
i hope the ongoing conversations to change his proposal will modify it into something that will continue to help localities and counties like san francisco. i think we can get there. >> water some of the biggest land use issues in your district? >> in addition to the america's cup planning, there is a discussion around the development of cpmc. it would be the largest hospital project our city has seen in decades. it would probably be the largest land use project discussed this year. it is right on the edge of my district. it is seated at the intersection of several separate as oriole -- supervisorial districts.
there are issues around displacement, the impact of a large hospital on the surrounding neighborhoods, and whether the size of this hospital and plans in the city wide picture of health care access. i am sure we will have robust discussion about this in the coming months. >> are there any other issues that concern you that we have not discussed? are there any other interests you plan to concentrate on as supervisor? >> one thing every supervisor works on is the relationship between our neighborhoods and city hall. i am blessed in district 3 to have a rich network of neighborhood associations, merchant groups, and nonprofit organizations that i interface with regularly. they often had difficulty navigating city hall. i am trying to help develop
neighborhood councils that bring together these various groups to interface with city hall and city staff as a model to foster partnerships between and our neighborhoods and city government. it is a model we have been working on for a couple of years in district 3. i hope to replicate it to out san francisco fairly soon. >> we are out of time. thank you so much for joining us today on sfgtv "meet your district supervisor." we have been speaking with david chiu of district 3. ♪
>> the san francisco cons tri of flowers in golden gate park is now showing a new exhibit that changes the way we see the plants around us. amy stewart's best-selling book, "wicked plants" is the inspiration behind the new exhibit that takes us to the dark side of the plant world. >> i am amy stewart. i am the arthur of "wicked
plants," the weeds that killed lincoln's mother and other botanical atrocities. with the screens fly trap, that is kind of where everybody went initially, you mean like that? i kind of thought, well, all it does is eat up bugs. that is not very wicked. so what? by wicked, what i mean is that they are poisonous, dangerous, deadly or immoral or maybe illegal or offensive or awful in some way. i am in the profession of going around and interviewing botanists, horticulturalists and plant scientists. they all seem to have some little plant tucked away in the corner of a greenhouse that maybe they weren't supposed to have. i got interested in this idea that maybe there was a dark side to plants. >> the white snake root. people who consumed milk or meat from a cow that fed on
white snake root faced severe pain. milk sickness, as it was culled, resulted in vomiting, tremors, delirium and death. one of the most famous victims of milk sickness was nancy hangs lincoln. she died at the age of 34, leaving behind 9-year-old abraham lincoln. he helped build his mother's casket by carving the woodallen petition douche the wooden petition himself. >> we transformed the gallery to and eerie victorian garden. my name is lowe hodges, and i am the director of operations and exhibitions at the conls tore of -- cons tore of
flowers. we decided it needed context. so we needed a house or a building. the story behind the couple in the window, you can see his wife has just served him a glass of wine, and he is slumped over the table as the poison takes affect. a neat little factold dominion about that house is actually built out of three panels from old james bond movie. we wanted people to feel like i am not supposed to be in this room. this is the one that is supposed to be barred off and locked up. >> the ole andersonner -- oleander. this popular shrub is popular in warm climates. it has been implicated in a surprising number of murders and accidental deaths. children are at risk because it takes only a few leaves to kill
them. a southern california woman tried to collect on her husband's life insurance by putting the leaves in his food. she is now one of 15 women on california's death rowan the only one who attempted to murder with a plant. >> people who may haven't been to their cons tore or been to -- do serve tore or their botanical garden, it gives them a reason to come back. you think let's go and look at the pretty flowers. these are pretty flowers, but they are flowers with weird and fascinating stories behind them. that is really fun and really not what people normally think of when they come to a horticultural institution. >> "wicked plants" is now showing at the san francisco showing at the san francisco conserve tore of flowers.