Meet The Mayoral Candidates

JEFF ADACHI
By Dani Wong

Jeff Adachi, 52, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his law degree at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. After law school, Adachi went to work at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
While running for mayor of San Francisco, Adachi is also serving his third term as head of San Francisco’s Public Defender’s Office.
Adachi said he wants to reform the city’s pension plan, and build on community involvement and support for small businesses. He said, “Personally, I really believe in small businesses, so I plan to create several micro-loans to benefit those businesses and give them a chance.”
Adachi recently started an initiative in the Western Addition called the Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities (MAGIC) Program. The MAGIC Program gives clothing and supplies to underprivileged kids. Adachi’s goal is to get students more engaged in their communities.
As an advocate for education, Adachi believes that the public school system needs a lot of work. He plans to prioritize city funding and focus on improving public education.
“One of the things I love most is just talking and engaging with people. San Francisco citizens are pretty passionate about what matters to them. It’s just interesting to meet and talk with so many people who are focused on different issues and hear their different perspectives. I truly want to restore faith in the government.”
When asked what sets him apart from the rest of the field, Adachi said, “I’m the only candidate who has turned down public financing. Even though I believe in it, I think that it’s wrong for me to take that money at a time like his. So I would definitely distinguish myself as someone who stands up for what’s right.”
For more information on the Jeff Adachi campaign visit: www.adachi2011.com.

JOANNA REES
By Jazmin Valdivia

Born in Montclair, New Jersey, Rees was raised by an entrepreneur father and a schoolteacher mother.
She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Duke University and her MBA from Columbia University. At Duke, Rees was a member of the gymnastics team. At Columbia, she was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business students.
Public education is one of Rees’ priorities. For many years, San Francisco parents and school officials have tried to change the lottery program that uses socio-economic factors when assigning student to schools. “Families in Inner Sunset need to send their kids to schools that are in the Mission. Many families leave San Francisco every year for better educational opportunities elsewhere,” Rees said.
Rees recently formed a ballot committee in support of Proposition H, which would direct students to their neighborhood schools, rather than the ones they are eligible through the lottery.
“We have lost families in an alarming rate in San Francisco and I encourage anyone who wants to learn about this to come to a bus stop with me in the morning. What you’ll hear from so many people is ‘I might not be here in November because my child is starting school next year and we want to get located in another city so we can get settled before school starts.’”
Rees has worked for more than a decade on the cause of public school reform. She has supported efforts to improve teacher development and improve student outcomes in the under-served communities of San Francisco.
She said, “College students should vote for me because I have a commitment to public education. The other candidates rarely emphasize their interest in education. The education system in SF will thrive if the mayor makes it a high level priority.”
For more information on the Joanna Rees campaign visit: www.joinjoanna.com

DAVID CHIU
By Scarlette Tidy

David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, represents District 3, which includes the Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Under his leadership, Chiu envisions San Francisco will “to continue to be a shining, welcoming beacon to the rest of the world for people with any background.”
The oldest child of Taiwanese immigrant parents, Chiu, 41, was born in Cleveland and raised in Boston. He said he received a “great education” at his Jesuit Catholic high school. He received his undergraduate degree in government, law degree and master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University.
Chiu, who does not own a car, walks, rides his bike, car shares, or takes Muni, to get around.
“San Francisco pretends to be a transit first city but we are far from it,” Chiu said. Chiu, a regular Muni rider, said he has heard plenty of feedback from other riders.
He listed some of the city’s transportation challenges: “the transit system that has Muni buses late 30% of the time; some of the most dangerous pedestrian and biking experiences in the state; where you can’t catch a cab in most parts of the city, and where roads are congested and full of potholes. We have to improve every mode of transit that we have.”
As the only mayoral candidate who is a tenant, Chiu is aware of the difficulties that many San Franciscans face when looking for affordable rentals. Students and young newcomers to the city and others with low wages have a particularly hard time.
His top priorities are targeted at supporting young San Franciscans.
“With the loss of 30,000 jobs in recent years, I am 1000% focused on making sure that we are creating jobs for our next generations of San Franciscans,” Chiu said.
For more information on the David Chi campaign visit: http://www.davidchiuformayor.com/

CESAR ASCARRUNZ
By William Dessert

Mayoral candidate and nightclub impresario Cesar Ascarrunz, 76, has lived in San Francisco more than 50 years and has run for mayor several times over the past several decades.
Ascarrunz came to the United States in the 1960s to escape the violence and horror treading the streets of his native Bolivia. Ascarrunz’s father, Macedonio Ascarrunz, was gunned down in the streets of Potosi, Bolivia during a guerilla attack.
When Ascarrunz came to the United States, he earned an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in psychology at the University of San Francisco.
After graduate school, Ascarrunz started a music production company. “This business of mine was my way to give back my appreciation of music and arts to the citizens of San Francisco,” he said. Cesar’s Productions is an event promotion company that has provided entertainment for many prominent San Francisco events.
Mr. Ascarrunz believes his business leadership skills are what the city needs. “Over the last thirty-years that I’ve run for mayor, people around me had been telling me you’ve got to run. We need you,” he said.
He said his love for music and art will motivate him to make San Francisco one of the top cultural cities in the world.
Ascarrunz also plans to address the issues of high rent and muni transportation. In acknowledgment of his contributions during the 1996 mayoral election, Mayor Willie Brown appointed Cesar Ascarrunz to San Francisco’s Parking and Traffic Commission. “I believe since I have the experience of being traffic commissioner of San Francisco, I can positively enhance our public transportation and have it effectively working for the city again,” he said.
For more information on the Cesar Ascarrunz campaign visit: http://cesarascarrunz.org/

BEVAN DUFTY
By Roxanne Tavakoli

If elected, Bevan Dufty, the 56-year-old former District 8 supervisor would become the first openly gay mayor of San Francisco.
However if elected Dufty will not only bring attention to the LGBTQ community. He is promoting what he calls “a black agenda.”
“I think most people that live and love here say that they love the diversity of San Francisco,” said Dufty. “But San Francisco’s African American population has been on the decline for probably two generations. And it has dropped to only 6% of the population, which is only a third of what it was 15 years ago. So in many ways this is a city that has become unwelcoming and unhealthy for African Americans.”
He also said, “I have stood in one white [room] after another and talked about it and my message is: You don’t have to be black to have a black agenda,” he said. “Frankly I think white people care. I think students, the white students at USF are probably aware that they live in a city that models itself after diversity, but it’s not very black.”
Dufty’s concerns cross many groups and issues. He was a vocal opponent of Prop. 8, the measure that banned gay marriage in California. He supports proposals to allow non-citizen immigrant parents to vote in school board elections. He is proud of the work he has done to promote more child care in the city.
Another major issue that Dufty is passionate about is improving Muni. He wants to address the issue of operators that do not show up for their shifts and cause delays and crowded buses.
For more information on the Bevan Dufty campaign visit http://www.bevandufty.com/

LELAND YEE
By Roland Argomaniz

Walking into the campaign offices of State Senator Leland Yee, one may sense the aura of a dedicated professional. As well-groomed, young aides run around arranging meetings, the senator sat coolly behind his laptop at the back of his office suite.
As Yee, 62, scrolled through his Blackberry and leaned forward in his chair, he looked right at home in the center of so much activity. He is a man of few hobbies.
“I’m one of those weird kinds of individuals who is a workaholic,” said Yee. “I thrive in and enjoy the work I do. It gives me an opportunity to talk to all kinds of interesting people, understanding their values, understanding their needs.”
Despite the possibility of becoming the first elected Chinese-American mayor of San Francisco, a city that owes so much to the work of a robust Chinese-American community, Yee is unconvinced that this potential milestone will be a determining factor in the election. “I think that at this point, when there are so many firsts that have already happened, it’s not so much the first Asian anymore, it’s more about the city being stagnant.”
As for higher education, Sen. Yee touts himself as one of the strongest advocates of students in the State Legislature.
“I think, that over the years, we have demonstrated that, number one, we understand the importance of higher education and we want students to have access to it,” said Yee, who has consistently voted against tuition hikes. “And once you get it, we want to make sure it stays affordable.”
For more information on the Leland Yee campaign visit: http://www.lelandyee.com/

John Avalos
By Allison Fazio

Avalos, one of seven children, is the child of an office manager mother and a longshoreman father. He is a third-generation Mexican-American and the first in his family to graduate from a four-year university. He majored in English literature and graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
His background in social work and community organizing influence his work as supervisor of District 11, which includes the Outer Mission and Excelsior neighborhoods. Avalos described his district as “one of the most diverse neighborhood[s] in San Francisco in many ways…except we’re not very diverse in terms of income–we’re all about the working class, middle class people.” These are the people Avalos is talking about when he talks about “everyday giants.”
Avalos’ theme of “Everyday Giants” is a driving force in his campaign–from the San Francisco Giants team campaign colors, to his focus on middle and working class families. Avalos describes the “everyday giants” as the “every day people, raising families and doing business in San Francisco.” He adds, “‘Everyday Giants’ are the 99%,” referring to the slogan of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Avalos, who is closely associated with progressive politics, said he hopes to better represent those who feel their needs are being ignored. “We are the 99% of Americans who aren’t seeing the benefits of big corporations,” he said. One of Avalos’ goals if elected is to revitalize the economy through small businesses and green collar jobs.
For more information on the John Avalos ampaign visit: http://avalosformayor.org/

TONY HALL
By Ben Feder

For most of his life, Tony Hall has held the reigns of leadership. Whether the father of seven kids, the lead singer of “The Hallmarks,” or as executive assistant to the judges in the San Francisco superior and municipal courts, Hall, 69, is used to being in charge. Before his retirement in 2006, he worked in nine city departments.
“When you work 35 years for the city you know how it functions and how it should be functioning,” he said. Hall abides by what he calls a “people over politics” philosophy.
“For 15 years this city has been primarily concerned with political expediency, how could they use the office and the exploit the common good, exploit the common person to get to the next higher office. Invariably, everybody in office was doing that. And I’m the first guy that said ‘look enough of the politics, let’s get down to serving the people.’ Everybody gets an office and they devise all these social programs to elevate themselves to the next higher office and it’s just simply wrong. Rather than a government that serves the common good, they’re serving themselves. And that’s why I got in it. Tell them it’s akin to the great Jesuit philosophy.”
One of Hall’s main goals as mayor is to keep the middle class from moving out of San Francisco. In order to accomplish this, Hall wants to see the local government promote an atmosphere to encourage job creation. He said, “I would do all that to encourage the creation of jobs by small business so that our youth, guys like you, don’t have to go elsewhere to look for a future,” Hall said. “That’s real important.”
For more information on the Tony Hall campaign visit: http://www.tonyhallsf.com/

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