We're all San Franciscans. Together, we can look out for each other, help those of us in need, and build a stronger, more egalitarian future for our city. By meeting the basic needs of every resident of San Francisco, of every cultural background and at every income level, we grow stronger.
Protecting our most precious resource
California is facing one of the worst droughts in recorded history. It's imperative that we develop smart water policies in San Francisco to ensure fresh, potable water access to everyone today, and for many years to come. We need to set a goal of 25% of our water usage from captured, recycled, and reused sources within the next 5 years.
We use pristine Hetch-Hetchy water far too often for needs that don't require it. This practice needlessly wastes fresh water for purposes from flushing toilets to irrigating landscapes to cleaning public spaces. Supervisor Wiener has introduced drought-conscious legislation that require all new developments to install grey water systems, reusing sink and bath water for flushing toilets and irrigation. We should continue this trend, extending it to all city departments, requiring grey water usage for city-wide irrigation and hosing of streets, sidewalks, and public spaces.
In addition to building recycled water systems into new developments, it's time for the city to create its own water recycling plants on a municipal level. These recycling plants are built on a process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light to renew fresh water to a pristine state that can be used again. Southern California has been leading the way with plants in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego producing hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water each day within the next few years.
Creeks and Streams
San Francisco has an incredible watershed network below the ground. Many of these sources have actually been used as fresh water sources in the past, despite the majority of them having been moved underground. This neglected water source has the potential to add to our network of fresh water availability.
Public Water Access
In order to preserve and ensure access to fresh water for every resident in San Francisco, installing a network of public fountains in the city can help ensure we have water today and in times of great need.
A fully renewable energy future
It's time for San Francisco to lead the way and become 100% renewable. Not only is this the right thing for the environment, but it's the best way to position ourselves for the future and protect ourselves in times of crisis.
Clean Power SF
We need to finally enact Clean Power SF to ensure every resident has the option to purchase fully-renewable energy for all of their power needs. It's stagnated far too long, though encouraging to see it begin to move forward.
Distributed Renewable Energy
In addition to external generation, San Francisco needs to create a distributed network of renewable energy generation within the city limits. The city should invest in helping residents build and maintain solar or urban wind generation on their properties, connected together to build a comprehensive energy grid within the city limits. If one home's generation fails, nobody loses power. If an earthquake strikes and takes out power lines, our opportunity to keep the lights on and computers running stays much stronger.
Enhancing and growing our natural spaces
One of the most incredible assets we have as San Franciscans is our natural environment. We are blessed with some of the most beautiful hills, shimmering oceans, and grand vistas. We have a great number of natural spaces in the city today, but many of our urban parks have been neglected, poorly maintained, or have lost their way.
Our urban tree canopy has been neglected for far too long. In fact, the city has been turning trees over to property owners, forced to pay for maintenance on trees adjacent to their property. This adds undue burdens on property owners, while decreasing the health of our street trees. San Francisco has one of the lowest urban tree canopies of any major American city, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Trees reduce pollution and absorb CO2, provide habitats for birds, shelter from harsh elements, and even act to collect moisture from fog to add water to our soil. Friends of the Urban Forest have put together an incredible, comprehensive plan for how San Francisco can reclaim its urban forest and renew our commitment to beautiful street trees across the city.
New Developments, Natural Space
San Francisco currently has regulations for certain new developments to have a percentage of their property be accessible to the public during certain hours, also known as POPOS, Privately-Owned Public Open Space. While important, we need to take this further, ensuring that, as we grow as a city, any new developments create new natural spaces, allowing nature to scale with population increases. Strengthening these requirements to provide truly public open spaces (from gardens to parks to recreation facilities) is an important way to grow our natural resources within the city.
Creating New Natural Space
The city needs to actively acquire new space for natural environments, converting unused or underdeveloped space into greenspace, gardens, parks, and recreation facilities. This can be as simple as taking a underused street and adding natural space in the middle, or as grand as purchasing new property for larger parks.
Looking to our land's natural history, a variety of interesting aspects exist, including an impressive network of spring-fed creeks. Leveraging these unique natural qualities into our urban landscape through ideas such as daylighting creeks, can bring new natural spaces while grounding our urban space to the land below.
Recreation & Parks Budget
It's important that, in order to grow and maintain our natural spaces, we consistently and adequately fund our Recreation & Parks department. This is the only way to ensure that our parks are well cared for, not just by volunteers, but by dedicated and trained staff. We rely far too often on volunteers to pick up the slack for routine maintenance. Meanwhile, Rec & Park is charging for Botanical Garden access and renting out Coit Tower to try and earn extra cash.
A cohesive plan to improve our air quality
Air quality continues to come to light as an increasing problem in urban environments. Most of our air quality issues in San Francisco stem from automobile traffic. While switching to hybrid or electric cars can be a step in the right direction, without a fully renewable energy portfolio, it increases downstream effects.
We need to do our best to evaluate ways to decrease the need to drive as much or as far. We can do this by increasing commercial and retail access throughout the city to increase nearby daily needs and diversifying office and residential to reduce commute distances. In addition, a number of car trips are taken today that could be made by other forms of transportation, needlessly adding congestion and contributing to parking difficulties for those that truly need better car access. Ensuring we have reliable, efficient, high-speed transit across the city will help shift trips that don't need to be done by car toward sustainable modes.