Reaching Out to our neighbors
Our unhoused neighbors are not a problem to solve, they are residents of our city. As such, I will move to establish an unhoused neighborhood council, just like the 70 neighborhood councils we have for housed and property owning residents. We will normalize government relations and interactions with this constituency, by providing a vehicle for their voices and increasing their visibility. I will do my best to be present when police force is threatened or used against unhoused communities, so at the very least someone's face will be attached to what happens, and someone will be accountable. I will ban any use of chemical weapons against unhoused citizens. Our city has far more pressing problems than raiding and beating up encampments. Obviously.
There has been a lot of good work in the area of affordable housing, with many more efforts already underway. We are dealing with a legacy of community mental health defunding, inadequate wages, racist housing policies, and the systematic dispossession of native lives. In addition to these current efforts, we need to revitalize community mental health funding even if only to previous commitments practiced in the 60s to 80s. We cannot afford to use the prison system as our de facto housing and mental health solution.
I support efforts for a tenant right to purchase, pay to quit notice and eviction protections, as well as rent stabilization. It is vitally important to support the city council in those initiatives which seek to reduce landlordism in our city, so that some day, sometime in the future, we can have a city of cooperative and personal ownership.
The Upper Harbor Terminal project is indicative of what needs to change. Rather than parceling off the land to already wealthy interests who don't need even more money, the site should be developed as a landmark cooperative housing initiative for residents displaced by rampant gentrification. The solution is staring at us right in the face. The opportunity is providential in its timing. It will be a test of our city's leadership. It is an opportunity that cannot be squandered.