Rafael On the Issues

Homelessness/Mental Health


Homelessness is personal for me. I observed my mother’s descent into mental illness as a child and watched her life spiral out of control after I stopped living with her. I was lucky to find friends, relatives and teachers who stepped in to make sure I had the support I needed to make it through my teenage years. My mother was not as fortunate. She spent much of the second half of her life in institutional settings, including hospitals, Board and Care Homes and a homeless shelter. My desire to ensure better outcomes for people like my mother drives everything I do to help the unhoused in San Francisco.

On the Board of Supervisors, I have:

  • Authored legislation for San Francisco to implement housing conservatorships for unhoused individuals suffering from severe mental illness and substance use disorder and pushed for expansion of the City’s use of its existing conservatorship tools.
  • Campaigned for Proposition C and championed budget investments to significantly expand housing opportunities for homeless individuals and families.
  • Authored legislation to require the City to provide shelter for any unhoused person willing to accept a safe exit from the street.
  • Championed Street Crisis Response Teams to provide alternative non-police response for individuals suffering from mental health crises.
  • Convened and Co-Chaired the 2019 Methamphetamine Task Force to propose improvements to City response to rising meth use and overdoses.
  • Supported drug sobering centers to provide alternatives to emergency room, jail or the street for individuals suffering from drug intoxication.




Public Safety


Crime and safety are growing concerns for San Franciscans. I support pursuing alternatives to policing where those alternatives make sense. However, I also believe in community policing and that public safety requires the detention and effective rehabilitation of serial offenders.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I have:

  • Opposed budget reductions in police training, academies and overtime to make sure we are able to increase the diversity of the Police Department
  • Supported expansion of community policing efforts like neighborhood foot patrols.
  • Worked with neighbors, the Police Department and the District Attorney to facilitate the arrest and charging of drug dealers, violent offenders and serial burglars.
  • Investigated the Superior Court’s repeated pretrial release of individuals on ankle monitors even when those individuals have repeatedly violated the terms of prior releases.




Affordable Housing


California ranks 49th out of 50 in the number of housing units per person. It is incumbent on us to do our fair share to address the housing crisis, focusing on creating permanently affordable housing for those who cannot afford market rate housing.

On the Board of Supervisors, I have:

  • Introduced legislation to curb monster homes while allowing fourplexes Citywide to encourage production of more units affordable to everyday San Franciscans.
  • Worked with Mayor Breed to acquire a parcel for the development of more than 100 units of permanently affordable LGBTQ-affirming senior housing in District 8.
  • Worked to identify existing sites and secure funding for additional permanently affordable developments in District 8.
  • Authored legislation to prevent landlords from reducing housing services to longtime tenants.




The Climate Crisis


Repeated drought emergencies. Annual severe wildfires destroying communities and threatening our health. Sea level rise that threatens our coastline. Now is the time for dramatic action to address the climate crisis at all levels of government.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I have:

  • Authored and passed the City’s declaration of climate emergency.
  • Authored and passed legislation requiring that new construction be all-electric to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings (currently 40% of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions).
  • Authored legislation establishing new onsite water reuse requirements for large new developments and directing the PUC to investigate and report back on additional opportunities for water recycling Citywide.




Public Transportation


A great City deserves a great public transportation system, and San Franciscans deserve much better than what we have.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I have:

  • Convened the 2019 Transit Reliability Working Group to identify barriers to Muni service improvement and strategies to overcome them.
  • As Chair of the County Transportation Authority and Vice Chair of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, worked to secure funding to bring Caltrain and High-Speed Rail to the heart of Downtown.





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