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Live Blogging the State of the City Address
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy City and County of San Francisco | January 17, 2014
We're watching Ed Lee's speech live.
11:25: Instant analysis. Sections of the speech very much sounded as if Lee is preparing for his reelection campaign, particularly the parts about housing and jobs. His line about critics saying too many jobs are a problem may not be exactly accurate, but it's a potent charge. Expect to hear that one more. He's walking a fine line on housing—trying to recapture the energy of his activist youth with the downtown methods he uses now. Affordability has emerged as the voters' biggest concerns, so his next election depends greatly on whether they think his approach properly addresses the issues. Time will tell. But all in all, seemed to be a strong speech. And thank god it wasn't seven hours long.
11:21: And that's it. Go Niners!
11:19: Implicit rebuke to Shih and Gopman: "The homeless man you see sleeping on the street probably thought he was invincible too, once."
11:17: And now we're in the boring part where he sums up the speech in sweeping historical language. But Batkid! Finally we get Batkid! Batkid!
11:15: Seven pillars? I guess Jerry Brown lent his copy of T.E. Lawrence to Ed.
11:09: Wants 30k new units of housing, one-third set aside for affordable. Says he has seven pillars: 1) Eviction protection against real estate speculation, 2) stabilize rent controlled units, rebuild and revitalize public housing (including new leadership at Housing Authority, natch), 3) build 4k new public housing units by 202, 4) middle class housing: increase home loan plans in public-private partnership and new land use incentives for on sight inclusionary housing, doubles funding for middle income home buying program, 5) build more affordable housing faster, 6) continue to build market rate units. "The laws of supply and demand still apply, even in San Francisco." Especially to build in neighborhoods outside the downtown core, 7) make new housing construction easier through city incentives.
11:08: "I may be a little less angry, but my passion for housing still burns hot."
11:06: Now Lee connects his push for more housing to his activist background in the 70s. International Hotel gets a long mention, which Lee uses to claim some credit for rent control's passage. Will Lee lean on this narrative more heading into re-election?
11:05: Now we're in the housing crisis section. Lee lays out the basics, then says, "there are no easy solution, so people turn to easy target: a bus or even toast."
11:04: What is it going to take for Ed Lee to sell you this house today? "Family housing—with these views! On a clear day, you can see the Willie Lewis Brown Bay Bridge right from your front porch."
11:00: "This still is the City of Saint Francis" is like the "God Bless America" of the State of the City addresses, right?
11:00: Framing much of homeless problem as a mental health issue. "It's not an issue of resources," says Lee. Wants a stronger public conservatorship program. In 2014, wants to expand conservatorship program. Wants a statewide coalition of mayors to lobby for changes in Sacramento to increase public conservatorship programs. "This will not be without controversy in our town, but I will no longer allow people to die on the streets because they refuse to allow us to help them."
10:58: Praises Newsom on homelessness, says city has moved thousands off of streets since then.
10:57: Rooftop solar and electric vehicles. Awesome.
10:56: Drought talk time, which segues into environmental talk.
10:56: Oh man I still love his Niners mug.
10:55: Earthquakes! Get ready for a seismic safety bond.
10:54: "I support goal to eliminate traffic deaths in our city. Drivers please slow down, and for darn's sake, don't text and drive.
10:54: "Be nice, look twice." Thanks, Dad.
10:51: Lee thanks every major public safety officer by name, who all seem to be there. Except for Ross Mirkarimi. Wonder why that is?
10:51: Talking about arcana of budgeting process makes Lee seem more amped than any other topic in this speech.
10:50: Why does the camera keep cutting to Ron Conway?
10:49: Sunday meters generated $7 million last year, half from parking tickets. "Nobody likes it." So no more of that, as Lee calls on MTA board to suspend Sunday meters, beginning this FY.
10:47: In November, Lee will put to voters $500 million transportation bond and a measure to increase vehicle license fee.
10:47: Plumps for Bike Share, yet doesn't call it BABS. Come on Ed!
10:46: "Oh yeah, you like those road." Ed Lee is making me uncomfortably aroused with that smile right now.
10:45: Call on Commission to lift "cloud that hangs on our city's future."
10:43: "City College will remain open and accredited for today and the future." Mayor encourages students to enroll, expresses upset at ACCJC. "But putting all of our focus on them is a distraction."
10:41: Thanks to Jerry Brown's budget, SF has highest levels of per pupil spending. Which doesn't stop Lee from taking some applause for that.
10:40: How do we feel about this STEAM acronym? Science, tech, engineering, arts, and math. Well, it's better than STEMA, right?
10:39: Education: "I chose to send my daughters to the SFUSD. Believe the hype."
10:38: Minimum wage increase is headed to the ballot, wants to run it like the business tax one last time around. Seems like an obvious winner for Lee, but time will tell.
10:37: Now a plug for that Chiu workplace flexibility bill, but more importantly for a raise in the minimum wage.
10:36: "For many arts and nonprofits it is hard to deal with rising rents."
10:35: Free wifi is coming to neighborhoods and commercial corridors next year.
10:35: I feel like Lee has no idea who Hunter Pence is.
10:34: Now he promises to bring back America's Cup in 2017. No claps. May god have mercy on his soul
10:33: Claps for the Superbowl, though.
10:33: Oh man, major Lucas museum throw down just happened. No claps.
10:32: When Ed points out people in the crowd, like he just did, it feels like your principal calling out the National Merit Scholars at an assembly.
10:30: Good optics to have construction type workers as the face of jobs in the city for Lee? Certainly better than Peter Shih.
10:30: We love Looking. But you knew that already.
10:29 Oh man! Lee just had a guy who went through a city training program and now works on Looking. Which premieres this Sunday, Lee says. What were the chances that Girls for Gays was going to come up today?
10:28: "The first time is history that the creation of too many jobs is a problem." The first swipe of the speech at Progressives and the anti-tech protestors is quick, as Lee moves to complaining about Washington.
10:27: Camera pans over the crowd and omg, Scott Wiener is so freaking tall, even when he sits down.
10:26: Lee lays out what he calls the "affordability agenda." First part, jobs and training.
10:25: "We must confront challenges of affordability directly." Which is why Ed is now talking about the Chinese Zodiac. Directness.
10:24: "Tears in the social fabric that if we do not attend to, will erode our foundation and reverse progress."
10:24: Lee plumps for our high credit rating. Cryptic shot at Richmond??
10:22: "Throughout 2013 [...] our economic recovery continued. We were number one large county in job growth." Unemployment at 5.2%.
10:22: That the first mention of housing, and we're not really even out of the first paragraph.
10:21: And now the genuflection to the notables.
10:20: Here's Ed! And I love his Niners mug. I think that one's Anchor Steam already and we haven't really started.
10:18: Ron Conway is furiously applauding the woman saying that she is saving up to buy a home.
10:16 This young woman giving the introduction—I like her. But when does batkid show up?
10:15: Here we go!
10:15: Making the audio equivalent of Gavin Newsom what exactly? The soundtrack from American Hustle, probably.
10:13: The announcer tells us the speech is about to begin and we're hearing music. Smooth jazz. The audio equivalent of our mayor.
10:12: Ugh, so bored. When is batkid coming?
10:11: As our editor says, the video feed has an "alien life-form audio glitch." Sounds about right.
10:08: And we're back. Still no Ed yet. Breakfast with Willie at Zuni must have run long today.
10:06: Is the video feed down for anyone else too? We're getting a technical difficulties message. Is this Chicken John's fault?
10:03: Here's our official drinking game. Every time the mayor mentions the housing affordability crisis, take a shot of Fernet. Every time he mentions the Niners, shotgun an Anchor Steam. Any mention of the Google bus goons, pack and smoke an entire bowl.
10:02: Sit down, already people. We've got a speech to blog about.
9:59: Any minute now. Let's get this started.
9:57: And we're live. You can tune into the Mayor's speech here.