State Senator Scott Wiener Gets High Marks in First Year

in by

During his first year in office, California State Senator Scott Wiener (D) has authored or supported legislation to support LGBT rights, affordable housing, and transportation funding. 

“This year is a really eventful year, in which I had 11 bills signed into law by Governor Brown,” said Wiener, who represents District 11, which covers the City and Peninsula to South San Francisco. “I authored SB 35, the Housing Accountability and Affordability Act, which made all communities contribute to our housing need; SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, provides $5.2 billion for roads and maintenance. One billion is going to public transit,” said Wiener.

Wiener is proud of passage of Senate Bill (SB) 219, an anti-discrimination measure that protects LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities; SB 282, which increases access to prepared food for low income homeless, elderly, and disabled individuals; and SB 458, which created five mobile recycling pilot programs throughout the state. Administered by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, SB 458 serves to remove redemption obligations from small grocery stores.

“We have a solemn responsibility to resist the Trump administration,” Wiener said. “My colleagues have been awesome in showing their solidarity. We show that California values are still here. They’re American values: inclusivity, diversity, and access to health care.”

Wiener formerly served as District 8 Supervisor. He now chairs the Senate Human Services Committee, and is a member of the Appropriations, Public Safety, Transportation and Housing, and Energy committees.

Wiener won his seat in a close 2016 race against District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, prevailing with a roughly four percent margin. His goals for the remainder of his term include criminal justice system reform; securing more funding for kindergarten through twelfth grade schools, to increase access to science, technology, engineering, and math education and to close the achievement gap between low-income Black and Latino students and scholars with other ethnic and racial backgrounds. Wiener also wants to raise access to public transportation, and accelerate “…California’s move toward 100 percent clean energy.”.

Wiener is a past chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. He formerly represented the City on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District. Prior to being elected Supervisor, he worked as a deputy City Attorney and co-chaired the board of the San Francisco LGBT Center.

According to Laura Clark, executive director of the San Francisco Yes In My Backyard Party, a pro-development coalition, Wiener’s work on housing will increase access to rental and ownership properties.  “SB 35 was a really bold initiative that targets those municipalities that have been missing their affordable housing goals. Scott’s the kind of legislator who understands all the way into the weeds of every policy he’s working on. A lot of our cities and towns have been thinking about things piecemeal. We need a broader perspective, because we can’t do it all on our own,” she said.

Todd David, San Francisco Housing Action Coalition’s executive director, and political director of Wiener’s 2016 Senate campaign, said Wiener’s work on housing has resulted in sound, data-based policy.  “Scott is one of the leaders in the state on housing and transportation. We partner with him on a regular basis. From an environmental point of view, infill urban density housing is the number one thing we can do to try to reverse climate change,” said David.

David admires Wiener’s work ethic and approach to politics.  “Scott is the hardest-working, most dedicated public servant that I know. He has very strong opinions, yet he’s open-minded. He’s willing to listen in earnest. You’re always going to get a consistent message out of him. He doesn’t change his message for the crowd,” said David.

According to Reverend Arnold Townsend, vice president of the San Francisco NAACP, Wiener listens to his constituents.  “He’s not telling us what’s best for us. Scott understands the issues that stem from gentrification. We support each other on some housing issues,” said Townsend, who hopes Wiener will promote mental health services, supplementary services for education, and legislation to increase affordable housing.

Shamann Walton, San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education president, executive director of Young Community Developers – a nonprofit economic development agency located in Southeast San Francisco – and a candidate for District 10 Supervisor, said Wiener’s work will help ensure the availability of housing, transportation, and education funding. “We want to make sure we get the resources we need for isolated communities like mine, Bayview-Hunters Point. Scott is very methodical in how he makes decisions on what he wants to support. I worked with Scott on the soda tax and the neighborhood preference legislation for affordable housing. We were successful on both efforts,” said Walton.

Assemblyman David Chiu (D), who represents the 17th Assembly District, the eastern portion of the City, said Wiener has been a “tremendous partner” on housing, immigrant rights, and food availability measures.  “I co-authored all of his major LGBT bills this year. We worked on 15 housing bills. Scott and I were at the center of discussions to move this package forward in our respective houses. Both he and I are passionate about bills facing homophobia and opposition from conservative forces in our state,” said Chiu.

Chiu said Wiener’s response to “the worst forces of the Trump administration” is to persevere in an even-handed manner.  “He’s incredibly smart and fierce in his advocacy,” said Chiu.

According to Roberto Ordeñana, San Francisco LGBT Center interim executive director, the Center is thankful for Wiener’s work to support transgender individuals, LGBT seniors, and HIV positive individuals. “Many sectors of the LGBT community are at risk of being left behind on the path to full equality, including homeless youth. Scott deeply cares about so many community members and finding strong policy solutions. He also shows how LGBT representation is important. I think right now we have incredible momentum. It’s really wonderful to see Scott work so hard,” said Ordeñana.

Ordeñana said many voters can relate to Wiener’s personal history.  “I know Scott reflects back on his lived experience, coming to San Francisco as a young adult and wanting to get involved. He is helping make San Francisco and the state of California a supportive place,” said Ordeñana.

Nicolas Josefowitz, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit director and a candidate for District 2 Supervisor, said he appreciates that Wiener sees the link between funding public transportation and reducing carbon emissions.  “This was his first year in Sacramento, and he stood up to all the special interests. He is relentlessly solutions-oriented. For him, it’s not about sounding good. It’s about delivering results. I’m incredibly impressed by him. We worked together really closely on Vision Zero to make sure our roads are safe, especially for the most vulnerable. Scott understands that building more housing, especially around BART stations, is linked to reducing traffic congestion.” said Josefowitz.