San Francisco, California StateoftheCity Student Report January 8, 2012

As I lined up to enter San Francisco’s majestic City Hall, I was greeted by a Chinese lion dancing group. Just inside were exhibitions of Mexican folk dancing, Hawaiian Hula, as well as jazz -- The Mayoral inauguration was set to be a diverse occasion. Although I’d arrived more than an hour early, the crowds were already pouring in, quickly filling the side viewing rooms as well as the balconies all the way to the third floor. The atmosphere was hectic, yet very positive. It was clear that people from many communities of the city were eager to hear Mayor Edwin Lee speak.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Jr. was the officiant for the ceremony. Mayor Lee had just finished his first year as interim Mayor for the city, in which he tackled many policies dealing with unemployment, homelessness, the selection of a new police chief, as well as pension reform in order to help balance the City’s budget. During his State of the City address, Mayor Lee stated he hopes to make San Francisco a “City for the 100%”. Starting the week with the creation of a permanent housing trust fund, he intends to tackle neighborhoods such as Hunters Point and Mission Bay and establish affordable, low-income housing.

In addition to affordable housing, Mayor Lee said he was also highly concerned with putting the City back to work. In the face of an economic downturn, Mayor Lee reported that the City put 17,000 San Franciscans back to work last year.

His policies for the coming year will attempt to strengthen the trend, beginning with a reform of the business tax codes to incentivize job creation in the small business sector. The Mayor has an impressive mission for San Francisco: to make it “the innovation capital of the world”. In order to build on this idea, he wants to work with biotech and cleantech companies in the bay area to arrange internships specifically for locals, such as those from the SF unified school district as well as City College. I see this as an exciting way to involve younger San Franciscans in of one of the fastest growing markets in the scientific industry.

The Mayor made very clear the rising importance of technology in the current day and age. With the ever growing amount of people connected to the web, it is vital to reach out to and keep informed the public. To make his point, Mayor Lee even tweeted his first infographic during the address. It used to be that you would have to take an afternoon off to attend a Board of Supervisors meeting to see city policy in action, but today you can just go online and watch it live from your own home. As an avid fan of social media networking, I’m excited to see how the residents of San Francisco can better connect with the happenings of the city government. These, along with Mayor Lee’s ideas for partnerships with technology companies, are steps toward connecting the young people of the City with the vision of San Francisco as the innovation capital of the world.

San Francisco, like the rest of the state, nation, and world, continues to face many difficult issues; The Mayor proposed many ideas for solutions during his State of the City address. I am especially behind him in his practical way of involving the youth of the City. Mayor Lee made it clear that in the coming year he truly intends to embody his campaign motto “get it done”. I’m eager to see the results.