THEA SELBY Answers Our Endorsement Questionnaire for AD-17 Special Election

Hello! The San Francisco Berniecrats are reaching out to your campaign with the opportunity to submit answers to our Endorsement Questionnaire! Please answer the following questions to the best & truest of your ability, and our Endorsement Committee will review the answers to help our decision on which candidate to recommend or endorse for the upcoming election, based on our mission and values.

1. If elected, what will you do to address the housing crisis in San Francisco and California? Did you support 2021’s SBs 9 and 10? Would you fight for higher affordability requirements in upzoning legislation and, if so, what would those be?

Housing is one of the largest long-term problems in San Francisco and California. With our newest housing mandates set by the state, we are to build 80,000 new units in the next 8 years. One of the best things we can do as legislators is figure out ways to get the housing built and to make sure we prioritize affordable housing. In our last 8 years, we met our housing goals for market rate, but fell short for both

middle and low-income housing. We are losing our middle class in San Francisco, we are losing our working families and we are losing our lower income workers, forcing them to travel long distances to get the better wages in San Francisco but be housed far away. This is not right, it’s not equitable and it makes for a worse and less diverse San Francisco.

I support SBs 9 & 10 as ways to build more housing more flexibly. I will fight for more housing equality, such as transitional and long-term. As Trustee, I negotiated 50% affordability for two different properties – 33 Gough, currently slated for tiny homes until the 1500 units are built, and Balboa Reservoir. We strived

to get 500 dorm beds for our students as well. While not successful, I have hands-on experience with Francisco. If elected I will continue to strive for housing equality.

I support building 4-plexes on corners with envelopes of one-plexes. I support higher height limits (5-story) along boulevards, like Geary, so we can have active and diverse neighborhoods everywhere. And I support a public bank that can help give mortgages to low and middle-income families so they can realize their dreams of homeownership.

2. If elected, what would you do to fund and support social housing (AB 387), and specifically municipal social housing? Did you support November 2020 Propositions I and K? Do you support the large-scale decommodification of housing?

When I ran for Supervisor in 2011/12, I knocked on a lot of doors. That’s how I found out about St Francis Square, co-op housing in District 5 built by the ILWU to house union members. There are also Eichler apartments very near by that are co-ops, a social housing model that strove to achieve permanent affordability, social equality, and democratic resident control. I have advocated for more co-ops where people are able to live and raise their families and then sell it with a slight profit to the next generation, that is able to live and raise their families if they so desire as well.

I respect that there are those who support decommodification of housing but I think we have to be careful not to make it harder for low and middle income families to access homeownership. For most families, a home is their single largest asset and investment in their future. Indeed, it is the barriers to homeownership (including discriminatory real estate and lending practices) that have reduced access to wealth for people of color. The Urban Institute has rightly noted that the homeownership gap is a direct cause of the wealth gap for Black Americans. I support policies that equalize access to homeownership – and in particular for families that have for too long been shut out.

Prop K is about the city building or taking over 10,000 units of housing. I have reservations about this idea because I’ve observed how the city has failed to maintain the low-income housing they have. I was involved with HOPE SF, which is rebuilding 4 city-owned low-income housing units in the southeast area of the city and making them multi-income and significantly larger. These are great projects, but prior to this being done, residents were living in subhuman and dangerous conditions. When we put legislation on the books, we need to think about the consequences of the legislation. I don’t see anything in that legislation that has talked about how we will be maintaining these buildings.

I supported Prop I, but I have concerns that general funds are not necessarily used for the reasons the campaign says it will be. My real-world experience with Prop W, another increase in the transfer tax that was billed as a way to save City College, was that we (City College Trustees) had to fight for every dime. There is no guarantee the money is actually used for the purpose the campaigners say it will be.

3. If elected, will you support CalCare (AB 1400)? What will you do to ensure that CalCare passes through the state legislature in 2022? Do you support California having a single-payer healthcare system, including undocumented Californians?

Yes. I have supported single payer since I first heard the idea espoused by Bernie Sanders. There are 10 Assembly Members currently sponsoring AB1400 out of 80. So, the first thing I would try to do is get more sponsors. Our Senator and Assemblymembers are currently sponsoring, so I would go to other Assembly Members starting with our region and then moving outwards.

I would also work with a coalition that I hope is already formed of all those essential workers who

did not necessarily have health care during the pandemic like domestic workers along with nurses, our strongest allies, and teachers and unions in general who support AB 1400 and I would urge them to come to Sacramento and show their support. It is one of the great disappointments to me that during COVID there was not a national outcry for single payer, when many workers lost their jobs and therefore their health insurance that the government did not take heed and notice and begin single payer.

4. If elected, what will you do to ensure California addresses the climate crisis? Will you support the California Green New Deal (AB 1839) in 2022, and fight for investments in public transit? Do you support a ban on fracking? How would you start a statewide conversation on decarbonization with CADEM leadership, building trades, and other elected officials?

AB 1839 currently has both COVID just recovery principles with spending rules, and findings around the environment and work including a just transition for labor l. I am in favor of both these ideas and think starting with principles is a great way to go. I did that with our Voices for Public Transportation coalition, where we have a vision and principles that guide our work.

As a long-time advocate for public transportation, I am going to the Assembly partially to do my best to have CA meet or exceed our climate goals. In San Francisco, 47% of all carbon emissions come from cars and trucks. We need to change things quite a bit to reduce these carbon emissions

and it starts with abundant, accessible and affordable public transit and active transportation options.

I support a ban on fracking. Not only does it exacerbate earthquakes, threaten water supplies and use inordinate amounts of water, but it also creates pollution and is the last ditch effort to get more oil and gas out of the ground.

I have already started the conversation with the building trades about decarbonization using their own third party study. That study describes what is needed for unions to break from the fossil fuel industry and turn towards clean energy jobs.

5. If elected, how will you support public education and our educators? Do you support increasing funding for K-12, ensuring free public college for all (CCC, CSU, UC), and fighting against the privatization of our education system? How will you attract more public school educators to address the statewide shortage?

The second reason I am going to the Assembly is to be a champion for public education. I was a

supporter of Proposition 15 and we need to try it again. I support and champion right now additional funding for the K-16 system. The UC system used to get about 85% of its funding from the state, now it’s reversed and it gets about 15%. We should be funding the future for our children, especially community colleges which allow first generation college goers a nurturing entrance into the college system.

If we could provide housing for our teachers at a reasonable rent, we could attract more and diverse teachers. Teacher housing should be a part of our 80,000 units that we will be building in the next 8 years.

I also support “grow your own” programs, which have been proven to get more diverse teachers into the schools. If you grew up in San Francisco, often you have a place to stay that is cheaper than when you rent for the first time coming from another location. That helps.

Finally, paying teachers and others who help educate our children better is imperative. Our childcare workers are often paid less than minimum wage for the most important work–raising young children. If we are going to get the childcare industry back, decimated as it was by Covid, we are going to have to pay living wages to our childcare professionals.

6. If elected, how will you fight socioeconomic inequity in California? Do you support implementing a wealth tax (AB 1253), in addition to getting rid of corporate dark money in elections (AB 20)?

AB 1253 has already passed the Assembly with ⅔ vote and our current Assemblymember David Chiu was one of the 57 Yays. This legislature is now going to the Senate. I support this legislation; some of our wealthiest residents pay a lower effective tax rate than teachers, nurses and child care workers. We need to make sure all Californians are paying their fair share.

I have also been working on looking into progressive revenue sources for transportation funding for the past three years. Voices for Public Transportation found that there are very few ways to raise a LOT of money progressively, but one way to do so is to look at income tax. A few other ways: parking taxes, head taxes, transfer taxes.

I am open to seeing different ideas for funding politics. I like the way they run elections in England, where you can only raise a small amount and you only have a short time to run. In this country, we reward politicians who can raise a lot of money, and can run for office for indefinite time periods because they are wealthy. We are judging viability and therefore fitness to serve on their ability to raise money, not their ability to think straight, stand up for their constituency, and be independent.

7. If elected, how will you help get progressives elected into office, up and down the ballot? How did you / would you handle seats being vacated by you running for another office or terming out (in the past, present and/or in the future)?

I plan to be in the Assembly for the full 12-year term so that I can give the maximum amount of benefit to the people of CA.

I am a big proponent of lifting up others behind you, of mentoring and of looking for people who are not well represented and helping them lift themselves up. I practiced this at City College where I work with the Student Trustees with regular meetings and lunches as well as with new Trustees to help them get the lay of the land and hopefully surpass me in their expertise and skills.

It is one of my disappointments that we have the most powerful women at the highest levels in CA–Speaker and Vice President and Senator, yet we don’t have a good pipeline of women who are in the wings ready to fight for their place at those tables. I am an Emerge graduate, and we are taught to pull people up the ladder after us.

8. As the SF DCCC, UESF, and several major SF democratic clubs have passed resolutions opposing the Republican-funded recall elections, how do you plan on supporting our D.A. and Board of Education against the potential recalls, to safeguard the rights of voters to choose who represents the people of San Francisco?

I will not be opposing the recall of our Board of Education. I have been a consistent supporter of getting the kids back in school. Not only did I advocate for it with data (kids and teachers pre-vaccine in school were getting less sick than out of school most likely because they were so well organized and masked and socially distant), but I felt strongly that disadvantaged students, those with less access to internet, less space, and less tutoring possibilities, were seriously falling behind. This was in fact the case. Our board of education, many of whom I supported in their races, in my opinion should have been paying more attention to the children. They should have been doing the hard work of negotiating with faculty and administrators and seeking ways to get the kids back in school–private schools managed to do it, but we were one of the last districts in the nation to have in person classes.

The behavior of the school board did not change until the recall. So, while in general I believe recalls should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances – criminal action, corruption or dereliction of duty – I think in this case it caused the school board to start paying attention to the very dire problem in front of them, and that was a blessing and the ultimate outcome is up to the voters of San Francisco.

9. Is there anything else you’d like to add that our Endorsement Committee should know that could assist us in endorsing a candidate that represents our values?

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questionnaire. I recognize we may not agree on our approach to resolving every issue but I’ve always admired the tenacity and energy of the Berniecrats. As a Bernie Sanders voter, I believe you have done much to elevate progressive values and appreciate your hard work.