Mar 8, 2024
48 min
Episode 13

We Are San Francisco: Meet the Candidates: Daniel Lurie

Ben Kaplan  00:00

Hey, BART Rider. Hey San Francisco. I'm Ben Kaplan and this is the podcast where we define who we are and who we want to be. We are diverse. We are innovative, we are inclusive. We are change makers, problem solvers, activists, leaders, citizens, we are open minded,


optimistic, because hope for a better tomorrow and you and you and you got to get in the hole.

Ben Kaplan  00:26

This is the podcast. That's more than a podcast


for Cisco. They are the world champion. We are San Francisco.

Ben Kaplan  00:38

Hey, San Francisco. Today is the first in our series that we're calling Meet The 2024 Candidates. I'm joined by Daniel Lurie, candidate for San Francisco Mayor. Daniel is best known for as the founder of tipping point, one of the largest nonprofits on the West Coast. Also, he's part of the Levi Strauss family, which of course, is the family behind the well-known iconic San Francisco brand Levi’s. So, Daniel, welcome. Thanks for joining us on the show.

Daniel Lurie  01:05

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. Nice set up in here, by the way. Okay. Congratulations.

Ben Kaplan  01:10

Okay. Well, thank you very much. We are a show that's all about how do we get San Francisco back on the right trajectory? I know you've made your campaign about that as well. You're I think, by my count about four months in from your official declaration date, what has been surprising or challenging. What have you not expected? Since this is the first your first political race?

Daniel Lurie  01:30

Well, first, let me tell you, I love this city. I'm raising two young kids here, a 12 year old daughter, a nine year old son, you have kids. I know this is a little bit younger, a three year old and a two year old. Yes, this is one of the reasons you're doing this. And this is the big reason why I'm running for mayor, I've always been proud to be from San Francisco. Simply put, if we continue down this direction, I'm worried that your kids and my kids won't have that same pride in San Francisco. And that's why I'm running. You mentioned tipping point. I know how to get big things done. I know how to bring diverse groups of people together on behalf of our community. And what has been thrilling about the first four months is just going to every corner of this city and meeting people. I was born and raised here. So you would think okay, I know every corner. I don't, you know, you can't possibly know every corner unless you're running for mayor. And it's been it's been so exciting to meet people where they're at to understand their concerns. And what has been most surprising is how many people care and how many people are engaged in this process. The

Ben Kaplan  02:37

stories that I've seen about you probably as early as, at least in our research, 2017 there was starting to be public stories about is Daniel Lurie, running for mayor. And there was an opportunity. I've heard you speak about it before where you said, you know, after the passing of Ed Lee, there was a few week period where you were actively considering it. And then obviously, there was that election, that election and then the following one in 2019. Do you regret not having run then that you're doing it now? Or no,

Daniel Lurie  03:04

no, a lot of people came and said, Daniel, you gotta run as a really difficult, challenging time for the city. And frankly, I thought about it for a few weeks, I looked at it. And I was impressed by how the mayor handled the situation. I was excited as we talked about raising my my young daughter at the time for her to see a woman leading our city. It was a proud moment for me, I was excited. And so no, I don't regret it. But what I regret is the fact that we've had five and a half years of leadership that has not gotten the job done. This Mayor's had her opportunity. She was board president for three years prior, everyone I'm running against has been inside that building for you know, a decade or more. Any candidates that may jump in there all insiders that have helped us get into this mess that have allowed these problems to fester. The only way we are going to change the dynamic inside that broken dysfunctional system at City Hall is with leadership from the outside and with someone like myself with a proven track record of getting big things done and not gonna be scared to challenge the bureaucratic system that is in place. And frankly, it's the only way we'll get done is with somebody with proven leadership outside that is not beholden to those interests at City Hall.

Ben Kaplan  04:28

And what is your relationship? Let us say prior to the campaign with supervisor Bree, did you have a working relationship where you did you did you know her? What was the nature of it? Has that changed more recently?

Daniel Lurie  04:39

Of course it's changed a little bit but no great respect for the mayor. I've worked with her I worked on issues of homelessness and getting a housing built in the city. I had monthly meetings with her department head I've worked with every mayor since Gavin Newsom and I as the head of tipping point, we want Need to help our community and you do that by working with leaders like Mayor Lee Mayor Newsom, Mayor breed. And I know what good leadership looks like. I ran. I know we might get into this, but I ran and Ed Lee asked me to chair Super Bowl 50. It was it was an honor, you know, a big global sporting event coming. And the mayor of San Francisco asked me to lead that effort showed that the city had faith in me to get something big done, I had to work with Mayor liccardo, Mayor, Chef and Oakland, Mayor Lee in San Francisco, bring the whole community together. So I know how to once again get big things done. And yes, I've worked with every administration. And frankly, we all see what's happening and things are not getting done. We aren't seeing the change that we all deserve.

Ben Kaplan  05:49

To me, it feels different than other times we're San Francisco has had big city problems. But it feels different to me right now. Because it's like, you know, at some of our meetings, we do big events, town halls, and I will ask people, would you be at this meeting? If this was 2017? If you would not be here, raise your hand and tons of people raise their hand and then and then I asked them? Well, how many of you felt like there was no way you were gonna miss this, you were compelled to be here because you were so concerned about the city and everyone keeps their hands up. So it sort of feels different. And I don't know what you think that is that's that's anger or frustration or just like this is a big moment or what it is, it seems different than any time of experience sort of big city problems that have been around San Francisco for a while born

Daniel Lurie  06:34

and raised here, active and engaged in the community for the last 20 plus years, as you know, frankly, as an adult here, never seen anything like this. People are upset, they're frustrated, they see that we have a $14.6 billion budget. Every single department under this current mayor's leadership has a bigger budget today than they did five and a half years ago. And yet our outcomes are worse. So yes, people are angry, people are frustrated. We all are. But I gotta tell you, this show is new. There are groups that have popped up over the last couple years. I am so excited about the future of San Francisco because of shows like this, and groups like yours, that are committed to changing San Francisco. So I fundamentally believe that the best days for San Francisco are ahead of us. We are a boom and bust town. I don't think we needed this bus to be so bad. But you know, we have a crisis of leadership right now in this city. That's going to change in November. And I'm excited about the passion and energy that you and I am seeing on this trail.

Ben Kaplan  07:43

One of the things you've been critical about Mayor breed is sort of not working with all sides. How would you let's say you're going to work you probably have a different agenda than someone like supervisor Dean Preston, who's known as one of the most far left Democratic Socialist members of the Board of Supervisors. If you had to work with supervisor Preston, how would you do it differently than Mayor breed?

Daniel Lurie  08:05

Well, listen, that the power of the mayor is that you can bring people together. And that's the power that I had running tipping point running Super Bowl, I got housing built on Brian Street, 146 unit building, built on time, under budget, using good paying union labor. At every step of my career, I have brought people together to get big things done. And as mayor, you have to bring the supervisors along, you are not going to agree with me on everything. You might not agree with me on most things, but San Franciscans and this is why people are so passionate and upset and angry or whatever word you want to use. Because they see these people just pointing fingers. It's a constant blame game and it's starting from the top. It's either the DBAs fault or it's the police chiefs fault or the supervisors fault. Is it London breeds fault the state of this city, the power in this city rests mostly in the mayor's hands. This mayor has appointed two district attorneys, three actually four supervisors, three school board members, the city attorney, the head of the PUC has the power to appoint four out of seven commissioners on most of the Commission's the majority of commissioners. Has the Board of Supervisors chipped away at the mayor's power over the last 20 years. Yes. Are there way too many commissions? Yes. Do we need charter Reform Commission reform? Absolutely. I would like to see the mayor and the supervisors have more power so that they can't continue to blame everyone else. They all do it. The mayor blames everybody else. The supervisors blame everybody else. When I am mayor and something goes wrong in the city is going to be my fault. I am not going to play the blame game.

Ben Kaplan  09:44

When I talked to different party members who would say kind of the the moderate faction let's say of San Francisco and those who support the mayor sometimes what they'll say is, oh Mayor breed with like a different board of supervisors and we can change that and 2024 November. That would be fine. That would work. Or maybe that would be good. What is your response to those who say, we essentially need to keep sort of the status quo of administration that just changed to get a little bit more support,

Daniel Lurie  10:10

I frankly, think it doesn't, it shouldn't matter for the big things to get done. There's gonna be a lot of change in November, I welcome change, I think the city is constantly changing. But once again, I'm gonna just go back to I'm not going to make excuses, I'm going to sit down with supervisors that I disagree with one day, and the next day, I'm going to find common ground to get things done for San Franciscans. What happens with this administration in this current board is that they hold grudges, they don't work together,

Ben Kaplan  10:42

and they're standing orders like this staff doesn't talk to their staff. We don't do that. And how can a city operate? It's kind of like if your your liver didn't talk to your heart and didn't talk to like, like, how would you? How would you be a great

Daniel Lurie  10:54

analogy, and that's why, you know, people want me to just cast when we all see it, we've seen it, we have proof, we've have almost six years of this administration. And by the way, this mayor was the head of the supervisors for three years before that. So it's not like that somehow, everyone I'm running against has had a hand in creating this dysfunctional system, in building up and putting more commissions in place for the broken promises for the distrust in the system. They've all created. All of these insiders have created this mess.

Ben Kaplan  11:30

I'm on the distribution list. Since having the show of like, kind of the talking points from various campaigns that gets sent to me. One counterpoint that gets distributed that will be based on what you said is that, yes, you're running as an outsider, meaning you haven't been elected before you haven't ran before. But by nature of your presence in the city, your family, you are kind of the ultimate Insider. Right? You are like, you know, part of the I don't think he would repeat this, like the socio economic elite of San Francisco, you're part of that. So some people will say, Oh, he's not really an outsider. He's just a novice politician. How do you respond to that?

Daniel Lurie  12:06

I'll take the outsider status all day long. And I do I know this city incredibly well, I know, City Hall well, and I have a wealth of experience, getting things done, whether it was a tipping point, whether it's getting housing built, whether it was bringing Super Bowl here, I also what's really critical is that I hold people to account I hold nonprofits to account at a tipping point, if a group was not performing, we tried to get them on the right track. And if they still weren't performing, we cut their funding, we moved on from them. And we redirected resources to those groups that do get the job done. Something that city hall does not do. They don't audit a lot of these nonprofits. They don't hold them to account on metrics and performance based metrics. It's crazy. To me, it's crazy, all of us. And we hear a lot and a lot of the talking bullet points are, it's all about the nonprofit industrial complex rates, all about all the problems that nonprofit, how about at the department head level, we need to hold our department heads accountable. We need to hold our supervisors and our mayor accountable. We want to be proud of our city again, and all of us know we've taken a reputational nosedive over the last five years. And we need to come back. And I'm looking forward to being part of that. Well, I'm

Ben Kaplan  13:23

back. And I'm concerned on the cost of the reputational nosedive, because I don't think we know the cost totally yet. Because, hey, if you're doing a big trade show, and you're booking those years in advance, so the ones that are happening now may have been committed to a long time ago. What about in this past year to the commitments made, we're only going to see that in the next three years, five years, what's going to be the impact? So I'm concerned, I don't know if you are that, even if tomorrow we can sort of say like we're back on the right track. If there's like a little bit of lag time in what do we do to sort of mitigate that kind of damages. I don't know, if we know the full economic costs, then

Daniel Lurie  13:59

you make a great point. That's why we need to, we need leadership. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work, we need to hit the ground running. I will be ready on day one to lead this city. And frankly, it's got to start now. And it's gotta start by holding drug dealers accountable. I presented a plan last week to get real tough on first time drug dealers, we need to send a message to this country and to this world, that you don't come to San Francisco to deal drugs, to do drugs or to stay on the streets of San Francisco, we need to send that message loud and clear. I'm doing that every day on the campaign trail. I'm going to call CEOs that left. I'm gonna call CEOs that are thinking about leaving and saying what can we do to keep you here? What can we do to bring you back? I know the first two things are we need clean streets. We need DPW to do their job. We did it during a peck we should be able to do it 365 Day is a year, we need to get enough shelter beds to house people that are in the tents. And then we have a compassionate place for people to go, there can no longer be people sleeping on tents on our street, we have to remove that and get people in the shelter. So we sat around blaming a judge for a bad ruling, I would have stopped enough shelter beds immediately. The other thing is, we need shelter, drug treatment beds and mental health beds, something also that has failed to be done. We were talking tough on drug users, we need a carrot and a stick approach. We need enough care infrastructure to get that drug user into treatment. Okay, or if they don't choose that a caseworker comes or first responder or hot team member comes and they're someone is using drugs, they got an option, cup of coffee and you go to a treatment center, or you get arrested. But right now we don't have the beds. And so we just have this stick measure. We need both. And under my administration, we will have both

Ben Kaplan  16:04

want to join our movement to get San Francisco back on track. Attend a week town hall event are stopped by our popular we have the our meetups. Better yet. Join our data team takes the census or help us audit the city budget to join the movement. Text us at 415301 6700. That's 415-301-6700 or learn more at WWE San You mentioned AIPAC and I have a question for you because you've been a prolific fundraiser of dollars that have been put back into the community. And one of the things that puzzled me about sort of raising money for AIPAC over $20 million was raised was okay. Lots of people came together lots of companies, corporations, we have I think, last time I saw 38 of the Fortune 500 located in the Bay Area, they have a stake in it. And $20 million was raised. And what was it spent on it was spent on I think $8 million for a party for President Biden it was spent on I think over a million dollars to have when's the Fani have no doubt fame performed? I'm against the funny fan. But when I see that, like hey, you know, supervisor Dorsey had a sort of a charter amendment that was hijacked a little bit that originally said we need $30 million in police recruiting funds, and we can't get that through. And we raised $20 million. A lot of it went to a party and essentially a PR off for San Francisco. Your a great fundraiser. Why can't we just like raise money? You know, from private sources, public private partnership to like get in front of this police situation, staffing situation, recruit more from the beginning. Why can't we do that? Well,

Daniel Lurie  17:42

frankly, we need a mayor that doesn't just prioritize public safety. And during an election year, this mayor announced that she was defunding the police. And that has repercussions. We cut training academy classes for a couple of years. And now we're playing catch up police officers, the best recruiters of new police officers, our current police officers and all 11 boards who are members of the Board of Supervisors and this mayor said that they wanted to defund the police. That is a huge message to the country and to law enforcement. far and wide that we didn't have we weren't supporting them. And I understand the dynamics back then. But it has left a scar and it has set us back years. And it's actually why I do support property, something that could have been done by this mayor with the Board of Supervisors, she put up property. And I personally as a private citizen, believe that we do need community safety cameras we do you need to use technology to help bridge the gap to help our police do their job, be proactive, catch repeat offenders and make it so that people feel safe again in the city. People don't feel safe. But you I got off topic because you asked about budgeting. We have the resources, we have the money, we need to spend it better. We were paying a lot of overtime for police officers because we can't recruit enough new ones in. So we need we need to try to shift some of that overtime funding to new police officers and expand it we're down from where we should be around 2000 police officers some people say we're somewhere in the 1200 50 police officer range. Shortly there's more retirements coming up play so we need to aggressively recruit new officers retain those that are you know, are close to retirement age. We need them to stay on. And we need to help and use technology to bridge the gap in terms of visas. Can you take us a few years to recruit and you

Ben Kaplan  19:48

mentioned proposition II, you formed a committee to support that Mayor breed was the one who proposed that proposition and as you can imagine everything now is through a political lens. The immediate response from sort of Mayor breeds people as Daniel Lurie doesn't have any original ideas. He's just copying Mayor breeds ideas. And I saw some of the talking points that went around saying, oh, you know, your brother's donating to this and it kind of sounds like honestly like the playground you're like copycat, you copied me. Right? What is your response to that, and you must have known that might have been perceived like that for you to support something Mayor breeders in a big way and sort of making your own. I'm not

Daniel Lurie  20:21

shy about supporting good ideas, wherever they come from. That's how I'm gonna lead as mayor. If a supervisor that I've had disagreements with comes to me with a good idea, great, I'm gonna support it. This idea that me supporting it is somehow a bad thing that campaigns got to figure out what they're they're talking about. Public Safety shouldn't be a political issue. Now, what should have been done, this should have been done five years ago, this could have been done with the Board of Supervisors, the idea that it has to go to the ballot is a demonstration of the lack of leadership that we're seeing from this administration to allow public safety to get to these type of lows. We have the lowest the slowest 911 response time speeds, we don't have enough 911 response operators, police are short staffed and having to respond to crime instead of being proactively able to address it. And property is a small step, but it's the right step. And I'm happy to support anything that will help San Franciscans feel safer. One of

Ben Kaplan  21:21

the issues right now is that somehow it feels like we've just lost our confidence in the city government for sure. But also just like the response of the city, when you talk to number people, and one of our town halls will ask, you know how many people here have not reported a property crime that happened to them? And you know, the whole room raises their hand or a lot of the room? And then they'll say, Well, why didn't you? Well, I didn't think it would do anything I didn't even know. So how do we start thinking about sort of rebuilding confidence for people who still love the city? Because honestly, if you didn't love it, you probably left? Yep, right up. If you're here, you've love it. That's great sort of concentrated people who want to take actions. But there's all this talk of doom loops. And you know, this downward spiral, why couldn't we have a boom loop? But we've got to somehow stop it and reverse it and do that, like, what would it take to get contraband?

Daniel Lurie  22:08

We're the biotech had the clean tech had the AI innovation hub of the world. We are a city that should be about how will we get this done? We with this leadership in place have been a city of process killing everything. And no, we can't do that because of the bureaucracy. I don't care about the process. I care about the outcomes. I think that's what I'm seeing when I'm talking to people. Why can't we just do do it? Let's go for it. And we we see it in the private sector. We see it all day long. We need to bring that same enthusiasm, that same energy that same can do attitude and optimism. And that's how I'm going to lead because we can get this done.

Ben Kaplan  22:50

One other issue that's our headline that's been made recently that a million dollars donated by your your mom, Mimi hos to support your run for mayor. How do you think about that, and the optics of that in that there's a portion of the city that is very much the I would say the the Bernie Sanders supporting part where it's like, billionaire is a bad word or anything else. Like we don't need billionaires to come save us. They're part of the problem. How do you respond to that, and that sort of perception, especially because it was it was all over the city this week. Ben,

Daniel Lurie  23:21

my daughter was in school in a class a few months ago, and you know, she, she came home and she taught me this thing. She said, Dad, I learned about chance and choice. And, and for me, it was

Ben Kaplan  23:36

biting things you could things that happen to you can't control and things that you can choose to

Daniel Lurie  23:40

you can That's correct. And I grew up in a family. I'm incredibly proud of my four parents. My stepfather, as you mentioned, part of the Levi Strauss family is no longer with us. My mom focused on early childhood education for the last 30 years here in San Francisco, my dad is a rabbi. My values are very clear. And it's about service, and it's about community. And the chance and choice thing is, you know, I had nothing to do with, you know, who my mom married, and how I was raised in terms of the financial resources that were available to me and that I had, I had every opportunity and what I meant to ask the voters in November, and what I'm saying to them all around, is look at the choices that I've made with my life. They've been about serving, they've been about getting more early childhood education, opportunities for our young people, more job training programs for people, more housing, and tipping points focus, biggest focus was on education, because we know education is the greatest lever to move somebody out of poverty. Someone wants to come after me because of the money that I have. That's coming. I understand that. No, that's fair game. I'm gonna ask you What have I done with the opportunities that have been presented to me and I feel firmly rooted in the choice Notice that I've made with my life,

Ben Kaplan  25:01

when you say San Francisco to kind of use your framework, it's like we have sort of a chance or a choice decision now for what we're going to do, meaning we can kind of leave things up to chance things work on cycles. Cities have downtimes. They have uptimes, maybe cyclically, things could go back. But we also have a choice, I think, and that choice is yes, there's a choice for mayor. But there's also just the choice of everyone in the city 800,000 people who if we imagine if just 1% asked the question, I'm going to rip off JFK asked not what your city can do for you ask what you could do for your city. 8000 people? I mean, past board of supervisors votes were decided by 150 people turned 50 votes. But what if we got even 1%? What if we could do better than that we

Daniel Lurie  25:43

could do 5%. Can we make that choice now as a city that we're not going to let leave this up to chance? Absolutely. And I think what we're seeing in some of our neighborhoods, some of our neighborhoods are thriving, you go to North Beach, it's hopping, right? They're doing it in spite of leadership in at the political level. Every small business I talked to says they are getting cut to death by 1000. paper cuts, right? Like it's, it's a new tax here. It's a it's a new regulation that they have to go through, they want to redo their, their restaurant, they have to go to eight different departments. And in spite of the bureaucracy, in spite of the lack of leadership at City Hall, San Franciscans get things done. And so imagine putting that can do attitude that that choice of I'm going to change things together with an administration that is going to serve the people. I am going to be a public servant, as mayor, my administration, every department head is going to there's going to be a culture shift. It's going to be okay, how do we serve the small business community? How do we serve the residents and the taxpayers of the city right now? Everywhere you go, it's Oh, my God, I am serving City Hall. It's like we're all at the pleasure serving this administration and the supervisors. When I'm mayor, it's going to be about serving the people of San Francisco, let's say

Ben Kaplan  27:03

we lived in an alternate universe where your mayor right now, if you were later right now, you'd be looking coming up to a big union negotiation over the summer, right, a lot of city workers who are part of unions, and it's already the All signs point to being contentious in the sense that I think there were some memos released from Union saying, you know, workers be prepared that a strike is very likely the summer. So if it was Mayor Lurie right now, and you are going into that, how would you navigate those waters in the context of budget deficit, there's going to be unions who believe in their workers and are going to do everything they can to to serve right by their worker, you've got a limited budget, you've got lots of factions in trench power, what would you do to tackle it this summer, talking

Daniel Lurie  27:48

to the labor leaders in the business leaders of this community daily, you know, daily, and having open lines of communication, making sure that we're sitting down, making sure labor, and I think they do understand the $1.4 billion deficit that we are facing and 2027. And, frankly, that's a deficit made under this administration's watch, because we have not kept people safe, we haven't kept the streets clean, we have not been able to bring revenue in because, as you pointed out, before, conventions are leaving, tourists aren't coming at the numbers that we need them to be coming to, to fill the city coffers, so that we can be that compassionate, caring city. So it's sitting down with labor, it's sitting down with the business community, understanding that we need a grand bargain, that there's gonna be hard choices to make every

Ben Kaplan  28:38

Labor we're gonna have to everyone's gonna have to make some sacrifices. Yes, we

Daniel Lurie  28:43

don't have the money. Absolutely. People are gonna have to make tough choices. Do you support

Ben Kaplan  28:47

pattern bargaining in terms of unions and labor? What What kind of,

Daniel Lurie  28:52

would you say a pattern bar pattern bargaining,

Ben Kaplan  28:55

the idea that we're going to negotiate with one Union a set of terms that it's going to be a pattern to use all the others, and it's been used in New York, and it's been? I think there's people on both sides. I mean, one unions tend to be in favor up because like, hey, if we can negotiate these kinds of terms, we want to spread that to everyone. But then it's also been criticized as less than strategic, because there might be certain jobs that the city really needs that should have different terms than something else. Yeah. pattern bargaining, do you?

Daniel Lurie  29:20

I mean, I listen, I support sitting down with labor leaders. This is a union town. We all know that. I've sat down with labor leaders throughout this campaign so far, and I will continue to I've told every single one of them. We will not always agree on everything. But what I can promise you is there's going to always be an open door in my administration, and directly to me, I'll talk to anyone, anytime. We need to do what's best for San Francisco residents and the taxpayers. And that also means working closely with labor and it also means working closely with the business community. We need to come together right now. During this time of crisis, both the sense of disorder but also the looming financial crisis. And I believe that the union leaders that I've talked to understand that understand that hard decisions need to be made, and that we need to continue to work together. And, frankly, I think Ellory administration would have a much more, much more ability to bring groups together in a consistent way than this current administration.

Ben Kaplan  30:28

Do you want to change the trajectory of our city on issues like public safety, civic disorder, and government accountability? If you want change to happen now, and feel that San Francisco City Leadership isn't moving nearly fast enough? Come join our movements? Learn more at WWE San Well, and how would it work? I've heard you mentioned on day one, you'd say that he'd sit down, you know, you'd get all the department heads in a room, sit down and go one by one and sort of make them justify what they're doing what they're spending on. We have a lot of departments. Yeah, a lot of commissions. That'd be an awfully long meeting. If you're gonna go one by one. How would you do it? How do you think about the structure if you're trying to like, be a change agent from day one?

Daniel Lurie  31:15

Well, you know, there I said it earlier in this in this conversation, you know, we there's a lot of blame on the nonprofit community, I would start with my top 15 department heads, we'd have a weekly staff meeting of those 15 heads, kind of like a cabinet cabinet me and and the idea that that is not happening now should should shock everybody, but it's not, might happen every six weeks. Apparently the mayor does sit down with her department heads, one on one most weeks. But they're not talking to each other. They these these departments, these major departments billion dollars, in the case of the Department of Public Health, $3.2 billion department, they're running their own fiefdoms they're running. And they're not coordinating with other departments that could make things more efficient, more effective for this, the citizens of this city. It frankly boggles my mind that that is not happening. But that would happen on day one of my administration.

Ben Kaplan  32:11

Well, and I think sometimes people look at like, on an issue like homelessness, which you've done work on through a tipping point, which is complex, people look at a city like Houston, which has had some success. And they tend to focus on maybe some of the shiny, sexy things that Houston maybe did ignore some of the parts. So in Houston, for instance, you know, there was a lot of talk about their housing first approach, and they did a lot on permanent housing. What I think is talked less about is just communication between departments, nonprofits, other interesting companies, other interested stakeholders, and they actually just started talking was interesting, you know, all of the kind of the reports about why it was successful, they started saying, you know, instead of being, you know, here's homeless person number 1011. It was more like, here's Bob. Yep. Here's Bob's situation. Here's what Bob faces, and let's communicate with all of us to say what's best for Bob and Bob, you know, homelessness, he's chronically homeless, he has other mental health issues. He has other substance abuse issues, we need to get other departments together. So somehow, Houston, I don't think of Houston as like a great communicating city. But then how did this they all started talking and working together? And the question is, how can we do that here? When we do have a culture that is a little bit of culture and it's adversarial? How do we all start working together? That's

Daniel Lurie  33:32

a I mean, you make the perfect point. And that's what I'm going to make on this campaign is that I know how to bring people together in you know, you're talking about Bill Kristol wrote a great article about the Homeless Coalition in Houston was one of the convening groups here. It's, you know, it's it's a group that consistently is at odds with city hall has been for decades. And instead of working together with the business community, with the nonprofit community, and with City Hall, they're constantly fighting each other. They're suing each other. That is where leadership comes in. That is where bringing people together and saying, Okay, we got to forget how we've done this in the past, because what we're doing right now is not working. We have, you know, I actually went last night and spent four hours counting, doing the point in time count every two year count of the homeless shirt, which

Ben Kaplan  34:22

is actually a manual count of going through the shoes they do. Last one was 2022. It happened to be last night I

Daniel Lurie  34:28

was there. I was out till 12:30am. We went from eight to 1230. Last night. It was the first time I've done it. It was really, really informative, educational, I had a great, small group, there was four of us doing it in the mission. And you're right. It's like we talk about people as numbers, you know, like 7000 people in house. There's a it's a complicated issue, and there's enough blame to go around. But what we've been doing isn't working. We need drastic changes. We need to build enough shelter capacity. You got everybody Are you off the streets because I saw people in tents last night, we got a huge storm coming right now. I feel for those people that are in the streets, we need to do better by our unhoused neighbors we need to. But we also need to do better by, you know, the family, the mom walking or two kids at school that can't go by tents where there is a lot of drug

Ben Kaplan  35:21

doesn't have to be I don't think a zero sum. That's where where family wins homeless guy loses homeless community, family. There's a when

Daniel Lurie  35:29

we get outside of that, and that is why you need a new era of leadership.

Ben Kaplan  35:34

I've also heard one interesting approach you've proposed, which is I think you refer to it as the Tsar sort of czars system where you've said, you know, and I think too, I've heard you say is we ought we ought to have a downtown Tsar, I think I've heard you say we ought to have a small business Tsar Yep. What is the Tsar? And how's that?

Daniel Lurie  35:51

Well, you know, I would, I would love to, you know, have a structure in place like a deputy mayor structure, apparently, that was made illegal are Agnes was the last one to have Deputy Mayor's? You know, I think this is part of what we need in terms of charter reform and commission reform, you go to go

Ben Kaplan  36:10

on an issue. Like this is where the buck that the bus would stop with with you, with me, but they would be the sort of the point person on that.

Daniel Lurie  36:19

But we talked about, you know, a small business a bakery wants to get open, they have to go through eight different department heads, a different departments to get, you know, approvals to open their business aid. So someone would sit upon those department heads and make sure that any small business that is applying to open or to, you know, do a remodel, that it's streamlined, that it's made more effective, that it's made more efficient. And that person holds those departments accountable. Ultimately, the buck stops with me, but we need to streamline things, we need to streamline things around public health and public safety, and definitely around our small business community. And so it's just how you structure you have a lot of employees inside the mayor's office, I will have a structure in place, it will be one that holds people to account, department heads will know that I am paying attention and that I am watching. And that I have my go to person, as you said,

Ben Kaplan  37:15

is San Francisco city government corrupt.

Daniel Lurie  37:18

There's a lot of corruption in City Hall. I've heard supervisors say the mayor has said it in fact, it's it's bad. And going back to holding people accountable. I don't there's so many people that have lost their jobs due to just firing. There's been people that have been walked away in handcuffs during this last five and a half years. And that seems to be the only way you lose your job.

Ben Kaplan  37:41

And do you think that it's like, how is this sort of like hide in corners? Because is it the complexity is Morocco. In Laos, it's so complex. There's two things right one, you can hide in the corner and two, if you need someone else to get through and streamline something for you that's so complex, then they have an opportunity to say that's right, I can get a benefit for helping me streamline ways for you. To be clear, we

Daniel Lurie  38:04

all know there's corruption inside that building, we've that it's crystal clear. I mean, the DA just arrested another person. I think in DVI, I mean DVI is broken, it is corrupt. The the idea that you need a permanent expediter to get things done quickly. It To your point just reeks of pay to play and that needs to be gone. In my administration. There will not just be people that supported me during this campaign that are appointed to commissions. It can't be cronyism, which we have seen in this city. It didn't start with this mayor, but it hasn't ended. It's been going on for decades now. Probably

Ben Kaplan  38:44

the most high profile corruption case we've had, it seems like there's been a lot of Ms. Really, the Head of Public Works, Mohammed Nuru, who was caught accepting bribes from Recology, among other things, and then also Recology was involved in you know, basically over billing San Francisco residents 10s of millions of dollars in that yet we still have a monopoly given to Recology on Santa patient in San Francisco, would you change that? Would you tackle that? What is your view of Recology we I'm

Daniel Lurie  39:15

not getting into a specific company. But what I will say is we need to shine a light on all the city contracting we need to shine a light on what's going on with all of our departments. That's why I talk about accountability in terms of department head meetings, but also how they're spending their money.

Ben Kaplan  39:29

So I want to end on a we call it lightning round. Okay. Lightning Round is just faster answers more issues, some serious some fun. Let's start out with with a few. One is Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin. longest serving elected official, a, you know, champion of San Francisco or a creator of complex codes that are getting in the way of progress. What is your view of Peskin?

Daniel Lurie  39:57

he's he's smart and He is, knows where all the bodies are buried. And I heard him say he's afraid of winning. So

Ben Kaplan  40:09

also easily afraid of winning if people speculate he's going to run for mayor and he's afraid of

Daniel Lurie  40:15

winning. I think that's it. He's obviously got a very wry sense of humor. So I'll give them that. The other

Ben Kaplan  40:22

well known one is Ahsha Safai, who's on the board of supervisors, would he be a good mayor?

Daniel Lurie  40:27

I, I'm, we believe we're going to win. So, Asha, Asha, and I know each other quite well. We're friendly. I mean, we're friends, actually. So I have great respect for his service of San Francisco. But I don't think he's going to win. So I don't think I need to answer that question.

Ben Kaplan  40:47

Do you have a special skill that you'd love to contribute back to the city we all love? We're looking for volunteers with skills in diverse areas, like photography, videography, social media, data science and accounting. Find out how much fun it can be to change San Francisco's future at WWE San Hobbies something totally different line of questioning what do you do? Aside from being a dad and spending time with your kids or your wife to unwind from the campaign? What what is your go to?

Daniel Lurie  41:23

It's gotta be Netflix. It started off a little bit with the West Wing a few months ago, I was watching those episodes

Ben Kaplan  41:32

notes for the campaign.

Daniel Lurie  41:33

Like President barbless I was that I the idealistic thing, which is so is so cute and clever. Now, but then it's also it's it's getting behind our warriors and watching our fan, okay, I'm a I'm in the Niners, you know, watching the games with my son is, is a way So listen, I sports, I work out every day, I got workout every day, you can do that while campaigning, you can still keep all my wake up super. I work out every morning, get up, you know, 6am or earlier and make sure I get a workout in I've done that kind of my whole life helps me one thing I will tell you that I started 112 days ago, meditating. It's amazing. And so it never thought of myself as doing that. But it's, it really helps me get ready for the day.

Ben Kaplan  42:26

And what is that? That might be the answer to my next question. I'll give you another chance, which is, what is something surprising about you that people would just not expect they might either just be getting to know you, or they have a view of here's who Daniel Lurie is what would people be unexpected? I think, you

Daniel Lurie  42:42

know, when you look me up, you're gonna think one thing. I think what people I hope are starting to understand because they see me everywhere is that I don't stop, I out, work, everybody. I am committed to winning this race. We're going to win this race, we're gonna have the resources to win this race. And I'm going to go out and earn everybody's vote. And so what people might not know about me, but they will, by the time they vote, is that I'm tireless.

Ben Kaplan  43:13

And when you're working that hard, you've got it. You got to eat. You've got to have a meal occasionally. Yeah, get out. Break it up a little bit. You've got 20 bucks somewhere in the city. Do you have a go to under 20 bucks a go to meal that you would recommend?

Daniel Lurie  43:27

It's always a burrito for me. I mean, you gotta go. You know, I grew up on gordos burritos. And then Latakia is pretty hard to be and I got

Ben Kaplan  43:39

a couple off menu things you could order there with kind of the Eldorado style there. Yes, yes.

Daniel Lurie  43:43

And then talk Korea Cancun I went to last night at 1045. We took a quick break to feed ourselves during the Point in Time Count last night, and it was delicious. So a burrito San Francisco burrito you can never go wrong. What is

Ben Kaplan  43:59

a favorite hidden gem in the city a part of being mayor as being a cheerleader for San Francisco. And you got the next AIPAC coming in you got to recommend I don't know another mayor of another city, where to go what's a hidden gem you recommend? My

Daniel Lurie  44:13

daughter and my brother and I went over. around Christmas time there was a huge, huge swell coming in. And we went to watch surfers out at Dead Man's it's a it's a surf spot at Land's End. I'm taking people there all day, every day. It was stunningly beautiful. You're looking at this huge wave coming in. And you're looking back at the Golden Gate Bridge. You're in, you know, one of our great parks. That's where I'm going. What

Ben Kaplan  44:42

is a mistake you've made either in this campaign and before and what did you What did you learn from it?

Daniel Lurie  44:49

I made plenty of mistakes. I'll make plenty more. And you always accept responsibility and you own it. And you say I messed up and you have apologize, and you don't make that same mistake again, I did at a tipping point. And I think everyone, we all were humans, we make mistakes. And I think it's the people that acknowledge them. Take responsibility and accountability for it. And then you move on your end, you learn from them. And that is something that I take great pride in. Not making the mistakes, but learning from them and moving on. Well,

Ben Kaplan  45:25

and I think we could probably make mistakes, even if we're going to make them as a city that are like, let's test things. Let's try things. Let's do pilot, but let's let's make mistakes when the stakes are low, so that we can find better solutions. And and I don't know if you agree with this or not, but I feel that sometimes we were very quick to sort of label does something work? Or does it not as opposed being like, Let's optimize the solution here. And I used to work for Bill Bradley. Yeah, very real. Grab the right let's have a pilot program, Let's optimize the solution. Let's take what sort of works or sort of doesn't work and make it better. Do you agree or disagree?

Daniel Lurie  46:00

Agreed all day. I mean, listen, look at where we live, like, let's you know, famous politician when let's fail forward fast, you know, like, you like not to fail. But if we didn't do it, let's once again learn from it and get better. But we're the innovation capital of the world,

Ben Kaplan  46:18

incredible human capital, right, incredible human capital best in the world. And it was a way

Daniel Lurie  46:22

to have the best in the world. We have the best universities, we have the best parks, we have the best infrastructure. We have the most gorgeous city in the world. We were once the envy of everybody. And when I'm mayor, we will come back and we will be the envy of the world. Again, San

Ben Kaplan  46:38

Francisco, all the raw ingredients that make Stanford's scrape, it has not changed. It's exactly the same. We just have this layer on top that sort of obscures our vision of that sometimes. And if we just remove that layer, great things can happen and maybe 2024 I hope I think it is is the year to do it. Ben,

Daniel Lurie  46:55

the bones are strong. This house that we have built a San Franciscans, the bones are there. We just we need some renovation, we need some changes. And we'll we're coming back.

Ben Kaplan  47:07

Daniel Lurie, candidate for mayor to use your metaphor you're making the case that we need a new general contractor maybe on that building is certainly going to be an interesting year an important one and really look excited to see see what happens next. Thanks for joining us. Thank

Daniel Lurie  47:21

you for having me.


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