Jun 24, 2024
61 min
Episode 18

WE ARE SAN FRANCISCO: Meet The Candidates: Mark Farrell | We Are San Francisco

Jason Brock  00:00

Hey, it's Jason Brock. Baby, I was born this way. Down south. Busy. These are a couple of songs. I'm going to be singing at the Pride Prom on Saturday the 22nd. That's this weekend. So get your tickets and come with your significant other and all of your friends because we're gonna dance. We're gonna have a pride POM. I'm gonna sing all kinds of stuff. So hope to see you there. Bye

Ben Kaplan  00:34

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

Ben Kaplan  00:47

solvers, activists, leaders, citizens, we are open minded optimistic, because hope for a better tomorrow. And you and you and you gotta get in the hole. This is the podcast. That's more than a podcast


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

Ben Kaplan  01:16

Hey, San Francisco. Today we're chatting with Mark Farrell, who served as the 44th Mayor of San Francisco back in 2018, after the passing of Ed Lee. Previously, he served seven years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District Two which includes the marina and cow hollow. And now he's one of the leading candidates become the next mayor of San Francisco in November's election. Mark, welcome to the show.

Mark Farrell  01:38

Thank you for having me.

Ben Kaplan  01:39

Well, first of all, take us through the circumstances by which you became mayor. We're a little interesting be obviously, there was an interim mayor, who's our current mayor, now, London braid, there was some tension at the time about should she be allowed to become the mayor when she was clearly running for that election in 2018? What was the circumstances where you became the consensus choice to become the 44th Mayor?

Mark Farrell  02:04

Sure. Great. Question. Boy takes me back, obviously, a little bit of time here. You know, Ed Lee passed away in December of 2017. And I think that was a really hard time for San Francisco, certainly, as a whole. But I will say, people in elected office, I will say from my family in particular, we were very close with Ed and Mayor Lee and my children or as well, he is someone I had worked with closely inside of city hall, I would say political allies for the most part. And so it was a tough period of time. And you know, given the circumstances, as you mentioned, then board president Leonard Bri became the acting mayor of San Francisco, right immediately upon his death. And there was a short period of time, a window where people had to decide whether they wanted to run for mayor during the next election. And that happened to be summer of 2018 was the election, we decided my wife and I and our family decided that wasn't the right time for us. Mainly because of our children. You know, at the time, how old were they at the time? Yeah, they were 510 and 12. Okay, at the time, and to know me, I'm a dad first. I simply love spending time with my children. And we're blessed with a great family. And so we decided against running for mayor. And at that time, once all those candidates were declared, and that was sometime in early January,

Ben Kaplan  03:20

suddenly the people who were running for mayor were like, viable to become the mayor during this interim time is that because no one would have an advantage in that election by by holding the office?

Mark Farrell  03:31

Yeah, I think that was Jen, generally the the kind of aura that was happening outside of City Hall. And, you know, London breed was the acting mayor at the time. So that could have continued. But there was a majority of the members of the board of supervisors that didn't want that to happen. And so I be I was elected by my colleagues, and was sworn in that night on January 23, of 2018, as the 44th, Mayor of San Francisco, and

Ben Kaplan  03:53

why do you think you were selected? Or why were you an acceptable choice for the majority of the board that felt like other people were not an acceptable choice? Yeah,

Mark Farrell  04:01

I think for two principal reasons. One, which many people fit into this category, I wasn't running for mayor. And so there were there was no conflicts, if you will, no one would have a stated advantage in that election or during that campaigning period. But I think more than anything, it was because I had worked very closely with all of my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors during my time in office, folks that I agreed with a lot of the time as well as folks that I didn't agree with, you know, I spent the majority of my time working across the aisle with people I didn't agree with philosophically a lot of the time on a lot of different issues. But you know, we worked really hard in our relationships, to forge ways and forge legislation that where we could work together. And we you know, whether it be the budget when I was the budget chair for years and end up being the longest serving budget chair in our city's history, partnered with my colleagues on the progressive left to pass those budgets every single year. unanimous votes with little controversy at the end, you know, working on those relationships and being someone who was able to work across the aisle with people, you know, from every single district in San Francisco, I think really created that ability for my colleagues to trust me with being mayor for this the six months term, if you will. Well,

Ben Kaplan  05:14

and obviously you're running for mayor, now you're in the thick of the campaign. Do you ever think back to 2018? Given what's happened in San Francisco, and wish you would have thrown your hat in the ring, then do you have any regrets about not getting in the race back then?

Mark Farrell  05:28

No regrets at all. It again, I'm a family person first. And we did it my wife and I decided not to run and I decided not to run for mayor because of our children. I will never regret that. I love spending all the time I can with our children. And again, we are blessed with an amazing family, both children, my parents, mother who unfortunately recently passed away but our extended family as well is really incredible and source of great support and where we find joy in our lives. However, I am running for mayor right now. Because since being in office, I have watched our city crumble over the last five and a half years. You know, I believe in our city, I believe in everything that we have going for us, the universities that we have with USF where I know we're about a block away from today, but also Stanford and Berkeley in the surrounding neighborhoods,

Ben Kaplan  06:16

City College of San Francisco as well. Yes, City

Mark Farrell  06:18

Colleges, as you mentioned, as well, and certainly other gIucose around the neighborhood, in the Bay Area. But more than anything, the people of San Francisco, we are an amazing group. We share this ethos of San Francisco, I think that is truly unique around the country, and certainly around the world. But at the end of the day, we've really watched our city deteriorate over the last five years. So I think it's going to take a change of leadership to bring it back. But we have everything going for us. And I simply believe in the future of our city. And that's why I'm running for mayor,

Ben Kaplan  06:47

a lot of the candidate for mayor will say a changes needed one of the things that I've asked about your candidacy, that would be a bit of a critique from the other candidates take it with a grain of salt. But they'll say where has Mark failed in the past five years, we've been in the trenches doing things getting things done, they say what has he been doing for the past five years, he hasn't been in the trenches with us, what is your response to that?

Mark Farrell  07:09

I've been focused on my family, plain and simple, man, I would never apologize for that. You know, that's why I left City Hall. I've been blessed with a private sector career, why worked hard, I'm used to 80 100 hour weeks. That's what I've done to build my career up. And I focus on my private sector career to support my family, focus on my children. And to be quite frank with you for the past five years, and particularly the last three years focus on my parents health as well, they've been in declining health. Again, my mother passed away, unfortunately, in January. And I don't regret a second of time that I've spent with her over the last three years, almost every single day at the house. And it's you know, it's plain and simply something that I decided to do proactively would never apologize for that. At the same point in time, I'm still been a resident of San Francisco, we've been here, you know, focused on our children and during COVID, getting them through school and making sure their mental health was okay. And now though, as we look at the city of San Francisco post COVID. And where we've gone in the direction we've slipped to me, it's about time for change of leadership and someone who has experienced and can get the job done.

Ben Kaplan  08:14

It was difficult to get the like political wheels turning again, I don't know if you expect it to be back in politics at some point or not. And maybe less people underestimate a little bit like I've spoken to a lot of people running for office now. And there's a lot of things you have to do. And if you haven't done it in a while, maybe it's harder to get that going and was it was a difficult did it take a bit or did you expect to come back to politics at some point?

Mark Farrell  08:35

Well, when I left office in 2018, I never thought I would run for office political office again. You know, to me, I was I left city hall with a huge smile on my face. You know, one because we were leaving for our children. And that's what's most important to me in life. But more than anything, I was very proud of what we had accomplished when I was in City Hall. When I was a member of the Board of Supervisors and budget chair and then became mayor, we had grown our police department to record staffing levels. We had when I was mayor cleared out all the large tenant cabinets and San Francisco, and we invest in our local economy. Our city was simply in a much different, much better place than it is today. You know, we talk all the time. And I you know, people come up to me all the time here in San Francisco and say when I used to travel and say I was from San Francisco that was met with a sense of awe, and envy. And now people say you're like,

Ben Kaplan  09:25

Oh, are you doing okay? No, it was just very annoying. Yes, it is.

Mark Farrell  09:29

But you know, it doesn't have to be that way that doesn't have to be our future. Again, I believe it's going to take a change of leadership. It's going to take someone with experience and a strong vision first city willing to be held accountable. That's not the type of leadership we have in city hall right now. And that's why I'm excited to run for office again this time. It wasn't part of my game plan. Asked me a year ago, I would have thought you were crazy. But now now that I'm doing it now as a family, we practically decided to do this. I couldn't be more excited and more energized than ever before.

Ben Kaplan  09:59

Well And, and two things when you declared your candidacy for Mayor again, two things stood out to me about the video, the the announcements, the first thing was, you said, Oh, I'm ready to hit the ground running on day one. I, you know, I've been mayor before, I'll be in a limited capacity. So what do you take from that six months as mayor? And what do you not take from it? Meaning you held the office, you did mayoral duties, but it's a little bit different, because you don't have the full power because people know your term is going to expire. So they don't have to work with you maybe as much as they otherwise would. So what do you sort of take and what do you not take from that experience?

Mark Farrell  10:34

That's a great question. The honest answer was I was mayor for six months, you know, fully sworn in as the 44th, Mayor of San Francisco. So there were a lot of things we were able to accomplish during those six months, but of course, long term projects, we would have never been able to see to fruition or see them through, if you will. And so that's the honest reality. And we knew that going in. And I knew that going in as mayor. A few lessons learned. Number one, the actual power of the mayor's office is huge here in San Francisco, the mayor ultimately controls over 99% of the budget inside of City Hall. You know, spending the time and running those mayoral departments. It is complicated work, it takes an extreme amount of engagement. Now I talk about often, it was the Nirvana period of time with our children, where all three kids were the same school for a two year period, given their age differences. And so we had one drop off and one pickup, our parents have

Ben Kaplan  11:26

two kids their little I have two drop offs. Now next year, it becomes a one so I

Mark Farrell  11:31

knows exactly what I'm talking about, and how important or how cool that is, when there's only one drop off and pickup. So at one drop off, and I was at my desk at 815. Every morning, we cranked all day long. You know, I was one that had lunch, brought in most of the time, crank during the day, with teams, department heads, laying out policies, vision, implementing that talking with department, not just department heads, but department staff underneath that, and holding people accountable. That's a lot of work. But also, you saw the power of what could get done when you work together with department heads when everyone's rolling on the same more in a direction of the city that you believe in and as mayor that you're articulating that vision for. So the power of the mayor's office was something that's very, was became very relevant. And also very, it was very evident how powerful the mayor's office was, as a supervisor, you know that. But to be in the mayor shoes, and to actually see that witness firsthand and to actually lead that charge as Mayor of San Francisco. Part of the reason when I hear these excuses coming out of city hall right now, oh, the mayor can't do anything. The Board of Supervisors is timing me or commission stymie me or this individuals timing me. You know what, as mayor, you are incredibly powerful here in San Francisco, you have to be used in the right way. You have to be engaged, you have to lead. I think we're missing that in city hall right now, I don't believe any of those excuses. And that, to me is why we need a strong mayor of San Francisco going forward, someone who's only going to change the direction of the city of San Francisco, but someone who has experience having done that before and can start hitting the ground running on day one, just as you mentioned,

Ben Kaplan  13:06

what's notable about the powers of the mayor that I find interesting is that it's an underrated power to sort of set forth the budget. I mean, obviously people know that there has to be agreement with the Board of Supervisors. But there's nothing that really says what is the entire process that leads up to that submission of the budget the mayor can do whatever he or she would like to do? Do you think that the budget process needs to be looked at again, what I mean by that is, I don't know a single person is like, wow, our budget is so well spent. We are accounting for every last dollar what a great budget we have. I don't care what side you're on. No one says that. Yep. Do we need to relook at because that's one thing the mayor can kind of absolutely control, which is the process that leads to the submission of the budget? Yeah,

Mark Farrell  13:50

I think it's both a process question. But I think more than that, it's just plain and simple leadership and decision making. Within the budget itself. You know, the budget process is essentially a year round process. And City Hall obviously culminates at the end of the summer. They're defined periods of time right now, when the mayor submits the budget to the Board of Supervisors, the time where the board of supervisors and I know this very well, having been budget chair for four years, again, the longest serving budget, Sharon City's history, having digested that budget with our budget and legislative analyst at the Board of Supervisors, and then coming to a compromise with the mayor's office. Sure, that budget process needs to get looked at in a very major way. You know, certainly the long timelines a little bit, but I think more than anything, right, we need to think about holistically looking at third party or nonprofit contracting out of City Hall. We don't analyze that separately as much as we need to, for instance,

Ben Kaplan  14:43

and this notion of to me it's set up as an incremental budget where you have a budget you that you basically with the processes, you look at last year's budget, you say, Okay, I got a few different priorities. I'm gonna tweak things. Oh, we're concerned about you know, public safety and crime. We're gonna tweak that a bit. Oh, we're gonna tweak this about but that assumes incremental budgeting As you know from the private sector is great when you have a very a budget you like, and you just need to adjust and tweak. But there's something else called zero based budgeting, which means let's start from scratch because we don't have coffins and where we're at, we don't need incremental change, we need to reset our priorities. And what my concern is that I feel like San Francisco does not have a clear plan of recovery. We don't know what we're going to what that plan is. So as a result, the budget is the plan. So do you think we need incremental change? Or do you think we need an overhaul of that budget?

Mark Farrell  15:31

The complete overhaul? You know, look, I've said from the day I launched my campaign, you mentioned the term zero based budgeting. That's a term that resonates incredibly well with me, we've talked about it a lot. Like we need a complete overhaul of what we're spending our money on inside of City Hall, to your point about recovery. And to your point about the budget reflecting values, I said this every single day I was in City Hall. The budget is your policy document, where you spend money as a city government where you agree where you vote to spend money as a city government, whether you're on the board of supervisors, or whether you're mayor, it is your policy document. And to me what we're spending money on and how effectively we're spending that money right now is off the charts. And to me, we need to get back to basics. Again, my campaign is, you know, I talk often about public safety, about the cleaning up the street conditions of our city and investing in our local economy again, you know, I just came from a meeting with a number of small business owners in the city has a different merchant groups along some of our very prolific merchant corridors here in San Francisco, the frustration from them about City Hall is off the charts, something I've never heard before. And we need to take a completely different approach in City Hall. And that's why to me, and I'm biased when I say this, but having a mayor come in with a finance background is going to matter more over the next four years than in any other period in our city's history. Now we're facing these budget deficits, not just the one and two year budget deficits, but the projected billion and a half dollar budget deficit in five years. To me having somebody come in with a clear vision of what he or she will fund be willing to be held accountable and funded through the budget is going to be a priority. It's going to take someone to overhaul the budget process, but overhauled where we spend our capital. And again, bring San Francisco back.

Ben Kaplan  17:17

Are you concerned about corruption in this process, in addition to government waste, just because I don't know of another organization that has 35,000 plus employees was where suddenly almost 40% of the budget, if you look at the discretionary amount of the budget that we have discretion to choose every year, almost 40% gets outsourced to third party providers, a lot of nonprofits, the so called nonprofit industrial complex. And I don't know another, let's say company that is that big or organization is that big that outsources so much of the basic duties, is that an area cause for concern, surely outsourcing that much of core city functions, some of the priority areas you mentioned, the short

Mark Farrell  17:58

answer is no. Right? We're outsourcing way too much to nonprofits here in San Francisco. I want to take a moment to say though, not all nonprofits are created equal. Meaning there's some nonprofits in my view that do amazing work here in San Francisco, I believe we need to support them probably give them additional resources to do what they're doing those that are having a real impact. But at the end of the day, how we allocate the resources in San Francisco, you know, it will blow people's minds to know that there are over 250 nonprofits in San Francisco that get funding for homeless services in our city. Over 250 individual organizations want us face that doesn't make a lot of sense. Now, there are also nine different city agencies that fund homeless services to nonprofits. Here in San Francisco, multiple instances, six city agencies fund the same nonprofit. How does that make any sense at all from the city perspective? So we need to do it differently, we need to do a better we need to be smarter about it. Again, I believe some nonprofits do great work here in San Francisco, we need to support them. But how we handle it inside of City Hall. The fact that we don't separately look at all the nonprofit and third party contracts, as a separate part of our budget process is insane to me

Ben Kaplan  19:10

Well, which essentially, I mean, not only outsourcing things, but then you're outsourcing where it's actually beyond the purview of of certain government metrics, scorecards, everything else. So we're like setting it aside and also making it less transparent, less easy to track less results based while we're doing it. And at the same time, if you do this, and you have some bad apples, all the news about, you know, kind of nonprofit corruption and misuse of money. To your point, it gives a bad name to the nonprofits doing great work the nonprofit's that we need to help us get back because we sort of lost control of this process.

Mark Farrell  19:41

That's a great point and look corruption in any city department through any third party contracts that we give, it should be completely everyone needs to be held 100% accountable. And we have to be very strong about that as a city government. Obviously multiple instances have crept up over the last few years. That's something that next mayor is going to have to be incredibly strong on and make sure that that doesn't exist. But again, that to me, comes from leadership inside of City Hall, it comes starts and stops with the leadership out of the mayor's office, right having a mayor say to his or her department heads, and to their underlying team saying this will not be tolerated. When this happens, these people will not only be held accountable, but we're going to see structural changes inside of City Hall. And certainly as we think about the amount and the vast amount of dollars that are going to third party contracting here in San Francisco, it lends itself to a situation where we're going to have more issues. And that to me, is another reason why we need to take a hard look, last issue

Ben Kaplan  20:32

on the budget is what is your response to those who say like, Okay, I agree with Mark on everything you said, but we need an outsider that doesn't have all of these entangled alliances. What is your response to that about saying that, hey, there's plenty of good people in San Francisco government, there's a lot but the system sort of these alliances are entangled, sort of protect the status quo, where the money goes, even with good intentions, it's going to be difficult to change that what is your response?

Mark Farrell  20:58

I couldn't disagree more. At the end of the day, you know, it depends on the elected official and the person running for office. To me having experience inside of City Hall. Having been budget chair for four years, having been mayor before, is a positive when he talks about thinking of the next mayor of San Francisco, who he or she will be, look at the end of the day, you're running a 14 plus billion dollar budget with over 35,000 employees with over 50 Different mayoral departments. Do you really think does any voter really think someone's gonna come in and learn on the job and just figure that out? To me, Experience matters in a great deal. But it's also the right experience. When I was in office before I fought for public safety, we grew our police department to record staffing levels. When I was mayor, we took out all of large tenant payments to San Francisco, and the Coalition on Homelessness that's controlling a lot of the dialogue in San Francisco right now around third party contracting with with our homeless complex, they were protesting in front of my house. And I invested in our local economy. And when we when I left office, our economy was humming as a city of San Francisco, we did so much around small businesses around the tech industry. To me, that's the type of mayor that we need someone with a track record of focusing on the issues that matter. And also somebody who is willing to lay out a strong vision for a city and fund it through the budget process. No one who's beholden somebody who's actually going to be a leader, and does not care about all have these special interest groups that are circling around City Hall right now. That's why I'm running for mayor because that's the leader, I'm going

Ben Kaplan  22:29

to be one of the areas that that you talked about as a priority area, obviously, is crime and public safety. It's one of your top three areas along with I think the condition of city streets and local economy. When you announced your candidacy, he did some things that probably people would perceive as maybe a little bit more, I guess word would be you know, you got this moderate progressive divide a little bit more to the right of things. A couple of them, one would be said, a zero tolerance policy on crime. Two, he said on day one, you would fire police chief Scott. So talk about do you feel like those two things you highlighted? Are those necessary for our recovery? Do you feel like weak won't recover if those two things don't happen? And what is zero tolerance? What does that mean on crime?

Mark Farrell  23:10

The short answer is yes. I go great, have gone to great pains to say chi Scott is a very good man. You know, the average tenure though of a police chief in the US is three years he has been here for close to eight. I believe we need to thank him for his service. And we need to bring in a police chief that will inspire the rank and file within our police department. And right now we've had a police department that's not only significantly depleted. When I left office, we had over 2300 officers. We're down over 600 officers since I left. We need somebody who's going to re energize our police department fight with the next mayor to increase the budget of our police department to increase staffing levels of our police department. That's just a new chief. And I believe that very strongly. That to me is not a progressive or moderate stance. That's just a leadership stance.

Ben Kaplan  23:54

Well, I think what's interesting is really police chief Scott was brought in, really to clean up the issue, as you know, which was maybe the excessive use of force, other problems within the department. He was meant to be sort of an agent of change for that. We've asked him more recently to be an agent of change is something different, which is a recruiter, police staffing. We've asked him to also be someone who sort of builds up the morale of the police department, which was depleted over the past few years. Certainly. Do you think he just doesn't have the right skills to do those kinds of tasks? Or do you think that hey, it's kind of run his course. He's been here eight years, and we just need to move on which needs something?

Mark Farrell  24:33

I think it's the latter. You know, again, he's done a really good job of implementing the reforms that he was brought here to do. And I think we need to thank him for his service, but we need to move on. We need someone from inside the police department inside SFPD who's come through the ranks that will inspire the rank and file here in San Francisco. Within our police department also against a police chief that will fight for increased budget dollars. Fight for recruiting, fight for increased staffing. and make sure that we once again get to a place. And to your second question around a zero tolerance approach to crime, there needs to be consequences for criminal activity here in San Francisco, you know, it's part of civil society, in our country around the world, there have to be consequences for crime. And if they're not, we get what we get here in San Francisco, you know, it was a few years ago was the videos from Union Square around the big smash and grabs, you know, if we're being honest, those are the videos that start to really crush our reputation as a city, both nationally and abroad, as as San Francisco, but it's all the way down to what I talked about all the time, the neighborhood, Walgreens, and CVS is and San Francisco are getting looted if not daily, on an every other day basis, and every single neighborhood that I visit. And to me, that's simply unacceptable. You know, it is really challenging for people who are shopping in the stores, to actually witness stuff right in front of their own eyes on a daily basis. It is so hard for the people working at these stores, where they feel helpless, they feel vulnerable, to actually stop people from stealing at the end of the day, you know, and as another elected official in the Bay Area mentioned, we should be locking up criminals not shampoo bottles in our stores. You know, and to me, we've gone so far away from the concept of having law and order here in San Francisco. Having consequences for crime, we need to get back to that as a city because public safety is an issue that affects everybody. It affects everybody across every single income level, across every single neighborhood. I think about what's happened to the tenderloin in particular, we think why the neighborhood was public safety and the drug crisis that have really hit that neighborhood harder than ever over the last few years. But a neighborhood with the highest percentage of families here in San Francisco, I think have been raising our three children in the city. I mean, public safety should be table stakes for an environment and a great environment and a great city where you can raise your children that doesn't exist today. And that's why it has to be the real focus of the next mayor of our city.

Ben Kaplan  27:01

Well, I think that the police staffing issue is an interesting one. Because I think Brooke Jenkins was on the show. And one of the things she emphasized that was interesting to me was a lot of people think with police staffing, there's gonna be police like chasing down criminals, which of course, is the case, right? There's more police there to respond. But she was really emphasizing that she felt like adequate police is a deterrent. Because when you see it in the area, you can prevent crimes from happening. If you just feel like there aren't police around, there's no consequences for what's going to happen. Then it emboldens criminals. So she was really emphasizing police to prevent crime as opposed to just respond when crime happens. Yeah,

Mark Farrell  27:36

I couldn't agree more. I mean, it's a little bit of both right. But the the deterrent effect is real. If you know there are consequences to your crimes, it might deter you from doing them going forward. I'm here in San Francisco. And we simply unfortunately, developed a reputation as a city over the past few years, or people can come in, or people were from San Francisco, commit these crimes and get away with it with no consequences. And that's a problem. That's simply a problem for a city as a whole. It's a problem for families. As a parent, it's a problem for children. It's a problem for elderly it's a problem. That's why to me again, this is an issue that affects every single person in San Francisco, no matter your walk of life.

Jason Brock  28:16

Hey, it's Jason Baraka you might have seen me on the extractor a while back Mr. Entertainment Jason, or singing the national anthem at the Giants game just last weekend.

Jason Brock  28:34

So even though that calm you never had that LGBT prom, was happening on Saturday, the 22nd Just this weekend, and I'm thinking BMA house was born this way. John, stop, busy. So get your tickets and come with your significant other and all of your friends because we're gonna dance. We're gonna have a Pride Prom, I'm gonna say and all kinds of stuff. So

Ben Kaplan  29:09

one thing on police staffing that sometimes doesn't get talked about is where do the new police officers come from Governor Newsom signed a bill a B 89. In the state legislature that said, we're going to raise the bar on what's required to be a police officer, namely, we're going to raise the age. And we're going to require either an associate's degree in modern policing or a bachelor's degree that's coming in 2025. And that was a lot of it was response, and rightly so to George Floyd and concerns about having mature, you know, police officers in those instances that require nuance to to navigate those. But that's coming and I don't hear people talking a lot about, well, how do we have a pipeline of police officers that we're gonna grow in our city and you know, there's a bill to require this modern policing associate's degree, why aren't we at City College? recruiting more people saying, Hey, you can make a great contribution to your city. And by the way, it's a well paying job in San Francisco. Why don't we grow more police officers locally? Why are we so focused on we've got to pull them and beat out Alameda that's offering a $75,000 signing bonus. Why don't we grow them here?

Mark Farrell  30:15

I couldn't agree with you more. You know, I've talked to members in our police department, in our fire department, sheriff's departments, and their union membership as well. Why are we not in our high schools, talking through, Hey, these are careers here in San Francisco, you know, that are valuable, where you're serving the city of San Francisco in your own capacity, and so forth. And maybe it's something you can't recruit from directly out of high school, but you say, hey, you know, when you can go to City College, get your associates degree and then come into the department. That's something we need to be practically doing in a very major way here in San Francisco that we're simply not doing today. You know, but you talk about staffing, I just want to address it real quick, because I think you have to get granular and you have to understand how this is going to work. At the end of the day. I think there are two measures, I think of the more stopgap measures that are going to immediately start to fill the ranks on the short term while we get to how we really ultimately increase police staffing for the long haul. One is a drop program that I'm you know, we've been talking about for months on the campaign. Very excited supervisor, Dorsey has introduced us to the Board of Supervisors, hopefully it will be on the November ballot, where we actually allow police officers that could otherwise retire to stay on the police force for up to an additional five years here in San Francisco without affecting their pension, they'll still get fully paid, so long as they're out on patrol in the district neighborhoods that to me can have a really dramatic immediate effect over the next few years here in San Francisco. So I think that's a great thing. We have to also focus, you alluded to lateral rehiring here in San Francisco, Alameda County over two years offers a $75,000 signing bonus. Look, I don't think that's the right approach for here in the city of San Francisco, because on the downside, you can create a mercenary workforce. And that's not what we want to create here in San Francisco. But at the end of the day, $75,000 for one recruit in Alameda, our entire recruiting budget for the city of San Francisco's Police Department has been $250,000 a year. I mean, it's a joke. We're not even thinking about competing, whether you think about housing subsidies or other things that we can offer folks to come to city of San Francisco, as a police officer, we need to be aggressive. But ultimately, ultimately, this is coming down to our police academy ourselves here in San Francisco. You know, when I was budget chair for four years, and then after Mayor Lee passed away when I was mayor, those are five contiguous years, we averaged five police academy classes a year during that time, with over 50 recruits per class. Literally, we are turning people away from our police academy. Since I left the office, this current mayor's averaged three police academy classes, and the last one had 19 recruits, one academy class had less than 10 recruits last year. It's a joke how we've gone about it and simply lost focus. And at the same point in time, believe it or not, we have over 600 people that have applied to the police department determine background check backlog. I've asked everybody involved everybody within our police department union membership representation and so forth, hey, when I come into office, how about if we outsource all of those background checks, we can get people through those background checks in three months and fully staff are fully flood our police academy once again, for the next few years. Everyone's been supportive that everybody just wants more officers on the street.

Ben Kaplan  33:24

Police is a great example of that. I think other areas where we need we just have shortages of critical workers include we need mental health counselors and drug treatment counselors, 911, operators, firefighters, all of these things. And, and to me, I think back and I think well, you know, City College. The reason I'm big on that now is because it was founded in 1935, to have a pipeline of critical workers for a changing city. And there's many things that the community college doesn't like, if we could get back to that at City College and and celebrating those kinds of things. It's like they're oftentimes great jobs in service of your community in critical areas. And it doesn't mean that everyone has to be a police officer, if that's not your focus, you don't have to be but there's great ways to give back on mental health or drug treatment. And we sort of seems like lost our way in supplying those those folks, and especially when City College has gone from like 100,000 students to 26,000 students. So to me, we just in general, we have to be like, stay in your community, grow up in your community, give back to your community, and city college would be a great place to do it.

Mark Farrell  34:28

I love that sentiment and couldn't agree more. You know, and think about as well, maybe to your point is you don't want to be a police officer, maybe you don't want to be a mental health worker, maybe you want to be in the building construction trades. But we can also create apprenticeship programs in partnership with City College. So we can have people who are born and raised here actually get associate's degrees and stay here, whatever career that they might want to choose. And so to me, it has to be a focus right now in San Francisco and it has to be focused on from the next mayor. It's something we just haven't talked about right now. And we've really lost our way in terms of staffing, all these different departments. I'm here in San Francisco. And it's something I couldn't be more excited to move forward.

Ben Kaplan  35:03

So your other two priorities second priority talked about the condition on city streets. And obviously there's that condition. It relates to many things that relates to homelessness crisis, it relates to Fentanyl crisis. And currently, it's before the Supreme Court, they already had oral arguments about what is going to be the rules and what citizens can do to clean up the streets. What could we be doing now, aside from what happens with US Supreme Court, aside with judges say, to actually take action? Now, if you were mayor today, instead of potentially after November? What would you do differently now even given the legal climate?

Mark Farrell  35:40

Yeah, the same thing that I did when I was mayor in 2018? You know, I understand the current stance out of City Hall is a very cautious stance, given the Ninth Circuit injunction. I've written opinion city, we'd

Ben Kaplan  35:51

be less cautious. You'd be more aggressive with the powers of the city Exactly. have

Mark Farrell  35:55

written opinions from different law firms here in San Francisco that saying we can still despite the Ninth Circuit injunctions still use other laws, that artists proposal to actually remove 10 of Canvas off the streets of San Francisco, from my perspective, and this gets to a style of leadership, or a lack of leadership. Right now you have a city hall that's being very cautious around this issue. I don't want to ruffle feathers. I don't want to get into trouble. What have you be a certain people believe that there might be a problem. At the same point in time we're letting these tenant Cameron's we leave the homelessness, proliferate on our streets home. Homelessness is on the rise again, we just saw the staff from what a week or two ago. To me, that's simply unacceptable. I would rather be a mayor that takes a honest and aggressive stance. We need to treat people by the way with compassion and respect. That doesn't happen right now in City Hall. Often, we need to offer shelter and housing. But if people say no, I believe we need to take their tents away. Because at the end of the day, nobody is getting better by sleeping in tents at night on our streets of San Francisco. The health issues that exist, the crime issues that exist between rape and arson and other issues doesn't get talked about enough. And to me, we are only helping people. But when we're encouraging them to get into shelter and housing, and discouraging them from continuing to sleep on our streets, and tenant chemists ad nauseam for as long as they wish, because we're being permissive as a city. If somebody wants to sue me and occupy in my capacity as mayor, because I chose that stance, they're welcome to do so

Ben Kaplan  37:20

no one's helping them by leaving there. It's not compassionate to say sleep on the streets. It's not progressive

Mark Farrell  37:25

to allow somebody to end up with open wounds and their tenant camp mints subjected to different types of crimes, where they're getting abused on the streets every single night, I have to check an ER rooms every other week with necrosis and open wounds on their legs and arms. That to me is not compassionate. That's not progressive. That's not San Francisco. You know, my North Star is about focusing on saving lives and helping improve the conditions of these individuals lives. When we do that, at the same point in time, and if we're aggressive about getting them off the streets, we also clean up our neighborhoods. We support local families here in San Francisco. And also we relieve our police officers, our firefighters, our sheriff's from the time that they spend right now having to address these issues on the streets. It's an enormous amount of time over the last six years, we're all of a sudden we have public safety officers having to intervene on the streets with these individuals. Let's get them the help that they need. Let's be aggressive about that. Get them off the streets, connect them to services, struggling with the drug crisis right now, you know, the Fentanyl crisis we have today. The unfortunate part of City Hall, our health department is taking the same approach that we did with heroin and meth 15 plus years ago, literally everyday handing up free packets of tin foil in the Tenderloin to those suffering from drug addiction.

Ben Kaplan  38:42

Do you feel like this notion of housing first, which was very successfully implemented in Houston, but it's a very different climate in Houston, because they have a housing surplus, not a housing shortage? So So in San Francisco, it becomes a little bit more like housing way later, because we don't have enough enough housing great term. Besides that part, do you think city government here missed the ball on the sort of trade off between permanent housing and shelter? Because we didn't see that there was going to be these legal challenges and a lot of these legal challenges from judges are based on Oh, you don't have enough shelter? You don't have enough places for people to go. And we were sort of balancing do we do permanent housing first, or shelter based or shelter? First? We never considered that when we made that decision that oh, this might make it more difficult later on to deal with some of the issues did city Governor Nyssa a cost of sort of permanent housing at the expense of everything else?

Mark Farrell  39:35

That's a great question. And, you know, look when this was implemented in the 90s, it was academic policy based and I think it makes a lot of sense, right? If I am homeless, or if I am, you know, somehow naughty will say kick take care of myself financially or otherwise. The best outcome for me is to get the permanent lifetime subsidized housing. Of course, that's the answer that makes sense. but a lot to your point around this dialogue about housing first versus shelter first, the honest answer is, we are never going to have enough public tax dollars and public subsidies to permanently house everybody that is homeless in San Francisco, it simply won't work. You know, at the end of the day, we're building affordable units at close to a million dollars a clip here in San Francisco, we're just not going to have the resources ever. And as generous as the voters of San Francisco have been around affordable housing around housing for homeless, that's not reality. And that's why exactly as you're talking about, and I am the only candidate running for office running for mayor who's talking about this right now. And it's shocking to me that 25 years plus later, you and I are the only ones talking about this, that we need to move from housing first to shelter. First, let's focus on getting people off the streets on mass, where they can actually start to make it change with their own lives where they can actually start to get off the streets get healthy, once again, get connected to different services that they need, whether it's mental health, or there's drug treatment services, whether it's job placement services, that's not happening when people are in tents on the streets of San Francisco right now, to me, when

Ben Kaplan  41:08

you when you talk to people who are homeless or homeless families, it's like, imagine trying to make like a major change in your life in that kind of condition. I mean, anyone no matter how strong you say your will, is, it would be difficult for anyone. So in some ways, do we have to like get folks in a better situation. But we can't just stop there. We can't just say, Okay, you got some shelter. Now. Now we're done. But it's like, we have to get people in a better situation and then try to bring services that can help raise them up. But if you're addicted to fentanyl, and you're high right now, you're probably not going to make a great life decision. I don't care who you are, I don't care if you're Mark Farrell, you're not going to make a great decision, right. So we've got to get people in better circumstances where they can start to take the reigns back of their lives.

Mark Farrell  41:49

I couldn't agree more. And that's why this is a complete overhaul about how we think about spending our capital, right, as a city government in this pocket in particular, right, the amount of money that we spent every year on kind of around this housing first model is vast. And we're helping some individuals to great effect long term, right. And that's awesome. But at the end of the day, we have such a vast problem. Now with homelessness, once again on the rise here in San Francisco, and the lack of focus out of City Hall. To me, we need to move to the shelter first model, get the majority of people off the streets of our city, get them connected to the services you're talking about. And I bring it back all the time, then as I think about being a parent in our city. First of all lucky enough to have been raised here in San Francisco, you know, my dad was an Air Force officer. So I grew up just outside the Presidio gates, because we needed to use the Presidio as an army base. So I grew up, and he put himself through law school night on the GI Bill. Growing up at San Francisco was special, right. And I see we've always had problems where it were a large city in the US, nothing's ever been perfect. But it was different. And to me, as I think about the vast amount of families here in San Francisco, that are experiencing homelessness, and to think about being a child growing up in the city as a father right now, to me, that's something we need to fight aggressively for out of City Hall. And that is a very personal quest. And something that I believe very, very strongly on something we just don't talk about enough out of city hall right now,

Ben Kaplan  43:12

the second point of your video and your last video, when it struck me was you were sort of say we need to make San Francisco is a great place for families. That's not really talked about here that much one because it's famously a city that has more dogs or pet parents than than kids. Number one, but two, people sometimes think like when you talk about families, you know, oh, that sounds a little bit like family values, conservatives, Republicans all of this. Do you feel like when you highlight that you get pigeonholed like that, because people think families is a sort of a dog whistle, even though most people would generally support families who's officially opposed to a family, how do you feel like the responses for highlighting families, that's

Mark Farrell  43:51

been incredible, you know, from parents across the city of San Francisco. And by the way, we have three children and a dog. So you can do it all at once, right. And I see your dog in the background here, too. So we're on the same look at the end of the day to me, you know, it's also, as I think about having been born and raised in San Francisco, the best part about this, I didn't realize until I left San Francisco, you know, and moved to college down in Los Angeles. You know, being raised in the city means that you grew up with friends of every race and ethnicity and religious background, right? Ultimately, sexual orientation as well. And it's, you know, it's simply part of life. Those are few brings

Ben Kaplan  44:28

energy from that, right, you sort of feel like it's richer you celebrate. I think I feel like San Francisco was cool to be weird before everyone else started trying to say like, we're weird to you. We're weird first, and that was awesome. That's

Mark Farrell  44:41

awesome. And you know what, it's the diversity of our city that has always existed as part of our ethos. And part of raising children here as I love that they're growing up with that ethos as well. And so to me, that's not a left or right issue. That's just a simply, you know, a family issue and raising children and that to me doesn't strike across political Lions that, you know, we, we have families in every single neighborhood in our city, as I mentioned, you know, the neighborhood with the most families in our cities, the tenderloin. And when we think about the issues that are plaguing that district in that neighborhood, public safety to the drug crisis, that to me is why we need to be laser focused on these issues here in San Francisco, why the next mayor of San Francisco needs to make those issues a priority. It is for families to make sure that once again, as we're bleeding families out of our school district, we actually make this place that's reinvigorated by families, once again, in young children that ask the diversity of our city, you know, I believe in baby strollers, you know, and seeing them in the neighborhoods, that acid diversity of our city and to see kids, we are raising the next generation of native San Franciscans. And I believe in the value and the importance of that

Ben Kaplan  45:45

the mayor's power does not include power, direct power over the board of education could be, you know, the the City College District, it doesn't include that. But the mayor has a lot of the bully pulpit soft powers to shame folks, what would you do quickly just on those, even though you don't have direct control over it to focus on education, and maybe have an education first approach to what goes on in the city, where a lot of people feel like education the city lacks where it should be, given that we're a world class, innovative leading city, it doesn't feel like our education system is like that.

Mark Farrell  46:18

I think it's right. And you know, what, if we want San Francisco to be that iconic city in the world that we always have, we need to focus on a great public education system here in our city. And it's true, we have a separately elected I'll talk about the school board and not not city college right now, separately elected school board that controls the policy and the budgets for a school district, where City Hall has been a little bit divorced from the school board simply because there is no authority over the school board and their decisions and their actions, if you will. But you know what, I want to be the first mayor in San Francisco history that has actually proactively focused on our public school families specifically. And I'll mention three ways in particular that I think the mayor, and what the mayor can do that has never been talked about before and never been done before, despite the structural differences in the fact that we can't replace or step in the shoes of the school board itself. Number one, one of the three pillars of our public school system here in San Francisco, is to focus on third grade reading proficiency for our children. It's a marker for academic and quite frankly, lifelong success in grammar school, high school and beyond. So, at a city hall, though, we have a Department of Early Childhood, that issues 10s of millions of dollars a year around youth programs in San Francisco, but we've never had alignment around any of our school district priorities out of the Department of Early Childhood or proactive linemen, I will make it their first priority to fund programs focus on third grade reading proficiency. So again, not stepping into the policy shoes of their school board. But as mayor, we can fund programs that aren't supportive our public school families and our public school district to make sure that we support our kids to actually do as well as they can through the through third grade reading proficiency. So that's one. Number two, we have never had a mayor that's been super proactive with our MTA. And working with our school district in particular, two things here. One, I believe we need to make free mini for youth permanent, and San Francisco has been one of the longest serving pilot programs in our city, we need to do that. But then also we need to work on bus routes, but in particular frequency in the mornings of getting our kids in our public school

Ben Kaplan  48:20

logistical issues get in the way of education. And it's silly, right? Do you think the focus should be on just learning? But no, it's particularly when we have a system where people might have to go to school, across town, it just makes it difficult, and it just gets in the way.

Mark Farrell  48:33

I mean, look, every parent will say the same thing. And getting your kids out of the house in the morning to go to school sometimes can be a challenge, right? And so you're a public school family, you get your child your bring him or her to the bus, stop your kid or your kids to the bus stop to take the school bus or take the muni to bus and to see me to school in the mornings. But then you're waiting there and you're gonna be on time and all of a sudden the full bus drives by what happens then now you're gonna be late. Now your children are gonna be late to school, there's a stigma attached with that post COVID Truancy is a big deal where people are just simply skipping school. So to me, we need to actively focus out of City Hall make sure MTA supports our public school families and ways has not been done, implemented or even talked about today. And then the last part is around public safety. You know, during COVID, our public school district cut ties with our police department, we have school resource officers in our in our schools, we don't anymore. Again, that's their policy decision. I may not agree with it. But that's life. And so I've committed to is that as soon as I'm in office, we're going to create a priority 311 code. So any issues public safety issues within one block radius of our public schools, is dealt with within 24 hours. So we make sure we have an environment where children are walking on school grounds, excited to learn and not thinking about any type of street behavior they're encountering. I'm

Ben Kaplan  49:48

curious about a cause it's a little bit close to my heart, and we haven't had much time to talk about it. So we'll hit it quickly though, which is, I grew up in family businesses. I've been around family businesses to me because local businesses, small businesses even kind of have Family issues. Well, what could we be doing differently? Now, to make it easier to your point earlier, sometimes a lot of small businesses I talked to that feels like the city's working against them, not for them. And it also feels like San Francisco, maybe California as a whole has a reputation for not being that business friendly environment. We can debate that for the huge giant corporations or big tech, but like small businesses, these are individual people that are pillars of their community, their neighborhoods, what can we do quickly to to change them? Particularly when there's a lot of abandoned businesses, vacant storefronts? What can we do now that would be different?

Mark Farrell  50:39

I think there are a number of things. So first is first of all, I believe on focusing on public safety and street conditions are the number one issues that they care about right now in San Francisco, every single commercial quarter that I go to, we did a merchant walk the other week, out, Irving. So think about from 90, that's 26th Avenue, an amazing little commercial quarter here in San Francisco. I wish it wasn't the case everybody are walking into and we chatted with the store owners across multiple blocks and tell me about your issues, what's working, what's not they just public safety, public safety, public safety, it's the number one thing they say they're having us close their stores early. Because people and residents don't want to come shop there or eat at the restaurants. A store owner had their catalytic converter stolen from underneath their car twice in a row and within one month. I mean, this type of stuff can't continue here in San Francisco, we're gonna have thriving small business corridors. And then street conditions as well. I don't know what's portal the other day, talking to different store owners, they said they have people defecating in from their stores on the sidewalk, 1011 o'clock in the morning, on a bright sunny day, that can't be allowed to continue. That's not conducive to small businesses operating well, here in our city. There's also tax issues we have to talk about, I've called from the beginning of my campaign, and the small business making $5 million or less, should be exempt from local business taxes. I believe that very strongly. It's a small, small, insignificant, non insignificant, but very small part of our city budget. To me, that is simply a nod to small businesses to say the City Hall is going to focus on you once again. But then also you think about all those vacant storefronts. We have not done enough, as we think about our artists community and the nonprofit community on how we can actually wants to get reinvigorate those storefronts. We have a vacant to vibrant program that exists here in San Francisco, and simply hasn't worked that well. And we need to re examine that. And to me, ultimately, it's about producing results. You know, one of the small business owners I talked to earlier today I mentioned before I came on your show, he said he he got an $800 bill for the city of San Francisco, because he wanted to put two tables and four chairs in front of his store. So people could sit down $800 Why would we do that to the to a business owner, you know, let alone the 150 page informational pamphlet about a parklet. In San Francisco that exists now? How much did it cost a to put that together on city staff time or outsource attorneys? And why are we doing that to our small businesses, we need to make it as easy as possible to not only open but operate small businesses in our city. I couldn't agree with you more. Because to me more than anything, you talk about the a lot of these are small family run businesses. But more than that, to me, these are the small businesses I think about are our commercial corridors here in San Francisco. And look whether it's West Portal, Irving, Castro mission, Columbus, just not union. Leland invis Valley, it doesn't matter to me what neighborhood you'd like to spend your time. But to me, that's the heart and soul of our city is our neighborhoods.

Ben Kaplan  53:29

So as people talk about the attitude of police, are we warriors? Are we guardians, we wanted to be guardians of a small first the city and small business to me it's like are we regulators of small business are the champions of small business. And for now, it's like if you're going to open up a business, to me that's like community service to your neighborhood. If you can open up a business serve the neighbors sustainable, we should champion you. But I don't think to me, it doesn't feel like like Oh, San Francisco city government exists to champion small business doesn't feel like there's so much just like a shift in just attitude and focus, because we need small businesses. And it's a lot easier to have hundreds or 1000s of small businesses. And that's sometimes to get the big Macy's to come in. And one big shot we focus a lot of time on that we should. But these small businesses can make a difference.

Mark Farrell  54:13

100% again, they feed the vibrancy of our commercial quarters, they feed the vibrancy of our neighborhoods. To me, that's what San Francisco is simply all about. And I will tell you, I wish it wasn't the case. You've talked to now merchants, heads of merchant groups along these commercial corridors, and they are articulating to me, why would a small business ever open up here in San Francisco right now? The city makes it so hard to do this. And to meet your point. It needs to be a flip of the script. Right? Let's be champions of small businesses let's out of San Francisco out of City Hall be some an organization and a government that is for our small businesses and work for them as opposed to the other way around. sit there and say we're the regulator's you have to come to us you have to convince us how to help you on one What we're doing to you was wrong to me, let's be proactive in a different way. You know, I also think about our planning department as it relates to people trying to do work on their own homes, right, you stick a permanent to planning right now. And they say, hey, it could be two months could be two years, we don't know when we'll get back to you when it gets the top of my pile. That is inappropriate, right? That affects residents who live here right now. But also fix developers who are going to come who are coming to San Francisco who used to come to San Francisco, who are going to build that next wave of housing that we need here in our city in a major way. So to me, we have to change how San Francisco government operates. And the mentality of it was

Ben Kaplan  55:34

something about Mark Farrell that would surprise people a hobby, interest, a passion, something you do with your spare time, what is something surprising people would not expect from you?

Mark Farrell  55:45

Let's see. My wife and I joked around about this the other night, since I left office in 2018. I've coached nine different sports teams for my kids. So I'm a I love coaching our kids. Oh, which sports? Football basketball, baseball. Okay, okay, you three okay. Sure. So it's been an amazing time. So I love doing that. What

Ben Kaplan  56:03

do you do to just unwind for the campaign trail? Or do you what do you do when you just need to like free your mind? Get a fresh start. What what is your go to tip?

Mark Farrell  56:13

You know what people don't know about me also, I love to cook. Oh, I I'm a huge barbecue fan. So we do it as much as we can in the backyard. It takes a little bit more time sometimes and a half nowadays running for office. But my happy place around the house is in the kitchen, and I love doing it. I love doing it for our family for friends. So when I need to unwind, it's actually time in the kitchen. Time barbecuing outdoors. I love doing it. Okay, well,

Ben Kaplan  56:40

and where did you go? $20 or less go to spot you're not gonna cook. You're gonna go someplace else. You're not gonna spend a ton of any Where did you ever go to spyzie? Gordo's quarters. Okay.

Mark Farrell  56:51

100%. Were there last night with my kids? Yeah, what institution here in San Francisco and certainly family go to all the time. And you have

Ben Kaplan  56:58

out of town guests coming to visit today. They maybe saw some of the headlines that says, oh, San Francisco is everything. Okay, there you want to show somebody this difference? Are there hidden gems? Where do you take the out of town guests what is sort of like, maybe, you know, not not the Golden Gate Bridge, but other places one could go that you would recommend in the city. I think

Mark Farrell  57:18

our parks our greatest asset, or one of our greatest assets here in the city. Maybe not gonna get bridge but think about the Presidio as a national park. I mean, what an amazing gem that we have here in San Francisco, and during the Tunnel Tops, it just would build in that park itself. People to go there all the time right now. And we certainly take them there. But you know, one of the things I was most proud of when I was in office as a supervisor, was actually creating and buying, designing, raising the majority of the money for the building of a brand new park in the middle of Russian Hill, which is one of the densest parts of our city, Francisco Park. I mean, when I was started in office as a supervisor, four and a half acres of concrete and chain link fence, a reservoir that hadn't been used in seven years. And now look at it. It's a brand new park. It's a few years old at this point in time, and simply a gem for the neighborhood but for visitors, for everybody in San Francisco. So I simply take people to our parks. To me, that's something that everyone can get excited about. And something I certainly love as part of our city.

Ben Kaplan  58:16

If you were right now you're you're gonna have the mayoral powers back for a day. It's not the election. Yeah, so it's gonna be now he's gonna have it back for the day. You don't have to get bored of supervisor sign off approval, you can do whatever you want. But you can't you know, he can't do huge. He can't like redo the entire budget in a day. So you can't do that. What would you do, but you have a day to focus on as mayor right now. It's the average Wednesday, what would you spend your time on?

Mark Farrell  58:43

The core issues I mentioned, again, public safety, street conditions and the economy. I mean, to me, I'm a policy wonk. And I believe in working incredibly hard and City Hall, why I believe experience is going to matter more than anything for the next mayor of San Francisco, is because it's going to take an intimate knowledge of the 50 Plus mayoral departments that you're going to run, if we're going to turn the ship around as a city. If we're going to bring our city back to me, you have to have knowledge of that. And you have to be able to hit the ground running on day one and get after it. And again, just to end, as I mentioned, in the beginning, I believe in San Francisco. I believe in everything that we have going for us. You know, we are an iconic city in the world. The beauty, the Educational Talent, the workforce, but more than anything, the people of San Francisco, we are incredible. But we've been missing is leadership and strong leadership out of City Hall. We can bring our city back. It's just going to take that leadership and City Hall to change. And I look forward to bring my vision to the city of San Francisco back to City Hall. Is

Ben Kaplan  59:42

it going to take one year, two years, five years? 10 years? I get asked that all the time. Like when are we going to be back?

Mark Farrell  59:48

Look there things to be super clear and honest with all the voters of our city. There are things you can do in the very short term right within the first year in office. New Police Chief refocus funding within our police department our public say departments make sure we start lateral recruiting in this lateral hiring in this drop program. Long term staffing We're police department is going to take a little while take a few years, I think about three conditions, we can have an immediate impact and the first year or two within our 10 encampments within the drug crisis, our streets, the economy is the thing that's going to take a little bit longer to lag. But at the end of the day, because I do believe the economy is going to be dependent upon public safety and street conditions being addressed, if you will proactively, you know, people right now, don't loan vest in the city of San Francisco, whether it be equity, as I'm looking at the skyline of San Francisco along along the landscape here, whether it be equity or debt here in San Francisco, because they not sure about the future of our city and our governments. When we actually start to show progress on these issues. People want to come back to San Francisco, and I believe that will come back in droves. It takes a change of leadership. It takes a different vision. And when we do that, then we start to change the attitude of San Francisco residents across our city and start building up that civic pride that notion of believing in San Francisco. Because we are the iconic city in the world we always happen. That to me is what's missing. I look forward to bringing that back.

Ben Kaplan  1:01:10

Thank you so much for joining us on We Are San Francisco. Thanks for having me man.

Ben Kaplan  1:01:28

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