tv [untitled] April 22, 2011 12:30pm-1:00pm PDT
we are welcoming a group of major investors. china has four major banks that invest in internationally and we are welcoming a group of them next week. i think that we can play an important role in making the investments. they would like to come by and they like to talk so you will see us doing a lot more trips to china and more internet. i will probably and more out reached npr from the bay area. mayor lee: if i'm smiling, it's because we literally were giving some valuable tips. some of the mayors were asking if it would be polite to hug.
you can shake the hand and balance a little bit, but you do not -- it is that kind of tips that allow mayors to be more successful, and they wanted to see whether or not we were organizing a bay area tret -- triop. >> -- trip. >> you referred to the huge economic boom that could accompany the america's cup. most of the economic buzz has been on your side of the bay. i'm wondering if there is a role in the america's cup for oakland. >> of course. >> you can jump in if you want. >> i was actually going to head up on that later. however, -- >> you are not going to steal that vote out there on the barge. >> we want to be part of fleet week. we understand that the admiral ship cannot talk in san francisco, so we would like to
have him in oakland. there is a lot of regional, cultural activities. the two cities are still linked together. we are really a regional economy, and both restaurant trends go back and forth. music trends historic we have gone back and forth, and i think you are going to see, particularly if we try to host international events, that we need the resources of probably all three cities. we have tried to get the world soccer cup in the bay area, and i think we are going to try again. "culturewire -- >> a question from the audience that we will take the opportunity to put you on the spot. you have gotten very good reviews for your first two months of office in building consensus and making civility cool again in san francisco city
hall, if only for now. is there any chance for any scenario you could see in which you would reconsider your decision to not be a candidate and throw your hat into the ring? [applause] mayor lee: no, i am focused on doing what i can this year. i fell back -- one of the things, as you know, having worked in the city of san francisco for some 21 or 22 years, part of my success is being able to deliver on promises. we do not need a lot of legislation. if somebody says they're going to do something, to get it done and follow up. i want business to do that. i want them to feel that they can talk to supervisors and supervisors can talk to the mayor, and when we made these promises, we keep them. i kind of made a promise that i would not run.
what i want to do this year is reestablished that trust. i came to san francisco originally to live and be part of, and that is people good for their word, government good for their word. we have a government that is helping all of us, not hindering, not being overly bureaucratic. so that, to me, is more of a personal answer to that question. it would take an awful lot for me to change that because i did make that promise, and i think part of my success is not being a politician. i think what the city has made it was really to start fulfilling the promises we have made for many years and not make new ones. so that is what i want to be able to do. [applause] >> i think that is about as close to a flat no as we are going to get. >> he is very diplomatic.
on top of that, one of the employees asked me, i'm not sure if he could afford the pay cut to become mayor, and whether his family would put up with that. ed is a man of integrity. i think you are going to have to find another mayor. >> in the short time we have remaining, there are a couple of issues that i definitely wanted to make sure we touched on. one is pensions. the problems with both cities public pension funds. if anything, oakland's problem seems the more urgent in that you have a very large payment due in a few months that relates really to previous pension liabilities that have gotten kicked down the road quite a long time ago. how are you going to deal with it? >> what they are talking about is a police retirement fund that was founded in the 1950's, and apparently, it ran out of money within the decade, and they tried to fix it in the late 1950's and the late 1970's, and
now, i have a $43 million payment coming down the road. i did recommend a compromise, that we bond out on some of the excess equity we have now, and start paying it down. so i am recommending a combination. we are in the middle of the worst recession of our lifetime. just paid at all of is not acceptable. there is no way you could make a $90 million cut this year to just pay. we actually did long-term studies that it is cheaper for the cities to bond off and make some annual payments than it would be to just start paying. it is good for the long term. it is good for the short term.
i think in oakland, though, we have a more serious problem. just because our police officers do not give anything to their pension. at least in oakland, the average police officer makes $100,000 a year and can retire at age 50, so that is not sustainable. i've been saying that for a long time. opponents said would not have to make layoffs. we could cover it. it is not sustainable. in our city, they pay nothing. not a penny. so i'm in negotiations now with the opoa, and we believe that in this next round of bargaining, the all the unions will have to go to different years because of tensions that were given earlier in the last decade are
just not sustainable. on the other hand, i'm not into all the tension bashing. the pensions will actually only be a small part of the structural changes that we will have to make. some of the bigger changes, and you do not have this problem because you are both a city and county -- the city and county and school districts are going to have to merge some facilities and colocate some of our efforts and try not to duplicate efforts. and something we have been pioneering -- i have been holding joint cabinets with the school district. we are actually going to share some facilities. we're going to share some staff, and we are going to relocate some current staff to make the city safer. in a few weeks, we are going to make a pledge to open up rex centers, libraries, and high school gyms in some of the toughest neighborhoods until 10:00 or midnight in parts of east oakland where we have the highest rates of crime and
violence. >> you have been involved in the conversations with business leaders, civic leaders, labor leaders of by how san francisco is going to wrestle its own pension problem down. looking at those talks, how likely is it that, particularly on the labor side, that enough changes are going to be agreed to make a real difference in the problem? >> i am extremely optimistic. the group are working together. all the labor leaders have come to get it. we will have differences of opinion, i grant you that, but i think they know how serious the problem is, and we have impressed upon them -- literally, we have broken down our current budget challenge, and a good 1/3 of it is over $100 million of debt service that we have to deal with that our employer contributions, rises in health care costs, so we are at a critical point where everybody realizes the
conversation has to happen now with a commitment to do structural reforms in the system. if we do not do this, this year, we are going down a very slippery slope on our solvency as a city because it is affecting us right now. it may not be at the numbers that oakland has, but if they are real numbers, and you are talking $100 million extra that we paid this year, that is money that could go into health services, into social services that we all want to maintain in the city. public safety as well. so very closely, we are going through -- we are right now going through proposals that are going to be vetted through our controller's actuary analyst. we will allow the public to start looking at this probably
next month as we begin the public discussion around with these proposals are. my job and my goal is to make sure that the city family keeps as much together as possible. ultimately, i have to get something on the ballot with the majority of the supervisors that will make sure that our pension system is solvent. that is the responsible thing to do. and it is one that i find, being in non-politician, the timing is perfect. because i did the 10-year capital plan for the city. that is why i opened the 16th library out of 24 last saturday. we can continue to build the beautiful things we are, continued to be a great city, but we have to take care of business and put discipline into the pension system that we already have. and it is because we have not paid attention or done that financial planning that many cities have done, and look where the other cities are at today. we are not the only ones on
this, so that is another reality that the other labor leaders are realizing, so i think we have got at least a good, fighting chance to get everybody in the city family together. >> the first year that i moderated our conversation with the mayor -- i think it was 2003 -- and at that time, it was mayor jerry brown sitting in the open seat and new mayor gavin newsom sitting in the san francisco sea. questions related to new stadiums for the a's and 49ers and what the heck is taking so long. in one respect, not a lot has changed. one thing that has changed, we are moving out, and i think this is the point at which and landers used to advise the lovelorn to wake up and smell the coffee. obviously, you feel differently, and i would like you to briefly tell us -- what are your
grounds for optimism that these teams can be kept in our part of the bay area and that new stadiums can be built for them? >> i do not think they are going to give up their territory in san jose. we are talking. that is all i can say. the victory courtside is probably one of the best sites for a large movement of people anywhere left in the bay area. you have a ferry. you have the santrans tracks, two bart stations, and a lot of existing parking already because of the other areas there. and the city owns over half of the land, so it is ready to go, gorgeous, similar to what san
francisco has been able to do with pacbell, i think. and it is a comparable situation. it would bring at least 2 million visitors to downtown oakland and jack london, which is exactly what those areas need. to have two major project ready to go. they have gotten to the planning commission, the ninth project, and the jack london expansion. the lake mary area has almost finished its capital fund improvement, so you could walk in about 10 minutes. it will be pretty gorgeous as an area as a whole. you could walk to the new stadium. it would be an amazing location. so i'm optimistic on that end. i would guess that we are both competing for the new 49ers
stadium, but that seems to be moving a lot slower because of the team's interest, i guess, in that place down south, so we are mostly, i think, looking at taking the coliseum area, at least in oakland, and making it much more not just a coliseum area, but a retail hotel extension of the airport and being right on 880. much more of a destination in and of itself, for multiple users and not just as a stadium. >> for san francisco, as all of you know, we have enjoyed our world series champion giants in so many ways. larry and the team had been in office a couple of times already. we're talking about the sea wall what right behind at&t park and how they are planning to develop that. that is going to be additional
developments that will invite more investments. >> would we see the 49ers' in oakland and the warriors in san francisco? [laughter] >> do not think so. >> very visionary. we have a very good relationship and a lot of discussion going on with our giants owners, managers, and it should be. much media talks about stadiums. stadiums is one part, but i think all of you know, it is really the structure. what you have to have our business relationships. good, solid, business relationships that respect what they are doing and what we as a city are doing. that is what we are establishing with the giants to help them be successful as a business in addition to a great sports team. i think -- i take the same philosophy in meeting with gen york. yes, i have brought him into the office. we have had a good discussion,
and we are talking about my 49ers, our 49ers. he lives in the city. so i. we began by asking what we're trying to do here. there are economic realities coming to their, and what i want to do is make sure that the york family feels very welcome in san francisco. they are part of our history, part of our callers, if you will, when we are talking about sports. i think he felt that there was no politics involved. it is something back has a history of being and we want to talk to him about the opportunities we can do together, so look for --
>> welcome to district -- need your district supervisor. we're here with supervisor john avalos, from district 11, which includes the excelsior, and will sign, our mission, and crocker amazon neighborhoods. supervisor avalos was elected to the board in november of 2008. we are going to get to know him and talk about the toughest issues facing the city. welcome and thank you for joining us today. tell us a lot about your background, where you grew up, went to school, the job you worked. >> i was born in a town called and los angeles. it was a lot of working-class folks. my father was a shore worker, my mother was an office worker at usc. my parents were divorced when i
was 10 years old, and i moved to the east coast for six years before going back to california after high school. i went to school at uc santa barbara, graduated in 19988 -- 1988. i have lived in the excelsior since 1999. i have had lots of different jobs, but my main job is doing social work force and a disco, i have been a community organizer, i worked at a labor organization supporting janitor's working in our high- rise buildings. i was a legislative aide before .wr. i got to see how it all work from the outside, community organizations supporting young people, children, families, working for labor, and saw how city hall could be an effective tool for change and then considered running in 2007,
2008, and somehow, i made it. >> you were raised in los angeles, moved to the east coast. what made you want to come back and live in san francisco? >> i love cities. i never felt like i lived in a city in los angeles, but when i lived in massachusetts, where i live, i was close to boston. i had such a great time in boston but i did not like massachusetts so much because it was cold, the culture was foreign to me. when i came to san francisco, the first time i came, there was a rainbow over the bay and there was something calling me. i was 20 at the time. i knew that this was a place i needed to live. the history here, you can see it in terms of buildings, you know the history from, labor history, hit the history, history of what happened in 1978
with milk, mosconi. but i wanted to be a part of its. >> what got you involved in politics? >> i had been involved in politics for decades. i was doing work around central america, supporting people in central america, protecting against u.s. imperialism, and their right to live. i was doing a lot of work on campus in college. head of work against apartheid. i was involved in a lot of the efforts to push back on efforts to remove affirmative action, prop 209, all kinds of work around ballot measures that were tough, big ideas, like
single payer, but i never got involved in supporting a candidate. i never thought that a candidate would be someone that i would support, but when tom and ammiano ran for mayor against willie brown, somehow, i got inspired. i thought, it someone that has integrity and honesty, that comes from the community, could run for mayor, maybe it is we something that can represent the community. i wanted to look at it from a candid perspective. >> when you did run for the border supervisors, what did you learn from that experience, from the campaign? >> from the campaign? so much. you knock on a lot of doors, talk to a lot of people. some of the things were interesting, how connected a lot of people were to their schools, communities.
people were involved in their communities in some many ways. we have neighborhood organizations. there are so many people actively involved in the communities, neighborhoods, our organizations, child care facilities, relationships with seniors, at the park. that was something exciting to see. there were multiple ways for people to be involved as residents and members of the city. i was stunned by just how many artists were in district 11. there are so many artists who are doing incredible work that do not have a venue within their districts to show their artwork. it inspired me and my office to sponsor artwork events, culture events. now we are starting an arts committee to get more funding, having the community be a part of deciding what kinds of parts we want to show. that was one idea that i learned
from campaigning. >> what kind of art? >> you name it. we have people who make their own musical instruments. people who are artists, painters, photographers. we have an artist showing her work right now in my office. she went to africa and captured some images of youth suffering, struggling to raise children. we have well known writers in latin america that are not well known here, but in the latin american world, are very well known. incredible amounts of vibrancy going on. musicians. it is great. >> switching gears up it, what do you feel are some of the biggest issues facing your district? >> when i was first campaigning, there were a lot of murders going on. it seems to be settling down,
but we need to be vigilant. how can we have a public safety environment that is going to be collaborative between community and police? that is something that i want to work on. how can we maintain strong relationships around public safety issues. occasionally, we have a murder. how can we respond, as a community. ? we have had several murders since i have been in office, and every time i look at how i can support the family, victims, regardless of the situation. try to get people involved in talking with the police, helping the community feels safer. these are the ways that i would like to be able to respond, something that i would always like to be a part of, the effort, as supervisor. one thing that i am tackling and expect to be for a long time is loin