Economic Development

Community-based Economic Development Platform

As Ratified at the SF Community Congress, August 15, 2010

These recommendations were developed over a series of discussions with community-based organizations starting in the Fall of 2010, and further developed in July 2010 at the “New Deal for the City” Community-based Economic Development Summit. On August 14, 2010 roughly 70 attendees at the Community Congress 2010 Economic Development breakout group made revisions and additions for submission to the development of a Community Congress Platform.

Vision and Values

  1. Overall goals: Economic development policies must contribute to the health and well-being of the city’s neighborhoods and residents, provide just wages, have a positive impact on the urban environment, and promote alternative ownership models. These policies should foster a resilient economy that promotes solidarity. Economic development should prioritize the needs of folks who have suffered the greatest burdens and received the least priority, and promote social justice and community equity. Special attention must be paid to rights of the mentally disabled, especially in attempts to keep services out of neighborhoods, and to economic and housing opportunities for first-line respondents. Economic development should promote and protect the cultural diversity of San Francisco and reverse the trends driving working class communities and people of color away from the city.
  2. Role of Local Government: Local government is a key driver of the local economy, both through infrastructure development and public sector employment and wealth redistribution. Economic policy must balance “external” market linkages with the powers of local government to create more democratic and accountable development with the goal of localizing governance, energy use, and economic development to the greatest extent possible.
  3. Investment: The city’s existing financial resources should be mobilized to fund economically viable social enterprises.
  4. Governance: Local government must provide means for shaping economic development, through new forms of participatory governance that encourage representation of constituents typically excluded from decision-making.
  5. Labor-Community Alliances: Promote and build labor-community alliance(s) in the development and implementation of these recommendations.
  6. Workplace Democracy and Labor Standards: Economic development should promote workplace democracy, union jobs, pathways to union jobs, and city-wide union-level standards. (approved, 2 opposed)


I. Financing and Promoting Local Development

1. Establish a financial institution (Municipal Bank) of San Francisco by amending the City’s charter, and/or working with existing credit unions, to be incorporated as a federally insured credit union, (or a state-chartered bank) and funded with an initial investment of [$100 million] of City reserves, with additional increments thereafter, to invest in community-based economic development, such as small businesses, local clean energy, social enterprises, collectives and cooperatives, and other projects that provide economic benefits to low income residents of San Francisco, with interest and  capital gains to be retained by the institution exclusively; with a mission of developing a financially literate city and supporting people of low- and fixed-income, and immigrants (approved by acclamation)

2. Establish a publicly owned Municipal Development Corporation (MDC) to undertake large-scale production of goods and services to be sold at competitive rates, such as clean energy (see #3), medical marijuana cultivation, and a city-owned fiber optic network, with surpluses used to invest in community-based economic development, through a democratic governing structure (Section II), that evaluates projects based on sustainability, social justice, and living wage jobs. . (approved, 5 abstentions)

3. Begin investing in large-scale, renewable clean energy projects funded through a combination of local revenue bonds and funding from a local Municipal Bank, with the goal of entirely supplanting PG&E from the local market, and using surpluses to invest in community-based locally-owned economic development, with a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040. In particular, to support Community Choice Aggregation and the reappointment of Juliet Ellis to the SF Public Utilities Commission. (approved, 3 abstentions)

II. Reforming Local Governance

4. Consolidate the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, as well as relevant economic development aspects of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and the Department of City Planning and other city agencies, into a Department of Community-based Economic Development, to be overseen by a commission with designated seats (potentially  elected by Local Community Councils (#5)) reflecting neighborhoods and sectors, and charged with insuring the economic development policy is implemented in accordance with the City Charter and the General Plan and promoting transparency, accountability, and communication about the budget to the public.

5. Establish Local Community Councils consisting of members from a diverse range of San Francisco neighborhoods, demographic groups, and sectors] with official elected oversight powers within the new Department of Community-based Economic Development, and the MDC, and the commission that oversees the new Department of Community-based Economic Development, to ensure that policies address the needs of a broad spectrum of San Francisco residents, including ex-offenders. (4, 5 approved, 2 abstentions)

III. Fiscal Reform of Local Government

6. Recommend and work to implement a long-term progressive tax revenue plan, emphasizing targeted taxation of various forms of corporate and individual wealth and profits, by convening a post-election working group in early 2011. The progressive revenue group will conduct research into the impacts of progressive taxation schemes on private sector investment and city budgeting, develop recommendations  and guidelines for implementation. The goal of item 6 is to create a permanent progressive taxation and revenue agenda and movement in San Francisco, to redistribute the city’s wealth and land into the public economy and to enable sustainable economically regenerative policies.  Historically underfunded neighborhoods and communities should get special attention.  (approved, 1 abstention)

7. Establish a Community Budgeting process in conjunction with progressive taxation, the Municipal Bank and the MDC, with community budgeting councils from each of San Francisco’s electoral districts, charged with developing recommendations to the Board as part of the annual appropriations process, to insure greater community-level participation in the budgeting process during initial budgeting phase,and to encourage greater decentralization of budget decisions. (approved, 3 opposed, 8 abstentions)

IV. Labor Rights and Standards Governing Local Employment

8. Require all contractors with the City to implement just cause termination procedures, and require card check neutrality agreements with for-profit and non-profits as a condition of receiving City funding to give employees choice in whether they wish to be represented by a union; the City should provide a pass-through to non-profit organizations of the cost of increased wages for workers.  Work to insure that the needs and concerns of both workers (union and non-union) and service recipients will be incorporated into an ongoing dialog. (approved, 2 abstentions)

9. Require all large-scale developments requiring City approvals to pay the local living wage for all project-related jobs (including those that are subcontracted), and, in conjunction with “First Source” hiring offices, insure that they adhere to SF City and County local hiring mandates and targeted hiring requirements. Require developers to negotiate with the San Francisco Building Trades Council to insure that targeted hiring requirements are applied to local construction jobs. Targeted hiring requirements shall include special efforts to hire individuals whose jobs or residences are displaced by the development; residents from surrounding neighborhoods, individuals graduating from or referred by local, community-based job training organizations; low-income individuals and those whose household income is less than 80% of the city median income; and special needs individuals such as public assistance recipients, individuals who are homeless, individuals who are chronically unemployed, or ex-offenders. Developer fees shall provide seed money to local worker center organizations to conduct oversight of fair hiring and remuneration standards.

10. Require all employers located in any large-scale developments requiring City approvals to pay the local living wage, and, in conjunction with “First Source” hiring offices, insure that targeted hiring requirements are applied to permanent jobs. Targeted hiring requirements shall include special efforts to hire individuals whose jobs or residences are displaced by the development; hiring priority to residents from surrounding neighborhoods; individuals graduating from or referred by local, community-based job training organizations; low-income individuals and those whose household income is less than 80% of the city median income; and special needs individuals such as public assistance recipients, individuals who are homeless, individuals who are chronically unemployed, or ex-offenders.

11. Enhance the effectiveness of the Community Jobs Program (CJP) through controlling legislation and examination of existing strengths and weaknesses in implementation of the CJP. (approved, 1 opposed, 4 abstain)

12. Establish a San Francisco Green Jobs Corps to provide paid on-the-job training to those facing barriers to long-term employment in doing energy audits and assessments, assisting low-income home owners and small businesses in obtaining loans and rebates for energy efficiency retrofits, and performing “low-tech” energy retrofits, such as caulking, weather-stripping and insulation and related-administrative positions. The training program would place people in long-term green jobs in worker cooperatives that would perform the energy retrofits funded by loan and rebate programs; providing retrofit assistance to  low-income homeowners, renters, and housing cooperatives in communities of color; and consider block-by-block deep retrofit programs.  Jobs created through this program should address barriers to economic and social equity.  Promotion of non-toxic/environmentally friendly chemicals and respecting workers’ health should be mandated within all city and anchor institutions’ procurement policies.  A robust public works program must include young people and formerly incarcerated. (approved, 1 opposed, 2 abstain)

13. Democratize and fully fund the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE). The OLSE, Department of Public Health, (and potentially other agencies) shall meet with representatives from local worker centers (CPA, POWER, Day Laborers, Young Workers United, and others) to establish a standard code of conduct for employers, establish and maintain databases regarding employer compliance with local labor laws and minimum wage laws, and convene a task force composed of representatives from government and worker centers, to insure adequate oversight and enforcement. The City shall commit to full funding for OLSE by 2015, and create outreach and publicity mechanisms that positively reward responsible employers and create negative publicity for those that violate OLSE and local wage and labor standards.

14. Budget should fully fund Human Rights Commission to address the backlog of discrimination complaints and to ensure adequate enforcement to promote anti-discrimination in the workplace.

15. The City shall opt out of Secure Communities and protect its Sanctuary City Ordinance. (last 5 approved en masse with caveat of rushed nature, 2 opposed, 3 abstentions)

V. Investing in the arts, worker coops, small business, and the “green economy”

Arts and Cultural Economy

16. Consolidate existing municipal arts programs into a new Department of Cultural Affairs with a clear directive to include economic stimulus and development as a part of its mandate.

17. Coordinate and leverage citywide, signature festivals and events that draw visitors from across the country and around the world and that utilize the city’s existing artistic infrastructure to commission and promote the work of multiple artists and arts organizations (including seeding the participation of local artists in international projects).

18. Divert some of the current 1-2% for art developer fees on downtown buildings, to be directed towards community arts activity, providing space support through rent subsidies and other programs that support culturally-based arts industries.

19. Create a municipal cultural works program, similar to the New Deal’s Federal arts, music, and theater programs that place artists in all supervisorial districts, especially the most city’s historically underserved neighborhoods.

20. Identify locations for arts centers and arts industry incubators on public property (like Port land).

Worker Coops

21. Support the growth of worker cooperatives and collectives by funding existing co-op development agencies, creating a worker co-op track in existing city-funded small business incubators, financing development through a revolving loan fund via the proposed Municipal Bank, and educating the public about worker cooperatives as a viable business model.

22. Prioritize community economic development through worker-owned businesses by procuring goods and services from existing worker co-ops in order to help them achieve scale, and creating a large-scale worker co-op development project—in partnership with anchor institutions and worker co-op development organizations—that aims to redirect city funds spent on goods and services into economic rejuvenation via worker-owned businesses. (approved en masse, 2 abstentions)

Small Businesses and Urban Manufacturing

23. Restructure Office of Economic Development to develop a comprehensive and funded  “Back Street Business” assistance, retention, and attraction program.

24. Link workforce development and placement (and community college programs) to the employment needs and entrepreneurship potential of San Francisco small businesses, Back Streets enterprises, and emerging green economy and worker coop sectors; include Low-Moderate Income hiring requirements for “new economy” industry businesses; and to strengthen first-source and local hiring mandates for permanent (post-construction) commercial development.

25. Create regulations to ensure that all neighborhood economic development entities and business improvement districts truly represent local residents, workers, and small businesses, not just property owner interests. Establish a Board of Supervisors oversight process with public input/feedback opportunity. Standards should require minimum % of expenditures on local economic development and business assistance services, and increased local hire requirements and small business development. Eliminate pass-throughs of CBD/BID taxation onto renters and commercial tenants (for further development)).

26. Amend Health Care Security Ordinance to cover all small businesses (approved en masse, 1 abstention)

Green Economy and Urban Agriculture

27. Mandate public procurement of local, healthy foods produced at living wages (promoting  the use of worker co-ops), and provide subsidy support to programs that sell/educate on local healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods, and that specifically addresses disparities in food access , to be funded through new progressive taxes on unhealthy and/or expensive foods. (vote taken here to delete last clause, defeated, acknowledge issues with regressive taxation)

28. Create urban agriculture zoning designations and begin conversion of surplus city-owned properties for urban agriculture, including portions of the city’s golf courses into farms and orchards, employing San Francisco’s new Green Job Corps workers.

29. Develop an urban agriculture outreach and education program, including workforce development and small business/co-op development, neighborhood tool libraries and materials depots, and R&D into roof gardens, vertical farming and aquaculture. (last 3 approved, 2 abstentions)

30. Commit to the comprehensive seismic and energy retrofit of 100% of San Francisco’s existing multifamily and rental housing units by the year 2020. (approved: refer to full Congress for more detailed discussion, 1 opposed, 4 abstentions)

31. Create a green business incubator with a focus on R&D and manufacturing of appropriate technologies, including recycling and remanufacture businesses. Create linkages with regional incubators. (approved, 1 abstention)

VI. Institutionalizing an Alternative Economic Development Agenda

33. Establish a new, independent community think tank to undertake ongoing research, feasibility and analysis for progressive revenue, governance, and economic development policy, and development of implementation strategies. (approved, 2 abstentions)

Total attendance: 50-70 (varied over time)


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