Aspiring assemblymember Matt Haney has taken a well-traveled path through San Francisco politics: Prior to his three-year tenure at the Board of Supervisors, where he represents District 6, Haney was president of the San Francisco Board of Education and co-founded #cut50, a nonprofit that seeks to end mass incarceration. Among other policy and advocacy roles, Haney served as a legislative aide to former State Senator Joe Simitian.
Haney’s campaign enjoys support from local elected officials and labor organizations including Supervisors Shamann Walton and Ahsha Safai, the SF Building and Construction Trades Council, SEIU Local 87, Teamsters Joint Council 7 and the California Faculty Association.
On the Board of Supervisors, Haney chairs the budget and finance committee and points to the “Overpaid Executive Tax,” a ballot measure that imposed a tax on companies with a significant gap between total managerial compensation and median pay for local workers, as one of his key achievements. Among other initiatives, Haney has also led efforts to establish 24-hour bathroom sites in the city, authored legislation to move homeless people to hotels during the pandemic and co-authored Mental Health SF, a ballot initiative to create a city-run mental health program.
On education, Haney points to efforts such as a 2018 parcel tax to boost funding for the cash-strapped school district, which is currently facing a yawning deficit of $125 million and the possibility of a state takeover. As past president and twice-elected member of the school board, having served from 2012 to 2018, Haney presided over some initiatives that grew controversial in light of prolonged school closures during the pandemic, including a resolution to rename public schools and another to delay algebra instruction until high school.
Today, Haney told the SF Standard that he supports the recall of school board commissioner Alison Collins, but not the recalls of president Gabriela López and commissioner Faauuga Moliga.
“I do think that we need to have an important conversation in November about who should be leading the school district moving forward,” Haney added.
As District 6 supervisor, Haney oversees one of the densest–and most economically and demographically diverse–districts in San Francisco. His district includes the Tenderloin, a neighborhood with a high concentration of children, seniors, people with disabilities that is described by some residents as a “containment zone” for drug dealing, associated violent crime, and squalor. Asked about rising overdose rates and a recent spate of shootings, Haney pointed to initiatives such as neighborhood safety ambassadors and increased police foot patrols, as well as “systemic failures that are state challenges…that go behind this neighborhood.”
On housing, Haney notes that his district, which has historically generated a disproportionate amount of the city’s overall new housing stock, has seen thousands of new housing units approved since he was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2018. Earlier on, Haney opposed a state bill, SB 35, that streamlined housing production in cities that were falling short of state-mandated minimums, but later came to support the bill. He told the SF Standard that cities must strike a balance between local control and broader mandates to make progress on a persistent housing shortage statewide.
“What has changed for me is I have been District 6 supervisor for three years, and I’ve seen what this looks like…that we’re allowing so many cities and counties to do what essentially many of the neighborhoods of our city are unfortunately doing, which is saying no to everything,” Haney told the SF Standard.
Read more about Haney’s campaign here.
Annie Gaus can be reached at [email protected]