tv Mayors Press SFGTV April 18, 2021 4:35pm-5:01pm PDT
work with cities like san francisco instead of spending time and energy to target us. at the beginning of this pandemic in 2020, we were truly on our own. our city department had been monitoring this situation in china from when the news first started to come out about what was happening and we had taken early steps to prepare. and, when the first case began arriving in the bay area, our public health officials were warning us we didn't have time to wait to avoid the scene we had been seeing in china and italy. so on march 16th, we took action and became the first region in the country to issue a stay-at-home order. throughout the year, whether it was setting up testing and contract tracing or finding ppe and ventilators, we were often on our own. and the cities and states across the country saw huge hits to their economy and their budget, so did we. from february to september just
last year, over 100,000 san franciscans lost their jobs. with that economic hit, we took a huge hit to our revenue too. last year we closed a $1.5 billion budget deficit and we managed to do so without laying off any city employee. but this year, we are facing another deficit. over $650 million. and this time around, we weren't going to be able to delay the hard decisions. we were facing the reality that we were going to have to cut jobs and likely a lot of them. that would have meant fewer police officers, fewer 911 dispatchers, fewer homeless outreach workers. this would of had a major impact on our city right when we were starting to look towards our recovery. the american rescue plan has changed all of that. so instead of a $650 million deficit, we now have a $23 million deficit. we're not going to need to lay off any employees. instead, we're able to make
investments in our recovery, the most important of which are investments in our public health response to end this pandemic. the funding in the american rescue plan for ongoing covid-19 response measures is critical. it means that the programs we've put in place that have helped us lead the nation in our response from on-demand testing to economic support for people who test positive and need to stay at home so our small business support can continue. it means funding for our vaccine operations and distribution which we know is the key to ending this pandemic. we're regularly administering over 10,000 jobs per day which was our original goal, but now with the faster pace of vaccine delivery, we're able to increase that goal to 20,000 shots per day. that's because of the leadership in the white house. and the leadership from our own speaker nancy pelosi. this one bill has undoubtedly changed the future of our city
for the better. we can't fully recover until this pandemic is behind us, but we also know we need to make the investments now that will help drive the recovery. it's key to begin able to operate our businesses successfully, bring back the sectors of our economy that we rely on like tourism and hospitality and get our residents back to work. and i'm so grateful to the leadership of president biden, vice president harris, and speaker pelosi. and i'm so looking forward to making this promise a reality. thank you for inviting me to participate in this discussion today. >> thank you, mayor. the first question i was going to ask you is how this plan is helping your workers and working families and you answered it. i just want to move a little bit to the next kind of area. direct cash relief, expanding unemployment insurance, child care funding, small business supports. i know that our cities all across america are struggling in these different areas, but
what impacts do you think these measures will have on working families in your community of san francisco? >> well, as i talked about a little bit earlier, we were somewhat left on our own and, in fact, we had to scramble to put together resources to provide support to residents here in san francisco. and, the fact is, cuts were inevitable. we were providing support for our workers especially those who unfortunate as a result of this pandemic who contracted the virus had to take off and were not always able to collect payments from their employers, we were paying those resources. and, now, part of this program is going to help us with federal tax credits to reimburse us for some of those expenses. not one city employee in san francisco has been laid off but we know all over the country that has been problematic for
others. and so at the end of the day i'm grateful and excited about what this is going to do for us now because it also gives us a bit of a cushion so that as we begin to recover, as businesses begin to re-open, they're able to get their footing and, also, it provides just an opportunity for us to ensure that, for example, people -- addiction protection. providing resources to pay rent. for people who weren't able to generate income and they're not going to be able to afford that back rent. i can't even begin to tell you just how amazing this is going to be for san francisco even though our recovery is going to be long, this has definitely set us on the right path. and so the deficit that we thought we were going to have to close which would have resulted in layoffs, which would have resulted in a lack of support for small businesses, night life, venues,
and restaurants and everything our city is responsible for, those things are not going to be as problematic. so i'm excited and looking forward to what this will mean for our city at least over the next two years. >> thank you, mayor. and we're also joined now by one of my favorite mayors in america. mayor cantrell from new orleans. before i met the mayor it was new orleans, and now it's new orleans. our first woman to serve as mayor of new orleans. we worked very closely together on the u.s. climate mayors as cities step up to lead that work. two weeks ago i was the mayor of boston and mayors have a very close relationship. we work together on a whole bunch of different things. and mayor cantrell, i'd like to have you introduce yourself a little bit and maybe talk a little bit about the american rescue plan and what it means
to new orleans. it means a lot to every city in america, but as a front row seat as a mayor, how do you feel it's helped your city? >> thank you to my brother mayor and of course my sister mayor. it's always good to see you, london, and we've been communicating quite often as we move through this pandemic. and, you know, we've been going back and forth our cities as it relates to getting our people vaccinated. and so every day, we're like neck and neck. so i just appreciate the work and that of the conference. so, oh, man, this package is vitally important to the city of new orleans and the city, you know, we were disproportionately impacted by this virus as you heard from london as well. we lost over 172000 residents.
and coming and dealing with the state of louisiana, the city of new orleans had over $200 million in expenses incurred fighting back this pandemic. with all of that being approved by the state of louisiana only for the city to get $50 million. so fighting for direct allocation was something that was so important for this city so that we can really not only deal with the deficits that have incurred, but also keep our people employed. we are a destination city just like you heard from san francisco. the culture fairs in this city are not only the backbone of the city but the state of louisiana. so when you think about those unemployed, we were leading the state in that. but this allocation, the a.r.p. will allow us to again infuse these dollars with our small
businesses that need these resources. venues even that have been shuttered and closed but again being able to get our musicians back. it will help our people as it relates to, of course, from the housing perspective, you know, the eviction moratorium, we're excited about that staying put, but still the need for our people to -- because the bills don't go away and so this will allow them again to be able to pay their bills, pull themselves out of debt and be on a path to a real recovery around here. let me tell you what i'm up against still with the plan coming to us. now i have state legislators when they see the front lines, the city of new orleans potentially getting $375 million directly, they are trying to reverse state allocations of capital outlay that would fix our utility in a
way that we need to drain water to keep our city dry during a flooding event or just a regular rainstorm. so we're not out of the woods yet as it relates to these dollars, but what i do know is that with the partnership that we have at the federal level with the leadership that's there, they are doing what it takes. they're looking at cities and listening to us and that's why we have this direct allocation. so i am just looking forward to the rules being pull ma gated. it's being comprised from folks all over the city we have a unified command in terms of how these dollars will be spent. but this is an opportunity for us to do some transformational things in this city that have needed to be done for a long time. that our people in hospitality that have just proven to be so
effective in this pandemic. because now, you know, our folks who were in hospitality where there were trying to push that dessert or push the special, they're pushing towards technology and making 75,$000 a year. so that workforce component is going to be huge and i'm trying hard to keep the guardrails on and keep the wolves and the bears out of our pockets that the federal government has filled for us. i look forward to working with it my brother and sister mayors across the country as we have gathered in part to meet the reality. it just wouldn't be possible. >> thank you, mayor. you know, the american rescue plan provided $350 million to city and state governments. so it went to both and i know
you've talked -- both of you've briefly touched upon it. what do these funds mean to your ability to keep your residents paid. >> what does it mean -- and we will finally be able to leverage these workforce dollars to train our people up and also for them to pivot in both sectors here in our city. they've been focused on hospitality, but at the same time being able to work with our cultural bears who are the backbone of this city. and even when you mention dollars going to also the state, when i think about that, i think about education and early childhood education and being able to put those dollars where we know they're needed in our community. because again we have to help our families raise their children, educate their
children so that they can reach their fullest potential and be trained not just on a path towards hospitality but one as it relates to bio innovation and, of course, stem and advanced manufacturing and technology. this is our time. transportation options just go on and on. >> and, first of all, welcome, mayor contrell. i know we communicate regularly via text and i just want to also add that what i also appreciated during this crisis is having a relationship with mayors all over the country. it's really what has been able to help me get through this because we exchange ideas. we collaborate. we push for changes of policies and so that's really why it's also incredible and wonderful to have a mayor serve and in
this capacity as secretary of labor as well and you realize that based on how it is and how we have to manage our budgets and how people expect these services to continue. as was mentioned, we are closing a huge budget deficit, but also we're getting dollars for transportation as we begin to face layoffs and there are additional measures we have to put in place to make sure people were getting not only to work, but kids are able to get to school safely. using public transportation and so the public transportation dollars, the dollars for rental assistance to make sure we don't have more people living on the streets. the dollars for our educational institutions because the expenses don't stop. the need to pay staff, to continue services, to do distanced learning and all of that stuff continues and sadly, the generation of the revenue that wants. both of our city enjoys it in terms of the hospitality
industry, the hotel tax revenue and the other sales tax and other things that typically come to our city, it was put to a stop when it comes to covid. and the people who needed resources continued and so this has been absolutely incredible. it doesn't even take into account not only the money we're getting from the city, but the money that's coming to the state, the direct allocations that are going to individuals, the $1,400 checks that people making under 75,$000 are receiving. so all of that totalled i think is so critical to getting us down a road of recovery. because when you think about it the federal government expects especially a state like california to pay so much money in taxes and if we're going to be able to do that, we've got to get people back working again and we've got to get them back spending again and we've got to get folks back traveling again. so this is a big deal and it shows the difference between what we had to deal with at the
beginning of this pandemic last year and where we are now. we've got mayors smiling for a change when that was not happening before. so it's pretty awesome. >> thank you, mayor breed. and, i'm on that text chain with you guys and i hope you keep me on it. i want to try to bring it a little more personal now. mayor breed, you've been quoted as saying public health comes first, but we know many people have flexibility to stay at home to keep paying their rent or do they get sick. in fact, one of the first steps you took in march 2020, was the workers and families first program. which provided emergency sick leave for private sector workers with. the question is what the impact did paid sick leave have in keeping workers is, customers, and businesses healthy during this time? >> one of the things that was so important when this crisis hit the bay area, i thought it was important to take immediate
action to not only protect the health of the residents of our city, but also i was very concerned about the health of our workers. people who would not maybe get tested or would not take off work if there was some concern and we needed to do something to make it easier for people to feel comfortable again and tested and take off work. just imagine if your employer didn't provide any time for you to take off from work and you tested positive for covid, you probably would not say anything and show up to work and that creates a whole other situation in the spread. and so we created the workers and families first program which provided paid sick leave to private sector workers who had been impacted by the pandemic. this program reduced economic impact on workers and businesses while encouraging employees to stay home when they were sick or caring for a family member so that we could stop the spread.
and the program supported over 5,000 additional weeks of paid family sick leave and it provided coverage for about 3,300 san francisco employees. it was meant to communicate the importance of taking care of yourself and your health and not putting other people at risk. so we did that early on. in addition, we did a program called "right to recover" where san francisco provided direct funding to support covid-19 positive san franciscans who needed financial assistance when they isolated. not only did we provide rooms for them to isolate if they lived in households where there were no ways they could isolate. the program, it offered a safety net for those people that faced the risk of financial hardship because they tested positive. and the goal was to ensure that there is backing so that people are not deterred from getting
tested. it was clear that our most vulnerable covid-19 folks were those that were not able to work from home and couldn't afford to miss a paycheck. so forcing people to choose between putting food on the table and protecting public health shouldn't be a choice. and the right to recover offered them the resources to keep themselves and the community healthy and i was really grateful for the success of this program which we continue to use today. >> great work. mayor cantrell, i want to ask you a question. we know that covid has certainly hit the black communities and communities of color the hardest. and due to the long standing inequities in our community, to cut child poverty across the board. but researchers also found the planning code reduced overrule poverty in the black community by 30%. and the asian community by 22%.
what does that mean to a city like new orleans and how do you see the american rescue plan advancing racial equity? >> well, what it means to a city like new orleans which is predominantly african american in terms of the disparity gap, health disparity gap, wealth gap, it is critically important to the lives of those who are and who have been the most vulnerable in our city and actually again in the state of louisiana. so what it will mean is that we will be able to finally really meet people where they are with these resources in terms of workforce development, but even with education. we cannot overlook the power not only of education but early childhood education so that our children truly do have the opportunities that they need to be successful in life.
it also helps our small business community. you know, we did a disparity study several years ago and what was revealed was that 52% of the businesses in the city are african american, they're minority owned. but they make up only 2% of the receipt. and so that speaks again to that wealth gap, that we have to be more intentional. and so with the american rescue plan and with the dollars that are coming to help small bidses and have them -- have true access to capital, it will speak volumes because we, our city has restructured pro curement practices we have made sure that minority firms are fine. we've debundled this large contract so they can again be the prime and not the sub. so all of these things are woven and they're so tied
together that also speak to the racial inequity needs within this community that is just again rooted in the most vulnerable people in this city who have been that way for generations. the transformation that is coming to this city and to her people in ways that we really haven't seen before, but with a foundation having been laid so that we can really do the work. so the workforce training component is huge. we just broke ground today on a new nursing school that is being built here in the city of new orleans, but when you look at equity, i would see those graduates not being a lot of african americans there. but with the dollars coming in, we can be intentional to ensure these young people have the opportunity and the higher ed community is working with them
through that lens of equity that we've never seen before. and there are no excuses now. there's just no excuses and we have the leadership at the federal level and with you, mr. secretary, being where you are to be transformational and it's my job and mine as a mayor to produce, get the results that you're looking for on the ground that you charged us with, but you've also trusted, you've entrusted us with the resources and we're going to demonstrate that we're going to turn things around for our people for the long haul. it's not just about these people but the years to come. >> okay. mayor. a couple pieces you touched upon was the paid leave in the american rescue plan and the child tax credits, those can help families, they're going to help communities. they're going to allow opportunities for people that have small children to access those schools, to get into nursing, to change their life, to change the future of their
family. so i want to thank you. i want to thank both of you today for joining us today. it's great to see you. love you both. you know, i'm going to miss you at the conference of mayors, but i'm certainly going to love working with you in the role i'm in now. i want to thank all the public employees who've been on the frontlines of this pandemic doing amazing work. we are also excited about the infrastructure plan the president's announcing this afternoon. it's another piece of federal partnership that cities have been waiting for for a long time. we've been talking about the u.s. conference of mayors for the last five years. it will be another historic move forward with our cities and our nation. and to mayor breed of san francisco, thank you for being with us. mayor cantrell from new orleans, thank you for being with us. we're going to be on another call tomorrow, but it's awesome to have you both on this call and it's great to see mayors smiling once again in north america. >> yeah. >> thank you, mr. secretary. so proud of you and
congratulations. >> thank you. >> we're going to do great work together. >> thank you. >> all right. sfgov tv, we are ready to start the meeting. this is a regular meeting of the small business commission held on april 12th, 2021. the meeting is being called to order at 4:32 p.m. the small business commission thanks media services and sfgov tv for televising the meeting which can be viewed on sfgov tv 2 or live streamed at sfgovtv.org. excuse me.