Tomorrow, San Francisco residents will elect a new mayor.
To learn more about the eight candidates on the ballot, we sent them a questionnaire asking about a wide range of issues. Click here to read all of their responses.
Ellen Lee Zhou, Behavioral Health Clinician
Why are you running in the June special election?
I was nominated by the San Francisco Coalition of Good Neighborhoods to run for this mayoral race. I stood up for you, for children, youth, parents, workers and families in San Francisco. I have been a social worker in SF for more than 20 years. I have been working for our city government as a social worker for more than 13 years. I am a union bargaining team member for government employees.
I was also a Civil Grand Jury member for two teams that I investigated government functions and corruptions. Our city has been going in the wrong direction for many years. Now, it’s the time to take back our city. We need to stand up for our rights.We have the right to clean streets, happiness, safety and healthy living environment.
Based on the last homeless census, there were 7,499 unhoused San Francisco residents in 2017. What's your plan for reducing this number?
I will be the only mayor can help the our homeless like our families. Currently, our government wastes a lot of money on homeless. Spending more than $6,000 a homeless a month is not acceptable. The more money we spend on homeless, the more homeless we will have. Many of these homeless programs are useless. They are not treating the root causes: mental health issues, drug abuse, substance abuse, etc. When I am elected, I will declare no homeless people are allowed in any of the San Francisco streets.
I will create effective programs to help and re-train homeless to be independent, get away from career politicians who abuse their public office power, by using the homeless numbers to do what they want, but not helping the homeless to get off the streets and be able to renew a life. Sixty percent [of] homeless are sick, either mentally or physically. We need to give hope, love and faith to people. No one likes to be homeless. Everyone wants to live a life with dignity and respect. I will be that social work mayor to deliver this quality of services to retain all of our homeless to stay out from substance abuses.
What are your plans for expanding the city's supply of affordable housing?
Students, do not believe in everything you read from the news. Read the fine print and study the intention of motion. Many of these authors of these laws are in office for their political power, they are not for you nor your families’ benefits. When I elected, I will not welcome any new developers to build any housing that are not affordable for local residents.
We, the city faces a housing crisis. We need housing for all people, not just for people with money. I will build housing for residents from lease to own, give people security, not afraid of being evicted. Our housing crisis was created by irresponsible politicians who are anti-property owners, killing the supply and demand market. I will create fair housing policies to welcome small property owners to give out their empty apartments and units to help our teachers, workers and families.
Given the increasing number of vacant ground floor retail spaces in the neighborhoods like the Castro, Richmond and other districts, should developers be required to continue incorporating them in new construction?
Our city government needs to be reformed in order to address these vacant spaces. Our City Hall has been running by unqualified representatives that some of them they don’t even know what they do. We need people who have hearts to feel like people feel. We, many residents who obey the laws suffered from lack of government accountability.
When I am elected, I will set up a third party to audit all department books, to get the money back and give back to the hardworking people. We need people power to run our local government. My top priority is to track down government corruption to hold all public workers accountable for what they do. We will work with the business owners and empty spaces owners to find out how, we the government and them can collaborate to form workable plans to best use these empty spaces. We can create after-school programs, senior day care centers, child care centers, public recreational activities to create a better San Francisco.
What are your plans for reducing the number of thefts from automobiles?
When I am elected, I will have [a] department head and Board of Supervisors meeting to form collaborative plans to address this ongoing issue. If people can’t do their job, they should be able to [be] let go. We need state laws and federals laws to back our city up. For the state to pass Prop 47, released felons back to the streets, more than 50,000 (fifty thousand of them) is a mistake. We, the people who follow the laws, should be protected. But right now, we are not. Another problem is with sanctuary city status, we don’t know how many criminals and felons in our city. Shame on the current mayor’s administration. Shame on many of the Board of Supervisors! They failed to follow the law themselves!
How frequently do you ride Muni, and what's your top priority for improving service?
I ride Muni once [in] a while. Muni is worse than third world due to so many homeless ride them to sleep, create [a] nuisance for the public. I need Muni to be cleaned, on time and quality of services. We need to track down and prevent crimes on Muni. When I am elected, I will meet with people in charge to develop more effective plans.
Many small business owners we interview complain about the city's permitting and approval processes. What are your plans for making it easier for San Franciscans to become entrepreneurs?
You are talking to the right person. Our city permit and approval takes forever, too long to get some things done. We should improve our timing and process. When I [am] elected, I will have people to re-evaluate its process and things needed to be change to meet the needs of people.
Please share a candid photo you took in the last week with your smartphone; not necessarily a campaign event, but just something interesting you saw in the city.
Late Mayor Ed Lee's Middle School Leadership Initiative aims to support STEM education. How do you plan on continuing his legacy?
When I [am] elected, I will take time to learn more about this. Ed Lee’s parents were from the same city where I am from: Taishan, China. I am from the Lee family too. Zhou is my husband’s last name.
Do you own or rent?
I am a property owner. My husband and I work hard to maintain our home. We have two young college children. I understand many of our problems created by unfair policies. As mayor, I will give back fifty percent, half of my salary, to chair a new program to educate and train all residents to live a life with dignity, stay away from politicians abuse their numbers. We, many of us want to live an independent life to honor our parents and our God. Now, it is the time to standup for yourself, Vote Ellen Lee Zhou for mayor. Social problems need a social work mayor.
What's your favorite piece of public art?
City Hall building, inside and outside. It stands for justice, hardworking and policies making. Our city, our voice. We need law and order in City Hall. Please visit our campaign website: EllenforMayor.com