My Fellow San Franciscans:
Can you hear me out in Mountain View?
People say I don't have a sense of humor, and that wasn't a joke.
I wanted to come here, to the Lennar shipyards, because this place represents so much about our remarkable future: More than five years overdue, with no performance standards, based on a deal cut by Willie Brown that has since required millions in additional financing.
Throughout 2013 I kept a relentless focus on jobs, and we have seen the results: San Francisco now has the highest rents in the nation, including Manhattan. We also have an extraordinary 42,000 new jobs that no one can make a living at. We lead the nation in Task Rabbits, Lyft Drivers, Tech Bloggers, DJs-studying-to-be-massage-therapists, and Bitcoin traders -- the essential jobs of the future.
It is with the knowledge that every major city in America would trade places with us, because they're freezing to death, that I present my "affordability agenda" for the year ahead.
San Francisco has an incredibly diverse economy -- some of us work in tech, while others clean the apartments of people who work in tech. Still others are booth babes.
But whether it's real estate speculation or delivering pizza to real estate speculators, everyone in San Francisco should have a job that lets them participate in this economy.
People like Ingrid Riddenour. She completed our TechSF training at BayCat, in November, and since that time has moved to Newark to live with her mother. Three Twitter employees now share her apartment with a vagrant who pays for space in the closet. That's our economic development dollars at work.
People like Matt Royce. Two years ago, Matt was homeless, sleeping in shelters. After putting down the last of his money to take classes at TechShop, he made valuable contacts and is now the vagrant living in Ingrid Riddenour's closet.
And that's just a start. All those construction crews you see downtown mean thousands of temporary construction jobs going to cheap out-of-town labor. In 2016, we'll host Super Bowl 50, which I'm sure will work out just as well as the America's Cup, which we'll be bringing back in 2017, because we never learn. We don't even try,
Which brings me to my next topic:
Believe the hype, my friends: San Francisco's schools are among the best in the nation, and, thanks to some amazing local philanthropy, they're just getting better.
Last year the Salesforce.com Foundation donated millions of iPads to our middle schools, so that our students will learn valuable touch-screening skills they can't get anywhere else except their phones.
Everyone knows that crucial subjects like math and science are better taught on an iPad because there's absolutely nothing distracting about an iPad. That's why young people today associate computer screens with learning first, while video games and cat memes come in a distant second and third.
It's incredibly generous for so many technology companies to insist that we put technology at the heart of education. There's just no way it can pay off for them later.
Thanks to their gifts, we are focusing our students on the jobs of the future, because the government has a near-perfect record of predicting what jobs will be in demand 20 years from now. The more we limit our focus, the more accurate we're likely to be. Nothing can go wrong.
Thank you all for your time, money, and effort. I'd especially like to thank School Board Member Hydra Mendoza, who also happens to be my education policy adviser in the Mayor's Office, for her passionate conflict of interest.
A great city needs a great transportation system. Yet Muni is seen by most San Franciscans as wasteful, inefficient, and even corrupt. That's just not good enough, my friends. I believe that, under this administration, Muni can become even more wasteful, inefficient, and corrupt.
From purchasing bad engines on a handshake deal to creating a citywide bike program that will never include the west side, we're striving to uphold this city's tradition of using public transit dollars to invest in anything else.
In November, I'm going to take that strategy to the next level by bringing the voters a $500 million transportation bond to fund the things we already would have funded if we hadn't been diverting money from transit all year. And I'm going to do it while reducing Muni's revenue stream by canceling parking meters on Sunday and letting kids ride free.
More debt, less revenue: that's how we fix Muni in San Francisco.
All this may seem ambitious, ladies and gentlemen, but I know we can do it. I believe in San Francisco, a city of potential. My life proves that San Francisco is a city where anyone can grow up from modest means to stab Supervisor David Chiu in the back.
Even you. It's true, whether you're a homeless veteran learning how to program databases, or a database programmer who dresses like a homeless veteran. Whatever your income, whatever district you live in, I encourage you to make a promise to Supervisor Chiu, or even our entire government, and break it as soon as it's in your personal interest to do so.
That's what we look for in our contractors, and it's what each and every citizen needs to step up to do.
Working together in 2014 -- to the extent "together" is in quotation marks -- we will make this the best city in America.
Benjamin Wachs is a literary chameleon