On social media yesterday, a minor firestorm erupted over an essay I wrote in late 2014, when I was still making $30,000 a year working as a math teacher at a private high school.
In it, I make a call for mass housing. I wanted, and still want, someone like myself at the time - someone making $15/ hour - to have access to quality housing, without being on a wait list, and without paying more than I could afford.
In it, I also say I think recipients of Below Market Rate ownership housing would be better off if we actually gave them the condo - because ownership is the strongest anti-displacement policy we have, and because giving low-income people an asset is the most effective and direct anti-poverty effort the public can fund.
These are straightforward, progressive demands for better housing, and relief from want.
From the beginning of my political activism in San Francisco, instead of helping me fight for better conditions for renters of all kinds, so-called “Progressive” leadership has criticized me and mocked me for imagining that plentiful housing is possible.
When I first announced my candidacy, the peanut gallery made fun of me for the populist message they anticipated I would run on.
“A chicken in every pot” and “40 acres and a mule” were slogans for ambitious programs for mass prosperity. I do think that everyone should have housing, and a sufficient, reliable income stream, whether it’s through work or a social insurance program. I'm not ashamed to think that, and I don't think it's something I should be criticized for.
For 3 years, people who claim, falsely, to be "Progressives" have tried to bully me into asking for less, shutting my mouth, giving up politics. I haven’t caved in so far, and I don’t plan to in the future.
I do think it is possible to build housing, of all kinds, for everyone who needs it in the Bay Area. I think it is possible to build the schools, transportation, and public facilities that all residents need. I think it’s possible to stop fighting amongst each other over imagined disagreements, and start reaping the benefits of our successes in the Bay Area.
If you want to help me make that happen, sign up at www.sonja2018.org THANK YOU!!!