My name is Bilal Mahmood and I’m running for Assembly in California’s AD-17 (East San Francisco).
I’m running for Assembly because San Francisco is headed in the wrong direction, and the status quo is unacceptable. The American dream of upward mobility is out of reach for most San Franciscans. We see and feel the realities of this every day: crises in our schools and homelessness, rising crime and anti-Asian violence, and existential threats of climate change.
Despite these harsh realities, I believe in San Francisco. But we need a new champion in the State Assembly to shift our current trajectory. One that reflects our values, brings an outcomes driven approach, and has the courage to act. I’m a Bay Area native and son of immigrants. I’ve worked across the public and private sectors - from the Obama administration to Silicon Valley. I’m a policy wonk who has worked on national policy solutions in the Obama administration. I’ve dedicated my career to investing in people and organizations that empower communities.
With your support, we’ll bring bold new ideas to Sacramento. We will do this by reforming our public schools to be pandemic proof and building new systems to actually eliminate chronic homelessness. We will cut crime at its root by going after fentanyl dealers and criminal cartels while addressing anti-Asian violence. And we will create a new green economy by fundamentally reforming our housing policy and subsidizing a complete electrification of all vehicles and buildings. Together, we can ensure San Francisco remains a beacon of hope for the middle class.
The Problem: The housing crisis is central to San Francisco’s most pervasive issues – homelessness, gentrification, and cost of living. The causes are a lack of personalized care, significant lack of transitional housing, racist zoning practices that make it impossible to build new housing, and extreme permitting requirements that make it expensive to build.
A Built For Zero System. End chronic homelessness with a public-private task force that has already worked in 14 cities by providing a dedicated counselor for every unhoused, coupled with real time data monitoring to personalize care and treatment to the individual
Protect Renters Today. Extend the eviction moratorium and reform the Ellis Act to prohibit evictions in the first 5 years of owning a property; increase access to temporary housing for people experiencing homelessness by doubling transitional housing beds
Affordable Housing For All. Make it legal to build multi-family housing by banning exclusionary zoning; make it cheaper to build through streamlined permitting and modularized housing; and reduce gentrification through expanded rent control and tenant protections
The Problem: California public schools used to lead the nation, but years of political posturing have led to permanent learning loss for our children and an exodus of working families from our city. The causes are lowering the bar on math and science (the school board removed algebra from 8th grade!), school boards that focus on school renamings instead of school reopenings, and a significant lack of funding to keep our best teachers.
Bring Back Algebra. Invest in STEM education and bring back basics including 8th Grade Algebra that have been cut from public schools
Keep Schools Open. Ensure our children can attend school in person with rapid COVID testing and contact tracing; expand 5G and broadband internet funding to bridge the digital divide in our schools
Increase Teacher Salaries. Boost teacher salaries to be internationally competitive and permanently funded through tax reform
The Problem: San Franciscans don’t feel safe – we’ve seen a horrific spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, a catastrophic rise in fentanyl deaths, and an increase in home invasions. The causes are immediate and systemic – a lack of support for victims of hate (the city still fines small businesses for graffiti!), a lack of accountability in prosecuting violent crime, and a lack of a social safety net to help those re-entering the workforce.
A Hate Crime Fund. Expand funding for victims of anti-Asian violence through the California Victim Compensation Board; subsidize funding for community-based violence prevention programs and compensation for small businesses experiencing vandalism or graffiti
Hold Perpetrators Accountable. Ensure prosecution and increase penalties for fentanyl dealers through expanded drug market intervention (DMI) strategies; increase funding for State/Federal partnerships that cut the supply chain of crime - targeting organized cartels that sell fentanyl or stolen goods
A Better Social Safety Net. Reduce recidivism with increased funding for job training and counseling through the Built for Zero framework; disincentivize second time offenses with a guaranteed income
The Problem: We must act now to slow down the impacts of climate change we’re already facing – wildfires causing toxic smoke and rising sea levels that threaten our shorefronts. The causes are continued reliance on big oil and gas, a high cost to electrify emission sources (houses, vehicles, agriculture), and antiquated regulatory systems that don’t accommodate new technologies.
A Climate Bank. 0% interest loans to every individual to subsidize retrofitting their house, vehicle, or business to be 100% carbon neutral; administered through a new WWII-style planning commission in California Climate Investments advising on investment strategies through state public banks
Tax Big Oil & Gas. Implement a carbon tax to fund the climate loans; reform cap and trade systems to subsidize new carbon capturing technologies especially in agriculture and factories
A Just Job Transition. Funnel climate loans and subsidies to fuel a revitalization of the manufacturing sector for green energy production; provide job training and placement for all workers in legacy industries to the green economy
The Problem: Income inequality is one of the most existential threats to our city and our democracy – the top 10% have received increased wages by 50% while the bottom 50% have seen reduced wages by 10%. The causes impact our working class the most – high costs of living, small business closures, and poorly functioning unemployment benefit systems like EDD.
A Guaranteed Income. Ensure $500 per month for every family in need earning less than $75,000 a year; funded via carbon and wealth taxes
Expand Tax Credits. Expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CAlEITC) ceiling to $75,000 regardless of family type; expand small business grants to those most impacted by COVID
Fund Direct Cash. Proceed to direct monthly cash infusion of guaranteed income checks in collaboration with statewide public banks; reform our EDD system to be modernized and functional
The Problem: The lack of a universal healthcare system was felt most this last year amidst a pandemic, especially by our small businesses and working class. The result is skyrocketing medical costs, lack of affordable health insurance, and outdated healthcare infrastructure ill prepared for a pandemic response.
A Pandemic Response Agency. Establish a new state department to solve new pandemic threats; achieve a 7-1-7 standard of identifying outbreaks in 7 days, investigate root causes in 1 day, and respond in 7 days
Universal Testing. Subsidize free and regular testing for COVID in every zip code with results available within 24 hours; coordinate backward and forward contact tracing to contain future outbreaks
Universal Healthcare. Expand our Medi-Cal program to cover all California residents for their healthcare expenditures
The Problem: Cities should be built around the needs of people, but our transit infrastructure is built around cars and is inaccessible to those without one. The causes are largely structural – antiquated regulations that lengthen the time to build, government fragmentation that makes it difficult to coordinate projects that do get built, and a structural deficit in services like Muni that result in reduced hours of service.
Car Free Cities. Incentivize the uptake of public transit through increased state subsidized funding to SFMTA and BART to expand service availability and hours; new subsidies for boosting e-bike infrastructure; increase traffic safety through automated speed enforcement
Efficient Integration of Transit. Accelerate intercity transit construction and standardize fares by combining the Bay Area’s 27 transit agencies into a single network manager; require the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to identify priority areas for investment and improved fare coordination
High Speed Rail 2030. Finish our flagship rail project in 8 years; streamline CEQA environmental reviews and land procurement laws to hasten its development; expand funding for other projects like the Central Subway and TransBay Terminal expansions
The Problem: People of color and LGBTQ+ individuals should have the same rights and opportunities as all Californians. But our government and systems remain antiquated and often explicitly prejudicial. Drug enforcement laws that hold back people of color, outdated policing techniques result in prejudicial enforcement, and antiquated medical practices are oppressive to LGBTQ+ families.
Overturn 100K marijuana convictions. Emancipate anyone who still has a marijuana conviction on their record by setting a deadline for expungement as required by Prop 64; this will enable thousands of individuals (predominantly people of color) to immediately qualify for public benefits and free them from employment and housing prejudice as a result of past convictions
Expand LGBTQ+ Services. Increase hospital access for transition and gender-affirming services for transgender individuals; protect intersex rights by prohibiting unnecessary surgeries on children who can not consent; enable workers to use existing caregiving and sick leave to care for chosen families
Police Reform. Automate traffic enforcement to reduce unnecessary police confrontations; also establish state standards for mandatory de-escalation training of law enforcement; overturn the inhumane and ineffective three strikes law
The Problem: Women continue to face roadblocks to true equality at home and in the workplace, and these obstacles are more pronounced for women at the intersections of race, class, sexual identity, gender identity and accessibility. These barriers include workplace conditions that foster harassment, the exorbitant cost of childcare, and bureaucratic processes that deny victims justice.
Mandated Testing of Rape Kits. Require law enforcement agencies to process the thousands of backlogged rape tests from 2016 by January 31, 2023 to solve and prevent crimes of sexual violence, and send the message that violence against women is a crime that is unacceptable and a priority to address in society
Eliminate Workplace Harassment. Prohibit non-disclosue agreements (NDAs) for workplace and housing harassment in all cases to ensure discrimination, assault and harassment cannot be continuously perpetrated by the same bad actors by empowering victims to speak out about the crimes against them
Universal Childcare. Increase access to childcare, lowering an undue burden and expectation of mothers in California, by making it more affordable by capping family fees for publicly subsidized childcare from 10% of family monthly income down to 1%