Jeff Adachi wants to be the next mayor of San Francisco. He is known to have declined public financing for his campaign, which centers on a proposed pension reform—Adachi says it would save the city $1.6 billion in the next 10 years—and a plan to dish out $40 million in microloans to small businesses every year. But in a year when it feels like everyone in San Francisco is running for mayor at once, 7x7 is taking a look at Jeff Adachi the man. (*7x7 does not endorse any specific candidate for mayor.)
How do you think we can keep more families in the city of San Francisco?
We’re seeing families leave San Francisco in droves. It’s not that San Francisco doesn’t have good schools, it’s just that it has uneven schools. If you want your kid to get into a good school you either have to leave town or win the lottery.
Many of the candidates are saying they are going to “fix MUNI.” Do you think MUNI is broken?
I think MUNI suffers from two things: One, the resources allocated to MUNI are often used for other purposes. Two, the way that the staffing and operations are structured are probably about 10-12 years behind where they should be.
Let’s talk Tenderloin. On one hand, it’s a vibrant destination for dining and nightlife. On the other, it’s filthy and unsafe with drug deals happening in broad daylight.
I lived in the Tenderloin for seven years during and after law school. First, you’ve got to have the economic activity to support the community—in the Tenderloin, you have a liquor store on every corner, you have the containment zone when it comes to crime. You’ll see open-air drug dealing that wouldn’t be tolerated in Pacific Heights. You need to have the support services for the communities that are living there…I would propose better technology, like surveillance cameras. This would not necessarily reduce crime, but it would keep certain areas clean of open-air drug dealing.
Do you think San Francisco is prepared for a natural disaster?
Since [Loma Prieta], our city has done a pretty good job. We have the NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team). They have the responsibility of essentially being a network through all of the neighborhoods. The fire and police have a master plan for an earthquake. We have a very comprehensive water system in our city just to deal with earthquakes alone. In terms of housing being reinforced and earthquake proof, we still have a long way to go. But, we’re better than we were 20 years ago.
What neighborhood do you live in?
What’s a typical day off like for you?
I haven’t had a day off in quite awhile (laughs). I’m a guy who likes to hang out in the sun. In my area of town, it doesn’t get so sunny. I have an 11-year old daughter, so we love the parks, we like to ride bikes. Golden Gate Park is a favorite place. Sunday streets. The thing about San Francisco is you can go anywhere and have a unique experience. It’s a little magical kingdom.
What’s your favorite backyard retreat?
Half Moon Bay and La Honda. I love going up there because it’s a wooded area but it’s right next to the beach. It’s one of those small beachfront towns. There’s a great restaurant in La Honda that has excellent artichoke soup.
What else don’t we know about Jeff Adachi?
I do a lot of weird things, I guess. I play play guitar, I make documentary films. I used to see a lot of music in town at Slim’s, the Great American Music Hall. I was raised in the ‘70s, so that’s the genre I grew up with and the music that I play. Now, I listen to a lot of what they call electronica.
Really? Who’s your favorite?
I’d say probably Gorillaz. We used to call it acid jazz. Trance, I listen to that, it’s really relaxing for me! Bossa Nova is really nice, there’s an endless supply of world music. I really enjoy filmmaking. My last film was about a comedian who died 30 years ago, Jack Soo, and I just became infatuated with wanting to tell his story. He was the first non-African-American who was signed to Motown Records.
If you had one last meal in San Francisco, do tell.
Oh that’s an easy one, Mitchell’s ice cream! Ube is my favorite flavor, I would just get one whole barrel of that. It’s bright purple made from a Filipino fruit and it’s the best ice cream you’ve ever had.
Gavin had his hair, Ed Lee, a mustache, what kind of style can we expect from Jeff Adachi?
You know, San Francisco needs a mayor with style and that has to include suspenders.