I’m Scott Wiener. I’m a California State Senator from San Francisco and a member of the LGBT community. I'm working to protect our community from COVID-19 and its impacts, including:

-Crafting eviction and foreclosure moratoriums

-Advocating for an end to the FDA’s LGBTQ blood donation ban

-Fighting to keep cannabis stores open

-Working to ensure freelancers and gig workers can get safety net benefits

-Ensuring people facing financial troubles can access food

-And more

I just introduced legislation – SB 939 – to place a moratorium on commercial evictions during this crisis so our small businesses have a fighting chance at reopening. I’m co-authoring AB 828, to put a moratorium on renter evictions.

When San Francisco shut down all non-essential businesses, I fought to get cannabis stores re-opened because cannabis is medicine for so many. The San Francisco Department of Public Health listened, and now dispensaries are open.

I'm also a gay man, and am barred from giving blood (despite the massive blood shortage we have due to COVID-19) because of outdated, discriminatory regulations the FDA has in place. I'm calling on the FDA to reverse its ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood if they haven’t been celibate for the past year.

EDIT: Wow, thanks for all the questions/comments. Hang tight, am going to do my best to get to as many as possible over the next couple of days.

Comments: 311 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

good_matty42 karma

An eviction moratorium doesn't help if people owe months of backrent at the end of the moratorium. What are you doing about this?

scott_wiener5 karma

Here’s a variation of a response I gave to a similar question:

I share your concern, and that’s why AB 828 - the eviction moratorium I’m co-authoring with Assemblymember Phil Ting - provides a mechanism to lower rent after the emergency for a period of time and during that time allowing the tenant to repay the back rent in installments.

But I do want to emphasize the critical importance of an eviction moratorium. Immediate job #1 is to freeze evictions statewide - and the vast majority of California cities have not enacted even basic eviction moratoriums. We must ensure that people don’t get mass evicted and don’t have to jump through hoops to protect themselves from eviction. This is our immediate, triage need: to drop the boom on evictions. To hit the pause button, maintain the status quo, and keep people stable in their homes during this emergency. We want to make sure that people right now can focus on health and health only and not have to worry they’re going to be served with an eviction notice in a few days.

Yet, only freezing evictions — while essential to our short-term stability as a community — is insufficient. We must also address the issue of accumulated back rent and ensure that people don’t face massive, immediate bills when the eviction moratoriums end. The expansion of unemployment - up to $1,050/month - will help some tenants pay rent, but that won’t be enough for a lot of renters. It’s a very challenging issue, since these are private contracts — there are constitutional limitations on simply overriding these contracts and waiving the rent entirely — and since landlords have to continue to pay mortgages, property taxes, etc. But we have a responsibility to work to ensure that people don’t survive the pandemic only to be pushed out of their housing. I’m committed to helping craft a resolution to that issue that lets people stay in their homes and that treats everyone fairly. AB 828 contains one such approach. I’m sure there are other approaches worth considering.

Some have stated that the way to permanently waive rent is to permanently waive the landlord’s financial obligation to pay the mortgage or other debt. It’s even more legally questionable that we would have the authority to cancel mortgage payments.

So it’s a complicated issue, but it’s an issue that we must find a way to address, both with respect to back rent and back mortgage payments.

cherokeesix31 karma

Why is California so behind on testing? New York is doing 5x as many tests per capita as we are.

scott_wiener13 karma

The entire country, frankly, is behind on testing due to the CDC and FDA’s epics mishandling of testing. But we are catching up. California has been significantly accelerating testing over the past few days, including a significant expansion of non-hospital testing sites. Kaiser, Sutter, and others are ramping up their own testing. And more and more outdoor sites are being identified for mobile testing. It’s hard to overstate how damaging the testing debacle has been - it’s played a significant role in allowing this pandemic to rage out of control in parts of our country - but it’s being resolved.

This points to a larger issue: This country hasn’t taken public health infrastructure seriously enough. The federal government - and Trump in particular - have hollowed out various federal public health functions at CDC, NIH, and NSA. That’s made us less prepared. We also need to invest significantly in the California Department of Public Health, which will need more resources. Fortunately, the San Francisco Department of Public Health is the best in the nation, and because of our experience with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, San Francisco has prioritized this critical function.

Berkeleymark13 karma

Scott it sounds like you’re focusing on a lot of issues. Please prioritize the testing issue at the top of your concerns!! We’ll never defeat this unless we have fast, low cost testing! Somebody in California has to take the LEAD on this issue!

Thanks.

scott_wiener6 karma

I agree with you that testing - along with hospital capacity/equipment and preventing mass evictions/foreclosures - is top of the list.

grannyemy11 karma

What are we doing about the over 8,000 homeless people living on the streets in the face of COVID-19? Do they have to be sick to get housing?

scott_wiener17 karma

The city is creating temporary housing for homeless people - places where they aren’t packed with other people. And for homeless people who are ill but not ill enough to be hospitalized, they’re being discharged to rented hotel rooms, paid for by the city.

CorgiStans9 karma

What do you think should be done about nursing and medical students who can't graduate because classes have been canceled?

Given the pandemic, don't we need them now more than ever?

scott_wiener21 karma

Yes, we need to be flexible and allow students to participate. Even if they’re not interacting with patients, they can provide significant administrative support to free up other resources. They’re a major untapped resource.

IAMA_Madmartigan7 karma

1) What changes in (1) lifestyle and (2) temporary regulation changes as a result of the current pandemic do you see carrying over to post-pandemic life (e.g., offering take out or delivery of alcohol with food from restaurants)?

2) Why can't we get your housing bills passed? It's infurtiating that it is so difficult to build housing in SF

scott_wiener13 karma

Regarding #1, it’s too soon to say. It depends on the trajectory of the pandemic over the coming months and into next year, the availability of effective treatments, and a vaccine. There may be very few permanent changes, or there may be more. It’s too soon to say.

Regarding #2: Our housing work questions some basic long-term assumptions about how land use and development work in California. We’re trying to change the status quo. Whenever you try to change the status quo, there’s always significant pushback and it can take years. With that said, we’ve made tremendous progress over the past few years, including advancing ideas that would have been dead on arrival even 5 years ago. I’m optimistic about our future prospects. Hang in there, and thanks for the support!!

theaceoface7 karma

Are there plans to patrol parks and other areas to prevent people from gathering? Do we feel like the shelter in place orders are being adequately followed?

scott_wiener18 karma

I believe that a very large percentage of San Franciscans are complying with the shelter in place order. I’ve also gone to various parks to take walks or run, and I’ve not seen violations - no crowding and people maintaining space even on running tracks. While there certainly are violations - and we’ve seen videos on social media - I think that’s the exception not the rule. I also think that the message takes a while to sink in, particularly among young people who think they’re invincible. It’s sinking in now. I think we will see more proactive enforcement - not to cite or arrest people but to tell people to disperse.

Supermarkets and pharmacies also need to create systems to ensure social distancing. That seems to be a work in progress, particularly for supermarkets, but progress is being made.

Cha0ticJules6 karma

Hi Scott,

I’m a renter here in your district who can’t work now with all that’s going on, and I won’t be able to pay my rent and other bills in a few days. I have a family, and I’m worried about us and millions of others in the same boat about losing our homes. Can you explain why the governor decided to give relief to homeowners through mortgage relief but nothing for renters? Why aren’t you all working while every other government in the country is?

scott_wiener3 karma

Many of us are pushing very hard for an eviction moratorium. I’m co-authoring legislation by Assemblymember Phil Ting to enact one, and just yesterday, I joined several dozen legislators to ask the Governor to place a blanket statewide eviction moratorium in place. That letter is on my social media. The Governor previously authorized cities to enact such moratoriums, but few cities have actually done so. We need a statewide moratorium. As Legislators, we’re working very hard to try to put an eviction moratorium in place. It’s a very high priority.

thenudemutants6 karma

What are you doing to help our communities suffering from homelessness?

scott_wiener2 karma

We’re investing significantly on protecting the health of our homeless neighbors. So far, $150 million of our emergency appropriation has gone toward helping homeless people. That includes expanding spaces where homeless people can be temporarily housed in a way that they’re socially distanced from others. The city is also leasing hotel rooms for homeless people who may have the virus or otherwise be sick, are not sick enough to take up a hospital bed, but have nowhere to self-quarantine. If we don’t have a place to send them, then they need to remain in the hospital. For people who aren’t sick enough to stay in the hospital, we need a place to send them.

Vitriholic5 karma

Are you finding your colleagues to be supportive of your efforts?

scott_wiener6 karma

Yes, my colleagues are very supportive. We’re working collaboratively with local, state, and federal leaders every day, as well as healthcare and nonprofit leaders. This is a major team effort, and it’s inspiring.

dan73155 karma

Hi Scott, I really appreciate the work you've done on housing production legislation like SB 50. What effects will the pandemic have on housing legislation this year? Will it be more difficult to get those bills passed?

scott_wiener7 karma

Our #1, #2, and #3 priorities right now are the COVID-19 emergency. But we still have terrible crises around housing, homelessness, and wildfires. At the moment, these issues have taken a back seat to addressing the pandemic. But that won’t last forever. We’ll continue to work on these critically important issues. I can’t say what the impacts will be on bills this year, since I do not yet know when the Legislature will go back in session, what exactly our legislative calendar will look like, and whether there will be limits on the number of bills that can move forward given the hole that was blown in our legislative calendar. But rest assured that I remain deeply committed to structural reform of our broken housing system in California.

NDakotaFarmer4 karma

Are you that guy that had the nude photo scandal ? What happened there?

scott_wiener6 karma

Different guy. No relation. Spells his name differently.

CHUD_Warrior4 karma

Where should the public be watching for information about any possible vaccine (s)?

scott_wiener5 karma

This will be heavily covered in the news, so it should be easy to see what’s happening.

Various medical journals, like the AMA and Lancet will no doubt be putting out information.

Internationalhomeboy3 karma

Hi Senator Wiener, I am an SF resident and am proud to have you represent myself in the state's capitol. My question for you concerns protections for renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is my understanding that San Francisco and some other cities in the Bay Area have enacted eviction moratoriums for renters who are unable to pay their rent in full during the crisis and am happy to see you are working to expand those protections to the state level.

What I am concerned about is if we will see mass evictions of tenants from properties once these moratoriums end. I understand the federal government has expanded unemployment benefits to provide more money to those who are unable to work, but given the extreme high cost of living in the Bay Area and elsewhere in CA, I fear some may still struggle to make ends meet. This is especially concerning as a resident of a city (SF) where I believe about 2/3 of residents are renters.

Is there any relief on the horizon at the state level for renters beyond an eviction moratorium?

scott_wiener5 karma

I share your concern, and you articulate the problem well. Immediate job #1 is to freeze evictions statewide - and the vast majority of California cities have not enacted even basic eviction moratoriums. We must ensure that people don’t get mass evicted and don’t have to jump through hoops to protect themselves from eviction. This is our immediate, triage need: to drop the boom on evictions. To hit the pause button, maintain the status quo, and keep people stable in their homes during this emergency.

Yet, only freezing evictions — while essential to our short-term stability as a community — is insufficient. We must also address the issue of accumulated back rent and ensure that people don’t face massive, immediate bills when the eviction moratoriums end. You’re correct that the expansion of unemployment - up to $1,050/month - will help some tenants pay rent, but that won’t be enough for a lot of renters. It’s a very challenging issue, since these are private contracts — there are constitutional limitations on simply overriding these contracts — and since landlords have to continue to pay mortgages, property taxes, etc. But we have a responsibility to work to ensure that people don’t survive the pandemic only to be pushed out of their housing. I’m committed to helping craft a resolution to that issue that lets people stay in their homes and that treats everyone fairly.

Some have stated that the way to permanently waive rent is to permanently waive the landlord’s financial obligation to pay the mortgage or other debt. It’s even more questionable that we would have the authority to cancel mortgage payments.

So it’s a complicated issue, but it’s an issue that we must find a way to address, both with respect to back rent and back mortgage payments. I’m committed to being part of the solution.

theaceoface3 karma

Hi Scott, you're my favorite politician! Thank you for all your hard work! Three questions:

(1) What can we, as ordinary citizens, do to help with the pandemic effort?

(2) Is there a plan to get more personal protective equipment, ventilators and the like for San Francisco and or California?

(2) Obviously it's too early to tell, but what do you think are the long term consequences policy consequences for San Francisco and California? My sense is that Bay Area policy isn't prepared for a deep prolonged downturn.

scott_wiener4 karma

Thank you!!

  1. What people can do:

Stay at home and respect social distancing. That’s the most important thing we can all do.

Check in on friends/relatives/neighbors who are elderly, have chronic conditions, or are otherwise at risk. Call/text/knock on door (but without opening the door) to ask how they’re doing and if they need help, such as shopping assistance or any medical needs.

Check in on friends/relatives/neighbors just to see how they’re feeling. Isolation plus lots of terrible news can harm people’s mental health. There are lots of resources available (we’ll be putting out a resource guide this week), but just being able to talk to other people helps.

If you have the ability, please financially support nonprofits you care about - they’re really struggling right now - and in particular, please support nonprofits that provide food assistance in this time of need, e.g., the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Project Open Hand, St. Anthony’s, Glide.

Spread accurate information about resources, needs, etc. If you follow me on social media, I try to post this information. Please consider sharing it.

These are just a few ideas.

  1. Yes, our city and state and hospitals are working exceptionally hard to locate and purchase protective gear and ventilators. It’s among the highest priorities. Some progress is being made.

  2. It’s too soon to say, but if this drags on, which it may, we could see significant long term consequences in our state and region around unemployment, poverty, access to housing, and government budgets. I’m very concerned. But we will have to assess later on, because it’s too soon to say.

MonitorGeneral3 karma

If the FDA revises its ban on men who have had sex with a man in the past year, what regulation do you propose? UK NHS has a 3-month moratorium. Should it be based on a questionnaire of risk behaviors?

scott_wiener3 karma

Current HIV testing technology has a 10-14 day window - in other words, if blood tests negative for HIV, that means it was negative 10-14 earlier and beyond. There’s zero rationale to have a celibacy requirement beyond that time period. And whatever the rule is - for example, for straight people, we simply rely on their own judgment - it should be the same for gay and straight.

GailaMonster3 karma

Thanks for doing this.

My question: What do you think the biggest "missing piece" is to our regional response? What hasn't happened yet that you want to see happen that you think will make the MOST difference?

scott_wiener4 karma

Dramatically ramping up testing and taking firm steps to disperse large gatherings of people. Both are starting to happen.

raldi3 karma

Do you think states that are taking this seriously should start screening/restricting travelers from states that aren't?

This would not just protect their own citizens, it would put pressure on the other states to step it up, and also help ensure, e.g., California is there to bail out, say, Oklahoma when the former is recovering and the latter is overwhelmed.

scott_wiener5 karma

I’d be very hesitant to close California’s borders to other states, which is what some are advocating. If we had a functional federal government in terms of enacting public health measures, the federal government would consider how to deal with hot spots and travel. To leave it up to the states to decide whether to put restrictions on travel from X or Y state strikes me as chaotic and probably ineffective since we really don’t control interstate transportation.

zabadoh3 karma

Hi Senator Scott!

I voted for you, and appreciate your work to alleviate our housing crisis.

Is there any word on property tax postponement during the crisis?

scott_wiener2 karma

Counties don’t have the power to delay property taxes, but they can waive penalties based on hardships. Various counties (including SF) have indicated that people should submit hardship penalty waivers if they can’t pay taxes on time.

Mariah-Scary3 karma

hello senator. so with our state economy being the 5th largest, will some of that go towards helping californians?has that been in discussion? if the US capitol barely passed the 1,200 stimulus then it’ll take forever and a day to roll out.

what about Sacramento doing a similar version just for californians?

scott_wiener4 karma

We will surely pass relief measures for Californa. We have a major limitation, however: California, unlike the federal government, cannot engage in deficit spending. We are constitutionally required to balance our budget. And, our revenues are plummeting. So we have much less flexibility, compared to the federal government, to pass stimulus/economic relief measures.

pro_n00b3 karma

With the stimulus package, do you anticipate more checks in the future? Being a state senator and representing SF, you know very well that $1200 check means close to nothing when people have to pay high rent. That wont even pay for a month's rent in places like SF and LA compared to other part of the country. Are there even talks to freeze rent?

scott_wiener7 karma

Yes, I do anticipate more direct support for individuals. And the way the current one was structured doesn’t take into account high cost areas like the Bay Area, since it starts phasing out at $75,000/year income. Unfortunately, both federal and state programs fail to take cost of living into account and treat the Bay Area the same as low cost areas. For example, my district office staff have the same salary scale as legislative staffers in Bakersfield. That’s not fair or appropriate. This is a continuing fight that, so far, we’ve typically lost.

Yes, there is advocacy for a rent freeze. And we need to make sure that after this ends, people don’t get stuck with an immediate multi-month rent or mortgage bill. But job #1 right now is to freeze evictions and make sure that no one is evicted. The vast majority of California renters do not currently have even that basic, triage protection. We will then have time to figure out the best way to ensure that people don’t get hit with a massive back rent/mortgage bill immediately after this ends, thus causing them to lose their homes.

bill_jackson_sf3 karma

Hi, Scott. I've heard different things on whether it's safe to buy groceries for homebound neighbors who may need help with that. Of course, I'd do that if they really needed food. But do you know about how I can find out about how to do this safely - or if I should not? I don't see info on SF DPH website and I see contrary info out there on the interwebs. Thanks much and thank you for your tireless work on this crisis!

scott_wiener8 karma

I’ve also heard different things, and to be clear, I’m not a public health expert. I saw a youtube video (https://youtu.be/sjDuwc9KBps) advocating pretty extreme steps to ensure that groceries you bring into your own home are uncontaminated. I guess it’s a matter of levels of risk. For a senior who needs to remain at home, which is riskier: going to the supermarket or having one person bring you bags of groceries that they’ve touched? It strikes me that the former is much riskier. The person who receives the groceries can take steps to reduce infection risk from the grocery bags.

dalek_9992 karma

How happy are you with Newsom's response to the pandemic?

scott_wiener7 karma

In my view, Governor Newsom is doing an excellent job responding to the pandemic. He and his team mobilized quickly, took prompt action to get people to stay at home, and are deploying resources effectively and quickly (we passed a $1.1 billion emergency appropriation last week, and the Governor is now deploying those resources for hospital capacity, helping the homeless, cleaning schools, expanding testing, purchasing protective gear, and other key needs). The Governor is also doing a superb job providing daily updates to the public and the press. So I’m a fan of his performance during this emergency.

One caveat: The Governor needs to issue an executive order enacting a statewide moratorium on both residential and commercial evictions. I have legislation pending (SB 939) to create a commercial eviction moratorium, and I’m co-authoring a bill by Assemblymember Phil Ting to create a residential eviction and foreclosure moratorium. During this emergency, we need to stop evictions unless there’s a safety issue (e.g., a tenant attacking another tenant). People need to focus on the health of our community, and not be stressed out about making rent or paying the mortgage.

The Governor issued an order authorizing cities to enact eviction moratoriums, but only if a person can demonstrate that the non-payment of rent is related to Coronavirus and only if the person notifies the landlord and can show they have no money. The vast majority of cities in California have not taken action, leaving renters at risk. And putting obstacles in people’s way - e.g., demonstrating it’s Coronavirus-related and notifying the landlord - is unnecessary. We need a blanket pause on evictions. I’ve expressed this directly to the Governor, and we just sent a letter signed by several dozen legislators, asking him to take this step. The Governor did negotiate a mortgage delay agreement with major lenders. Now we need to take care of evictions.

onerinconhill2 karma

Are there any options for small business forced to shut down due to the shelter in place mandate? We need to cover rent for an office with less than 25 employees and it doesn’t seem like this is covered in the stimulus

scott_wiener2 karma

Could you please contact my office in San Francisco so we can help you determine what resources are available? [email protected]

MisterRainbow2 karma

Hey Scott,

I actually live in your old supervisor district here in SF. I was wondering how you feel about the current divisions in the Democratic party between "Corporate Democrats" and "Progessive Democrats?" Do you think these are fair distinctions? And how are they helpful or regressive when trying to be pragmatic as a legislator?

Thanks!

scott_wiener9 karma

It’s not a helpful distinction. Some people classify the vast majority as democrats as “corporate,” even if they have an extremely progressive record. Politics is tribal, and people like putting others in categories and saying they’re not pure enough. Given everything we face - a health pandemic, a housing crisis, a homelessness crisis, wildfire, climate change, etc. - we have to work together and find as much common ground as possible.

amandeepjawa2 karma

Hi Scott - From the numbers I'm seeing, I concerned that the curve is still not flattening & despite good SF and CA leadership, we're not locking down enough to avoid an Italy-or-worse disaster here.

Are we considering a stronger lockdown?

scott_wiener3 karma

There are early indications that the acceleration of the virus here isn’t as bad a anticipated. That said, we haven’t seen the worst yet, and the next week or two will significantly challenge our hospital capacity. That’s why we’re working so hard to expand hospital capacity and acquire a lot more ventilators and protective gear. People are overwhelmingly complying with the stay at home/social distancing order. Not all - and the city needs to be very proactive in dispersing large groups - but a large majority.

Authrya2 karma

Hey Scott! I‘d like to ask you if you ever faced discrimination from any other political figures based on your sexuality? If yes, how did you handle it?

scott_wiener5 karma

Very rarely. I’ve found my colleagues in both local and state government to be very supportive. Unfortunately, there’s rampant homophobia online, and I do get regularly targeted by homophobes. But that’s just life in the modern age, tragically.

szhuge1 karma

Hi Scott - thanks for doing this from a voter in your district.

I understand the need for "Shelter in Place" to flatten the curve within the Bay Area, but in the time before a vaccine is produced, how can we ever go back to "normal life" if it only takes a single outside source of COVID-19 to take us back to square one?

Will we be stuck in "Shelter in place" until a vaccine is made for potentially a year's time?

scott_wiener1 karma

No, I do not believe that the current shelter in place will be the rule through availability of a vaccine. I’m not a public health expert, but from what I’ve read and the conversations I’ve had, if we can flatten the curve, we may be able to loosen restrictions (not eliminate - life will still be different for a while), with the potential for more shelter in place requirements in the future. The goal is to spread out the pressure on our healthcare systems so that it doesn’t get overwhelmed and create time to expand hospital capacity, acquire more protective gear and equipment like ventilators, develop treatments, and ultimately develop a vaccine. And all of this is dependent on dramatically expanding testing for the virus, testing for anti-bodies so we can track who may be immune, and tracing and quarantining people who have the virus. So it may be cyclical for a while.

schmeckesman1 karma

Whats your favorite burrito spot in the city?

Also, if you answered anything but "Taqueria Guadalajara on 24th street" which is still open and doing take out orders, btw, then explain why you are SO WRONG!!! ;)

scott_wiener3 karma

For 22 years it was Zapata at 18th and Collingwood. Tragically, it was forced to close. I’m now a free agent and haven’t settled on a new fave.

thatpj1 karma

How has the federal response hurt or helped your work in the state?

scott_wiener3 karma

The federal government’s failure to plan for or timely react to the pandemic; its failure to have sufficient strategic reserves of medical supplies/equipment; and its testing fiasco have made the pandemic worse nationally and in California.

dan73151 karma

What is the endgame for social distancing and quarantines? When does it end? I've read that if we stop social distancing without a vaccine the virus will just bounce right back, but even optimistic projections say it'll likely take over a year to get vaccines available.

scott_wiener1 karma

I addressed this in a response above - that, after this initial phase, we may spend the next year with lesser social distancing measures in place, and periodically stay at home requirements, with the goal being to spread out infections so we don’t overwhelm hospitals and create time to build healthcare capacity, create treatments, and ultimately create a vaccine.

rogerpeal1 karma

Hi Scott. Thank you for doing this. Is it true that gay men are not able to give blood right now despite the ongoing shortage?

scott_wiener10 karma

Yes, sadly that’s true. The FDA rule is that if you’re a gay or bisexual man, you are banned from donating blood unless you’ve been celibate for a year. Straight people don’t have that same rule - they can donate even if they’ve had multiple sex partners in the past couple of week. This rule is totally discriminatory and irrational, given how accurate HIV testing of donated blood is. I’ve started a petition to ask the FDA to suspend this rule, since we have a blood shortage as a result of people staying at home during the COVID-19 emergency. Here’s the petition. Please consider signing and passing along to your networks: https://www.grassroots-actions.org/blooddrive

LandShark8051 karma

In the high density society you've been encouraging where only public transport (and bikes) exist, relying on urban areas to feed & supply it; how do you think those living in those areas are feeling in terms of food, job & health security right now? In two weeks?

scott_wiener6 karma

Some of the densest cities on earth - e.g., Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taipei - have been the most effective at controlling this pandemic. And some low density suburban areas - e.g., outside of Seattle, New Rochelle New York, parts of Florida - have been very hard hit. This isn’t about density or lack of density. It’s about competent governmental response to a pandemic.

powerliftertobe1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this. I live in Southern California and am a commercial small retail strip center landlord. Our tenants are now beginning to reach out seeking rent relief alternatives. Furthermore, we also own a small chain of mom and pop restaurants that had to shut down and the landlords for those properties flat out denied rent relief. Basically, with property tax being due 4/10, we have little to no liquidity to offer our own commercial tenants rent relief. And our commercial mortgage lenders have not been much help. If our lenders are able to grant us a 60-120 day forbearance, we would most definitely extend this to our tenants.

In regards to SB 939, have you considered working with commercial lenders offering mortgage payment relief? You guys have made great progress on the residential side.

Thanks!

scott_wiener3 karma

Hi there. It’s important that rent forbearance be accompanied by mortgage forbearance. That’s how we can make it work. As for property taxes, counties don’t have the power to postpone rent payments, but various county tax collectors have encouraged people, if they can’t pay, to submit a request for penalty waive. I suspect that those waiver request for late payments will be looked on favorably.

inesta1 karma

Hey Scott, Is there more information available to the public? Like total tested, number positive, serious, critical, mild, recovered. Also stuff like current hospital capacity, available capacity. All I see in the news are charts with not a whole lot of data.

Thanks

scott_wiener2 karma

The state Office of Emergency Services puts out daily updates with numbers. You can ask my office how to sign up. [email protected]

S3simulation0 karma

So cannabis stores staying open isn’t a foregone conclusion? I figured since there is also medical marijuana that they would fall in the same category as pharmacies in regards to being essential. Is that not the case?

scott_wiener5 karma

Cannabis has been classified as an essential business. So they’re open.

Aeschylus_0 karma

Hi Scott, huge fan here.

I was curious what are your current plans if any to try to stimulate transit oriented production within California? I thought your previous attempts to do so were amazing, and wished they had passed.

Please keep up the good work!

scott_wiener2 karma

Thanks, I appreciate it. I discussed this in a response above - housing has temporarily taken a back seat to the pandemic - which makes all the sense in the world, since this emergency must be our top priority - but housing will be back, as this is a long term crisis for our state. I’m committed to continue our housing work and changing our broken housing status quo with structural change.

llHachimanll-1 karma

Hi Scott. Is Cannabis really that important? Why are you endangering even more lives?

scott_wiener10 karma

Many people rely on cannabis as medicine. Just as pharmacies remain open, people should be able to access their medicine. We should not be cutting people off from their medicine.

OcellarisKeeper-7 karma

Why did you legalize intentional HIV transmission?

scott_wiener6 karma

I proudly authored SB 239, to decriminalize HIV in California. The legislation was supported by a massive coalition of every credible civil rights, LGBT, public health, HIV, reproductive freedom, and immigrant rights group in the state. California singled out HIV for uniquely harsh felony treatment - treating it more harshly than Ebola and other much deadlier diseases - and SB 239 simply ensured that HIV would be treated exactly the same as other diseases. Before we passed this law, you could be guilty of a felony even if there was zero risk of infection. For sex workers, you could be guilty for soliciting without having any physical contact. These laws were horrific and did nothing to reduce HIV infections - they simply pushed HIV positive people into the shadows and created an incentive not to get tested.

Here are some articles on the subject:

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article179848151.html

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/erika-d-smith/article146529814.html

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article176242671.html