District 11 Supervisor
District 11 includes Excelsior, Ingleside, Oceanview, Merced Heights, Ingleside Heights, Mission Terrace, Outer Mission, Cayuga, and Crocker Amazon.
Won by 413 votes.
Up for Re-Election
Termed out in 2024
Ahsha Safaí is the Supervisor for San Francisco's District 11. He currently resides in Excelsior. He was previously a political director for the San Francisco Janitors Union (SEIU 87), and held various positions in the San Francisco Mayor's office and in the Clinton White House.
Safaí first ran for Supervisor in 2008, losing to John Avalos; in 2016, he ran again and won. On May 8, 2023, Safaí officially filed paperwork to run for mayor against incumbent London Breed.
Policy positions & priorities
Here's where Supervisor Safaí stands on the issues:
As one of the city's more pro-housing supervisors, Safaí has generally supported housing production, including initiatives to speed up the city's approval process. He has said that he's focused on the "missing middle" of San Francisco - people who make too much to qualify for low-income housing but who make too little to afford the units priced at the full market rate.
But Safaí has sometimes opposed housing initiatives, too, like when he blocked development of 1,300 units--350 of which would have been affordable at lower income levels--at the request of a corrupt non-profit called TODCO. He has also indicated that he may oppose modular housing--affordable pre-made housing that can be constructed on-site--unless labor interests can be appeased. Some unions oppose modular housing because the process doesn't require as much high-cost labor to build. As the former political director for SEIU 87, the San Francisco Janitors Union, Safaí has strong ties to labor groups, which have historically supported him.
Until he took steps to limit police staffing in October 2023, Safaí had often been considered one of the board’s stronger supporters of public safety. For example, in July 2021, he was among the first supervisors to take a stand against organized retail crime, calling out the city's "laissez-faire" attitude. After a mass looting event at Union Square a few months later, he observed the impact on the city's budget: "If retail frontline workers don't feel safe, if shoppers don't feel safe, stores will ultimately shut down. If stores shut down, we lose sales tax." He subsequently pushed for a permitting process for street vendors, to cut down on fencing of stolen goods.
In late 2021, Safaí introduced legislation to allow commercial stores to hire sheriff's deputies to fill security staffing shortages, acting as a visual and physical deterrent to retail crime. The measure later passed in the Board by 7-3. "When we heard that San Francisco was one of the epicenters for organized retail crime, we knew we had to act, and we knew we had to act swiftly," he said.
In October 2023, Safaí made a surprise move against SFPD funding, sabotaging an attempt by Supervisor Matt Dorsey to return the police force to full staffing. To address a severe shortage of officers, Dorsey had proposed a measure that would set a minimum police staffing level and dedicate funding for police recruiting. Safaí responded by amending the legislation to make it dependent on new or modified taxes--effectively defunding the measure. As Dorsey put it: "This is a last-minute ... poison pill to defund police recruitment and to deny San Franciscans adequate police staffing." It's unclear why Safaí took this position, which was inconsistent with his demand that same week for more police foot and bike patrols, but the SF Chronicle pointed out that labor groups opposed the staffing measure.
Running for Mayor
"We're at a crisis point in our city," Safaí told the San Francisco Examiner, saying that Mayor London Breed has failed to bring together the people to solve the existing issues around crime, homelessness, and a declining economy. But as supervisor, Safaí has historically been an ally of the mayor's and has often voted for her priorities. And where he has differed from Breed, voters may not always prefer his positions. For example:
He also declined to take a position on the recall of former DA Chesa Boudin. While Breed never formally supported the recall, she was a frequent critic of Boudin and her silence was viewed by many as tacit approval.
Unlike Breed, Safaí wanted to re-open JFK Avenue in Golden Gate Park to cars. Voters disagreed, choosing to keep JFK as a car-free promenade for pedestrians and cyclists by an overwhelming 30% margin.
On the other hand, Safaí sponsored legislation to create a new Homeless Oversight Commission, which 67% of voters supported; Breed opposed the measure, arguing that it would create more bureaucracy than accountability.
Key votes and actions
HOME-SF: With former supervisor Katy Tang, Safaí co-sponsored HOME-SF, the initiative to incentivize more affordable housing units in exchange for faster permitting and increased height allowances.
Affordable Homes Now: Safaí and Mayor Breed introduced a proposed ballot measure for the June 2022 election "with working families in mind" that would streamline housing approvals for projects with higher proportions of affordable units.
JFK Drive: Safaí was one of four Supervisors who voted against keeping JFK Drive car-free, arguing that closing the road "takes away access" to park features for his constituents. The park still has many roads for cars and 4,700 parking spaces.
Great Highway: Voted in favor of closing the Great Highway to cars on weekends, creating a bike- and pedestrian-friendly area along the coast.
Parklets: Supported allowing businesses to permanently keep parklets they created during the pandemic, and added an amendment that allows restaurants to lock their parklets overnight to minimize damage and squatting.
Cannabis: Has repeatedly sought to limit cannabis sales, including campaigning against cannabis dispensaries; limiting the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in his district; and after non-medical cannabis was legalized, authoring legislation to block new cannabis stores throughout the city.
Vehicle Triage Center: Safaí initiated a pilot program to turn a parking lot by the Balboa Park BART station into a "triage center" for people who live in their vehicles. The center offered showers and security for up to 30 vehicles, and allowed temporary residents to stay for up to 90 days while awaiting permanent housing. Safaí said he was "very, very proud" of the program helping 39 people transition out of homelessness and wanted to "take this program citywide."
Abstinence-based Recovery: With Mayor Breed, Safaí launched the Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention Academy to treat those with drug addictions on parole or awaiting trial with a structured, abstinence-based program.