After 43 weeks of questions, we’ve asked our candidates for District 9 supervisor — four of whom remain: Hillary Ronen, Joshua Arce, Iswari España, and Melissa San Miguel — to provide their stances on homelessness, policing, development, cyclists, affordable housing, Bernie vs. Hillary, and a host other topics.

We broke down their answers in early September to give readers a sense of their various stances on more than a dozen different topics. Some differed in their support for the Police Department or their stance on new market-rate development. All but one said they were outsiders hoping to change the status quo, while everyone revealed they are renters in a city of renters.

For our last question, we wondered what one question we should have asked that we didn’t.

What question do you wish we had asked you? And please give us your answer to that question.

Respuestas en español aquí.

Iswari España, Training Officer for the Human Services Agency

Many community leaders in the district question the legitimacy and motives of D9 campaigns and candidates. Some have questioned their whereabouts prior to the elections. 

I have been asked, why am I running now and where have I been in the past?

I have devoted myself to working for social justice issues and against the bureaucracy of politics in San Francisco for 23 years. I have been fighting the system that has oppressed families in the Mission and abused neighbors in our district. I have been always in the field and in the trenches, working for and with people in my neighborhood in the court systems and in continuation educational systems. As a result, I advocated effectively for resources for families while building partnerships to create solutions with city government and non-profit agencies. I created over 500 employment opportunities. 

I can tell you that in the past years, I have never seen any of the other candidates. Where were all these candidates when our youth were murdered on our streets, when our neighbors were getting evicted and displaced. When the infrastructure of our neighbors was undermined. I have helped numerous individuals and families in this district and beyond. I have and continue to do this work because it is the right thing to do. I don’t help only when there is a photo-op or the opportunity to get my name in headlines. 

Last year in September, I had enough with our local politicians and their lack of response to the issues in the neighborhood. 

I hope when you make your decision in D9 you will consider my devotion to community and give me your support.

Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff for Supervisor David Campos

Why are you running for Supervisor?

Since college, I have been working to improve the communities where I lived. I have worked as a domestic violence counselor in San Diego, as a human rights advocate in the Dominican Republic, as a corporate accountability legal aide at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, as an immigrant rights attorney at La Raza Centro Legal in the Mission District of San Francisco, and as a legislative aide in the District 9 supervisor’s office.

Despite how difficult and negative politics can be, the change I have been part of making when I was a legislative aide in City Hall was the most fulfilling and meaningful work I have ever done in my life. In the last six and half years, I helped:

  • Create Free Muni for Youth (and now seniors and people with disabilities)
  • Save St. Luke’s Hospital from being shut down in the Mission
  • Protect women seeking health care services at Planned Parenthood in Bernal
  • Stop evictions by passing four of the strongest tenant rights laws in the country
  • Put over 900 units of affordable housing in the pipeline for District 9
  • Guarantee that the Healthy SF surcharge we pay actually goes to worker health care
  • Ensure that city contractors are paying women equally for equal work
  • Force the city to build six new navigation centers so we have an alternative to tent encampments
  • Build the first adult LGBT homeless shelter in the nation
  • And provide one on one constituent services to hundreds of District 9 residents

I could not be more excited to be running for supervisor so I can continue to serve the residents of District 9 and create policies and laws that can not only change our city, but if they work well, the state and country.

Joshua Arce, Civil Rights Attorney

We wished you would have asked, “How important is it that the Mission District have Latino/a representation on the Board of Supervisors?”

The Mission District is the heart and soul of the Latino community in the Bay Area. We have lost thousands of Latino families due to rising rents and the constant threat of eviction. Our City Hall representatives have not done their job in protecting our community. Instead of proposing real solutions, the status quo in City Hall worked to drum up anger and anxiety around self-serving policies and created a wedge between our community and newer residents.

It is time for things to change. Our campaign has created a diverse coalition of Latino community members and people of all ethnicities and walks of life, longtime District 9 families and more recent residents, tenants, homeowners, and public housing community members, coming together to create solutions that work for all of us.

I would be the first supervisor elected from the Mission District in nearly 40 years, and I would be the first Latino supervisor elected from the Mission District in even longer, perhaps ever. It is time for real representation from our community on the Board of Supervisors.

Melissa San Miguel did not answer this week’s question.

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Joe Rivano BarrosSenior Editor

Senior Editor. Joe was born in Sweden and spent his early childhood in Chile, before moving to Oakland when he was eight. He attended Stanford University for political science and worked at Mission Local as a reporter after graduating, before spending time as a partner for the strategic communications firm The Worker Agency. He rejoined Mission Local as an editor in 2023.

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