What can the City do to bring more jobs to SF?

bobbyh's picture

Bringing back the demand for jobs has been a central priority these days for not only cities, but states and the entire federal government.  Thinking about this goal locally, what can San Francisco do to create more jobs here in the city?

I would say one way is to break ground on more development projects (like the Bayview Hunters Point project) and even smaller developments by offering a more streamlined and easy planning and building inspection process so developers would be more willing to develop in San Francisco.  Its no secret that its a complete headache to try and develop property in the city, and I don't think we need to give up any revenue through lower fees or anything, just make it an easier process.

I would add that the most long term beneficial plan would involve targeting certain industries to locate and grow within our city limits.  The biotech tax credit was one effective policy, how about we create a green tech tax credit?  In the end, we have a long way to go with making San Francisco a more business-friendly place--I think our elected officials oftentimes forget that businesses create jobs and while it is easy to vilify employers, especially the larger employers, they are the ones that bring jobs to the city.  Helping businesses thrive helps labor in the city thrive.

What would you suggest for creating more jobs in San Francisco?

Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

SF's Business Cluster

A business cluster is a geographic concentration - like San Francisco - of interconnected businesses, suppliers and associated institutions in a particular field. I would first ask, "which business clusters are located within San Francisco?" and invest in those fields. One of the most successful, and widely known, business clusters is the Silicone Valley. But, not all clusters are of that magnitude.

With schools like UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, San Francisco State, USF and Golden Gate University - I would say San Francisco is the mecca for higher education business cluster in the west. My thought is to invest in higher education, whether it be expanding or even creating new institutions, to solidify the area's higher educational cluster and add to the synergy created.

DonRoss's picture

Small Business Tax Credits

It is often overlooked, but small businesses are the engine for job creation. They account for over 50% of our jobs in the US, and I would imagine very similar numbers in SF.  If you talk to any owner, or any business in any industry, the fact is that all are having their employees do more work. The productivity of workers has increased, but the workforce has not. Owners and operators are pushing their employees to the brink of burnout because of fear of another downturn in the economy. We (the City) need to offer any incentive we can to employers to hire more workers: hiring credits, payroll tax hiatus, salary subsidies (JobsNow) anything we can do to promote small businesses to hire again.

As owners become more comfortable to hire again, it will ease anxiety in the market and spread like wild fire.

Phil Ting's picture

Small Business and ChinaSF

We do need to offer more incentives for small businesses but most of all we need to make it easier for small business to deal with government.  The amount of incentives would pale in comparison if we could expedite permitting, streamline tax paperwork and fast track business licenses.  Currently, we have payroll tax credit for new life sciences and clean tech companies.  This a is a great start but we need to make sure its easy to get these companies up and going in SF.  We created ChinaSF, a public-private partnership, to recruit Chinese companies to SF so they could create jobs for San Franciscans - its the opposite of outsourcing - insourcing of sorts.  We've already created 100 jobs in the last two years in the worst economy since the Depression.  By focusing on creating jobs, we can create a more vibrant economy.  Rather than have a paltry tax credit for foreign companies, we set up a concierge service for these companies and help hold their hands as they open up offices here.  The Small Business Assistance Center is supposed to do the same thing here as well.  Would be interesting to see how well it's working?

JoshuaJames's picture

Totally Agreed

The one thing I here over and over again from small business owners in San Francisco is how hard it is to even get started in this city!  From delays on paperwork, to hundreds of permits, to playing politics with the approval process-- it all hampers small local business owners from getting started or even wanting to start a business in San Francisco.

"Insourcing" is a clever way to think about the problem.

gcotter's picture

America's Cup

Big article in the Chron today about the proposal to have SF host the 2013 America's Cup.  Whether you're into sailing or not, any major development such as this has the potential to increase employment.  There is the basic demolition and construction.  There is all the associated construction activities - painting, landscaping, maintenance.  Development brings with it new restaurants and stores - each of which hire employees.  

Big projects like this can bring in immediate jobs and the resulting construction provides ongoing jobs.  This are of SF has seen improvement over the past several years and with the development of China Basin and the Ball Park, this new project will leverage the gains already made.

If you like this project, encourage the city to approve and expedite it.  It will be good for the city and will add jobs.

Phil Ting's picture

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Economic development is one of the most critical and undervalued functions in the City.  I have worked very closely with the ED team in SF as we have crafted and launched two of the most successful job creation programs in the last few years - GoSolarSF and ChinaSF.  GoSolarSF was supposed to create more solar in SF, but we were able to create 40 "green collar" jobs at the same time.  By creating a program which encouraged residents to purchase solar from companies who hired people out of our workforce training program, we were able to have more green roofs and jobs at the same time.  ChinaSF has helped recruit over 10 companies to SF and created over 100 jobs in the worst economy since the Depression. We need these programs and much more in order to jump start economy and carry it into the 21st Century.

gcotter's picture

Jobs - the ripple effect

When it comes to jobs,  you have to remember the value of the ripple effect.  It can be as big as - or bigger - than the project itself.   The Moscone Center and the ball park are two big examples.  Not only did the development itself provide jobs during the initial construction phase, but new restaurants and stores were opened, new ongoing maintenance jobs were created, new conventions came to town so more hotels were built providing jobs at all levels.  As more people come for conventions and ball games more restaurant meals are consumed, more tee-shirts are purchased, and the list goes on.  Obviously the national economy has reduced convention attendance which in turn has hurt small businesses, but that will come back as the economy improves.  But we need to continue to identify ways to develop jobs.  The GoSolarSF is a good example showing how 40 new green jobs were created.  And those 40 people will shop, eat out, buy clothing, etc which keeps smaller businesses alive and contributes to our tax base.  Jobs affect more than just the single job holder.  The ripple effect is how that one job touches every other merchant or enterprise, and how those ripples continue on and on.. 

vitriolic's picture

Black contractors r not getting their fair share of build

Why do we have LENNAR from fllorida & d. feinsteins hubby.  Willie Ratcliff restarted his Liberty Builders and got the contract for Bayview Library, he is also owner of Bayview NewsPaper (on line now) and has the best news local and international.  That newspaper has the PULSE of the city and national articles, truthfully written-which is absent in our other local paper.  The examiner can't be called news because of its christian right slant, and demoralization of the city.  Exam needs to stop littering our streets with the plastic bags containing toxic stories.  If they must distribute use rubberbands to bind ur paper, no more of useless plastic bags and why hasn't the board of supes gotten on ur case.

vitriolic's picture

Employ the commpanies that r here

Phil, why would u recruit companies out of sf??  We have some of the best:  architects, construction workers, electricians (except PGE) if pge can't do the job right, we have an electrical union right here in sf.  I'm guessing-R U anti union?? Like Lennar corp ?  I think we should be speaking to the Ohlones Indians & residents of bayview.  A fair amount of land near bayview & candlestick belongs to the Ohlone Indians. I don't know what jobs ur importing and from where, but I believe SF has enough contractors and other fields, that u needn't go get companies outside the BAY AREA. I will appreciate a response to this!

John Popescu's picture

America's Cup - Caveat Emptour !

I remember almost the very same things being said when Dianne Feinstein wanted to homeport the USS Missouri  in Hunter's point. 

I also remember the very same things being touted about the XFL and USFL.  The city was expected to give the leagues concessions in land usage, taxation, and similar.  The result was a net loss to the city and, in some cases, the embarassment of half-completed stadiums. 

The corridor of Ocean Avenue between Aptos avenue and the CCSF campus had any number of development projects where the developer bailed leaving the community with the liability of a piece of derelict real estate. 

Nobody has really talked about the costs to the city in Police overtime, sanitation, traffic problems, and all else connected with the America's cup.   What shall we ever do with the homeless ?  Put them in cages or lock them up in the Cow Palace for the duration of the race ? 

I think sailing is a rich man's hobby and the city should not be giving concessions to wealthy land developers.

Award the America's cup to Alaska's Dutch Harbor and hold it in January.


DonRoss's picture

America's Cup Should Come

I think the America's cup should be viewed less as who participates in the games, and more as who will attend the events because they are along a newly revitalized areas along the Bay. We as a City will have millions of dollars invested in our aging infrastructure, putting many local residents to work and creating many permanent jobs.

I mean if you read the article in yesterday's paper that reviewed the benefits to the City and what investments will be made by both the City and the sponsors, our waterfront will experience some more rebirth and all types of small businesses will benefit simply from the spectators - much like what the new Giants ballpark has done.

I say, bring it on!

John Popescu's picture

I don't think there's any

I don't think there's any credible study demonstrating a sports venue in a stadium or other such complex being a money making proposition to the city.  In the case of facilities built exclusively for Football, Baseball, Hockey, or seasonal sports the cash flow simply is not there.

If the City of San Francisco wanted to earnestly and honestly  do something about the waterfront it would have happened over the last fifty plus years since Oakland saw a dramatic increase in the containerized freight business.

I am, as should most San Franciscans, be quite apprehensive about a one time event such as the America's cup being a catalyst for developing the port.  

There have been more than one occasions where the city has given away land to development concerns making concessions.  The Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard, parts of the SOMA area, and the infamous adventures in "urban renewal" in the Fillmore are but two examples.

And, yes, I also think it important as to who participates and I don't think the City of San Francisco should feel obliged to people like Larry Ellison for a pretty play pen.


Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137