Mayor Gavin Newsom: Our City to Lead the Way

Four years ago I had the distinguished honor to be elected mayor of this incredible City. I am indeed thankful to all to my friends, family and supporters who helped me reach my dream of serving the good people of San Francisco and providing a government to you that is efficient, responsive and innovative. Being a model 21st century city and leading the way for the rest of the country requires nothing less.

As I enter my second term as mayor, I am again honored and sincerely thankful for the privilege to serve as your mayor and for a city I love so dearly. This place, our people, make up the finest city in the nation. There are bigger cities, but there are simply no better cities.

Serving as your mayor is the greatest honor I could ever imagine.

In the past four years, I have looked at best practices throughout this nation. And I've learned - with both a growing pride and a profound sense of responsibility - that the nation is also looking back to us. Beyond our city limits and as the nation looks on, our struggles may fuel the back story but it is our results that shine as a beacon. Most are inspired. Some are threatened. But undoubtedly, America knows that San Francisco is leading the way.

In the next four years I pledge to continue San Francisco's leadership on those critical issues facing our City and our nation. As excerpted from my recent second term inaugural address, I have outlined below some of the most important issues of the day that reflect the city's accomplishments and progress as I enter into my second term.

Health: The City anticipates 40,000 more residents will be enrolled in the universal health care program-Healthy San Francisco.

Environment: City government is on track to be carbon neutral by the year 2020.

Education: We are mandating a community service requirement in all high schools and encouraging retiring Baby Boomers to mentor public school students.

Homelessness: We are expanding sobering centers and redesigning homeless shelters into one-stop shopping sites for job training and drug treatment.

Housing: We will continue to expand affordable housing prospects and offer greater housing and opportunity to Bayview Hunters Point.

Safety: To fight homicides, we will hire 250 new police officers. Additionally, a new police commander is on board to be responsible solely for public housing.

Government reform: We support new campaign finance laws that will prevent those who seek action from the government from contributing to politicians' campaigns.

Technology: We will expand 311 to text messages and the Internet and to rapidly complete a redesign of the city's Web site.

Planning: We will streamline the planning process and create one-stop shopping for obtaining permits.

Transportation: We will continue to improve Muni and support "congestion pricing" to reduce pollution and traffic.

Fiscal discipline: We will continue to work toward reforming the city's retirement system. Additionally, we plan to raise the payroll tax exemption and close the "partnership" loophole that allows big businesses to escape paying taxes.

Economic development: We will train more workers for green-collar jobs, create a "China desk" to coordinate economic outreach to China, and give tax breaks to companies that hire military veterans.

Children and families: We plan to create a "baby savings bond" that will deposit on birth $500 for every new resident born in San Francisco. The bond can be used for college or first-time home ownership, but access to the funds will be limited to those who complete a community service requirement.

The above serves as just an example of my commitment to provide the residents of San Francisco a quality of life that you expect and deserve. On the most important issues of the day, San Francisco is providing leadership for our nation and the world. The challenges ahead are certainly great. But I know that we will not fail. We will not stop making this city an inspiration and an example for others.

I have taken the oath of office with an appreciation born of experience. I don't just expect that this is the best job any San Franciscan could ever have, I know it. Again, thank you very much. I am ready to get back to work!

Gavin Newsom is the mayor of San Francisco.