|Member of the California State Senate
from the 11th district
December 5, 2016
|Member of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from District 8
January 8, 2011 - December 5, 2016
May 11, 1970 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Residence||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Duke University
Harvard Law School
|Website||Scott Wiener CA Senate Website|
Scott Wiener (born May 11, 1970) is an American politician and a member of the California State Senate. A Democrat, he represents the 11th Senate District, encompassing San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County.
Prior to his election to the State Senate in 2016, Wiener served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District 8. He also served as Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, represented San Francisco as a commissioner on the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and represented San Francisco as a director on the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board.
Wiener was born to a Jewish family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in southern New Jersey, the son of small business owners. He graduated from Washington Township High School, received his bachelor's degree from Duke University, studied in Santiago, Chile, on a Fulbright Scholarship, and received his law degree from Harvard Law School. He clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler on the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
In 1997, Wiener moved to San Francisco to work as a litigation attorney at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe. In 2002, he went to work as a deputy city attorney under San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
Before running for the Board of Supervisors, Wiener served as chair of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee.
On July 1, 2015, Wiener announced that he was running for the 11th Senate District to replace termed out Senator Mark Leno. The district includes all of San Francisco and portions of northern San Mateo County, including Daly City, Colma, and part of South San Francisco. Wiener announced several endorsements, including that of Senator Leno, as part of his campaign announcement. It is required to pick a Chinese name for the ballot in the 11th district because 17% of the San Francisco population speak Chinese. Wiener, who is 6'7" tall, chose the name Wei Shangao, meaning "bold, majestic, charitable and tall." He ultimately defeated fellow Supervisor Jane Kim in the November general election to win election to the State Senate.
Wiener serves as the Chair of the Senate Human Services Committee in the California State Senate. He is also a member of the Appropriations, Public Safety, Transportation and Housing, and Energy Committees.
In 2017, Wiener authored SB 35 (which was approved as part of a broad 15 bill housing package that also included funding and other bills to reform housing production in California) which will require the cities that have fallen behind on their state housing production goals to streamline approval of new housing.
"Local control is about how a community achieves its housing goals, not whether it achieves those goals," Wiener said in a statement. "SB 35 sets clear and reasonable standards to ensure that all communities are part of the solution by creating housing for our growing population."
In 2018, in an effort to address the state's housing affordability crisis and CO2 emissions, Wiener introduced Senate Bill 827, which would require cities and counties to allow apartment buildings of four to eight stories in "transit rich areas" -- defined as land within a half-mile of a major transit stop or a quarter mile of a stop on a high-frequency bus route. Wiener introduced the bill as part of a housing package, along with bills to make it easier to build farmworker housing and to improve local accountability to build new housing.
Wiener sponsored two bills to expand solar and renewable energy use in California. SB 71 would require solar to be installed on many new buildings in California. SB 700 would create a 10 year program to give rebates to customers who install energy storage systems, like batteries, which allow solar power to be stored long-term.
Citing the cultural and economic benefits of nightlife, Wiener announced plans for legislation to allow cities to extend alcohol sales in bars and restaurants to 4 AM. Senator Mark Leno, Wiener's predecessor, had attempted to pass a similar bill. The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but failed in the Assembly. Wiener reintroduced the bill the following year, this time limited to six cities whose mayors have supported the idea: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood, and Long Beach.
Wiener joined Assembly member Todd Gloria to author SB 239, which aims to change the laws that make it a felony to expose someone to HIV without their knowledge and consent. Wiener said that the laws unfairly single out HIV-positive people. The bill passed and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 6, 2017.
Wiener authored SB 219, which protects the rights of LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities. The bill was opposed by groups who argued the bill criminalized bathroom gender designations and would force care providers to address those under their care with gender appropriate language. Wiener called these arguments "transphobic" and "absurd".
Wiener was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on November 2, 2010, carrying 42.4% of the vote in the first round of ranked choice voting. After the two lowest candidates were dropped, Wiener won election with 18,239 votes, or 55.4%, over the second-place finisher, attorney Rafael Mandelman.
Wiener was re-elected on November 4, 2014 on the first round of ranked choice voting, carrying a large majority of the vote.
In 2011, after a string of fires caused by arson in San Francisco's Castro district, Wiener authored legislation allowing residents temporarily displaced by fires or natural disasters to rent other apartments at below-market rates. Previously, landlords willing to rent out apartments to a tenant on a temporary basis could not offer lower rents without locking these rates in at that rate under rent control.
In 2012, Wiener passed legislation encouraging the production of student housing while restricting the conversion of existing rental stock to student housing. That same year, the Board passed legislation to allow the construction of residential units as small as 220 square feet, known as micro-apartments.
In 2014, Wiener introduced two measures to allow the construction of new in-law units in San Francisco: the first allows units to be built within the Castro neighborhood and the second allows owners of buildings undergoing seismic retrofit to add in-law units. In 2016, Wiener authored legislation to fast-track the approval of affordable housing projects.
In 2016, Wiener introduced legislation to extend rent control protections to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Wiener has focused much of his policy work on San Francisco's public transportation. He has criticized the lack of investment in transit in San Francisco, and has advocated for additional funding measures. His proposals include changing the transit-impact development fee and a ballot measure to tie Muni funding to population growth. The latter measure, Measure B, requires 75% of increased funding to improve Muni reliability and 25% of the funding to improve street safety. Measure B was passed on November 4, 2014.
In 2013, the full Board of Supervisors passed Wiener's legislative package to streamline pedestrian safety projects. The legislation included creating a centralized Street Design Review Committee, making it easier for developers to implement pedestrian safety projects as gifts to the city, and amending the Fire Code to provide more leeway for sidewalk extensions.
Over his tenure as a Supervisor, Wiener has advocated against widening streets. In 2014, this led to a public disagreement with the San Francisco Fire Department around street design at new developments at Hunters Point and Candlestick Point. The Fire Department sought to widen streets in these developments to be 26 feet wide, which is 6 feet wider than the legal requirement.
In 2012, Wiener sponsored controversial legislation banning nudity at un-permitted events, which was eventually passed by the Board. Wiener stated that "[t]his is what local government is for--to respond to the issues affecting citizens where they live."
In 2013, the Board of Supervisors passed another bill authored by Wiener establishing park hours for San Francisco's parks. The supervisor claimed the ban was needed to combat vandalism and illegal dumping. Critics said it was unfairly aimed at the homeless.
Wiener has also been active in promoting and regulating food trucks. In 2013, Wiener's legislation establishing guidelines for San Francisco's food truck industry was passed by the Board of Supervisors.
Another of Wiener's policy focuses has been increasing government spending on parks, including supporting the expansion of park patrol in budget negotiations. Wiener also authored legislation to have the city government purchase a parking lot on 24th Street and turn it into a public park.
On the Budget Committee, Wiener has advocated for adding government funding for maintenance and safety in San Francisco's parks and other public spaces. He has also been involved in efforts to increase municipal spending on street resurfacing and maintenance of street trees and park trees.
In 2015, Wiener authored legislation to make San Francisco the first city in the country to require water recycling in new developments. He also proposed legislation to require each unit in multi-unit buildings have their own water submeters.
Early in his first term, Wiener requested a study of the economic impacts of entertainment and nightlife, a big issue in his first campaign. The study, completed by the San Francisco City Economist, found San Francisco nightlife generated $4.2 billion in economic productivity in 2010.
In September 2014, Wiener announced in an online essay on the Huffington Post that he was taking Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that reduces the risk of HIV infection. Wiener stated that he disclosed his usage of PrEP in an effort to reduce the stigma around taking the HIV prevention medication. Wiener also cited the need for more awareness and expanding access as other keys for making PrEP successful. He also worked with David Campos to support ensuring low-cost access to Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV after announced his own PrEP use.
As a member of the Board's budget committee, Wiener has advocated for HIV/AIDS services, especially around restoring lost federal funds. In 2016, he was integral in securing funding for San Francisco's Getting to Zero effort, which aims to end all new HIV infections in San Francisco.
In 2016, Wiener authored first-in-the-country legislation to require fully paid parental leave for new parents after childbirth or adoption, applying to both parents. As a result of this legislation, employers in San Francisco must give employees up to six weeks of paid time off.
In 2014, Wiener introduced a ballot measure that would have imposed a two cents per ounce tax on the distribution of sodas and other sweetened beverages, and used the money to fund "healthy choices" in San Francisco. The measure, which was also sponsored by Supervisors Malia Cohen, Eric Mar, John Avalos, David Chiu and David Campos, aimed to reduce soda consumption and increase programs to combat the rise of diabetes and other related diseases in San Francisco.
The endorsement list for San Francisco's sugar beverages tax, Measure E, featured much of San Francisco's local political establishment, including all its state legislators, and many health organizations, but voters in the November 4, 2014 election did not give the measure the 2/3 supermajority required to impose a new tax. The American Beverage Association, much criticized by Wiener during the campaign, spent over $9 million to defeat Measure E, which was also opposed by the Libertarian Party of San Francisco. Ultimately the measure garnered 55.6% of the vote, slightly over half and well below the 66% needed to pass.
In 2016, he introduced a bill, passed by the Board, barring the city from doing business with companies that have a home base in states such as North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi, that forbid civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In 2015, Wiener was robbed of his cell phone on the corner of 16th and Valencia in San Francisco. He immediately began to negotiate with the would-be thieves, and got them to agree to accept $200 for the return of his phone. The foursome walked to a nearby ATM, where the transaction was caught on tape by the cameras at the ATM. A Wells Fargo security guard also observed the robbery in progress, and called the police. A woman and a man were later arrested and charged with second-degree robbery.