December 23, 2015, San Francisco, CA – First generation Iranian American, Ahsha Safai is running for the office of the Supervisor of District 11, the most diverse district in San Francisco. He has 15 years of local government experience and over 30 years of experience working in the political arena. Safai ran for this office back in 2008, coming within 2 percentage points of victory. Through his previous campaign, he increased his name recognition greatly, and has continued to live, work, and raise his family in the district for the past 12 years.
Safai’s life-long commitment to public service was inspired by a “deep desire to see change happen in the neighborhood and district in which I live. Our part of San Francisco is often treated like the forgotten part of the city and many residents feel very frustrated with the lack of services and investment in our part of town. I believe I can help usher in a new era in our district.”
Safai believes that the most critical issues facing his district today include the lack of investment in commercial corridors and small business attraction, the need for infrastructure improvements, the need for neighborhood beautification and greening, expanding first-time home ownership opportunities, and affordable childcare, preschool, and afterschool options.
When asked how his campaign addresses some of these issues, Safai responded. “I will work with the larger and small business communities and the Mayor and City departments to attract businesses to our district through tax brakes, cutting the red-tape in the business start-up process, increased city department investments, and overall championing on my behalf. I will work with the Mayor to prioritize city agencies to invest in a major overhaul of our commercial corridors that includes sidewalk rehabilitation or replacement, planting at least 1000 trees in our community and continuing to make our neighborhood cleaner and safer. I will also make first-time home ownership a priority by expanding funding sources to ensure more middle and working class families can afford to stay and live in San Francisco. Lastly, I plan to advocate for a city-wide ballot initiative to make universal preschool a reality, allowing every 4 year in San Francisco to attend preschool, regardless of income.”
Ahsha Safai was born in Iran in 1973. At the age of five, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts with his mother where he later received his bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and Political Science from Northeastern University and his master’s degree in Urban Studies and City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He later moved to San Francisco, taking a position with the city’s Housing Authority. In 2003, he joined Gavin Newsom’s campaign for Mayor and later served as the Deputy Director for the Mayor’s Office of Community Development and in the San Francisco Department of Public Works. Safai’s many accomplishments include spearheading a project to build a community youth center, championing legislation to help immigrant families remain in public housing, and directing over $25 million in federal grants towards low-to moderate-income communities and overall neighborhood revitalization.
Since moving to San Francisco, Safai has encouraged Iranian Americans to get involved in local politics and pursue a career in public service. As a field operator for Newsom’s first mayoral campaign, Safai organized a meeting between Iranian Americans and the candidate. “As a result, the Mayor continues to meet with Iranian Americans at least once a year.”