New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to San Francisco Friday to discuss energy conservation and city management with Mayor Ed Lee, but he left with a piece of the city’s transit history: a cable car bell.
After riding BART with Lee and sharing ideas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, Bloomberg was called an “honorary citizen” and given such diverse gifts as the bell, packs of local organic hot dogs, and a lifetime membership to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Lee said he was enjoying the opportunity to get to know Bloomberg, who is speaking tonight at an economic summit at Stanford University. The two bonded over their love of golf, and Lee presented Bloomberg with a dozen City of San Francisco golf balls.
“Obviously he’s been a model of mine,” Lee said of Bloomberg. “I’ve been looking at everything he’s been doing and understanding what I can emulate.”
Bloomberg for his part said San Francisco and New York could learn a lot from each other on the topic of energy conservation.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors last month passed an ordinance that requires owners of existing commercial buildings to determine how much energy each building consumes and make the information available to the public each year. Buildings larger than 10,000 square feet must undergo energy efficiency audits every five years.
Buildings could be made up to 50 percent more efficient with products and services currently available, according to San Francisco’s Department of the Environment.
Cities, Bloomberg said, have a particular responsibility when it comes to conservation.
“Cities account for about 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas production, so we really do have, in our hands, the opportunity to change the world,” he said.
New York City hopes to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent between now and 2030, which would save $700 million per year in energy costs and create about 17,000 jobs, Bloomberg said.
He also offered advice to the new San Francisco mayor, who was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in January when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom left to take over as state lieutenant governor.
Newsom had modeled many of the city’s homelessness programs off of those in New York, but Bloomberg declined to comment on the state of San Francisco’s campaign to eradicate homelessness.
“It’s a problem all cities are facing, and New Yorkers and San Franciscans understand the obligation to help those less fortunate,” he said.
He told Lee to be honest and innovative, and that the public wouldn’t always agree with him, but that the electorate wants officials who do things for the right reasons.
“They knew what they were getting (when they picked you), and you should stick with it,” he said. “There’s an old western saying, ‘You dance with the woman that brung you.'”
He also suggested Lee pick a police chief whose priority is making the streets safe for residents of San Francisco.
“Any city that thinks they can have a tax base without low crime is making a mistake, and any city that thinks they can have low crime without constant investment in a diverse police force is making a mistake,” he said.
He also said getting guns off the streets would go a long way toward making any police chief’s job easier.
“It’s one of the biggest problems facing this country, and Washington seems unwilling to do anything about it,” he said.
Bloomberg also invited Lee to visit New York City so he could show him the same hospitality he’d experienced over the years in San Francisco.
Janna Brancolini, Bay City News