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A Lifetime of Commitment

Mark Leno lost his life partner to the AIDS epidemic, dedicated himself to being a community volunteer and civic leader, and became the first openly gay man to serve in the California Senate.

Mark’s accomplishments include raising California’s minimum wage to $15, requiring developers to build affordable housing in every large project, stopping the chemical industry from putting dangerous toxins in consumer products, and passing landmark laws for equal rights, marriage equality, and protecting transgender Californians.

Mark has run a small business in San Francisco for 40 years. He lives in Noe Valley, and would be the first gay Mayor in San Francisco history.

Mark Leno: A record of getting the toughest jobs done

A new direction for San Francisco starts with a Mayor who has what it takes to tackle our toughest challenges. That’s Mark Leno.


  • Fighting Homelessness

    Saved thousands of SRO low-income tenants from eviction and homelessness. Exempted SRO Hotels from Ellis Act evictions, preserving thousands of irreplaceable rent-controlled units for low-income tenants who could easily be forced into homelessness.

    Won $2 billion for supportive housing for homeless individuals with mental illness. Cosponsored the State Senate’s “No Place Like Home” initiative, providing $2 billion dollars for the construction and rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals with mental illness.

    Secured San Francisco’s first LGBTQ youth homeless shelter. Created our first homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth, many of whom come to San Francisco after being kicked out by their families, only to find themselves living on the streets.

    Pioneered “Mobile Methadone” to combat drug addiction. Piloted San Francisco’s “mobile methadone” program, a highly effective way to treat the City’s estimated 15,000 heroin addicts by taking the services directly where they reside.

  • Protecting Renters & Creating Affordable Housing

    Established landmark inclusionary housing ordinance, creating thousands of affordable San Francisco homes. Wrote the law requiring developers to provide affordable units in all large new housing developments, resulting in thousands of new affordable homes for low and middle-income San Franciscans.

    Accelerated creation of 3,300 affordable homes in San Francisco. Secured $500 million dollars to accelerate the production of 3,300 units in affordable housing projects at San Francisco's Hunters Point Shipyard, Transbay Transit Center and Mission Bay.

    Enabled School District to build affordable housing for teachers. Authorized San Francisco school districts to build affordable housing for teachers on surplus school property, allowing teachers to stay in the communities where they teach.

    Protected at-risk tenants. Increased no-fault eviction notices from 30 days to 60 days, giving tenants more time to find new homes, prevented the eviction of roommates when master tenants leave and landlords don’t provide proper notice that rent will rise to market rate, and enabled survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking to end their leases and escape their abusers.

  • Preventing Crime in Our Communities

    Took guns off our streets. Funded gun removal programs that take illegally-possessed firearms off the streets and out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals who are barred from possessing them.

    Required universal “kill switch” to stop cell phone theft. Dramatically reduced cell phone thefts by requiring phone manufacturers to install “kill switch” technology on all smartphones and tablets sold in California, rendering the devices inoperable when stolen and eliminating their value on the secondary market.

    Aided victims of human trafficking and violent crime. Required human traffickers to give back property stolen from their victims, funded the innovative Trauma Recovery Service Model for victims of violent crimes in San Francisco, protected seniors & veterans from scams perpetrated by fraudulent insurance salesman, and required state developmental centers to promptly report serious crimes to local law enforcement authorities to avoid future violent incidents.

  • Taking on Special Interests

    Fought chemical companies to remove toxic flame retardants. Required furniture manufacturers to disclose whether their products contain toxic flame retardants, helping protect families from chemicals linked to cancer and autism.

    Took on tobacco companies to protect youth. Regulated electronic cigarettes in the same manner as tobacco products and required e-cigarette cartridges to be child-resistant.

    Fought corruption at Public Utilities Commission. Held Public Utilities Commissioners accountable for making decisions behind closed doors and giving corporate lobbyists special access prior to key votes.

    Demanded gas pipeline safety from PG&E. Required public utilities to prioritize the safety of gas pipelines, so that deadly disasters like the one in San Bruno explosion do not happen again.

  • Championing LGBTQ & Civil Rights

    Passed first marriage equality law in America. Passed the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Protection Act in 2005, the first full LGBTQ marriage equality bill approved by both houses of any state legislature in the United States.

    Changed state curriculum to recognize LGBTQ history. Required all textbooks in California to include the contributions of LGBTQ Americans to the economic, political, and social development of the state.

    Established Harvey Milk Day. Created an annual day of special significance in honor of slain civil rights pioneer Harvey Milk.

    Expanded rights in housing and elderly services. Banned discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of gender, and required that services for elderly Californians are available regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Won coverage for transgender health care. Amended the City’s Health Plan to allow coverage for transgender patients and their health care needs.

  • Fighting for fair wages and universal health care

    Won historic increase in California’s minimum wage. Increased California’s Minimum Wage to $15 an hour, with adjustment for inflation so that no worker ever receives a sub-poverty wage again — giving five million workers a raise and lifting over two million Californians out of poverty.

    Authored single-payer health care law. Wrote California’s groundbreaking Single-Payer Healthcare For All Bill, which would have provided every Californian with comprehensive services regardless of their employment status or pre-existing conditions.

    Helped nurses provide quality health care at a fair wage. Gave Direct Care Registered Nurses the right the right to organize, form a union and bargain collectively.

  • Preserving Our Neighborhood Character

    Championed small family businesses and local commercial districts. Created the San Francisco Small Business Commission and the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, protected neighborhoods from chain stores, and won improvements in neighborhoods across the City.

    Helped neighborhood restaurants. Created a new neighborhood-restricted liquor license at a lower cost than existing licenses to help neighborhood restaurants.

    Worked to improve transit and reduce traffic. Advocated to improve signal timing and pedestrian safety along Geary Boulevard, Van Ness Avenue, 19th Avenue and North of Market; worked towards a new BART station at 30th and Mission, and championed car sharing to reduce traffic.

    Champion for bicyclists and pedestrians. Required all new commercial buildings to contain bicycle storage facilities proportionate to the building’s square footage, and championed equal treatment of bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists involved in traffic incidents.

  • Supporting Students and Young People

    Helped save City College. Stabilized City College and prevented its closure during the accreditation crisis by securing over $100 million in funding to keep the College alive.

    Expanded youth access to mental health. Removed requirement that at-risk youth get prior consent from a parent for mental health treatment, preventing substance abuse, violence and suicide.

    Increased access to education and employment for homeless youth. Created a pathway to higher education and living-wage stable jobs by waiving the fee for high school proficiency exams for homeless youth.

    Advocate for foster youth. Helped foster youth remain connected with their siblings and loved ones after adoption and gave caregivers in California’s child welfare system the ability to consider a child’s gender identity when making decisions about foster care placement.

  • Promoting Environmental Justice

    Authored and passed San Francisco solar bond. Promoted solar energy systems on buildings throughout San Francisco and created a $100 million revenue bond to install photovoltaic technology on city buildings.

    Banned sale of mercury thermometers. Banned the sale of mercury thermometers in San Francisco and promoted the proper disposal of mercury products so that they don’t find their way into the Bay.

    Expanded clean energy choices to reduce pollution and global warming. Authorized local governments to implement Community Choice Aggregation, allowing communities to reduce greenhouse gases and increase use of renewable power, paving the way for CleanPowerSF.

  • Assisting Immigrants & Disadvantaged Communities

    Fought raids, arrests and detentions. Declared San Francisco an "I.N.S. Raid Free Zone” and urged the I.N.S. to cease raids, arrests and detentions within the City.

    Expanded language access. Required all city departments to translate their written materials into multiple languages and to hire bilingual employees for positions that interact with the public.

    Won healthy food choices for food stamp recipients. Championed a Healthy Food Purchase Pilot Program to improve food stamp recipients’ access to and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Reforming Our Criminal Justice System

    Limited solitary confinement of juveniles. Prohibited the solitary confinement of juveniles in state and county detention facilities for more than four hours.

    Protected personal privacy against police searches. Prohibited law enforcement from accessing people’s personal emails, digital documents, text messages and location information without a warrant.

    Created system of “community corrections” for non-violent offenders. Directed resources back to local communities to supervise non-violent offenders and reduce re-offending, resulting in $275 million in savings in its first year alone.

    Spearheaded Medical Marijuana. Created the City’s first Medical Cannabis ID cards to stop police harassment and reduced the penalty for minor marijuana offenses from misdemeanors to infractions, freeing up court resources for serious offenses.