SAN FRANCISCO—People who have heard Ellen Lee Zhou speak have called her “Chinese Donald Trump.” Zhou’s campaign posters have called her the “super mayor candidate.”
But Zhou said she just wants to get things done in the city.
“Thank you for the compliment,” Zhou often responds to San Franciscans who call her Chinese Donald Trump.
In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Zhou explained why she believes the city needs a Chinese Donald Trump to take on the challenges and to get all the problems fixed.
“I believe that Trump is not a politician. I believe President Trump is a get go person [who] gets things done. I think I am the same,” Zhou said in the interview. “I am not a politician. I am a public worker who delivers quality services to the people.”
On her campaign website, Zhou promises that she will reduce her mayoral salary 50 percent if elected. She states on the website that she will be a good example for government employees and public servants and will develop programs to support a government that is created, run, and monitored by the people.
Zhou, 50, is a behavioral health clinician with the city government’s public health department, and she is also the mother of two college students. She ran unsuccessfully in the special mayoral election last year.
San Francisco’s former mayor Ed Lee died in December 2017 within his term. The city held a special election last year in which the current mayor, London Breed, was elected to serve the remainder of Lee’s term. Breed’s term will end next January.
As a clinician, Zhou’s job is to help people with personal problems such as homicidal or suicidal tendencies, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. She believes that she can resolve all the problems in the city following the same process that clinicians use to help their patients.
Zhou described the process of clinicians treating their patients as “assessment, identifying the problem, working on the problem, and getting it done.” She believes all the current supervisors in the city need to learn this process.
As a Republican, Zhou observed that the city has failed in a wide range of policies, including helping tenants—especially teachers—get housing, protecting property owners, getting drug dealers out of the streets, solving the homelessness problem, stopping crimes, and delivering quality services as a public entity.
The city gives out 400,000 free syringes a month to drug addicts. Zhou also stated that the city gives free harm reduction drugs and free Narcan to help homeless drug addicts. After getting the free drugs from the city, drug abusers have turned around and sold them to make money.
Free shelter, food, and blankets are provided to homeless people in the city.
“This is why San Francisco has so many homeless. It has attracted other areas’ homeless to come,” Zhou said.
“I am the person going to the streets to talk to these people,” she said.
San Francisco reportedly leads the nation in property crime, with the latest report stating that there are roughly 73 car break-ins per day. Zhou believes that the number of car break-ins per day is actually a lot higher, but the statistics don’t reflect the reality simply because people have gotten tired of it and stopped reporting the break-ins to the authorities.
Zhou also criticized the city’s “out-of-control rent control” policies. Zhou said that the city government provides free legal services to help tenants file lawsuits against landlords, which has led to a large number of vacant rental properties.
According to a report from SF Gate in March, the city’s metro area had more than 100,000 empty homes.
The San Francisco city government’s annual budget for the 2018–2019 fiscal year was $11.05 billion. The city currently has more than 30,000 employees to serve the close to 900,000 residents in the city.
But the city is “worse than a third world country,” Zhou stated.
Zhou’s proposed solution to the city’s homelessness problem is to declare a state of emergency in the city. Then, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Zhou will impose a temporary curfew in the city to clear out all the homeless people and drug addicts and clean up all the feces, urine, and needles in the city streets.
After the curfew, the homeless people and the drug addicts will be put into a temporary shelter. They will be contained, isolated, treated, and rehabilitated. After the treatments, help will be provided for them to find jobs.
To resolve the rent control problems, Zhou said that she will develop two programs: one to identify the people who need housing, and the other to identify the property owners who can rent out homes.
A mediation process will be set up for the property management agency to work with renters and landlords. Contracts between renters and landlords will clearly state that any issues or conflicts will be resolved by mediation or relocation only; no lawsuits.
To deal with crime, a new ordinance will be made to protect San Franciscans. Consequences such as community service, detainment, and anklemonitors will be imposed on people who conduct small property crimes or misdemeanors.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution that labels the National Rifle Association (NRA) a domestic terrorist organization. Zhou sharply criticized the Board of Supervisors, saying that its members are all “mentally out of touch from the reality.”
“To declare the National Rifle Association as a ‘domestic terrorist organization’ is insane! I am an NRA member, and I am not a terrorist!” Zhou stated in a press release.
Zhou is a devoted Christian. Like many other Chinese people living in the city, she believes in traditional family values.
Since she is running for mayor as a Republican, she said she understands that she is facing an uphill battle.
“The last non-Democrat mayor was 55 years ago. The last non-Democrat supervisor was 45 years ago,” Zhou’s campaign website states.
Zhou vowed to rebuild the city with balanced voices from different political parties.
Among San Francisco’s population, more than 20 percent are of Chinese descent, and more than 35 percent are Asian Americans. Zhou has been quietly reaching out to mobilize her base.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion, which is known for representing the hardworking Chinese Americans’ contribution to the United States.
“Maybe this is just the year for San Franciscans to elect a Chinese American woman as their mayor,” said Paul Taylor, who is in charge of Zhou’s mayoral campaign.