Q&A: Jose Morales On His Campaign For District 11 Supervisor

Jose Morales, who was born and raised in the neighborhood, wants to focus on government oversight if elected in November.

Man standing in front of a mural.
Jose Morales is running for District 11 supervisor. | Anne Marie Kristoff/Ingleside Light

Jose Morales is the latest contender in the race for District 11 Supervisor.

Morales, who was born and raised in the district and owns Luna’s Mobile Detailing, is campaigning on small business revitalization like creating programs to teach businesses marketing tools and partnering owners who seek retirement with entrepreneurs who can take over, helping to redirect city funds to vital community programs like food banks and after school programs, public safety and tackling parking issues.

“I've always wanted to go into business for myself and it's always been about having this idea in your head but the execution part has always been my issue,” Morales said. “I just thought to myself, if you really want to do something, you'd have to do it now in the moment or you'll just keep putting it off for the rest of your life. That's kind of how I decided to run, too.”

Though his only political experience was being senior class president at Archbishop Riordan High School, Morales brings experience as an emergency medical technician, an economics major at Sonoma State University and a contractor in Idaho to this portfolio.

A first-generation San Franciscan living on Naples Street, Morales shares similar virtues as residents like going to after-school programs growing up, dealing with the rising cost of living and being with his wife Nohemy and their pets.

“I don't believe that political experience is the precursor to being in politics,” Morales said. “In my opinion, a lot of the time we vote for people based on the amount of experience they have in politics and then they go around and they do the complete opposite of what they promised us. I support people who don’t have any kind of [political] experience but have life experiences in the community, that really care about the community and the issues going on.”

The Ingleside Light caught up with Morales to discuss his plans, if elected.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What inspired you to run for District 11 Supervisor?

I've always wanted to do something in the city to help push it forward and now with our current supervisor being termed out, I thought there was no better time. Plus, I really think that now, more than ever, we need someone new in office with a fresh perspective. Someone with absolutely no political experience in office but someone who understands the issues. Someone who can bring a fresh perspective like me. Someone who understands numbers. I have a degree in economics. I love numbers and someone who can be hard on the issues. I feel like I'm a little different from the rest of the politicians because I feel that a lot of politicians like to beat around the bush on the issues. I don't say that I beat the bush directly, I aim for it. I just go straight for the bush and I don't really care if people agree with my opinions because they're my opinions and that's what I'm going for. That's what I want and that's what I believe will make the city a better place for everybody. I've gotten a lot of feedback from people in the community and the things they care about and I care about those things too.

What is one issue in D11 that you see that’s not being addressed?

Everybody talks about public safety. I think that's the biggest issue in the city right now and the biggest issue in our community but there are a lot more issues in our community that are constantly being ignored right now. One of the biggest things that I've heard from a lot of people in this neighborhood is illegal dumping. There's a lot of illegal dumping going on in the neighborhood and nothing is being done about it. The process to get Public Works out there and clean up the street is very difficult. It usually takes two to three days for them to come out there. We need solutions to get help with the public dumping, which might be, setting up public dump dumpsters. Maybe at Crocker Amazon Park or centralized locations because you can say you're going to put in all the fines and install all the cameras but you're not fixing the root issue, which is that public dumping is going to continue to happen. For instance, in my neighborhood, there are plenty of houses that are multi-generational that bring in friends as roommates because they can't afford to live. When you have that many people living in the building and everything's expensive in California and San Francisco, like garbage is expensive, and people living there don't want to pay more for their bills, what do they do? They go out on the corner and they dump a bag. We need to focus on cleaning up our streets and beautifying the neighborhood.

Another issue for instance is parking. Parking is so bad in San Francisco, particularly in this neighborhood. Everybody has like two or three cars. People are parking on the sidewalk all over the place and that creates a bigger issue because you run the risk of pedestrians getting hit by a car and that sort of thing or people in wheelchairs who aren't able to ride by. We have a lot of elderly people who walk around our neighborhood and they have a difficult time navigating around the cars. We have to really come up with solutions for that. Right now SFMTA is being really aggressive on enforcement but they're more on the money grab kind of thing. They publicize their enforcement dates. All that's going to do is cause those bad individuals to act really well for that short week and then things are going to go back to being the same. We need to come up with creative solutions to deal with the parking problem, whether it be a permitting process but I know that's a very lengthy process to do. We need someone in the office who really wants to fix these issues.  I don't drive every day. I have a little scooter that I found on Facebook Marketplace so I ride a scooter but my wife drives the car. Some days I bike so we need to figure out a solution for that, whether it be, you know, setting a cap on the number of cars that a person can have, a parking permit program or figuring out 90-degree angle parking but there has to be a solution that benefits the majority in this neighborhood.

What is something you would do the same or different as current or past supervisors?

Something I would do differently than other supervisors is just place a lot more emphasis on government oversight. That's like one of the most important things to me right now. We have a really big budget deficit and we're talking about doing a lot of cuts within our departments. But we really need to focus on the money that we're giving away. We're giving away so much money and in return, we're getting mediocre services. And there's so much waste going on. We need to really evaluate our relationship with a lot of the nonprofits that we work with and really cut back and fire nonprofits. I know right now that's all complicated but we need to really fire the people that aren't doing the job they promised that they were going to do and providing the service that they said they were going to provide because every dollar matters right now. Someone misappropriating $20,000 here, $100,000 there, that might not seem like a lot in the whole gist of the budget but another nonprofit could have done a lot more with those $20,000, those $100,000 that were misappropriated by this nonprofit. Government oversight is something I really want to focus on. I know it's something that hasn't really been focused on by lots of guys in the past. We've just been spending money and throwing it out like we're a money-printing machine.

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me because I have deep roots in the neighborhood. I am just like everyone else who lives here. I care about the issues because they directly affect me just the way they affect them. My mother has been a victim of crime, just like a lot of people in the neighborhood have been victims of crime. I feel the policies being made and how they're negatively affecting me. I bike all over the city. I've seen every nook and cranny. I've seen the good. I've seen the bad. I have a really good perspective. I believe I’m competent enough to do a good job, I understand numbers and my fresh perspective is something that we need inside of City Hall.

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