A longtime University City resident (he moved there when he was seven) and UC High graduate, Stuart Schuffman, is running for mayor of San Francisco. In the November 3 election, he'll have to defeat Democrat Edwin Lee, who's running for a second term, and four other hopefuls.
Schuffman, who remembers his days growing up in University City fondly, says he left as soon as he could for UC Santa Cruz.
“I loved growing up in San Diego, it’s so beautiful there,” said Schuffman in recent interview. “I remember smoking pot in the canyon [in University City].”
Before running for mayor of San Francisco, Schuffman amassed a social media following. He boasts more than 17,000 Twitter followers, more than 5200 Instagram followers, and nearly 25,000 Facebook "likes."
“There are so many good-looking people in San Diego, it’s unbelievable,” he reminisces, a longing in his voice. “I love visiting.”
He acknowledges the certain aspects of San Diego that make it special, such as the city’s border dynamics.
“The border limits the potential of everything,” he says. “A borderless world would be better for the economy, better for people’s rights, for a lot of stuff. We grew up on the border there in San Diego, and while those borders are tightly restricted, there is still a huge level of fluidity between them since so many people travel back and forth.” In a way, Baja and San Diego are one, the mayoral candidate acknowledges.
“There is a lot of Baja culture in San Diego, whether it be the food, attitude, or the climate.”
Schuffman says his only previous experience in politics was as his class vice president and treasurer at UC High.
San Diego’s problems, in Schuffman’s mind, are much different than San Francisco’s; for one, San Diego is not as expensive as San Francisco.
“There is so much more space in San Diego,” he explains. “San Francisco is limited by water to 49 square miles, while San Diego just spreads and spreads and spreads. To be sure, problems with ecology and economics are semi-similar.” In his campaign, Schuffman’s major focus is on housing.
“There is a major fucking problem [in San Francisco’s housing market]. There’s a crisis, actually,” Schuffman says. “But nothing is gonna be done overnight. It took us a long time to get into this situation, it's going to take us a long time to get out of it....
"We need to build affordable housing," he says.
“The market does what it wants and the people on top win. If you want apple juice, you go to the store, you don't plant a tree and wait for an apple to fall out. Pro-market types say, ‘Build, build, build, the market will take care of it.' But, that’s not good enough. I am for building a lot of affordable housing.”
Still, he does think one underlying philosophy should unite San Diego and San Francisco.
“Both cities should put people first, not profit,” he says. “There’s always going to be profit.”