Safai Launches Campaign for San Francisco Board of Supervisors
San Francisco, CA – With over 200 friends and supporters in attendance, Ahsha Safai formally kicked off his much-anticipated campaign for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on July 20, 2008. A community activist and former mayoral aide, Safai is seeking to replace District 11 Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, whose term expires in January of 2009.
A first generation American of Iranian descent, Safai was born in Iran in 1973. “My first name, Ahsha, is actually a blend of my father’s name, Ata Safai, and mother’s name, Marsha McDonald,” Safai explains. At the age of five, Safai moved with his mother to Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and Political Science from North Eastern University and his master’s degree in Urban Studies and City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
A strong believer in public service and community involvement, Safai has extensive experience working at all levels of government – federal, state, and local. His calling in public service began while attending college and working as an aide to Cambridge City Councilor William Walsh. Later, he moved on to work in the Massachusetts Legislature. In 1995, Safai accepted a position with the Clinton Administration as an assistant to the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs & Liaison to Native Americans.
After graduating from MIT, Safai moved to San Francisco, taking a position with the city’s Housing Authority. In 2003, he joined Gavin Newsom's campaign for Mayor and later served as the Deputy Director for the Mayor’s Office of Community Development and in the San Francisco Department of Public Works. Safai’s many accomplishments include spearheading a project to build a community youth center, championing legislation to help immigrant families remain in public housing, and directing over $25 million in federal grants towards low-to moderate-income communities and overall neighborhood revitalization.
Since moving to San Francisco, Safai has encouraged Iranian Americans to get involved in local politics and pursue a career in public service. As a field operator for Newsom’s first mayoral campaign, Safai organized a meeting between Iranian Americans and the candidate. “We had a turn out of 150 Iranian Americans,” said Safai. “As a result, the Mayor continues to meet with our community at least once a year.”
Safai believes that real change begins at the local level. He views public safety, education, and concerns over matters such as garbage clean up and parking as the key issues affecting the 11th District of San Francisco. Safai is determined to improve the quality of life for working families in District 11 and would like to see a significant increase in city services for his district.
“I will no longer allow District 11 to be the forgotten district of San Francisco,” Safai said at his campaign kick-off rally. “As Supervisor, I will fight for our fair share of resources in combating crime, improving our schools, and cleaning up our parks and streets.”
Safai has amassed an impressive list of endorsements, including Mayor Newsom. If successful, he will become the second Iranian American elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, possibly serving along side District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi who was elected in November 2004 and is up for re-election in 2008.