Lee Hsu confirmed to join SFMTA board

A vacancy left by the late Jerry Lee on San Francisco’s transportation board of directors will soon be filled.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday confirmed Mayor Ed Lee’s appointment of San Francisco resident Lee Hsu to the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors by a vote of 8-2. Supervisor Eric Mar was absent from the meeting.

Hsu currently works at Clarendon Elementary School as computer consultant and instructor at the school. He teaches computer skills to students at the elementary school.

He lives in the West Portal neighborhood with his wife and two kids.

At the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee on June 9, Hsu called himself “multimodal” using Muni and walking at his first choice if possible. He does own a vehicle, which he said was a necessity to drive his kids to school and after school activities. He occasionally has family bike rides with his wife and kids.

He told the committee that he acknowledges public transit is important to people to get to work and school, but also recognizing the need of having a private vehicle for families with seniors and younger children.

Hsu at the committee did not go into details on how he would improve transportation in the City, but said improving public transit will help provide less congestion on the road for those who need to have car:

“If we enable faster commutes and better access for those who would like to take public transit, then it means fewer cars on the road for those who can’t realistically give up their cars. And that’s win-win.”

Supervisor Katy Tang, who sits on the Rules Committee, said she supported the appointment and that it was good to see someone representing the outer western neighborhood on the SFMTA board.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who had originally voted for Hsu appointment during the committee hearing, changed her mind on Tuesday. She said she did not feel he was not as knowledgable about the southeastern part of The City:

“He didn’t fully demonstrate a working depth of knowledge that made me feel very comfortable in support of his candidacy moving forward.”

Supervisor Aaron Peskin also voted no on Hsu’s appointment. Peskin said he had nothing against Hsu, but said his resume lacks transportation policy:

“I don’t think he has the qualifications relative to transportation to be on this all-powerful body.”

Hsu’s experience includes being the president of the Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association from 2012-2015. He currently serves as the vice president.

Other jobs and positions he has previously held include GemShare (community development manager), Nextdoor (San Francisco field organizer), College Park Elementary School in San Mateo (coordinator for an after school program), Perot Investments in Dallas, TX (trader/research analyst), Independent Trander, Lehman Brothers (investment banking associate) and worked as a law clerk in Dallas, TX.

Hsu also ran in 2014 for seat on San Francisco’s school board. He placed seventh out of nine candidates running winning 7.98 percent of the votes cast, according to The City’s Department of Elections.

Despite his lack of transportation policy work, Hsu received a number of letters of support including from Supervisor Norman Yee, the Sunset Heights Neighborhood Association of Responsible People and the Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association.

Hsu term will end on March 1, 2019.