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Mayor Visits San Francisco, Explores Benefits of Innovation

Mayor Ko Wen-je visited San Francisco City Hall and met with his counterpart Edwin M. Lee on March 9. Ko also received an invitation to sign the petition supporting the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” on behalf of Taipei.
Responding to media questions about the meeting with Lee, Ko noted the talk was inspiring as San Francisco’s role in the US epitomizes Taiwan’s position in the Chinese world.
Ko pointed out that unemployment rate in San Francisco declined from 9% to 3.3% after Lee assumed office, indicating that the coastal city’s incentives to encourage entrepreneurship helps create job opportunities and offer a solution to industrial imbalance.
Regarding the soaring house prices shared by the two metropolises, Ko reckoned that he and Lee see eye to eye on the importance of social housing, also known as affordable housing. According to Lee, these account for 15% to 30% of the city’s total housing units.
Ko lauded San Francisco for its culture of tolerance and inclusiveness, embodied by the city’s openness in embracing the LBGT group as well as UCLA’s free learning atmosphere. He believes it is the open-mindedness that breeds innovation.
Following a visit to the disaster prevention center of San Francisco, Ko observed that a complex information communication system is key to the operation of the 911 Call center. A staff member monitors at least seven screens at once; therefore, they are required to undergo a year of training before commencing work. He was also impressed by the human-centric design of the facility, believing that every city official should go on trips like this to learn from others.