MEET DEAN PRESTON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVOCATE
COMMUNITY & NEIGHBORHOOD LEADER
TENANT'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY
PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT, GRATEFUL
HUSBAND & FATHER
EVERYDAY MUNI RIDER
Dean Preston was elected Supervisor in November of 2019, defeating appointed incumbent Vallie Brown to fill out the remainder of Mayor London Breed’s term. He is now running for re-election in November 2020 for a full four-year term.
Since taking office, Dean has emerged as one of San Francisco’s strongest leaders during the pandemic, recession, and the fight for racial justice. He stood with Black Lives Matter, as he has for years, and most recently helped ban in San Francisco the knee to neck chokehold that killed George Floyd. He authored legislation that permanently protects anyone from ever getting evicted for rent they missed during the state of emergency because of the financial impacts of Coronavirus, pushed the city to house homeless people in hotels, opened San Francisco’s second safe sleeping site, successfully stopped Muni fare increases for the next two years, and helped to distribute hand sanitizer, masks, and information to homeless San Franciscans, public housing residents, and small businesses. Dean has also derailed increased health care co-pays on city workers and protected local small businesses from eviction.
Prior to taking office, Dean worked as a tenant attorney and founded California’s only statewide tenant organization. He helped lead the fight to save rent control in 2008. In 2018, he wrote and championed Proposition F, our city’s groundbreaking law to provide legal representation for all tenants facing eviction, and was an early backer of Proposition C, which tackles our homeless crisis by doubling housing and mental health care to our homeless population.
Dean has lived in District 5 for over 20 years where his daughters attend public elementary school. As a Democratic Socialist, Dean advocates for fundamental change at the local, state, and national levels. He believes everyone deserves a dignified, productive, and healthy life through universal policies like Medicare for All, social housing, and free education.
MORE ABOUT DEAN PRESTON
Son of a Holocaust Survivor
Dean’s father and grandfather narrowly escaped Nazi Germany and came to the United States as refugees. Starting over in New York City, his grandmother cleaned houses, his grandfather worked in a convenience store, and his father learned English in New York public schools. Eventually, the family started a small business that grew over the years. After graduating from high school, Dean attended Bowdoin college in Maine where he met his future wife, Jenckyn.
Married to 5th generation San Franciscan
Dean’s wife Jenckyn is a fifth generation San Franciscan with deep family roots in the city. Her grandfather, Dr. Zuretti Goosby, served as San Francisco’s first African American School Board President during school integration. After college, Dean and Jenckyn moved back to her native San Francisco. Jenckyn received her masters degrees in social work and public health from UC Berkeley, and worked in AIDS and TB prevention efforts.
Graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law
Dean attended law school in San Francisco at UC Hastings College of the Law and graduated magna cum laude. During law school, Dean interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, helping investigate and hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes and genocide. Dean also worked at California Rural Legal Assistance during law school, fighting for immigrant civil rights.
Civil Rights and Housing Attorney
After law school, Dean began his legal career representing victims of police misconduct, before transitioning to a federal judicial clerkship and later to full time housing justice work. He served as a staff attorney at the nonprofit Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) in San Francisco where for seven years he represented low-income tenants fighting to preserve their housing. His legal work at THC included defending tenants against Ellis Act evictions, suing slumlords for substandard housing conditions, and fighting conversion of rent-controlled housing.
Founder of Tenants Together
Dean is the founder and director of Tenants Together, California’s only statewide tenant rights organization. Tenants Together has led many battles in Sacramento to create more affordable housing and give tenants protection against unjust evictions. In 2008, Dean and Tenants Together led the successful effort to save rent control in California.
District 5 Resident and Neighborhood Leader
Dean and Jenckyn have lived in District 5 for over 20 years. Their daughters attend public elementary school in the district. Dean has been active in his neighborhood on issues ranging from development, small business protection, public transportation and schools. Dean is a longtime member of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association and has served on its board of directors. He led efforts to protect neighborhood businesses and stop corporate chain store proliferation through community organizing and legislative change. In 2015, he co-founded the all volunteer community group Affordable Divis which successfully lobbied to require more affordable housing from developers.
Small Business Owner and Arts/Music Supporter
Dean has the experience of owning a small business in San Francisco. After running CitySessions, a free acoustic music showcase at Club Waziema on Divisadero for 8 years, he became a co-owner of the historic music venue Cafe du Nord where he helped the business navigate zoning, compliance, and other issues. Cafe Du Nord was a labor of love for Dean and his partners, who were determined to see the venue continue to be home to live music and emerging artists. Dean also helped lead the effort to pass the Small Business Protection Act at the ballot over a decade ago, and he was an early supporter of Prop. J in 2015 to protect San Francisco’s legacy businesses.
Everyday MUNI Rider and Public Transit Advocate
Dean has been an everyday MUNI rider for decades. He was one of the founding donors of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union. He has been an outspoken opponent of privatization of public transit and firmly believes that public transportation is an environmental, racial justice and economic justice issue. Dean regularly rides MUNI to work and to take his kids to school, and if elected, looks forward to commuting to City Hall on MUNI.
Beginning from humble roots, Dean’s family achieved financial success. This deepened Dean’s resolve to help others and challenge structural inequity. In addition to his two decades of housing justice work, Dean has put his money where his mouth is, funding community organizing, nonprofits, progressive ballot measures and candidates. In 2017, he, his brother and his late sister launched the Arch Community Fund to resource transformative organizing, racial justice and resistance work in the face of Trumpism.
Dedicated to Keeping San Franciscans in Their Homes
Dean has a track record of winning visionary housing protections, including the only law in the nation to prevent evictions of teachers during the school year. Most recently, in 2018, he wrote and championed Proposition F, our city’s groundbreaking law to provide legal representation for all tenants facing eviction, and he was an early backer and provided seed funding for Proposition C, which tackles our homeless crisis by doubling housing and mental health care to our homeless population. He has also led dozens of workshops to help neighbors learn their rights and stay in their homes.
Vision for a better future
A Democratic Socialist who advocates for fundamental change at the local, state and national levels, Dean believes everyone deserves a dignified, productive, and healthy life through policies like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and a Right to Housing. Dean seeks to bring a bold vision for change to City Hall.