Joel has lived in San Francisco for 20 years and is a homeowner near Lake Merced. Joel is vice president of Stop Crime SF, a grassroots group of more than 600 San Francisco residents working together to reduce and prevent crime in our neighborhoods while holding public officials and the criminal justice system accountable.
Joel is a board member of San Francisco’s largest democratic club, the United Dems. Joel also serves on the boards of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and SF Moderates. He previously served on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee and the board of the Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association.
Joel is a product of public schools. He attended Michigan State University on a journalism scholarship and has won multiple awards for his reports, essays and documentaries in outlets like USA Today, San Francisco Weekly and PBS. Joel has written a prize-winning column that analyzes local issues for the San Francisco Examiner since 2013.
Joel felt it was not enough to only report on the issues. He became part of the story by working to advance equality for all people at the American Civil Liberties Union. His contributions at the ACLU were recognized by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy with a scholarship to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he earned his Master’s in Public Administration.
Joel’s passion for advocating for people who don’t feel heard goes back to his journalism roots and upbringing. Joel was raised by his mom and grandmother in the General Motors factory town of Saginaw, Michigan. They didn’t have much money, education or connections. But they taught Joel how to get things done by using resources smartly.
Joel has also worked as a manager in the private sector at a healthcare company and a public relations firm focused on tech startups.
Joel married Lionel Hsu soon after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it. Lionel is a software engineer and avid gardener who moved to the Bay Area from Taiwan in 2000.
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