donate or subscribe
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Introducing Mayor Ed Lee’s new director of continued Black marginalization

December 2, 2015

by Allen Jones

It appears that Mayor Ed Lee’s liaison to the Black community, Theo Miller, has been reassigned to direct Lee’s continued marginalization of San Francisco Blacks for the next four years.

Theodore Miller

Theodore Miller

In mid-2013, Theodore Miller was hired on a three year $360,000 contract to “try” and reverse the outmigration of Blacks from San Francisco using the Gavin Newson-commissioned 2009 Black outmigration report as his guide.

Today, Miller is the director Hope SF, Mayor Ed Lee’s “visionary effort to revitalize eight of San Francisco’s public housing developments.” What college educated Black person is daffy enough to accept an invitation from the mayor’s liaison to the Black community to relocate to rehabilitated public housing? That’s the mayor’s vision in a nutshell.

In 2009, now former mayor Gavin Newsom commissioned a report to address the dwindling Black population. The report pointed out ways to reverse the long trend of Blacks leaving the city.

Many, including myself, viewed the report as a fraud. However, it did point out the obvious – “affordable housing,” jobs and education are keys to retaining Blacks here.

In 2013, Mayor Lee hired his young, Black Yale and Harvard educated point man to implement some of the 2009 report’s recommendations. But with so many from the Black community pounding on the door of the Mayor’s Office demanding more affordable housing, Lee has apparently pushed the panic button.

It appears that Mayor Ed Lee’s liaison to the Black community, Theo Miller, has been reassigned to direct Lee’s continued marginalization of San Francisco Blacks for the next four years.

By pulling Miller off his original impossible assignment of reversing Black outmigration to his new position at Hope SF or split his time with another impossible task of increasing the Black population here by offering them rehabilitated public housing is a slap in the face to all SF Blacks.

My first conversation with Miller was strange. In our initial phone conversation, I asked him what his job was and why was his office in the SF Water Department or PUC. I recall him answering with a chuckle, but I never understood his answer, which had nothing to do with my lack of education.

I guess when you’re being paid $120,000 a year on a three year contract, it does not matter where your office is located. But to a long time city resident and activist, I find the hire strange.

A few months later, in January 2014, we had a sit down in a coffee shop near City Hall, and Miller made it clear to me that his orders from the mayor did not involve him having anything to do with “housing,” even though that was part of the 2009 Black outmigration report.

Based on that meeting, I informed Miller that I would be writing an already planned opinion for the SF Bay View newspaper titled: “Black and thinking of moving to San Francisco? Don’t do it!” I was also respectful to him and did not use any of our conversation as fodder for the piece.

In 2014, Mr. Miller held a series of forums designed to bring Blacks together as well as inform them of the many services for Blacks in the city. The one forum I attended at the University of San Francisco was disappointing, but a good crowd of maybe a hundred participated. Then there was one held at the SF Main Library with a reported 300 in attendance.

If I were an employer, I would not hesitate to hire a young Black lawyer with the skills of Theo Miller. Personally, I like the guy and sincerely see him as a plus for the city.

But in San Francisco politics, you promote someone when there is no evidence that their last position was a success. Therefore, as director of Hope SF, Mr. Miller is being used, in my opinion, by Mayor Ed Lee.

Hiring Theo Miller to convince Blacks to stay in or move to one of the most expensive places to live in the country is a clear indication that the one doing the hiring, Lee, is a typical politician who shows no shame in using people.

But in San Francisco politics, you promote someone when there is no evidence that their last position was a success. Therefore, as director of Hope SF, Mr. Miller is being used, in my opinion, by Mayor Ed Lee.

Both Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President London Breed are clear examples that there’s no shame in being raised in public housing. However, Theo Miller quoted as saying that “70 percent” of SF Blacks live in public housing is a clear indication that his services are not needed at Hope SF, unless the goal is 100 percent of Blacks living in SF public housing.

In addition to Ed Lee hiring this young, smart lawyer, neither gentleman read closely the first “key finding” in the 2009 plan, called the “Report of the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on African-American Out-Migration” because if they had read it, they would have most likely taken turns feeding the entire report into the office shredder.

It is both sad and laughable to rely on a commissioned report that first states what everyone in the city already knows – that Blacks are leaving the city at a high rate. But to use the report in an attempt to say to Blacks, “Hey don’t go! Come back! We care!” with no don’t-go-come-back-we-care funding spells FARCE.

Then to retain this same young Black lawyer for display as the face of yet another City Hall farce to increase the 70 percent of Blacks in public housing goes beyond the excuse of implicit bias.

Implicit bias is a kind way of saying someone is unknowingly discriminating. But anyone, including Theo Miller, who believes Mayor Ed Lee does not know what he is doing with his continued marginalization of SF Blacks, is willfully ignorant.

San Francisco writer Allen Jones, author of “Case Game: Activating the Activist,” can be reached at (415) 756-7733 or jones-allen@att.net. Visit his website, at http://casegame.squarespace.com.

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements



Click and find the
TravelVisaPro.com