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This June, San Francisco voters will make an important decision on whether to hand over a dangerous power to the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA). Proposition H, a measure funded by the POA, is an attempt to loosen important use of force restrictions on Tasers that were pushed on the troubled SFPD by a team of experts from the Obama Justice Department. Police unions don’t get to decide their own use of force policies. Don’t be fooled. Vote No on Prop H!
Tuesday night, Jan. 23, 2018, supporters of San Francisco acting Mayor London Breed walked around in a daze in City Hall’s opulent Board of Supervisors chambers, shocked to realize Breed had just been ousted as mayor. One supporter asked, “What is a caretaker mayor anyway?” Answer: The term “caretaker mayor” was invented by self-serving members of the Board of Supervisors vying to be the next mayor of San Francisco in the November 2011 election.
Acting Mayor London Breed announced on Jan. 19 that San Francisco’s homicide tally in 2017 dropped from the year prior and marked a 42 percent decrease from totals recorded a decade ago. Acting Mayor Breed announced the drop in homicides at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center alongside Supervisor Malia Cohen, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott and community members engaged in the revitalization and activation of parks as part of the City’s HOPE SF initiative.
Acting Mayor London Breed, San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor, issued the following statement on Jan. 15, the birthday and federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for solemn reflection and commemoration of the life and legacy of one of our country’s most distinguished leaders. It is a time for us to remember and think critically about the values he stood for: social and racial justice, service and equality."
John Brown, a 68-year-old Vietnam vet and former firefighter, is happy in his one-bedroom unit in Bayview; it’s small but comfortable, clean and tidy. He’s at risk of losing his home. It’s an odd situation: Brown has no problem paying the rent, he’s not violating his lease, he gets along fine with his landlord, there’s no Ellis Act or Owner Move-in taking place. The building hasn’t been sold. He’s facing eviction because his apartment was built illegally – and now the city is cracking down. The tenants are appealing the demolitions to the Planning Commission, which will hear the case Thursday, July 27.
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
Mary L. Booker, a longtime associate of Bayview Opera House and civil rights advocate, passed away at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco on May 11 of leukemia. She was 85. Booker moved to San Francisco in 1955. Five years later, she started Infinity Productions at Bayview Opera House, where she offered free acting workshops, in addition to writing and directing several productions. A strong advocate for social justice, Booker used the theatrical arts to promote African-American culture and bring together community members from different generations.
Dr. Valerie Yerger, ND, of UCSF and Carol McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), stood with Supervisor Malia Cohen, Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington, researchers and community leaders as Cohen announced historic legislation restricting the sale city-wide of menthol and other flavored tobacco products in San Francisco.
The redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard was derailed last year by whistleblower reports that Navy contractor Tetra Tech had faked more data than previously believed about the cleanup of the toxic and radioactive Superfund site. With land transfers on hold and city powers reeling, the Navy hired global engineering company CH2M Hill to review Tetra Tech’s data and do community outreach. One problem: CH2M Hill also faked environmental data on the very same project.
When SF’s top officials gathered for the annual State of the City address on the morning of Jan. 17, 2014, instead of the elegant environs of City Hall, they descended on a construction site at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Despite the rosy picture painted by the mayor, some of the people working at the Shipyard were on their way to losing everything. The program meant to help small local construction companies benefit from the development was instead driving some against the wall. A survey of the Shipyard’s local contractors and a review of public documents reveal systemic issues with the local builders program.
In a small victory for the Stop Urban Shield Coalition earlier today, the Budget and Finance Committee postponed voting on an item to allow San Francisco to apply for federal funding that ultimately goes toward the militarized SWAT training program and weapons expo known as Urban Shield. The program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security through the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant.
Community members and public officials gathered Saturday morning, Dec. 3, to celebrate the completion of a $6.9 million renovation of Bayview’s Hilltop Park, which neighbors the Westbrook public housing complex. The project, managed by Rec & Parks, was primarily funded by the statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008, which set aside $368 million to improve parks and recreation facilities in underserved communities throughout California.
San Francisco citizen activists and others appear to have succeeded – at least for now – in helping persuade the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board not to approve the SFMTA staff’s plan to eliminate all three stops closest to the Main Library and Civic Center on the northbound 19 Polk bus line. The SFMTA had planned to eliminate the stops as part of the agency’s Seventh and Eighth Street Safety Project.
The news was expected to be bad. San Franciscans for Police Accountability (SFPA), a civilian watch group, held a public forum in the Koret Auditorium of San Francisco’s Public Library. It was Saturday, Sept. 24, and featured D.A. George Gascón’s specially appointed Blue Ribbon Panel – the forum appropriately titled, “Making SFPD Accountable: A Community Conversation.” And what a conversation this was – one I could not miss!
After weeks of negotiations between the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and San Francisco officials, HUD announced Sept. 21 that it will authorize neighborhood preference policies for federally-funded affordable housing in the City – upholding landmark legislation by Board of Supervisors President London Breed. President Breed joined Supervisor Cohen and housing advocates to celebrate the monumental victory in San Francisco’s fight against neighborhood displacement.
State and federal regulators asked the Navy to stop transferring land from the Hunters Point Shipyard to San Francisco’s control while investigators look into reports that contractor Tetra Tech misrepresented its work cleaning up the toxic Superfund site. In a Sept. 13 letter to Navy official Lawrence Lansdale, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Angeles Herrera and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Janet Naito requested confirmation that the Navy will not propose any land transfers for the time being.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi issued a statement on April 1 on the news that a second group of SFPD officers exchanged racist and homophobic text messages and sent a letter to District Attorney George Gascón on the topic. Mayor Edwin M. Lee issued a statement April 4 after meeting with the San Francisco Police Department’s Police Employee Groups. At the full Board of Supervisors meeting April 5, Supervisor Malia Cohen and Board President London Breed issued a joint statement regarding the racist and homophobic text messages.
Providence Baptist Church was packed for the second homegoing service for Dr. Espanola Jackson, a legendary icon to the people of Bayview Hunters Point and citywide. Her family and friends and city and state officials who have felt her pressure to do the right thing came to honor her so as to make sure, despite her transition, that justice prevails like a mighty stream – pure, powerful and calm.
The No New SF Jail Coalition’s position has been clear since day one – what San Francisco needs to keep its residents safe is housing, healthcare, mental health support, harm reductive substance use support, education, meaningful employment, community organizations, re-entry support and pre-trial diversion. NOT jails. We need you to call the Board of Supervisors, tell your friends and come out strong on Dec. 15. UPDATE: The vote to reject the new jail was UNANIMOUS! There will be NO NEW SF JAIL.
On Dec. 9, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors to address racial profiling and the use of force by police officers, nationally and locally, as well as to uphold the right to nonviolent protest. Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, Malia Cohen and Eric Mar signed as cosponsors. A final vote on the resolution will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 16, and a large showing of support is vital to its passage.
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