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Politics & Policy

Board of Supervisors in 2 minutes: Police reform, Amazon and problematic political posters

SFPD officers stand at the press conference on Jan. 25, 2022. | Camille Cohen

This week’s Board of Supervisors meeting has a very full agenda, with police practices, the future of Amazon’s planned 7th St. hub, and calling out anti-Asian speech in campaign rhetoric as standout items. (As always, wonks looking for the full kit and caboodle can check out the meeting’s complete agenda.)

Policing the Police 

The board will hold another installment of an ongoing hearing on the third phase of the Collaborative Reform Initiative between the San Francisco Police Department and the California Department of Justice. The initiative deals with a gamut of issues now controversial in policing, both locally and nationally, including use of force, institutional bias, public accountability and hiring. 

According to a Feb. 11 letter to Chief of Police Bill Scott from the Attorney General’s office, SFPD is now in compliance with 90% of the justice department’s recommendations, having increased the pace of reform on a number of issues. 

While this news may be encouraging, look for supervisors to ask pointed questions, given recent flaps over improper use of DNA samples as evidence, the rocky relationship with District Attorney Chesa Boudin over his office’s own reform agreement with SFPD over shooting investigations, and other issues. 

Boxing in Amazon

Another pressing issue: In response to Amazon’s plans for a massive delivery hub, Board President Shamann Walton is seeking tightened zoning controls over parcel delivery service sites. The site, slated to open at 900 7th St., is already the subject of some controversy between Mayor London Breed and the board. 

Walton’s legislation would impose temporary controls for 18 months, requiring a conditional use permit allowing for neighborhood input, for any package delivery-related site. It will likely be fast-tracked from March 21’s Land Use Committee meeting in order to be passed this week. 

Amazon’s plans are controversial due to projected traffic and emissions impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, as well as for the company’s anti-labor reputation. That latter concern is also being addressed by Mayor Breed, who hopes to move the project forward with a labor agreement, which would be a first for Amazon. 

A Call for Civility in Politics

Finally, the board is expected to take a stand on a more, shall we say, semiotic issue: the appropriation of Communist (or to be exact, Maoist) imagery in campaign posters lampooning District Attorney Chesa Boudin and other public figures. On March 10, local Chinese-American leaders denounced the practice as racist, noting earlier uses of the tactic against Supervisor Connie Chan and other Asian-American public figures. 

The non-binding resolution denounces “the use of anti-Asian rhetoric and xenophobic imagery” which “creates undue harms and traumatizes the Asian-American community,” and urges greater investment in the community to prevent escalating incidents of violence.”