While light on ordinances to pass, today’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting featured a lot of substance and some unfulfilled suspense as well. Members weighed in on the controversial Supreme Court draft opinion threatening reproductive rights, consequential future legislation, and the city’s Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.
An Empty Seat
One unspoken but very apparent feature of today’s meeting was the absence of a District 6 Supervisor. Matt Haney, the incumbent, resigned his seat to be sworn in as a State Assemblymember representing California’s 17th District today. Many observers expected his replacement to be appointed by Mayor London Breed in time to attend today’s meeting, but that was apparently not to be.
- Conventional wisdom on who will be appointed to replace Haney is divided between his longtime aide and SOMA resident Honey Mahogany, and San Francisco Police Department Communications Director Matt Dorsey.
- It would appear that political junkies across the city will have up to another week to enjoy the suspense and speculation.
Sharing the Wealth Redux
Todays’ agenda was very light on ordinances, but a number of funding resolutions were passed. These included:
- Applying for yet another Homekey grant, this time of over $19.9 million for the purchase of 685 Ellis Street, the former City Center Hostel, for use as Permanent Supportive Housing. San Francisco has already purchased eight properties under the program, including a 200-unit building just last week.
- $125,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice for community policing in the Tenderloin, including increased foot patrols, community safety workshops and youth mentorship programs.
- An in-kind gift worth $66,000 of 900 units of Naloxone, also known as Narcan, to SFPD for rescuing opioid overdose victims. These will be provided by the federal government through the state Department of Health Care Services.
Police Commissioners Reappointed
Along with the above grant programs for SFPD, the following Police Commissioners were reappointed:
- Larry Yee is a former labor activist and longtime board member of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, also known as the Chinese Six Companies. The CCBA provides social services and other support for Chinese immigrants and small businesses in Chinatown. Yee was first appointed in March 2021.
- Max Carter-Oberstone is an appellate lawyer at Orrick, a former state deputy solicitor general, and a longtime police reform activist. He also serves on the board of Death Penalty Focus, an anti-capital punishment advocacy group. Carter-Oberstone was first appointed in November 2021.
Honoring Asian and Pacific Islander Americans
The board used its 2:30 commendations period to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Americans Heritage Month. They also honored a number of local members of the AAPI community for their service during a difficult year, which was dominated by the pandemic and headlines about anti-Asian American hate crimes. Honorees included:
- Adrienne Pon, the retiring director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs;
- Julie Mao, Captain, San Francisco Fire Department;
- Marian Dalere, proprietor of Dalere Beauty Salon, the oldest continuing business in Glen Park, and Vice President of the Glen Park Association;
- Jenny Leung, co-chair of the Chinatown Art and Culture Coalition and director of the Chinese Cultural Center;
- Diane Matsuda, Historic Preservation Commissioner and Staff Attorney at API Legal Outreach;
- Gaynorann Siataga, community organizer and co-founder of the Pacific Islander Community Hub in District 10;
- Yensing Sihapanya, executive director of Portola Family Connections;
- Monthanus Ratanapakdee, Justin Zhu, Forrest Liu, and Charles Jung, activists against hate crimes directed at the AAPI community;
- Jordan Mar, Small Business and Marketing Manager at the Ocean Avenue Association.
Additionally, Film Commissioner Claudine Cheng made remarks honoring former San Jose Mayor, Congressman and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, who was instrumental in the establishment of AAPI Heritage Month nationally. Mineta passed away this afternoon at the age of 90.
Roll Call: Fighting Back Against SCOTUS
The recent shock news of the US Supreme Court’s draft opinion striking down reproductive rights prompted swift and categorical responses by the board’s female contingent during Roll Call:
- Supervisor Myrna Melgar commented that the decision “made my blood boil… this will roll back the rights of women, minorities, immigrants…are we not all entitled to equal protection under the law?” She introduced a resolution calling on Congress to immediately codify Roe v. Wade.
- Supervisor Hillary Ronen commented that there were “no words… we are going back in time… we are going to have to do a number of things. We have enough allies that we are going to fight back with everything we’ve got.”
- She requested that the Budget and Legislative Analyst produce a cost estimate for a program that would offer safe abortions to women from states where the practice is or will be banned. “As (incoming) budget chair, I was not expecting to prioritize this, but we all have to stand up and have womens’ backs, no matter what state they live in,” said Ronen.
- She also introduced a resolution urging the Biden Administration to offer federal land to reproductive health clinics in states where abortion is or will be banned.
- The items sponsored by Melgar and Ronen were co-sponsored by her colleagues Supervisors Catherine Stefani and Connie Chan. In her remarks Stefani compared the new conservative Court majority’s position on reproductive health to that on ownership of assault weapons: “This Supreme Court is not pro-life. In my opinion they are pro-death.”
In other Roll Call matters:
- Supervisor Gordon Mar has asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance on the disposition of the Great Highway. The legislation would maintain the current compromise—wherein car traffic will be allowed during the week for the next few years while the city begins a planning and outreach process for the beachside road. The process would be similar to that for JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.
- Supervisor Aaron Peskin requested a hearing on the accreditation issues at Laguna Honda Hospital, and how the hospital will regain its accreditation.
- Supervisor Ahsha Safai discussed issues related to the upcoming charter amendment that would establish an oversight commission for the Department of Homelessness Services and Housing. He noted that the draft was not yet ready, and argued in favor of a hybrid appointment model where a majority of members would be appointed by the mayor with Board of Supervisors’ approval.