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Politics & Policy

Supervisors Preview: Housing Hopes and Headaches, and the New Guy

Written by Mike EgePublished May 09, 2022 • 12:53pm
Matt Dorsey speaks at his swearing-in ceremony after he is nominated as District 6 Supervisor by Mayor London Breed on May 9, 2022. | Camille Cohen

This Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting will be the first for newly minted District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who was appointed and sworn in by Mayor London Breed on Monday afternoon. 

The former police spokesperson will likely witness a spirited discussion over affordable housing, and preside over the reappointment of commissioners overseeing the development of Treasure Island—a growing part of Dorsey's district. 

Dorsey’s Challenge: The Drug Crisis

  • Matt Dorsey’s appointment was formally announced at 12:15 pm today at Delancey Street, a nonprofit based in Mission Bay that has provided substance abuse treatment and re-entry counseling to San Francisco for over two generations. 
  • That reinforces Dorsey’s status as a person in recovery who has struggled with addiction himself, and his stated determination to tackle the drug overdose crisis wreaking havoc in SoMa and the Tenderloin. 
  • That said, the locus of the problem is now split between two supervisorial districts. District 6 will now be represented by Dorsey, who is expected to be a reliable “moderate” voice on the board. Thanks to redistricting, the Tenderloin is now in District 5, represented by Dean Preston, arguably the board’s most “progressive” supervisor.
  • The end result will likely be that opposite ends of the debate over how to approach the problem will be backed by supervisorial prerogative as both Dorsey and Preston claim proprietary interests. 
  • That debate will also dominate the politics of Dorsey’s reelection chances. Coming in from his position as communications director for the San Francisco Police Department, progressives are already weaving a narrative of “beat the cop.”

Speaking of Preston: Heckling Breed over Housing

This week’s meeting is set to host an appearance by Mayor London Breed, which unlike last month will presumably not be preempted. Preston has submitted “Affordable Housing” as a topic for discussion. As the board’s self-proclaimed champion of “social housing,” he has some bones to pick with Mayor Breed. 

  • He has legislation in the queue, to be heard in committee later this week, which would “require the City to acquire at least 20 additional dwelling units for use as transitional housing for homeless transitional age youth in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood no later than March 31, 2023.” 
  • It’s the latest move in his fight with the mayor over what he sees as a “broken promise” to pivot use of 730 Stanyan Street—the former Haight Street McDonald’s—to a drop-in center for homeless teens and young adults. The plan was for the center to be run by the same nonprofit that ran a safe sleeping site on the premises that polarized the neighborhood. 730 Stanyan is ultimately slated to host a permanent affordable housing development, but for now the site sits empty. 
  • Preston has been at odds with Breed over how to spend proceeds from Proposition I, a property transfer tax approved by voters in 2020. Preston and supporters sought for those revenues to be earmarked for new “social housing” programs. At a committee meeting last week, he urged Breed to follow the recommendations of the Oversight Board for the Housing Stability Fund, which was created in anticipation of those earmarks, in the coming budget. 

Treasure Island Appointments

One growing venue for affordable housing is Treasure Island—which is in Supervisor Dorsey’s district. Along with his colleagues, on Tuesday he will likely approve the reappointments of three directors to the board of the Treasure Island Development Authority, a hybrid nonprofit organization and agency that oversees development and infrastructure on the island:

  • V. Fei Tsen, a developer and former Director of Real Estate for the Port of San Francisco;
  • LaShawndra Price-Breston, longtime resident activist on the island;
  • Linda Richardson, environmental justice advocate and former Human Rights Commissioner.

Mike Ege can be reached at

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