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Politics & Policy

Laguna Honda gets a health check, housing bills get a raincheck: Supervisors’ roundup

The exterior of Laguna Honda Hospital's main entrance
Laguna Honda Hospital patients, residents, and staff walk through the hospital and treatment center’s grounds in San Francisco, Calif. on Monday, May 16, 2022. | Camille Cohen

This week, the Board of Supervisors ended up kicking the can down the road on controversial housing legislation, including an upzoning plan that was picked apart in committee. 

They also heard about the pitfall-laden road to restoring Laguna Honda Hospital’s federal funding, new legislation targeting open-air drug dealing and some stark foreshadowing for the coming budget process. (As always, wonks looking for the full kit and caboodle can check out the complete agenda.)

Housing Bills: Back to Development Hell

When District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced legislation last year to legalize denser housing in districts zoned for single-family homes, there was some optimism among housing advocates. Since that time, the legislation has endured the political equivalent of development hell, with multiple amendments in committee and at the Planning Commission. 

The bill, paired with another by District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin to curb certain “micro unit” developments, was expected to pass Tuesday, but Mandelman asked that the items be continued due to advice from the city attorney, who recommended further amendments. 

    Laguna Honda’s “Kafkaesque” Road to Recertification

    The meeting also included a hearing on the crisis at Laguna Honda Hospital, which revealed the dilemma the facility now faces: in order to be recertified for federal funding, the hospital has to close down temporarily, forcing close to 700 patients to be transferred or be discharged. 

    Here’s some of what was uncovered:

      New Business and Budget Foreshadowing

      Supervisor Hillary Ronen, center I File photo by Camille Cohen

      Supervisors held an emergency hearing on yet another beleaguered behavioral health provider: the recently merged Baker Places and Positive Resource Center. The facility provides drug treatment and care for AIDS patients at a number of locations, including a recently built “Hummingbird Center” psychiatric respite center in the Mission. 

      The nature of the hearing prompted District 9 Supervisor and Budget Chair Hillary Ronen to let slip a bit of a shocker about the coming budget process