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Politics & Policy

Supervisors to hash out on-demand shelter plan, extend eviction freeze

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman looks at the crowd in attendance at a Board of Supervisors meeting in San Francisco City Hall on May 3, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting will feature a penultimate vote on Mayor London Breed’s $25 million request for more police overtime pay, a discussion of on-demand shelter and other items. Barring surprises, the police overtime bill appears likely to pass—but not without protests from at least one board member. 

The board will also hold a hearing on the city’s plan to eliminate unsheltered homelessness within three years, and consider extending the pandemic-related moratorium on evictions. And yes, that resolution asking the state to legalize sex work is up for consideration again. 

As always, the wonks can check the specifics along with everything else on the agenda here.

After Showdown, Police Overtime Goes to Vote 

San Francisco Police Department officers observe a protest against “killer robots,” which stems from a policy regarding SFPD and military equipment, at San Francisco City Hall on Dec. 5, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Last week, the supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee held a marathon seven-hour meeting mainly to consider Breed’s police overtime budget proposal, which was first announced during her State of City address Feb. 9

The bill was forwarded to the full board without recommendation, but enough members have signaled their support so far that it appears—barring any curveballs—likely to pass on its first reading Tuesday.

That’s because Breed’s office had some concessions ready, cutting the total dollar amount to $25 million from $27 million. Her office also pledged that more police overtime would be distributed to various neighborhoods.  

Because it’s a midyear budget request, the bill needs eight votes to pass. It’s co-sponsored by Supervisors Catherine Stefani, Matt Dorsey, Joel Engardio, Rafael Mandelman and Ahsha Safaí. Supervisors Myrna Melgar and Board President Aaron Peskin have also voiced support. 

The swing vote is expected to be former budget chair and District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who ultimately said she would vote for the bill after a robust debate at last week’s committee meeting.

At that meeting, Ronen gave an impassioned speech accusing the Breed administration of neglecting police patrols in neighborhoods like the Mission in favor of posh shopping corridors in Union Square and Downtown.  

In response, Police Chief Bill Scott explained that Central Station, where the lion’s share of overtime is budgeted, was not only responsible for special patrols targeting retail theft, but also for backfilling patrol cars generally. SFPD is facing a spiral of increasing overtime costs due to long-term staffing issues.

The bill still has vocal opposition from District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, who has repeatedly voted against police funding since assuming office in 2019. 

He has submitted an alternative “nonpolice” budget request of $10 million to fund more ambassadors in the Tenderloin, which he represents, along with other prevention-based programs. That bill is expected to be considered in the coming weeks. 

Along with his dissenting vote, Preston also has another shoe to drop. He plans to call for an audit of how police deployment decisions affect overtime usage, performance of high-overtime programs, and possible solutions that would curb overtime. 

While it probably won’t affect tomorrow’s vote, it could make for rockier negotiations around police pay and the department's overall budget.  

On the other hand, Safai is expected to move forward with a police budget request of his own, for $3 million to fund neighborhood patrols.

Will There Be ‘A Place for All’?

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman crosses Market Street in San Francisco on Jan. 10, 2020. | Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images | Source: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The board will also hold a special order hearing on implementation of shelter-on-demand legislation passed by the board last June called “A Place for All.” The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing earlier issued a report that estimated the facilities and services needed to end unsheltered homelessness.

Mandelman, who introduced the legislation, has already expressed disappointment with that report, which he believes deprioritized shelter over letting the streets be “the waiting room for people to get more permanent housing,” as he put it last year. He’s also criticized the estimated costs in the report. 

The goal of “A Place for All” is to completely end unsheltered homelessness by offering “to every person experiencing homelessness in San Francisco a safe place to sleep."

According to the department's report, ending unsheltered homelessness would require an additional 3,800 units of permanent supportive housing along with 2,250 shelter units at a cost of $1.45 billion over the next three years. 

The homelessness department is expected to defend its report at the hearing. Members of stakeholder groups, including the Bay Area Council, are also expected to testify. 

Mandelman is holding a press conference before Tuesday’s board meeting in front of City Hall at 12:30 p.m. The hearing is at 3 p.m.

Covid Eviction Freeze To Continue

A man in a blue suit speaks at an outdoor rally
Supervisor Dean Preston speaks at a rally to protest illegal evictions in San Francisco on Aug. 5, 2022. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard | Source: Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Also on the agenda is Preston’s bill to extend the moratorium on evictions related to unpaid rent during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic for another 60 days after the local emergency declaration ends. 

The city hasn’t yet set a date for ending the Covid emergency—but the federal government plans to end the national state of emergency on May 11, and the city’s may wind down on a similar timeline. 

Last month, Mayor Breed’s office said that it wants the local emergency to “continue into the next few months for a limited purpose for facilitating some reimbursement and allow an orderly wind-down of shared spaces.” 

Preston wants the new extension to precede a “wind-down period” to aid tenants facing eviction once the moratorium finally ends, similar to that baked into Alameda County’s moratorium legislation. According to Preston’s office, that will require additional legislation. 

Sex Work Resolution Back to Committee

Also on this week’s agenda: 

Supervisor Hillary Ronen speaks at a rally in defense of sanctuary in San Francisco outside City Hall on Feb. 28, 2023. | Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard
  • Sex Work Legalization—Ronen’s bill, a policy statement born out of frustration over increased soliciting on Capp Street, is still on the agenda after being continued multiple times. Ronen has been working with Stefani on palatable amendments, and it will be returning to committee.
  • Homelessness Oversight Commission—Six members of the new commission, three nominated by Breed and three by the supervisors, are expected to be confirmed Tuesday. They include former Small Business Commission President Sharky Laguana and BART Director Bevan Dufty. The supervisors’ pick of Dufty appears to be a particularly prescient choice, given the burden the region’s homelessness crisis is placing on the train system.
  • Mission Murals—Resolutions from Ronen initiating the landmarking prices for murals celebrating Carnaval and the life of radio host and DJ Chata Gutierrez in the Mission on 24th Street are expected to pass unanimously. 

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect new developments regarding the police overtime bill and sex work resolution on Tuesday's board agenda.