Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting made up for past weeks’ light agendas with the welcoming of a new member, pointed questioning on affordable housing, significant new legislation and a marathon public comment session over the recent and heated redistricting process.
Mayor’s Appearance: Preston’s PROXY Battle & Affordable Housing
Unlike last month, when Board President Shamann Walton apparently “forgot” about her waiting to appear before the Board, Mayor London Breed was able to offer a warm welcome to new District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey. She then got an earful from District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston on affordable housing.
- Following the new supervisor’s suggestion, Dorsey’s swearing-in ceremony was held at Delancey Street, the Mission Bay-based substance abuse treatment nonprofit. Breed related Dorsey’s past struggles with addiction and his stated determination to tackle the drug overdose crisis currently wreaking havoc in SoMa and the Tenderloin.
- She also stressed their shared perspective on the concerns of District 6 residents, which they’ve both heard repeatedly: Conditions on the streets, and “public safety, public safety, and public safety.”
Preston then proceeded to grill the mayor on—what else?—housing.
- The District 5 Supervisor has pressed Breed’s office on a number of housing issues, including development of supportive housing for homeless teens and young adults, and disposition of revenue 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.
- During this session however, he asked the mayor whether she would commit to breaking ground on an affordable housing project at Hayes Valley’s Parcel K, currently home of the PROXY art space, within three years. Preston said that he had been making inquiries to the Mayor’s Office of Housing for months on the matter, but had received no response. Mayor Breed responded that she was not familiar enough with the situation to provide an answer but would follow up, reiterating her commitment to affordable housing and noting several projects as “moving forward.”
- Preston continued to press, calling the site “an important opportunity” that “lacks only the political will to go forward.” He then asked Mayor Breed if she would commit to at least issuing a Request for Proposals for the site within six months.
- Meanwhile, PROXY continues to operate on the site on a month-to-month basis, and remains popular with adjacent residents and merchants. When she was District 5 Supervisor, Breed worked to extend their use of the space.
New Business: More Housing & Treasure Island Appointments
Speaking of affordable housing, supervisors approved the ground lease and financing for an affordable housing project at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin.
- The 70-unit Below Market Rate rental housing project will be managed by Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, with a lease term of 75 years and a 24-year option to extend. The financing is not to exceed $13.95 million.
- Preston, as the Tenderloin’s new Supervisor, declared he was “thrilled to support projects like this.”
One growing venue for affordable housing is Treasure Island—which is in Supervisor Dorsey’s district. He and his colleagues approved 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. The reappointments are:
- 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.
Roll Call: Dorsey Checks In
New District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey made initial remarks during Roll Call, telling his new colleagues how “grateful” he was to join the board and noting his shared history with many of the supervisors. For example, Dorsey worked with Board President and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton in the 2019 campaign to save the city’s ban on e-cigarettes.
Acknowledging the contentious nature of his job, he also stressed that he will approach it from a position of mutual respect. “We all have a history together,” Dorsey said. “I’m honored to be here, I can’t wait to get to work.”
- Dorsey also introduced two items—a hearing request on barriers to city services for persons struggling with addiction, and a resolution asking Sacramento for more tax increment funding for affordable housing in Mission Bay.
- Later on in Roll Call, District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani gave Dorsey an enthusiastic welcome, declaring herself “absolutely ready to work with you on all things recovery.”
Also at Roll Call:
- District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced a number of items, including a resolution urging continued support for legacy providers of HIV support services, noting they face possible cuts; another resolution urging modification to the landmark status for the Castro Theater to reflect current restoration work under review by the city; and a measure for the November ballot to renew the transportation sales tax.
- District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar introduced items including a resolution and companion budget proposal for increased language access for services supporting victims of hate crimes, and a hearing on the impact of program and class cuts at City College of San Francisco, which were the subject of a “sleep-in” last week by faculty and supporters, which ended in arrests.
- District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar introduced legislation to create a pilot program for graffiti abatement in commercial corridors, which would allow property owners and businesses to opt in to proactive removal of graffiti by the Department of Public Works to avoid fines.
- District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced an ordinance amending the Planning Code to allow for the standing up of Vehicle Triage Centers in public parking lots citywide, noting the continued increased persons sheltering in vehicles around the city.
Public Comment: Redistricting is Bad, Part II: Electric Boogaloo
While supervisors breezed quickly through Tuesday’s agenda, an early recess was not to be, as public comment extended over two and a half hours.
- Most public commenters expressed their opposition to the recent redistricting process, which resulted in significant changes to the city’s Supervisorial districts. Speakers ranged from George Wooding, a former president of the Coalition on San Francisco Neighborhoods, to former District 11 Supervisor John Avalos.
- Many of these speakers supported placing the “Community Unity Map,” a redistricting map proposed by the progressive group San Francisco Rising and aggressively lobbied for during the process, on the November ballot.
- Others spoke in support of the recent redistricting process.
Tuesday’s meeting adjourned after a 90 minute closed session to confer with labor negotiators to discuss city employee raises, as part of budget and salary ordinances currently being submitted. If you want to see the recently submitted budgets for selected departments, click here. The second budget and salary ordinance for remaining departments will be submitted in June.Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected].