While Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting brought neither fireworks nor much progress on the issues, there were some developments on Covid protocols, Great Highway plans and Recology reform, among other topics worth noting. (Wonks looking for the full kit and caboodle can check out the meeting’s full agenda here.)
😷 On the pandemic
- Mayor London Breed’s opening remarks centered on Covid response updates. She said the Department of Public Health doubled capacity and was administering about 10,000 tests a day, but the city needs more help from private partners. The mayor reiterated her order requiring private healthcare facilities to provide testing. The city will now compel providers to report on testing, with fines as a possible penalty.
- Later in the meeting, during roll call, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai called for a new Covid Command Center, saying the Omicron variant has put the city back in emergency mode. He cited the recent failures at the Color testing centers and unlicensed testing centers as urgent problems to be addressed. District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan requested a hearing of the whole board to determine how the dueling crisis of the Omicron and Tenderloin emergencies will be balanced—both fiscally and in terms of implementation. If the Committee of the Whole hearing is scheduled, watch for it after the MLK Day holiday.
- District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen voiced concerns on continued funding for the Right to Recovery program, which provides income support for workers forced to quarantine. The administration has promised to find the money to keep the program going, but if they're not fast enough, Ronen will introduce a supplemental appropriation.
⛔️ On Great Highway, JFK Drive and Slow Streets
- Chan and Breed briefly went head-to-head over transportation issues, with Chan—who clearly wanted to fire a warning shot on the Slow Streets measures, especially the closure of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to car traffic—pressing the mayor for answers on progress. "Car Free JFK," along with the closure of Great Highway to cars, is opposed by a highly vocal community of older "residentialist" westside San Franciscans as well as the museums in Golden Gate Park. Meanwhile, the other side is generally understood to be comprised of equally vocal "urbanist" constituents accustomed to navigating the city without cars. Despite the theatrics, the exchange basically went nowhere with Breed shutting down Chan in short order.
- The issue was litigated again by callers during the public comment period, during which there appeared to be a deadlock in numbers—maybe a slight advantage to the pro-car folks—as accusations of bad faith flew on both sides.
- The agencies involved— the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Recreation and Parks Department—are working on choosing a final configuration for JFK Drive with internally developed alternatives based on public feedback. These plans will be submitted to the supervisors sometime in the spring. Meanwhile, the Supervisors voted to approve a different plan submitted by Chan last September, a "Beach-to-Bay" car-free connection that would still allow for more vehicular access to the museums. The Great Highway, after being full closed to vehicles for much of the pandemic, is now only closed to cars on weekends as a part of a pilot program.
🗑 On Reforming the Rate-Setting Process for Trash Collection
District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced two refuse contracting reform ballot measures in the wake of the growing Recology overbilling scandal. One is co-sponsored by Mayor Breed and is supported by most supervisors; the other, which wasn't mentioned but will appear Friday on a Legislation Introduced memo, is sponsored by Peskin alone and is much more strict. Recology has a "reform" measure of its own in the works as well.
Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected]