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Board of Supervisors

Supervisors Preview: Translation for Crime Victims, Watching CBDs, and a Tall Order for Sanitation Commissioners

Written by Mike EgePublished May. 16, 2022 • 1:23pm
A surveillance camera on 5th Street in San Francisco in October 7, 2020. | Scott Strazzante / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

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In anticipation of the coming budget process, the Board of Supervisors’ meeting this week is yet again mostly light and dry. But it does include some notable items, including trailing legislation for Proposition B, a 2020 ballot measure that created the Sanitation and Streets Department, as well as plans for better language access for crime victims, look into the performance of the city’s community benefit districts, and other matters.

Building a Sanitation Department

The Board is expected to pass an ordinance requiring the Department of Public Works to provide interim administrative support for the gestating Department of Sanitation and Streets, known as SAS for short. The ordinance will also establish financial reporting requirements for members of the new agency’s oversight commission. 

  • SAS was created by voter approval of Proposition B, whose main sponsor was the departed District 6 Supervisor and now 17th District Assemblymember Matt Haney, in 2020. 
  • Midwifing the agency has proven complicated: a committee hearing late last month discussed increased costs and worker morale issues associated with its spin off from the Department of Public Works. Read more here.

Speaking of Sanitation: New Commissioners

  • The supervisors will also be considering appointments to SAS’ governing commission, including Mayor London Breed’s appointment of Ike Kwon
  • Kwon is chief operating officer of the California Academy of Sciences, one of the losing parties in the recent legislative fight over keeping JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park closed to cars. 
  • Is this a consolation prize, or is Kwon a glutton for punishment? Sanitation commissioners may have a host of issues to watch, including the possibility of extra budget needs and a hiring deficit. 
Department of Public Works staff work together as they clean the street and sidewalk along Turk Street. | Lea Suzuki / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Community Benefit Districts’ Annual Reports

The Supervisors are expected to accept and approve annual reports for four of the city’s Community Benefit Districts at this week’s meeting, including the Central Market, North of Market and Tenderloin, Civic Center, and East Cut CBDs. 

  • San Francisco’s Community Benefit Districts are basically what in other cities are referred to as business improvement districts. They’re public benefit bodies established by neighboring property owners to provide cleaning, security and other street and neighborhood activation services, via tax assessments from constituent businesses and properties, as well as donations.
  • CBDs have been a part of San Francisco since 2004, when the board passed legislation authorizing them in 2004. The primary sponsor of that legislation was District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who serves on the board today through the magic of non-consecutive terms. 
  • The Board of Supervisors receives and reviews annual reports from these bodies as required by state law. 
  • CBDs have also been involved in some contentious issues in recent years. A number of them installed security cameras in their jurisdictions, many of them funded through donations by tech mogul Chris Larsen, a top funder of District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s anti-recall campaign. 
  • The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates sued the San Francisco Police Department over their use of footage from cameras operated by the Union Square CBD to track protestors against the police murder of George Floyd in 2020. 
  • Peskin then authored a successful resolution urging the agency overseeing CBDs to adopt a policy disclosing their private contributions, and whether they operate surveillance technology. 

Better Language Access for Crime Victims 

Also to be voted on: a resolution sponsored by District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar calling for a Victim Service Language Bank pilot program.

See Also

  • The pilot would be conducted by the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs and based on that provided by the Asian Womens’ Shelter, in order to better serve crime victims in need of interpreters. 
  • The resolution dovetails with legislation Mar introduced in March to require the Police department to submit Community Policing Plans for all district stations, in part a response to the rise in hate crimes against persons of Asian descent. That ordinance is currently in committee. 

Budget Process Begins

Speaking of budget issues, the first budget and salary ordinances were submitted to the board by the mayor last week, and they will be considered by the board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee on May 18. These ordinances cover 12 city departments, including the larger enterprise departments, such as San Francisco International Airport and the Municipal Transportation Agency. Ordinances for the remaining departments will be submitted at the beginning of next month. 

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Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected]


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