Richmond Review

City Hall: Final farewell message to the Richmond District

By Supervisor Eric Mar

Thanks to editor Paul Kozakiewicz for letting me share my views here for the last eight years!

Last month, I highlighted citywide accomplishments and I end by celebrating our neighborhood-based work in the Richmond District.

Thanks to all of you who have guided, advised and supported me and my staff over the past eight years. Without your input, advocacy and organizing none of this would have been possible! The future is bright as we welcome our new supervisor, Sandra Lee Fewer, this month. On Jan. 8, I return to my “civilian” life as a grassroots neighborhood activist, single dad of a 16 year old, and Public Policy and Asian American Studies teacher at SF State University.

Dignity for seniors: Together our Richmond seniors and I created and strengthened numerous programs, like the Dignity Fund, which will dramatically increase funding for seniors and the dis- abled; our “aging in place” pro- grams; Golden Gate Village and SF Village; new Safe Streets for Seniors projects; hunger and food security and safety net pro- grams; and the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC)/Richmond Senior Center’s unique intergenerational home-delivered groceries pro- gram, which helps our rapidly growing number of isolated and homebound seniors.

Protecting and promoting our small businesses: In 2010, I convened Cynthia Huie and Jesse Fink (Seedstore and Toy Boat Dessert Cafe owners, respectively) to help re-energize the 90-year-old Clement Street Merchants Association. We created our Clement Street Farmer’s Market, annual family-friendly ClemenTime holiday events, and revitalized the corridor. Other major improvements include:

• Protecting small businesses by restricting chain stores: With the SF Pet Store Coalition, we passed a law preventing pet supply chain stores from moving into the neighborhood. It was followed by a citywide law that holds big chain stores accountable and levels the playing field

for small, independent businesses;

• Parklets: Guided the creation of the first parklets at Third Avenue and Clement Street, 36th Avenue and Balboa Street (Simple Pleasures) and Sixth Avenue and Balboa (Cinderella Bakery);

• Public art/murals: Funded and helped support public art at Sixth Avenue and Clement (Green Apple Books), Third Avenue and Clement (Ace Hardware) and 28th Avenue and Geary Boulevard (Grocery Outlet), in addition to a number of schools, like Argonne, Peabody and McCoppin elemen- tary schools; and created a fund to preserve historic murals, like the 1930s Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals at George Washington High School and the Beach Chalet;

• Small business support and legacy businesses: Ensured that Geary was prioritized through the Invest In Neighborhoods pro- gram, which helped clean up me- dians and sidewalks and also brought focused support to our small businesses from city agen- cies; co-sponsored and founded the city’s Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund, and ensured businesses like Toy Boat, Pacific Cafe, Green Apple Books and Hamburger Haven were included early on.

Community building: In 2014, I worked with the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco (HRC) to create the only tenant counseling resource on the west side to address the growing fears of evictions and displacement. Other major ac- complishments include:

• Neighborhood visioning and equitable community planning: With the SF Planning Department and HRC, we kicked off a multi-year community pro- cess to envision an equitable future for our community and guide development without dis- placement in the Richmond;

• Annual Outer Richmond Playland Music Festival: With E. Cee Productions and RDNC, convinced the highly-successful festival to highlight our local artists, musicians and Outer Richmond shops;

• Building a culture of health: For eight years, built the spring- time Richmond Community Health Festival into an institution that now involves more than 40 groups and reaches more than 600 seniors, families and youth annually;

• Vastly improved parks and playfields and created new part- nerships for a safer and more sustainable Ocean Beach.

Improving Multi-Modal Transportation: I’ve strived to live up to the nickname “#MultiModalMar” by improving every type of transportation in the district, including:

• Major transit improvements: Service enhancements to the #38-Geary and #5-Fulton bus lines were the largest transit improvements in the district for more than a decade; successfully created the #5-Fulton Rapid line (We are now finalizing the Geary Bus Rapid Transit environmental analysis and planning.);

• Bike safety: Improved key locations, such as John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park, with parking-buffered bike lanes and speed humps (Arguello Boulevard was also recently im- proved); created the SAFE Bikes program with SF Safety Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) and the SF Bicycle Coalition, which works with the SF Police Department to reduce rampant bike thefts;

• Safe streets for seniors: Created new neighborhood and citywide programs that train se- niors to evaluate where pedestri- an safety can be improved and how to advocate for those changes;

• Building a culture of safety: Working with WALK SF, schools, senior centers and advocates, we strengthened our neighborhood participation in the citywide Vision Zero coalition; partnered with WALK SF and community leaders to organize “walking audits” throughout the district to target high-injury streets.

I have been greatly honored to serve the people and represent you as the Richmond District supervisor and to serve as a member of the SF Board of Education from 2000-2008. I end my eight years of columns on a high note by quoting my favorite poet, Pablo Neruda: “Every day you play with the light of the universe.”

Now, after 16 years of pouring my heart into public service as an elected official, I leave with pride having improved our neighborhood and City collectively with so many of you. May the light of the universe always illuminate and protect our beloved Richmond District.

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar represents District 1.

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