Commentary – Richard Corriea

Help PAR in the Richmond

By Richard Corriea


As always, there’s a lot goingon in the Richmond District! Recently, SF Supervisor Malia

Cohen proposed  legislation (SF Board of Supervisors’ file #170442) to remove ordinance

provisions which  control the locations of sidewalk utility boxes.


Several years ago, the siting of AT&T’s large U-Verse

program’s unsightly boxes on sidewalks in residential areas precipitated

a tsunami of neighborhood resistance, a lawsuit, and ultimately then-SF Supervisor Scott

Weiner proposing legislation that implemented a series of constraints upon the siting of

utility boxes.


These boxes are eye-sores in the public right-of-way and become targets for graffiti

vandals. Documents filed recently at the Board of Supervisors assert that

AT&T’s compliance with graffiti removal obligations has been incomplete.


Despite the history of community sentiment on the siting issue, and Weiner’s legislation

that implemented something of a compromise, Cohen is now proposing that utilities be

able to buy their way out of current requirements by paying “In lieu” fees.


This proposed legislation ignores public sentiment, obliterates the community

protections found in current law and rewards utilities, like AT&T, in spite of

failures to comply with current obligations.


The legislation has been assigned to the board’s Public Safety and Neighborhood

Services Committee (supervisors Hilary Ronen, Jeff Sheehy and Sandra Lee Fewer).

I encourage you to follow the legislation and keep the supervisors informed of

your sentiments.


I have discussed the history of the utility box issue with Fewer and

advised her of PAR’s objections to Cohen’s proposed legislation.

With so many Richmond District issues on PAR’s agenda, it is difficult at times for our

team to work on optimizing our organization’s administrative functions. Many

non-profits that rely solely on volunteer leadership are similarly challenged.


That said, members of PAR’s board are focusing on some important organizational

endeavors. Our vice president, Kate Lazarus, is chairing our membership

committee to work on both growing PAR’s membership and enhancing our ability to

communicate more efficiently with our members. Co-vice President Nick Belloni has

taken responsibility for assuring that PAR remains in compliance with state

and federal regulations affecting non-profit organizations.


In addition, Nick is coordinating all activities related to the creation

and distribution of our quarterly newsletter. Our new secretary, Mary Dee Beall, has

brought a superlative level of organization and thoroughness to the board,

and director Margie Hom-Brown is back after a short leave and, in

addition to chairing our public safety committee, is leading efforts

to improve and amend PAR’s bylaws.


I anticipate one or more openings on the board in the coming months. If you are

interested in rolling up your sleeves and working with your neighbors to

maintain and enhance the physical and social dimensions of life in the Richmond as a

member of PAR’s board of directors, then please e-mail me at sfparpresident@ or call me at (415) 541-5652.


I have been PAR’s president for going on three years. While there currently are no term

limits in place, I think a change of leadership can be good for an organization

(and the leader). As such, I have chosen to not seek an additional term and my time

as president will be ending soon. PAR is a great organization. Its board is committed to

representing the chorus of voices that sing out differing views, express particular

needs and share diverse perspectives.


In such expressions PAR’s board learns and advances its by-laws-created duty to

maintain and enhance the physical and social dimensions of life in

the Richmond – PAR’s raison d’être.


A commitment to advancing the notion of coalescing our neighbors’ many sentiments

is a complicated task, but necessary for PAR’s continuing relevance. The organization’s

brand stands for independence. To preserve its independence and relevance, going

forward, the board and all PAR members must be especially vigilant against efforts

seeking to insert political partisanship or the influence of economic interests into the

board’s processes.


I hope you will join your neighbors and me by becoming a member of PAR. Membership

dues begin at $15 per year, and PAR is a non-profit organization whose donations are

tax-deductible and go solely to support PAR’s work on behalf of the Richmond.


Please visit our website at, where you can use PayPal or download a

membership application. You can also mail dues to PAR at

5758 Geary Blvd., #356, SF, CA 94121-2112; or telephone (415) 541-


Thank you.


Richard Corriea is the president of the Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR).

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