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
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
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@
gmail.com 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
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 www.sfpar.org, 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-
Richard Corriea is the president of the Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR).