Fix Our Public Services
By Gordon Mar
As the L-Taraval celebrates its 100th anniversary, it’s clear we have a lot of work to do to improve our public transportation for the next century. For the tens of thousands of Sunset residents who rely on the N-Judah and L-Taraval streetcars and Muni bus lines, I share your deeply-felt frustration and disappointment with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).
From the recent subway shutdown to staffing shortages to alarming reports of internal harassment at the agency and unacceptable problems with doors and braking on new trains, we must get to the bottom of the ongoing issues with SFMTA’s culture, performance and reliability. This requires new leadership, new ideas and new levels of transparency and accountability.
This is why I will be holding back-to-back hearings on Muni’s performance on May 13, focused on switchbacks, service times and reliability. I will hold these public performance reviews every three months going forward. Public transit must be accountable to the public and San Francisco deserves answers. If you’d like to share your experiences on Muni as part of our hearing, either at public comment or in a statement, email us at email@example.com with “Muni hearing” in the subject line. We’ll also be sharing the details for the hearing soon at facebook.com/d4gordonmar.
We recently held another hearing on property crimes, including package theft and home break-ins, that revealed that while crime overall is down, the Sunset is shouldering a disproportionate share of property crimes.
For years, the Chinese community has been asking if they’re being disproportionately targeted in home break-ins, yet the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) doesn’t track the data needed to answer that question. SFPD also does not track package theft, instead lumping these in with other crimes.
We must do a better job of tracking, addressing and preventing these kinds of crimes. Everybody deserves to feel safe and secure in their homes. I’ve formed a working group to dive in deeper to these issues, to push our public agencies to track the information we need and will work in partnership with SFPD to explore new strategies, including expanding Neighborhood Watch groups and providing residents with tools like security cameras, which have been proven to reduce instances of crimes like these.
Greening the Sunset
This drive for accountability includes greening our neighborhood, so I’ve called for another hearing on how we manage our urban canopy, including tree planting and maintenance on Sunset Boulevard.
San Francisco has the worst urban canopy of any major city in the United States and its management is split across a half dozen departments. Last year, we increased our canopy by a grand total of one tree, falling more than 99.9 percent short of our goal, proving that without investment and accountability, these goals themselves are meaningless. For too long, trees have been seen as a luxury, an accessory, a nice-to-have but unessential extra, left to the political back-burner, underfunded and under-managed.
The truth is, greening our City is essential to public health and addressing the present and future climate catastrophe. It is already too late to avert climate disaster by emissions reductions alone; we must also make big investments in carbon capture to remove the greenhouse gases already in our air. Trees capture carbon, remove particulate matter, clean the air the we breathe, beautify our streets and neighborhoods, regulate temperatures and support water quality.
This is why I’ve called for this hearing, to better understand the data we have on our tree canopy and how it’s managed, and how we can do better going forward – because we must.
And hearings aren’t all we’ve been up to!
We have worked with board President Norman Yee on legislation to protect childcare facilities that is moving forward, helping to secure crucial services for our neighborhoods.
We have partnered with Mayor London Breed and SF Supervisor Vallie Brown to waive fees on accessory dwelling units (in-laws) and 100 percent affordable housing, to support homeowners who want to provide additional units that fit the character of our neighborhood and to reduce the cost of building more affordable housing.
Finally, we recently announced a proposal to restore a modest tax on corporate IPO wealth to address income inequality. The City has subsidized the tech industry with tax breaks and cuts for years. As companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb look to gain billions of dollars as they go public, it is time we turn the page. It is time to work towards a future where all people benefit from the prosperity that San Francisco helped incubate, where the success created by many doesn’t only benefit a few.
We need a city where corporations are responsible neighbors and where technology and innovation acts in service to society, instead of the other way around. It’s time we ask wealthy corporations to start paying their fair share to support and stabilize working families and small businesses. This proposal is just the beginning, and I’ll have more to share on this soon.
Categories: City Hall