City Hall

City Hall – Gordon Mar

Public Safety Imperative

By Gordon Mar

There is much that can be said about public safety and we have been having many of these conversations at City Hall and in the Sunset District over the last month. 

We are grateful to the 200 neighbors who joined us for our recent town hall on the topic, to everyone who came out to our hearing on residential property crimes in April and to all who shared their stories, thoughts and ideas on how we can make our neighborhood and city more safe. We are incorporating the best ideas into our Sunset District public safety platform and will be announcing some new crime prevention initiatives soon.

At the core of these conversations is a common idea: strong communities are safe communities. The commitment that so many have demonstrated, to show up and speak up on these topics, shows the strength of our community and I am so grateful for the engagement and involvement. The connections that bring us together – at town halls, around the dinner table, at schools and small businesses and community meetings across the Sunset – also make us safer. We all benefit when a neighborhood becomes a community, when opportunities are accessible to all, when we look out and care for one another and when public safety officers and officials work to build trust with and are accountable to those they are entrusted to serve and protect.

Our recent focus on public safety has shed a light on the lack of transparency of many of the basic functions of the departments tasked with protecting the public, which is why I was proud to join deputy public defender and candidate for district attorney, Chesa Boudin, to announce a joint proposal to create a data dashboard through the district attorney’s office to track and report demographic information on the victims and suspects of crimes and address disparities throughout the justice system. 

Our solutions to these problems can only be as good as the information we have. That is why we must start with some structural reforms to data tracking and accountability on crimes, so we can better inform strategies to address and prevent them.

We are also moving forward quickly on priorities for street safety. This year is already on track to becoming one of the deadliest years in recent history for traffic violence and fatalities. We must do everything we can to ensure our streets our safe. Large-scale safety improvement projects for 20th Avenue and Taraval Street are coming soon with our support and we have worked to quickly add new safety measures at key intersections, including a new crosswalk at 34th Avenue and Ortega Street, new signage at 19th and Judah and more safe and accessible curb treatments for bus stops at 46th and Judah. 

I also proudly co-sponsored Board President Norman Yee’s legislation to expand “daylighting” citywide, which is a common-sense practice that dramatically increases visibility and safety for pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists by painting the curb red at intersections. I have asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to expand this safety treatment to 100 intersections in the Sunset this year. I asked that the SFMTA prioritize those areas where fatal collisions have already occurred, such as near schools or at intersections with heavy foot traffic. It will result in some limited loss of parking, but spread throughout the neighborhood so no single block would lose more than one or two spaces. This is one of the most impactful and immediate steps we can take to dramatically improve street safety in our neighborhood and help save lives. I believe we have a moral obligation to act. 

 I am also excited to share that we will be hosting a series of community meetings with the SF Department of Public Works to present the master plan for Sunset Boulevard, an initiative to reinvigorate and improve this important greenway. We know how important this boulevard is to our community – and how frustrating it has been to see it not at its best these last few years – which is why we have made developing a comprehensive plan for its future one of our first priorities in office. We hope you can join us for the first meeting on Thursday, June 6, 6:30-8 p.m., in the Carlin Commons at St. Ignatius High School (2001 37th Ave.) to learn more and share your insights, thoughts and feedback. 

And we’re not stopping at Sunset Boulevard. We have also called for a hearing on the management of our public trees citywide to ensure we are holding agencies accountable to the important task of greening our City – for our health, climate and quality of life.

We’re working on expanding teacher and student housing in the Sunset. I wrote an op-ed for the San Francisco Examiner newspaper with Board of Education Commissioner Mark Sanchez detailing why we can and must invest in housing for educators and SF Unified School District families and how we can best move forward on this important priority. 

On the topic of investing in education, we have been in negotiations for the future of “Free City College” for the last few months and recently announced a tentative agreement with the mayor to secure full funding for the program for the next 10 years without going to the ballot. This agreement will provide full funding a year sooner than a charter amendment could have and will reimburse City College for the funding gap from the first two years of “Free City,” which were not fully funded despite Prop W being passed by the voters for this purpose and raising more than enough revenue to do so. 

I am grateful to SF Mayor London Breed for her partnership, AFT 2121, the Free City Coalition and former Supervisor Jane Kim for all of their work creating “Free City” in the first place. Details are still being finalized and I will have more to share on this soon.

Finally, to continue our focus on holding government accountable, I have called for a number of audits over the next year to take a close look at how city departments are performing on key priorities for our neighborhood and City, including homelessness, affordable housing development, workforce development, street tree maintenance and road conditions and repairs.

It has been a busy month, and we have some more exciting things in the works that I can’t wait to share with you soon.

Gordon Mar represents District 4 on the SF Board of Supervisors. He can be reached at (415) 554-7460 or marstaff@sfgov.org.

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