Setting the Record Straight
By Sandra Lee Fewer
I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones. I want to take this time to address something that has been weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of District 1 residents; I understand that some of my constituents were offended by the language that I used on election night in reference to the Police Officers Association (POA).
First, I apologize to SF police officers, my 80,000 District 1 constituents, and residents across the city for causing any offense with my choice of language. I recognize that the language I used has caused some to be disappointed in me as an elected official and I pledge to hold myself to a higher standard.
I have deep respect for the service of police officers and the work they do daily to keep our city safe, and I am proud to have strong working relationships with the police chief as well the Richmond Station captain and officers. As many of you know, my husband is a retired 35-year veteran of the police department and I have personal relationships with many individual officers. I know how important their work is for public safety in San Francisco.
I do want to clarify that I do not see police officers and the POA as one and the same. I am extremely frustrated with the POA, which, as an organization, has a long history of racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric and has publicly targeted and threatened their critics. But, while I was communicating my deep disappointment with this organization on election night, I chose to use language that caused offense to SF residents – and for that, I sincerely apologize.
I will be holding two listening sessions to hear from neighbors who may have been hurt or offended by my language, to personally apologize. The first session will be on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Anza Branch Library (550 37th Ave.). The second session will be on Thursday, Dec. 19, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Richmond Branch Library (351 Ninth Ave.). I look forward to sitting down with my neighbors then.
In the Neighborhood
It was another fun and successful Geary Merchants luncheon. Thank you to David Heller for all the work you do to bring us all together and congratulations on launching the Geary Marketplace website. I was proud to honor the owners of Joe’s Ice Cream and the Shell gas station at Geary Boulevard and Cook Street for their many years of great service to the neighborhood.
It was great seeing so many tiny tots and caregivers at the Richmond Playground open house to weigh in on reimagining so many elements of the playground. There will be a second community event to discuss survey results on the playground and additional opportunities to provide input on the project; please stay tuned. I also want to thank the YMCA’s leadership team for inviting me to speak with them about district and citywide priorities. I want to extend a warm welcome to the new executive director of the Richmond YMCA, Lauren Clapperton.
I am so appreciative to firefighters who responded quickly to a recent two-alarm fire at Geary and 18th Avenue; thankfully there were no injuries reported. City agencies and the Red Cross are providing services to our residents and the small businesses that were displaced and have activated the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund as a resource.
It was great to see so many neighbors, community members and parents from Peabody and Sutro elementary schools and St. James Episcopal Church at the California Street Safety Project open house. Thank you to the SFPD Traffic Unit for discussing the role of traffic enforcement for safe streets in the Richmond and connecting with residents about traffic safety priorities. More information about the proposal is online at: https://www.sfmta.com/projects/california-street-safety-project.
Big Wins for Affordable Housing
I am elated that voters overwhelmingly approved the city’s largest housing bond (Prop. A) as well as the rezoning measure that I authored (Prop. E) to make it easier and faster to build affordable housing citywide. The two main barriers to meeting our affordable housing needs are limited land and available funding, which is why I authored Prop. E to expand opportunities to build affordable housing. I also authored legislation earlier this year to earmark more funding for affordable housing.
Prop. E received 76 percent of the vote citywide, with every precinct in the Richmond voting for Prop. E by more than a two-thirds margin. This election showed that San Franciscans overwhelmingly support prioritizing more affordable housing for seniors, educators and working families in every neighborhood across San Francisco. I will continue fighting to ensure that the Richmond finally gets its fair share of this desperately needed affordable housing.
Inside City Hall
In November, I introduced legislation to develop a business plan for a public bank in San Francisco. A local public bank would allow the city to have more local control, transparency and self-determination. It would deepen critical community investments in affordable housing, small business development, loans to low-income households, public infrastructure, renewable energy and address the student debt crisis. San Francisco should lead the pack in this effort, and today’s legislation moves us one step closer to realizing the creation of a public bank. As chair of the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee, I also introduced legislation to bring more transparency to the budget process.
I am so glad we got to host an art reception in my office with Richmond District artist Vladimir Vitkovsky. Over the past couple months, Vladamir has graciously allowed us to borrow a few of his beautiful art pieces to showcase on the walls of my office. It was great to have him and his wife join us for an art reception where neighbors and colleagues were able to enjoy the art and meet the artist.
I also had the distinct pleasure of recognizing an extraordinary individual for Transgender Awareness Month at the Board of Supervisors. Jackie Thornhill is a senior at the University of San Francisco, who recently served as the amazing campaign manager for the Prop. E campaign. Before the Prop. E campaign, Jackie began interning in my office this summer and it has been wonderful watching her learn and grow through interactions with constituents and stakeholders on an array of issues, all of which she approached with a balance of diligence, curiosity and commitment. I am so proud of Jackie for transitioning into the person she was always meant to be.
The vacant storefront ordinance that I passed earlier this year is working. We’ve now seen hundreds of storefronts registered as vacant, which we know more accurately reflects the true picture. This more accurate and effective registry will help the City connect landlords with small businesses.
Happy Holidays and remember to do your One Richmond thing!
San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer represents District 1.
Categories: City Hall