Top 12 Highlights From 2019
By Sandra Lee Fewer
Happy 2020! I hope you all enjoyed wrapping up the last decade and are looking forward to a happy new year and a new decade. Looking back at 2019, my office won some huge victories for the Richmond District and San Francisco as a whole. Here are the top 12 highlights from 2019:
Passed Vacant Storefront Legislation
In March, the SF Board of Supervisors unanimously passed my legislation to increase the accuracy and effectiveness of our vacant storefront registry by requiring commercial property owners to register their vacant storefronts and pay for annual inspections if they are vacant for more than one year. Since the law went into effect, the number of properties registered with the Department of Building Inspection has increased by more than seven times.
Passed Community Opportunity to Purchase Act
In April, the Board passed my Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) legislation with all 11 supervisors signing on as co-sponsors. COPA gives affordable housing nonprofits the first-right-to-purchase multi-family apartment buildings and remove them from the speculative market, stabilize the tenants in their homes and preserve the buildings as permanently affordable housing. This tool will help the City preserve more buildings like 369 Third Ave., a 12-unit building we were able to save in December.
Created the Affordable Housing Production and Preservation Fund
After the passage of COPA, I introduced and unanimously passed legislation to create an Affordable Housing Production and Preservation Fund from 50 percent of excess Education Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) revenues that the City receives from the state. This fund provided $70 million for affordable housing in this year’s budget alone and will continue to add tens of millions more every year.
Creating a West Side Affordable Housing Development Organization
With assistance from Assemblymember Phil Ting, I was able to secure a $300,000 capacity building grant to create a westside-based nonprofit community organization dedicated to preserving and expanding affordable housing on the west side of San Francisco. This community planning process will begin in 2020.
Passed Prop. E to Build More Affordable Housing and Educator Housing
I am proud to have authored the Affordable Homes for Educators and Families NOW initiative, along with supervisors Aaron Peskin, Matt Haney and Shamann Walton, in order to make it easier and faster to build affordable housing and educator housing all across San Francisco. This initiative, which became Proposition E on the November 2019 ballot, was overwhelmingly approved by 76 percent of voters and capped off a huge year for affordable housing.
Passed Office of Racial Equity
One of my proudest legislative achievements has been the creation of the Office of Racial Equity. This legislation, which was passed unanimously, will hold us accountable for moving the needle for racial equity in our City and addressing the disparities facing communities of color with regards to economic stability, housing, health outcomes and policing.
Launched Mobile Homeless Services in the Richmond
In the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in homelessness across San Francisco and the entire state of California, and the Richmond District is not immune. In response to the increase in our unhoused population, I set aside funds in last year’s budget to bring services from Project Homeless Connect (PHC) to the Richmond. In 2019, PHC started doing street outreach and connecting our unhoused residents with services and problem solving on the third Friday of every month. Since then, more than 50 volunteers have helped connect more than 70 unhoused neighbors with services. If you are interested in volunteering and doing your #OneRichmond thing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victories as Budget Chair
As the chair of Budget and Finance Committee, I was able to set aside $1 million in spending specific to District 1 for senior services, Golden Gate Park, emergency preparedness, expansion of our food pantries, sidewalk gardens, homeless services, youth sports and more.
Hosted Three Annual Community Events
We hosted our 15th annual Community Health Fair where more than 500 people received free information about health services, health screenings and other neighborhood/city services. In the summer I hosted with community partners our second annual One Richmond Community Party where more than 600 neighbors joined us for free food, a community resource fair, good music, amazing performances and an all-around great time building community with our neighbors. Many thanks to all of the volunteers and small businesses who helped put on this amazing neighborhood party. I was happy to join Assemblymember Ting and community organizations to host our third annual Richmond Autumn Moon Festival where we had more than 1,000 people come out to Clement Street for delicious food, amazing performances and culture. Much appreciation to everyone who came out and joined us and especially those who helped to make it another success.
Added Traffic Enforcement Officers
In 2018, I held a hearing about traffic enforcement that revealed the San Francisco Police Department Traffic Unit was dramatically understaffed. In 2019, I worked with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and SF Police Chief Bill Scott to add additional motorcycle solos that focus on traffic safety and Vision Zero in our neighborhoods. There had not been a training class for new traffic enforcement officers in three years, but we had three classes in 2019 and more are planned for 2020. I have gone out with the officers to do enforcement in the neighborhood and I’ve seen what a difference it makes. You may have noticed the increased enforcement in our neighborhood.
Fewer Potholes 2.0
Since the #FewerPotholes campaign was such a success during my first year in office, we brought it back in 2019. Thank you to everyone who participated in #FewerPotholes2.0 by reporting 240 potholes throughout the Richmond in May. Thank you to the Department of Public Works for fulfilling its commitment to fill every one of them.
Greenbelt Clean Up
The Park Presidio Green Belt Clean-Up Project just celebrated its one year anniversary! Many thanks to the devoted volunteers who came out on the first Saturday of every month to clean up the greenbelt. To join them or learn more, email Naomi@richmondsf.org.
Looking Ahead to 2020
We will be breaking ground on a number of long-awaited projects in 2020, including the dog park that we’ve been planning with neighbors, the new Community Youth Center building on Clement Street and the Alexandria Theater project, which has been vacant since 2004. We also will see the completion of 600 units of student housing on the University of San Francisco campus, which will reduce competition for rent-controlled housing near campus. I have also introduced legislation to create a business plan for a public bank in San Francisco, legislation to bring more transparency to the City budget process, and have more legislation in the pipeline that I expect to pass in 2020. Stay tuned for more!
Leadership Opportunities for Youth
We are creating a District 1 Youth Leadership Academy and are taking applications. If you are a high school student who lives, works, attends school or has a deep connection to the Richmond District, please apply at tinyurl.com/D1Youth2020 or call CORO at (415) 986-0521, ext. 712.
Community Meeting on Priority Development Areas
The Planning Department has submitted letters of interest for new and revised Priority Development Areas (PDAs) in San Francisco in order to encourage more housing production and transit improvements on the west side. I am hosting a community meeting for neighbors to hear a presentation from the Planning Department and to ask questions about these newly proposed PDAs (which include the Richmond District) on Monday, Jan. 6, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Richmond Recreation Center (251 18th Ave.).
Outside Lands Community Meeting
We have received confirmations from representatives from Another Planet Entertainment, Rec. and Park, SFMTA, SFPD, and the D-1 and D-4 offices to attend the Outside Lands Community meeting. We are requesting each agency to provide a debrief to report-out on observations/statistics/successes/areas of improvement from the 2019 event, and will be inviting feedback and suggestions from the community to inform the planning for the 2020 event. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Golden Gate Park Senior Center (6101 Fulton St.).
Our office is looking forward to 2020 as an exciting year for the Richmond. We hope you are too! Have you done your One Richmond thing today?
San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer represents District 1.
Categories: City Hall