City Hall

City Hall – Gordon Mar

Careful Steps Forward

By Gordon Mar

As cases of COVID-19 surge in San Francisco, we have to stay vigilant. We have to wear our masks, keep our distance, wash our hands and continue to follow public health guidance. 

We also have to remember that members of our community and our neighborhood are strong, resilient and united. I’ve seen this spirit of solidarity and compassion countless times over the last few months in the kindness of neighbors delivering groceries, the creativity of small businesses adapting to new challenges, and the service of so many stepping up to lead by example across the City and across our communities. 

I’m proud of all the volunteers in the Sunset Neighborhood Help Group showing the best of our neighborhood, everyone supporting our #SunsetStrong campaign to uplift local merchants, and I’m proud of residents like Naima and Walt Sutton, 8 and 10 years old, who organized a youth-led march on the Great Highway this month, calling for justice and solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

I’m grateful for their leadership, and for all the young people in the Sunset and across the country organizing for change. They’re not just the leaders of tomorrow – they’re leading us today. I’m proud of how the Sunset has risen to meet this moment with empathy and care for our neighbors, and I’m proud to share just some of the work we’ve been doing to improve our neighborhood and City as we weather this storm.

We’re excited to announce the launch of Sunset Forward. Sunset Forward is a community-driven process to identify current needs and craft a collective vision for a livable, diverse, and thriving future in the Sunset District. Through the participation of residents, we hope to craft a community plan to set local priorities on housing, transportation, and neighborhood businesses and services in District 4. Over the next year, we’ll be hosting focus groups, conducting surveys, and taking your input on our neighborhood needs. This is a collaborative, community-led process to plan together for the future of our neighborhood, and we want to ensure your voice is heard. Learn more about Sunset Forward and get involved at sfplanning.org/project/sunset-forward.

As part of this shared Sunset Forward effort, we’ve launched the D4 Mobility Study to improve transportation options in the Sunset. This study looks specifically at how we all get around – in, to, and from the Sunset – and what the City could do to provide better, safer, and more reliable transportation options. The onset of COVID-19 has drastically reduced Muni service, and while we work to advocate for as much bus and train service as we can, it’s more important than ever that we also work creatively and quickly to support the diverse mobility needs of our neighborhood. You can learn more about the study and take the online survey at sfcta.org/d4mobility.

To support these needs, we’re already moving forward to expand bikeshare in the Sunset. At the start of shelter in place, we worked with Bay Wheels to expand their service area to provide bikeshare service to our District, and now we’re working with them again alongside community groups, merchants, and neighbors to bring bikeshare stations to the Sunset District. As Bay Wheels scouts for station locations, we want to ensure your input and views are heard! You can share your thoughts and questions with Bay Wheels through their online survey: bit.ly/bikeshareD4, by contacting Bay Wheels at community@baywheels.com, or by contacting my Legislative Aide Edward Wright at edward.w.wright@sfgov.org.

With POPS and Sunset Mercantile, last month we launched the Outer Sunset Farmers’ Market and Mercantile. This new open-air market was more than a year in the making, and is wholly independent, built from scratch by and for the Sunset, with a robust public health and safety plan. This market started as an idea we talked about with neighborhood leaders all the way back in 2018, and it has been an incredible journey to see it come to life. It’s also been an incredible success so far, providing a new, safe option to support local businesses and shop for sustainable food and produce. Learn more at sunsetmercantilesf.com, and enjoy the market every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 37th Avenue between Ortega and Pacheco streets. 

I am excited to announce the continuation of City College Sunset for the Fall 2020 semester, featuring five classes serving working adults, seniors and high school students. All classes are tuition-free for San Francisco residents. Due to COVID-19, classes will be conducted remotely. It is now more important than ever to invest in the well-being and future of our families and communities. City College of San Francisco continues to serve as an invaluable resource for education, job training and enrichment, and I am proud to help make this essential institution more accessible to Sunset residents. For more information about classes and enrollment, please visit http://www.CityCollegeSunset.com.

This is also why I’m sponsoring the Workforce Education and Recovery Fund, to continue to support City College in providing San Franciscans with the free education and training they need to upgrade their skills and return to work. City College provides access for all San Franciscans to the critical skills needed in today’s workforce, and its services are more important than ever, given our skyrocketing unemployment. 

We’re facing a historic budget crisis as a City, but so are our small businesses, and the Sunset is no exception. While some have been able to adapt or bring their wares to the new Farmers Market in light of in-store sales not being an option, many are struggling. We’re working hard to support them through the Sunset Strong campaign at sunsetstrong.com, and to help them adapt through the Shared Spaces program to give them access to street space to conform to our new health requirements. We also can’t balance our budget on the backs of small businesses, and they need our support now more than ever. That’s why I’ve authored legislation to give our most vulnerable businesses a break on licensing and registration fees – to show that we have their backs as they adapt to all the challenges we face, and to help them save the funds they need to survive. 

There’s much more work to do, and as always, we’re here to serve you. Don’t hesitate to connect or reach out to us. 

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

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