City Hall

City Hall – Gordon Mar

Remain Vigilant Against COVID-19

I’ve been tested regularly for COVID-19 since the onset of this public health crisis, and my most recent test result came back positive. This experience has shown me firsthand the ways San Francisco is leading in addressing this pandemic – and the disparities in access to testing, healthcare and economic safety for too many of our residents. 

Our public health orders are here to protect us – all of us – from this historic pandemic. I have worn a mask, followed public health guidelines, practiced social distancing, and been regularly tested. And still, none of us is immune to this pandemic. We have a responsibility to be good neighbors and take every action we can to protect public health and slow the spread of this disease. Socially distance. Wear a mask. Get tested. Stay home as much as possible. 

As a parent, I know the challenges we face to take care of our kids, ourselves, our work, and our health. As a public servant, I know too many workers who are terrified to get tested and potentially lose income if they test positive. They face the impossible choice between their health and making ends meet. As a city official, I know we have a moral responsibility to do all we can as individuals, as a community, and as a City to protect families, workers and residents in the face of our unprecedented public health and economic crises.

And as a person, I know we yearn to see our friends, to lower our guard, to return to some sense of normalcy. We cannot afford to lower our guard. These are not normal times, and we can’t act normally.

I’m continuing to work remotely with my colleagues to expand critical protections for workers, businesses and residents. I ask all of us to please take this pandemic seriously, take the steps required by our public health orders and take care.

On top of the pandemic, we’re also dealing with the onset of wildfire season in California, and a record number of wildfires across the Bay Area driven by our changing climate, rising temperatures and dry lightning storms. 

With fire comes smoke, and we’re again faced with unhealthy air quality that shifts with the wind by the day and by the hour. You can stay informed by texting your zip code to 888-777 to get updates from AlertSF. Help protect yourself from both the smoke and COVID by staying at home and wearing masks when you go outside. 

And for when you do need to venture out, we’ve worked to bring Shared Spaces to the Sunset. This new program allows small businesses to use sidewalk or street space in order to continue serving our neighborhood safely outside. You’ve probably seen these already, with local businesses setting up shop outside on the sidewalk or in the street. So far, just under 40 Shared Spaces permits have been fully approved for the Sunset, with more on the way.

In addition to smaller Shared Spaces for individual businesses, we’ve been supporting planning for larger, full-block Shared Spaces. The first recently launched on Irving Street, between 19th and 20th avenues, as an open-air market with outdoor dining on Thursdays and Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

We’re also proud to announce the launch of Beachside Taraval, a new open-air market starting Sept. 6 on Taraval between 46th and 47th avenues. The market will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Sunday and will feature outdoor dining and arts and crafts from local merchants. We’re also working to double the size of the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays on 37th Avenue, south of Ortega.

This creative, community-led program is here to help our neighborhood businesses survive, thrive, and serve all of us – so wear your mask, wash your hands, and stop by! 

This month has also seen improved service and frequencies for bus lines, like the 7-Haight-Noriega and the 28-19th Avenue, and the brief return of Muni Metro service. Unfortunately, the return of metro service was short-lived, with rail service shut down again due to failing equipment and COVID impacts on SFMTA staff. Until these issues are corrected, bus substitution will remain in place.

When rail service does return again, the SFMTA originally planned to require L-Taraval riders west of Sunset Boulevard to transfer at 32nd Avenue before getting to West Portal. We objected to this plan, and I sent a letter to the SFMTA Board of Directors requesting a better solution to reduce transfers for Outer Parkside riders. I’m happy to share that we’ve achieved a compromise that removes this required transfer for trips to and from West Portal, with the launch of a new express shuttle bus between Sunset Boulevard and West Portal once metro service resumes. In the meantime, we support continuing bus shuttle service for the entire L-Taraval route, which provides a one-seat ride from the Zoo to the Embarcadero. 

And finally, we’re coming to a close on our City’s budget process, one – like so much else – delayed by our public health and economic crises. In this process, and amid a record budget deficit, we’ve fought for critical investments for our neighborhood and City, including:

• Hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Workforce Education Recovery Fund to restore and expand job training programs at City College;

• Continuing City College Sunset into 2021;

• Continuing our D4 mobile homeless outreach program;

• Increased maintenance for Sunset Boulevard;

• Support for special needs students in the Sunset;

• Mental health services for Sunset youth;

• Support for District 4 renters;

• Support for Sunset community events, including the farmers market and Sunset Shared Spaces;

• Digital access and equity for seniors and people with disabilities;

• Asian community violence prevention;

• Support for public school parents; and,

• Protecting wages and benefits for essential city workers, including thousands of homecare workers in the Sunset.

And, as chair of the Government Audit and Oversight Committee, I take our duty to fiscal oversight seriously to ensure our tax dollars are being used effectively and that city departments are delivering on their responsibilities. 

Recently, three audits I commissioned were released. They audited the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, the SFMTA, and our City’s workforce development programs. 

Over the next few months, I’ll hold hearings on these reports to hold departments accountable, dig deeper, and work to improve the performance and results across these departments that serve some of the most important functions in our City. 

In these times, we are all being asked to do more with less, to work faster, smarter, and more creatively to solve new and longstanding problems. And as always, we’re here to serve you. 

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s