2020 Year in Review in the Sunset
By SF Supervisor Gordon Mar
Our lives and livelihoods were disrupted by a global pandemic. The murder of George Floyd renewed longstanding calls for racial justice. And the election, both nationally and locally, showed real divisions and also a shared resolve to turn the page and build back better.
Through all the challenges, tragedies and opportunities that 2020 brought us, it brought out the best in our community in many ways. When it mattered most, Sunset residents stepped up and served as a model of empathy and solidarity for the entire City, hosting food pantries, marching for racial justice, delivering groceries to vulnerable neighbors, creating public art projects and supporting local businesses.
We have been inspired by these acts of aid, compassion, and care for one another, and we have worked hard to do our part, fight for our neighbors, fill in the gaps, pass first-in-the-nation policies and provide help, services and resources in this unprecedented crisis.
When the pandemic hit, we immediately got to work to ensure District 4 residents were informed and supported, making more than 5,800 wellness calls to Sunset seniors with the help of 75 volunteers. This year, I wrote and passed nine ordinances and 21 resolutions, called for 14 hearings and sponsored or co-sponsored 198 pieces of legislation. We worked to bring the Sunset together, organizing the first neighborhood-wide Lunar New Year celebration, hosting 16 virtual town halls, supporting the Black Lives Matter Sunset Solidarity March and other civic actions and holding weekly virtual office hours to talk one on one with our neighbors.
In an incredibly difficult year, I’m immensely proud of how the Sunset has looked out for one another. Here are some of our biggest wins of the year:
When the pandemic began, we immediately passed emergency legislation to create Public Health Emergency Leave, providing two additional weeks of fully paid leave for workers impacted by COVID-19 to take care of themselves or their loved ones. This groundbreaking policy has provided a critical safety net to hundreds of thousands of San Francisco workers, and served as the model for statewide legislation now supporting millions of workers across California.
As our unemployment crisis grew and some businesses began re-opening, we passed the Back to Work Emergency Ordinance, a first-in-the-nation policy to ensure businesses rehire, rather than replace, their laid off workers through a fair process. This policy has given a fair and equitable rehiring process for thousands of San Franciscans who lost their jobs and will be critical as our economic recovery moves forward.
We also passed a resolution calling for legal action to enforce the rights of gig workers, successfully worked with Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee and Supervisor Matt Haney to push back against layoffs at SFSU and supported the Health and Safety for All Workers Act for domestic workers.
As countless small businesses were forced to close or adapt to constantly changing public health guidelines, we launched the Sunset Strong campaign (www.sunsetstrong.com) to help support and connect our small business community.
In partnership with Sunset Mercantile and People of Parkside/Sunset, we launched the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile, our district’s first farmers market, providing fresh produce from local farms and a new opportunity to support local merchants while shopping safely outdoors. We’re thrilled at how the neighborhood has embraced this market, and we will continue supporting Sunset Mercantile and looking for opportunities to expand these weekly events.
We also supported the creation of two other full-block Shared Spaces in the Sunset, with Beachside Taraval and the Irving Street Shared Space, providing new ways for local businesses to adapt to serve our community during the pandemic and safely bring the Sunset together.
We passed legislation to waive small business fees for restaurants, held Small Business Summits with Sunset merchant associations and passed a resolution calling on the California Insurance Commissioner to hold insurance companies accountable to honoring business interruption insurance claims.
We launched Sunset Forward (www.sunsetforward.com), our community plan to stabilize low- and moderate-income families and seniors in the Sunset and enhance community connection and quality of life for all by addressing unmet needs in housing, transportation, and neighborhood services. We have held two Sunset Forward town halls and 13 focus groups, scheduled 17 meetings with community groups on our listening tour and received input from more than 500 survey responses to ensure your needs and input helps decide the future of our neighborhood.
We also launched the Sunset Car Van with Project Homeless Connect and expanded the Pit Stop hours at La Playa, providing critical services and resources to our unhoused neighbors. We launched a pilot program with ASIAN, Inc. to provide technical assistance to homeowners who want to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), a.k.a. in-law units, and passed legislation to waive fees for legalizing unauthorized ADUs.
And following decades of under-investment in affordable housing for the Sunset, we have made real progress this year. In addition to our work supporting ADU construction for homeowners, we supported legislation to benefit the Shirley Chisholm Village (the affordable housing project for educators at the Francis Scott Key Annex), secured the neighborhood’s second Small Sites acquisition with Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) on 30th Avenue to convert another small apartment building to permanently affordable housing, and announced the first affordable family housing project in the Sunset to create up to 100 units of affordable housing for families priced out of our neighborhood, including employees at our neighborhood shops and restaurants, preschool teachers and frontline health care workers.
We also advocated for affordable housing throughout the region, passing a resolution calling for prioritizing affordability in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, creating the City’s first-ever Jobs-Housing Fit Report and passing legislation to require it annually, and holding a hearing on housing affordability and stability.
Transportation and Safe Streets
As part of Sunset Forward, we launched the D4 Mobility Study to explore new projects and programs to help Sunset residents get around more conveniently and safely.
When the pandemic shut down transit lines and decreased car traffic across the City, we worked quickly and creatively to fill in the gaps where we could, bringing bikeshare service to the Sunset, pioneering the Slow Streets program, opening the Great Highway to socially distanced exercise and recreation and pushing hard for traffic mitigation and calming for the Outer Sunset.
We proactively identified the most dangerous intersections throughout the neighborhood with our D4 Daylighting Program, “daylighting” more than 65 of them this year to provide more visibility for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, and worked to secure new stop signs, crossing beacons, speed bumps and more throughout the Sunset.
We’ve supported the launch of the Golden Gate Park Access Study to ensure this public park is accessible to all, and we secured a state grant to soon launch a citywide study on school transportation to provide new services and support to SFUSD students and parents for trips to and from school.
We fully launched our City College Sunset program (www.citycollegesunset.com) in Spring of 2020, offering tuition-free classes requested by the Sunset community for seniors, working adults, English learners and high school students. We continued the successful program through the Summer and Fall semesters and are enrolling now for Spring.
With job retraining more critical than ever, we also created and secured funding for the Workforce Education and Recovery Fund, investing more than half a million dollars in equitable job retraining programs at City College, with specific support for Black students in partnership with the Human Rights Committee.
Despite a $1.5 billion budget deficit, we secured new resources to meet urgent community needs including a Senior Digital Divide Technology Access program and a new Asian Community Safety and Justice initiative. We also advocated for $3 million to renovate the South Sunset Playground clubhouse through Proposion A, the Health and Recovery Bond adopted by San Francisco voters in November.
We continued to coordinate ongoing efforts by City agencies and community partners to maintain and improve Sunset Boulevard. Climate Action Now!, California Native Plant Society and community volunteers planted hundreds of new trees, native shrubs and wildflower gardens, and the SF Public Utilities Commission expanded rain gardens to enhance stormwater management and habitat for local plants and wildlife throughout the length of the boulevard.
More Work to be Done
This is just some of the work we’ve done to help sustain workers, businesses, students, renters, and homeowners through this historically challenging year. And there is much more work to be done as our crises in public health, economic and racial justice and climate change evolve. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with you in 2021 for a more resilient, livable and thriving Sunset.
Email us at email@example.com to subscribe to our newsletter, to sign up for our virtual office hours, or for any questions. And please feel free to call us at (415) 554-7460. In a time when public service has never been more important, we are 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories: City Hall