City Hall

City Hall: Gordon Mar

By Supervisor Gordon Mar

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Lunar New Year!

As we ring in the Year of the Ox, we’re hopeful for health and wellness in the year to come. Last year we held the Sunset’s first neighborhood-wide Lunar New Year celebration, and while we wish we could have gathered together again this year, we’re celebrating all the same. 

Black History Month and Lunar New Year are two extremely important extended celebrations of our City’s diverse cultural heritage. 

Last month was a time of commemoration, community building, and reflection, not only for our African American and Asian American communities, but for all of us. And, despite the pandemic, we are finding new ways to honor these important traditions. This is also an opportunity for fostering understanding and solidarity across cultures and communities, which is more important now than ever.

To honor this, we hosted a virtual roundtable with community leaders for a vital dialogue on cross-racial solidarity, celebration and resilience. I’m grateful to the hundreds of neighbors who watched and participated in this important discussion, and all those who joined us to safely celebrate Lunar New Year at the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile. 

In the midst of the unprecedented health pandemic over the past year, we’ve also been challenged by a historic reckoning on racism. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked a national uprising under the banner of Black Lives Matter, giving renewed urgency to long-standing demands to end police brutality and systemic racism. During COVID, we’ve also seen a troubling epidemic in violence and hate targeting Asian Americans nationally, with a quarter of the 2,800 incidents documented by Stop AAPI Hate occurring right here in the Bay Area. COVID-19 itself has also revealed or exacerbated long-standing racial disparities in health outcomes and economic security.

I joined community leaders for a rally to condemn violence and racism against Asian American communities, and I called for a hearing to examine recent incidents of racially targeted violence and the rise of anti-Asian racism. We deserve answers on what City agencies are doing on crime prevention, investigations, victim services and providing public safety resources.

We need strategies to reduce crime – for everyone – and to provide support for victims. We need to invest in long-term prevention-based solutions to end cycles of violence, and promote community-building and healing. We must stand together for safety and justice; knowing that one without the other is not possible. We know we are safer when we are more connected. We are more resilient when we stand together. 

And in the Year of the Ox, there’s real hope for healing with COVID-19 transmissions down significantly, thanks to our collective resolve and the increase in vaccine supply. With the lifting of the Shelter-in-Place order last month, more businesses are open and more activities are allowed. We recently held an informational meeting with the City’s COVID Command Center on vaccine access — you can view that, and all our virtual events at Facebook/com/d4gordonmar/videos. For the latest updates on the City’s public health orders and vaccine availability, visit sfgov.org. 

Last month, we launched two Community Hubs in the Sunset District serving 45 children in grades K-6 at the Sunset and Ortega branch libraries. This pandemic exposes the digital divide and lack of access to a reliable learning space for many students. Along with the District 4 Youth and Families Network, we’ve been advocating for the west side to be part of this citywide initiative serving the highest needs families during distance learning so that students are in safe, digitally supported environments during the school day. I am grateful to the Department of Children Youth and Families for making this possible. Safe reopening of our schools as soon as possible remains our highest priority, but the 80 Community Hubs continue to provide critical support to 2,000 of our City’s most vulnerable children.

I initiated a historic landmark designation for our beloved Trocadero Clubhouse inside Stern Grove, thanks to the advocacy of Parkside Heritage, which was formed to address the neighborhood’s underrepresentation in the City’s official inventory of historic buildings. It is important that we look at historic landmarking through the lens of different experiences in all parts of the City, including the Parkside, and not just the realms of the most elite. I hope the landmarking makes neighbors feel more connected to our history, highlighting that we share more in common than we think. Despite our differences, it’s the story of seeing our common condition and common desires. We all need a place to find respite from life’s familiar hardships, a place to rest, a place to build community – a place like the Trocadero.

Last month we also announced and secured funding and approval for the Great Highway Traffic Management Plan. Since April, the Upper Great Highway has been closed to vehicles and open to people walking, biking, playing, and seeking respite during a year full of unprecedented challenges.

And since April, we’ve called for a comprehensive traffic mitigation plan to address the impacts of diverted traffic on nearby streets. That plan is finally here, including 24 speed cushions, one speed table, more than a dozen stop signs, more detour signage, and safety-focused enforcement support from SFPD and the Recreation and Park Department. 

The transformation of the Great Highway has provided tremendous benefits, and tremendous challenges for residents impacted by diverted traffic. Safety always must come first, and we can’t sacrifice safety for recreation. We can only continue to enjoy this incredible new open space if we can make it safe and address these impacts and we will be closely monitoring this plan as it moves forward to ensure it does. In the meantime, the future of the Great Highway is being studied through the District 4 Mobility Study. You can learn more and get involved at https://www.sfcta.org/projects/district-4-mobility-study.

At City Hall, we have updates on our work on two important issues: public health protections and addressing public corruption. 

Per-Diem nurses at the Department of Public Health are a substantial portion of our frontline health workforce caring for San Franciscans during a pandemic. But because of their job status, they’ve been excluded from expanded paid leave provided by the City since last Spring. They deserve the same protections extended paid leave provides to care for themselves if impacted by COVID-19.

For the last month, we’ve been in negotiations with the Department of Human Resources to extend paid leave protections for this essential workforce. And, I’m happy to say that they’ll soon have it. Through our advocacy, Mayor London Breed took executive action to extend COVID Sick Leave to all “as needed” employees at DPH. We prepared legislation to accomplish this, but this executive action will make this leave available faster than we could through legislation, and I’m grateful for it. We are all safer when our public health professionals and essential workers are safer.

Finally, local government must be transparent and accountable to the public. To ensure that it is, I called for a hearing on SFPUC contracting and community benefits, and management agreements for the Sewer System Improvement Program — especially amidst a citywide reckoning with pay-to-play politics and public corruption.

This builds on the Letter of Inquiry I submitted in December, and the audits I called for in 2019. These community benefits have been promised or delivered by firms winning lucrative contracts worth more than $2 billion. We think it’s important that the Board, and the public, has access to these contracts, records of these expenditures, and information on how and why these agreements were made. The public deserves answers, and I hope this hearing will offer them.

This is just some of the work we’ve been doing recently – for questions, comments, feedback, or to sign up for our virtual office hours, don’t hesitate to email us at marstaff@sfgov.org, or drop by our booth at the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile the first Sunday of every month.

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

8 replies »

  1. Supervisor Mar – Why was there no study to close the GH, and yet we need a study to re-open it? People want it open NOW. No more lip service from you, SFMTA, Rec and Park. It’s a ROAD, and it’s vital to residents to SF. Trying to keep it closed for the benefit of D4 is a greedy power grab. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Like

  2. Too much were done for the bikers and not enough done for the drivers who pay for the construction and maintenance of the roads.Bikers can ride anywhere they want. They have the parks . Closing the Great Highway is just too dumb !! It’s time to get rid of the supervisors who can’t do the job right !!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What sort of incompetent planner would close a major artery carrying up to 17,000 cars/day to provide recreation to 6000 people/day? Particularly when at the same time period 19th Avenue is undergoing two years of construction with significant delays, many roads in GG Park closed for slow street reasons making Sunset Blvd difficult to use, the 18 Muni suspended resulting in north south commuting being severely affected? People going north south now have 20-30 min delays, are stuck in bottlenecks generating even more CO2 than use of bicycles save. Particularly when recreational users can use the adjacent paved pathways, the beach itself, Golden Gate Park as easily as the Great Highway? All the traffic calming measures you are proposing to mitigate the effects of the GH closures is a game of whack a mole. You make the Lower GH more cumbersome with stop signs, speed bumps, etc the traffic moves to 46th Ave. You try to calm 46, traffic moves to 45. The GH was a safe method of cars to go north south. Only 4 controlled intersections for pedestrian crossing, little cross traffic for cars, timed lights to control speed to 35 mph. I don’t recall any major accidents, car, pedestrian or bicycle in recent memory. Traffic deaths overall (cars, bikes, pedestrians) did not decline in 2020 compared with 2019 contrary to expectations that slow streets would cause fewer injuries to non-motorists. In fact the proportion of bike/pedestrian deaths ROSE and car deaths declined in 2020 vs 2019. There is no reason to keep the Great Highway closed in light of all the negative sequelae to that decision. The 6000 recreational users have other places to walk and bike that won’t affect other bikers and walkers. The 17,000 displaced cars have no other place to alternatives without affecting other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists as they attempt to drive on previously quiet residential streets or the other two major arteries which are themselves impacted by their own contruction and slow street closures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I could go on and on but please open Great Highway to Cars and remove slow streets on Cabrillo.

    The traffic is a mess around the park. If people want to be next to the beach, they can be ON the beach.

    So FEW peds/walkers, runners, use the slow street on Cabrillo. There is already a bike lane on each side and truthfully, cars did not really use it that much before. It is a real pain if you are commuter in the morning. I feel like a jerk if I need to go 3 blocks to the nearest traffic light at 7:15 in the morning to go east on Fulton, but alas I either have to go 7 blocks to avoid using Cabrillo on Balboa or “slink” down Cabrillo. Besides, Golden Gate Park is ONE block away!!!!

    It was a great experiment but not the best solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Please re-open the Great Highway to cars and end slow streets on Cabrillo. Getting across the park is a mess and so few peds/joggers use the slow streets. The park is 1 block away and Cabrillo already has a bike lane in both directions. The city is just becoming unlivable to people that have been here since 1989.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wrote this as a post on Nextdoor and am copy and pasting it here:

    Gordon Mar, the City College crisis and Upper Great Highway closure. As a likely-to-be-laid-off CCSF ESL instructor, I appreciate what Gordon Mar has done to help the college, including (but not limited to) supporting the Free City program, making education and more employment opportunities available to more people.

    Now, CCSF administration is trying to institute massive class cuts under the guise of budgetary concerns, which will not only render people like me unemployed, but will, more importantly, also reduce educational opportunities for so many SF residents. Not only will some students be unable to finish their degrees in high-demand fields like Nursing due to a lack of available spots, but some required classes in other fields will not be offered at all, making many degrees impossible for some students to complete. Huge cuts in ESL would also make it more difficult for many residents to improve their English skills and employment opportunities.

    And now, $500,000 is being set aside to study ways of mitigating the traffic problems caused by a permanent closure of the Upper Great Highway, which will most likely get worse as more people start commuting post-vaccine, and Gordon Mar supports that allocation of funds.

    That money could be a lifeline to both students and instructors like me. Can’t we just open the Upper Great Highway (and maybe close it on Sundays?) and use the $500,000 to fund some classes instead?

    This is about much more than just public spaces and commute times; this is about priorities.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a professional that works at an hours intensive
    Job 6 days a week.
    Our business is moving to South San Francisco
    At first i though great this will be a little farther
    but a direct commute from my house on 45th and Anza and Geary
    Well I had to go to the future location the other day.
    It took me SO much longer than it should have
    And this is without post covid traffic
    I am sympathetic to needs of recreational activities
    But this is making me want to move !
    This used to be a very convenient and calming route
    Commuting 6 days a week on 19th sounds like it is going to be taking far far more time .
    I am a reasonable person not just out for my own interests i am sure I am not alone on this
    Lauren Bradbury
    414 269 4490

    Liked by 1 person

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