Investing in the Sunset
‘By Gordon Mar
This month, I joined Mayor London Breed for the signing of the City’s $13.2 billion budget. This budget is historic in scale, with critical community investments for a strong and equitable recovery centered on health, safety and housing.
Our budget is the single most important thing I vote on as your supervisor, and it’s a statement of our values, morals and priorities as a City. This year I served on the Budget Committee for the first time, ensuring our neighborhood’s needs were heard and addressed while negotiating the Board of Supervisors’ $124 million spending plan compiled by the committee as part of the budget negotiations process. In collaboration with my Budget Committee colleagues and Mayor Breed, we were able to secure historic investments for the Sunset District and for our neighborhood’s priorities citywide.
In this moment of reckoning on racism and violence against Asian Americans and surge in hate incidents, this budget is one of our biggest responses. In our hearing on Crime and Violence Targeting Asian Americans last April, advocates like the Coalition for Community Safety and Justice called for greater investments in victim support, violence prevention and a comprehensive community safety infrastructure. So we are investing tens of millions of dollars in expanding not only law enforcement, but also language access, culturally responsive services, wraparound victim support, case management, building a safety network infrastructure, and cross-racial efforts – because we know our safety depends on the safety of all communities.
Senior escorts and a new team of community ambassadors will be coming to the Sunset, with expanded funding we helped secure. Small businesses in the Sunset will be able to access city funding for security upgrades to help prevent and address crime through a new program we’re funding. And, we’ve invested in a dedicated District 4 community safety organizer to organize and support community leadership working on the ground to enhance neighborhood safety.
We know that strong, resilient and empowered communities are safer communities, and our public safety efforts include protecting and expanding the social safety nets that meet basic needs and empower residents to thrive.
We secured $1 million in funding for the City College Workforce Education and Recovery Program I’ve spearheaded, and $2 million to expand before- and after-school programs including here in the Sunset. My office has made direct investments in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) grants for District 4 public schools, and to continue City College Sunset, the program we launched to offer City College classes chosen by and for Sunset residents, seniors, immigrants and high school students. Enrollment is still open for the fall semester. You can learn more and sign up for classes at citycollegesunset.com.
As renters continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the single biggest addition the Board of Supervisors made to the mayor’s budget is $32 million in targeted rent relief, thanks to San Francisco voters approving Proposition I last fall. We’re also investing in operating subsidies to support extremely low-income tenants living in SROs, and I helped secure dedicated Senior Operating Subsidies, for additional targeted rent relief for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities.
In partnership with Supervisors Myrna Melgar and Connie Chan, we won funding to support affordable housing on the west side, continuing our work to reverse the longstanding underinvestment in housing affordability in the Sunset, Richmond and District 7 neighborhoods.
With vacant storefronts across the City, we’ve taken a big step to help San Franciscans who want to start a business by investing $12 million to waive city fees for new small businesses citywide. Alongside new legislation I co-sponsored designed to cut red tape for many merchants, and the approval of permanent Shared Spaces, we’re making it clear: If you want to step up to start a small business to serve our communities, we want to help you do it.
Meanwhile, record-breaking heat waves, devastating drought conditions and increasing wildfire risks are all stark reminders that our climate crisis is only growing more urgent. Our response must be equally urgent and meet the scale of this global, generational and existential emergency. With Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, I secured investments to launch a Climate Equity Hub, and develop a long-term financing strategy for the City’s Climate Action Plan. Alongside these investments, I commissioned a report and held a hearing last week on strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions from buildings – strategies both of these investments will support.
Here in the Sunset, we’ve also invested in biodiversity and neighborhood greening through the District 4 Neighborway Network – a new project that will begin outreach soon to develop a network of greener, safer streets for families – and some historic investments for both short- and long-term improvements to Sunset Boulevard. I’m excited to share more about these investments soon. And I co-sponsored legislation to establish more aggressive climate goals, moving up our City’s target for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by a decade, to 2040. When it comes to addressing climate change, we can be bold, we can go big – and we can’t afford not to.
Finally, I’m proud of how this budget invests deeply in community resilience for queer and transgender communities, communities of color, seniors and other marginalized residents. This includes dedicated support for information and referrals for seniors in the Sunset, funding I helped secure for a Veterans Affairs Commission Secretary to better support the veteran community, resources for a parent support play group on the west side, and a large investment we’ve made to support the arts community in the Sunset – more announcements on this coming soon!
No budget is perfect, and this year’s process included difficult compromises. But, I’m proud of the collaborative, thoughtful and righteous work we put into this process, and I believe this budget is a reflection of our shared values, needs and priorities – to help the Sunset get our fair share in resources and services, and to ensure San Francisco as a whole can recover in full force, together.
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