As the pandemic enters its third unrelenting year, we all continue to rely on essential public services more than ever, and we’ve worked hard over the past year to protect and expand those services. I’ve fought for new investments and policies to ensure working families, small businesses and communities across the Sunset can continue to thrive.
Here are some of our biggest accomplishments of 2021:
I wrote and passed a law to waive Building Code fees for homeowners who want to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), or in-laws, on their property, giving our community an important tool to support housing needs and multi-generational living for families. To complement this, we also launched the ADU Incentives Program to eliminate barriers for homeowners to take this step, and our hope is to continue to expand this program in years to come.
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. Here in the Sunset, that work is moving forward.
The Shirley Chisholm Village, the 100% affordable housing project for educators on the Francis Scott Key annex site, will break ground later this year. Also, work on developing the Sunset’s first 100% affordable housing project for families continues at 2550 Irving St. I also introduced legislation that would provide support and incentives for homeowners to expand their homes and create middle-income family housing. In addition, we have continued our community planning work through Sunset Forward, which will be complete later this year. Finally, we advocated for a more equitable framework for housing planning across the region through Plan Bay Area.
Public Safety and Small Businesses
This year, I’ve made improving public safety in the Sunset and San Francisco a top priority. With an alarming increase in violence against Asian and Pacific Islander community members, we joined with neighborhood groups to hold a March for AAPI Solidarity + Safety on the Great Highway, held hearings, and I commissioned a comprehensive Citywide API Community Violence Prevention and Victim Support Plan.
Senior escorts and a new team of Community Ambassadors will be coming to the Sunset with expanded funding we helped secure, and we’ve invested in a dedicated District 4 community safety organizer to support community leadership working on the ground to enhance neighborhood safety, alongside our ongoing support for the Sunset Safety Squad.
I created the Small Business Vandalism Relief Fund to provide direct support to small businesses impacted by crime and held a hearing on strategies to improve public safety on our commercial corridors. 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 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. Right here in the Sunset, we continue to offer ongoing support for the expansion of Sunset Mercantile programs and events on 37th Avenue. The creation and growth of the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and all the additional Mercantile activities has been phenomenal, and I’m proud to continue working to foster this community resource.
A far cry from the delays and overruns that have plagued capital projects elsewhere in the City, I’m proud to say the first phase of the L-Taraval Improvement Project was completed on-schedule and on-budget. The second and final segment will break ground early this year, and we will continue to work with residents, merchants and the SFMTA to provide the oversight critical to successful project delivery and to minimize construction disruptions as much as possible.
We reached a meaningful compromise on a debate that has divided our neighborhood, reopening the Great Highway to vehicles on weekdays when drivers use it most, while maintaining it as a promenade on weekdays, when pedestrians and recreational users enjoyed it most. Meanwhile, we pushed SFMTA to deliver a comprehensive traffic calming project for the Outer Sunset in record time, delivering 25 speed bumps and a dozen stop signs in a matter of months.
After more than a year of outreach and analysis, we completed the District 4 Mobility Study and are working quickly to meet the ideas, needs and recommendations it identified to improve transportation in our neighborhood. Based on your input, we are moving fast on safety improvements for Lincoln Way, and outreach has already launched for the Sunset Neighborways project. That work will continue this year to create a network of safer streets for families to bike, walk or roll to schools, parks and other neighborhood destinations. Learn more and get involved at sfmta.com/projects/sunset-neighborways.
Supporting Workers and Veterans
We worked with Mayor London Breed to expand paid leave for contract nurses at public hospitals and health centers, and codified our Back to Work Ordinance – an emergency law I worked hard to extend as the pandemic continued – which created a right to reemployment for certain workers who lost their jobs because of COVID-19. This law created job security for thousands of San Francisco workers when they needed it most and has helped them return to their jobs — fairly, and safely.
And this year I was proud to write and pass a legislative package supporting our veteran community by prioritizing veterans for affordable housing opportunities and reducing or eliminating fees at many park and recreation facilities for veterans. Along with Supervisor Stefani, I also secured funding for the first ever staff position for the Veteran’s Affairs Commission. I thank the many veteran community leaders who advocated for these important policies, including District 4’s own Bill Barnickel and the Metropolitan Fresh Start House.
I commissioned a report and held a hearing on building decarbonization to begin work to address the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our City. 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. I also 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.
With a record rainy season underway, we were proud to celebrate the completion of the Rain Gardens on Sunset Boulevard, a project that diverts millions of gallons of stormwater from our sewer system to replenish our natural aquifer. This is only one component of our long-term Sunset Boulevard Master Plan, which took a big step forward this year when we secured a commitment to convert the boulevard’s irrigation system to recycled water — a critical step for supporting biodiversity, reducing water waste and ensuring all the plantings from Climate Action Now and other partners on the Boulevard can survive this and future droughts.
These are just some of our highlights from 2021, and we look forward to continuing to work with you all toward a more resilient, livable and thriving Sunset in 2022. 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