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My New Legislative Aide: Andres Power
I want to extend a warm welcome to my new legislative aide, Andres Power. Andres is replacing Gillian Gillett, who has moved on to the Mayor’s Office. Gillian did tremendous work for me and for the district, playing a key role in significant pieces of legislation I sponsored, the renovation planning for Dolores Park, and many other issues large and small. Mayor Lee wisely hired Gillian as his chief transportation policy advisor. This is great news for the City, given that Gillian is a brilliant transportation policy expert who will ensure that the City moves forward on major transportation projects in an organized and strategic way. Given my own transportation work, I will continue to work with Gillian pretty much every day.
Andres, like Gillian, is a real talent. He’s been with the Planning Department since 2006, where he created the City’s Pavement to Parks Program, managed various streetscaping projects, played a key role in the City’s Urban Forest Master Plan, assisted in the development of the Better Streets Plan, and played other roles as well. Before joining the Planning Department, he worked for the Center for Land Recycling and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Andres holds a masters degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Welcome, Andres!
Scott with Andres Power (on right) and Adam Taylor
Scott with outgoing aide Gillian Gillett
My Policy Work
Nightlife Economic Impact Study and Hearing
Shortly after I took office, I requested that the City Economist prepare an economic impact study of nightlife in San Francisco, for example, bars, clubs, restaurants, and live music venues. Nightlife is a key part of San Francisco’s cultural identity and our diversity and vitality. It’s also an economic driver. For years, we’ve been making regulatory decisions about nightlife, often based on isolated negative incidents, without having full information about the industry’s economic significance to San Francisco. On March 5, we released the study, which showed, among other things, that nightlife generates $4.2 billion a year in consumer spending and $55 million a year in local taxes and that it includes 48,000 San Francisco jobs. Click here for the report, here for coverage, and here for my op ed in the Bay Guardian.
Scott speaks at the press conference announcing the results
Food trucks are a key part of our diverse San Francisco food scene. They add consumer choice, provide entrepreneurship opportunities, and activate public spaces. It’s important that we take a balanced approach to food trucks, taking into account the needs of the food truck movement as well as brick-and-mortar restaurants, schools, and the rest of the community. I’ve been working with a group of stakeholders to assess and improve our regulatory and zoning schemes, including allowing hospital and college campuses to host food trucks if they wish and reducing the required distance of food trucks from public middle and high schools to one city block (approximately 500 feet) from the current 1,500 feet (approximately 3 blocks).
Recently, a state legislative proposal, Assembly Bill 1678, threatened to upend our efforts here in San Francisco by imposing a broad ban on food trucks within 1,500 feet of any public or private elementary, middle, or high school. This standard would have banned food trucks in the vast majority of San Francisco. I introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors opposing AB 1678. I also engaged in dialogue with the author of the legislation, Assemblyman Bill Monning of Carmel. Much to his credit, Assemblyman Monning – a thoughtful and hard-working legislator – listened and responded by amending AB 1678 to reduce the required distance to 500 feet, limited to public schools, and grandfathering in local regulations like San Francisco’s. This is a significant positive step. More information here.
This map depicts the areas where the original version of Assembly Bill 1678 would have banned food trucks, with the purple circles representing banned areas.
Fortunately, the bill has now been amended to avoid this result.
Supporting Small Businesses
I continue to work to support our City’s small businesses by making it easier to do business here. My legislation to simplify our permitting process for restaurants and cafes is continuing to move through the process, and the nightlife study described above will be a useful tool in making policy around nighttime small businesses.
As the economy picks up, new businesses continue to open in the district. Castro Courier recently summarized positive business developments in the Castro. I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of several new businesses, including Dancing Pig and Sparky’s Balloons on Castro Street and Lot 7 on Valencia Street.
Scott present a Certificate of Honor
at the opening of Lot 7 restaurant on Valencia Street
Scott helps cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Sparky’s Balloons in the Castro
Improving Access to Housing
I’m continuing to work on various housing issues, with a goal of increasing access to housing.I’m sponsoring legislation to define and increase production of housing for students. We currently have no true definition of student housing, and as a result, as one commentator has noted, our student housing policy is basically Craigslist. My legislation would also prohibit the conversion of non-student housing to student housing in order to avoid cannibalizing our existing housing stock and putting additional pressure on rents.
I’m also continuing to work on increasing the supply of middle income housing. Last month, I conducted a hearing on the issue, and I’m working closely with Mayor Lee on a housing measure to shore up funding for affordable housing and encourage production of more housing affordable to those in the middle class. Recent coverage on my efforts, and the issue generally here.
As we move into the budget process for 2012/2013, I’ve taken my seat on the Budget Committee. Although I have many important budget priorities – including funding for Muni, our parks, police academy classes, and infrastructure needs – my primary focus is on restoring the approximately $7 million in federal cuts for HIV services, including care and prevention services. As our federal and state governments abdicate their responsibilities toward those living with or at risk for HIV (despite the heroic efforts of Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Mark Leno, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, and others), we as a city need to step up and ensure that we are taking care of our own, as we did in the 1980s early in the epidemic. On March 7, at my requestthe Budget Committee held a hearing on these federal HIV cuts. This was the first hearing of the budget season and demonstrated our commitment to addressing this issue effectively.
Putting Solar Panels on Our Public Schools
On Tuesday, I introduced legislation to allow the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to enter into an agreement with the San Francisco Unified School District to place solar panels on school roofs, at no cost to the school system. Many schools have large flat roofs that may be ideal for generating solar energy. My predecessor Bevan Dufty and former PUC Assistant General Manager Laura Spanjian (now Houston’s director of greening) got the ball rolling on this important project. I was proud to move the project forward by sponsoring this legislation. The first school up is Noe Valley’s Alvarado Elementary School. I look forward to seeing this project make our schools and our City greener.
More Cost-Effective and Sustainable Transit in the Bay Area
In my capacity as one of San Francisco’s two representatives on the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission, I am involved in the Transit Sustainability Project, which is examining how we can make our region’s transit agencies, including Muni, more cost-effective and reliable. That process is ongoing, and I am optimistic we’ll be able to formulate policies to improve the systems in the long run. San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) recently put out a paper making various recommendations to make our transit systems more sustainable.
Scott at the Imperial Coronation (www.imperialcouncilsf.org) receives an honor from the outgoing Emperor and Empress, Frankie and Saybelline. The Imperial Court raises significant money for community organizations and has been a San Francisco institution
for almost 50 years.
Improving Our Parks
Having a great park system is key to a great city. San Francisco has wonderful park assets, including regional destinations like Golden Gate Park and Glen Canyon, neighborhood parks, pools, and recreation centers. These assets are expensive to maintain, and they have a significant amount of capital needs. In 2008, the voters passed a neighborhood parks bond, which has been successfully implemented. We are now considering a bond for this November to renovate even more of our park assets. I’m working closely with the Recreation & Park Department and various community stakeholders to put together a bond that we all can get behind.
Dolores Park Playground
As you probably know, Dolores Park is about to undergo a major and much-needed renovation, funded by the 2008 parks bond described above. I anticipate the renovation will begin this fall and will be phased in order to avoid a total park closure. The renovation, as reflected in the community design process proposal, will replace the park’s irrigation system (and put an end to the dampness that currently occurs even in dry weather), replace the current bathroom building with expanded and better located bathrooms, renovate the tennis courts and soccer field, and improve accessibility within the park, among other things.
As a pre-cursor to that renovation, the Dolores Park Playground – which was outdated and not particularly safe – was completely replaced by a wonderful, new playground. That playground, funded primarily by Mrs. Helen Diller, is about to reopen. Join me, Mayor Lee, Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and many others on March 31 at 2 p.m. to celebrate and cut the ribbon for this fantastic new community asset. More information here.
The soon-to-be-completed Dolores Park Playground
SFMTA Community Meetings
Transit Effectiveness Project Workshops
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has announced a schedule of outreach workshops for the next phase of the Transit Effectiveness Project, which aims to transform Muni so that people can get where they want to go more quickly, reliably and safely. The SFMTA will host 10 TEP community workshops in March and April to review the TEP proposals, facilitate future community involvement and shape the final proposals.
The TEP travel time reduction proposals that will be covered in the workshops include various traffic engineering and transit stop treatments, such as lane modifications; traffic signal and stop sign changes; transit stop changes; parking and turn restrictions; and pedestrian improvements. When combined with other initiatives such as new and ongoing Muni Operations improvements (e.g. all-door boarding) and transit signal priority, these proposals are expected to reduce Muni travel times by 15 to 30 percent and improve service reliability.
This series of citywide workshops will provide San Francisco residents an opportunity to learn about the in-depth proposals for Muni’s rapid network and help staff refine them as part of the environmental review process. Nine of the workshops will be held around the city and will focus on neighborhood-specific changes. The 10th meeting will cover all proposals citywide and be held at SFMTA headquarters. The first meeting will be on Saturday, March 31. The detailed proposals for each meeting’s topic will be released in advance of that meeting.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will host a series of town hall meetings in March to discuss its upcoming two-year budget. This series of citywide public meetings, the first of which is March 3, will provide San Francisco residents an opportunity to hear what is being proposed in the two-year budget and to meet directly with SFMTA staff to discuss specific programs and projects. These meetings will also be an opportunity to discuss the Agency’s long-standing structural operating and capital budget deficits and their impact on services. The District 8 town hall will be held on Wednesday, March 21st from 6:00-8:00pm at Waldorf High School, 470 West Portal Avenue.
Scott, Mayor Lee, and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White honor Senator Mark Leno upon the hanging of his portrait at John’s Grill in Union Square. Also pictured
is John Konstin, owner of John’s Grill.
You may have noticed recent marks on sidewalks in your neighborhood where there is a problem with severely damaged or cracked concrete. Homeowners are generally responsible for maintenance of the sidewalks adjacent to their property and if the concrete is severely damaged or lifted up, it needs to be repaired or replaced so it doesn’t present a hazard. Occasionally sidewalks are lifted up by tree roots looking for water and oxygen, something in short supply beneath concrete slabs.
If you are cited for sidewalk damage due to tree root expansion, do yourself and your tree a good turn. If you enlarge the tree basin when you replace the concrete you save money using less concrete while giving your tree a better chance to stay healthy by increasing the area for water and oxygen to penetrate. That means they’ll be less likely to cause sidewalk damage in the future. DPW recommends tree basins can be enlarged up to 4′ x 4′.
Every year, the San Francisco Police Officer’s Pride Alliance awards a generous financial scholarship to a graduating High School senior in memorial of Officer Jon C. Cook.
Officer Jon Cook was an openly gay San Francisco Police Officer, who was killed in an automobile accident on June 12, 2002. His patrol car collided with another patrol car at 17th & Dolores when both units rushed to the scene of a felony arrest. The officers were responding to backup another officer who was in the process of arresting a man who had brutally attacked his wife earlier in the day, and who had been the focus of a day-long manhunt.Officer Cook was 38 years old and had been with the department for two years. He was survived by his domestic partner, parents, three brothers, two sisters, as well as many nieces and nephews.
The scholarship is open to High School seniors graduating this year, with a 3.0 average GPA or better that fit into one or more of the following categories:
You are a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-, Transsexual or Transgender individual.
At our March 6th meeting the Board of Supervisors celebrated Women’s History Month. As part of the ceremony, II honored Catherine Bergstrom, Kate Ryken and Beth Spotswood as my District 8 Women of the Year. Catherine coordinated the Noe Valley Fire Fundraiser that raised funds for the seven displaced tenants who were burned out of their apartments by a devastating two-alarm fire on the 4000 Block of 24th Street on September 10, 2011. Beth and Kate provided relief to the tenants who were victims of arson in the Castro. I honored all three women for demonstrating what neighborhoods and communities are all about – pulling together and being there for each other. And as one of the residents burned out of his home said, “…People that were strangers to us just a few days ago have been amazing.”
Scott with Catherine Bergstrom, Beth Spotswood, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White
and Kate Ryken
Upcoming Events to Remember
Diamond Heights Community Association – Parks Bond Meeting
Thursday, March 15th
St. Aidan’s Church, Lower Level, 101 Gold Mine Drive
The Diamond Heights Community Association has scheduled a Special Community Meeting for Diamond Heights and Glen Park residents to learn about the Park Bonds Measure on the November ballot. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will do a presentation on the measure. The meeting will provide an opportunity to learn the Rec and Park process for including parks and playgrounds in the measure and if there is a possibility that funding may be available for new play structures for Christopher Playground, the Glen Park Recreation Center and Douglass Playground. According to Rec and Park, Christopher Playground structures are made from pressure-treated lumber, which, though it is painted and the hazardous material is encapsulated, makes it a priority for replacement.
161st St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Saturday, March 17th
2nd and Market Streets to Civic Center
The parade will form in the area of Second and Market Streets and will end at the Reviewing stand which will be located along Civic Center Plaza, across from the Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett entrance to City Hall.
Waldorf High School, 470 West Portal Avenue, Herbst Hall
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency invites you to the District 8 Town Hall meeting to discuss the Agency’s Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014 budget that begins this July 1. This public meeting will provide an opportunity to hear what is being proposed in the two-year budget and to meet directly with SFMTA staff to discuss specific programs and projects. You and your neighbors can also fill out comment cards which will be reviewed prior to the Board of Directors’ public hearing on the budget.
San Francisco Design Center, 101 Henry Adams Street
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center will hold its 10th Anniversary celebration-Soiree 10- à la mode française on Saturday, March 24, 2012, when the San Francisco Design Center Galleria becomes a decadent turn-of-the-last-century Parisian salon. Paris’s “Belle Époque” or “beautiful era” pre-World War I was a period of invention, optimism, style, rebellion and flamboyance. Soiree 10 will celebrate that spirit as The Center instantly transports you from SoMa to Montmartre. Think peacock feathers, cloche hats, cigarette holders, Zelda Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, flappers, the can-can and Moulin Rouge!
Scott speaking to the crowd before throwing out the first pitch at the Gay Softball League’s 40th anniversary game against the San Francisco Police Department
Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association Meeting
Wednesday, March 28th
Castro Community Meeting Room, 501 Castro Street
Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association provides a public forum for the people who live, work, and play in the greater Eureka Valley area to discuss common issues and concerns, and help develop solutions to improve the neighborhood.
With the help and generous donation of more than $1.5 million from the Mercer Fund in honor of San Francisco Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller, together with funding from the 2008 Parks Bond and the City’s General Fund, major renovation of the Dolores Park Playground has been completed. The site now has several unique and exciting features, including: a central play mound that will have an ADA-accessible suspension bridge, built-in slide and climbing nets; custom-made ship wrecked boats; and a 36′ super slide built into the natural hillside behind the playground.
Please join Mayor Lee, Supervisor Wiener and Supervisor Campos for a community meeting to discuss the City’s Budget. The District 8 & 9 Town Hall will educate and further involve the public in crafting a balanced budget. Additionally, it will create a forum to hear directly from San Franciscans about their budget priorities and ideas, issues and concerns as the City balances its first ever two-year budget to achieve long-term financial stability.
Golden Gate Park, Sharon Meadow
This family event features Egg Hunts, Carnival Rides, Jumpy Houses, Arts & Crafts, Entertainment, and a Rib Cook-Off between Rec and Park, SF Police and SF Fire departments. $8 per person for an all-access pass. The judging will take place from 12:30pm to 1:00pm. Click here for more information
Fun abounds at Rec and Park’s 2nd annual Eggstravaganza!
Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association Meeting
Monday, April 9th
California Pacific Medical Center, Davies Campus, Gazebo Room, 45 Castro Street
The Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) represents residents, businesses and property owners in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle neighborhood, bordered by Market St., Castro St., Divisidero St., Waller St., Webster St. and Duboce Avenue. Their goal is to protect, maintain and improve neighborhood quality of life, and ensure that the Duboce Triangle continues to be San Francisco’s very best neighborhood in which to live, work and play.
SF Bike to School Day is a San Francisco Safe Routes to School event to encourage more students and families to try bicycling to school. It is organized by interested parents, teachers and schools staff at individual schools. They provide resources like rider souvenir bags – similar to the regional yearly Bike to Work Day event held in May. They also build support and enthusiasm for the event with a poster contest and helping schools put on their events by providing posters, mapping participating schools with organizer contacts and cheering for the next generation of safe and smart cyclists. SF Bike to School Day is an official “Encouragement” activity of the San Francisco Safe Route to School Program. Click here for more information
5th Annual Dogfest
Saturday, April 14th
Duboce Park, Noe Street at Duboce Avenue
DogFest is a celebration of dogs and kids benefitting SFUSD McKinley Elementary School, a K-5 public school at Castro and 14th Streets. The festival offers something for dogs, kids, and parents of both breeds.