We are so happy to observe Juneteenth and Pride in San Francisco this month, participating in celebrations that bring out the best in our communities. We gather together to recognize and uplift two essential historical legacies that represent fundamental human rights, justice and freedom.
Supervisor Ronen with Cookie Monster & friends, SF Pride 2023.|
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of trash talk about San Francisco lately, especially throughout the local and national media. Messages about “doom loop,” “failed city,” “doom and gloom,” and “a City out of control” are everywhere, and yet we have to ask, is this the real picture? The City is experiencing unprecedented challenges for certain, but the media is intent on
sensationalizing and fixating on the problems without digging into what is really happening, why, and what is being done to address the problems.
We know that recent events in our District have shaken our residents to the core. The gun violence was terrifying. While targeted, these incidents are a reflection of what is happening across the country and with increasing frequency – senseless acts of gun violence and unfettered access to deadly weapons. This is a reality we need to address at the root cause, in addition to working through the ramifications and trauma these incidents have caused. As always, I see it as my commitment to the City I love so deeply, to tackle gun violence systemically, in addition to addressing the immediate symptoms of the problems. In the Budget that we just passed, I championed the addition of
attorneys to issue gun violence restraining orders against anyone in San Francisco with a violent history. Getting guns out of the community is crucial as violence prevention advocates work to quash interpersonal conflict and the police arrested the alleged shooter of 9 individuals on 24th Street. We are working at every level to keep our District safe. I also want to express my deep gratitude to the first responders and the bystanders who jumped in to provide life-saving care in this emergency. These collective efforts saved lives and demonstrated that our community cares for one another in the face of adversity.
And contrary to all the negative messages about San Francisco, there is so much work being done in partnership with our community-based organizations to rebuild, innovatively address homelessness and street conditions, and beautify our District. In a recent interview I did with the SF Chronicle Soup with the Supes podcast
, interviewer Laura Wenus stated that San Francisco is "up there" in terms of encampments and drug overdoses compared to other cities. I challenged her with the facts, and after she checked the numbers, she acknowledged “I looked up some stats and she's right that San Francisco isn’t the worst on a lot of these metrics...” The facts are not being reported accurately in the media. And neither is the context of many of my comments—while many have pulled out the negative from my interview, I urge you to listen to the entire segment to understand the nuances of my political positions and approach to change.
But more important than media and statistics is what makes San Francisco so resilient. What we see in Bernal, the Mission and the Portola, among myriad problems, is neighborhoods and commercial corridors coming back after Covid, due to the tenacity and creativity of our constituents. We see communities coming together to promote belonging and beauty through gathering spaces, festive lighting installations, block parties, green spaces, public art, educational events, and much, much more. I have the privilege of seeing and supporting spaces and projects that are driven by love for San Francisco and the community we so deeply cherish. This newsletter is a love letter to our City and features just a sampling of the inspiring efforts in our District to share with you.
As always, you can reach out to my office with any concerns or questions by emailing: email@example.com.
We honored the First Responders from SF Fire Department, SF Police Department, and SF General Hospital UCSF Wrap Around Project with a special commendation at City Hall this week. Emergency crews arrived quickly at the scene in the Mission on June 9th and provided expert care to those who were injured. Their actions, in addition to the courageous youth who jumped in to help and administered "Stop the Bleed", resulted in no casualties. After the incident, the SF General UCSF Wrap Around Project staff continued to provide services and support to the individuals impacted by the shooting, offering mental health, behavioral health and victim services.|
Homelessness remains one of the most persistent concerns for our District and City-wide. We are working around the clock with the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team, Healthy Streets Operation Center and the Homelessness and Supportive Housing departments to engage with homeless individuals to offer shelter and services. In the FY 23/24 Budget we just won a new position that I created so that a City worker is in the Mission every single day making sure the areas around homeless serving amenities like navigation centers, Hummingbird mental health respite, and others are pristine with no trash, loitering, or encampments in front of or surrounding these crucial services.
I had the honor of helping reach a compromise in the Budget so we can continue making unprecedented investments in ending young adult and family homelessness in San Francisco while also increasing shelter spaces so we can move people from the streets into dignified shelter.
The Department of Public Health is taking the lead on outreach and critical case management with mental health outreach teams who are reaching out daily to people living on the street, while assessing their needs and building their trust.
Mission Community Ambassadors
The Mission Ambassador Program is underway with 14 Ambassadors currently deployed in the Mission, focusing on the Bart stations and Mission Street commercial corridor. The Ambassador team was trained in de-escalation tactics and equipped with a list of City resources to offer individuals who might be in need of mental health, drug addiction treatment and vendors seeking resources.
The team is working to build relationships with community members, street vendors and brick and mortar merchants. They are now a regular presence on the streets and we are seeing improvements that will only increase over time as they gain trust in the neighborhood. This program is one important tool to address problematic street behaviors, while restoring confidence in these spaces that are so central to our District.
While no longer chair, I remain an active member of the five-person Budget and Appropriations Committee and in this budget season we have worked closely with our Board colleagues, the Mayor, City agencies and community based organizations to protect services and programming for our residents. This is an extremely challenging year, and we are tackling an enormous projected deficit made worse by the ending of federal and state Covid relief funds that helped boost City capacity to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents. While our needs are as great as ever, we won enormous resources for the District. Some of the wins include, funding for new Green Spaces in all three neighborhoods,
additional money for afterschool programs, immigrant integration and assistance, support for the public schools, street cleaning specifically in areas of the District that don’t get as much attention from Public Works, day time rest spaces for those experiencing homelessness, social services for sex workers, food for hungry youth and so much more! This is just a snapshot of the great wins in this year’s budget.
We commend the City Departments who accepted their cuts with grace, and whom we know will continue to diligently provide critical services and implement innovative programs to address some of the most difficult issues to solve. We have a wealth of talent and resources in this city and we will harness both in the coming year to make progress and rebuild our City.
And finally, I want to send a shout out to my colleague Chair Connie Chan for her excellent leadership during the budget process this year!
Photo L: The Budget and Appropriations team after a long night of deliberations! We delivered a balanced budget and protected many essential community services. Supervisors Safai, Walton, Mandelman, Ronen and Chair Chan. Photo R: Leaving City hall with our colleagues from D10 after a long but successful budget night. Supervisor Walton, Santiago Lerma, Tracy Brown Gallardo, Supervisor Ronen, Jackie Prager.
The Buena Vista Horace Mann Stay-Over-Program
This groundbreaking program that I championed was highlighted once again through an honor by the California Teachers Association's (CTA's) 64th annual John Swett Awards for Media Excellence. An independent panel of working journalists and media professionals chose seventeen award-winning entries in the prestigious CTA awards contest. The awards honor individuals, publications, websites and broadcast media for their outstanding achievements in reporting and interpreting public education issues during 2022. Write Gail Cornwall won for the article on the BVHM Stay Over Program in the Hechinger Report, you can read the winning article here:
"The idea of optimizing school district property for evening and weekend use isn’t new, but Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 Community School (BVHM, for short) appears to be the first modern public elementary school to have hosted a long-term, overnight family shelter. ‘As far as our knowledge in the entire country, we are the first people to do it,’ said San Francisco City Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who was instrumental in advocating for the program."
The team at the Stay Over Program presented at the Community School Conference in Philadelphia earlier this month and hopes to present the model at a National conference in New Orleans this November. Aside from the daily impact it has on so many families and schools, the model continues to show up in organizing and contract fights happening around the country, reframing what a school can be and what it means to be a community school.
The Paraeducator Workforce Pipeline
We are working in partnership with San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), San Francisco Department of Children Youth and Families (DFYF), San Francisco Office of Workforce and Economic Development (OWED), and community organizations such as the Latino Task Force and others to tackle the Paraeducator workforce crisis in the public schools through a collaborative that aims to fill the high number of Para vacancies next year. Paraeducators are essential to our schools; they provide direct support and programming for students with special needs, work closely with classroom and Special Education teachers to improve outcomes for their students, and have a positive impact on the students and classrooms where they are engaged.
We are supporting two hiring fairs this summer, July 19th at 555 Franklin, and in August (date TBD) at the Latino Task Force. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org and helping strengthen the Para to Educator career pathway.
More Greening in District 9!
The 2023 San Francisco Community Challenge Grants, a program in the Office of the City Administrator, provides technical assistance for projects that improve neighborhoods, and protect urban watersheds. Their grantees include community groups, merchants associations, Community Benefit Districts, schools, and nonprofit organizations and have transformed public spaces throughout the city. The 2023 grant cycle provided grants for seven projects throughout our District, including...
🍃Friends of Alemany Farm stewardship project Green Jobs Apprenticeship and food justice educational program
💦 Ogden Avenue rain garden and rainwater harvesting project
🌳 Peralta Hill greening and shared spaces
🌱Good Prospect community garden expansion and rain garden and rainwater harvesting project
🎋 Saint Mary’s Park greening and public art.
If you are engaged in a community greening and/or public art project you’d like to submit for 2024 grant cycle, the application is usually open in the early fall. Contact email@example.com to find out when the next RFP is released.
Photo credit: Jorge Romero Ogden Avenue as it currently looks. ||
|A rendering of the design for the Ogden Avenue Greenway, rain garden and watershed project.|
Several new projects slated for Affordable Housing, among them 3300 Mission Street!
Our office has been working hard with our non-profits developers to build and preserve essential affordable housing in District 9. We are so happy to announce that among the 5 new developments announced this week that will bring online 550 new affordable housing units, is 3300 Mission Street, in Bernal Heights, developed by Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, Tabernacle Community Development Corporation, and Mitchellville Real Estate Group.
Photo credit: Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. The site of 3300 Mission Street where Bernal Heights Housing Corporation will be building affordable housing.|
I am thrilled that 3300 Mission Street is a 2023 NOFA recipient. This site has been a priority for affordable housing in District 9 since the horrible 2016 fire, and despite multiple setbacks with prior developers, I am so grateful to the Bernal Heights Housing Corporation and their development partners for getting this acquisition across the finish line. These affordable housing units and the activation of the commercial ground floor will bring meaningful change to the Mission corridor and Bernal Heights community.
Support for Tenants
The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation I authored to expand the City’s Displaced Tenant Housing Preference Program to include tenants being displaced from unlawful units, such as the tenants in 2861-2899 San Bruno Ave. in the Portola. This expansion will allow these tenants, majority of whom are low-income and families of color, to receive preference in affordable housing opportunities in the City.
We are so happy to share that 13 merchant groups and community organizations in District 9 received Avenue Greenlight grant awards for activation, revitalization and beautification of commercial corridors and surrounding neighborhoods. These grants were given to projects in Bernal Heights, the Mission and the Portola that plan to bring the community together through cultural events, art installations and lighting. D9 was well represented in this grant cycle which gave a total of 50 grants citywide. Check out the list of D9 grants
here, and this Chronicle article for more information on the announcement of all city-wide grants made last month.
We also extended the First Year Free program and funded it for another year to encourage new businesses to open in empty storefronts throughout the City. For the first year of operations all City fees are waived for new businesses. I am working to make the program permanent so it will be a constant support for entrepreneurs looking to open in SF.
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Spotlight on a D9 Community Organization
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To lift up the amazing work that is happening every day in Bernal, the Mission and the Portola, we are featuring the work of one D9 organization in each newsletter. This month features…
The PNA envisions a neighborhood whose diverse members participate actively in the stewardship of our vibrant community.
The Portola is San Francisco’s Garden District, and the PNA has been working to restore and transform public spaces with greening, art, and revitalization efforts for community benefit for decades. If you haven’t been to the Portola Freeway Greenway Project, we recommend you check it out by first stopping in to grab a coffee at Hey Neighbor Cafe, and then walking the Greenway behind the cafe at 2 Burrows Street. Currently, the entrance is under construction but generally the gates are open on weekends between 10am and 2pm. The commercial corridor of San Jose Avenue is hopping and has made a comeback post-Covid that is largely due to the innovations and enthusiasm of the
residents, spearheaded by the PNA.
The Freeway Greenway is a result of the PNA partnership with a diverse group of residents to repurpose what was an overgrown and blighted Caltrans easement located on a stretch of land between the west side of US-101 and the backside of the San Bruno Avenue business corridor. During Covid, a dedicated group of residents (artists, gardeners, carpenters, local schools and more) worked in earnest to overhaul the space which is now several blocks of terraced gardens, sculptures and art representative of the unique community spirit of the neighborhood. PNA plans to expand the Greenway several blocks south, and continues to engage more neighbors in its development through monthly volunteer garden days and events that celebrate Portola's diverse cultures and community. I am proud to say
that during this year's budget process, my office was able to get funding for the next two years for the expansion of the Portola Greenway project.
In addition to this ambitious project, the PNA works on traffic calming and street safety, reactivation of vacant storefronts, beautification and revitalization of the commercial corridor.
The Portola once housed a multitude of greenhouses that supplied cut flowers to the City hence it’s designation as SF’s Garden District. The PNA and our Portola Garden Club are engaging the community to imagine and partake in our green future. With the Greenway’s first two blocks still under development, it’s rewarding to see the blooming plant palette; to see visitors stroll or relax into nestled seating; and to have a multitude of dedicated volunteers from ages 3 to 93 earnestly steward this urban gem. A broad coalition of residents, merchants, community and City organizations and elected officials have brought inspiration, perspiration, funding and hard labor to the Greenway. It’s an honor to work closely with all these fabulous folks and to be
part of this transformation. If you seek an antidote to bad news or isolation, I encourage you to join a neighborhood project. There is immense satisfaction with beautifying even just a few yards of space while meeting other folks. Having a sense of common purpose transcends all kinds of differences, lifts moods and unites us in shared achievement! Get out the door and get dirty!
- Maggie Weis, PNA board Chair
|Photo credit: Imelda Carrasco. Goose the tiny dog with the biggest character visits the Portola Greenway!|
Photo credit: Simone Ferrigno. From top left to bottom: Greenway birdhouse wall, mural at the back of the Family Connections Center that opens onto the Greenway, The PNA Dim Sum and Cars event in May.|
San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is recruiting community members to be advocates and mentors for youth in foster care. Sign up for a virtual info session at sfcasa.org/volunteer to learn more.
The SF Public Utilities Commission has issued a notice for work in the D9 area
of S VAN NESS AVENUE & 18th-19th streets, starting on: Monday, July 10 through Tuesday, July 11. | Duration: Monday, 8 a.m. through Tuesday, 6 p.m. Educator and First Responder Downpayment Assistance Loan Program (EDALP) and (FRDALP): The city of San Francisco is now offering up to $500,000 in down payment assistance to first time buyers towards the purchase of a program eligible market rate home in the City. This program is currently open until July 14th, so time is very limited to apply for assistance. Since this program has a small application window, we are encouraging interested educators to start the required Homebuyer Education, and learn about this exciting program by signing up for a free MOHCD Program Orientation ASAP. You will find a schedule of orientations at
What should Prop L fund in the next five years?
San Francisco voters in November 2022 approved Prop L, the Sales Tax for Transportation Projects measure that will direct $2.6 billion (2020 dollars) in half-cent sales tax funds over 30 years to help deliver safer, smoother streets, more reliable transit, continue paratransit services for seniors and persons with disabilities, reduce congestion, and improve air quality. The Transportation Authority is working to implement Prop L, and is seeking feedback on the specific projects to fund in the next five years. To take a survey, attend a virtual town hall, or learn more, visit: sfcta.org/ExpenditurePlan
SFMTA Traffic Calming Program: Applications open July 1!
Did you know the SFMTA has a residential application-based traffic calming program where residents can request traffic calming for their block? Please take a look at the program website to learn more about the application and evaluation processes. In particular, the SFMTA is revamping their application-based process to be simpler, more responsive, and more expedient. Starting July 1, 2023, traffic calming applications will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling quarterly basis, which should result in as much as a two-year decrease in time from application to construction compared to the previous process. Please reach out to my office or email
TrafficCalmingApp@sfmta.com for more information.
Recycle Your Mattresses to Keep them from the Landfill! More than 75% of a mattress can be recycled into other products, diverting valuable resources from local landfills! Learn how to recycle your mattress and free disposal options that may be available to you at ByeByeMattress.com #byebyemattress
SFUSD Paraeducator and Instructional Aide career fairs!
July 19 at 555 Franklin Street (4:30-8:00 pm)
August date TBD, at 701 Alabama Street email firstname.lastname@example.org for date and details
Why become a Para? This is a great job opportunity to work in the schools with students who most need support. By serving our community of individuals with disabilities, you can help positively impact students’ lives and improve their behavioral, social, and learning skills. Starting salary currently $25/hour with career pathway opportunities to work while studying to become certified teachers, social workers, nurses, and more. For more information about your application or about the process more broadly, please contact us at
|The D9 team! Imelda Carrasco, Ana Herrera, Jackie Prager, Santiago Lerma, Jen Ferrigno & Supervisor Ronen at Casements Bar. Our office sponsored legislation|
last month that will enable this small business to maintain their outdoor shared spaces patio.
Imelda will be coming on board to join my legislative aide team during July and August while Santiago is on paternity leave with his beautiful newborn son.