We're fast approaching the holiday season. I hope you had a fun and safe Halloween!
This past month has been a whirlwind of activity, and I am excited to share all our victories with you in this newsletter.
To learn more about my efforts, please feel free to get in touch with my office anytime. You can also follow the real-time work of my office via Twitter and Facebook.
Moving Forward with Mental Health SF
Photo via Jennifer Li
Mental Health SF, the ballot measure I authored with Supervisor Matt Haney, continues to garner massive support from community members, health care workers, community service providers, and advocates. This measure, heavily informed by psychiatric care experts, will fix our broken system and get people with mental illness off the streets and into care.
On October 30, hundreds of mental health workers, community advocacy groups, and front-line staff descended upon City Hall to show support for Mental Health SF.
I immediately drafted and introduced legislation to ensure that these beds would be used as intended, providing a safe and secure place for people who would otherwise be on the street.
In October, my office, along with front-line staff, representatives from Local 21 and SEIU 1021, DPH leadership, residents and their families, and the Mayor’s office worked together to reach an agreement and pass legislation to ensure the future of the Adult Residential Facility.
No residents will be forcibly removed from their home, and the City’s critical long-term beds for mentally ill residents will be protected.
Securing Funds for Affordable Housing
Photo via Kevin N. Hume
Creating and preserving affordable housing has always been a top priority for me. Those cranes you see in the sky in the Mission are building affordable housing; almost 500 units are under construction, and 300 more are already planned. Every one of those projects artfully leverages all the state, federal, and private financing that we can get our hands on.
But local funds are key to keeping our affordable housing initiatives going. I am proud to have co-sponsored and helped pass Supervisor Haney’s game-changing legislation to update the City’s Jobs-Housing Linkage fee, which is estimated to bring in $400 million over the next 7 years. Combined with Prop A – our $600 million affordable housing bond (and my fingers are crossed that it will pass on the ballot), the City will finally have the funding we need to address our affordable housing crisis.
Legacy Nightclub El Rio and Tenants Saved
Photo via El Rio's Facebook Page
A few months ago, El Rio was at risk of closing, and the residents who lived in the apartments above feared eviction.
I supported MEDA's (Mission Economic Development Agency) purchase of the building through the City's Small Sites acquisition program to ensure that the apartments will continue to be affordable for both current and future tenants. Using this program, which finances nonprofits to acquire occupied rental buildings, we have now protected more than 200 households in District 9 who were facing eviction but are now in safe and stable affordable homes.
This was an extra-special win, because we paired it with our Legacy Business program to protect the much-beloved El Rio dive bar!
Protecting Local Pharmacies and Vulnerable Communities
Photo via Rick Gerharter
I learned this month that recent changes in State reimbursement policies are bankrupting community-based pharmacies like our very own Mission Wellness Pharmacy. The State is reimbursing pharmacies at rates lower than the actual cost of purchasing certain drugs.
Several life-saving medications designed to treat chronic psychiatric illnesses, HIV, and hepatitis are now considered “specialty drugs” under the State's new drug pricing formula, and community-based pharmacies are losing hundreds of dollars each time they provide a new prescription.
This action by the State defies logic, and I have authored a resolution calling on the Governor to reverse this new drug pricing policy so that our local pharmacies can continue to provide critical services and care to our highest-need residents.
Working on Homelessness in the Mission
Photo via Lola M. Chavez
The worsening conditions of homelessness in the Mission District are alarming and unsustainable. I have been meeting weekly with the Director of the Department of Homelessness and have made it clear that the status quo is completely unacceptable.
My office helped grow the Navigation Center in our district by 60 beds in order to address the situation. Those beds have already been filled and the situation continues to be dire. To improve the impact of these crucial services, I’ve been advocating to reconvert the ineffective short-term beds at all Navigation Centers – which were showing poor outcomes – back into long-term beds in order to provide greater stability and less turnover among our unhoused residents.
While my office continues to call upon City Departments to prioritize the highest impacted areas in the neighborhood, I’ve also been laser-focused on long-term solutions that will get at the root of the problem through our ballot measure, Mental Health SF.
A Safer Halloween!
Photo via Esperanza Arab
Halloween on Cortland was a blast, and extra safe this year because we were able to bring in 10 crossing guards and Parking Control Officers to watch over the street. The change was such a success that we will make sure to keep it going every Halloween.
Air Quality Emergency Response
Photo via airnow.gov
A year ago, San Francisco suffered the worst air quality ever, an emergency more frightening than we could have imagined. Fortunately, this year hasn’t been as bad as last year for us, but it is clear that we will experience this again, as this is likely to be our new normal.
Medical professionals have found masks -- even the N95 ones that so many people are using -- are not only inadequate, but potentially dangerous for children and adults who may be using them incorrectly. Instead, air quality and public health officials are advising people to stay indoors during heavy smoke episodes, with windows and doors closed, and preferably with a HEPA air filter.
I am drafting legislation to require San Francisco to provide portable HEPA air purifiers for every public school classroom and senior center. These portable devices are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and will minimize the health impacts affecting children and seniors. I’m also researching options and costs to provide air cooling and particle filtration in City-funded homeless shelters and navigation centers, so we can determine the best way to keep our unhoused neighbors safe.
We must continue to look for long-range solutions, but these incremental improvements are practical, feasible, and quickly implementable steps we can take to be ready for the next emergency.
SF Bay Guardian 2019 Best Politician
Background photo via Kevin N. Humes for the Examiner
I couldn't miss the opportunity to congratulate the legendary San Francisco Mime Troupe on their 60th anniversary! Here's hoping that they continue to bring joy and inspiration to audiences through revolutionary theater for many more years to come!
Honoring UESF on their 100th Anniversary!
Photo via Facebook
I’m proud to be a public school mom, and daughter and sister of public school teachers. It was my pleasure and privilege to honor United Educators of San Francisco on their FIRST powerful century. Thank you for fighting for the rights of educators and for advancing educational equity!
Welcoming Jennifer Li to the District 9 Office
Photo via Jennifer Li
I am happy to announce that Jennifer Li is joining the District 9 team as our new Administrative Aide! Jennifer is the eldest daughter of Chinese immigrants, and she grew up working in her parents’ butcher shop in New York City’s Chinatown. She joins the District 9 office having most recently served as a Communications Specialist at IFPTE Local 21, a Bay Area labor union representing 10,000 public sector workers.
During her spare time, she was a Regional Director for Rise, where she helped usher through the unanimous passage of the 2016 Federal Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights. In 2017, she lead the passage of California’s own Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights, and continues to coach others on how to pen their own civil rights into law.
The Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN) Awards are returning to City Hall’s rotunda in Winter 2020. The Awards celebrate the amazing work of community leaders and organizations in San Francisco's neighborhoods.
The winners are nominated by their community, and we need your help to make sure that the heroes in our district are considered.
The nomination window closes November 29th, 2019, so don't delay - submit your nominations today!
Join the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families (DCYF) and I at the We are the City: District 9 Family Summit on Saturday, November 16 at Mission Arts Center.
You’re invited to share your personal stories, perspectives, and experiences to help make San Francisco a great place to grow up. What you share will play a critical role in DCYF’s five-year planning process. Your insight helps guide how the City will invest in programs and services for young people (ages 0-24).
Food, childcare, interpretation, and family fun will be provided.
San Francisco’s first citywide American Indian Initiative celebrates the culture and contributions of local Indigenous Peoples. Spanning three months, the Initiative includes over 20 public events including exhibitions, community celebrations, concerts, a film festival, and more. You can view the extensive calendar of events and activities here.
The Initiative coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz, the one-year anniversary of the City’s first Indigenous Peoples Day, and the anniversary of the removal of the Early Days sculpture in the Civic Center after decades of community objections to its racist and historically inaccurate content.
Free Tickets to the deYoung Black Power Art Exhibit
Photo via deYoung Museum website
The deYoung's Black Power Art Exhibit celebrates art made by Black artists during two pivotal decades when issues of race and identity dominated and defined both public and private discourse.
The de Young museum is offering free admission to the entire museum, including free entry to Soul of a Nation, for all visitors on four Saturdays throughout the run of the exhibition.