From Supervisor Catherine Stefani <[email protected]>
Subject May District 2 Newsletter
Date May 18, 2020 6:39 PM
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MESSAGE FROM CATHERINE

Dear John,

As we pass the two-month mark of sheltering in place, I want to provide some more information about what I have been working on and how you can access resources. As of last week, San Francisco’s mortality rate for COVID-19 was 35 times less than New York City’s and four times less than that of Los Angeles. While we are not yet out of the woods, we have made real progress. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices our neighbors have made, as well as the ways you have all stepped up, and I am more certain than ever that we will get through this together. If you need assistance at any time, please let me know at 415-554-7752 or [email protected]

Warm regards,

Catherine



RESOURCES AND SHELTER-IN-PLACE UPDATES

Reopening: Curbside Retail 
Beginning Monday, May 18, most retailers in San Francisco are permitted to open for curbside business. Businesses continue to be required to limit the number of workers inside at any time as well as discourage crowding. More details regarding this policy will be available this week. If you own a business and are planning to reopen according to these guidelines, you may apply for a no-fee temporary loading zone using this form <[link removed]>. If you are a customer or neighbor and you notice persistent overcrowding, blocked sidewalks, or failures to enforce social distancing, please report the issue to 311 and make my office aware if it continues.

CityTestSF
CityTestSF was launched to make sure that anyone living or working in San Francisco can get tested for COVID-19 at various locations in the City. Testing is currently open for anyone living in San Francisco who has at least one symptom or has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, as well as any essential worker serving our community regardless of symptoms or exposure. You do not need insurance or a doctor’s note to get tested if you meet one of these criteria. Find more information and make an appointment here <[link removed]>.

Masks and Crowding
I am concerned about crowding and groups failing to wear masks <[link removed]> in the Marina and throughout the City. We’ve made progress because San Francsicans are taking the shelter in place order and physical distancing seriously. We must continue to be diligent to protect our most vulnerable neighbors. I have demanded that we take steps immediately to remind people of physical distancing guidelines. Although the hope is that people will voluntarily comply with the health order, the police will expand enforcement if people continue to violate the order and put others at risk. Violation of the order is considered a misdemeanor. We all need to take this seriously. 

Health Orders and Frequently Asked Questions
Detailed answers to frequently asked questions about the latest health orders, as well as the text of the orders and related materials, are available online and updated frequentlyhere <[link removed]>. If you have any additional questions about what is and what is not permitted, please contact my office.

Resources for Workers and Small Businesses
Visit theSan Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s website <[link removed]> for resources for business owners, employees, nonprofits, and others impacted by COVID-19. This website includes local, state, and federal resources and is updated often! Contact my office if you have any difficulty navigating this website or accessing the resources available to you at this time.   

Mental Health and Personal Safety Resources
We are living in an incredibly stressful time, and I want everyone who may be struggling to know that there is help out there. If you need help dealing with anxiety, loneliness, addiction, or unsafe home situations, click here <[link removed]> for a list of free resources. Please be in touch if you need help getting connected to any of these services or have other questions.

The 2020 Census
Only about half of District 2 has completed the 2020 Census! If you have not done so already, please go to the Census website <[link removed]> or call 844-330-2020 to submit your response today. It takes about five minutes in total and has an enormous impact on federal funding allocations, securing funding for police, firefighters, and nursing in the City. Let’s all do our part to make sure San Francisco gets its fair share. 



POLICY AND LEGISLATION UPDATES

Treating Our Service Members Fairly
It was brought to my attention that several of San Francisco’s first responders have been called into active duty in the military reserves, but a loophole in the City’s salary laws prevented them from earning their full pay. Normally, these individuals would be eligible for full pay and benefits while in active-duty status. I don’t believe anyone working to keep us safe should have their pay or benefits diminished, so I passed legislation to close that loophole and make sure our first responders on active duty are treated fairly and paid what they have earned. In response to concerns from veterans’ advocates, I also made sure that the Department of Human Resources is actively recruiting for the vacant Veterans’ Service Officer position, and I passed a resolution commending Captain Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt for his courageous actions in warning of the pandemic’s threat to his command. I have an enormous amount of respect for those who choose to serve in the military and will always be there for our veterans. If you are or know of a veteran in need of services, please alert my office.

Resolutions Confronting Covid-19
Sadly, as we all began to shelter in place, calls for help among victims of domestic abuse more than doubled in San Francisco. Based on this data, I wrote and passed resolutions warning of the public health threat of panic-buying of firearms and supporting survivors of domestic violence and the City’s service providers while they experience a heightened need for service. After hearing about difficulties accessing the Paycheck Protection Program, I also authored and passed a resolution demanding that the federal government not only expand the size of this program, but also institute stricter oversight and controls to prevent large, publicly traded companies from taking advantage of this resource meant to keep small businesses afloat.  

Give2SF
The City launched the Give2SF program to give those who are able an opportunity to contribute to our response and recovery efforts. Donations are tax-deductible and accepted atGive2SF.org <[link removed]>. With a recent gift of $15 million from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Give2SF has raised over $26 million for programs ensuring food security, access to housing, and small business resiliency. I am pleased to serve as a member of the Give2SF Oversight Committee and I could not be more thankful for the generosity of our neighbors, in forms large and small, during this extremely difficult time.  

Neighborhood Resiliency and Economic Development Fund
Some of the most harmful aspects of this pandemic have been the severe and lasting impacts to our local economy. When the virus hit San Francisco’s independent contractors and small businesses especially hard, federal support quickly dried up. That is why I have allocated the remaining $49,000 from my District 2 Neighborhood Resiliency and Economic Development Fund, which I created during last year’s budget process, to buy food for first responders, healthcare workers, and those in need from local small businesses.

Economic Recovery Task Force
The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force was created and charged with guiding the City’s efforts through the recovery process to sustain and revive local businesses and employment, mitigate the economic hardships already affecting the most vulnerable San Franciscans, and build a resilient and equitable future. I am pleased that this effort is led by Assessor Carmen Chu, Treasurer José Cisneros, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President Rodney Fong, and San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Rudy Gonzalez, who will put our city back on track. Please visitthe Task Force’s website <[link removed]> for more information about its work.

Police Staffing Study
Before we began to shelter in place,a study analyzing SFPD staffing levels <[link removed]> was quietly released. While I had been hoping to have a public hearing on this study, any such hearing is on hold during the course of the pandemic. I am deeply concerned that this study found SFPD staffing to be “severely inadequate” and suggested we need at least 200 to 300 more officers. Unfortunately, however, I am not surprised. While I have been successful in securing funding for 250 additional officers and saving over $1 million to keep patrols on our streets, we need to dedicate more resources to public safety. I have been pushing for full training, recruitment, and retention resources for years and I will not let up.

Voting No to Close County Jail 4 Early
Chief Bill Scott has shared that, overall, crime has decreased over the course of the past two months, but reports of continued car break-ins, home burglaries, and violent behavior in our neighborhoods are extremely disturbing. Our homicide count for this year is also up to 17, while last year at this time we had 12. We cannot keep turning a blind eye to public safety in San Francisco, and that is why I was the sole member of the Board of Supervisors to vote against a proposal to close County Jail 4 by this November <[link removed]>. There is no guarantee that San Francisco will continue to experience decreased crime when businesses can reopen and residents can move about freely. While I believe we must move City services out of 850 Bryant for seismic reasons, if we are to close County Jail 4 early, we must be able to demonstrate to victims of crime that this will make them safer, and I did not believe this legislation would do so.

Voting No on the Pretrial Diversion Project Contract
Similarly, I was the only Supervisor to vote against a large expansion of the City’s contract with the Pretrial Diversion Project. Although the contract expansion ultimately passed, I voted against the proposal due to the Pretrial Diversion Project’s inability to answer basic questions about how many people in their care reoffend or require additional electronic monitoring when they are not incarcerated. When the City is facing a $1.7 billion budget deficit over the next two years due to economic destruction of this pandemic, we simply cannot afford to approve contracts with unsatisfactory metrics or results.

Supportive Housing for Those Involved with the Justice System
We should never have to choose between public safety and public health. When Sheriff Paul Miyamoto announced plans to thin the jail population to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I worked with the Adult Probation Department to create a program <[link removed]> to lease 51 rooms in a downtown hotel and provide intensive case management and wraparound services to unhoused people involved in the justice system. This plan will provide accountability and space to stop the spread to those who can safely and temporarily exit jail, and it is another critical step to protect the most vulnerable San Franciscans – including victims of crime – during this pandemic.

Creating Homes at the Lucky Penny Site
I have heard so many concerns from neighbors about the deteriorating lot on Geary and Masonic that was formerly home to the Lucky Penny restaurant. The property has been boarded up and collecting waste for nearly five years, so I am pleased that the Board of Supervisors has finally approved my legislation <[link removed]> that will create 101 new homes on that site using union labor, and provide $4.5 million in fees to create affordable housing nearby.

Voting Yes on Cristina Rubke’s Reappointment
I was disappointed that Cristina Rubke’s reappointment to the SFMTA Board of Directors was rejected by the Board of Supervisors in a 6-to-5 vote, despite unanimous recommendation for her reappointment by the Rules Committee, of which I am Vice Chair. Ms. Rubke is an attorney and disability rights activist who served on the SFMTA Board for eight years. I appreciated that she had noted the value of community input and to ensure the agency’s solvency in spite of the pandemic when we spoke last month.Click here <[link removed]> for more information regarding Ms. Rubke’s reappointment.


IN THE COMMUNITY

Marina Safeway Encampment
I recently visited the encampment behind the Marina Safeway with San Francisco Department of Emergency Management Director Mary Ellen Carroll to highlight the need to get these individuals out of tents and into housing and to also hand out masks. I have been going out to this location every day to monitor what is going on, to try to find a solution, and to communicate back to our health care officers that what I’m seeing at the encampments does not serve our public health goals. Not only is there inadequate social distancing, the open and obvious drug use is absolutely unacceptable. At this point, shelters are at capacity and police are being told not to disturb the encampments, but I am very concerned about the potential for violence based on calls for service and reports from neighbors. I am in touch with Northern Station Captain Joe Engler daily to make sure that neighbors, Safeway customers, and those living in tents are safe. I have also been working with Public Works to make sure that the surrounding area is regularly power-washed and cleaned. I am beyond frustrated with this situation and I won’t let up until I find a solution.

Volunteer Call Program
In the weeks following the shelter in place order, I was inspired to create a program to reach out to neighbors directly. We recruited dozens of volunteers and called more than 7,000 senior residents of our community to make sure they had everything they needed – whether food or medication delivery, resources for their small businesses, or someone to talk to. To those who participated in this volunteer effort: Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your dedication to our community has helped people feel less alone and proven that San Franciscans are in this together.

Giving Blood
I had the distinct pleasure of joining Mayor London Breed, Senator Scott Wiener, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, and the American Red Cross of Northern California to participate in a blood drive. As gay men, Senator Wiener and Supervisor Mandelman face stringent restrictions on donating blood from the FDA, even though they are in good health, so Mayor Breed and I volunteered to give blood in their stead <[link removed]>. Our blood banks are facing extreme shortages during this time, and I encourage you to consider giving blood if you are able!

Manny’s Super Civic Cyber Conversation
I was excited to take part in Manny’s live Super Civic Cyber Conversation series! If you were unable to make it to my conversation, it is now online.Click here <[link removed]> to take a look at the City’s early responses to coronavirus and more, and please note this video was recorded on April 9.

Virtual Town Hall
In my first virtual town hall, I discussed resources for small business, homelessness, construction, street closures, and many more topics submitted by the community. A special thanks to Ashley Wessinger from the Marina Community Association for moderating and to the nearly 300 neighbors who tuned in and sent us your questions. If you missed the town hall live but would like to watch a recording, pleaseclick here <[link removed]> and note that the video was recorded on April 23.

Cow Hollow Association Annual Meeting
Thank you to the Cow Hollow Association for inviting me to speak at this year’s annual meeting via Zoom. While I was grateful to virtually share updates on COVID-19, public safety, and more with my neighborhood association of nearly two decades, I do hope we can all meet in person again next year!

May Marina Times Column
This is an extremely difficult time and it has affected us all in different ways -- but we are in this together, and we will get through this together. For more on our community’s responses to COVID-19, check out my column in this month’s Marina Times <[link removed]>. 



Office of Supervisor Catherine Stefani
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 260, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 554-7752 Fax: (415) 554-7843



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