City cuts to long-term mental health beds prompt protest

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Elected officials, hospital staff call move to short-term beds for homeless ‘short-sighted’

Dozens of people gathered at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Thursday to protest what they described as a “short-sighted” directive by Mayor London Breed to close 41 permanent treatment beds for mental health patients in exchange for a shelter-bed expansion at the hospital…

Hospital staff, ARF patients and some city leaders said that they were “blindsided” by the plan and vowed to fight cuts to the ARF, which provides a total of 55 permanent residential mental health beds. In exchange, 14 beds will be added to the hospital’s Hummingbird Place, a short-term psychiatric respite program at the hospital that currently operates 29 beds and where client stays average about 19 days…

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said that the plan to reduce capacity at the ARF was “developed in secret” and that she only learned about it through the advocacy of the hospital workers. Ronen and Supervisor Matt Haney are the proponents of Mental Health SF, an initiative planned for the March 2020 ballot that would provide free mental health care and substance use disorder treatment…

On Thursday, Ronen, who indicated that she would likely call a hearing on the issue, called Breed’s plan a “game of smoke and mirrors to pretend they are doing something without the real deep structural changes that take vision, time, commitment.”.

State-licensed residential treatment beds are among the hardest to secure and operate, whereas Navigation Center beds such as those offered at Hummingbird Place can be opened “anywhere in this city without any OK from the state,” said Ronen…. (more)

Moving people around seems to be a new passion these days. Moving people around against their will is probably the number one cause for the unstable society we are living in today. The first order of business should be to “do no harm.” Moving people around must be making someone rich or why would they do it? Who benefits from this dis-functional system?

 

 

SF seizes homeless people’s property — and they rarely get it back

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt (includes video links)

Stunning new videos document how the cops and DPW are failing to follow even their own rules as tents, medicine, and personal belongings wind up in the trash.

An advocacy group for homeless people has just released a stunning set of videos that demonstrate how police and city workers are taking away – and never returning – the property of homeless people, in violation of local rules…

The former [DPW] worker is, of course, anonymous, but SF Weekly’s Nuala Sawyer confirmed that the person was, indeed, a DPW employee…

The site, stolenbelonging.org, includes a remarkable video of what happens when a homeless person tries to go to the DPW lot and reclaim her possessions…(more)

Potrero Bus Yard Project meetings turn up many suggestions, little consensus

By Gisela Pérez de Acha and Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

After four public meetings on a development project that could add nearly 1,000 new units atop the Potrero Bus Yard, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will review the comments from the 100 or so people who attended the gatherings and try “to figure out consistency and trends, if they exist,” said Licina Iberri, one of the planning managers.

The project, now in the planning stages, seeks to not only upgrade the 100-year old bus and Muni transportation facility but to add as many as 900 new units – at least 25 percent affordable – as well as add ground floor retail space. The market rate housing would help finance the project(more)

Projects like these, that are opposed by the public, are forcing many people to leave San Francisco and the state. New figures on population exits from Silicon Valley are showing zero population growth. We don’t need more houses in the pipeline when there are already over 40,000 NOT being built. SFMTA staff is supposed to run the Muni not build future housing for non-existent residents.

If SFMTA staff managing the Muni system they would not have time to develop 1,000 market rate units and they would not need the money to support the Muni system if they quit tearing up the streets.

SFMTA staff who do not want to manage the Muni system, but prefer to design the future are in the wrong business. Voters should loudly oppose all future development projects that are built to hold investor dollars and add to the cost of living in this city for everyone who is stuck here. Quit treating San Francisco residents like cattle to be moved about in crowded containers. No wonder ridership is going down. and people are leaving.

The department that can’t keep the trains running on time now due to major switching problems can’t wait to put in more switches. The department that can’t provide a safe ride on the monster buses wants to hire security guards for bigger buses, instead of hiring more drivers to for smaller buses that hold fewer riders, with comfortable seats for everyone. Where is the humanity at SFMTA?

Slow approval process not only obstacle for city housing goals

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Plans for close to 45,000 potential homes are currently approved in San Francisco — the highest number tracked by The City’s Planning Department to date — but many of these projects have yet to break ground.

In an effort to speed up the development of affordable housing, last month Mayor London Breed announced that she plans to introduce a charter amendment for the November ballot that would take away the ability of residents to appeal affordable and teacher housing projects, though details remain unclear.

“No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more not in my neighborhood. It’s simple: Affordable housing as-of-right because housing affordability is a right,” said Breed.

But public disapproval and The City’s slow approval processes aren’t the only roadblocks to the construction of residential units in San Francisco. While land use entitlements — or approvals of a development plan — in theory should allow developers to proceed to financing and construction, for-profit projects can sometimes languish for years in the post-entitlement phase.

Constraints on financing and a growing trend of flipping entitlements are significant causes for delays, with some sponsors never intending to build. And many approved units are tied up in large, complex projects with slow, phased buildouts that can stretch over decades…(more)

This is a good article that covers some of the most obvious reasons for delays in building, Flipping empty properties is more lucrative than building, and combination of rising costs of financing, labor and and materials costs, has resulted in a slowdown in home sales, forcing more people onto the rental market.

The author fails to mention the shortage of labor that City Hall is largely responsible for. Construction contractors used to fill the PDR and light industrial buildings that were torn down to make room for high paid tech. Those displaced workers are not commuting to work in a city, where traffic and parking are a nightmare when they have plenty to do in their new homes outside the city.

Supes close to deal on budget ‘windfall’

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Mar offers plan to fund teacher raises, and it appears the progressive supes are going along, setting up a confrontation with the mayor.

With a hearing on Mayor London Breed’s proposal to spend most of the city’s education-money windfall on homeless services set for tomorrow, there is growing consensus among progressives on the board that some of that money should go to the school district.

Sources tell me that meetings with educators over the past two days have been productive and that Breed’s proposal will either be amended in committee or replaced with a new plan…

“Voters made it clear that they want to give teachers a raise, fund supportive housing, and early education, and we can and should respect the will of the voters. With this amendment, we can fund the goals of June’s propositions C and G, as well as November’s proposition C, all of which I strongly supported” Mar said in a press release…

The money comes from an excess in property-tax collections beyond what the state mandates much go to public education. It has been described as a one-time windfall, but this insightful piece by Joe Eskenazi at Mission Local suggests that the city may be taking in an additional $200 million or more every year for several years to come… (more)

 

Nonprofits, small property owners say they can’t afford SoMa special tax district

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

A years-long effort to create a special tax district to fund quality of life and safety efforts in the South of Market neighborhood ran into opposition from small business and nonprofit operators on Tuesday who said the proposed taxes were too high.

“The [CBD] will cost us over $30,000 a year in fee assessments,” said Alexandra Goldman, of the nonprofit affordable housing provider Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. “We’d rather invest that money back into our buildings.”

The SoMa West Community Benefit District would span an area roughly encompassed by Mission, 13th, Division, Townsend and Fifth streets and South Van Ness Avenue, and was approved by some 56 percent of business and property owners who turned in ballots throughout the day on Tuesday…

But Supervisor Matt Haney, who said he supports the special district, asked the Board of Supervisors to delay a vote scheduled for Tuesday to March 5 to buy time to come to “a solution of how we can assess affordable housing appropriately.”…

District 6 already is home to six CBDs — Civic Center, Tenderloin, Central Market, Yerba Buena, Union Square and the East Cut… (more)

How many taxes do you pay now? More higher costs of living through neighborhood parcel taxes (CBDs) that are coming your way to pay for the services we thought the city is paying for, like street cleaning and security. This sounds a disturbing message. If you want police and clean streets you have to pay for it because the city isn’t going to any more.

 

New SF Supervisor Matt Haney sees City Hall ‘conspiracy’ against District 6

By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt (includes audio track)

On day two of their job, most supervisors are arranging furniture, hanging pictures and figuring out the city’s email system. Matt Haney, on the other hand, was spinning conspiracy theories.

As we recorded the latest episode of the Chronicle podcast “San Francisco City Insider,” one answer in particular proved surprising. I asked him if it’s fair to call his District Six — the Tenderloin, Mid-Market and South of Market — a containment zone for the city’s ills.

Is City Hall OK with open-air injection drug use and dealing, human feces and dirty needles on the sidewalks, homeless camps and general filth as long as the misery doesn’t spill over the district’s borders?.

Yes, that’s the case, he said. And it’s even worse than that.

“It’s a conspiracy, and everybody’s in on it,” he said… (more)

https://player.megaphone.fm/SFO9676444570?

We support efforts to change the focus from installing bike lanes and wider sidewalks to establishing clean, safe, 24-hour public bathhouses and restrooms with proper amenities in some of the empty storefronts, as a first step to returning human dignity to the district as the first step. We hope that Matt will forgo the tendency to ignore the needs of the district in favor of tilting at straws. Let those Supervisors with clean safe streets worry about the city-wide issues.