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The Eternal NIMBY vs YIMBY Battle Was on Full Display at the SF BoS Meeting

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Image of what the Balboa Reservoir development might look like from BalboaReservoir.com

GUEST POST BY WESLEY WELLS

We’re sitting through the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meetings and breaking them down for you so you don’t have to! Here’s the mini minutes for the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 11th, 2020. Full minutes available right here. Video and transcript available right here.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Tuesdays board meeting had the potential for powerful public commentary, unfortunately a lot of those voices were not allowed to be heard. Phone calls from passionate members of the public were peppered in throughout the meeting but were always cut-off. It’s believed that the substance of those comments were centred around Supervisor Stefani and the Dr. Maya Angelou monument that was meant to be erected in front of the main library building this year but has been delayed indefinitely due to the SF Arts Commission not agreeing that the statue commissioned is statue-enough, see that whole discussion here starting at 37:16

The problem was that members of the public wanted to talk about these issues but the Board of Supervisors rules stipulate that; firstly, public comments can’t be aimed at an individual supervisor and secondly, that the agenda item these comments were being conflated with had already had sufficient time allotted for public comments in a previous committee.

The whole debacle showed how difficult it can be for Joe Public to make comments on issues in the timelines defined by the Board of Supervisors. The item that people were using to comment on the statue decision was a motion called “Declaring Anti-Black Racism as a Human Rights and Public Health Crisis”. This item had been brought to BoS from the Public Safety and Neighborhoods committee that happened on July 23rd and it was in that meeting that the public would have had the opportunity to discuss. However the Maya Angelou statue decision was only clarified on August 3rd. So this was really the public’s first opportunity to talk about it. The Clerk of the Board was very encouraging of people to call in during their virtual open office hours on Friday to better understand the processes for the future.

UC Hastings Settlement

There were 14 different lawsuit settlements that were unanimously agreed to but the Board opted to separate out the settlement of the lawsuit being brought to them by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. UC Hastings began the process of bringing litigation against the City based on civil rights violations, public nuisance, and negligence in March. Essentially arguing that the City had not done their job in keeping people experiencing homelessness safe during the pandemic.

At the heart of the dispute, some members of the Board of Supervisors (Supervisor Peskin in particular) were concerned that the way this lawsuit had been handled and then settling it unanimously would encourage other private or even public institutions to use it as a template to sue the City in order to see improvements in their neighborhoods, and instead the suit should be dropped. Other Supervisors agreed in principle and were also annoyed that despite the Board of Supervisors originally creating legislation requiring 8200 hotel rooms be made available in the City, the executive (The Mayor’s office) had only managed to secure 2000 and there was a perception that the lawsuit had been more successful in prompting action than the Board of Supervisors legislation. The board needed more information from the city attorneys and agreed to a closed meeting with them next week before an open meeting where the University of Hastings would be invited too.

Balboa Reservoir 1,100 New Homes Development

The eternal battle of NIMBYs and YIMBYs was on full display for this item. Some City College staff and local residents argued that the development didn’t go far enough, it should be 100% affordable homes only, and that the Covid-19 pandemic had not been taken into consideration during the environmental review. There were also public comments made suggesting that the price of the public land being sold to private developers was too low. However the board and many other members of the public decided that done was better than perfect. The 1,100 new homes include 550 of which will be affordable, 150 of those are promised to staff and teachers at City College. There will be a 100-capacity childcare facility built and $10million has been set aside for transport and infrastructure improvements. Read more right here.

Other Items Discussed:

– The illegal dumping ordinance has finally passed unanimously after having the definition expanded to include electronic waste and to clarify that each act of illegal dumping constitutes a separate violation.

– A fund will be created by the new taxes in November for rent relief and social housing programs. Read the resolution here.

– Prop E from 2019 regarding affordable housing and educator housing has been amended to include larger parcels of land and exceed height limitations.

Roll Call for Introductions

This is when the supervisors give an oral introduction to what they will be bringing to committees in the next few days/weeks.

President/Supervisor Yee is asking for a closed meeting of the board to get an update on the labor relation discussions the Mayor is having in reference to the City budget.

Supervisor Haney is asking University of San Francisco to bargain in good faith with the USF workers union as they navigate redundancies and a safe return to work.

Haney, Preston, and Walton are also working on a resolution directing resources to housing for the black community.

Supervisor Mar is requesting two audits to ensure tax dollars are spent effectively during the pandemic as the City responds to homelessness and workforce development.

Supervisor Preston is asking for a hearing to maximize affordable housing on public lands.

Supervisor Ronen is working on getting San Francisco Animal Care and Control to develop a documentary series about animal care and control, emergency rescue calls, and animal control officers.

Supervisor Stefani wants to temporarily set limitations on construction noise in apartment buildings.

If you have an interest in any of the items that these supervisors are working on over the coming weeks, you can reach out to them right here.

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