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January/February 2016 Newsletter

Office Phone: 415-554-6968
Email: scott.wiener@sfgov.org

Office Hours
Thursday, March 3rd, 11am-1pm
San Francisco City Hall, Room 274

NOTE: Occasionally, we need to reschedule office hours.  To ensure that you learn of any changes before making the effort to attend, please check with the office a day or two before or call the office to put your name on the office hours list so that we can notify you if any changes occur


My Legislation Guaranteeing Paid Parental Leave
I recently introduced legislation to make San Francisco the first city in country to guarantee workers six weeks of fully paid parental leave. The United States has fallen far behind the rest of the world in providing paid parental leave, and San Francisco should lead the way on this important issue for workers and their families. Under current California law, employees receive 55% of their wages for six weeks of parental bonding leave, through state disability. My legislation requires that employers with twenty or more employees provide the remaining 45%, so that for six weeks of leave the employee receives his or her full wages. We hope this legislation - which applies to both parents - will lead the way for better national parental leave policies.

Accelerating the Production of Affordable Housing
We need to do everything we can to build more affordable housing now. It takes way too long to build these badly needed units. To address this problem, I authored legislation to expedite the construction of affordable housing by exempting 100% affordable housing projects from conditional use authorizations, which can add months or a year or more to the affordable housing approval process and increase costs, even if the project has no opposition. Last week, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved this legislation, and the Mayor signed it into law. These projects would still be required to abide by existing height and bulk limits. Despite the tortured logic of some, this is a commonsense solution that will help us build more affordable housing more quickly.


Ruth Asawa School for the Arts (SOTA) became the first public school in the county to offer an LGBT studies course. Recently, the students from this class came to City Hall to meet with Scott and other city officials to learn more about the role local government has played in the fight for LGBT rights.

Commuter Shuttle Program
Many San Francisco residents rely on commuter shuttles to get to work instead of clogging our streets and highways by using private automobiles. After an 18 month pilot program, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency put forward a permanent Commuter Shuttle Program that would allow these shuttles to continue to carry people to work, while addressing factors like impacts on our neighborhood streets. However, members of the Board of Supervisors -- under the guise of "improving" the program -- are pushing for the MTA to adopt additional policies that will lead to a diminished program with the goal of eliminating it entirely. We need mass transit solutions like the commuter shuttle program to address our growing region, not short-sighted policies that will only hurt workers and increase gridlock on our local highways. You can read my letter to the MTA Board of Directors opposing any changes to the well-vetted commuter shuttle program.

Addressing the Proliferation of Tents on Our Streets
Our city is failing in transitioning people living on our streets into shelter and housing. This is particularly clear with the explosion of people living in tents on our streets. It is illegal to pitch a tent in our public spaces - and incredibly inhumane, unhealthy, and unsafe for both the occupants of the tents and surrounding neighborhoods - yet every day you can find hundreds of tents and encampments on our sidewalks, plazas, and parks. No one wants anyone living in a tent, and the City needs a plan of action to transition people into shelter and housing and, as part of that process, to reduce and eliminate the tents on our streets. To be clear: we need to move toward no tents on our streets, and that has to be our goal as we transition the occupants of these tents into shelter and housing. The City, by its inaction, is moving toward a de facto "tents as housing" policy, which is beyond inhumane for the people living in these tents. We must transition people into shelter and housing.  I recently made a formal request to our City agencies that provide services and enforcement to report back on how many tents are on our streets, what services are available to these people, including the amount of nightly vacant shelter beds, what our plans are to expand shelter and navigation center capacity, and, assuming available shelter beds and housing, what will be done to remove these illegal encampments from our streets. While some have distorted and misrepresented my letter, the point of the letter is clear: the tents need to go and need to do so in connection with transitioning people into shelter and housing.


Assemblymember (and former Board of Supervisors President) David Chiu recently introduced legislation in Sacramento to strengthen California's assault weapons ban. Scott was proud to join Assemblymember Chiu at the press conference announcing this legislation. 

Property Crime Hearing and District 8 Public Safety Meeting
Our neighborhoods continue to experience a relentless wave of property crimes. We've seen way too many burglaries, home invasions, vandalism, bike thefts, and everyday disturbances like car break-ins and packages being stolen off people’s porches. To better understand how the City is responding, I held a hearing in January on recent crime trends and prevention strategies, as well as steps we can take to address these crimes. We need our police, District Attorney’s Office, Courts, Probations Departments, and community organizations to work to together to ensure accountability for crime, as well as to stress rehabilitation to reduce recidivism. I also recently held a district-wide public safety meeting in Noe Valley to make sure our public safety departments are hearing from residents, and that residents know how the city is responding to crimes occurring in the neighborhoods.

Open Source Voting Hearing
Secure and transparent elections are one of the bedrock principles of our democracy. Currently, we rely on private vendors to provide our voting technology which requires expensive long-term contracts run on black box systems. Last year, I authored a resolution calling for the City to study how we can move towards an open source system, which consists of open source software running on commercial, off the shelf hardware. The study showed that a publicly developed open source voting system will be more transparent and secure, and that it can save us money in the long-term by moving us away from having to rely on expensive private vendor contracts. Since then, the Elections Commission has also passed a resolution in support of moving to an open source system, and I have called for a hearing at the Board of Supervisors to discuss the City’s plans to fund, design, and implement an open source voting system that will provide for more a transparent, secure, and publicly viewable elections system.


Last year, Scott authored legislation to create a Cannabis State Legalization Task Force, comprised of community members and City staff, to study and prepare policy recommendations in the event that Cannabis is legalized in the 2016 election. Here Scott is opening the first meeting of the Task Force convened in January, which will continue to meet throughout 2016. 

My Tobacco 21 Legislation Moves Forward
For decades we have seen the catastrophic health effects of tobacco use, and every day we spend millions of dollars treating people who suffer from an addiction that often starts in their teens. A statewide and national movement to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21 is growing, and I recently introduced legislation to have San Francisco join New York City, Hawaii, and a large number of smaller cities across the city in this movement. The Tobacco 21 legislation has received the unanimous support of the Small Business Commission and the San Francisco Board of Education, and will have a hearing at the Board of Supervisors shortly.

Short Term Rentals Hearing
We need to make sure that short term rentals are not a pretext for turning housing units into full-time hotels without permanent residents. This requires oversight to ensure our Office of Short Term Rentals is properly enforcing the law. I held the first in a series of quarterly oversight hearings in January to track progress on getting more STRs registered, and improving enforcement efforts against violators, as well as focusing on any needed resources or policy changes to improve enforcement. At the hearing we learned about proactive steps the City is taking to go after violators of our laws, and how complaints are handled and administered. Vigorous enforcement is key to allowing for legal short-term rentals to do what we want them to do, by allowing residents to earn additional income while protecting our housing stock during this affordability crisis.

Office Art:
Stephanie Peek

San Francisco artist Stephanie Peek's paintings have been exhibited in both national and international museums and galleries. Peek's paintings have been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Gallery and at many galleries throughout California. Peek graduated with an MFA in painting from the University of California, Berkeley and BA in Art History from Wellesley College, Boston. Awards and honors include Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, Borso di Studio in Florence, Italy, J. Ruth Kelsey Travel Grant, Susan B. Irwin Scholarship in the Visual Arts, Virginia McPheter-Stoltz Fellowship and recent nominations for Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship and the SECA award at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Dolores Park is Open!
With both the north and south sides of the renovation complete, Mission Dolores Park is now fully open! In addition to basic infrastructure, irrigation, and lighting improvements, the park boasts additional picnic areas, an off-leash dog play area, a new overlook at 20th and Church Streets, increased trash capacity, and repairs & renovations to the tennis, basketball & multi-use courts. Perhaps most importantly, the park now has 27 toilets (compared to the previous 4) and a pissoir. As we enjoy our beautiful new park, please remember to “Love Dolores” and pack out what you bring in.


Dolores Park is loved by everyone, including the surrounding local businesses. Here Scott is touring the renovations with Shakirah Simley of Bi-Rite Market and Jim Woods of Cerveceria de MateVeza. 

New Noe Courts Bathrooms Now Open
The Recreation and Park Department is pleased to report that the renovation of the Noe Courts restroom is complete and the restrooms are now open! Each restroom has been converted to single-occupancy units for wheelchair accessibility. Water-saving fixtures and lighting were updated while maintaining the historic character of the building. The renovation of the Noe Courts restroom was made possible through the voter-approved 2008 Park Bond. For continued updated about this and the other improvements at Noe Courts, click here.

Noe Valley Town Square Groundbreaking
In early January, we officially broke ground on the future site of the Noe Valley Town Square on 24th Street. This exciting project is the result of years of hard work by the community, the Recreation and Parks Department and other city departments, and my office. The Noe Valley Town Square will serve as a community gathering space and the permanent home of the Noe Valley Farmers Market. To learn more about the project, you can go to the project website here or the website for the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square.


Scott joined by members of the Residents for Noe Valley Town Square, Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Dan Bernal from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's office at the Noe Valley Town Square groundbreaking

Openhouse Housing Lottery Update
Openhouse has information for those interested in 55 Laguna or other senior affordable housing options in San Francisco. 55 Laguna is the address of Richardson Hall on the former U.C. Berkeley extension campus between Hermann and Haight. Openhouse and Mercy Housing California have partnered to build these 119 apartments in the heart of San Francisco and create the city’s first and the nation’s largest affordable senior housing community welcoming to LGBT community members. Like most affordable senior housing in San Francisco, you must meet certain age and income requirements to live there. If you are 55 or older with a household income at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) you may qualify.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation recently opened Strut, its health and wellness center in the Castro. I worked closely with the AIDS Foundation and a great coalition of community members to make Strut a reality. I authored legislation to allow for it to go onto Castro Street as a health center and obtained significant funding to support it. It was a great effort by a lot of terrific people, and the community will be healthier for it. Our community will be stronger with Strut in it.


Scott at the Strut ribbon cutting with members of the San Francisco AIDS foundation

Highland Avenue Bridge – Project Update
With traffic railing work finishing up, Phase 1 of the Highland Avenue Bridge Project is nearing completion. Phase 2 of the project – installing fencing to enclose the east and west bridge abutments for security – is about to begin. Fencing construction and installation will be completed by March 31, 2016. For more information contact Grace L. Moore of San Francisco Public Works at grace.moore@sfdpw.org or (415) 558-5282.

SparkLearning: Inspire the Next Generation of Innovators
The #SparkLearning campaign launched earlier this year in SFUSD and as a pilot school, Ulloa Elementary School has taken on this venture. They have launched their crowd-funding web page on TILT and their goal is to connect with a Tech partner and raise awareness on why it is important for the community to invest in technology in schools. The 21st-century teaching and learning outlined by SFUSD's Vision 2025 requires students to have access to digital devices, applications and content throughout their pre-k-to-12 experience. #SparkLearning is a citywide campaign to raise the necessary funds to bring new technology to all of its schools and will help schools integrate digital devices into classrooms to support learning and prepare students to live and thrive in the San Francisco of today and tomorrow. Please look at their fundraising goals and learn more about Ulloa Elementary and the campaign.

Muni Subway Night Service Reopens
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has reopened the Muni subway at night to resume train service starting as of Saturday, January 23rd. The subway has been closing every night at 9:30 p.m. since July 2015 in support of the subway communications system upgrade projects. Once the subway service resumes at night, all trains will be running through the Muni subway during all hours of service from approximately 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. the next day. The bus shuttle service currently in place for the subway service will be suspended between St. Francis Circle and Folsom Street stop. To receive more information or request for assistance, please contact SFMTA Public Relations Officer Jay Lu at 415.701.4387, via email at jay.lu@sfmta.com or Kelley McCoy at 415.701.5428, via email at kelley.mccoy@sfmta.com.

GGRA's Culinary Scholarship Application Now Open
Since 1968, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation (GGRASF) has awarded annual tuition assistance to students seeking higher education in the culinary and hospitality field. The recipients of the GGRASF awards are local, Bay Area residents in need of financial assistance to pursue their education. In 2015, the Foundation awarded a total of $32,500 to 9 students. For more information on the scholarship and past recipients, visit here. The application is available online until April 30. Please encourage students you know to apply!

Civil Grand Jury Recruitment

The San Francisco Superior Court is accepting applications for Civil Grand Jury service for the 2016-2017 term. A requirement of the California Constitution, the Civil Grand Jury provides a “watchdog” function and has broad latitude to examine City departments, agencies and officials. The Civil Grand Jury issues a report detailing its findings and recommendations. The reports are then presented in public hearings before the Board of Supervisors. The application deadline is May 13, 2016.


A pending Supreme Court case could significantly weaken the rights of public-sector unions. Scott recently joined members of the labor community at a rally to oppose this potential infringement, and he has signed on as a co-sponsor of Supervisor Mark Farrell's legislation supporting organized labor's rights. 

Volunteers Needed for Mega Citizenship Workshop
The San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative will be hosting the first of several 2016 Mega Citizenship Workshops on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at the Bill Graham Auditorium.  Volunteers are needed to make this event a success. Volunteers are city employees, community and nonprofit members, former Peace Corps workers, judges, lawyers, retirees, and many others with a broad range of skills. Volunteers are asked to work shifts between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to help with registration, crowd control, application assistance, language services, form filling, and a host of other duties. All volunteers will be provided with food, beverages and breaks. For more information please contact Richard Whipple at richard.whipple@sfgov.org or (415) 581-2365.

StreetSmARTS Murals Pool – Call for Artists
The San Francisco Arts Commission's StreetSmARTS program connects artists with private property owners to create vibrant murals on their buildings, enhancing the character of their property and surrounding neighborhood, while deterring ongoing vandalism. They are seeking applications from painters and/or muralists to establish a pool of qualified artists to be considered for upcoming mural opportunities. Eligibility is open to practicing artists/teams who reside in the nine Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma). Street writers and urban artists are encouraged to apply. Applications are due February 22nd.

US Water Prize: Nominations Are Open!
The Water Prize is a first of its kind program and recognizes outstanding achievement in the advancement of sustainable solutions to our nation's water challenges. The 2016 US Water Prize Awards Ceremony will be held during the One Water Summit in Atlanta, Georgia on June 8, 2016. Any United States-based organization is eligible to win. Government agencies, utilities, private companies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, coalitions, and others that have a demonstrated track record of moving one water solutions forward may be nominated. The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2016.
2016 Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program
Does your home have a crawl space? If yes, chances are it might not be bolted to its foundation. In a strong earthquake, this crawl space is vulnerable to collapse or causing it to slide off its foundation. To help homeowners address this structural vulnerability the California Earthquake Authority’s Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program is offering up to $3,000 to California homeowners to seismically retrofit these houses. An EBB retrofit consists of bolting a house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space to secure the house. The application window is open from January 20th to February 20th 2016. 

Community Spotlight:
Bi-Rite Market


A big congratulations to Bi-Rite Market and Sam Mogannam for making it in Forbes’ top 25 best small businesses of 2016. A mainstay of the mission since 1940, Bi-Rite has become a world-class business and excellent community partner.


19th Avenue/M Ocean View Project Public Meeting #2
Tuesday, February 16th
IT Bookman Community Center, 446 Randolph Street
Packed trains crowding your style? Join the SFMTA to discuss and provide feedback on the 19th Avenue/M Ocean View Project, a proposed major investment that would address crowding and reliability on Muni Metro through long term improvements.

Fifth Annual Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit Powwow
Saturday, February 20th
Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason, 2 Marina Boulevard
“Two-Spirit” is a Native American term for people with both female and male energies. Two-Spirits may (or may not) also identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Two-Spirits often held—and many still hold— honored positions in their traditional Native American and First Nations communities. “Two-Spirit” is a pan-tribal term—it is rooted in the Anishnaabe term describing such individuals: “niizh manidoowag.” This translates literally as “two spirits.” Featured dancers will make their Grand Entry at 12:00 PM and 7:00 PM. This event is free and open to the public. It is the only Two-Spirit powwow in the world open to the public, and the largest.


Scott recently honored members of the Chinese American Citizen Alliance, a national organization that supports community service and civic pride, fights against racial discrimination and anti-immigration movements, and defends civil rights.

Chinese New Year Parade
Saturday, February 20th
Market and Second Streets to Kearney and Jackson Streets
Named one of the top ten Parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), the Southwest Airlines® Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is one of the grandest night illuminated Parades in the country. Started in the 1860’s by the Chinese in San Francisco as a means to educate the community about their culture, the Parade and Festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed elementary school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, and a 268 foot long Golden Dragon (“Gum Lung”).

Traffic Skills 101: Classroom Workshop
Saturday, February 27th
Miraloma Park Improvement Clubhouse, 350 O-Shaughnessy Boulevard
Looking for more than an introduction into urban riding? Our Traffic Skills 101 is a two-part course using the League of American Bicyclist curriculum and covers everything you need to know about biking in the city. The two parts are divided into a Day 1 Classroom course which is a prerequisite for the Day 2 On-Road course. Great for anyone wanting to hone their skills, or for those interested but intimidated by urban biking. The event is free, and don’t forget to register online.



The San Francisco Public Works Department hosts Community Clean Team events throughout the year. Here Scott is with members at a recent clean up in the Tenderloin. You can see the schedule of upcoming Clean Team events here

Everett Middle School Talent Show and Silent Auction
Saturday, February 27th
Everett Middle School Auditorium, 450 Church Street
Help support Everett Middle School by attending their talent show and silent auction. Proceeds will go directly to the school – don’t forget to buy a raffle ticket!

Sunnyside Elementary School Auction

Saturday, February 27th
Bernal Star, Back Patio, 410 Cortland Avenue
Come down to the Bernal Star restaurant for a burger and to support Sunnyside Elementary School. The PTA is hosting an amazing fundraiser to help support all the programs at the school.



The Super Bowl 50 Host Committee recently teamed up with Friends of the Urban Forest to sponsor a tree planting at Everett Middle School. Here Scott is with Lary Dunsmore and local business owner Joel Haddad at the tree planting ceremony. 

Adult Learn to Ride
Sunday, February 28th
Panhandle Blacktop, Intersection of Ashbury & Fell
You’re never too old to learn to bicycle! Instructors will work one-on-one to teach the basics of balancing, starting, stopping and steering a bike, as well as proper helmet fit and adjustment. Our skilled and patient instructors will help get you rolling in no time. The event is free, and don’t forget to register online.

Intro to Urban Bicycling
Tuesday, March 8th
Mission Creek Senior Community, 224 Berry Street
This course is a one-hour presentation covering the basics of how to pick the right bike for everyday riding in SF, the rules of the road and route planning. This class is a great introduction for people who are considering bicycling, or looking to brush up on skills. No bicycle, or experience is needed. The event is free, and don’t forget to register online.


Scott recently attended a fundraiser at St. Finn Barr Catholic School, one of the great parochial schools in our City. Here he is with Supervisor Norman Yee and youth volunteers at the event.

Last updated: 2/19/2016 2:23:00 PM