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November/December 2015 Newsletter

Office Phone: 415-554-6968
Email: [email protected]

Office Hours
Friday, January 15th
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


New Transit Funding Approved by Board
The Board of Supervisors took a big step to improve our transportation system by passing a sustainable transportation funding source in early November. Along with Mayor Ed Lee, I sponsored the Transit Sustainability Fee (TSF), which will generate an estimated $44 million in new annual funding for transportation improvements. The TSF requires residential developers – for the first time – to pay transit impact fees on new market-rate residential developments. Previously, developers only had to pay transportation impact fees on commercial developments. I’ve been working on the TSF for years, including legislation three years ago to improve the TSF’s predecessor, the Transit Impact Development Fee (TIDF). These new fees will go toward new vehicles, transit system enhancements, pedestrian safety projects, and regional transit improvements. This is great news for the future of transportation funding in San Francisco.

The MTA Safe Driver Awards honors Muni drivers with exemplary safety records. At this year' s awards,Scott joined Ed Reiskin,MTA Director of Transportation,and others,to honor these drivers.

Bike Share Legislation
A robust and sustainable bike share network is a key part of being a Transit First city and will allow us to reap the benefits of bike share, including reducing traffic, improving public transit, and stimulating the local economy.  I’ve been an active supporter of bike share as a member of both the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Board of Supervisors, and we are now moving forward with a proposal to expand the number of bikes in San Francisco to 4,500, up from the current 328, without spending any public money. This means entering into a regional agreement with Motivate, an operator of successful bike share networks across the county. I’m proud to co-sponsor legislation to approve the agreement with the MTC, Motivate (our bike share vendor), and the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and San Jose to expand bike share throughout the Bay Area.  You can click here to suggest locations for bike share stations.

Stolen Vehicle Tow Fee Reduction
For years, victims of car theft whose cars were towed have been hit with hundreds or thousands of dollars in towing and storage fines, adding insult to injury. I authored a resolution opposing this fee structure and worked with the MTA to ensure that any new contracts provide fee relief to owners of towed stolen vehicles. When our tow contract came up for renewal this year, I worked with MTA to provide that relief – providing a significantly longer grace period before storage fees accrue and significantly reducing or eliminating other fees – and we approved this contract modification. The modification went into effect on December 1. Under the new terms, San Francisco residents will receive a grace period from storage fees of 48 hours – compared to a mere 4 hours under the previous contract - and non-residents will receive a grace period of 24 hours instead of 4 hours. Also, the MTA will waive its administrative fee for residents and reduce the fee by 50% for non-residents.

After many years, the Beach Chalet soccer fields were finally rehabilitated and opened. Scott joined Supervisor Katy Tang, Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, and Supervisor Eric Mar at the opening of these fields.

Expediting Affordable Housing Creation
We need to do everything we can to build affordable housing. It takes way too long to approve these projects, which only hurts the residents who need these homes. To expedite this process, I introduced legislation to exempt 100% affordable housing projects from conditional use authorization, which is a process that can add a year or more to the approval process for affordable housing and increase project costs. Time and funding are too precious to be wasted, especially when a project has no opposition. The legislation will come to the Land Use and Transportation Committee of the Board of Supervisors in January.

Building Affordable Housing for Local Residents
Another key aspect of our affordable housing program is to ensure that we are building housing for the people who live in the neighborhoods where these projects are being built. Under previous law, there was no area preference for people who live near affordable housing projects, or for people living in San Francisco. The Board of Supervisors recently passed legislation I co-authored to require that 40% of units be prioritized for people living in the surrounding area and Supervisorial district where the units are being built. I also authored an amendment to the legislation to require that after this neighborhood preference is met (as well as preferences for those who have been subject to Ellis Act evictions), the remaining units all must be prioritized for people who live or work in San Francisco. Our own residents need to have priority when it comes to accessing affordable housing.

Scott at the 60th anniversary celebration of Daughters of Bilitis with Phyllis Lyon (photo credit: Gerard Koskovich of the GLBT Historical Society)

Tenant Notification Before Unit Demolition
Keeping people stable in their homes is critical to addressing our housing crisis. The Board of Supervisors passed my legislation to close a loophole that currently leaves tens of thousands of tenants vulnerable to losing their homes without even being notified or provided with an opportunity to contest the loss.  Currently, tenants who live in illegal units – such as many in-law units – are not legally entitled to notice if a property owner applies for a building permit to demolish that unit. Without that notice, people have limited or no ability to avail themselves of their appeal rights to protect themselves from eviction. My legislation requires that property owners provide notice to tenants before applying for a permit to demolish their units, whether the unit is legal or illegal.

Short Term Rentals Oversight Hearings
We need to make sure that our short term rentals are doing what we want them to do – allowing San Francisco residents to earn additional income from a spare room – and that they are not a pretext for turning a housing unit into a hotel without a permanent resident. Vigorous enforcement is key to stopping bad actors who engage in illegal and abusive STRs and to earning public confidence that the city is effectively implementing the law. This is why I’ve called for quarterly oversight hearings, starting in January, where the Office of Short Term Rentals will be asked to present on various statistics, including number of short-term rental registrations, progress on getting more STRs registered, and enforcement efforts against violators, as well as any needed resources or policy changes to improve enforcement. We need to make it clear that if you want to do short term rentals in San Francisco, you have to play by the rules.

The Shared Schoolyards program was started by Supervisor Mark Farrell to open up school facilities on weekends for recreation use. Scott joined Supervisor Farrell at the celebration of the Claire Lilienthal school, which has recently joined the program.

Tobacco 21 Legislation
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. There is a statewide and nationwide movement to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21, 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. By raising the tobacco purchase age to 21, we can reduce adolescent tobacco use, which will help combat addiction, stop long-term illness, and prevent premature deaths. A study by the Institute of Medicine found that increasing the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21 would decrease national smoking rates by 12% and reduce youth initiation of smoking by 25%. The study also found that raising the minimum legal sales age would result in almost immediate reductions in preterm births, low birth weight babies, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  

Investing in our Urban Forest
San Francisco's urban forest is in decline due to the City's awful policy of under-investing in trees and dumping responsibility for tree maintenance on homeowners who didn't plant the trees, don't want them, and don't have the capacity to care for them. It's an unfair system that guarantees unhealthy trees and not enough trees. San Francisco has the smallest tree canopy coverage of any major city. For the past five years, I've been working with a coalition to fix this problem, by having the city take over responsibility for street trees, creating dedicated tree funding, and investing in our street trees and planting more trees. We're looking to go to the ballot next year to create a sustainable, long-term solution.

Fighting Blight with Better Enforcement
I recently wrote an opinion piece for the Ingleside-Excelsior Light on the need to improve our city enforcement process against blighted properties. Our neighborhoods deserve a city that responds more efficiently and effectively to problem properties which can often linger for years without any change. Building safety is a critical issue for tenants, for property owners, and for our community.

The Paratransit Coordinating Council is an advisory body that provides input for the City's paratransit program. Scott joined them at their annual meeting to discuss transportation issues.

Property Crime Hearing
Our neighborhoods continue to be confront by a wave of property crimes like burglaries, thefts, and break-ins. This includes high profile incidents like home invasions and everyday disturbances like car break-ins and package theft. To understand what is happening, and how we as a city are responding, I’ve called for a hearing where the Police, the District Attorney, our probations departments, and our community organizations can come together to discuss this important issue. The hearing will take place early next year.

Strut Opens!
Strut - the new center for health and wellness from San Francisco AIDS Foundation at 470 Castro Street - opens its doors for drop-in sexual health services starting January 4th. Serving gay, bisexual and transgender men, Strut will bring together community engagement and support, sexual health and substance health services. Strut will offer sexual health services, including PrEP, PEP, HIV and STI testing and counseling, hepatitis C testing, and hepatitis A and B vaccinations; substance use counseling; mental health counseling; HIV support and information; wellness services such as massage and acupuncture; and community events and support. I obtained $1 million in public funding and authored zoning legislation that allowed this incredibly important center to move forward.

Scott at the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Holiday Party

Finding the nearest health provider willing to prescribe you pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) just got easier in California. With individuals looking to renew or change their insurance plans during open enrollment season, PleasePrEPMe.org, a searchable location-based PrEP provider directory website, launched to remove PrEP access barriers and take the guess work out of figuring whether a provider is knowledgeable about PrEP or not. PleasePrEPMe.org connects users interested in taking PrEP to willing providers with its unique searchable location-based capabilities. After entering a user’s location, the website scans the directory of more than 180 PrEP providers to list and map the nearest PrEP providers within a 30 mile radius. The website also offers resources for patients to learn more about PrEP and how to pay for it, as well as provider to increase their capacity to include PrEP in their practice.

Updated Guide for Choosing a Health Plan Through Covered California
Access Support Network, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Project Inform, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation have released an updated guide for people living with HIV, HCV, HBV, and those considering PrEP on choosing a health insurance plan through Covered California. The guide explains important things to consider when choosing a plan and includes an analysis of the availability of HIV, HCV, HBV, and PrEP drugs on each of the 12 plans’ drug formularies.

Dolores Park Construction Update
It’s really starting to feel like the home stretch on completing Mission Dolores Park! All of the new lawn has been installed and the Recreation & Parks Department is patiently letting it grow and take root. The South Restroom is nearly complete and the Department expect to have final inspection sign off within two weeks. The overlook at 20th and Church has been paved with new concrete and—weather permitting—the plan is to finish the remainder of the sidewalk and pathway work in the next two weeks. The Recreation and Parks Department will install all of the new benches and tables soon after and then we should be nearly ready for opening in early 2016!
For more information, contact Project Manager Jake Gilchrist at [email protected] or (415) 581-2559.

Scott at the First Annual Celebration of San Francisco Changemakers

Guerrero Street Median Greening
The final phase has begun! Public Works crews have started the demolition of the remaining concrete medians, and will work over the next few months to construct and green the final medians. For more information, contact Public Works Community Programs Manager Jerad Weiner at [email protected] or (415) 595-6933.

Upper Douglass Dog Park Annual Winter Closure
The Recreation & Parks Department has closed Upper Douglass Dog Park for its annual winter closure from December 1st, 2015 - February 29, 2016 (weather dependent and may be subject to change).  The closure will provide time to properly aerate, overseed, topdress and fertilize the filed so that the Department may re-establish healthy and resilient grass for the spring. 

Residential Parking Permit Evaluation
The SFMTA is undertaking a comprehensive, data-driven evaluation of the Residential Parking Permit, or RPP, program. The program, which provides residents with an exemption to parking time limits in their neighborhood, has been largely unchanged for 39 years, even as San Francisco has changed considerably. The SFMTA is seeking to update the program, align it with the agency’s overall strategic goals and improve customer service for permit holders. The evaluation will include data collection and analysis to reveal existing trends; a review of best practices in on-street parking management in residential areas; and robust public engagement, including a citywide survey on residential parking. A full program evaluation, including policy and process reform recommendations, will be presented to the SFMTA Board of Directors in fall 2016.

Every year the Noe Valley Chabad celebrates Hanukah by lighting a menorah in the heart of Noe Valley

Highland Avenue Bridge Re-Opens
City’s contractor, MH Construction Management Company, successfully completed the removal of the protective scaffolding and the debris net from the Highland Avenue Bridge that was put in place for the important infrastructure improvement and safety project. Upon completion of the Highland Avenue Bridge Infrastructure Improvement and Safety Project, the bridge was re-opened for vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle access. Public Works anticipates the remaining phase of work will be completed by December 31, 2015.

MuniMobile – A New Way To Pay For Muni
MuniMobile enables customers to purchase and use transit fares across the Muni system: bus, rail, cable car and SF Access paratransit. The app will include the following features: ability to purchase, store and use single or multiple Muni fares on one mobile device, allow passengers to pay for single-ride fares, cable car rides, and one-day, three-day and seven-day passports, industry-leading security to protect personal information and payments, multi-language support (early 2016), and responsive eCommerce website for online ticket purchases. To download the app on your iPhone or Android, visit the App Store or Google Play and search for “munimobile.”

Shop and Dine in the 49
San Francisco has launching a citywide campaign to raise visibility on the importance and value of buying local. Shop & Dine in the 49 is a buy local initiative which focuses on bringing spending back into our diverse neighborhoods. By shopping, eating, drinking, playing, and utilizing local services within our neighborhoods, we ensure unique corridors and local businesses remain thriving, successful, and vibrant. San Francisco’s Buy Local campaign is a collaboration between the City and the local business community. The goal is simple: to encourage residents, and visitors to shop locally and to experience local restaurants, events, and cultural institutions.

Become a Docent for the San Francisco Zoo
Become a docent and inspire future conservationists. Docents support our mission by connecting guests to wildlife through informative talks, biofact presentations, and school tours. You can be a part of a vibrant community of volunteers who care about conserving wildlife. You'll meet new friends and learn all about animals from Zoo staff. To be a docent, you must be at least 18 years of age and you must participate in our docent training program, offered annually. In this 10-week course, you’ll be trained on public speaking, conservation, Zoo history and operation, animal care, taxonomy, and behavior. Docents are required to volunteer 10 hours per month. Contact us to learn how to get involved before the next training class, to register for the course, or to learn more about our Docent Program.

What You Can Do About Climate Change
Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Click this link for seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow.

The Randall Museum groundbreaking ceremony celebrated the start of construction to upgrade and modernize this tremendous learning institution for our kids.


Interfaith Memorial Service For Our Homeless Dead
Monday, December 21st
San Francisco City Hall, Goodlett Steps
Join me, the San Francisco Interfaith Council and the San Francisco Night Ministry for a memorial service to remember the City’s homeless dead.

San Francisco Zoo Docent Information Event
Sunday, January 10th
San Francisco Zoo
Become a docent and inspire future conservationists. Docents support our mission by connecting guests to wildlife through informative talks, biofact presentations, and school tours. You can be a part of a vibrant community of volunteers who care about conserving wildlife. You'll meet new friends and learn all about animals from Zoo staff. To RSVP, email [email protected] or call (415) 753-7122.

Scott joined members of the Teo Chew Community Center at the annual Board of Director Ceremony and Banquet

District 8 Bike Share Workshop
Tuesday, January 12th
6:30-7:30pm and 7:30-8:30pm
Harvey Milk Rec Center, 50 Scott Street
The community is invited to attend a neighborhood workshop for Bay Area Bike Share where they live, work or visit, and provide input on new potential bike share stations in the area. This workshop is offered at two times with the same material covered during both times – you’re welcome to attend either session. People who cannot attend the workshop are encouraged to submit station ideas via the online suggest-a-station portal here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor & Community Breakfast
Monday, January 18th
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, 1500 Van Ness Avenue
Join the San Francisco Labor Council for their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor & Community Breakfast for inspirational speakers, music, and more! This year we’ll be honoring Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani.

8th Annual Charles Schwab Youth of the Year Luncheon
Wednesday, January 20th
The Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street
Youth of the Year celebrates the remarkable lives of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco members who have distinguished themselves by rising above challenging circumstances. Each Clubhouse, and Camp Mendocino, chose a teen as their Youth of the Year nominee based on their active involvement in their Clubhouse or Camp, service to their community, commitment to education and modeling of healthy behaviors for younger Club members.

Recently the Castro Theater held a premiere of Jennifer Siebel Newsom's new documentary "The Mask You Live In", which explores how young men handle the role of masculinity in modern society. Here Scott is at the premiere with Greg Lynn and Glenn Riso (Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography)

Glen Park Association Quarterly Meeting
Thursday, January 21st
Police Academy, 350 Amber Drive
Join me for the Glen Park Association’s first quarterly meeting of 2016.

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting
Thursday, January 28th
Castro Community Meeting Room, Bank of America, 501 Castro Street
Join me for a meeting with the Corbett Heights Neighbors for an update from City Hall and to discuss topics of interest to the neighborhood.

The Bay Lights Return
Saturday, January 30th
Save the date for the return of the Bay Lights. After a 2-year pilot, the lights were taken down to install a permanent array. Designed by artist Leo Villareal, come down to the Embarcadero to see the return of the lights to the Bay Bridge.

Last updated: 12/16/2015 2:05:52 PM