The Board of Supervisors are poised to tread into an opening battle over issues around Mayor London Breed’s planned budget for police pay at this week’s meeting. They also look to pass a community policing policy for district stations, and clear the way for an ambitious shelter-on-demand program. (As always, wonks looking for the complete kit and caboodle can scrutinize this week’s very full agenda here.)
Neighborhood Community Policing Plans
The first of two notable police-related items is legislation by District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar. It would require district police stations to develop individual plans for “community policing”—policies which would engender better connections and partnerships between police and neighborhoods in solving problems, such as nuisance crimes and quality of life issues. Strategies mentioned in the legislation include more foot and bike patrols, as well as a community feedback process. The plans would be publicly released and updated annually. The development of neighborhood-specific plans has been mentioned among the recommendations from the Department of Justice in the ongoing Collaborative Reform Initiative with the San Francisco Police Department.
The legislation also calls for incorporating “a strategy tailored to address the distinct language access needs of communities served by each district station,” but doesn’t require the hiring of bilingual officers. Language access, especially in the face of increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans and immigrants, has become a pain point in police-community relations in San Francisco. Late last month Mar sponsored a resolution calling for creation of a “language bank” to help with the issue, which the board passed unanimously.
Opening Battle Over The Budget: Police Pay
Another police-related item which may attract lively and possibly heated discussion this week is Mayor London Breed’s plan for incentive and longevity pay for police officers. The move is aimed at stanching an ongoing exodus of personnel from SFPD, and is part of the new city budget.
Last Thursday, the board’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee voted to refer two items related to the plan to this week’s full board meeting without recommendation, along with a long list of other previously ratified labor agreements and amendments related to the new budget, which did receive the committee’s recommendation.
Committee Chair and District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston singled out the police pay item, saying he found it “disappointing” that “important reform related concessions” were not being sought in the process. Preston cited a number of policy-related concerns, including alleged refusal by police to respond to certain incident calls such as cannabis dispensary burglaries, and the recent attempt to back out of an agreement with the District Attorney on investigating police shootings. Preston also complained that Mayor Breed was using “a budget surplus that was created by voters for affordable housing” instead to fund an increase in the police department budget, which was “worth a conversation at the full Board.”
Voters passed Prop I in 2020 with the understanding that it will fund social housing, and it's already brought in over $200m, but the Mayor refuses to use the money for housing. Fact that the Mayor is choosing to fund more police instead of affordable housing is inexcusable. 2/2
— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) June 1, 2022
Shelter for All Hits the Finish Line
Also being considered by the board: District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s legislation to require the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to submit a plan for implementing the Place for All program, which aims to provide “enough shelters, permanent supportive housing units, and safe overnight parking lots as are necessary” to shelter all persons currently experiencing homelessness in the city.
District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman looks at the crowd in attendance at a Board of Supervisors meeting in City Hall of San Francisco on May 3, 2022. | Camille Cohen | The Standard
The ordinance would mandate that the plan include a cost estimate of the program, the number of persons requiring placement, cost-effectiveness comparisons of different shelter types, implementation of a system by which potential clients could seek shelter by phone, and a “geographic equity strategy” for shelter locations, among other things. Watch for some statements of concern over that last one.
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