Category Archives: Meeting Summaries

Summaries of our General Assembly meetings.

New Leadership in District 8 and Glen Park

Photos by Michael Waldstein

In a coincidence of timing, Mayor Lee appointed a new District 8 Supervisor to replace Scott Wiener, who has moved on to the State Senate; and, in the January 26 meeting, Michael Rice capped his 12-year long run as president of the Glen Park Association.

MICHAEL RICE:

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Outgoing President Michael Rice

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Goodbye cake for Michael Rice

In the last of more than forty neighborhood meetings, Rice noted what an honor it has been to serve our community. At the same time, he said, “I’m happy to get some of my time back!” He also observed that it’s good for the neighborhood and the association to have new leadership.

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New GPA President Scott Stawicki

Rice listed a few of the issues he’s worked on over the years: the Glen Park Community Plan, the Glen Park Greenway, the improvements in Glen Canyon Park – while also noting the continuing challenges of transit and parking in our bustling neighborhood.

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New GPA Vice President Stephany Wilkes and outgoing President Michael Rice

Thus the annual election of officers ushered in a new president of the Glen Park Association, Scott Stawicki, who was formerly the vice president.

Other officers elected are: Stephany Wilkes, Vice President; Dennis Mullen, Treasurer; Heather World, Recording Secretary; Bonnee Waldstein, Corresponding Secretary, and Hilary Schiraldi, Membership Secretary.

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Membership Secretary Hilary Schiraldi

Stawicki paid tribute to Rice’s long service. “Whether you know it or not, Michael’s touched your life in many ways by his diligent work on behalf of our neighborhood. He’s got big shoes to fill.”

JEFF SHEEHY:

Newly appointed Supervisor Jeff Sheehy came to the meeting to introduce himself to the residents of Glen Park and to get a sense of their hopes and concerns. However, Sheehy has a great head start in that he’s lived in Glen Park since 2002. Along with his husband, he’s raising his 12 year-old daughter here; she is a student in one of San Francisco’s public schools.

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New D8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy

Sheehy detailed some of his background. He’s been active in politics since 1994 when he served as president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, ending that stint in 2005. He was instrumental in passing the Equal Benefits Ordinance, which prohibits the City from contracting with entities that discriminate in providing benefits to employees with domestic partners. He is on the board the California Stem Cell Agency and is an LGBT/HIV activist.

He is a strong supporter of Scott Wiener and the work he’s done.

At the age of 60, Sheehy said he’s not after higher office, but he’s definitely going to run for the seat in 2018. At this point he just wants to work to solve the problems of District 8 and the City. He’s also motivated by the 2016 presidential election.

“Trump takes me back to 1980, when we thought there would be nuclear war and the environment was under attack by Reagan. Now the mask of amiability that Reagan had has been ripped off – the face matches the policies. The challenges we face are similar.”

Sheehy went on, “In the age of AIDS, beginning in1981, we were reviled. So many just wanted us to die. Now we have so much solidarity. Through perseverance and sacrifice, people got to know their communities, through love, not violence. Now, it’s about coming together for the City and to tone down the dissention in City Hall.”

Sheehy was peppered with questions and concerns from the audience. Among them:

  • The changing character of the neighborhood: “Monster” houses are being built. In particular, concern was voiced about development of the small wedge-shaped parcel on Diamond Street that used to be tended by the Garden Club. There will be a discretionary review of the building plan on March 9 at the Planning Commission.
  • Water backing up at Cayuga Street, with the heavy rains: This has been an ongoing problem and is now in litigation. “It’s not a situation that I would tolerate,” said Sheehy.
  • Traffic congestion in the city: The City has provided no leadership. They haven’t reduced their use of official cars. They need to be held accountable.
  • Safe, clean and reliable transit: With the MTA separate from the rest of city government, it’s very hard to have influence over policy and practices.
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New D8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy

GREENWAY UPDATE:

Scott Stawicki noted the City’s policy to build public housing on city property, in light of the housing crisis. A large part of the proposed Greenway is DPW property. Scott Wiener helped kill that policy for the Greenway, but a lot of work needs to be done to improve it as a public space.

BIKE SHARING PROGRAM:

Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, of Bay Area Bike Share, described a project that will be coming to Glen Park in 2018. A small pilot begun in downtown San Francisco three years ago will be expanding to many communities in the Bay Area. It’s a station-based system, which now has 30 stations but is projected to have 400 over the next three years, with a goal of 7,000 bikes within two years.

A major advantage of the program is that bicycles that are obtained in one station can be returned at another. There is now a thirty-minute limit on the use of a bike, so that it would need to be switched out at another station for longer trips.

For additional details about the program, and to suggest a station, go to http://www.bayareabikeshare.com.

A full presentation of the Bike Share Program will be held soon.

Bike Share Expansion Workshop:
Tuesday, February 7
, 6: 30-8:00pm
Excelsior Library
4400 Mission Street

RSVP via EventBrite by clicking here.
You can also suggest a station online at http://suggest.bayareabikeshare.com.

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GPA Quarterly Meeting Notes

By Bonnee Waldstein

The summer meeting covered a number of topics, new and old, that are of interest to Glen Park.

GPA GRANTS

GPA President Michael Rice presented a two thousand dollar grant from the GPA to the San Francisco Mime Troupe, who will perform in Glen Canyon Park in August. The grant will defray the cost of the use of the park, which used to be free; but in the past ten years the fee has gone up to $770 per day plus a $500 deposit. (Admission is free; donations are strongly encouraged.) Other awards presented earlier as part of a three-year-old program funded by the GPA went to Sunnyside Elementary School and Friends of Penny Lane.

Troupe writer and sometime director, Michael Gene Sullivan, accepted the award. Sullivan explained that the Troupe does political musical comedy, and not silently: “We are the loudest mimes in the world!” This year’s show is “Schooled,” which is about the privatization of education and questions whether the purpose of school is to load kids up with information, provide a place to put them when their parents are at work, or create a generation of consumers – or citizens.

TREE PLANTING

Rice announced that Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), which works with neighborhoods to increase tree planting in San Francisco, will have a tree-planting day in September, in the neighborhoods of Glen Park, Miraloma, and Mt. Davidson. The application deadline is in August.

FUF accepts requests for tree planting on frontages of a minimum of 6-1/2 feet. They evaluate the sidewalk for suitability. The cost is a sliding scale of $300-$500, with a minimum of $135. This covers the cost to open the sidewalk, install the tree, and maintain it on an on-call basis for three to five years.

For information: http://www.fuf.net/programs-services/greening/neighborhood-tree-planting/

For application: http://www.fuf.net/programs-services/greening/neighborhood-tree-planting/tree-planting-forms/

CLEANPOWERSF

The audience needed to turn its conscious awareness up a notch for the next presentation, by Amy Sinclair from the S.F. Public Utilities Commission. She explained the CleanPowerSF program that is being unveiled. After Sinclair’s explanation and a Q&A, the main points of the program are:

  • CleanPowerSF refers to San Francisco’s participation in the Community Choice Aggregation program, which allows cities to partner with their utility (PG&E) to deliver cleaner energy.
  • It’s a partnership between the City and PG&E, administered by the City. Marin and Sonoma counties have this program already.
  • PG&E will still be responsible for handling outages and its regular services.
  • The goal of the program is to increase the use of renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. The City now uses 29.5% renewable energy. CleanPowerSF aims to push that up to 35%.
  • The renewable energy will go into PG&E’s existing power grid. The analogy is that the grid is like a bathtub. PG&E is putting 29.5% renewable energy into the tub. CleanPowerSF will add significantly more, to at least 35%.
  • This program does not include individual incentives or benefits such as putting solar panels on individual homes.
  • Individual customers will not see any change in their service or their payments with the 35% renewables. Billing statements will be more detailed.
  • The program will be auto-enrolled, as authorized by state law passed in 2002. It will be phased in over six years. However, customers will have four opportunities to opt out of the program, i.e., just use plain vanilla PG&E. However, there is no cost benefit to the customer in doing so.
  • Customers can also enroll on their own initiative anytime online or by phone.
  • There is a higher tier to the program, called SuperGreen, whose goal is to deliver 100% renewable energy. It is optional and will cost customers about six dollars more per month.
  • It’s not the individual customer that is getting 35% or 100% renewable energy; it’s the overall power grid.
  • The program tries to source its energy locally as much as possible, from rooftops and reservoirs, like Sunset Reservoir, and the Altamont wind farm, for example. The further away the energy source is, the more the energy “bleeds off” by the time it reaches its destination.
  • CleanEnergySF will create local jobs by building facilities and introducing new technology.
  • District 8 happens to be in the earlier of the six-year phase. This fall residents of the District will get the first of the four notices explaining the program.
  • For information, go to cleanpowersf.org.

 

PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENT PLANS AT DIAMOND HEIGHTS BOULEVARD/SUSSEX STREET/ELK STREET

One of the major traffic and pedestrian problems plaguing Glen Park is the lack of a crosswalk on upper Elk Street, between Arbor and Sussex Streets, into Glen Canyon Park. The steep grade of Elk Street and inadequate sightlines are a safety hazard that residents have long endured.

Casey Hildreth and Kimberly Leung of the Livable Streets division of SFMTA presented some alternatives for mitigating this long-standing situation. They proposed five options, which could be combined in various ways, and solicited reactions and ideas from the audience.

Click here to see SFMTA’s Elk_Sussex Pro-Con List

The consensus of those in attendance was that something simple should be done right away in advance of a solution. Putting in a pedestrian crossing sign and an advance warning sign would help in the short term.

Several people voiced their antipathy about bulb outs, which seem ineffective and also reduce parking space and may even increase accidents. Stop signs have their pros and cons in terms of speed control. Many favored the rectangular rapid flashing beacon option. Another suggestion that had support was the flashing sign, which shows the driver’s speed and encourages them to slow down.

Long-term fixes require more study and must comply with ADA requirements.

The process towards a solution begins with the feedback the SFMTA receives at community meetings such as Glen Park and Diamond Heights. Then there are other public outreach efforts, more feedback, draft recommendations, a formal public hearing and funding requests. The project could take 1-1/2 years to begin, depending on the complexity of the final plan.

There will be an update at the next quarterly GPA meeting in the fall.

People are encouraged to complete the SFMTA Public Participation Survey until July 31:

https://www.sfmta.com/news/notices/2016-public-participation-survey

Meanwhile, the patience of neighborhood residents is tested as they wait for pedestrian safety solutions to become reality on Elk Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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D8 Safety Meeting

Thanks to Chris Faust of Upper Noe Neighbors (and more) for writing up this summary of the D8 Safety Meeting held Thursday:

District 8 Safety Meeting
January 14, 2016  – 6 pm
Saint Philip the Apostle community room
725 Diamond St. San Francisco

Jean Elle of NBC Bay Area was there. The story is at
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Castro-Noe-Valley-Resident-Voice-Safety-Concerns-at-San-Francisco-Meeting-365390151.html

The meeting had over 100 neighbors. The room was full.

Attendees:
Mayor Lee
Supervisor Scott Wiener
Chief Greg Suhr
Captain Joseph McFadden (Ingleside Station)
Captain Daniel Perea (Mission Station)
Captain John Sanford (Park Station)
Karen Fletcher, chief probation officer

Mayor Lee, as a resident of District 8 (Glen Park), shared frustration with the recent spate of property crimes and expressed empathy with neighbors who are concerned about safety. Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood. His peeves are repeat offenders and releasing offenders without rehabilitation. He promoted use of the fob guard to prevent thieves from being able to use an electronic device to remotely force the car key in your house from unlocking your car doors on the street.

Wiener and Suhr talked about ongoing efforts to secure funding for the police academy. SFPD should have 2000 officers but is operating at only 1700. That cuts into the amount of foot patrols and traffic enforcement.

Captain Perea said the biggest challenges for Mission Station are robbery, homelessness and street crime.

Captain Sanford said Park Station redistributed forces at night to tackle crime in the Duboce area. They broke up the huge encampment behind Safeway notorious for needle drug use and other crimes.

Captain McFadden announced that he will hold his monthly Ingleside Station community meeting featuring his Public Safety Roadshow next Wednesday January 20 at 7 pm at Upper Noe Rec Center. He urges citizens to report crimes to SFPD, not just post them on NextDoor. Be sure to make note of details of clothing and cars when reporting so officers can more readily identify your perp. And please send SFPD photos and video of suspicious persons and criminal activity. The wigged bandit was picked up just hours after Captain McFadden received a photo of the burglar and shared it with his officers.

Karen Fletcher, chief probation officer, says that SF has 4300 adults under supervision/parole. She has a staff of 155 of whom 100 are sworn officers. The percentage of probation vs incarceration is higher in SF since rural counties tend to keep more perpetrators of serious crimes in lockup. But SF is all about rehabilitation and promoting restitution.

Supervisor Wiener and SFPD assured us that while property crime is up significantly recently, violent crime is actually down 50% from the 1990’s. Suhr reminded us too of the rash of auto break-ins back then, when the target was car stereos, especially Blaupunkts. Technology adapted with removable faceplates and then chips that matched the stereo to the car which made stereos non-functional when removed. Today’s targets are computers and electronics, which are easy to fence and less risky than dealing drugs. Police and technology are adjusting to the new challenge.

Suhr reminded us also to be wary of buying into hype and spin created on social media that creates the appearance of an epidemic. There is no increase in random assaults. Events that are construed as connected by media postings are most often discovered to be unrelated.

In general, citizens spoke to thank police for their work but are still frustrated with the frequency of car break-ins, auto theft, dumped vehicles, burglaries and assaults. They seek ways to be proactive, to work together as a community to support SFPD, not just block by block.

Q&A:

1. What’s the best way to interact with SFPD?
Call or email. Emailing your captain is especially useful for repetitious low-level crimes. Send in photos and video too if available. Captains will deal with them.

2. How can we be safer walking at night?
Do not wear headphones. Be more aware. Report broken street lighting, dark spots, and any trees or other blocking lamps. Urge your neighbors to leave their porch lights on at night. Form or join a Neighborhood Watch or citizen patrol group. Look out for each other.

3. Is Next Door monitored by SFPD?
No. There are too many NextDoor groups. SFPD cannot resource officers to that when they are needed on patrol. 911, or even email, is a better way to report crimes.
(A gentleman mentioned that NextDoor conveys the unhappiness in the community and that SFPD would benefit enormously from seeing this.)

4. Can officers patrol neighborhoods rather than just driving by?
Traditionally, officers have never walked beats in residential areas, only in commercial corridors. Staffing levels don’t allow for more beat cops but citizens can improve their relationship with the officers who cruise their neighbors. Find out who they are. Invite them to block parties and community meetings. Make your neighborhood personal for the officers.

5. Why is 911 service so bad?
There are not enough 911 operators. This is a recognized problem that is being addressed.

6. Who is doing all of these crimes, the homeless, gangs, out-of-towners?
While statistics are not conclusive, the bulk of crimes can not be pinned on any group. The idea that people come to San Francisco to prey on us is an urban myth.

7. Can police step up enforcement of Sit-Lie law?
Officers are directed to get out of their cars and walk the beat more, particularly in the mornings, to discover and deal with folks who are sleeping in hiding spots. Making an arrest takes an officer back to the station and off the street so the need for officers to be out responding to emergencies and violent crimes is a consideration in enforcement. Don’t expect police to raid tent encampments in the pouring rain. We are still the City of St. Francisco, after all.

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