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Saturday, April 7, 2012

QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES FACING SAN FRANCISCO WHICH HAS A POPULATION OF OVER 800,000.

If you visit or have the pleasure to visit any large metropolitan city - worth the salt - anyone with common sense - can judge the makings and doings of that city - using a few criteria - safety, education, housing, and health.


So, let us examine San Francisco and find out sincerely over the last 10 years - if we have improved our City's - Quality of Life issues.


Let us use - safety, education, housing, and health as our criteria - just to stay focused and not embrace the entire universe and get lost in any maze.


While we are at it - may we take the liberty to give some enlightening advice to those in charge of the affairs of our City and County of San Francisco. You can take it as an offer - you if you think that you know it all - you can go get shafted - pride has a fall - and most of you - have already fallen on your face. I am talking about the SF Board of Supervisors - especially.


Before, we evaluate the task in front of us - let us find out - who really is responsible - to represent, to deliver, to fulfill the obligations and adhere to some clear vision and deliver - standards.


How much money do these minions have at their disposal to accomplish their tasks. If they do fulfill their tasks - what they are supposed to do - are they worth the salt or are they an utter - failure.


The entire City and County of San Francisco has a Mayor, in this case Mayor Edwin Lee. He is our first Chinese Mayor and I have know him - long enough to talk frankly to him - and inform him exactly how I feel.


Mayor Edwin Lee knows I am an advocate - and when you represent everyone and try to do a good job - you must represent.




When one speaks the "truth" - it may not rest well with those who are used to rosy reports - and not what is truly the case; which I what I am interested in - as the Director, of Environmental Justice Advocacy in this great City and County of San Francisco.


Mayor Edwin Lee; has been a City Administrator for many years; besides holding other key City jobs.


As City Administrator he had over 28,000 City Employees working for him. He has the practical experience on all levels linked to City Operations - how our City money is spent and how to grade Quality of Life issues.


We have a new City Administrator, Naomi Kelly who is our first Black City Administrator - who now does what the past Mayor, Edwin Lee - use to do before.


Naomi Kelly; has had qualified experience working with contracts in the City's Contract Office - which conducts million dollar - transactions. Prior to that he worked for the Mayor Office understanding the various protocols of our City's - governance.


The above two individuals - are key to any City's operations - and belong to what we will call the Executive Branch.


The above two can work directly with the City Controller, the City Attorney, the Director of the Department of Public Works, the various offices of the Mayor's Office, the SF Health Department, the SF Police Department - and a host of other key City Departments - to many to mention in detail.


We have the Legislative Branch - the San Francisco, Board of Supervisors that Represent the entire City but also are elected from their Districts.


We have 11 districts in San Francisco - some rich having most of the base-line requirements intact and the poorer districts - always wanting more - because they lack the base line requirements.


The responsibility of the Legislative Branch - deals with sound policy making and initiating sound legislation.


As things stand do - this body does not represent the constituents of San Francisco, well - and what is more - waste money and time - delivering drab, shallow - very poor policy making and legislation.


In general we do have a good team representing the Executive Branch in San Francisco.


The Executive Branch - must now first evaluate the needs of this City - and what is more maintain a high - standard.


In these trying, dire fiscal times - even though this Great City has a budget of over $6.9 BILLION dollars - we still as a City and County of San Francisco - are on a tight budget.


For the first time in the history of San Francisco all City Department must prepare a two year budget in advance - and fulfill the reduction mandates linked to spending, hiring, and so on. This difficult process - is not easy - but it has to be done.


Every year the Cities all over California and in San Francisco - keep getting less funding from the State of California. Once California boasted having the fifth largest economy in the world - now it is bankrupt for all practical reasons. Year after year - we will continue to receive less funding - even though we pay our fair share of State taxes.


San Franciscans, our Mayor, our City administrators and workers care for our City of San Francisco. We have over 28,000 City employees - some 29 City Employees for every single San Francisco - constituent.


We also have the responsibility for other counties - which were once part of San Francisco - with whom we have long range agreements  - now, that they are on their own - with their own City Councils.


San Francisco provides them water, sewer, have other agreements linked to safety, transportation, emergency services, and so on and so forth.


A City and County has higher status - mainly because they have more responsibilities and this brings a higher status and more fiscal responsibilities - when in comes to funding and other responsibilities - linked to Quality of Life issues.


So, let us go where we began - Safety, Education, Housing and Health.


Some key Quality of Life issues that we in this Great City of San Francisco - have always treasured.


Our City was named after Saint Francisco Assisi - a compassionate saint. This land we call San Francisco belong to the Ohlone - the First People - and I represent them on all matters linked to Infrastructure and other pertinent Planning and Land Use matters. Aho.


The City of San Francisco is lucky to have a home grown Police Officer by the name of Gregory Suhr who is now our Chief of Police. He is my good friend.


Mayor crimes linked with shootings and killings have gone down. In fact they have gone down all over this Nation - and in general all over the Bay Area.


The crimes associated with assaults, car break ins, home break ins, domestic violence, thefts, nuisance cases - pan handling, homelessness and camping, and so on - have grown - to such a large proportion - that people fear to come out at night. This crimes adversely impact all - and are a poor reflection - when it comes to Quality of Life Issues in San Francisco.


I am requesting the SF Police Command Group to factor the above as part of your deliberation, planning, and practical operations on all levels.


We have lost over 150,000 decent families in the past 15 years.




San Francisco has the empirical data - but, no one wants to study the facts.


The data is available from the Controller's Office, the Budget Analyst Office, Economists who will readily hand over the data - many of them work in our Universities in the Bay Area.


We have a population of about 811,000 and a police force of about 1750. If nothing is done soon - with more sound academy classes, better facilities, meaningful outreach, the on going attrition - will bring things to a halt and adversely impact all that we have built so far.


This number could reach 1400 or 1500 and as I said throw us backwards and adversely impact Quality of Life Issues - cause the spiraling of the the general base-line safety of the City and County of San Francisco. Once this happen all hell breaks loose.


Education is key to any Quality of Life - and we do have many colleges and universities, private high schools, charters schools, Art and other Academies - that educated and graduate many students who contribute to San Francisco and the Nation.


This is not so with the Public and State education that is offered to San Franciscans - that use to pride themselves providing quality education. With increase of tuition fees, pandemonium in most of our City and State colleges and universities; more as a result of less funding, increase in tuition and other fees - the general environment that fosters sound education in these centers of learning - has been curtailed, disturbed and become stagnant.


Our high schools,middle schools, and elementary schools have revealed that the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has been doing a very, very - poor job.


The schools come under the State of California - who added to the factors I have described above - have now reduced funding to the SFUSD. This has cause too many problems - the main one being that our children are suffering and lacking in proper education. We have thousands of youth who have eight grade education even though they purport to have passed high school. This is uncalled for - totally - unacceptable. Those in charge must produce or be held responsible.


One key factor that brings this about - the hiring and firing of teachers - every single year - because of the budget crunch. No one has done a through research and the adverse impacts - on our children - linked to this fact and linked repercussions.


We have turfs in San Francisco - where gangs control an area - be it Public Housing - or an area that they deem is theirs and under their control - even though this is not a fact.


We have a law that forces children to go to far off schools. away from their neighborhood - where there might be a good school and vacancy - where a youth can go to and be educated and be a contributing citizens to society at large and to our Nation - the United States of America.


Travelling away from their neighborhood and into areas without protection, less safety - just so that the integration policy remedying "segregation" can be solved.


This, so called "integration" policy has not worked - and what we have now are added issues - where many have been forced not to go to school - because of their own safety and turf wars. We call them truants.


We have over 10,000 chronic truants in San Francisco. Out of this large number - some 5000 crash where ever they can, do not go to school, and in the long run are a liability to this great City and County of San Francisco and the Nation.


Most end up incarcerated. Our Nation incarcerates the largest number of citizens and others - in the entire world.
California leads many States in incarceration - the Three Strikes Law - does not favor Rehabilitation.


Restorative Justice - is what San Francisco and this State needs to practice. People talk about it - but no one has the gumption to do anything about it.


Other youth; have been killed - caught in turf wars. As a consequence we have inadvertently created a sub-culture of gangs, youth with no education.


I attempt to give these youth an opportunity - but, in these dire economy times - this is a challenge - some of us will not give up on our youth.


It does not help that gang injunction imposed without deliberation - further hamper inter-acting with our youth and helping our communities in the various - neighborhoods.


Lack of sound education, less after school recreation facilities, poor nutrition, lack of health benefits, dysfunction families, and blatant incarceration has impacted families and destroyed families in San Franciso - because of failed policies and no follow up.


Another pertinent factor that burdens our general system and directly impacts - Safety, Education, Housing, and Health - is the influx of the illegal immigration population - from the South - Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and so on. Others from other parts of the world mainly China and Southeast Asia. Eastern European countries, the Middle East and Africa.


Many do not speak English and many bring with them factors such as poor health, lack of housing, lack basic education and less of the ability to speak and write the English language. 


These facts impact safety directly and indirectly - and slow down Quality of Life issues.


San Francisco is a sanctuary city which means we offer succor to anyone one who decides to reside in our City and has no legal documentation.


San Franciscans voted to offer these immigrants our City's Identity Card. We also offer basic health care - for as little as $35 a month. We care for all our children - and in many cases - there is free of cost - health care.


San Franciscans embrace all the queer, the illegal immigrants, others - much as been stated in writing at the foot of the Statue of Liberty - we practice those writings that our Founding Fathers incorporated in the Constitution of the United States.


Most San Franciscans are free spirited and we love to think and act as if we can do anything better and with a spirit of understand and love. Unfortunately from time to time we have to deal with folks like Supervisor Scott Wiener - a detriment to all things - decent.


Housing in San Francisco when it comes to the poor and those that have no money - is despicable. It is common now in some areas - for three and four families to share a house.


This has now inundated our rental housing or units all over San Francisco. There are hot spots where as many as twelve to fifteen people will share a two or three room rental unit. These problems are known to many - but no one wants to address them.


The Chinese who have come here in large numbers - some legal but many illegal also contribute to this situation - in large measure. To survive these illegals will do anything - when they cannot work - they will sell drugs, gamble, foster prostitution, work under the table, and cause all sorts of problems.


Recently, we had a hearing at SF City Hall where hundreds of people - came to testify and thousands more saw the hearing televised on SFGOVTV - our local government television - I reported on this.


Our SF Board of Supervisors can talk about this situation - but they can do nothing about it. Pathetic.


Our SF General Hospital has a budget of over $1 Billion. At one time our SF General Hospital prided itself offering quality health care. No more.


We fired the past Director of SF General Hospital Mitch Katz. Our present Director, Barbara Garcia is trying her best - it will take years to put back on track the sound policies and standards that Mitch Katz - nullified with his shallow and inept - practices.


I have touch the tip of the iceberg - daily, weekly, monthly, yearly - the standard of our Quality of Life issues are going to the dogs - more with dogs infested with fleas. 


Good leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way.