Preserving our building stock and keeping people safe when - not if but when - the next earthquake hits must be a top priority here at City Hall. This includes our private schools, which educate 1/3 of our city's children. The Mayor has moved forward with legislation -- which I have co-sponsored -- that will require private schools to undergo a seismic evaluation within the next three years, so that the city and the schools will have a better understanding of what, if any work, needs to be done to improve the safety of these schools.
Producing new housing and seismically strengthening our existing housing stock are two pressing priorities for our city. To address both these issues, I am introducing legislation to allow in the construction of new in-law units in buildings undergoing seismic retrofits. This will provide a financial benefit to building owners going through our mandatory soft-story retrofit program, as well as encourage them to do more robust retrofits.
Having your car stolen is a painful process, and the city is not making it any easier on victims by making them pay large fees when these stolen cars are towed. These fees are set in a contract between MTA and Auto Return -- the private entity that runs the tow yards. This contract is up for renegotiation in 2015, so I have called for an oversight hearing now to explore how MTA, SFPD and Auto Return handle stolen vehicles and what we can do to make this process less onerous on victims of car thefts.
Today I attended the unveiling ceremony of the new Rainbow Honor Walk on Castro Street, which recognizes 20 amazing LGBT leaders with sidewalk plaques. Famous LGBT icons like Oscar Wilde and Frida Kahlo and local heroes like Tom Waddell and Randy Shilts will now grace our iconic boulevard. This new walk of fame -- which will eventually be extended down Market Street to Octavia -- is a wonderful celebration of our LGBT community.
You've probably noticed over the past week that Muni's light rail system has been functioning even worse than normal. The fundamental problem with the light rail system is that we don't have enough vehicles. Muni didn't order enough in the 1990s, and because the light rail vehicles (LRVs) have serious defects and are now old, they break down too much, with few if any replacement vehicles available. This week saw a higher than normal failure rate, including mechanical failures and accidents, in addition to the Giants playing at home all week.
During our ongoing drought, we need to ensure we are effectively managing our limited water supply. We also need to look at possible legislative solutions that we can undertake as a city to improve how we conserve and use water, such as requiring separate water meters in new buildings, instead of the current situation where multiple units rely on a single water meter and thus have no idea of individual water usage. To address these two issues -- water usage practices and legislative solutions -- I've called for a hearing at the Board of Supervisors, which will take place in September.
The Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to place my Population-Based Transit Funding Charter Amendment on the ballot for this November. This Charter amendment will tie MTA funding levels so that it increases with as our population grows. To learn more about measure, click on the links below.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors officially voted to place a two penny per ounce tax to fund health, nutrition and physical activity programs on the ballot for November's election. You can learn more about the proposal by clicking the links below.
The Soda Tax moved one step closer to being placed on the ballot when the Budget and Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to recommend this to the Full Board for a vote next Tuesday. This important public health measure will place a two penny per ounce tax on all sodas and sugary beverags to fund health, nutrition and active recreation programs in our schools, parks and communities. I look forward to getting this measure onto the ballot.
The Rules Committee voted to move my charter amendment to increase Muni funding to the full Board of Supervisors. The measure will be voted on Tuesday, when the Board can decide to put this important funding mechanism on the ballot for the November election. For years we have chronically underfunded Muni. This amendment will begin to address this by tying Muni funding to population growth, so that as our city grows, we can keep pace with the level of service we need.