California is currently in a crippling drought, and cities across the state are looking for alternative water conservation measures. The New York Times recently singled out my legislation requiring new developments over 250,000 square feet to recycle water as a "future-focused move." The measure was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors and makes San Francisco the first city in the United States with such a requirement. You can read the full article about how California is leading the way here.
As our city grows, we need to make sure that our transit system is growing with it. I introduced legislation to require that new residential development pay transit impact development fees to reflect the transportation impacts of new development. Funds generated by the fee are invested in transit improvements. Our current transit impact development fee has a blanket exemption for residential development, meaning even a massive residential development does not automatically pay the fee. This legislation closes that exemption and ensures that as we grow as a city - including adding much-needed housing - our transportation systems grow as well. Adding housing without transit capacity and reliability improvements is a recipe for a big mess. You can read about this long overdue legislation here.
As our city grows, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our urban forest. To do this, I introduced legislation to protect trees nearbillboards and other general advertisements, which are often vulnerable to being mutilated to improve viewing of the advertisements. While most advertising companies respect our street trees, others don’t. By requiring anyone conducting tree maintenance within 150 feet of a billboard to get a permit, we can ensure that our street trees aren’t butchered in the name of maintaining billboard visibility. The legislation also strengthens existing requirements to protect street trees during construction by requiring a tree protection plan to be submitted to Public Works prior to the commencement of construction. This is a simple and straightforward requirement and will help ensure that the aesthetic and environmental benefits of our urban forest are protected. You can read more about this legislation here.
For years, victims of car theft have been hit with excessive tow fees when their recovered vehicles have been towed. I've been working with the MTA to fix this unfair system. The Board of Supervisors has passed my legislation to approve a new city towing contract that will dramatically reduce the towing fees for victims of stolen vehicles. Reducing and eliminating towing fees on stolen cars is a significant win for victims of auto theftThe new contract terms call for San Francisco residents to receive a grace period from towing fees of 48 hours, and non-residents to receive a grace period of 24 hours. Currently the grace period for residents is four hours, and for non-residents there is no grace period. Also, the MTA will waive any admin fees for residents and halve the admin fees for non-residents.
After months of construction, the north side of Dolores Park is reopening today. The improvements include the repair and renovation of sport courts, construction of new restrooms, replanted grass fields and dog play area, and many other infrastructure and landscaping improvements. This is great news for the community and four our park. You can watch my video message about these great improvements at Dolores Park here.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors passed our first in the nation legislation to require health warnings on sugar-sweetened beverage advertisements in San Francisco. These health warnings will give people the information they need about the health impacts of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages, so they can make informed decisions about their consumption choices. Click here to watch the interview.
Ever since the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force made its recommendations last year, we have been working to put these policies in place. We've had success in passing the LGBT Senior Bill of Rights for people living in long-term care facilities and worked hard to secure funding for many critical programs. There is more the report recommends, and more that we can do. I look forward to continuing to take this issue on in the coming months. You can read more about our work in this great overview in The Bay Area Reporter here.
The Mission Moratorium plan to stop all new housing development that is not 100% affordable housing is an ill-conceived policy introduced in response to a very real and serious problem. We absolutely must do more to create new housing for people in San Francisco and protect those who currently live here from evictions. This requires a broad range of solutions, but halting construction of new housing should not be one of them. A moratorium will increase pressures on existing residents while depleting funding for badly needed affordable housing construction. Last week, I took part in a debate on this issue on KQED's Forum, which you can listen to here.
Ever since the introduction of our pilot bike share program here, I have been advocating for a significant expansion of the program in order for San Francisco to truly reap the benefits of a bike share program. Yesterday, at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission -- the regional transportation funding body on which I serve as a commissioner -- we approved a new proposal to dramatically increase bike share throughout the Bay Area. This proposal will increase San Francisco's bike share program from the current 350 bikes to 4,500 bikes. I look forward to working here in San Francisco to implement this city-wide bike share network. You can read more about this great news here.
Last week, we celebrated our first (and soon to be annual) Jewish Heritage Month Celebration at City Hall. This event, which I co-hosted with Mayor Ed Lee, was a wonderful celebration of the great contributions that the Jewish Community has made to San Francisco since its founding. A special thank you goes out to the Jewish Community Relations Council for organizing the event. You can read more about the evening here.