Fixing Our City's Street Tree Problem

Our current street tree maintenance system is bad for many reasons. It jeopardizes the health of our urban forest, puts residents in danger of falling limbs, and dumps responsibility for trees onto property owners who didn't plant the trees and might not be able to take of them. We need a long-term solution to this issue that includes a dedicated funding source for tree maintenance so that the money isn't raided for other purposes.

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Crime in Duboce Triangle

Recently, a young man was murdered during the course of a robbery at Noe and Henry Street in Duboce Triangle. This tragic murder was the second in Duboce Triangle this year, which is two too many. We as a city must do better protecting our public spaces, including working with SFPD to increase the department's inadequate staffing so that we have more community policing and beat officers. This is an unacceptable level of violence on our streets. I attended the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association meeting last night, where Captain Raj Vaswani and members of San Francisco safety organizations presented on how we can improve public safety in the Duboce Triangle.

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Transportation Wins Big in SF Election

j-muni.jpgTuesday night was a great night for transportation in our city. Voters passed two transportation funding measures that will provide a significant investment in our transportation system and reaffirmed our city's commitment to making significant investments in a broad range of transit priorites. Prop A, the transportation bond, will put $500 million into capital projects on our streets, while Prop B, will adjust Muni funding to account for our population growth, with the increase in funds dedicate to service improvements (like paying for rolling stock) and street safety improvements. This is a great step for our city and confirms that people want City Hall to focus on providing safe, reliable transportation.

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Keeping Muni Running

new-muni-trains.jpgYesterday, I held a hearing at the Land Use Committee on MTA's plans to ensure that our current fleet of light-rail vehicles can serve our Muni system until a new fleet is implemented. The Board of Supervisors recently approved purchase of the Siemens vehicles - eventually leading to nearly double the vehicles as well as vehicles that are much more reliable - but those vehicles won't begin to arrive for several years, and it will take 15 years for the entire fleet to roll out.  In the meantime, Muni will continue to operate its existing Breda fleet, which is one of the major sources of reliability problems in the system, given design defects and frequent breakdowns.

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Clean Energy Legislation Moves Forward

sfsupes0924_0764_pc-600x403.jpgToday my legislation to strengthen San Francisco's public power system and provide revenue for infrastructure needs like streetlights will be up for a vote at the Board of Supervisors. This legislation will increase the electric customer base for San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission by granting the PUC the right of first refusal to provide hydroelectric, greenhouse gas free power to private developments. An expanded PUC customer base will bring in more revenue for San Francisco's aging public power infrastructure needs which has over $900 million in deferred maintenance. The legislation is so-sponsored by Supervisor London Breed and supported by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

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A Permanent Solution for our Street Tree Problem

fallen-tree-3.jpgOur urban forest is a vital part of our city, but we have done a poor job of investing in this important asset. Our current policy of transferring ownership of street trees to private property owners who didn't plant the trees, didn't ask to take care of the trees and might not have the capacity or financial means to take care of our trees is endangering our urban forest and our streets. Just last week, four trees fell down on a single day, including one that landed on a construction worker. To address this, I have asked the City Attorney to begin drafting an Urban Forestry Fund, which will be a permanent funding solution to take care of our trees. This fund will be filled by either a parcel tax or a budget set-aside, or some combination thereof, that must be approved by the voters. The approval of this measure would be contingent on the cancellation of the city relinquishment policy that dumps responsibility for these trees on private property owners. I will also be forming a working group to explore how best to structure this fund, and I look forward to hearing from a wide range of interests as we move forward with this important effort to improve the health of our city's trees.

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Granting the Imperial Council Use of the City Seal

blog_imperial_court_11_14-300x225.jpgThe Imperial Council is celebrating its 50th Anniversary next year, and today the Government Audit and Oversight Committee approved my resolution to allow the Council to use the official city seal on its materials during next year's celebration. The Council is an essential part of our cultural fabric, and I'm proud to have helped them secure this rare honor, which has only been granted by the Board of Supervisors 22 times since 1979. I look forward to celebrating with the Imperial Council next year.

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My October Newsletter

I just sent out my newsletter for September. To receive the newsletter in the future, please sign up at the bottom of this page or send an email request to (link sends e-mail).

Links: Newsletter Link

Fixing Our Street Tree Program

streettree-203x300.jpgBoard President David Chiu and I held a hearing this week on the city's street tree relinquishment program, which has resulted in the city transferring ownership of thousands of trees to private property owners. This flawed program shifts the care of our city-planted trees onto property owners who didn't plant the trees and may not know how to take care of them. We need to find a sustainable funding source for the city to take care of our street trees to keep them healthy and thriving.

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Board of Supervisors Passes Urban Street Design Guide Legislation

nacto.jpgSafe and livable streets start with smart street design reflecting the needs of all users. Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved my legislation to adopt the official street design policies of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). For San Francisco to have a more sustainable future, we need an environment that encourages and allows people to safely and enjoyably walk, bike, and use transit, in addition to driving. These new guidelines - reflecting a forward-thinking, progressive approach to urban street design - will extend San Francisco's Better Streets Policy, which focuses on sidewalks, to include the entire cross section of the street, including not only sidewalks but also travel lanes, bike lanes, and intersections.

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