Scott Wiener

February 2015 Newsletter

Office Phone: 415-554-6968
Email: scott.wiener@sfgov.org
Website: www.scottwiener.com

Office Hours
Saturday, March 21, 2015
11:00am-1:00pm
Martha & Bros. Coffee
3868 24th Street

NOTE: Occasionally, we need to reschedule office hours.  To ensure that you learn of any changes before making the effort to attend, please check with the office a day or two before or alternatively call the office to put your name on the office hours list so that we can notify you if any changes occur.

Join Me for Pride!
Please join me for the 45th SF Pride Parade on Sunday, June 28th.  Don't miss out on all the colorful and outrageous fun that makes Pride a must-attend event every year.  For those who have never marched in the Parade before, this will be an unforgettable experience.  Friends, families, children and pets are all encouraged to join in the festivities. To join us in the celebration, please email your name, t-shirt size and mobile number to Adam Taylor at adam.taylor@sfgov.org or call my office at 415-554-6968.  Don't miss out on this fantastic, only in San Francisco celebration!


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Elected Chair of County Transportation Authority
Last month, my colleagues elected me to serve as Chair of the County Transportation Authority (CTA).  The Board of Supervisors sits as the CTA. The CTA administers San Francisco’s half cent transportation sales tax, as well as other funds, and plays a critical role in local and regional transportation funding and planning.  I’m honored to serve in this role – in addition to my role on the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission (to which Mayor Lee recently reappointed me) – and look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to improve transportation in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Yes, Supply and Demand Apply to Housing, Even in San Francisco
I recently published a piece on Medium about the applicability of the law of supply and demand to housing in San Francisco and the critical need to produce more housing in our city.  You can read it here.

 

Policy Work

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Scott at the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Luncheon

Late Night Transportation Plan Released
This week, the Late Night Transportation Working Group -- which I convened to address how we can improve access, reliability, service and safety in our late night transit system -- released its Late Night Transportation Plan. Crafted by representatives from the transportation, nightlife, business, labor, and other communities, the Plan lays out both short term and long term goals to ensure that our transportation system can serve the needs of our $4.2 billion nighttime economy. I look forward to continuing to work with the Working Group to make these recommendations happen. We are already seeing improvements, with the recently created BART/AC Transit express Transbay overnight bus line as well as planned improvements to Muni’s overnight bus service later this year. You can click here to read the report.

LGBT Senior Long-Term Care Facility Bill of Rights
LGBT seniors are a particularly vulnerable population due to lifelong experiences of marginalization that place them at greater risk of isolation, homelessness, poverty, and premature institutionalization.  LGBT seniors face particular challenges in some long-term-care facilities, with horror stories about seniors having to go back in the closet, being separated from a partner, and so forth.  To address this challenge, I introduced legislation that will make it illegal to discriminate against patients in long-term care facilities based on their sexual orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression or HIV status. The legislation, which is a recommendation of the LGBT Aging Task Force, defines specific actions as discrimination.  The legislation will be heard at the Government Audit and Oversight Committee on Thursday, March 19th at 10:30 am. 



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Scott at the Chinese Hospital Officers and Trustees Swearing In Ceremony


Kaiser Reverses HIV Drug Cost Hike
Recently, Kaiser Permanente instituted a policy change to reclassify numerous HIV medications as “specialty drugs”, which dramatically increased the cost to patients. After I learned of the change, I met with Kaiser and expressed serious concern about how this would affect people living with HIV – and undermine our strategy to reduce HIV infections -- and announced I would hold an oversight hearing on the subject. Our HIV advocacy community – including Project Inform and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation – also articulated strong concerns.  Thankfully, Kaiser quickly reversed the change and returned to its original, affordable co-pay system. I’m grateful to Kaiser for taking this step, so that our HIV-positive residents will continue to have access to these life-saving medications. Click here to read my statement on the subject. The issue, however, is not resolved, since other health plans continue to hike the cost of “specialty drugs” for patients, and is not limited to HIV drugs.  I’ll be exploring this issue at a hearing and working with advocates and state officials to resolve the issue.

Seismic Upgrades and Allowing New In-Law Units
We need to implement a wide range of solutions to increase housing supply in our city. Last year, I introduced legislation to allow the construction of new in-law units in buildings undergoing seismic improvements.  Last week, the legislation was unanimously endorsed by the Planning Commission, and it will be heard at the Land Use and Transportation Committee next week. For those currently undergoing or planning to undergo seismic renovations who may be interested in the program, please contact the Department of Building Inspection here to find out more.

Monster Homes in Corona Heights
As recently reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Corona Heights neighborhood is seeing a steady stream of projects converting smaller homes into massive homes.  Corona Heights is a beautiful and rustic neighborhood, with homes nestled in wooded lots.  I’m a big proponent of building more housing in San Francisco, but the goal is to add more housing units. Converting regular-size homes into massive homes doesn’t create new housing. I recently introduced legislation to address the issue, not by banning these expansions but rather requiring projects with dramatic expansions that don’t add new units to seek a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission. The legislation won’t impact more traditional home renovations and expansions designed to accommodate growing families.  The legislation will help ensure that developers and property owners are working with neighbors to build in a responsible way that does not dramatically impact the character of our neighborhoods.


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Scott at the IBEW Local 6 Electrical Workers Minority Caucus

Planning Code Improvements: Signs, Code Clean-Up, and Disability Access
Over the past month, I’ve authored several pieces of successful legislation to improve our Planning Code.  The first tightens controls on billboards, provides for modernization of rules governing business signs and awnings, and updates and consolidates definitions in the Planning Code to improve consistency and enforceability.  The second creates a process for a person with a disability to apply for a reasonable accommodation from the Planning Code in order to eliminate barriers to housing. This measure is important because it ensures that people can age in place and that people with mobility or other disabilities have the same access to housing as everyone else.

Urban Forest Master Plan Passes Board
Our street trees have long suffered from both a lack of resources and policy vision. The Board of Supervisors recently passed my legislation to adopt the San Francisco Urban Forest Master Plan, which sets the City’s long-term strategy to ensure the ongoing health and sustainability of the city’s street trees.  The Plan identifies polices and strategies to proactively manage and grow the city’s street tree population and makes a key finding that the city’s current program of transferring street tree maintenance responsibility to property owners is a short-sighted solution and ultimately to the detriment of our urban forest. I am convening working group to determine how we can create a permanent funding source to allow the city to reassume long-term care of our trees.

Resolution Supporting Statewide Ban on Sale of Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn
Poaching elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns is despicable behavior, and the only way to end these actions is to eliminate the market for ivory and rhino horn. I authored a resolution at the Board – co-sponsored by Supervisor Katy Tang – in support of Assembly Bill 96, co-authored by Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara.  AB 96 will prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horns in California and close loopholes that have allowed the trade to thrive, particularly ivory sales in San Francisco.


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Scott moderating a panel after a showing of the Case Against 8

Long-Term HIV Survivors Transitioning From Disability: Hearing and Report
Those in our community who have been fortunate enough to survive with HIV are now facing a new challenge: transitioning from private disability to social security as they reach the age of 65. Because social security provides lower financial benefits than private disability policies, many HIV survivors are facing difficult financial circumstances that may compromise their ability to ensure basic needs like housing. To better understand the impacts and needs of this situation, I asked our Budget and Legislative Analyst to prepare a report, and on April 1, I will be holding a hearing on the report and what the city can do to support this population. You can read the report here

Measles Vaccine Resolution
The current spread of measles has made clear the dangers of allowing children to go unvaccinated. There is no scientific basis for failing to vaccinate our children, and the risk we take on by allowing this to happen is a public health problem. To address this, State Senator Richard Pan has introduced Senate Bill 277, which will end California’s vaccine exemption loophole. I’m supportive of this bill, and I introduced a resolution  at the Board of Supervisors this week in support of it. We should be moving forward in our fight against infectious disease, not backwards.

 

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

BeBe Sweetbriar
African-American History Month Honoree

At this month's African-American History Month Celebration at the Board of Supervisors, I honored Bebe Sweetbriar. Bebe has been a strong leader in our community for years, and I was proud to recognize her for all the work she does to make San Francisco a more dynamic and accepting place.

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Scott recognizing Bebe, along with Supervisor David Campos and Sister Roma from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence


COMMUNITY UPDATES

Dolores Park Construction Update
Construction at Mission Dolores Park is still moving ahead, despite the recent vandalism to the construction site during the weekend of February 14. The vandalism caused about $100,000 in damage and will likely delay the reopening of the north side of the park.  The majority of the damage was incurred when the vandals hot-wired the construction equipment and drove across the newly installed turf and concrete, damaging the equipment, the new grass lawn, and portions of newly-placed concrete that hadn’t fully cured. The vandals broke portions of the irrigation system, crashed into building and site walls, and started a fire in the new maintenance yard.  Two arrests were made by the San Francisco Police Department. The contractor is still assessing the damage and the ramifications to the project’s schedule. 

  • The project is moving ahead, despite this interruption, and important highlights include:
  • The North Restroom is 99% complete – new toilets, sinks, and hand dryers have all been installed.  Providing new and larger restrooms was one of the most important goals of the project and we are excited to have realized this.
  • The clubhouse will start demolition on Monday, and will last about 1 month. The construction fences have shifted in order to include a safe and secure perimeter around the building during this demolition.
  • The Operations Building is complete and the Rec and Park team is moving in.
  • The final stretches of pathways will be paved in the next 1-2 weeks.
  • The site lighting is almost complete, and site signs and furnishings will be installed shortly.

Pink Saturday
Earlier this month, the Sisters informed me that they have decided not to sponsor Pink Saturday this year. I completely respect the Sisters' decision, which they made after thorough community outreach and thoughtful deliberation. I'm extremely grateful for the many years of hard work the Sisters put in to Pink Saturday. The Sisters managed the event through some very trying years, and they did it solely because of their passion for the community. We all owe the Sisters a big "thank you."

Now that the Sisters have informed the city that they will not be managing this year's Pink Saturday, I'm in conversation with the Mayor's Office, the Police Department, MTA, and others about next steps. We very much want Pink Saturday to continue, likely as an event that begins and ends earlier than before. We believe an earlier start and end time will address a number of the problems the event has experienced in recent years.

Particularly in light of a possible pro-marriage Supreme Court ruling in late June, Pride weekend is likely going to be even bigger than normal. We have to be prepared, and that means prepared for Pink Saturday as well. Over the next two weeks, I will be working with the Mayor's Office and other city departments, in consultation with the Sisters, to determine how Pink Saturday will be managed and by whom. I'm optimistic that we will have a path forward. Stay tuned.


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Scott at the Imperial Court 50th Anniversary Gala



COMMUNITY CALENDAR

4th Annual Community Roast/Tribute of Donna Sachet
Friday, February 27th
7:00pm
Beatbox, 314 11th Street
Join me as for a night of celebrating and ribbing the lovely Absolute Empress XXX, “The” Leather Empress and “The” First Lady Donna Sachet. Cocktail reception at 7:00pm, following by the roast and tribute at 8:00pm. $20 suggested donation. Click here for more. 

Setting Goals for San Francisco Playgrounds: A Community Design Forum
Saturday, February 28th
9:00am
Mission Playground Clubhouse, 19th and Linda Streets
The San Francisco Parks Alliance is holding a Community Design Forum to learn what YOU want to see in your playgrounds! What is your vision for San Francisco's playgrounds? What experiences would you like to help the city's children enjoy? Everyone who cares about playgrounds is welcome: Parents, children, grandparents, community members, landscape architects, child development experts, and more. This is the first time San Francisco residents have had the opportunity to get together and talk about what you'd like to see for playgrounds citywide. Click here for more. 

Cookie Dough: A Celebration of Life
Sunday, March 1st
6:00pm
Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street
Join Heklina, Peaches Christ, Sister Roma, BeBe Sweetbriar, Fernando Ventura, Greg Sherrell, Pollo Del Mar and many more to celebrate the life and legacy of Cookie Dough. The event is free, and a portion of bar proceeds will go to Cookie’s husband, Michal Chu. Click here for more. 

LGBT Business Builder: San Francisco
Monday, March 2nd
PG&E Auditorium, 245 Market Street
The LGBT Business Builder is an historic national initiative in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The purpose of this initiative is to remove barriers and increase access to strategic growth opportunities for America’s LGBT business owners. Join NGLCC and SBA for the inaugural LGBT Business Builder event in San Francisco. For more details, click here

The 2015 Nitey Awards
Monday, March 2nd
6:00pm-10:30pm
The Grand Ballroom at the Regency Center, 1300 Van Ness Avenue
The San Francisco Nightlife Awards, The Niteys, celebrates excellence in creative content and patron experience in the Nightlife Industry. Cocktail Reception begins at 6:00pm, show to start at 7:30pm. The After Party will take place in the Sutter Room downstairs following the awards show. For tickets and details, click here.  

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Scott at the Tet Festival celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year

 

The Bay Lights 2 Year Anniversary
Tuesday, March 3rd
6:00-8:30pm
Pier 24
Come check out the Bay Lights and celebrate their two year anniversary. They will be taken down for the rest of the year so you won’t want to miss this! For details at the Bay Lights website.

Buena Vista Park Volunteer Workday
Saturday, March 7th
9:00am-12:00pm
Next to the Children’s Playground above Buena Vista West at Waller Street
Please join neighbors and other Buena Vista Park supporters as we help care for our Park. As usual, we’ll meet at 9:00am next to the Children’s Playground above Buena Vista West at Waller Street.  Wear sturdy shoes, long pants, long sleeved shirt and bring gloves if you have them (or Rec & Park will provide). More details here

Happy 5th Birthday Hard French!
Saturday, March 7th
2:00-8:00pm
El Rio, 3158 Mission Street
Free BBQ till it’s gone! Featuring special guests: DJ Bus Station John (Disco Daddy), Wam Bam, Ashleyanne (KALX), Larsupreme, Paul Paul (Soul Party). You and your best friend are invited to help us kick off YOUR 5th Hard French Season on the patio at El Rio. Event details here.

Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade
Saturday, March 7th
5:15pm
Second and Market Streets
Let’s welcome in the New Year of the Ram, the 8th sign of the Chinese Zodiac. All ages welcome to this colorful parade. Get ready to see dancing dragons and hear firecrackers, it will be a festive day! More details here

Sunday Streets Embarcadero
Sunday, March 8th
10:30am-4:00pm
Embarcadero: Taylor to King Street
Bring your bikes, skateboards, rollerblades and more to the Embarcadero for a car free afternoon of activity and fun. Click here for more details. 

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Scott joining the Friends of the Urban Forest for a street tree planting

 

Castro Farmers Market Grand Opening
Wed, March 11th
5:00-6:00pm
Market and Noe Streets
Come enjoy delicious fresh food in your district! It will be open every Wednesday, 4:00-8:00pm starting March 11until mid-December. More details here

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Saturday, March 14th
11:30am-2:00pm
Second and Market Streets
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrates and showcases Irish community, Irish culture and character in all its forms. Featured groups from throughout the Bay Area’s Irish community including schools, youth organizations, labor unions, cultural groups, as well as the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments will march down Market Street. Again this year, the popular Festival will be held at Civic Center Plaza, in front of City Hall before, during and after the Parade. The Festival gives you an opportunity to learn more about Irish history and culture. There will be live music, Irish food and Beverages, dancing and cultural and business exhibits for the entire family to enjoy. Click here for more information.  

33rd Annual Auction and Children’s Art Show
Saturday, March 14th
5:00pm
San Francisco County Fair Building, Hall of Flowers, 1199 9th Avenue
Rooftop Alternative preK-8 School is celebrating 43 years of serving Bay Area elementary children and their families. Doors open to the public at 5:00pm. First silent auction table closes at 6:30pm. Live auction program begins at 8:30pm. More details here

Folks for Polk Pub Talk
Wed, March 18th 
7:30pm – 9:00pm
Location TBD
Join the Supervisor and discuss accessible and safe transit options around Polk St. More information here

Elvira Dayel Office Art Reception
Thursday, March 19th
5:30pm
San Francisco City Hall, Room 274
Please come to the District 8 City Hall office for an office art reception for Elvira Dayel. Elvira has generously lent me her artwork to be displayed in our office. Nosh and refreshments will be provided. More details about the artist here.

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Scott honoring the 3900 block of 20th Street Neighborhood Watch at the Neighborhood Empowerment Network Awards

Buena Vista Park Capital Improvement Plan Meeting #2
Tuesday, March 24th
6:30pm
Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way
Buena Vista Park is both a central and critical natural resource to San Francisco and its residents. As such the Departments of Public Works and Recreation and Park are embarking on a planning effort to identify both long- and short-term strategies to help sustain and improve the park. The final outcome will identify and prioritize several critical small short-term projects. The next meeting will be to discuss a refined menu of potential projects based on feedback from the first meeting, held on February 10th. The meeting will be held at the Randall Museum in the Buckley Room. Click here for more info. 

SF LGBT Center Soiree
Saturday, March 28th
6:00pm
City View at The Metreon, 35 4th Street
A fun time with live music, food and a silent auction, the largest fundraiser of the year. Buy your tickets now!

19th Annual San Francisco Multicultural Passover Freedom Seder
Tuesday, March 31st
6:30pm
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California Street
Join JCRC, JCCSF and Congregation Emanu-El for the 19th Annual Multicultural Freedom Seder at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. During this multicultural and multifaith seder we celebrate freedom for all with songs, storytelling and a delicious kosher meal. All are welcome! Details here

 


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