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Mayor London Breed Launches New Street Team To Stop Drug Overdoses

Mayor London N. Breed, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), and the San Francisco Fire Department launched on August 2 a new Street Overdose Response Team (SORT) that, along with other overdose prevention initiatives in the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget, aims to lower the record number of drug overdoses in the City.



Pills on a spoon with a wooden bottom and white background; Photo courtesy Michael Longmire via Unsplash

Like many communities throughout the country, San Francisco has seen a rapid increase in drug overdoses in recent years due to the proliferation of the powerful, synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.

Among those most at risk are people experiencing homelessness, whose rate of overdose deaths has doubled in the past year and account for at least one-quarter of all overdose deaths in the City. Additionally, data shows that over 50% of people who die from a drug overdose had prior contact with Fire Department EMS personnel.

In response, the City is urgently rolling out new interventions. Chief among them is SORT, which will proactively identify, engage, and follow up with individuals who have survived an overdose in order to prevent another, possibly fatal one from occurring.

“We know that overdose deaths are preventable and every person who dies is someone’s son, daughter, friend, or neighbor. It is urgent that we save lives by doing what we know will work best,” said Breed.

“The Street Overdose Response Team is focused on helping people who are most at risk get the help they need to start their recovery. SORT is part of a package of new and expanded investments we are making this year to flatten the curve of the drug overdose epidemic and even lower the numbers of these tragic deaths.”

The City is investing $13.2 million this year in overdose prevention that in addition to SORT include:

  • Opening the SOMA RISE Center this fall to provide 20 temporary beds for people who are intoxicated to come in safely off the streets and be connected to care and services, including housing.
  • Expanded access to buprenorphine through telemedicine, increasing the hours at DPH’s Behavioral Health Pharmacy and delivery of buprenorphine to “high risk” housing sites and other locations.
  • Round-the-clock hours at the Market Street Clinic, an opioid treatment clinic at Civic Center that provides on-demand services for methadone, buprenorphine, and counseling and primary medical care.
  • Widespread distribution of naloxone to settings such as hospitals, primary care clinics, substance use treatment programs, housing sites, and public settings like food pantries and dining halls – anywhere substance users access services.
  • Expansion of the evidence-based efforts to incentivize people to continue addiction treatments.

In 2018, DPH’s Street Medicine team was the first in the nation to bring opioid treatment directly to people experiencing homelessness with substance use disorders. The Street Overdose Response Team (SORT) builds on San Francisco’s successful street outreach model of care, which also includes the Street Crisis Response Team.

Specifically, SORT is tasked with connecting with people in the moment they are being resuscitated, and as they come out of hospitals, clinics or other settings from drug overdoses, and offering them services that address substance use disorders.

These include the opioid use disorder medicine buprenorphine, which not only helps wean people off opioids but can also directly prevent overdoses; rescue kits that include the opioid-blocker naloxone; educational materials; and support getting into substance use treatment facilities, housing or shelter as a safe exit from the streets.

The team launched on August 2 with an initial crew consisting of a street medicine specialist from the Department of Public Health and a community paramedic from the Fire Department who will provide immediate care and support within 72 hours of an overdose.

Later this fall, SORT will ramp up to include ongoing and regular care and case management for individuals experiencing homelessness who have survived an overdose with additional capacities such as ongoing medication treatment, primary care and mental health services, and referrals to residential care and other treatment programs.

At full expansion, SORT will consist of specialists with a range of expertise who can meet a patient’s unique needs, including medical specialists such as doctors and nurses; behavioral health specialists including counselors and psychotherapists, and peer counselors with related, lived experience.

“People who survive an overdose are at heightened risk for a subsequent overdose, including a fatal overdose,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “With the Street Overdose Response Team, we can take a targeted and coordinated approach to reach people who need help the most and provide tailored information and care to save lives.”

SORT will respond citywide to overdose calls, initially 12 hours a day, and by early 2022 when fully deployed, will operate 24/7. Patients are identified by hospitals, the 911 system (such as dispatch, and fire or ambulance crews), through referrals from community partners, and other sources. The teams will make sure no one is lost follow up, and in collaboration with other street outreach teams and a network of providers, can find and maintain contact with patients over time. The team anticipates building its case list to approximately 700 individuals within the first year of operations.

“Every day our paramedics, EMTs, and fire fighters respond to dozens of overdose incidents, some of which end in tragedy despite our best efforts,” said San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson. “Because of this, the Fire Department is uniquely situated to lead the initial identification, engagement and outreach to individuals suffering from opioid use disorder. The Street Overdose Response Team builds on the City’s expanding efforts to actively engage our most vulnerable populations. Our Community Paramedics are impactful, street-level providers who will bring coordinated care directly to those in need.”

Previously, people experiencing homelessness with substance use disorders did not receive a proactive approach and depended on their actively seeking out care from the City’s behavioral health system. SORT is part of the approach directed by the Mental Health SF legislation, which passed in 2019, to guarantee mental health care to all San Franciscans who lack insurance and prioritize people who are experiencing homelessness.

The legislation provides services and coordinated support to people experiencing homelessness who have mental health and substance use disorders.

     The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Communication is the source of this report.

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Barbara Lee

San Diego Supervisor Nora Vargas Endorses Barbara Lee for Senate

Supervisor Nora Vargas, the first Latina ever to Chair the San Diego Board of Supervisors, has endorsed Barbara Lee for Senate, the Lee campaign announced. “As a healthcare and education champion I am thrilled to support Congresswoman Barbara Lee for US Senate,” said Vargas.



Nora Vargas. Courtesy photo
Nora Vargas. Courtesy photo

First Latina Chair of SD Board of Supervisors Supports Lee’s Historic Campaign for Senate

Supervisor Nora Vargas, the first Latina ever to Chair the San Diego Board of Supervisors, has endorsed Barbara Lee for Senate, the Lee campaign announced.

“As a healthcare and education champion I am thrilled to support Congresswoman Barbara Lee for US Senate,” said Vargas.

“She is exactly the type of advocate Californians need in the US Senate. Her track record of always tackling the tough issues while lifting people up and making sure everyone’s voice is heard is what we need from our next Senator. I am very excited to endorse Barbara Lee for US Senate and to work with her to advance our communities.”

Vargas was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2020 and quickly became known as a champion for veterans, children, and seniors. She is also the co-chair of the county’s COVID-19 subcommittee, chair of the San Diego Association of Governments Transportation Committee, as well as of the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, and a member of the California Air Resources Board.

“Supervisor Vargas has been an excellent example of why representation matters,” said Congresswoman Lee. “The lens she brings to the Board as the first Latina Chair has clearly helped inform her work to put families first in San Diego and made her an exceptionally effective representative. I am honored by her support in my campaign for Senate and I am eager to partner with her to deliver progressive change for San Diego.”

Supervisor Vargas joins a growing list of high-profile current and former elected officials from around the state who have endorsed Lee’s campaign for Senate, including five of the eight statewide constitutional officers – Attorney General Rob Bonta, Treasurer Fiona Ma, Controller Malia Cohen, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

Other national and California endorsers of Lee’s campaign include Congressmembers Jamaal Bowman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steven Horsford, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Troy Carter, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Nikema Williams, Jim Clyburn, Bennie Thompson, Lucy McBath, Terri Sewell, and Gregory Meeks; former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Cedric Richmond, former Georgia General Assembly House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams; State Senators Susan Talamantes Eggman, Anna Caballero and Nancy Skinner; Assemblymembers Isaac Bryan, Mia Bonta and Corey Jackson; Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, Redlands Mayor Eddie Tejeda, Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Karina Quintanilla, Dolores Huerta, California Democratic Party Asian Pacific Islander Caucus Chair Deepa Sharma, California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Chair Emeritus Amar Shergill, California Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus Co-Chair Emeritus Tiffany Woods. A full list of endorsements is available at

Lee also has the backing of the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, the California Legislative Black Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, Feminist Majority PAC, Black Women Organized for Political Action PAC, Higher Heights for America, the San Diego County Young Democrats, Gen Z for Change, and the Working Families Party.

There are currently no Black women serving in the U.S. Senate. Since 1789, when the first Congress met, only two African American women have been in the Senate, serving a total of 10 years.

For more information on Barbara Lee and her campaign for U.S. Senate, visit

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Bay Area

WCCUSD Unveils Fingerprinting Party Dates for Volunteer Badges

The WCCUSD is hosting a series of six fingerprinting parties at different district schools in September, October and February. Reportedly, the process takes little time investment, the volunteer badges are free, and the visits are drop-in — meaning, no appointment is necessary.



Photo by Kathy Chouteau.

By Kathy Chouteau, Richmond Standard

Are you a parent, legal guardian, or community member who wants to volunteer at a West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) school or event?

If so, first, you need to get fingerprinted and badged at one of the district’s upcoming fingerprinting “parties.”

The WCCUSD is hosting a series of six fingerprinting parties at different district schools in September, October and February. Reportedly, the process takes little time investment, the volunteer badges are free, and the visits are drop-in—meaning, no appointment is necessary.

Here’s a rundown on the WCCUSD’s fingerprinting parties, which will all be held on their respective dates from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.:

  • , Sept. 2, Collins Elementary, Multi-Purpose Room (MPR), 1224 Pinole Valley Rd. in Pinole;
  • , Sept. 9, Harding Elementary, cafeteria, 7230 Fairmount Ave. in El Cerrito;
  • , Sept. 16, Lupine Hills Elementary, MPR room, 1919 Lupine Rd. in Hercules;
  • , Sept. 23, Helms Middle School, MPR room, 2500 Rd. 20 in San Pablo;
  • , Oct. 7, Lovonya DeJean Middle School, MPR room, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond;
  • , Feb. 10, Harding Elementary, cafeteria, 7230 Fairmount Ave. in El Cerrito.

Note that prospective volunteers should complete the online application (at BEFORE attending a WCCUSD fingerprinting party. Anyone who already has a WCCUSD volunteer badge does not need to apply for one again. Questions? Contact (510) 307-4526.

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Officer Fired for Shooting and Killing Sean Monterrosa Has Termination Overturned

Michael Rains, attorney for the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association, said that “several credible sources” have told him that Detective Jarrett Tonn’s termination has been overturned in arbitration. 



A billboard near Vallejo Police Department with a sketch of Sean Monterrosa and a message “Justice for Sean Monterrosa” unveiled on Sept. 27, 2020, in Solano County, Calif. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)
A billboard near Vallejo Police Department with a sketch of Sean Monterrosa and a message “Justice for Sean Monterrosa” unveiled on Sept. 27, 2020, in Solano County, Calif. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

By Katy St. Clair
Bay City News

The officer who was fired for shooting and killing a man during George Floyd protests in Vallejo in 2020 could be getting his job back after prevailing in arbitration.

Michael Rains, attorney for the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association, said that “several credible sources” have told him that Detective Jarrett Tonn’s termination has been overturned in arbitration.

Tonn was dismissed from the Vallejo force after he shot Sean Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco, outside of a Walgreens store on Redwood Street during the early morning hours of June 2, 2020.

The Vallejo Police Department has not commented on whether Tonn will return.

Tonn and two other officers were responding to alleged reports of looting at the store in an unmarked pickup truck. Body camera footage shows Tonn, who is seated in the backseat of the vehicle, stick an AR-15-style assault rifle in between the two officers and fire five times through the windshield at Monterrosa as the police vehicle approached the store.

Monterrosa died a short time later.

Vallejo police have alleged that Tonn fired at Monterrosa because he mistook a hammer in Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket for the butt of a gun.

The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta in May 2021 opened an investigation into the shooting, but there have been no updates in that case and Bonta’s office will not comment on open cases.

Tonn was at first placed on administrative leave for the shooting death, but was fired in 2021 by then-Chief Shawny Williams, who determined that Monterrosa was on his knees with his hands raised when he was shot.

Rains, who has represented two other officers fired by Williams — and prevailed — said the reinstatement of Tonn was the right decision. Rains said Sunday that Tonn applied a reasonable and lawful use of force in the Monterrosa case, and that Williams was wrong to terminate him.

“This is just three for three now with Williams,” he said, referring to the now three officers that have gotten their jobs back. “It demonstrates what a colossal failure he was as a chief in every respect. I’m delighted for Tonn, it’s deserved.”

Rains did not represent Tonn in this case.

But others see Monterrosa’s shooting death as a dark stain on a department known for years of shootings by officers.

The law office of John Burris filed a civil rights suit against the city of Vallejo and its Police Department for Monterrosa’s death, citing alleged tampering with evidence and acting negligently by not reprimanding or re-training Tonn previously despite a “shocking history of shooting his gun at civilians.”

Burris’ office is no longer representing the case and the family is now represented by new counsel, John Coyle, with a jury trial scheduled for January 2025, according to court records.

Nevertheless, Burris commented Sunday on Tonn’s reinstatement, saying he was disappointed but not surprised at the move, because arbitrators in these cases are “biased” toward the police.

“Even though police may have committed in this case an outrageous act, it’s not surprising that that has happened, and it happens more times than not,” he said.

When asked if he was confident that Bonta would file charges against Tonn, Burris chuckled and said that he would wait and see.

“I would not hold my breath,” he said.

Tonn had previously shot three people over five years in Vallejo while on duty, none of which were found to have had firearms, a tenth of the 32 total shootings by the department in one decade, according to attorney Ben Nisenbaum.

Vallejo civil rights attorney Melissa Nold, who represents families of people killed by Vallejo police, said the decision to bring back Tonn had been in the works the minute he was terminated by Williams.

“Unfortunately, I am not surprised at this troubling turn of events because a whistleblower notified me last year via email that Tonn was working a deal to get his job back once they threatened and ran off Chief Williams,” Nold said.

Williams resigned abruptly last November. Williams was repeatedly criticized by the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association, the offices’ union, which had previously voted “no confidence” in him and blamed him for everything from attrition to high crime in the city. But advocates for the families of those killed by police said Williams had been making progress in cleaning up a department that had gained international attention for being violent. During Williams’ tenure, there were no police shootings after the Monterrosa death.

Nold places part of the blame on Tonn’s return on the city, which she said “made no effort” to support his termination. Nold said they are still expecting Bonta to file criminal charges against Tonn and there will be a push to get him decertified as an officer as well.

“He cannot ever go back out onto the streets of Vallejo,” she said. “The liability he would create by being here is astronomical, but sadly no one in the city attorney’s office is smart enough to understand and/or are too corrupt and rotten to care.”

In May, a Solano County judge found that the Vallejo City Attorney’s Office broke the law by deliberately destroying evidence in cases related to police shootings.

The city of Vallejo did not respond to a request for comment.

Members of the family of Monterrosa and their advocates are planning on showing up to the Vallejo City Council meeting on Sept. 12 to protest the return of Tonn, Nold said.

The family will also be holding a “Justice 4 Sean Monterrosa” press conference on Thursday at 11 a.m. at Vallejo City Hall, 555 Santa Clara St., Vallejo.

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