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Mayor London Breed Signs Balanced Budget to Support Economic Recovery, Meet City’s Top Challenges

Two-year budget funds City priorities in supporting a sustained and equitable economic recovery and addressing critical issues that include homelessness, public safety, behavioral health, and youth and family support

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A closeup of a US hundred dollar bill (Benjamin Franklin side). photo courtesy Adam Nir via Unsplash

San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed signed into law the City and County of San Francisco’s balanced budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. The budget advances new investments to support San Francisco’s economic recovery; continue the COVID-19 response; ensure public safety; provide behavioral health care; prevent homelessness and transition people into services and housing; create more housing; promote nonprofit sustainability and equity initiatives; and support children, youth and their families.

Announced on July 29, the annual $13.1 billion for FY 2021-22 and $12.8 billion for FY 2022-23 budget will respond to the City’s most urgent needs as it moves forward on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, while preserving long-term financial sustainability.

The final adopted budget follows months of collaborative work with elected officials, City departments, non-profit organizations, neighborhood groups, merchants, residents, and other stakeholders.

Breed and her staff conducted a comprehensive public outreach process, consisting of a public meeting to obtain input on budget priorities, two town halls, and online feedback to hear from residents on their priorities and reflect them in the budget.

“I’m excited to be signing this two-year budget today after months of hard work from everyone involved. It is something that we should all be proud of,” said Breed. “With these investments, we are addressing our most pressing issues by prioritizing the residents and businesses that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. This budget will lay the groundwork for our City’s economy and set San Francisco on a path to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

“This is a recovery budget that will provide critical support for our residents and small businesses who are still struggling due to the impacts of this pandemic. It will launch new innovative approaches and provide historic investments to confront the health, mental health, economic, housing, and safety challenges facing our city,” said Supervisors Matt Haney, who serves as the Board of Supervisors Budget Chair. “We are all committed to moving forward to deliver on the commitments and investments made in this budget to improve the quality of life and opportunities for everyone in our city.”

Driving a Sustained and Equitable Economic Recovery and Continuing City’s COVID-19 Response

The final adopted budget invests nearly $525 million over the two years for various initiatives to drive and accelerate the City’s economic recovery, while also supporting the City’s COVID-19 response.

Major recovery initiatives include Community Ambassadors and events and activities to enliven San Francisco’s downtown, backfilling the loss of hotel tax revenue for the arts, addressing student learning loss, the Women and Families First Initiative, incentivizing the return of conventions at the Moscone Center, a new Trans Basic Income pilot program, a Free Muni for Youth pilot program, and continuing the JobsNow workforce program and Working Families Credit.

The budget also includes $12 million to support the First Year Free program, which will waive various fees associated with starting a new business in San Francisco, and a $32 million investment to augment the over $90 million in rental relief funds received from the state and federal.

Additionally, the budget includes a $6.4 million annual investment to support the maintenance and expansion of the City’s pitstop program.

Of this total, about $378 million will be spent to continue the City’s COVID-19 shelter response, food security programs, vaccination efforts, testing operations, and the COVID-19 Command Center. Funding will also support community-based COVID-19 recovery programming, specifically targeting resources to populations disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

This funding includes targeted small business support, economic relief, workforce development funds, and various arts, cultural, and recreational programming.

Making Historic Investments in Homelessness and Housing

The final adopted budget includes significant investments to address homelessness in San Francisco and expand the work started through the Homelessness Recovery Plan to create 6,000 placements for people experiencing homelessness.

In total, the budget leverages over $1 billion over the next two years in local, state, and federal resources to add up to 4,000 new housing placements, prevent homelessness and eviction for over 7,000 households, support additional safe parking sites, and fund the continuation of a new 40-bed emergency shelter for families.

All of these investments are in addition to prior commitments. This funding will enable the City to cap all Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) rents in the City’s PSH portfolio at 30% of a tenant’s income.

Supporting Long-Term Economic Justice Strategies

The final adopted budget maintains the City’s $60 million annual investment in the Dream Keeper Initiative, which Breed launched last summer to reinvest City funds in services and programs that support San Francisco’s Black and African American community. The proposed budget also includes funding to waive additional fees and fines paid to the City by San Francisco residents.

Additionally, the budget supports the City’s efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and ensure citywide coordination of equity work. The budget also makes a significant investment in the sustainability of the City’s nonprofit partners with $76.4 million for an ongoing cost of doing business increase.

Expanding Mental Health and Substance Use Support

Continuing on a commitment to help people with behavioral health and substance use issues, the final adopted budget contains approximately $300 million in new investments for behavioral health services. Included in the budget is funding to prevent overdoses through medication assisted treatment, a drug sobering site, and expanded naloxone distribution. The budget also includes funding to support new and existing Street Response Teams, including the Street Crisis Response Team, Street Wellness Response Team, and Street Overdose Response Team.

This investment will fund the City’s plan to add over 340 new treatment beds, provide case management and care coordination for people receiving services, and expand services at the City’s Behavioral Health Access Center. This investment will also provide targeted services for transgender and Transitional Age Youth clients and increase services for clients in shelters and Permanent Supportive Housing.

Investing in Public Safety, Victims’ Services, and Justice Innovations

The final adopted budget makes investments to prevent violence, support victims, and continues the City’s investments in alternative responses to non-criminal activity. The budget includes over $11 million to expand violence prevention programming and funding for victims’ rights, including targeted investments to support community-based violence prevention and intervention work, and to San Francisco’s Asian and Pacific Islander community.

The final budget includes funding to support police staffing levels, funding two 40-person police academies in FY 2021-22 and one 50-person academy in FY 2022-23. The final budget also includes $3.8 million over the two years to support the addition of 10 paramedics to the Fire Department’s ambulance unit.

To strengthen the City’s non-law enforcement response to non-criminal activity, the final budget includes new funding for a Street Wellness Response Team and resources to support call diversion, including a $3 million investment to support other alternative response models.

Supporting Children, Youth, and Their Families

The final budget includes over $134 million over the two years to lay the groundwork for early learning and universal preschool in San Francisco. This includes funding for childcare subsidies, workforce compensation for childcare providers, and child health and wellbeing. The budget also maintains the City’s existing investments in children and youth, invests significant new funding to address learning loss, funds mental health for SFUSD students, and supports the Mayor’s Opportunities for All initiative.

Investing in Capital Projects and Affordable Housing

The final adopted budget includes significant investments in capital and one-time projects, which will create jobs and spur economic recovery. The budget provides $50.6 million to support affordable housing developments in San Francisco. The budget also includes $208 million for projects from the City’s Capital Plan, including street and parks infrastructure improvements, an expansion of fiber to affordable housing, and community facility improvements. The budget also includes funding to replace aging equipment in the Fire and Police departments, as well as funding to purchase a site for an LGBT Cultural Museum.

Ensuring Financial Resilience

The budget makes the above significant investments in a way that is financially responsible. By utilizing funding from the American Rescue Plan and other one-time sources, the City is able to maintain its reserves. This budget preserves the City’s Rainy Day Reserve for future uncertainty and risk. To hedge against future risk and uncertainty, the budget re-allocates unappropriated funds to create two new reserves that will help to manage unforeseen costs due to potential FEMA reimbursement disallowances and to manage future budget shortfalls.

City Government

California Black Caucus Weighs in on Elections for L.A. Sheriff, Sacramento D.A.

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Patrol Car

The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recently endorsed two African American candidates, Alana Mathews and Cecil Rhambo, who are running in high-profile county races in Sacramento and Los Angeles counties next year.

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

“The California Legislative Black Caucus proudly endorses Alana Mathews” said Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. “We are excited about the potential opportunity for her to bring equity, fairness, inclusion and reform to the prosecutor’s seat.”

If Mathews wins, she would be the first Black person and the first Black woman elected D.A. in Sacramento County.

The CLBC’s endorsement was “welcome news” for Mathews, a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento) and Spelman College (Atlanta).

“I’m honored to receive the endorsements from the Black leaders in California. I admire the work that they all do,” Mathews told California Black Media (CBM) on September 18 as she headed to a campaign event. “This is a significant endorsement as we seek more on the local and state levels.”

In Los Angeles County, the CLBC announced its support for Cecil Rhambo, who is running for County Sheriff. That contest will also be held in June 2022.

Rhambo is currently Chief of Airport Police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Chief Cecil Rhambo

Citing Rhambo’s 33-year record as a “respected” public servant, broad law enforcement experience and active involvement in Los Angeles-area communities, the CLBC says it believes Rhambo can help reduce crime in South LA and Compton.

“I’ve known Cecil for many years and as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am confident he would be the Sheriff all of LA could be proud of,” said Bradford. “I know he is the right person to lead the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department during this state and national demand for police reform and accountability, and I trust his commitment to bringing desperately-needed transparency, equity, and integrity to the Department.”

Rhambo helped to develop the Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focuses on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, and the mental health response teams that partnered with psych clinicians county-wide, according to the CLBC.

Rhambo has worked in a number of law enforcement assignments across LA County, including working as an undercover narcotics officer and a deputized federal agent.

He was a lieutenant at Internal Affairs following the Rodney King beating in March 1991. In that role, he helped to create a digital tracking system that could monitor reports of police officer misconduct and use of excessive force.

District attorney candidate Mathews plans to “roll out” more endorsements from other individuals and groups in the upcoming weeks, she told CBM.

Anne Marie Schubert, a former member of the Republican Party, is currently Sacramento’s D.A. Schubert already announced that she has her sights on the Attorney General’s seat in the 2022 election and that she would be running against Rob Bonta who Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed to that role in March.

Mathews spent eight years as a deputy district attorney in Sacramento County, working her way up from misdemeanor jury trials to prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, general felony, and prison crime cases.

She currently works with the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a group of prosecutors committed to reforming California’s criminal justice system through smart, safe, modern solutions that advance public safety, human dignity, and community well-being.

Other races to watch involving challengers of color during the 2022 election cycle include contests for Alameda County district attorney and San Francisco sheriff. Civil rights attorney Pamela Price will run in an open field as current District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is stepping down. And a 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, officer JoAnn Walker, will vie for incumbent Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s seat.

On the campaign trail in Sacramento County, Mathews says she believes working with police is “central” to the D.A. office’s work “but there has been little to no accountability in that office when it comes to police misconduct.”

She wants to change that.

“If you violate the law, you should be held accountable. Without that it undermines trust in the system,” she said.

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Business

Mayor Breed, Supervisor Mar Launch Grant to Support Storefronts Impacted by Vandalism

Up to $2,000 in financial relief available to repair storefront vandalism at neighborhood businesses

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SF Storefront Vandalism Grant Program Banner/Photo Courtesy of City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar announced Wednesday the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant program, which provides up to $2,000 in financial relief to restore and repair damages from vandalism at neighborhood storefronts. The program launches during a time when many small businesses are recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Opening and operating a successful small business in San Francisco was becoming increasingly difficult, and the pandemic has made it that much harder,” said Breed. “It has never been more critical for us to provide support to our small businesses in every way that we can, which not only means making it easier to open and operate a small business, but also providing relief when they face challenges. With the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, we are letting our small business community know that we have their back and will fight to ensure that they can continue operating for years to come.”

The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant provides financial relief to restore small businesses impacted by deliberate actions that result in the destruction or damages of storefronts. This program will offer either $1,000 or $2,000, depending on the total cost incurred to repair physical damages. The $1 million program is designed to serve more than 500 small businesses with gross revenue of less than $8 million that can provide proof of damages from vandalism incurred since July 1, 2020.

The fund will directly support small businesses with financial relief in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done. The fund will also allow small businesses to make improvements that enhance security and prevent crime. This includes replacement locks, a new security gate, fixing an alarm system, adding new lighting, replacing windows, etchings on windows, and many others. Improvements are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, based on fund availability.

The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is one tool in preventing crime and improving safety in neighborhood commercial corridors. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) also funds programs to help small businesses and neighborhood organizations improve safety through ambassadors and activations to increase foot traffic and community patrols. The fund is not meant to replace the loss of stolen goods and does not include damage to shared spaces.

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in burglaries and vandalism in every neighborhood targeting small businesses already struggling with unprecedented economic challenges. As we work to prevent these crimes and strengthen safety on our commercial corridors, we must also respond immediately to provide relief to mom-and-pop businesses with direct and tangible support as they recover from these incidents,” said Mar. 

“Following requests from businesses in the Sunset, I worked with Mayor Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to create the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant and secured an initial $1 million funding allocation,” said Mar. “The fund will provide financial relief to small businesses in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done, including direct costs of property damage or getting a replacement lock or new security measures.”

To apply, eligible businesses are asked to provide receipts, photos of damages and furnish a report from the San Francisco Police Department or from 311 in the case of graffiti. Applications can be found by visiting oewd.org/VandalismRelief.

“On February 26 at 4:00 a.m., a burglar managed to break into my small business without activating the alarm. An hour later an opportunistic looter came into my store and stole additional merchandise. Small businesses are already hurting hard from the pandemic and these crimes are a gut punch to small businesses,” said Michael Hsu, owner of Footprint on Taraval.  

“Since hearing about the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, I’ve put in my application to get up to $2,000 to help provide some relief to my business. We need more programs like this to support small businesses in our neighborhood that are struggling from being victims of burglary and vandalism. I’m thankful for our city leaders for initiating this program. Together with the community and leaders, we will get through these tough times.”

“Since the pandemic, I have heard so many stories from small businesses that have been burglarized or vandalized. As a small business owner, myself, I feel and understand their pain and loss,” said Albert Chow, president of People of the Parkside Sunset, a Taraval merchants and residents association. “The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is a safety net that is critical to ensuring that our small business owners are able to recover.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Francisco has provided immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including making available more than $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 small businesses, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals, and assistance applying for state and federal funding. This includes legislation introduced and signed by Mayor Breed to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants.

“As we reopen and rebuild, many of our small businesses continue to struggle to make ends meet. These challenges can feel almost insurmountable when small businesses also become victims of vandalism” said Kate Sofis, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.  “San Francisco’s Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant will help alleviate the financial hardship caused by deliberate acts of damage to property. It is one of many tools the City has to support our business community and the vibrancy of our neighborhoods as we work together towards economic recovery.”

“The San Francisco Post’s coverage of local news in San Francisco County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.”

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Activism

East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…

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Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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