Political Bigwigs Descend on DTNA General Meeting
by Erik Honda, DTNA Secretary
The October DTNA General Meeting was a nexus of state and local political power, as former Asssemblymember and now San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu joined State Senator Scott Wiener and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman for a confab. Chiu, who started his political career as a neighborhood association president, has been bringing San Francisco values to the state assembly and intends to preserve those same values as City Attorney, working hard to see citizens’ civil rights protected, and taking down corporate bad guys. He will continue to fight evictions, and to secure funding for affordable housing; this year the Assembly was able to pass $10 billion for affordable housing, plus $4 billion for tenant subsidies to prevent evictions.
Senator Wiener has had a recent run of legislative success. He has always been a legislative powerhouse, but this year he was able to get a ton of bills signed, including SB9 and SB10, which he has been pursuing since he arrived in Sacramento. Wiener pointed out that San Francisco has only a three-person delegation in Sacramento (compared to 30 for LA county), but they are strong – Ting, Chiu, and Wiener, and they get a lot done. This session Wiener would like to give San Francisco more tools to address the 700 people who died of drug overdoses last year. He has spent six years pushing for safe consumption sites, he wants to get usage off the streets, and get folks into treatment. There have been decades of positive outcomes with these facilities in Europe, Canada, and Australia. A vehicle-miles-traveled fee instead of a gas tax is also moving forward.
Supervisor Mandelman sparred with Senator Wiener a bit on the housing issue, saying he is a little bit less hardcore than Wiener on housing, but that he agrees with Wiener that too much local discretion has definitely caused problems, and San Francisco is among the worst places (ironically, shortly after our meeting Mandelman was one of eight Supervisors who voted down a new building South of Market that would have included affordable housing).
Despite the controversy, we adjourned in concord, significantly more knowledgeable because the movers and shakers were engaged with their constituents.