Crime & Public Safety
The Southeast has been plagued by repeated episodes of violent crimes, ranging from street muggings of our vulnerable elderly to
shooting deaths involving our youths. And while our fearful residents hunker down indoors for safety, our police are left hard pressed to
cope with a public safety situation that, at its core, is only partly a law enforcement matter. Our police can only deal with the
symptomatic outbreaks of violent crimes, but in order to tackle the causal factors (e.g.: poverty, lack of education / job skills, substance
abuse), they need our help.
I will push for a committed investment of City resources to support community based intervention programs that target the underlying
causes of crime and violence. I believe employing a comprehensive approach (domestic violence prevention, substance abuse
and workforce development programs) strategy is the key to providing the social / political support necessary to effectively augment the
SFPD’s law enforcement efforts.
I am also a strong supporter of “Community Policing” principles that foster a strong supportive relationship between police officers and
our community residents. I believe that a Community / Police partnership is integral to the campaign to halt violent crimes
within our community. I believe that the misperception, held by some, of our police being akin to some hostile, para-military force
occupying our community is, in large measure, the result of the poor political leadership demonstrated by the incumbent, Maxwell.
My personal experience within my own Portola neighborhood has shown me that, when our community leaders have used a constructive
engagement approach, police, in turn, have demonstrated an active commitment to the welfare of our community. Accordingly in the
case of Portola, Bayview Station officers have regularly provided crime and safety reports to community groups; they implemented a
permanent foot patrol beat for the busy San Bruno Avenue commercial corridor; and they implemented special undercover operations
to address the robberies, assault and narcotics dealing incidents that plagued the community.
As your Supervisor, I will actively work with district community leaders and police officials to fully implement the principles of
“Community Policing”, in order to develop the positive public safety environment so desperately desired and deserved by our community
Our District 10 is one of the most diverse communities within San Francisco; in fact, the Portola, Visitacion Valley, and Silver Terrace
neighborhoods are home to large populations of Chinese American residents. As such, it is absolutely essential that the District 10
serving Bayview and Ingleside Police Stations be adequately staffed with bilingual (Cantonese speaking) officers.
I believe that bilingual foot patrol officers can play a key role in encouraging our non-English speaking residents to overcome
cultural reticence that hinder police efforts to protect and serve them. Our Chinese American residents, particularly, have frequently
been the victims of vicious hate-crimes; bilingual capable officers can effectively build bridges between those residents and the
various other ethnicities that comprise District 10. To that end, I am proud to note my successful efforts, through my leadership position
on the District 10 Council, to secure the permanent assignment of a bilingual foot-patrol beat officer for San Bruno Avenue.
Sadly, during a period of high profile law enforcement incidents, rather than lead our district residents – who sought police
accountability – into constructive engagement approaches, the incumbent Maxwell had chosen to instead pander to anti-police
sentiments. The incumbent’s demonizing and scape-goating rhetoric served only to undermine the professional image of the
untarnished and caring officers, who comprise the vast majority of our police force.
Certainly I understand the need for, and do support, a fair and balanced process of inquiry into alleged incidents of police misconduct.
However, the extreme slowness of that process, has too frequently fostered a misperception of “justice delayed, is justice being denied”.
Accordingly, I will work to implement a more effective accountability process for timely reporting on the status and findings of
official inquiries into allegations of police abuse or misconduct. By utilizing direct outreach channels through our many standing
community groups – most especially the R.O.S.E.S. (Residents of the Southeast Sector) and Visitacion Valley Police / Community
Relations forums – premature judgments and speculations of conspiracies are stopped from festering and further straining relations
between our residents and our police department.
COMMENTARY ON MAWELL’S POLICING DECISIONS
As a fraud investigator by profession myself, I believe that all allegations of police misconduct or abuse should be thoroughly
investigated and, if substantiated, the perpetrators should be appropriately disciplined and / or dismissed from the force. To properly
administer these matters, it is essential that the Police Commission be comprised of unbiased, quality commissioners. However, the new
– Maxwell supported – selection process for commissioners has only served to politicize the Police Commission; and its own
accountability no longer rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Mayor, but rather is now diffused (less effective) among the eleven
district Supervisors and Mayor.
Maxwell’s notion for a Police Advisory Board, however, would only compound the negative consequences of the re-designed Police
Commission. Under pressure to deflect criticism for her lack of leadership during District 10’s violence crisis, Maxwell proposed creating
a 23 member citizen advisory panel to set police policies. However impressive sounding this may seem, this empty proposal would only
impose an additional bureaucratic overlay of more people talking about the problems, but would be powerless to implement solutions.
In fact, this panel would only serve to confuse and undermine the Police Commission’s primary function, which is being the body
responsible for setting police policies.
Most alarmingly, Maxwell has failed to protect our vulnerable, innocent children, when she voted against Supervisor Tony Hall’s
legislation that enhanced parents’ ability to protect against high risk sex-offenders. This rational and empowering measure easily passed
on a 9-2 vote, with only Maxwell and Supervisor Chris Daly voting against it.
Our Public Health system is stretched to its seams, with neighborhood health clinics and pharmacies being overtaxed and
threatening closure. Typically, residents have to wait five months for an appointment at our public health clinics. Thirty percent of
people that use General Hospital’s emergency room get turned away because of overcrowding and understaffing. And, as any
uninsured resident that has had to endure hours long waits and shoddy treatment can attest, patient-customer service standards
Contrary to the general perception, however, San Francisco does not have a revenue problem; its budget of over $5 billion dollars
is more than sufficient to pay for the city’s civic responsibilities, such as our public health system. In fact, San Francisco has a
budget the size of Los Angeles which has a population 9 million, yet we only have 750,000 people.
The problem has been caused by our present Supervisors’ lavish misspending of city funds upon nonessential programs; they
then, in turn, look to raising your taxes. In 2004 and, again, in 2005, Maxwell supported ill conceived measures for raising
sales taxes, in order to cover the funding shortfall she, and other Supervisors, negligently created.
It is my fervent belief that before city officials delve into the wallets of San Franciscans, they should sufficiently demonstrate
prudence and efficiency in their own spending decisions. As your Supervisor, I will work to get our city’s fiscal house in
order, with spending constrained and prioritized to meet first the city’s obligatory civic responsibilities.
EQUITABLE INDIGENT CARE
Since 2000, I publicly advocated reducing the burden upon our General Hospital, and other county health facilities, by ensuring that
tax-exempt (non-profit) private hospitals shoulder their fair share of the financial costs of providing care for indigent
patients. Some of these hospitals, such as Sutter Health, operate under favorable tax-exempt terms, but devote less than 1% of
their care to charity cases; they should, at minimum, devote 3% (national average) of their resources to indigent care.
Subsequently in 2001, the Board of Supervisors authorized the Department of Public Health to require hospitals to report on the
amount of charity care they provide and to report on their policies regarding such care, and to tell patients what free services are
available. As your Supervisor, I will double exiting efforts to redress any unfair inequities that can serve to relieve the strain
upon our Health Centers and at General Hospital.
Frequently, hospital charges for both insured and uninsured patients are referred to collection agencies within weeks of receiving
treatment, harming their credit and not allowing uninsured patients time to seek coverage from programs they may be eligible for
or to arrange their finances. As your Supervisor, I will work to tighten consumer protection laws regarding how patients
are treated with respect to financial obligations resulting from hospital treatment. As such, I supported the 2003 State Assembly
Bill No: AB 232. This measure required each hospital to develop a self-pay policy that specifies how hospitals determine prices to
be paid by self-pay patients, limits these prices for patients below specified income levels, and establishes limits on billing and
collection activities of hospitals and their agents.
It is well established that a both medically effective, as well as, cost effective means to alleviate the burdens faced by our Public
Health system is through preventative care medicine. By identifying chronic illness risk factors and focus upon what can be done
to reduce these illnesses and improve the quality of life, we are able to stave off unnecessary demands placed upon our
emergency medical resources. As such as your Supervisor, I will support the expansion of preventative health care, and
encourage residents to avail themselves of timely medical services, and enlist the financial and technical support of federal
Relatedly as your Supervisor, I also support extending the Healthy Kids program to provide health coverage to all
uninsured children and youth not eligible for other public health programs, and the expansion of City employee health plans to
include coverage of Traditional Chinese Medicine and alternative therapies. I will work for legislation requiring health
insurers to cover prescription contraception. And I will work for legislation that facilitates HIV research and prevention efforts
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
As your Supervisor, I support the maintenance of long term care facilities for the severely mentally ill, such as San
Francisco’s Mental Health Rehabilization Facility (MHRF). The MHRF is a sanctuary from the “revolving door” cycle where mentally
ill persons suffer mental breakdowns on the streets and are then taken to emergency psychiatric wards, only to be turned out
again to the streets, shortly afterward. The MHRF is where residents receive the intensive care and monitoring needed to hasten
their recovery and make their shattered lives whole again – 90% of residents are successfully returned back to the community.
While I recognize that MHRF’s are expensive state-of-the-art facilities, I believe they are cost effective in the long term, since
more costly emergency room visits are eliminated – and are certainly more humane than warehousing our vulnerable residents in
inadequate out-of-town acute-care facilities.
An especially important aspect of our mental health treatment programs is to ensure they are relevant to the unique cultural
needs of our diverse populations of African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic patient residents, as well as, those
of Caucasian origin. Relatedly, I also support the expansion of the pilot treatment program at Visitacion Valley Middle school for
children with serious emotional disturbances. Jointly operated by Mental Health Services and the San Francisco Unified School
District this program has successfully served the special needs of seriously mentally disturbed youths.
During the last six years of the incumbent’s tenure as Supervisor, San Francisco has had worst problem with
Hardcore homelessness in the entire nation. Many of those victims of homelessness were found scattered
throughout our own District 10. Yet not only did Maxwell not attempt her own initiative to address their plight, but
she, in fact, voted to block the implementation of the bold, voter supported, Proposition N (Mayor Newsom’s
“Care-not-Cash”) program. Maxwell’s support for a diluted, half measure intended to thwart the expressed will of
the voters at large, only served to delay action and perpetuated the cycle of misery for our homeless residents.
COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH PLAN
I publicly supported Mayor Newsom’s homeless initiative because it employs a comprehensive approach that cuts
to the core of the problem rather than nibble around its edges, as had been done by the prior piece-meal
measures. The Newsom plan was modeled upon New York’s successful unified (comprehensive) homeless plan.
Although New York City's population is 10 times that of San Francisco's, as a result of this approach it now has
fewer hard-core homeless than San Francisco.
The key to the New York model was vigorous enforcement of existing laws against panhandling, loitering and living on
the street, while creating enough shelter for everyone who was rousted. Their persistence in keeping them moving paid off, as
the more intransient core of homeless, when offered the choice of shelter or moving, finally went indoors.
The key component, in the Comprehensive Approach Plan, to keeping chronically homeless off the streets is to have a
place for them to go – supportive housing units and shelters. When the most needy (the hard-core 3, 000) are focused upon for
service, a visible reduction in the number of homeless on the streets results.
Supportive Housing means making sure there is a bed for everyone in need, with comprehensive services right there in the
building to treat the drug, alcohol and mental problems that afflict many of the chronically homeless. The added benefit of
this approach is that it also saves money in the long term. For instance, a one day stay in the hospital by an indigent costs
taxpayers about $900 – about the same cost as keeping that person in supportive housing for an entire month.
Creating enough supportive housing for San Francisco’s most chronic cases is estimated to cost about $450 million, according to
the San Francisco Department of Human Services. However, by smartly creating a comprehensive plan, demonstrating concrete
progress, as New York had, we are able to tap more federal and state money to subsidize our investment in our most needy.
Of the estimated $450 million required to create our city’s supportive housing needs, $150 million of that would come from city
funds, while $300 million would come from state and federal sources. Afterward, about $30 million a year will be needed to
maintain the units.
|Active supporter of Mayor's