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tv   [untitled]    July 28, 2013 1:00pm-1:31pm PDT

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♪ ♪ hello, welcome to meet your district supervisor. i'm nona melkonian and we're here with supervisor london breed from district 5 which includes the inner sunset, haight/ashbury, lower haight, western addition, japantown, and part of hayes valley. supervisor breed is one of two new supervisors elected in 2012. today we'll get to know her and talk about the toughest issues facing the city. welcome, supervisor. thank you for joining us today. >> thank you is for having me. >> let's start talking a little about your background, where you drogue up, went to school and what kind of jobs you had in the past. >> well, i grew up in the heart of the western addition. i grew up in public housing in the western addition. my grandmother raised me and my brothers and i went to public schools here in the city.
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ended up at u.c. davis and graduated and immediately returned back to the community and started working for the mayor's office of neighborhood services, and worked on treasure island, and eventually became the executive director of the african-american art and culture complex located in the western addition, a place i participated in programs in the arts as a kid. so, it was really an honor to be able to work directly in the community, to impact so many lives. and i really thoroughly enjoyed that experience. >> you've lived most of your life in san francisco. why did you choose to live in the city? >> i chose because it's my home. it's just a place i love the most. i pretty much only lived outside the city when i went to college and i came home almost every weekend on the greyhound bus. and i just love san francisco. it's an amazing place, it's a beautiful city. it's nothing like coming across that bridge and seeing the city and feeling like, i'm home, or
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coming from any part of anywhere, whether you're on a plane, whether you're on a bus, whether you're in a car, just to see the skyline of the city, it's just always made me feel at peace. and, so, i can't imagine myself living anyplace else. >> what motivated you to get involved in politics? >> well, as i said, i grew up in public housing and i experienced a lot of sad times as some people are still experiencing, whether it's crime and violence, issues of despair, issues of hopelessness. i mean, that still continues to plague many of our public housing residents today. and, so, it's really challenging when this is the way that i pretty much spent most of my life. and when i think about the challenges people still are going through, i know that the only way to make changes to those types of issues is to actually be a part of the decision making body of this city.
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and, so, what motivated me in the past has always been about making sure that i wasn't the only one that had an incredible opportunity to participate in the city, to have a great life in the city. i felt like there were too many of my peers that should have had this same opportunity. and, so, it's a big reason why i decided to participate in politics. >> you mentioned you were the executive director of the african-american arts and culture complex. how has that experience as well as the experience of serving on two commissions prepared you for the board of supervisors? >> well, i did serve on the san francisco redevelopment agency commission and the fire commission and i was really fortunate to run this great center. and all of those experiences, running a nonprofit, being on a commission, working for the city, responding to constituents, doing the kind of things many folks are doing every single day to make our city better -- i mean, i don't see a better preparation than that for becoming a city supervisor.
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the nonprofit world is a very challenging community to work in because of the fund-raising involved, because of the need for such great programs. so, to be in the middle of that and to advocate for an incredible community asset, to work with city departments, to attain funding, i mean the list goes on and on. so, over the years i've been fortunate to develop some incredible relationships with city department heads and other city commissioners who helped me to do some of the great work i've been able to do in the community. so, it's somewhat of a natural progression and i think all of that entails really helped me to be -- it's going to help me in my role as supervisor and it actually helped me get here. >> the district 5 race for supervisor was an especially eventful one this time around. what did you learn amidst all that controversy and all that competition? >> i think that what i learned is that we have an incredible district of people who can see what's genuine, who can see
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when someone really cares and has a heart for the community. and i think that's -- that was demonstrated in who they decided to elect. i mean, regardless of personalities or ideology, what have you, people know when you really care. and i think that came across in my campaign. and, so, what i learned is to respect the voters and respect how they feel about candidates, whether it's me or anyone else. i want to make sure that they are given the options and they are able to make the choice that they choose, and that once the election is over, we move on and do what we need to do to make our city better. >> where do you place yourself on the political spectrum? are you more progressive, centrist, or more on the conservative side? >> that's a really challenging question because, i mean, throughout the campaign i made sure that i didn't define myself as either because i think that what it does is in a lot of ways, it divides our city. i think clearly when you have a desire to run, you have a desire to serve.
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you really care about what happens in san francisco. you just have a different way of which you believe we should go about doing that. and i just think that i don't necessarily see myself in one particular category because i have different feelings about different situations based on my various experiences of growing up in the city. and, so, my, my, my commitment to san francisco trumps any ideaology i might have. i mean, i'm going to need to make decisions that impact people's lives. i have to make sure that i'm being responsible in those decisions and i can't let ideology get in the way of that. >> it seems the city is dealing with complicated issues. what do you feel are the issues facing san francisco right now? >> i think there are a few big issues in particular. my priority is public housing. the fact that it's a neglected community is really a problem for me. the fact that they're still dealing with rodent infest asian and some of the
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challenges of job opportunities, i think this city is a wealthy city. we spend a lot of money on social services in our city. ~ but why are these social services not impacting people's lives the way it's changing people's lives for the better? i want to make sure that we work with residents and we work to help them grow within public housing and to not be plitioned out of the city as a result. i think that's one of the big issues. the other issue is connecting people to job opportunities. long-term employment, stable employment, employment that gives people dignity, that gives them pride. i mean, everyone wants to take care of their family. and sadly, people are sometimes pushed into a life of crime because that's the easy route to obtaining money. i mean, it was really easy for me as a kid to choose to sell drugs because everyone around me was selling drugs. wasn't easy for me to get a job because i didn't have a lot of examples of people working other than my grandmother who was working as a maid, or other
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folks i saw working at the grocery store. so, for me i just felt like, okay, drugs is easier, you can easily go out on the corner and stand and sell drugs. but luckily, because of the mayor's youth employment and training program, i got a job at age 14, started working at the family store, working with some incredible people. and because of that opportunity i'm here today. and i think we need to make these opportunities more readily available to folks in public housing. >> you mentioned working on the redevelopment commission for five years. now that the state has eliminated redevelopment agencies, do you think that the board of supervisors and the mayor is really doing enough to serve the city's housing needs? >> well, i think you can never do enough. i mean, there's still a lot of folks that are homeless. but i do think that san francisco is leading the way to innovative policies that can really help change things for the better post redevelopment. i think that the affordable housing trust fund is a step in
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the right direction and is something that no one else is doing all over the state. i think that the fact that san francisco is so committed to affordable housing, we already had resources where we were invested in affordable housing in the city. but more importantly, we're looking at revamping public housing and how that is a bigger picture of affordable housing long term for san francisco. we're looking at public-private partnerships. i just think san francisco is really leading the way. and could we do enough? you know, i mean, you can never do enough until everyone has a decent, clean, respectable place to live. i think san francisco is clearly leading the way to it that. >> oftentimes city issues and district issues are not one and the same. what are some of the biggest issues you feel are impacting your district? >> well, the challenges of homelessness, of folks that are in the kind of upper haight community, making sure that we are providing resources to this
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population, more aggressively than we have, making sure that we are cracking down on folks who might be breaking the law and making it really challenging for not just other homeless people, but for folk who live in the community, making sure we're activating that area so that families feel safe and being a part of that community. i think that's a huge challenge. the other challenge, one that i dealt with even before i became supervisor, are the access to job opportunities, access to long-term job opportunities, and how do we prepare people who have never worked a job before in their entire life for long-term job opportunities? what does it mean to show up on time? what does it mean to keep your pants pulled up and take off your hat and not talk back to your boss, what does all that mean? i think what we have done as a city is focus too much on, okay, where the opportunities, local hire, which are all great programs. but the part that's missing is how do we get people prepared and how do we keep them
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employed. what are the long-term plan of job opportunities in san francisco look like for local san franciscans? so, i think those are probably two of the most pressing issues and the city overall of course is housing and it's one that we've all taken a lot of steps to try and deal with. >> the city just recently enacted a two-year budget and itals seems the city is dealing with a lot of complicated issues including whether or not to raise fees and taxes and where to make cuts. how would you approach these tough choices? >> well, fortunately i've been in the nonprofit world. i've been actively engaged in the community. i know the programs that are actually effective in serving residents. i understand what the need is from first-hand experience. and, so, i just would want to make sure that i'm paying very close attention to detail, knowing exactly what these programs provide, knowing exactly what's to be the partners, where the wasteful spending, how we can cutback so we can make sure we are funding the programs and the departments that need the money the most.
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so, it's going to be a really delicate balance. i know i have a really challenging job ahead of me. but fortunately there are other supervisors on the budget committee that also have a first-hand experience. so, i think it's going to be a tough budget process, but i think working together and looking at everything, whether it be site visits to programs or digging deep into folks' budget and talking to their -- the people that they serve and a number of other things, it's going to take a well-rounded approach at making these kinds of decisions and so i'm up for the challenge. >> speaking of well rounded approaches, how will you attempt to balance the needs of the district versus the needs of the city as a whole? >> for me that's easy because san francisco, the entire city, is my home. i grew up here. i know -- i went to galileo in the marina, my family lives all over the city. i can't do something that
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positively impacts district 5, but i can make it impact san francisco as a whole. so, whatever decisions i make, it's a no-brainer. i have to make sure that it's going to positively impact the city as a whole. and that's just how i view every decision that i make through that particular lens. >> let's talk a little about your district in particular. what do you hear about transportation from your constituents? is there adequate muni service? >> well, it's funny that you mention muni. [laughter] >> and let me just say this. as someone who caught -- i mean, we caught muni -- when i was growing up in the city, i mean, that's how you got around. and there were some real problems with muni. i've talking about just -- i mean, the buses were always dirty, they were always packed. there was just always some challenges and the city is growing clearly. and we need to look at all modes of transportation and how we allow people to move around the city safely. and part of that is making sure
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that muni is running well. and i know in particular the m judah has been a real challenge. and we have come very close to securing revenue for an additional m judah train, as well as looking at express options and place where the most heavily used bus stops are. so, looking at express trains and other alternatives to make sure that we're moving people around in a more efficient way so that they feel comfortable with using public transportation as their source of transportation. i think everyone in the city is prepared to bike, to use public transportation, to walk, to ride share, but we have to make it a lot more convenient for people. and it's going to be an ongoing improvement process because we're building more housing units. we're bringing more people into the city for job opportunities. but we're not increasing the needs around public transportation and transportation in general as significantly as we are doing those other things. so, we're going to have to take a really hard look at our
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priorities around transportation and really aggressively deal with those things. >> and speaking of safety, what do you hear about crime in your district and are you happy with what the police department is doing and how the city is dealing with crime? >> well, fortunately because of the new academy classes, we actually got a number of additional off certificates in district 5. that has definitely had -- it's had a big impact on the district. i mean, we are way past the point of what we used to be, and that is a place where homicides were happening regularly, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. and sadly, we've lost a lot of young people not only to that sort of violence, but to the criminal justice system. and it's a different district. now we're dealing with iphone thefts and other quality of life issues, home invasions and things like that.
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and i think with the additional police officers and also the foot patrols and some of the things that seem to be happening, especially in the high-crime areas like the lower haight, it's really changed things. it's more of a deterrent when you see police officers walking around, engaged with residents, engaged with business owners. it really helps to change the environment overall. so, yes, we do have issues of crime just like any part -- any other part of the city. i'm just really happy that it's not what it used to be and i think it's a manageable thing. and we just have to deal with it more and add some more academy classes, but also look at programs like sf faith which helps people learn to take care of themselves and each other as neighbors. we have to make sure we're providing opportunities to perpetrators of these crimes and making sure we're prosecuting people who are committing crimes. but more importantly, that we provide these opportunities before they get to the point where they are committing crimes. >> you mentioned the issue of
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homelessness as a big issue in your district. how will you deal with the folks that hang out on haight street and the issue of homelessness? >> well, i think that's a real -- i mean, it's a city-wide issue. and i think part of what we have to do is work together to deal with it, just like public safety. it's a work in progress. it's not something that you fix and then you move on. it's something that you continue to work with. i mean, san francisco is an attractive place to people in general so we're going to get folks from all over, homeless, nonhomeless. and i think part of the balance is making sure that social service agencies that provide support to homeless individuals are available, that they have the resources they need, that they are held accountable to be out there and working and talking to folks who are interested in services. and the other issue is that, you know, we do have sadly an increase in crime and the area as a result of an increase in the homeless population. so, having a police presence which we've had, park station
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has been really active and not only being out there and enforcing the law, but doing what police are not required to do, offering opportunities for services. and, so, i think san francisco is an incredibly compassionate city. and i think our police department has been compassionate. i think our fire department has been compassionate. but also we have to make sure that we are really aggressively making sure that folks are not breaking the law in terms of selling drugs, in terms of using drugs, in terms of just the kinds of things that happen when you break the law. i mean, people who are hanging out, they're just hanging out. there is a.m. nothing wrong with hanging out. i hung out a lot. kids hang out. young people hang out. homeless people hang out. the question is when someone makes it, you know, more than just hanging out and it messes it up for everyone else. so, we have to make sure as a city that we deal with those things appropriately, but we also offer alternatives so that we're not just pushing the homeless issue from one place to the next. but we're actually making sure
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we're taking care of people and offering them alternatives. so, it's going to be a challenging issue and an ongoing issue and one that i'm committed to working with the mayor's office to help address and manage. >> what are your thoughts on the city's economic development? do you think we're on the right track? >> i think we're on the right track, but i think that unfortunately it allows the rich to get richer and it doesn't have a place for the middle class and the poor in our city. and i think that part of what we have to do as a city when people are interested in economic development opportunities in our city, they need to be a part of our city. and it's not just about giving out free gifts or giving out free turkeys or giving out free anything. it's about what type of job opportunities, what type of internships, what type of commitment are you going to have to the most vulnerable residents of our city? how are we going to impact lives? you're basically -- this is a great economic opportunity maybe for you and the city, but
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how does this directly impact residents of the city? so, i think we have to do a better job in making those connections. >> let's talk a little about the issue of sports, the role of sports in the city's economic future. are you supportive of the plans for the new warriors stadium? >> i'm supportive of a plan that includes the residents of this city. specifically, with the warrior stadium, i think it could be a great opportunity for san francisco. but i want to make sure that in the agreement that there are some requirements that make sure that people are not just employed for construction opportunities. they're employed for management opportunities, they're employed for concession opportunities, they're employed with the warriors team. i mean, there's a whole 'nother franchise of opportunities that exists as a result of this particular team. and who are they going after, what folks are they mentoring, or what are -- who are the
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people that are going to be long-term working with the establishment? and, so, i'm more interested in what the long-term relationship is between the warriors and the community, and not just we're going to build a stadium, we're going to be here, we're going to do our thing and everyone is going to go home. what does this mean long-term and how do the residents benefit and how are they connected to this great opportunity? so... >> to what degree do you feel the city should subsidize the team? >> i don't see the city subsidizing the team from my perspective, from what i've seen in terms of the deal. other than potentially the land, which they will pay for eventually. maybe not the entire amount, but i don't think there are any plans for the city to give up anything financially from my perspective. other than potentially land that wasn't going to be used in the first place. but i appreciate the fact that the warriors are focusing on
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private fund-raising and i prefer that they stick to that. i don't think the city should be -- with the situation we're in now, we should be really investing in that and the warriors seem to be committed to privately fund-raising for it and i'm happy that they're stepping up to do that. >> exciting change. >> yes. >> we're almost out of time. but are there any other issues that concern you that we haven't discussed or anything that you plan to concentrate on as your term of supervisor? >> i think one of the things that i really want to concentrate on is making sure that we are collaborating more. because as a city, we're growing. resources are being stretched. and it's going to be important that organizations collaborate. city departments collaborate. that we don't just operate in our own little departments, our own little sections of the city, but how do we come together to make sure that, for example, upper haight with a lot of great businesses, lot of great opportunities for
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internships for young people to grow and work in these particular businesses. so, my goal as supervisor is to begin the process of connecting people so that, you know, we have folks who are living in the community, working in the community, growing in the community, and supporting one another. it's one of the things i care about most and i'm really looking forward to bringing people together as supervisor. >> great. well, it looks like we're out of time so we're going to have to wrap up. but thank you so much for joining us today on sfgov-tv's meet your district supervisor. >> thank you for having me. >> we've been talking to supervisor london breed for district 5. watch for the next episode of meet your district supervisor when we'll be back with another round of our 11 city supervisors. for sfgov-tv, i'm nona melkonian. ♪ ♪
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>> happy arbor day, everyone. we have a lot of volunteers from the richmond district center. i grew up in the california area, ended up at uc-davis. i made my way out to san francisco in 1984 when i was a college student. i remember growing up on clement street. i have always lived around in richmond area, just being around a unique area of the richmond, discovering san francisco in the 1980's. >> i am hoping we can not support small businesses like
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this because they are the unique character that makes neighborhoods like this so rich and lively to live in. >> i have also been active as a community organizer. i worked at the chinese progressive association. i also worked at the mental health center in the richmond district. i have always been passionate about civil rights, equality for everyone. i have a 10-year-old daughter, so having a girl has made me much more sensitive to gender equality issues. i guess i have always been vocal about my politics, but as a supervisor, i have to listen to other perspectives and making decisions. >> very soon there will be of much more seniors in that area. we are trying to focus on whether a stop sign or stoplight might help. >> tried to look at issues of senior nutrition programs, alzheimer's research, even
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housing policies that allowed our buildings to become more senior-friendly. also looking at how to support senior services, neighborhood- by-neighborhood programs that allow aging in place. people who are getting older helping each other stay in their homes and communities longer so that they can contribute as long as possible, as opposed to institutionalizing them. >> i support working families, livable communities, definite drawn support for the small business. even in my district, there are pockets of poverty and many people of work. so it is also about supporting those under employed people, small businesses in this difficult economy. >> there are a lot of vacant storefronts, so we are trying to find people to read these spaces. there is a bookstore over there. this way there are a lot of businesses that have been
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closing. >> i support the small businesses versus more chain stores that seem to be coming in to some of the vacant storefronts. i am trying to be sensitive to the local merchants because they make up the unique character and diversity of our neighborhoods. you go to lafayette. i was just there reading to a bunch of kids. i think i was reading to fifth graders. what grade are you in? >> as a member of the school board, i know strong schools in the richmond is key. also, from the birth to 5 commission -- each commission has an organization to oversee pre-kindergarten kids. i want to ensure that the state level that we advocate strong support for young children and their families, good parenting support as well. >> often, we have to govern with
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our hearts. 80,000 people in the richmond district sometimes have different needs than people in the mission district or bayview hunters point. so often, elected officials and other hard working staff have to make tough decisions. they are political in nature, in many ways, even though people denied that, but at times, many of us are politicians, but we always try to govern with our hearts. >> i have always considered myself having progressive politics. i believe in a vision of people having their needs met. i believe in equity. when people have special needs, we should be considered of that. i also feel that working families in the lowest income population should have a safety net. we should have civil-rights and equality rights for people as well. if that is being a progressive, then i am proud of being a progressive.
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... >> i am the chief building inspector. we are here at the base of telegraph hill to talk about a subject of great interest for the people of san francisco which is rockslide, slope stability, which caused a dramatic front-page news. i am here with two knowledgeable and wonderful guests. i am here with a geotechnical engineer and a geologist. we are here to talk about
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rockslide, rockfalls, and related issues. what is the difference between a geologist and a geotechnical engineer? >> and engineering geologist deals with identifying site characteristics, mapping, the ground's surface, collecting all of this data. the engineer can come up with medications and designs. >> the structural engineer might be working on a building if there is a building involved. what is your role? >> i am interested in the physical properties of the earth and how the earth will behave: subject to different load changes.