tv Mayors Press Availability SFGTV December 25, 2021 5:00am-6:01am PST
>> the hon. london breed: all right. so quiet in here today. is it quiet? kind of quiet. well, first of all, thank you, everyone, for being here today. thank you for the boys and girls club for hosting us here in san francisco, and i really appreciate the continued to stand before you as the mayor of san francisco to introduce
something that i'm very proud of and something that is long overdue. so today, we're here with a number of elected officials, nonprofits, and professionals, because the city clearly needs a change when it comes to our young people. during covid, we all know that kids suffered, and schools that were closed led to learning loss and mental health challenges that sadly continue to this day, but we can't pretend that these opportunities didn't exist in the past, but today, we can create a new path forward. currently, there are ten agencies that make decisions for our kids. it is so frustrating and
confusing for kids when parents can't speak english and they have to translate for their parents. the thing about these programs, they don't necessarily have a coordinated vision, and the programs are confusing for families to access. we are here because we desperately desperately need to put our children first. there are a lot of people standing here today that really care about kids. supervisor melgar couldn't make it, but she supports our kids.
supervisor raphael mandelman is here. former president of the board of supervisors norman yee is here, who led the fight in the city. we also have board members like jennie lam and former board members like hydro mendoza, who i can't tell if they're here because i can't see under the mask as well as the service providers to -- who provide services to our kids. and of course, we have our parents, some of whom you'll hear from today. getting this charter amendment onto the ballot is going to take a lot of partners, and i'm really proud of all the people
who are supportive of this and with us today, including our young people, who probably -- [applause] >> the hon. london breed: i know we can put our kids in focus. in the summer of 2020, with our schools closed, we needed to support our kids, especially those living in public housing and congregate settings who had nowhere to go, nowhere to learn. that's when the city, under the leadership of maria su, with the department of children, youth, and families -- [applause] >> the hon. london breed: that's when we created the learning hub. the program that we created happened in a matter of weeks, so these hubs, they served
thousands of young people with a safe place to learn, to be around other kids, to get access to other food and to feel normal during one of the most difficult times of our experiences. and what made the community learning hub successful was the communication and partnership with the city and communication and partnership with the nonprofit agencies. we would often ask why we aren't using the schools, and i had no good answer for that, and that's exactly why this ballot measure is needed. it has two main focuses. first, we will centralize the work we've done for kids. it seems like it should, but it's not. one of the most frustrating things as mayor is dealing with bureaucracy, and the agency that is responsible for what,
and the expectation that nonprofits who are already working hard to serve our children have to fill out several different applications and meet several different requirements, and specifically, the measure will combine existing youth service departments into a single children's agency for the city and county of san francisco, which will be significant. it will create a unified vision, bring services and funding together in one place, improve efficiency by aligning all the spending that we make towards specific goals, and reduce bureaucracy so parents have one specific location to access services and programs.
how do we allow children access to things that they may be interested in doing? this holistic approach will better serve families and kids. the next part of this charter amendment will be school board accountability. the other thing that is so critical to, i know, what everyone is most excited about, is, you know, the fact that we need to change what happens at the school board. i'm standing here with school board members past and present who have done difficult work. they know what it takes to make hard decisions and to focus on the core mission of that really
important body, but unfortunately, the schooling board we have has too often focused on the wrong things at the expense of the big picture. people -- school renamings instead of getting schools opens, massive school budget deficits, parents who feel like they're not being heard, and kids who have not felt like they're being prioritized, i get where they're coming from. as mayor, i don't have control over the school district, but every year, the city provides millions and millions to the school district. i'm not just talking about the $25 million we gave them for covid along with the various district partners who provided support for the challenges that
they were experiencing. my responsibility is to ensure that those city dollars and resources are being spent well. we need to set some basic, basic accountability standards if we're going to keep spending that money, so children first will do just that. it will require the board of education to self-certify every year that they've met some of these basic guidelines, including undergoing regular training to improve their effectiveness, conduct extensive parental engagement to ensure all parent voices are heard, and allow the superintendent to manage other staff, which unfortunately is not happening. approve the annual budget and ensure that it aligns with the overall goal of the district
and conduct annual self-evaluations to ensure that they are working together as a collective body to achieve these long-term goals. now this is about good government and accountability. it's about ensuring that the city dollars are being spent wisely. it's about a reset of the board of education, and most of all, it's about our kids. no longer will this city give a blank check to the school board until it demonstrates some level of improvement and accountability to serve our children. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: so we have a lot of work to do, not just to get this charter on the ballot, but to pass it and take action. we have to show that this city cares about our kids and their families. let me just say, as a kid that
grew up in san francisco, you know, my grandmother was the person that was completing all the paperwork and doing all the things that needed to be done to make sure that i could participate in all of these programs. i was completing all the forms. i was completing all the forms, working with my grandmother, and at the time, a lot of people with the nonprofits, they were on the forefront with me, hearing me through this process. we thought technology made it better. in fact, things have gotten way more complicated, and it should not be difficult for kids to participate in programs, for them to receive a good education and the support that they need and deserve so they can thrive, so their lives are
made better. we owe it to them to think about their future, and part of that is making sure we're grading them. not just on math, science, reading, and writing. and right now, we're failing. we're failing our kids, we're failing our families, and so this charter amendment is about doing something different, doing something better, because i know we can do something better because they serve it, and i want to take a moment to recognize the leaders of the department of children, youth, and families. thank you, maria su, for helping to lead this charter amendment. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: thank you to all the families who have provided their input. we are truly grateful, and as i mentioned to a number of folks before from various nonprofits and agencies and parents, this has really been a collective
effort, and long overdue, and we're going to have to work hard to get this passed, but when we get it passed, and when we implement it, we all are going to see and feel a change for our children and for our future. so thank you so much for being here today, and at this time, i want to introduce the supervisor of this district that we're in, and who represents district 8. ladies and gentlemen, supervisor rafael mandelman. >> supervisor mandelman: thank you, madam mayor. welcome to district 8, everyone. you know, if norman yee, london breed, maria su and phil halperin agree on
something related to kids, you know it's got to go good. as another san francisco former kid myself, i know this is a really good ballot measure. i think this measure is a measured and reasonable response to some of the frankly chaos that we have seen coming out of the school district, and we have, as a city, a tremendous stake in what happens at the district. we don't run the district, but we fund it in significant measure, and this ballot recognizes that, as a condition of that funding, we should have some expectations around the quality of governance, and so i really appreciate that that is an important piece of this charter amendment. but i also really appreciate the thoughtful approach to the
delivery to children and their families and the process that has gone on over many months. i have not been part of that process. i have checked in with folks along the way who have been part of it, and i have been really impressed to see folks digging in and helping kids in san francisco like they should. and plus, i called norman and asked him what he was doing. particularly, i want to thank maria for stepping up so phenomenally over the last two years. during this pandemic, some folks stepped up, but not everybody. but maria did. [applause] >> supervisor mandelman: many of the parent leaders out in the audience stepped up during
the pandemic, and thank you. [applause] >> supervisor mandelman: and the boys and girls club stepped up during the pandemic. [applause] >> supervisor mandelman: and so with that, i'm going to introduce rob connolly with the boys and girls club. [applause] >> well, i'll be brief. i really just want to welcome you to our columbia clubhouse in mission park. this clubhouse has been here 114 years, and the boys and girls club has been in the city for 130 years, so we've been helping boys and girls and families in the city for a long, long time. i want to welcome the mayor to
columbia park. we got this just in time, and i think the mayor was able to get it for a little bit. you know, i guess i just want to say, mayor, thank you for prioritizing kids, families, and community. with that, i want to thank maria yu. when the mayor called for the shelter in place in mar 2020, we called up and say hey, we don't think we're going to be
able to close. i says, we really want to figure this out, and within a few hours, working with the mayor and dr. colfax, and whoever else that i don't know, figured out how to keep the boys and girls club open during the pandemic. our sites that we had controlled completely like this clubhouse and several other places, we were able to keep open. across the city, we have five facilities, and you heard about alignment. we receive funding from a number of different places in the city, and it is very challenging for us at every level, administratively as well as programatically, and responding to the different needs assessments that come out, and all the administrative
processes of who's getting funded by this contract and that contract. one of the thing that's we jokingly said, we ask the kids, what are your thoughts on this program? and they said, what program is that? it's the program funded by mohcd -- no, we don't ask them that, but they say they like this program because. really appreciate having everybody here, and appreciate the leadership, and the willingness to dig in and find greater alignment for families like ours, and we look forward to working as a nonprofit with the city in a successful
effort, which we hope it is. with that, i'm going to introduce mario paz, who runs the location here in the mission. mario's been in his role leading the organization for 15 years, so mario, welcome. [applause] >> thank you, ron. i'd first like to thank the mayor and maria su for your continued leadership on behalf of children, youth, and families. we do this work because we love our children. it's our children, and san francisco has proven to be one of the most generous cities in the world when it comes to our children. i think about this assault from covid that we continue to have, and one of the things that
we've found out is our most vulnerable are truly, truly the most vulnerable. the other important issue we learned is that it really, really, really does take a village, right? and we are that village. and we talk about that, but it really does take a village. but guess what? in order for that village to succeed, you need to be prepared, you need to be coordinated, and you need to be accountable to each other. this creates a village that's well prepared, well coordinated, and most importantly, we're going to be accountable. we're going to be accountable to each other, and most importantly, we're going to be accountable to the children. i grew up in the city. i benefited from many of the programs here. i grew up in san francisco. i'm a son of san francisco, and i'm proud of it, but i'm here
to tell you, we can no longer afford to fail our children. we've shown the world what we can do in so many different, but why are we failing on this? we're going to work hard, we're going to hold each other accountable, and thank you all for being here, and thank you all for your leadership. thank you. [applause] [speaking cantonese language]
>> okay. i will be translating. i have two children. my son is 13 years old, and my daughter is six years old. during the pandemic, sprisk provided a community learning hub to support my children through distance learning and children workshops. i have received covid information and community resources such as where to got vaccination and where to get
the covid test, and my family has attended events like halloween festival and thanksgiving. i'm thankful for the san francisco unified school district to provide wellness checks and meetings for parents conducted by the teachers. after my first wellness meeting, we received hand sanitizer from the teachers, and during the holidays, the teachers personally discovered study materials to my children. we hope the city and school
district can continue to serve even after the pandemic. this will provide the services that parents have been calling for since before the pandemic for education. thank you. [applause] >> hi. my name is chanel, and i am a parent of two children in san francisco unified school district. thank you, mayor breed, for allowing me to speak my voice today. this children first initiative is very important for the children because during the
first 18 months of distance learning for my son, he was in middle school at the time and didn't experience his graduation, and the experience of distance learning for 18 months impacted him a lot of he gave up after his younger brother went back to two days hybrid in april, he dove more into the internet. it was devastating for him, and he needed an outlet to survive, so he picked social media, and now, i'm seeing the consequences of that. he's so stuck now being a freshman now still in tenth grade. i'm a working mom, and my husband works, we didn't have 24 hours to watch him. i assumed he was doing his classes, but he wasn't. i think he was only on the internet, and now he's having a
really hard time adjusting in person in high school. it all just broke my heart because our kids were not in school. i feel like it was damaging to our kids' physical health and mental health. i understand that the district want today rename -- wanted to rename schools, but it wasn't a time for it. getting our kids back in school was our first priority. i hope this initiative will help our city kids and my kids. i'm optimistic that it will help the city kids. we're all overwhelmed, and we're all in the same boat, i get it, and we need to have all hands on deck starting yesterday. my hope is that we'll do this together, listen to our teachers, principals, and do this as a san francisco
community. our kids need our help and resources. i'm afraid about those budget cuts. do we have enough mental health resources that they need after promo distance learning. i am a mama bear protecting her cubs, and i hope we can do this right now. i'm a fan of prevention. if we don't do this, take action, we're going to affect our children's career potential. they can be artists, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and many more opportunities in this city. the school board has a big responsibility. if the school board was operating as they should be, we wouldn't be here today. early on, the school district didn't listen.
they didn't take the help from experts. i hope the san francisco unified school district starts to put politics aside. take advice from experts and consultants and govern better for our kids. i believe this children first initiative will help. it will move us forward helping our san francisco students be all right. to be clear, it's all about the children. thanks again for being a service for our kids. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: thank you to our parents for their compelling stories, and the reasons why we're here today, and at this time, i just really want someone who has been many,
many years and who put kids first. although she's no longer on the school board, she cares about the children and is always actively engaged and providing feedback or historical information or institutional knowledge to help us move things forward in a positive direction, and someone who i'm sure if she was still on the school board, some of this would not be happening. please welcome former school board members rachel norton. >> good afternoon, everyone. it's really a mixed bag that i'm here today. it's sad that here's where we are, but this is where we are, and i have to say that san francisco is the envy of many other districts in california
because of the incredible support that the city of san francisco gives our district. in 2010, when the last economic downturn happened, i had been on the board about two years, and i went to a california school board association conference, and people said oh, we're cutting p.e., we're cutting art, and we didn't have to cut those because of the support that the city gives the school district. what happened during the pandemic, maria, mayor breed, the services that were provided to school children made a lot of difference for families. i think normally, of course, a
school board member would bridle when the mayor who's not in charge of schools should tell the school board what to do, but those are the times that we're not in, and somebody should step up and say that that's not important. every year, the board adopts governance rules as part of its policies and procedures, and
yet, we have not always seen those governance rules or procedures to be followed by the board, so i'm very grateful to you, mayor breed, for putting this forward. i gather, since supervisor mandelman is here, that he is cosponsoring. thank you. i'm also happy to see my former colleague, norman yee here, who, like me, spent many years in the trenches on the school board, and i think that this is an idea whose time has come, and i think it's time to start moving the district forward, so thank you. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: and i just want to add one more speaker just to stay a few word because our former president of the board of supervisors, norman yee, also served on the school board, and so i want him
to say a few words before we open it up for questions. . >> you know, i wanted to send the school district a message that if you don't step up in your leadership, then you're just going to, you know, lose it. the state's going to take it over, and they need to understand that. just because the state takes it over doesn't mean it's going to be better. it just means cutting without knowing our community, and thank you, mayor breed, for really introducing this charter amendment.
it's been needed, and i've been pushing for these for decades. when i was president, i put in a new council for children and families, but it just lacked a, needed a little bit more teeth. i think we started seeing the coordination of children's services between departments, and to work together, no more silos. it's really similar to what we
did [indiscernible] i'm glad to be very supportive of this charter amendment because i think this would move the city into the right direction. thank you very much. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: thank you, and i want to thank c.y.c. and sarah wong for all of her advocacy. thank you to the s.f. parent coalition for rising up and doing what's necessary to not only support your children but to support all children in san francisco, and thank you to katie albright for being with us today from safe and sound. we have a sector of people who truly love and support kids in san francisco, and i'm very positionate about supporting kids because i was probably one
of the most problematic kids growing up. again, had it not been for the support of those places that i had to go as a kid, and teachers and all those things that i was exposed to, i just don't know where i would be. the people that i grew up with ended up, unfortunately, in many instances, in the criminal justice system, they ended up dead, and they ended up on drugs, and i still see some of those people today in various places, and somewhere along the way, we failed them. if we don't do this and more to
support our children, to protect them, to uplift them, to make sure that we get rid of the barriers to their success, that's how we make the difference for them so they don't end up in the same situation that so many people that i grew up with ended up in. so that's why we're here today. we're here today because we need to change that structure, and we need to think differently about how we make things better for them. so i also want to just take an opportunity to really thank phil halperin for his extraordinary leadership over the years of supporting children, period. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: thank you, phil. he is one of the most committed san franciscans ensuring we are doing right through our policies, through our funding, and other resources, so we really appreciate you, and thank you for your work. so with that, i think i'll open it up to questions, maggie.
all right. questions? yes. [indiscernible] . >> the hon. london breed: so i'll say two things. there's the superintendent that's trying to govern and propose, from my understanding, a reasonable financial plan to address some of the deficit that the school district has, and then, there's a proposal by two of the school board members, and this is part of the problem and why we are introducing this charter amendment because the fact is the one that's introduced by the board members, if that passes, and that is the direction the school board goes into, then sadly, the district goes into phase two of a
possible takeover. the last phase is phase three, and then, there's a done deal. the state takes over the schools. so it's clear if it goes to that point, then, we're headed down that road, and to me, the fact that the school board members are moving toward that direction -- this will disqualify them from allowing them to play the $25 million that they owe to the city and county of san francisco. they're headed down the wrong path, and they need to let the
superintendent govern the school board so we don't have school board members micromanage what the superintendent should be doing, and i think that's part of the problem. any other questions? [indiscernible] . >> the hon. london breed: well, the city doesn't have control over the school board because if we did, we would probably
there is a financial requirement that we provide resources to support the school district. and we're attaching accountability to that. so it has nothing, from my perspective, to do with a take over. we also feel strongly that, with those public dollars, there has to be an opportunity for the public, including parents, to have at least some say in what's happening with the school district.
and the concern that we have the most is how the board members are micromanaging the schools, micromanaging whether a principal should work at a school because of political reasons, when in fact, the only thing they should be responsible is hiring and firing the superintendent and legal assistant. but getting involved because someone supported someone in a campaign, that's crazy. that's the problem, and this is not about anything other than fixing a broken governing structure. [applause] >> just one more question. [indiscernible]
. >> the hon. london breed: i must say, a lot of this is something that i wanted to do for sometime, especially when the pandemic hit. it's looking at a disorganized chart where funding comes from. early childhood education, dcyf, tay-u, and all of these things were all over the place and not coordinated. and then, the beacons and what's happening with the beacons. and i know these structures like the back of my hand, and there was a real disconnect between all of these agencies and all of this money and how our kids were not only doing in life but how they were doing in school, and so there's no
direction. so we -- what we did had everything to do with being treated like we're an a.t.m. machine with unlimited money, and then, when we would ask for it to be used for a specific purpose or what have you, there was no way to have any accountability attached to that. there was money that i provided to the school district for specific purposes that i still don't necessarily have accounting for who it was used for that purposes, including establishing wellness centers in every school in san francisco, and this was before the pandemic, and so i want
some accountability for where those dollars are, and why haven't those wellness centers even opened in the first place? so that's been the focus of wanting to make sure that there's accountability, and we get more, and we get more for our families and our children. [applause] >> the hon. london breed: all right? thank you, everyone. thank you for being here. let's get this on the ballot and get it passed, because that's what this is about. thank you. [♪♪♪]
>> my name is andrea, i work as a coordinator for the city attorney's office in san francisco. a lot of it is working with the public and trying to address their public records request and trying to get the information for their office. i double majored in political science and always tried to combine both of those majors. i ended up doing
a combination of doing a lot of communication for government. i thought it would connect both of my studies and what was i was interested in and show case some of the work that government is doing. >> i work for the transportation agency known as muni and i'm a senior work supervisor. >> i first started as a non-profit and came to san francisco and started to work and i realized i needed to work with people. this opportunity came up by way of an executive fellowship. they had a program at mta to work in workforce development type project and i definitely jumped on that. i didn't know this was something that i wanted to do. all i knew is that i wanted to help people and i wanted to empower others. >> the environment that i grew up that a lot of women were just
stay-at-home moms. it wasn't that they didn't have work, but it was cheaper to stay home and watch the kids instead of paying pricey day care centers. >> my mom came from el salvador during the civil war. she worked very hard. when she came here and limited in english, she had to do a service job. when i was born and she had other kids, it was difficult for her to work because it was more expensive for her to be able to continue to work in a job that didn't pay well instead of staying at home and being able to take care of us. >> there isn't much support or advocacy for black women to come in and help them do their jobs. there also
aren't very many role models and it can be very intimidating and sometimes you feel uncomfortable and unsure of yourself and those are the reasons exactly why you need to do it. when i first had the opportunity, i thought that's not for me. my previous role was a project manager for a biotech start up. i thought how do i go from technology to working in government. thinking i didn't know about my skills, how am i going to fit in and doing that kind of work. thinking you have to know everything is not what people expect have you, but they expect you to ask questions when you don't know and that's important. >> my mom was diagnosed with cancer. that was really difficult. she encouraged me to go to school because in case anything happened i would be able to protect myself.
i wanted to be in oncology. i thought going to school it would set me for the trajectory and prepare me for my life. >> we need the hardships to some of the things that are going to ultimately be your strength in the future. there is no way to map that out and no way to tell those things. you have to do things on your own and you have to experience and figure out life. >> you don't have to know what you are going to do for the rest of your life when you are in college or high school because there are so many things to do. i would encourage you to try to do everything that you are remotely interested. it's the best time to do it. being a young woman with so many opportunities, just go for it and try everything.