tv Full Board of Supervisors SFGTV December 26, 2021 7:00am-11:01am PST
though it is arabic. am i wrong, supervisor? >> yeah, that's arabic and she's translating what the president is saying. she might be translating for some people that are listening. >> clerk: is it possible to the interpreter that you mute that line as it's connected to this particular meeting. >> madam clerk, i have disabled her microphone. >> clerk: thank you, members. mr. president. >> chair: thank you so much, madam clerk. i do again want to thank everyone to attend this special meeting during your holiday recess and i want to thank all of the public for your participation as well. madam clerk, would you please call the roll. >> clerk: thank you, mr. president. [ roll call ]
homeland of the ramaytush ohlone, who are the original inhabitants of the san francisco peninsula. as the indigenous stewards of this land and in accordance with their traditions, the ramaytush ohlone have never ceded, lost, nor forgotten their responsibilities as the caretakers of this place as well as for all people who reside on their traditional territory. as guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their tradition homeland. we wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the ancestors, elders, and relatives of the ramaytush ohlone community and by affirming their sovereign rights as first peoples. colleagues, would you please place your right hand over your heart and join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands one nation under god with
-- indivisible with liberty and justice for all. on behalf of the board of supervisors, i would like to acknowledge the staff at sfgov tv who record the meetings and make the transcripts available to the public online. madam clerk, are there any communications? >> clerk: yes, mr. president. the board of supervisors welcomes the public to remotely attend these board meetings on sfgov tv, on channel 26 or by viewing the live stream online. the most efficient way to participate and provide public comment is to listen from your touch phone which should be connected to the remote call-in system. throughout the meeting, the number is streaming on your screen.
it is 1-415-655-0001. and when you hear the prompt, enter the meeting i.d. which is 2497 279 5481. press # twice and you will join as listener. you will hear the discussion and your line will be muted. once you're ready to get into the queue, press # and then beginning your comments. during item 1, that is the committee of the whole, where the board will consider whether or not to concur in the proclaiming of a local emergency. once the hearing is declared open, this will be your only opportunity to speak to the urgency of the drug overdose in the tenderloin. once that item is closed, the
board will consider whether or not to concur. shortly thereafter, the president will open general public comment, which is item 3, where you may speak to matters not on the agenda today, but are in the subject matter of the board of supervisors. all other agenda content will have had a public comment opportunity satisfied from a previous committee. the board will accept your written correspondence by u.s. mail. use the address on the agenda. in a great partnership -- well, i should also say our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org we will also receive your e-mails. with a great partnership with
the office of civic affairs, interpretation of public comment will be provided today to assist the speakers, beginning with item 1. at that time once we call public comment for item 1, we will have the interpreters introduce themselves. we will have spanish, filipino, and vietnamese. we appreciate our interpreters' assistance today. if you are experiencing any trouble accessing this remote meeting, we do have a clerk standing by who can assist you. that number is 415-554-5184. pursuant to title # of the americans with disability act through prior arrangement, there is an individual will be making
public comment through telephone. he insisted that we call him back. >> chair: thank you so much, madam clerk. before we get started with public comment, just a friendly, reminder, supervisors, please keep yourself on mute when not speaking. we will have two opportunities for public comment outside this special a.d.a. commendation. one will be for the committee of the whole and the other will be on general public comment. due to the volume of speakers, we will limit public comment time to one minute per speaker for today's special meeting, both for the committee of the whole as well as general public comment as well as for this special a.d.a. commendation. madam clerk. >> clerk: thank you, mr. president. to operations, do we have mr. zach on the line, ready to
provide him an accommodation to make his public comment first? welcome, zach. >> my name is zach. i'm a journalist and a disability advocate. i'm disheartened that you're violating the brown act to give us only one minute to speak. that's terrible. i'm here to speak out against mayor london breed's war on drugs here, this violent attack on residents in the tenderloin. people are overdosing. these are people committing suicide. these are suicides. people have not been able to access health services and services because the mayor has blocked access and has not assisted people in dire need. we don't even have people staffing the public health line.
domestic services are operating at half capacity. even the district attorney is against this. this war on drugs has gotten us nowhere. this is completely inhumane. this is the same mayor that fought prop c. >> clerk: thank you for your comment, sir. so to the members of the public, the president has indicated that we will be setting the comment for one minute. forgive me if i interrupt your comments as we are setting the timer for one minute for all speakers. mr. president, thank you. >> chair: thank you so much, madam clerk. now, madam clerk, it's time for us to go to the committee of the whole. item 1. >> clerk: item 1 is a motion to concur in the december 17, 2021, proclamation by the mayor
manuscript declaring the existence of a local emergency in connection with the sudden increase in drug overdoses in the tenderloin, and concurring in actions taken to meet the emergency >> chair: after the hearing, the board will vote on whether or not to approve the motion concurring in the proclamation of local emergency regarding drug overdoses in the tenderloin. we will start this committee of the whole with a presentation from the director of the department of emergency management, director carol. >> thank you, president, and honorable board of supervisors. i met with some of you earlier this week on this topic and i
appreciate the opportunity to discuss this emergency declaration with all of you together. we're asking for your support to ratify this declaration in order to address the crisis in the tenderloin with swift and coordinated emergency response. as public servants, our fundamental responsibility is to ensure our city's residents and visitors are safe. as we stand here today, we are failing in the tenderloin. as a public servant myself, i believe this emergency declaration is integral to all of us here today in fulfilling our collective responsibility to this community that we serve. the tenderloin crisis response that d.e.m. has been directed to lead is a multi-agency coordinated intervention to address a public health emergency. the lead component of the intervention is robust engagement with connection to city programs and resources necessary to preserve and protect public health.
although interrupting illegal activity and enforcement to behaviors that are a threat to public safety, our basic city-wide response, it is important to be clear that this emergency declaration for the tenderloin is based on a public health emergency and is in no way a means to criminalize drug use or can it be leveraged for more policing. what it can and will do is provide more linkage to the spectrum of public services and needs for those suffering with the many health issues that are inextricably linked to chronic substance abuse. the emergency declaration is essential to implementing key public health measures associated with the tenderloin response. it will allow us to invest in city and non-city resources in the area of service connection and support, disruption of the illegal drug market and response
to infrastructure and environmental needs quickly. the declaration allows us to treat this crisis with speed and efficiency that is only achievable under an emergency declaration. this declaration specifically allows for us to do three things. the first thing is to organize and prioritize city resources more effectively. city departments are instructed to reallocate material and personnel resources to this effort. this will give d.e.m. the resources it needs to lead the operation under the incident command system. secondly, it allows us to cut through red tape of city processing for contract procurement and hiring. with this declaration, we reduce the timeline of setting up a linkage center that connects people who are struggling with substance abuse disorder to service it. from six to nine months without
it to about three weeks with it. it also expedites hiring for behavioral health and social services department. finally, the third area of what it allows us to do is to be reimbursed as federal money becomes available. we know that fentanyl is a serious national problem if the state or federal government declare an emergency for this crisis, we will be poised to be reimbursed for our services. the ratification of this emergency declaration will prompt positive and long overdue change for tenderloin residents. we are showing it is time to make a change for public health. we need to do better for those in the tenderloin, business owners, and those is it truing suffering in the streets. that is what this is about. many of you have asked what this
is about. the declaration itself details how dire the situation is. thus attributed to overdose, drug overdoses in san francisco have increased over 200% since 2018. there has been a significant increase in the deaths attributable to fentanyl since covid-19 started and fentanyl is a major factor in 70% of the overdose deaths between january and october 2021. there was a 38% increase in calls to the street autos overdose response team between october and november 2021. emergency medical calls for service dets designated as sick persons to the tenderloin have increased more than 150% compared to the same time last year. clearly this is an emergency and we have to address it now.
ratification of this declaration means that you agree that something must be done as quickly as possible to improve conditions in the tenderloin. it means you support trying something different and new we haven't done before, while remaining committed to a services approach, while connecting people with respite resources and services. the tenderloin community has suffered long enough. they have waited too long for us to act and we now have the opportunity to act swiftly and humanely to help them. i thank you for your time today. here with me are the directors from public health, homelessness and supportive housing and the public safety agencies. we are happy to answer your questions. i know that at least one or two of you very recently asked about the plan and i am prepared to
share those, but i think i can open this up for questions at this point. thank you. >> chair: thank you so much, director carroll. i do see your name on the roster, supervisor ronen, but with i am going to call on supervisor haney as the supervisor of that area. >> thank you, president and member carroll. colleagues, if you indulge me, i have a statement i want to share. i have questions as well. i do want to thank director carroll and her team and also make sure to thank all of you, colleagues, for your time, your care, your focus, and your attention that you've given to the tenderloin. i know this is a special meeting in the tenderloin and i appreciate you being here and
your focus on these issues. i know tenderloin is in district 6 that these are issues of city-wide concern and that your neighborhoods are impacted and each of you cares deeply about the neighborhoods in the tenderloin. i want to thank you for your partnership as we grapple in supporting this neighborhood and residents. as we all know, the tenderloin in the south market communities have come to this board and our committees on dozens of occasions over the last number of years about the deadly drug overdose and addiction and the devastation it is bringing to our city and in particular to our neighborhoods. tragically with each month going by without the sweeping action needed to deal with this pandemic, things have gotten worse and more and more people are dying. anyone who lives or has been to the tenderloin knows we have
been experiencing a public health emergency for a long time now. the loss of life, people's loved ones, families, friends, their loss should be our primary concern. over 1,700 people have died from overdose in the last three years alone. in 2017 we lost 222 people. in 2020, it was 711. that is a three-year increase of over 360%. a terrifying increase in one cause of death in our city, impacting people of color, the unhoused, and the poor. we have lost many to homicide. in january this year we lost 65 people, more than from homicide or traffic deaths or suicide in the entire year. all of this requiring our focus and resources.
yes, this is a state-wide and national crisis, but we cannot deny or ignore the fact that our city has the highest overdose rate in california and by far the highest overdose rate from fentanyl. it is six times that of los angeles, miami, or atlanta. the overwhelming deaths involved fentanyl, 50 times more potent than heroin. it is not uncommon for people to die because they thought they were using one drug but it was laced with fentanyl. these deaths have occurred not only outdoors, but also in apartments. this impacts the entire neighborhood. everyone who lives here, including the many thousands of children, immigrants, refugees, and people in recovery who call these neighborhoods home, there are hundreds on the streets and
people are injecting or smoking in the open, bringing anxiety and vulnerability and trauma and they are deserving of the same level of health and wellness as any other. we are overwhelmed, especially in the tenderloin, but in other neighborhoods as well. this is a status quo that we need to challenge and disrupt with everything that we have. if this is not a public health emergency, then that term lacks any meaning at all. the service providers, front-line responders, paramedics, firefighters, community safety ambassadors, the dope project have responded courageously saving thousands of lives and they deserve our support. we have so much more to do because there are so many lives on the line. this board hasn't been silent or inactive in our response to the pandemic. from legislation to budget allocations to holding hearing
after hearing, we have provided a robust and coordinated response to this pandemic. our board passed two separate resolutions. one just two months ago [indiscernible] passed unanimously calling for a declaration of a public health emergency on drug overdoses. we took that position as a board because during the covid pandemic, our city demonstrated what we were capable of. we stepped-up to confront a deadly pandemic. even when there were disagreements and there were undoubtedly many disagreements, we supported the tools had to confront the pandemic. they secured hotels and coordinated responses across departments. we need to take these tools and lessons learned and apply them
to an epidemic that is in many ways even more deadly. just like covid, this epidemic requires an unprecedented level of resources. we can't hear the excuses that there aren't beds available for those overdosing. we need places for people to go to access treatment on demand. we need safe consumption sites. we need to flood our streets with outreach workers. all of that needs to be focused and tracked with accountability and we need to get rid of the red tape and break down the bureaucratic barriers, and we need supportive housing units and behavioral staff physicians. if we are going to declare a state of emergency, it needs to be focused on those levels of action. this is something that front-line service providers have told us again and again. supervisor ronen and i helped with a mental health service
center, a site where people in need of behavioral healthcare could be referred or could access immediate care. this hasn't happened and this linkage site has similar features and can be a place where people can go and they will get care placements and medications. we need that now. there are hundreds of vacant positions in behavioral health from social workers to addiction specialists to intensive care coordinates to nurses that need to be urgently filled if we are going to respond with everything we have. this declaration i hope can fill those positions. our board passed an ordinance that will allow us to open safe consumption sites. this is still months from being ready. we can't wait that long. let's use the state of emergency to help us move forward now. even if it is a temporary site,
there is no reason to wait. during the budget process, we developed resources. too many of the units are vacant and beds unfilled. we are sitting on a lot of solutions that can confront this crisis. it is my hope and expectation that this emergency declaration can get the beds out and dollars filled and save lives and it will slow the gaps that have slowed our response by adding a level of transparency and accountability that hasn't been faced now. every week and day that goes by is dangerous and deadly. there is nothing in this declaration of a public health emergency that relates to criminalizing laws or addiction. it doesn't give the police more authorities nor should it.
jail is not a solution to addiction. people should not be locked up because of addiction or threatened with jail because they are addiction. that is wrong, counterproductive, ineffective and dangerous. our response to people addicted to drugs like friend nil has to be about providing care. addiction to drugs that can kill you is an illness. it requires medical and public health responses, but it does require a response. what we need is compassion, accountability and to acted with urgency. i also want to finally underscore that there are a lot of issues related to this crisis that require further conversation. confronting the drug supply, open-air drug dealings. we had an entire task force about that that put forward recommendations. those should be considered and some pursued, but none of those are part of the declaration in front of us today, which is specifically about a public
health emergency. i know that there are strong feelings on this issue and on this proposed declaration and there should be. i live in the tenderloin and i have for years. i walk this neighborhood every day and every night. i know this is an incredibly painful and predominant and emotional conversation. there are lives at stake. i hope whatever the outcome today, that we work together, that we bring the city's innovation, inyielding compassion, and relentless determination to confront this epidemic with a public health response and support the people and families of the tenderloin and save lives. i have a number of questions as well. i know there are other of my colleagues who have questions. i'll defer to the president for their questions. and if there are questions they don't ask, i'll jump back in. i wanted to make sure to make that statement before we started. >> chair: thank you so much,
supervisor haney. supervisor ronen. >> thank you so much, president walton. i wanted to start off by saying that i'm really frustrated in the way in which this plan has been unveiled in the media and to the public. it has colored the way we are all looking at this. it created divisions where there need not be divisions. it has turned hundreds and thousands -- thousands, let me say thousands of advocates who have spent their lives working on harm reduction, interventions, services first, have fought the drug wars through and through against this emergency ordinance and that is frustrating. so all of us here at the board are in the middle of something
that we all believe strongly is an emergency health crisis. i don't know how anybody could walk the streets of the tenderloin and not think that they're in the middle of an emergency health crisis. the condition and the situation in the tenderloin are 100% unacceptable. i believe that. i believe every member of the board believes that. clearly the mayor believes that. that is a no-brainer. everyone is fighting about it. what i sit here worried about is the way the mayor has expressed her plans for the tenderloin and that what she has expressed to the public and what the advocates and what this supervisor are worried about today is a doubling down on a centuries'-old failed drug war. what we have learned in the last seriously close to a century is that criminalizing an illness doesn't make it -- anybody better. in fact, it makes those
individuals sicker than they already were in the first place. we have realized that incarcerating people does not help them get well. what it does is further stigmatizes them and makes their lives harder when they get out of jail and more likely to die from a drug overdose because they've been forced to get clean but have not made that choice or gone through the hard work to get through recovery. when they get out of jail, they go for that hit of drugs and because they haven't had drugs for so long makes them more likely to overdose. i have a set of questions. truth be told, i want to vote in favor of this health emergency because i believe there is a health emergency in the tenderloin and i believe we
should all be marshaling every resource we have in this city to address that crisis. because of the way this has been described in the media, i don't have faith that we're talking about the same thing. i'm hoping that in this hearing today we can get some answers to these questions and get on the same page because we need emergency action yesterday. so my first set of questions. first, i want to confirm with the city attorney that she's on. if we vote in favor of this health emergency today, does that give the mayor unilateral authority to increase the budget of the san francisco police department without our consent or the vote of the board of supervisors? >> deputy city attorney anne pearson. what's before you today as you know is a proclamation of emergency. and if the board approves it, it will give the mayor the powers
that are inherent in the mayor when an emergency is declared. that includes the powers to move resources and personnel. so if the board does approve this proclamation, yes, the mayor would have the ability to move money in the budget from one department to another. >> okay. so she wouldn't have to -- when there is not an emergency, we should have to come to the board for a budget supplemental if she wanted to add overtime supplement to the police department's budget. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> so i could never vote for that if this was the case if the mayor planned to do that. i have asked her deputy chief of staff anders power to be here to answer questions about this. are you there, andras? >> i'm here. >> i wish the mayor herself was here. i think this is important enough that it would be wonderful if she had come herself and interrupted her time off over
the vacation with her family to answer these questions because these are really important questions. i wish she was here to answer them herself. my understanding, andras is -- and you're her deputy chief of staff and you have the authority to make promises and that you will do publicly in front of all of us today that the mayor plans to keep. is that correct? >> that's correct, supervisor. >> okay. so the mayor has the authority, if we vote for this emergency ordinance today, to unilaterally increase the police budget for overtime officers to the tenderloin without coming to the board for a budget supplemental. in conversations with you, you have both promised me and told me that the mayor has no intentions of doing that. can you make that promise clear
on the record to me, my colleagues, and the public today. >> yes, and thank you for the opportunity today. i can say unequivocally that our office will not use the emergency order to provide appropriations to the police department. i'm making that commitment publicly. >> so no money will be added to the police budget unless you come to the board for a budget supplemental? >> that is correct. we will not use the authority of this to do that. if it should happen, we will come to the board for the normal process for consideration of a supplemental. >> all right. thank you. that is very important to me. i would never approve that budget supplemental. i would fight against it with everything i have. if i vote for this today, i'm trusting and i've worked with you, deputy chief of staff, we
were legislative aides together. so i have trust with you. i also heard this promise from mary ellen carol who i have worked with over the last couple of years weekly and pretty much trust her when she tells me something because she's never lied to me. i want to get that all on the record. that is important in how i vote today. thank you for that. my second question to the appropriate person to answer this, i very much believe because we're getting hundreds of e-mails from our constituents saying this. if you read all of the press from the mayor announcing this major effort in the tenderloin, she has left the impression and has said it, i believe, that she will have police officers approach people that are very sick on the streets and say, rer offering you treatment and if
you don't go to treatment, we're going to arrest you and put you in jail right now. is that how this plan is going to work? >> thank you, supervisor. that is not how the plan is being constructed and developed. our -- what we've been doing and we've been working since mid-november to try to accelerate and plan for what we could do in the tenderloin. our emphasis for the period of time from the time that this declaration is ratified through the 90-day period is a focus on connection to services. so the -- i mentioned the linkage center in my remarks. we are working to put together a linkage center. it's going to be a physical
location, close by in the tenderloin, in which people can come. it will be staffed by non -- it's not even a medical facility. it's going to be staffed by peer-based, community-based staff. it has two purposes. one is to have a place primarily for people to go. we'll be making it a place that people will want to go with different services and amenities, if you will, places to sit, get clean, that sort of thing. in that location where people can be, that will be safe and low-barrier and voluntary, is where we're going to have basically a clearing house for services, with the services that are essential to the folks experiencing substance use disorder.
the outreach is -- the outreach plan is still -- we are working with the providers right now to finalize that outreach plan, but the intent is that we are going to use our existing outreach teams of which we have just in the city we've got 9 or 10. and working with our community-based providers who are very interested in working with us and seeing how to help us to help folks in the tenderloin. in addition, we're working closely with h.s.h. to increase beds for the folks experiencing homelessness. where police or law enforcement comes in would be the last -- the sort of issue of last resort
and that's really up to law enforcement to determine and would be based on the behavior of the individual. i will really want -- i do not direct the police department. so perhaps chief scott wants to speak a little more on that. what we want and what officers have asked for specifically -- and i can tell you this because i have been in the room with police is they want a place to refer people, they want a place to help people. i think all of us feel the frustration of seeing what's going on, on the street and seeing people die. i want to say that police officers also do not want to see that either. in the conversations we've had
and we've been spending a lot of time in the tenderloin. the final thing i'll say about that is it's very unrealistic that -- even if there was a direction to do mass arrests, which there has not been. there are limitations in the jail that takes officers off streets. our intention is to focus on our traditional outreach partners, all of our team, to do the work they do best, that know the clients best. and law enforcement is a measure of last resort. >> can i ask for more specifics on that. thanks for laying the broad outline. the mayor has painted such a different picture in the press that i really want to understand practically what's happened on
the ground. you mentioned nine outreach teams. what are these outreach teams? who staffed them? are they city workers? >> it's a combination. obviously we have the newer teams. we have the collaborative teams. that would be the street crisis response team. >> those are the teams -- because you started off by saying there are nine teams. >> i've only got to four. >> but i'm saying -- >> in addition, there are nine in total. there are many teams that are out in the field working with people and they are going to be
partners with us in this and they have the ability to access and help access these services. >> when you said nine teams, i thought nine teams specifically for this effort. you're talking about nine street crisis teams that exist? >> yes. >> so you're saying the first interaction with people on the street that are addicted to drugs will be for these nine street-based teams to go and make contact and say, look, we're making changes in the tenderloin. you and your peers are dying. we're worried about you. in addition, families are traumatized by the chaos in the streets. we are asking you to instead of staying on the streets, we want you to go to this linkage center, where you're welcome to stay as long as you want and where there are food and services and hopefully we can connect you to longer based
services. that is how the actual interaction will happen on the street level? >> yes, that is it. our officers are also in the street. they will be and are being -- will be given the same information to share. but, you know, we are working with the public health experts, the subject-matter experts, the people that serve these folks and having them tell us, what are the best strategies for getting people off the streets. it's also how we did the zip hotels. we didn't go around with law enforcement to put them in zip hotels. some people went running there, but a lot of people it was not an easy transition when on the
street to even go inside. >> and i'm asking these very specific questions because we haven't been given a specific plan. what we're given is an emergency order and then a picture painted with the media that is different with a lot of confusion and questions. when we did an operation like this with the mission and there were 260 tents, we had a very clear plan that was written out, agreements made, we knew exactly what was going to happen. we haven't seen that for the tenderloin. my next question is: what happens if someone says, no, i'm not moving. i want to stay here. >> so it depends. this is not -- i mean, this is a
voluntary location. i also want to -- you and i talked about this a little bit also. we are volunteering and putting out resources for peer-based teams and transportations. so we will be able to actually transport folks there with these teams so they can get there safely. we're not asking law enforcement to do any transportation in any way so that's the plan. honestly, it's going to depend on what is happening in the location that we are interacting with people. they may be asked to move along, right, we're creating safe passage and this is another area that we're working with the community to establish safe passage and specific routes for
the kids to go to school or the boys and girls club. so it would really depend. again, it is the discretion of the police department and law enforcement to decide if the behavior is something they need to take action from the law enforcement perspective. >> okay. i have so many questions, unfortunately, because not so many details of this plan have been detailed to us. we've been told in broad strokes, but not in detail. the devil is always in the detail, we know as policy-makers. the mayor has given this impression that if someone refuses services, they will be thrown in jail. that never made sense because our jails are at capacity
especially in covid. we don't have capacity in our jails to arrest people for being sick and throwing them in jail. number one doesn't make sense. number two, we currently have a backlog of over 400 cases in the courts because courts have been shut down for so long due to covid that cases awaiting trial or hearings in courts, it's been way over a year and we have blown all of their constitutional rights for a speedy trial. another human rights case in san francisco. our district attorney wasn't consulted about this plan in any way, shape, or form, which by the way makes no sense to me why you wouldn't tell the district attorney.
the district attorney -- let's say he prosecuted every case that was handed to him, let's pretend that, the public defender will take all of those cases to trial and those will be behind the 400 cases that are backlogged and waiting for trial. let's talk about what happens in the courts. we have judges and juries in san francisco that do not incarcerate people for being sick. thank goodness. it doesn't make sense to clog our jails with people who need mental health and medical intervention. they're not going to keep people. you have people maybe back on the streets with an ankle monitor because they're sick whose lives are difficult because they have the criminal justice system breathing down their backs, a case pending and
may have to wait for their day in court. it makes no sense. it's not real or a plan that works. if you and maybe the police chief and maybe deputy chief of staff powers can explain what the mayor meant when she said we're going to incarcerate people that refuse -- people that are sick that refuse to accept services. if you can explain that. because knowing the system in san francisco and how it works, having talked to the district attorney, the public defender, the judges in courts, having talked to the sheriffs, even if you were going to do that, which i 100% disagree with, even if you were going to do it, the system does not exist to be able to do that. why did the mayor say that and what are you all thinking? can you help us understand what is going on here?
>> i'll defer to the [indiscernible] -- >> supervisor ronen, thank you for the question. i want to emphasize a couple of things from the police department perspective. this emergency order really helps us to get to a much better place how we deal with what's going on, on the streets in terms of the open-air drug consumption that has led to in a large way a lot of what is discussed here with the overdose crisis that we're having. the bottom line is just in the tenderloin in the last three years, our officers have basically saved 290 people from overdoses on the streets through the use of narcan. that's almost half of the city's total over the last three years. to the point you made earlier about the work we did earlier with you and your district and the navigation centers a few
years ago, if we are given the right resources that we can collaborate, our officers do a pretty good of job of getting our officers in place. in terms of where our officers are and when we engage with people. i was out there with officers last night and saw people using. yeah, they moved along. but to have an immediate place where officers call somebody else to help intervene in that situation and get people to the center is what this is about. >> that's what i'm hoping it's about. >> it is. >> the mayor has portrayed this in the media completely different to what you're talking about. what you're talking about i'm all for, but that's not what's portrayed. i'm trying to understand what the plan is here.
i agree with mary ellen and chief scott. i have talked to countless of your officers who all they want is a safe place for people to go. i'm not trying to demonize the police here, i'm not. what i disagree with vehemently is criminalizing addicts is the way to solve the overdose and drug crisis. that's what i really disagree with. [ please stand by ]
>> i want you to tell me today to open this linkage center which i hope it's the beginning of the mental health service center that we created in a piece of law that we've been begging you to implement, not you, chief, but the city, the department of public health to implement for years and we've been told there's not enough resources. so i need you to tell me and then i'll vote 'yes' but i need you guys to tell us that what
the mayor said is not true. you're not going to arrest and encarson rate people that refuse to get services because they're sick. can you tell me that? >> yes, supervisor. we will engage with people and our objective is to get them to a better place. it's as simple as that and i'm going to start with what you said when you started your comments. i think we all agree that what we're seeing in the tenderloin is absolutely unacceptable. part of this is is not allowing people to use drugs on our streets and put themselves in a position to overdose on our streets. so we need some consistency and some engagement. our officers do their jobs very well when we have the resources and the support, the infrastructure to be able to whether it be through crisis intervention, we're very well trained on that to get them to a better place and some people are out there committing crimes in the midst of the drug usage, but that's not what this is about.
and i'm not going to sit here and tell you we're not going to deal with crimes in front of us. that's not what this is about. this is about -- >> supervisor ronen: but that's not my question. of course you're going to intervene. >> we're not planning on using an arrest tactic to clear the streets. that's not what this is at all and we've been around long enough to know that the effectiveness based on all the reasons that you said, that's not the solution here. the solution is to give us options to get people not us taking them, but get the right people involved in this conversation as many hours a day as we can because what has been happening is after certain hours of the night, officers are out there by themselves. they don't have the resources to take people. i'm not saying there are not beds available, but we need something a lot more urgent than what we have right now. >> supervisor ronen: agreed. and i've talked to so many of
your officers and couldn't agree with you more on this. that's what matt and i have been trying to create for several years. but the question i have for you -- let me ask you this question: your instructions to your officers, can you tell me they are not going to arrest people that are not, the crime they're committing are being addicted to drugs and have a health crisis. they don't want to go to the lincoln center for whatever reason. are you going to arrest them for not going to the linkage center? >> the message we will tell people is you can't use drugs on the streets. we're going to bring people in to help you. because we need officers to be out in the streets to really because when we're out there, there's less chaos. the idea is to have the service providers be the warm handoff to get people on the streets.
we will tell people you cannot use drugs on the streets. you know, let's be real that we can't allow that to happen, but the idea was to get people involved in this situation that can mediate and know how to deal with the situation that is what we're striving for here. >> supervisor ronen: okay. so the main people interacting with folks in the tenderloin are going to be the community paramedics, the peer advocates, the trained m.s.w.s, are those the people that are going to be doing most of the interaction and get people to go to the linkage center? >> that's the idea. but also, supervisors, our officers are out there 24/7
though see see the behavior before they're there and so we need to address that and engage. we can't do it before they're down and out. so i just want to be realistic, but our objective is not to use we need to get the right people involved so we can do just what is subscribed here. >> i just want to mention that part of this is a structured response. the reason we're leading this operation is we are in the coordinating role. we're going to use the systems tried and true how we've
defeated a global pandemic in the city. we're going to have daily operational coordinational meetings with everyone involved. so we'll be having the conversation and r.e.r. with the district station, with the ambassador program and with the providers so that we can triage on a daily basis either the hot spots or if there is, you know, if there's an individual in particular, that will be handled in an appropriate clinical with the appropriate clinical group, but we'll be able to do that on a daily basis and we will be -- we have metrics, we are looking at ways, you know, what do we need to succeed and we'll also be able to shift our strategies if it's not working. so this is different than a normal program that perhaps spends months or years being planned. months or years being executed and then it starts and then in a year you come back and
evaluate, hey, how is everything going. that's an oversimplification. we are doing such a heightened coordination and sort of communication around this that i feel that it's going to be, you know, it's really going to help us be successful and target our intervention. >> supervisor ronen: okay. and that leads me to my last set of questions which i know dr. colfax is here. i'd like to ask him questions. i think it's poor planning that the director of behavioral health isn't here because mind you, this is a health care and poverty crisis. this is not a criminal crisis. people are addicted to drugs.
it's the growing inequality is leading to growingport. it's a problem, it's an epidemic, but it's a health problem and a poverty problem. and so when we deal with it based on what it is, we're not going to solve it and the fact that we're called from our christmas vacations with our families and have the director of behavioral health who was recently hired to be the solution to this problem is not here is a slap in the face to the rest of us who canceled all our plans to be here. but my understanding is that the director of public health, her boss is here and so i have some questions for dr. colfax.
is he here? >> yes. i'm here, supervisor. can you hear me? >> supervisor ronen: yes. i can hear you. thank you. so i don't know how well you know or have been following how mental health sf has been implemented, but supervisor haney and i wrote over a year's long time with behavioral health specialists, mental health sf which was unanimously implemented by this board in 2019. was it 2018 or 2019? 2019. >> supervisor ronen: okay. 2019. i'm mixing everything up. solo and behold, the pandemic
happened and so very understandably it was all on your shoulders and dr. colfax and you and your team have done a phenomenal job. so we have not been as pushy as i would normally because i've understood that there's a goebl pandemic happening. finally, about six months ago, you've hired a behavioral health director and it's been very slow implementing this law which will finally create the backbone of a mental health system that's necessary to solve the drug epidemic and
crisis on the streets. and, mostly what you've got going and mental health sf is the street crisis team which, again, i've been on ride alongs, it's very impressive. i have to say just like police, they have no place to take people. in talking to dr. cunnins a couple months ago and saying where are we with mental health sf service center there's not a 24-hour center where anyone with a drug crisis can take someone to get that emergency treatment and care and connection to other services. it's not going to work. there's no place for people to go and nobody will notice the changes in the streets.
dr. cunnens said, you didn't fund it in the last budget cycle and we haven't even started deployment. that didn't make me feel very good. and low and behold, i'm reading in the media because i didn't get a briefing, that now you're talking about creating in the tenderloin so my question to you is how is this linkage center different from if it goes away in 90 days, then any progress we've gotten in those 90 days will be down the drain in no time.
we need a permanent system of care to permanently address this crisis so how is the linkage system that you're going to stand up over night in the tenderloin going to advance the mental health sf civic center. you. >> thank you. i just wanted to state our director of health is in flight and she couldn't change it at the last second. if she were literally not in the air, she would be deeply committed to help mental health sf. so i just want to make that very clear. and, again, i apologize that this conflicted with something
that had been long standing plans she couldn't change with such short notice. so i think just with regards to the way conceptually from the way i'm thinking from the public health perspective and from the behavioral health perspective of what this allows us to do, take the functional aspects of mental health sf. i think i share and hear your frustration around how slow it's been and certainly the pandemic presents additional challenges. we've had more deaths due to overdose than we've had due to covid-19. so we have to prioritize this, we're continuing to do this. i think the foundational aspects of mental health sf due to the support with your
leadership and other board members is pivotal to realizing this next step which is through this emergency order. if we take that and take the experience of covid-19 and how the city came together for another public health crisis and the lessons learned there, with the efficiencies that this emergency order would allow us to implement, we can move so much faster and at the speed that we need to just as we did with covid-19. and i think you're exactly right and, you know, this linkage center is i mean, mind you directly adapted from the mental health service under what you and supervisor haney has been asking us to do for many years. we will test it. we will adapt it. we will adjust, but basically, just like i think we talked about, this is like the golden
ticket. we clear out our bureaucratic barriers for you to get whatever you need that day. whether it's in the health department, social services, we have the resources to do this and i think that's really important to emphasize. i think as that success builds, then we're able to take that model and sustain it beyond the 90 days, but nothing breeds success like success and i think we've just been so caught up in the calcified city geographies and progresses to have the emergency response the intensity, the focus that covid brought us to and so, we are now -- i mean, covid changed our culture. so i think we need to change -- we have to trump the bureaucracy and face this public health emergency in a way that's never been done
before. >> supervisor ronen: i appreciate that. lastly you know, this has been what i've worked on the most the past three years and so this is incredibly important to the work that i've been trying to do in the city for a very long time in the mission, isn't the tenderloin, but it needs a lot of help too, so whatever we're successful with here, it is deeply important to my district, but i could not agree more. i know we automotive agree that two deaths a day is unacceptable and we cannot let that happen. so the last thing i want to ask and when andres talked about is the success before all the horrible coverage in the media which completely turned this
into something that i hope that it's not is that this emergency ordinance will allow the department of public health to immediately fill 250 vacant positions in the behavioral health side of dph. is that true and can you talk about what that's going to look like. there's nothing more exciting to me than filling 250 vacant positions in behavioral health. if we could fill those, we could do so much for the people of the tenderloin right now and so are we going to cut that red tape and hire those people, you know, within the next month that we've had these open positions for a criminal amount of time for the fact that we've had 250 vacancies in the behavioral health department. >> yes.
supervisor. as i mentioned, we are working on a supplement to this emergency order that would allow dph to hire behavioral health services. so you're correct, there's approximately 200 to 250 vacancies and with our goal that with the combination of the cement that will come out as well as the work that dph has in motion with some of the classifications to fill those within the 90 days. we see that as being one of the fundamental impediments of doing this work and sustaining this work in the longer term and we're going to use this crisis that we are hopefully supporting to move forward that hiring that needs to happen.
>> supervisor ronen: okay. and then i really will stop after this. when you say a supplemental, what is that? these are already budgeted positions. >> sorry. a supplemental emergency declaration. so we're up to about 49 of these supplements. so it's not a supplement appropriation. it's supplemental declaration. >> supervisor ronen: okay. so we've funded these 250 positions. in the budget. if we hired them tomorrow. okay. thank you, colleagues, for the time and answers. >> president walton: thank you, supervisor ronen. supervisor mandelman. >> supervisor mandelman: thank you, president walton. i have a question. i want though however to maybe strike a slightly different tone from supervisor ronen's. i appreciated her questions and thoughts. i think i see the issues in the
tenderloin and parts of my district maybe a little bit differently. when folks five, ten, 15, 20, sometimes more folks are gathered in a public space and are selling and using drugs, that is an activity that is destructive, that is often related to other types of crimes. it certainly makes that public space unusable for other folks who might use that public space. and from my perspective and this is not what, you know, this is not the topic of the state of emergency, but i want to be clear with city staff that in my view, that is, yes, this is a public health problem. it is also a public safety problem and, of course, we should lead with services where we can and if we cannot get the
job done of making that space usable for everyone, then we need to bring in our public safety professionals to make it usable and if we have places where folks can get services and we certainly need more of those places, you know, all the better. but, again, not really what we're voting on today, but i just wanted to make that point. the question that i have about this emergency declaration about planning to vote for it, but director caroll, i have some concern that the additional focus on the tenderloin which certainly deserves this, you know, the hope i think is that the emergency declaration, the establishment of these additional services, the building out some mental health resources as well as the
increased police presence that the mayor is going to pursue whether or not this board of supervisors approves this emergency declaration. the hope i think is that this is going to reduce, of course, overdoses, but also the unusability of public spaces in the tenderloin and that some folks are just going to either not come to san francisco or find other places to engage in this behavior, but not everybody. so there is going to be some displacement and, you know, blocks away from the tenderloin is another neighborhood in supervisor haney's district, very heavily impacted by these challenges and, you know, half a mile to a mile away from that neighborhood are neighborhoods in supervisor ronen's district and my district that are also pretty impacted by these types of problems. and so i fully anticipate
again, the hope is that this is not going to just fully deflect problematic behaviors and drug sales to other neighborhoods. the hope is that we're bringing this activity down to the tenderloin. some folks are going to decide san francisco's not the place to do this, but some folks are going to move to other neighborhoods and how is the department of emergency management and the police department going to sort of keep track of that and how are you going to are finding situations are goating worse in their neighborhoods? >> thank you for the question,
supervisor.' it's an that we're going to see movement, but from a coordination response, i'm just going to circle back to our coordination and our communication during this 90-day period. these are the kinds of things that we'll be reviewing with the through the teams that we have. we'll be getting intel through whether it's skirt teams, through p.d., through e.m.s., through h-stock. we know what's going on in the streets now. we're going to have a much more laser focus on these activities. the other thing i'll say is that we're very hopeful, well, obviously, this is successful
and that we can expand and/or replicate as needed if it is. i mean, just i just keep going back to this we've never done this before, but we learn to do things that we never did for the last two years and we had to do that every week or two for 18 months. so i think that from an organizational perspective, like, you know, i think we can address the problem, but, again, you know, this is about this at least during this period, it really does allow us to focus and draw the resources we need to address the problems that we have. so it's not a solution to the issue, it's an acknowledgement that this is a risk, but we are thinking about it and, you know, we'll be coordinating on a daily basis to address that.
and i don't know if p.d. has anything else they want to add. >> president walton: are you done, supervisor mandelman? >> supervisor mandelman: i'm done. >> president walton: thank you, supervisor mandelman. supervisor preston. >> supervisor preston: thank you, president walton. and, i will just start by saying that the conversation so far certainly has not reassured me in any way that there's any real plan here other than police engagement and a vague commitment to some kind of linkage, undefined linkage center for which we have virtually no details whatsoever. i think, you know, and i appreciate some of the comments by supervisor haney and supervisor ronen around the
really serious and unique challenges and i think we all agree that every tenderloin resident needs to be safe and there's a need for urgent action and that need is not new. there has been an urgent need for years especially so i think we're all united on that. i think the administration and the board is united on that. i have a different view of what we've in terms of this plan and i think it's really sad that the roll out of the mayor's plan to the extent there is one and this emergency declaration
has in my view been a publicity stunt designed to address rise in pieces from around the nation and for the mayor to deflect going from the failures of the administration despite given the tools by the board of supervisor by the board of supervisors to act over the last two years. you know, the march and administration have not even convened stakeholders or meaningfully engaged this body about a proposed state of emergency. groups like the coalition of homelessness have not even been offered a meeting with the administration. that's remarkable on this plan. i've received virtually nothing on the proposed emergency plan. take a look at the file here. i mean, colleagues, when any department comes before us with even the most minor contract issue, they actually present a report and some details on what
they're asking for approval of. there was literally other than the proclamation of the mayor, nothing. i had a meeting on tuesday with the mayor's office representative and g.m. representatives. nothing in writing. the next day per my request, i got the one-pager on this, literally, just the same kind of for me raised more questions than answers. and i've got to say when you're asking for a declaration of a state of emergency that's going to give sweeping powers not just to the mayor, but to the head of the department of emergency management, i think it's embarrassing, just embarrassing that there's not even a plan presented, not even any discussion of all the things we're asking about and i appreciate the questions from colleagues and i know we'll
drill into this. these things should be laid out before you come in and ask for a state of emergency and work collaboratively with the board on that. so i see this roll-out as a real escalation of what i think is a fortunate tendency of the administration to create and fight a straw man, make excuses and avoid exercising real leadership on difficult issues with real solutions. real leadership includes collaboration with the board, with advocates, with stake holders. with the people who are going to be impacted by the policies. i hesitate to even call it a plan, but to the extent there's a plan that doesn't reflect any engagement to people impacted by the roll-out working to address this crisis ere day. most concerning and some of the discussions alluding to this already have been the dizzying
spins from the administration regarding the plans for the police in this emergency declaration or whatever the plan is and despite the mayor's repeated public remarks and despite what was said to our office during the briefing that i referred to the briefing with the mayor's office and the department of emergency management, in that meeting, we were informed that the police would be outreach partners and the plan as the incentive to get into a linkage center. that's pretty clear. and i don't think chief scott has denied that. there's going to be threats of arrests and arrests for people using drugs and i don't think he's denied that. mayor breed has made her intentions very clear. i don't think it's our job to
change what the mayor continues to double down on so it's worth looking changing course. crack down on we are going to make life for people out on the streets using drugs, we are going to make life hell for them. on the 14th, this is not ambiguous. she's going to make life hell for people who are addicted to drugs and are using drugs. three days later, friday, december 17th, she declared her state of emergency in the
tenderloin in order to streamline her plans as she said to take back the tenderloin. at a press conference flanked by the police chief, she asserted they would not only be cracking down on drug dealers and drug users, but at this time, homeless people using sit lie against people who are sitting and camping noting we are going to be a lot more aggressive about using the existing laws to get people off the street. like the mayor is not being vague about this and whether like that's what she's saying and it's on her to clarify if she doesn't mean it to come
back and correct it. but right now, that's what we've got to go on. so everything we've heard from the mayor has been a mere revial of war on drugs rhetoric and tactics to fail such policies that have shown us that police and legal threats are not a path to recovery and we can see examples of this over the past 30 years. here in san francisco and mayor jordan announced this matrix plan for the former mayor newsome announced his tough services plan which are always the same thing. we're not really doing services
right, like nobody says that. they come in and say it's going to be tough love services. arresting people who are homeless and arresting people who sit on the sidewalks is nothing new. it's a tried and failed approach and study after study shows using threats, policing and imprisonment as responses to drug use or homelessness will result in more particularly black and brown people being harassed and jailed in the streets of san francisco. it results in more stigma.
services can be offered to the tenderloin and the administration has not prioritized this. conditions in the tenderloin have deteriorated and the administration has actively prevented resources from being offered to unhoused focuses and people with substance use issues. and, you know, in the issue of time, when the board passes shelter-in-place hotels, the mayor refused to fully implement that. until a u.c. hastings student for unhoused folks in the our
city our home oversite committee. and the mayor and the administration have dragged their feet and left over $100 million on the stable mental health sf despite widespread agreement for behavioral health and when the community rallied around the compassionate alternative response team, the mayor refused to fund it. on top of all that, we've got the mayor's office shutting down services adopted from the shelter-in-place hotels and moving i would say through charitable and painfully slowly
now the mayor's asking us to trust her and we've received no clear short, medium, long-term goals. no discussion really of any increasing in capacity. it's great to have a linkage center, what are you linking people to. the city wouldn't be able to accommodate them and there's no plan here that shows any increased capacity. i think now fully interested in getting services, treatment,
and housing for as many people as possible. i for one welcome that shift. to come back. clarifications especially on the role of police and arrest especially in light of her public comments and really everything about the way the plan's been rolled out without input, without consultation with service providers during a board recess which promises to arrest people suffering on our streets and with more attention apparently being paid to media just makes it really impossible for me to trust the assurances here from administration officials and i think we should believe the words that have come directly from the mayor herself repeatedly that this emergency plan will make life hell for folks on the streets. she will not give people a choice. of she's now going to arrest drug users and people who
violate sit lie laws and under these circumstances, i certainly will not be supporting this emergency declaration today and i urge health to vote against this or alternatively the mayor and the board of supervisors are serious about working together to tackle real challenges in the tenderloin rather than just having the mayor create media headlines and more division, i think we should continue this to the first week of january at which time the administration can come back with an actual plan and a new emergency order and i think back and forthwith deputy supervisor ronen and i think we ask for clarity in the order regarding any use of police funding, you know, any
use around policing and funding for the police. you know, lastly, let me just say that i think it's not acceptable that the mayor is not here and we certainly can schedule this at a time that works for her and we can be expected to rely on her conversation that sounds different from the statement she's made over and over again publicly. but even with the statements that we've heard today, we are hearing from chief scott who's made it kind of clear that the plan includes drug users. sure, maybe that's true, but that's still part of the plan. i would like to ask a couple questions and thank you for all the time. i do hope folks will consider
revisiting this in the first week of january with some more information, but i did want to ask deputy city attorney ann pierson a question regarding the issue ability whether the order authorizes police action. i just think i want to -- you've commented on it before, but i just wanted to get a little more specifics. is there anything in this order that provides a limitation against authorizing increased police action? is there any provision of this that we could read to limit the use of this emergency power when it comes to police action?
>> deputy city attorney ann pierson. so before you today is the proclamation which just declares there's an emergency the mayor automatically has the power to move personnel and resources and in addition to the proclamation and emergency, there are a number of actions that she is proposing to take pursuant to the declaration and those were numerated in the rockla maggie macneil and in the motion before you. there's nothing in the proclamation or in those four actions that purports to authorize the police to do anything beyond what they can normally do. the actions that are in the proclamation do not address police authority. >> supervisor preston: and one followup to that. we've heard the representation of mr. powers around agreement not to use or increase the
allocation of funds to police under this order. is that the kind of thing that could be included in an emergency order if the board wanted to have something more enforceable? >> as we spent earlier, the mayor's hower to allocate resources and personnel are powers that are inherent once the emergency has been declared. i think i'd have to think about how if at all that power can be constrained by the proclamation itself. of course, we've all heard that the mayor does not intend to use those powers, but i'd have to think that whether or not the mayor can constrain herself
in a different version of the proclamation. >> supervisor preston: thank you. i think what i'm trying to figure out is what the vehicle is. a number of commitments or statement and and then in addition it specifically says also in considerable power in the head of department of emergency management because under the terms of this order, all city officers and employees, i presume that would include the police department take all steps requested by the executive director. that's on page three. so once you approve this, you know, if the board approves this, those powers have now all been shifted to the mayor and to director caroll. and i guess what -- like for
the board to want to at the time of approving the grant of those powers to have either some limits or some commitment in writing around that, would the vehicle be an amended emergency order or some kind of parallel document or exhibit to be attached to circumscribe some of those powers? >> typically, there are some constraints on those powers because the exercise of those powers can only be to the extent they are necessary to address the emergency that has been proclaimed. so the mayor may or may not issue order that is are completely unrelated to overdose deaths which is how she'd framed and defined this emergency. and the same holds true for the director's department of emergency management. whatever powers she is given
are only those that are necessary to address this emergency. >> supervisor preston: thank you. chief scott, i think you've answered this. to get this more clear on the record, under the plan, the emergency plan, will the san francisco police department officers threaten people who are using drugs with arrest and jail? >> supervisor preston, that is not our plan. our plan is to get people to help and we engage with people quite often with people who need help and sometimes it becomes really difficult for officers to do that in an official way and i believe the
emergency declaration will do that in a lot more efficient way. that is our plan. we've consulted with public health on this issue and they've made it clear that they don't advise that that is the way that this should be done and so we believe that we trust our public health officials and our subject matter. and that approach is not advised by public health officials. >> supervisor preston: so i understand it's not your plan to do that but let me just say what was made clear, we can all agree on that the public health officials has advised there are a lot of people in the space where they can envision getting the help that's offered. there's no question your officers are going to run into a situation where some people accept the help, some people will not. i'm asking for the folks who do not accept that help, will folks be arrested or threatened
with arrest? >> supervisor, no. given the scenario you gave, when a person is out in public smoking fentanyl and we are getting all the components that we would like to get there. there are people who aren't police officers that deal with this and let's say that person and i'm going to make this an example right there on the streets. well, that's not a situation that we're going to walk away from because we're go to get the people who want to help, but we're also going to make sure it's clear we're not going to tolerate people doing this on the streets. fentanyl is dangerous. no ifs, ands, or buts about it. i guess the question is what is the expectation of a police officer that's in that
situation. that's not -- we are not trying to make this an arrest heavy or arrest led situation. that is the last thing that we are trying to do because we've talked to public health and that's why we're asking for these resources as much as everybody else, but when you get in a situation where a person is not accepting any of the help and they're insisting on using fentanyl or whatever the drug of choice is in a public space, that situation needs to be addressed and it doesn't necessarily need to be addressed with an arrest and we expect them to get the right people there. we expect them to do everything possible to try to pull people to another place, not force them based on the public health advice, but in the situation that i just gave you, i don't know what the expectation is. if you're saying that you expect the officer to just walk away from that.
we're going to engage and try to get the situation back to getting the right people involved to get this person help. and we do have the skills to do that. it's not easy, but we need the infrastructure to be able to do that. >> supervisor preston: thank you. and how about the same question with respect to violations of sit lie. not in a situation where someone is using drugs but the situation where someone is sitting, sleeping, camping on the sidewalk? >> yeah. that has nothing to do with this. if you're asking what our plans are, what we regularly do with this situation is we ask people to move. sometimes if people don't have a place to go, at least make the sidewalk passable. i've virtually witnessed families having to walk in the street, laidies with their
kids, men with their kids and elderly people to go around people who are blocking the sidewalk with their possessions. so, yes, that can be addressed. those aren't the situations that are going to land people in jail, but we can't just turn a blind eye to this because it does impact people who use the sidewalks again, this is a daily situation. a lot of times, people will move if we just engage with them and treat them with dignity and respect. people work with us day in and day out, but we want to make sure we address these situations and not let these conditions fester. this declaration has nothing to do with that, but i'm just trying to answer your questions because that is a concern with people in the tenderloin
particularly and we are asked to deal with this situation and we try to do it with compassion. we don't take people to jail for this, but we have to address the situation and we try to do it with dignity, respect, and compassion. >> supervisor preston: and, chief scott, obviously i'm struggling to square with some of 0 your statements with the public statements from the mayor. i would like to know have you received any directive from the mayor changing any policies around whether people would be arrested for drug use on the streets in the tenderloin or for violations in recent weeks because i think what you've described is really the long standing approach over the last couple of years or at least since the start of covid, but have you received any shift in policy or changes in directives from the mayor?
>> no. what i've received from the mayor is we have to see a difference in what's going on in the streets. and the subject today in the tenderloin, that's the direction that i see with the mayor. and that's given me the ability to do that in a way that fits with what we're trying to do with reform. that fits with making sure we treat people with dignity and respect and compassion. we don't need to be sending people to jail who are sitting on the sidewalk. i don't think that's in anybody's interest, but we do need to be able to address this situation in a sensible way because this is part of what many families in the tenderloin complain about, many of the business owners and people walking their kids to school complain about. we have had officers posted on blocks just so kids can get to school. i mean, this has been long
standing before this declaration. we have to make sure this is a community for everybody. >> supervisor preston: thank you, chief scott. one other question if the mayor directed you 0 enforce against sit lie, is that an order that you and the department would carry out? >> let me just say this, the mayor has never ordered me to do anything like that. she has relied on me to do the right thing. however she says that publicly, she doesn't give field
housing. we are really a long way past our officers going and enforcing those types of and i'm not saying we've never written citations. we have. the way we do business now is totally different than four years ago. the answer to your question is, will we get the right resources in there? and that's what we do a lot of times we don't need to write tickets in the force. most people work with us. if we get into a situation where most people are going to go, we don't have a home but when our officers are getting
to that place and we're trying to be a balance but i can tell you what i see day in and day out. >> supervisor preston: so there's been reference to a one-pager and a plan. my question is other than the description you've provided and i appreciate the attempts to flush some of it out in the q& q&a here. that's a document i've requested. is there a written tenderloin plan upon linked to this emergency order and if so, what is it? >> yes there is. i didn't realize that you requested it. we will obviously share our documents. it is in draft form. i just also want to give a stiem line. can i answer your questions on
the plan. >> supervisor preston: so there is a plan in draft form and have you provided that to the board? i mean, do other -- do my colleagues have that? >> i do not have it. >> supervisor preston: okay. and i just want to know it's not part of the file and so i just. and i know there's a lot of folks like on the roster here. i don't want to take up too much time. i did want to ask you though, like is that plan that you're working on or working to finalize, does it address this issue that i think for a lot of advocates i've spoken to is really key of what you're linking to. it's one thing to discuss how you're going to staff a linkage center. it's another thing like is it designed to succeed or fail depends on what you're linking to. so that would include a plan for activating vacant, you
know, housing rooms. you know all the various things. there are many potential solutions. is that going to be detailed in this plan that is in draft form? >> yes. i also just want to give a little context. we've had about ten days total since basically it was seven days ago or within those that the emergency declaration was born. we are hustling as fast as we can to put this all together. would you like me to answer the question? i am happy to answer. i'm the director of emergency management. my job is to coordinate all of my colleagues and bring them together to come up with the operational plan. i am not familiar with every --
i have four or five departments that i'm bringing together to collect all of the resources that are going to be necessary to link people. we've been walking through what are we really trying to do here. what are we trying to achieve. we've talked about we need to get people off the streets and we want to connect them to services. so in order to connect them to services, the concept that we are working on and we are building out in a plan is to have a low barrier, peer and community based staff linkage center because that is what the department of public health has recommended. they are the ones that are kind of setting the design of who should be there and how to set it up. within that, what we want to have on a daily basis is an inventory of all of the
resources that would be available for an individual who is on the street and suffering from substance use disorder that could be a stabilization bed. it could be long-term treatment. it could be access to if they're on probation. it could be access to many of the programs that are in the adult probations office and we're working very closely with them to make sure that we have those services. so it is a lot of work to try to do this as quickly as we're trying. the point of an emergency is to act as swiftly as we can. you know, i apologize for not sharing the draft. i would be happy to get that to you if you would like it tomorrow on christmas eve. protest let me just clarify.
i don't want anything that i'm saying to come off as a criticism of the folks who are scrambling to put this together. right. like it's not a criticism. i mean, you just noted the fact that this is all coming together in a week, ten days. that is not a situation that this board has created and frankly, i'm sorry that you all are in a situation where you have to be coming before this board without even a plan and requesting emergency powers. it's just remarkable to me. so it does mean you are not all working hard to do it, but i will just and i will wrap up by just saying that the perception of this plan and the ability to address it, depends on the details and how it's rolled out. and, right now, the way it looks to a lot of advocates out there and i will tell you, i
hope this isn't it, but it looks like announcements that will lead to massive sweeps, a linkage center which is a road to potentially nowhere, gets people off the streets, creates some good photo-ops and good headlines and doesn't make the problem better. i hope that's not it, but so far, the way it's been presented, rolleded out to media, that's what it looks like. so my hope would be that it's not that come back to the beginning of january, get it right, put the guardrails in writing, finalize your plans and adopt them. i will leave it there. thank you for the time, president walton. >> thank you. through the chair, president walton, i just would like to say, i'm not sorry to be here.
i have served the city and county for the last 17 years. i don't think there is a more important project that i have been assigned to and so i just want to say that i am happy to be here. i'm happy to be under the gun and i'm happy to answer any questions. i am here to serve and i'm here to serve this crisis in the community. so thank you. >> president walton: thank you, director carroll. supervisor safai. >> supervisor safai: thank you, president walton. i have some comments and some observations. before i do that, i just want to ask a couple points of clarifications from our deputy city attorney. i read the emergency proclamation. my understanding is that at any point as we're approving this today, we can come back together and rescind the
emergency plot formation. >> you can at any time withdraw your concurrence. >> supervisor safai: right. and the reason i say that is because supervisor ronen and other supervisors have brought up funds being utilized. it says in there once every 30 day, the controller come back. so i just want to if we're not guilty happy, we can rescind that at any point. >> that's correct. the board can reconvene and. >> supervisor safai: okay. thank you. one of the first things i
wanted to say was that i started my career in the tentder loin. i've been working professionally in the city for over 21 years. over half of that time and as supervisor haney said to me, this is very personal to me. this is not something that snuck up on a sober night but i think the conditions are what have pushed the situation to crisis. i remember my first week on the job walking down the street seeing an elderly woman passed out wearing a diaper with a needle in her leg and calling my mother and saying i have no idea where in the world i'd move to. this is crazy. i had never seen anything like that. that was 2000. that was the year of 2000. what i would tell you today is,
i have never seen the conditions of the tenderloin like they are today. they are literally gangs of drug dealers that have taken over corners, completely. there are people using drugs openly every few feet in despair. and i've worked hand in hand with these many of the residents and families that live there. as a representative of the janitors union, a lot of the members live directly in that neighborhood. they're immigrants from china, yemen, south america, from all over the world and they are literally getting up and doing god's work cleaning buildings and doing work that other people don't want to do and these are the conditions that they're living in. so they have been demanding action on behalf of the city and so i commend supervisor haney. we as a board unanimously
passed a declaration of emergency i will say do i believe if we look back on the funding of the crisis of covid, i will say there was not a plan. we had qualified individuals. we had qualified departments that drew on their experience of dealing with similar crisis and they put together one of the most phenomenal responses in the world to deal with that crisis. so i have all the confidence that we can move with the same type of speed, but this is a 90-day prolamation.
proclamation. i too have been advocating strongly for alternative programs for drug treatments. president walton and supervisor haney stood with me with the mayor on one of the issues we pushed extremely hard for that i have led the way on which is an abstinense based model. we need to have an alternative to the entire model of using drugs to get people off of drugs. harm reduction is proven to work for some people, but for years, folks in black and brown community had been advocating for abstonence based models. for people that are recovering and getting released from our
justice system that are addicted to drugs. we need to be doing more of that. that will be one of my top priorities. similar to supervisor ronen, one of my top priorities will be to continue to push these. we need to use the salvation armies, the mission council and alcohol abuse, the latino commission, punctuation house, these are all people in the city that have been working, salvation army that have been working on an island that have not gotten support from our city to deal with addiction like so many others. and harm reduction works. we've seen now contingency management. so we're going to use programs that have not necessarily had tremendous outcomes and we've seen that a rise in the
continuation of addiction in this city. we need to be trying and since this is a 90-day emergency order that we're trying to pilot and expand programs and really get people into the right type of environment i will also be asking for in our sf general, we have our addiction care team. again, they're operating on an island. these are the individuals that get referred to the hospital that have mental health crisis and the most they're getting right now is a flyer for referral. this is a phenomenal program that needs additional funding to deal with our addiction crisis this is another thing that needs to be beefed up and i will be pushing along with supporting this call for an
emergency order. finally and i'll say this you cannot arrest your way out of an addiction crisis, but if people are out there selling drugs and committing crimes, then our police department does need to be involved. and if people are out there and i look forward to that. this emergency order is not about that today. the police chief could go down there right now and begin to do that. it has nothing to do with this emergency order. sit lie is already on the books. you cannot use drugs openly in the city. that's already on the books.
you cannot sell drugs openly in the city, that is already on the books. at the end of the day, we're trying to have a public health response to a crisis that has gotten exponentially worse and the statistics are there for us in the emergency order. i think it's very clear. another tool that we expanded in our process last year was 5150 process. if there are individuals that are high on drugs, that are beyond response, we need to use that tool more effectively and targeted so that people can sober up can and they can get referred and directed to the right program. very often, the police and others on the streets and they ask individuals if they want help. they are so high and so far gone, their knee jerk response is always 'no'. so we have to be able to use
the tools available for us. i appreciate director carroll. i look forward to working with you. i have a couple of questions to clarify on the record. i wanted to say these are some things we need to look forward on. our addictive care team at sf general looking forward to that being invested and expanded. at the end of the day, the residents, the families of the tenderloin deserve a safe environment and they deserve to live just like any of us. and could be living in those extreme environments. we need that type of response so our city our home oversees
out in 90 days because that means you don't need me um, so i look at it from an emergency response situation and that is really important. i'm saying that on behalf of the community groups and members that we have worked with who've asked me to talk about that and asked me not to forget and that we're reminding all of us as a city that this isn't just 90 days and then we're gone. so and then just finally if she's the person to answer the question about our city our home, as far as abstonance programs have reached out to
me. obviously dph's primary focus as i'm learning to understand it is harm reduction based, but we want to be able to have as much resources and as many that we can and for many people, abstonence is the goal. so we want to have everything we can on the table. >> yeah, we don't need to get into a philosophical and i will ask dr. colfax that question. >> supervisor safai: of money, resources and ideas that relates to many of the things that you're going to confront in the tenderloin.
i was asking director carroll particularly since she's being asked to coordinate this emergency response, will that be one of the groups in the stakeholder process in putting together this response. >> i think she's deferring to you. >> yeah. i'm just not as familiar with our city our home. so i can't begin to answer that question. >> i think the question that you're asking supervisor is are we engaging our city our home committee in our stakeholder engagement process and as we build out our plan, are we really including stakeholders in the tenderloin and the homelessness response system in our plan and i think the answer is always yes. as director carroll said, we are moving really quickly and
this is an emergency response. pulling together all the department heads who need to be engaged in this work and we know prop c dollars are spread out across our departments, but it really is the coordination of those efforts that are going to make this work and we haven't had a chance as we roll it out. this is a day by day process where because we are treating as an emergency, we have a backbone of a plan and we will have to see how it works and we address every day and that includes engaging people in the community and people on relevant committees that we generally work with. >> thank you. i'm going to ask a question. i'm going to shift over to services as it relates to i'd
like to direct dr. colfax if he's still on the call. >> hello, supervisor. >> supervisor safai: hey, how are you? you know, we've funded a multipurpose program. what was about re-entry. a therapeutic led by a nonprofit. positive direction equals change. since we're doing this program, a large number of the folks on the streets are asking american people of color, this community has been asking for a long time for additional expansion of abstinence based programs. you're going to be referring people to programming, is the intention and is there a will to support more abstinence based programs as part of this emergency order? >> supervisor, i appreciate the question. and i think the goal of
building out our system of care and treatment for people who are substance use disorders is to be able to provide a multitude of programs because we know a one-size-fits-all does not work. of the harm reduction continuum includes abstinence. there's a long range of services and engagement on the harm reduction continuance. so i just want to emphasize that a harm reduction approach does not include an abstinence based approach. that's another place where people are essentially receive positive reinforcements in the form of incentives to basically not be using. so i think as we go through this process of having the
linkage center provide a robust ability to refer people whatever they need that would include abstinence based programs, we work with a number of other sites and then within our residential treatment programs, there's a variety of requirements. some of which are completely abstinence based and others that provide more flexibility of people to relapse because we know unfortunately for many people, i think we need to understand that and understand we meet people where they are and provide people where they need. >> thank you, dr. colfax. i just want to reiterate for the programs like salvation
army. alcohol abuse, the latino commission, these are all programs that focus primarily on abstinence based treatments and they have not gotten the expect in funding in previous years and since this is a pilot and what we're trying to do is really respond to the demands of the community, it's important for me that we're trying new things and not just funding harm reduction exclusively. and i understand there's different programs, but i think it's really important that this plan include new things like that. i know director carroll is
going to be coordinating all the responses, but that's super important to me. >> yeah, i think that adds to our covid response. we innovate, we learn and where our supply doesn't meet the demand, we will be able to rapidly adjust. all the way to the abstinence based programs. that's the challenge we've had in our systems of care. there's also that coordination. >> right. that was my second question to
you. so the addictive care team has been somewhat operating on a shoe string budget. they are the team that's there when people come to emergency services and they absolutely, this is, again, going to be one of my top priorities coming into the budget season, but since we're faced with this emergency declaration and we're dealing with a lot of addiction, a lot of folks will be coming from this triage center many times probably to the hospital. i wanted you to talk about that a little bit and the opportunity to beef up the funding and support for the work that they're doing. >> supervisor, i appreciate your mentioning that. again, i've been on rounds with the team and they really do outstanding work and i think we would certainly welcome the ability to expand that even further and i think to your point, the opportunity that this emergency order allows us
to build out and i think that's something that we certainly would want to take back and potentially expand either in this 90 days or going forward as we continue to build out mental health sf. but it is one of the foundational aspects of our work that we need to continue to support and, again, this emergency order will help us take the initiative and do that even faster than we otherwise would be able to do. >> supervisor safai: and then the final comment is about as you said contingency minute, there's a lot of opportunity there particularly with methamphetamines and others to deal with, there's often, you know, used jointly with fentanyl and other some of these drugs that lead to the overdoses and so definitely want to see more of that. we've had limited support i think from the state level to use reimbursements, but definitely would like to see, again that.
and then finally, director carroll, one of the other things and, again, as i've said, we can't arrest our way out of this addiction crisis, but there are people when they do crimes, that's why i mention the partnership with the adult probation and our therapeutic community with positive direction, equal change to divert people from prison. but we also have to be thinking about re-entry programs and funding for re-entry because as people do commit crimes then they are part of this process, there are a lot of good re-entry type programs that we should be supporting and thinking about, so i wanted to put that on your radar as well. i just wanted to give an opportunity to comment on that. >> yeah. absolutely. as i noted, we've been working closely with adult probation who are our link basically to a lot of some of the reentry
programs and we are, you know, if there is anything missing, if there's gaps in what we're doing that you hear or see and, you know, let us know, you know, we're depending on the subject matter experts to make sure that we have everything that exists in place there. for instance, we plan on having a staff person who's not a law enforcement person, but community based connected to the cast and all of those programs at the linkage center. >> supervisor safai: right. okay. thank you, president walton. thank you, director carroll. i look forward to seeing a draft plan and working collaboratively with you on that. i think it's important that we work together. i think it would be a miracle if you've walked in today with a completely written up plan given the emergency crisis that we have.
so i really appreciate the opportunity to ask you these questions and my office stands ready to work with you to come up with an effective plan to deal with this crisis together. thank you. >> president walton: thank you, supervisor safai. supervisor melgar. >> supervisor melgar: thank you so much, president walton. i wanted to start -- first, thanking you, maryellen. you have done just so much amazing work these last couple of years and have proven yourself to be a master coordinator of things and you do it with grace and a smile on your face despite, you know, getting so much and i just appreciate you and i'm grateful for you. thank you for our city. i also wanted to thank supervisor ronen for her relentlessness in putting together mental health sf. you know, very few people have
devoted the time and mental space and heart that she has to this. so i thank you my dear colleagues for all of that just like your pursuit of what's right. and i also want to thank my colleague, supervisor haney for his work and having articulated these issues and the conversations that i have had over the last few days. you know, i appreciate your thoughtfulness and what's in your heart. you know, which i think is genuine and i appreciate that you have taken the time to talk to all of these different people and to be so responsive to what is obviously an emergency. so that being said, i do have a few comments and questions for both you, maryellen and for the chief. so let me just start by saying
i have spent the last few days talking to folks in the tenderloin. you know, i have tried to not talk to people outside the tenderloin because i know that in our progressive city, everybody has an opinion and especially if it doesn't effect you, you think that you can save everyone else because of your opinion and ideology and i wanted to speak up to people who live in the tenderloin first. and so i did speak to a bunch of service providers, people who agree and people who disagree with this emergency declaration. i know that i heard from a lot of folks who were grateful that supervisor haney and the mayor were responding in this way and that idea that started in the community actually made it in this declaration like the linkage center and i'm grateful for that because i think that's an example of a response that
was directed at the community. and this is a very diverse community. a lot of immigrants. so i spoke to, you know, arabic shop owners and, you know, moms who take care of others' kids and we have a large indigenous community in the tenderloin who don't speak spanish, they speak a different language and maya community from central america and mexico and there's a lot of folks from china and all over the place. it's a very diverse working class neighborhood and people told me, you know, that both they love a lot of things in the community and that they also live in fear. and so one thing we've been talking about, you know, harm reduction and abstinence and i think we should do everything
and we need a safe injection site and we need a linkage center. we need everything for sure. i agree also that this is a mental health crisis. the health crisis. it is a safety crisis and i think it's also a community development crisis. and i'm a little surprised that we're not naming that. and so i want to name it, colleagues, you know, because i do think that i am -- i know that we cannot encarson rate ourselves out of this problem. that is not an effective way, but i also don't want to pretend that there aren't people out there who are selling poison to others and causing people harm. and those people have weapons and they have guns. and other people who've lived there, who have children, live in fear. it is a community development crisis, because, children who are growing up surrounded by
violence and people dying have higher scores of adverse childhood trauma and those things, they will carry with them for as long as they live and i don't want to pretend that's not real because it is. so while i don't want to increase police, i do want better policing, smarter policing. so in my conversations with folks in the community, something that everybody said whether they were supporting this emergency declaration or not is that they hoped that the police that they were getting, the police service they were getting were better. and so i do want to ask you, chief scott about this. on the two things that i mentioned. number one is the drug dealing. so what are we doing to be smarter about it. to target folks and to deal
with it effectively and i realize that when you say drug dealing, it's a bunch of different things. there are people who are barely over the amount of, you know, with intent to sell and there's the people who, you know, like just needed to, you know, support their own all the way to the folks who are calling the shots and rerecruiting others is tremendous violence what are we doing about that and i don't think it's necessarily flooding the community, but i do think it takes strategy one of the
things i heard from folks in the community is that they didn't always feel safe with police folks around and i particularly heard this from folks in my latino community who, you know, i heard a couple stories about folks who called police because they, you know, and that really hurts my heart because san francisco's an immigrant city. in order for community policing to really work. they have to be all those relationships and so, you know, with this plan, i think that, you know, i'm not pretending that we don't need the police because i think that we do. i want to make sure that we're
doing smarter, better, more respectful and not less because that is what people are fearful of. and that's people who are in support of this emergency declaration and people who are against it. so i wanted to give you a chance to address those things. thank you, chief. >> thank you, supervisor melgar. i just want to point out first as i answer your question. what we are doing to address the drug other because it's both just to put that in
context. these are not users, these are people that are dealing drugs. to put that into context and the context of fentanyl, we've confiscated in those arrests, seizures and search warrants associated with those arrests, 23 kilos of fentanyl which is four times the amount that we've confiscated last year, and the reason that is the case in my opinion is we focus more on the higher level drug dealers and we have made street arrests as the drug dealers on the streets, but we've also focused on the higher level drug dealers and where the drugs are coming from. that's been apart of the strategy. now, when somebody said earlier, the really small amount of fentanyl that it takes to cause an overdose, when you think about 23 kilos
of fentanyl, that's a lot of dangerous drugs off the streets and we have to keep doing that and making arrests as we do that and part of it and that's part of the doing. community policing and the level of service, yeah, there's work to be done. >> supervisor melgar: in respect. >> in respect. yeah. . and that's something it's not just something the safety with respect is not just something on our police cards. it's really our strategy statement and it's what we expect of our officers and when officers fall below that, there is accountability there. to get to that level of community policing that we all will agree that we believe we
need is the officers have to we still need to they really are able to do good work and that's not to say they don't see things that are happening in front of them, but the engagement that happens in that format in the tenderloin because it's so dense is really important. our analysis told us the tenderloin is one of the most stressed in terms of lack of resources what we continue to do is try to make up those
shortages we still fall short and i've said this publicly and i'll say it here occupying a community with police officers with the press of tactics. i'm talking about community policing, engagement, understanding who's in the neighborhood, who's doing what, working with the community, that takes time and you have to have the people to do it. this declaration has nothing to do with that. and i believe when we do those things, we get to the place that you're talking about. and, again, it's apart of reform that we've been working so hard in the last five years to implement. there's a lot of work that goes into this and it's also a component of collaboration to make sure that our officers are able to call the right resources in to do things that maybe they're asked to do, but we shouldn't be doing in the first place and that's apart of
this declaration is making sure those resources are there consistently. of the when they're there, officers are able to focus on the drug dealers and the robberies and the things that really have people afraid to walk the streets in the community. but sometimes we just can't because we're being called to other things. that's why we're bringing public officers much closer to the streets. i think it all goes together, supervisor and that's why i'm so much in support of this and it helps us get to. >> supervisor melgar: i think that you are correct. and i think that having accountability in terms of discipline is not quite what i
would say is a success. i would much rather, you know, officers have those relationships. have training and professional developmental support. you know, ahead of anything going awry because that is how you build community trust and, you know, that is how you are ultimately successful in being able to figure out what meets the police response and what does not. and so thank you so much. i appreciate the answer, but i do agree that there's some coordination. much of maryellen wants to get out of this in 90 days, i'm wondering if it's not going to take longer. the other thing i wanted to ask you and it's the last point that you just touched on, chief scott is that, you know, we just heard that, you know, andres powers talked about,
deputy chief of staff powers talked about, you know, subsequent action that we may take to enable the public health department to hire folks, you know, more expeditiously to support the efforts of supervisor ronen and supervisor haney to beef up mental health sf. so i'll just tell you a little anecdote. when i was in my earlier career i worked for the ira center that worked for the paranatal support to women that had opioid addictions in the mission and i was violently attacked once after supporting giving out condoms to ladies on the mission on 16th street and it left me at st. luke's hospital with a concussion and lack of hearing in my right ear. and i suffered from post
traumatic stress for years after that. so this is work that people do because they love the community and it is also like it can be dangerous and it can be risky and so we are going to tie hundreds of people into these positions and i'm wondering in terms of the coordination between, you know, fully staffing this out putting out a system that works that supports people to succeed, how are we going to be able to make sure that, you know, the safety of workers, you know, is, you know, also prioritized in how we roll this out. you know, so back to what you just said, chief scott. i just want to make sure that, you know, people have the proper training and understand when a police response is needed and when it is not needed and, you know, how we support and make sure that as we roll this out, we have real
success. >> yeah. absolutely, supervisor melgar. that's really important and we do have a lot of experience in working with a lot of our collaborative partners. sometimes people are called to the scene and it might be the right resource and the situation turns violent and they will ask for an officer to stand by to keep the peace if you will. you know, with our c.g.i. tranging and technology we have implemented over the many years. you never hear about them in the news. especially in these days. so, you know, officers are trained well and they are trained to deal with these crisis situations when people
that are and i think the training is paid off and our officer and this department is committed to that. so it needs to work together. we don't want to have people out there to help people being attacked like you just described what happened to you. quite frankly, we often times do get those requests. we get those requests quite often because sometimes when people in whatever state of mind they're in whether it's drug induced psychosis, it can be very violent very quickly and we do a very good job of that. we report to our commission and the public, you know, 50,000 of those types of situations and we have, you know, a less than -- it's less than a tenth of a percent of incidents that turn to a use of force. so i think we have a really
good track record on those types of issues and we'll continue to support whoever we need to to make this work and that's what we're here for. >> supervisor melgar: thank you, chief scott. so my last question is about resources and again, knowing when it's appropriate to have police intervention and when it's not and, maryellen, this is a question for you and that's along with many of my colleagues, i think all of my colleagues during the budget process this past year, we've supported the community alternative at programs because, you know, most of us agree that, you know, police response should be reserved for situations that are violent and, you know, require that, but that will often times, that backfires that it is much more appropriate to have a community based response. and so we appropriated that
money and it's just sitting there and it's in your department and i'm wondering, you know, is that going to be part of this, are we going to get this out. if it's not a priority, can we put it somewhere else so it can get out. so i have a particular interest in this because i'm the supervisor on the west side. i disagree with my colleague, supervisor safai that we can have tenderloin in any of our districts. i think that would never happen. in our city, we respond to different people depending on the resources and the color of their skin. and i really resent that and i'm -- but i'm wondering, you know, so out here on the west side, we have folks who are and i -- we get very few services and i think that would be great to roll out the community
alternative. wouldn't it be great to, you know, are roll this out as part of this emergency response so that the police can then be freed up to deal with the things that they actually need to deal with and not everything. >> thank you, supervisor. i have met. we all said -- so let me just put that to the side.
first of all. getting out of covid and being able to focus on other things. one of the focuses that i have had is to help coordinate the existing response teams that we have in the field that are also new, that are also piloting. so we have skirt and sort and then we will have our first street wellness response team that's nonmedical, more of a community -- it's a partnership with the community provider and h.s.h. to do community response. so my feeling about it is that i am very open. i agree with you. i believe that there is a place for community response. i think that it could be a good addition and really help us with our overall responsiveness for really minor things that
and that currently their police responses. they're very low. so if someone calls it in, are these certain types of responses, like somebody in front of your door, sleeping in front of your door for instance. >> supervisor melgar: or just move it to a different department. shouldn't we just move it. i mean, because if it's not an emergency response and, you know, are it's not useful to you, necessarily, you know, it certainly would be useful to me in my district. you know, and that's what we deal with all the time. it's not stuff -- somebody's doorway or using their hose to take the shower, you know, those kinds of things that community based things. but that has nothing to do with the emergency declaration. you know. so my question to you was is
there a role for it in what you're building with the emergency response and if there isn't because if it's not an emergency, if it's not that, then we should move it some place else and then use it because it might make it better. >> we are hopefully going to kick off the response in a matter of days. so we've really got to use how they connect. if it turns into a medical or police call. it's really not as simple as just throwing it out there and those details are lacking. i have committed to the time to try to process, to a process to
figure out how is the best way to figure out what's proposing. it can't be a stand alone because otherwise it's sort of -- so. >> supervisor melgar: it puts them at risk. >> but that's why it hasn't moved yet. >> supervisor melgar: thank you. that's all my questions and comments. thank you, president walton. >> president walton: thank you, supervisor melgar. supervisor mar. >> supervisor mar: thank you, president walton. i'll try to keep it brief because most of my questions have been asked. i do want to say i came into this meeting and i'm supportive of this emergency declaration in this motion. it has been stated by everyone, there's a clear public health emergency in drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths in our city and the tenderloin are
really at ground 0 and the city's really failed to address this crisis in a meaningful way just leading to continuing misery and tragedy for drug users, families and really the central city neighborhoods, especially. and as supervisor melgar noted, this also intersects to related crisis and poverty homelessness and systemic racism and more in our city and beyond. like supervisor safai, i worked in the tenderloin for many years, working on the workers union hall before moving my work just several blocks away but really a world away to city hall and, you know, when i worked in the tenderloin, i on a daily basis did have to walk by drug dealers and users outside of our office or the union hall, but i also know the
situation and problem has just gotten so much worse. and i've seen it myself. i constantly hear from my former colleagues at local two and folks in the community, families, organizers, and others. so in my briefing with director carroll this week, it was really helpful in getting clarification of, you know, what the mayor's emergency declaration covers and what it doesn't and really what the vision and the strategy is to address the crisis playing out on the streets of the tenderloin. that's really so that new public health resources can be deployed in the neighborhood in a coordinated way to really meet the urgency of the crisis. and i really see this as something that the tenderloin community and supervisor haney and others have been urgently calling for for a long time now and really just increased city
hall resources and attention to address the drug crisis. and i also have, you know, spoken to and heard and really agreed with concerns raised by many advocates and leaders including many of you, colleagues about the emergency declaration and the tenderloin plan and really focusing at least in her communications through the press about focusing on law enforcement as a strategy and how this could lead to further drug use and policy. this emergency declaration is really not needed for the mayor, for chief scott to follow through with any new law enforcement plans ramping up
law enforcement in the tenderloin. they can freely redeploy sfpd personnel to the tenderloin or any other neighborhood they see fit. so i'm in support of this emergency declaration. i have faith in director carroll and her leadership and the team to really lead the job here and serve a similar effective coordinating roll they've done through the covid command center. but i do have a lot of concerns about where we're at right now with this. i'm going to have concerns about the timing of this announcement, of the mayor's announcement about this just before the holidays. i have a lot of concerns how the mayor's communicated about the emergency declaration with
heard from the recovery center working group, who heard from people who have been in the criminal justice system who sometimes got sober in the criminal justice system. we heard from them for hours, and there may be a lack of understanding and ideas to help those are suffering from addiction. for me, today's vote is a choice as to whether we continue where two people die from an overdose today or we
4,200 times that we know of, there could be more deaths on the street if we weren't using narcan. for me, these numbers are stark indicators that something is deeply flawed in how we are currently addressing the drug addiction and the overdose crisis. last year, when you look at what we spent, we spent $1 billion to address drug addiction and overdoses. we significantly increased our supply of needles to save peoples' lives.
we are spending money on billboards encouraging people to use, and you are not investing in recovery, something is very wrong. what do we have to show for everything that i just mentioned? we still have the highest overdose death rates in the country. not to mention a rise in homicides and shootings, among the highest in the country.
we need to address the real solutions that address addiction. if you go to find treatment at sf.org, you'll see right now, according to d.p.h., there are 66 beds open for substance abuse right now. there are 34 mental health beds for those suffering from mental health, but that doesn't even tell the full picture because these are just to be funded beds. these are beds open all over the place right now as we speak, and the information on
fine treatment is not always working for people in treatment. davis house shows 249 beds with 39 openings, so you can't get even the full story. i've been touring all the facilities we have under d.p.h. they weren't at capacity then, and i'm told they hold beds and lease them out to other counties, so what is the correct information? i know we have 100 openings right now, and yet, we know that the tenderloin streets are lined with people suffering with the disease of addiction.
our -- dying on our streets are clearly in a position where they cannot help themselves. we have to admit that harm reduction is not working, and we have to get serious to help addicts and those in the tenderloin. unfortunately, for those who suffer from addiction, consequences work. consequences work, and that's how a lot of people are compelled into recovery. i heard someone say in our city government, who i won't name, that we are robbing people of our bottoms, and i think sometimes in our policies we are enabling people in our deaths. i know that there are some people who disagree with me, but the disease of addiction is not a free license to use on the streets until you kill
yourself or seriously harm someone else. the disease of addiction is awful. it's a thief of a disease. it causes people to do things that they don't want to do, that when they seek recovery, they end up making amends for the things that they've done. you don't punish the person for being sick with substance abuse, but when their behavior causes harm to other people, when the alcoholic who can't stop drinking keeps getting behind the wheel of a car, yes, i feel sorry for the person who's suffering from alcoholism, and it sucks, but you know what? that person can't get behind the wheel of a car and kill
people. addiction is messy, it's awful, it hurts the children in the tenderloin. this is not just party, party, party, like the billboards would have suggested. this is a disease that causes people to do things that they don't want to do, it causes people to commit crimes that they don't want to commit, and we need to provide consequences and ways out for these people. and what else? the people who sell. when people are arrested for selling and they're without within days again. i know one person was selling drugs with a weapon was sent to drug court with an eventual dismissal.
on october 27, a known tenderloin drug dealer was in his court hearing on felony possession for sale, only given diversion with a promise to go to five n.a., narcotics anonymous hearings, and the case would be dismissed. narcotics anonymous is for addicts who desire to stop using. you send a drug dealer to narcotics anonymous who's not suffering -- they just -- they have more customers. it doesn't make any sense to me. and also, how are they proving to the judge -- when i was a
d.a., they had to come back with slips when we had them go to n.a. or we had them go to a.a. meetings. they actually had to go to the meetings and prove to the judge that they're getting better. the judge dashboard shows that they haven't tried one of these cases, and meanwhile, the death toll sky rockets. these dealers are coming in from outside the city, and they do so with total impugnity. are we simply going to talk or arrest our way out of this? of course not. no one is saying this. the mayor definitely isn't, but we must enforce the laws that help prevent deaths and create unbearable living conditions for our children and families. we need a combination of law enforcement and social
services. we need a combination of consequences and treatment. this is what has successfully happened in europe, and it's exactly what our mayor is advocating for. in my opinion, it is the only humane option, given how dire the imagine has become. notwithstanding the great issues that people who are addicted to drugs are facing, we have to acknowledge that the epicenter of this crisis is still in the tenderloin, where a significant number of immigrant and refugee families work and live. what does it say about our city? and i was very moved when i had my meeting with director carroll when she had her meeting in the tenderloin and heard the experiences of the families. what does it say when we allow children to walk-through the tenderloin seeing people that are dead from overdose,
assaulted on the way to school and work, which is happening. i'm not being dramatic. what is it going to take for us to say, enough is enough. in november, an 11-year-old girl -- my daughter's 12. an 11-year-old wearing a hijab who was walking her younger sister to school was attacked by an individual experiencing mental health problems, enough to land her in the hospital. i don't understand why we're not doing more, and i'm glad we're doing this. when we talk about the tenderloin, we have to talk about the children and families
that are in the community. the reality that folks who are living in the tenderloin day after day, what they face is important. and i'm glad that supervisor haney is supporting this. we have to try something new, and an emergency declaration is a start. let's be clear, what we said over and over again. the mayor and the san francisco police department currently have the authority to enforce drug laws prohibiting drawing use and dealings, and this proposal does not allow them to do this. the proposal will allow the city to leverage existing resources for the tenderloin. it will quickly create centers where those suffering from addiction can receive mental health and other human services. and i know this is going to be hard because it is very hard to
catch that person in the fleeing moment when they've had enough of their disease, when they're willing to get help, but we need to have a place where it's there, and we can quickly get them into the services that they need. it will, and i'm hoping this disrupts the deadly open air drug market. it has to stop. the alternative of others that i've heard and everything i've read seems to be a combination of doing nothing, arguing about what to do, or just doing the same, and one of the ways that people struggling with addiction commonly get access to treatment in san francisco is through the criminal justice system. is that the best way for people to get help? no, it's not, but we shouldn't ignore a good and practical approach for an unknown perfect one. given the awful and
increasingly deteriorating situation, i believe we need to try everything. i am actually just dumbfounded that we are facing the situation that we are, and i have to say, i have such profound faith in director carroll, that she will be able to use the necessary resources, be open and honest with what she's doing, report back to us, and make a difference because we no longer have the option to do nothing, so i have no questions. i'm ready to go. i'm ready to vote yes, and i want to thank you, director carroll, for what you put up with and for what you are going to embark on because, like i said, i have full faith that you are going to be able to make a difference, and i am here to support.
thank you. >> president walton: thank you, supervisor stefani. supervisor chan? >> supervisor chan: thank you, colleagues. you really have helped answer some of the questions that i had about the declaration, the intents behind it, what connection there is, if any, to police response, and what the linkage center will actually do. while i appreciate what the department has done under director carroll's leadership, i really am not sure if i have much more to ask of all of you today. i have realized, regrettably, the questions that i have unanswered are mostly due to the fact that there's not
really a plan. instead, we have made references on all the work that my colleagues, like supervisors ronen and haney have been working on so hard with mental health s.f., and what other departments should have been doing all along with our city, our home oversight committee, and just implementing programs and measures that we know work, that will throw down to the court issue. most importantly, the answer that i have today confirmed my questions regarding the timing and the actual intent of this declaration. mostly, those questions were rhetorical for me, personally, because let's be frank. if this declaration was about protecting our most vulnerable, then where was the declaration of emergency when there was a significant rise of hate attack on our asian community, especially on our asian elders?
were we not suffering enough, hurting enough, or valuable enough to protect our merchants? where was the protection when small businesses on geary street were vandalized four and five times in a row in less than six months. if this declaration is truly about tackling the fentanyl crisis, where was this declaration when we voted to urge the mayor to do so in september this year? or even in october, when we already learned the death toll of drug overdose crisis was out of control? in fact, there was a chronicle exclusive in 2019, december
2019, that informed us that san francisco had the highest drug overdose death toll among the way area? subsequently, we already knew in january this year, as the chronicle again reported that last year, 2020, was san francisco's deadliest year for overdose. so we knew, right? and again, we knew by may of this year san francisco was set to break the previous record on drug overdose deaths. where was this declaration then? meanwhile, we know what works,
supervisor aaron peskin, who could not join us today, and part of his district in the tenderloin, will be introduced . >> president walton: supervisor chan? i believe that supervisor chan is frozen. if she isn't aware -- >> clerk: mr. president, i believe we have lost connection with supervisor chan at this point. >> president walton: so i believe we will call supervisor chan back at this point. i'm going to say a few words and then pass it to supervisor haney. and the first thing i really do just want to start off by, again, appreciating everyone for being here this evening.
all of my colleagues, the clerk's office, department heads, you, director carroll, chief scott. i know the meeting did not have to take place during this time period, but no one is complaining, so i want to thank you all for being here. i've been around drug abuse, addiction, death, violence my entire life. i don't wish that on anyone, and i just want to start off by saying, if you sell drugs, you need to be held accountable. that is not what this is about. this is not what the declaration is about. this is about what the back and forth has been about the last few weeks. there's nobody on here that i think wants to accept people
who sell drugs and hold them accountable, and we're all upset about those billboards. probably for a different reason, but i was upset about those billboards, as well. it's funny. i was threatened earlier today via text. somebody told me that if i didn't vote to support this declaration, that i would pay for it during my reelection in november, and this is someone who lives in district 10, someone who has never attended a public safety meeting, someone who's never took advantage of any opportunity on any issue, but who felt the need to threaten me on my personal cell phone, that if i
did not support this, i would suffer in my election. the only reason i say that is these are the types of issues that require us and the mayor's office to come together, and we didn't do that. we are pitted against each other, and by the way, this won't affect my vote. my vote is about doing the right thing. and supervisor chan, you touched on this, but about the fact that we've known about the crisis in the tenderloin for a very long time, and we all know how we want to save lives not only in the tenderloin but all across san francisco. i do have to ask, as the district 10 supervisor, it was said that we're failing in the
tenderloin. what about the 15 homicides in district 10 this past year? what about the two homicides in my district alone over the past couple of weeks? are we not failing there? and where's the outcry for the families that lose people to violence? we have a public safety plan. there are things we worked on with the mayor's office, with law enforcement, that have not been fully funded as we talk about addressing crisis. i only have a couple of questions because i know we've been here for a long time before i pass this over to supervisor haney. and supervisor melgar, i don't know if i quote you directly, but i think you said that the mayor will be pursuing more police presence regardless of how this vote goes, so i'm even more confused about what we're doing here today, and i just have to say that on record. chf