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tv   BOS Land Use Committee  SFGTV  January 1, 2022 6:00pm-8:11pm PST

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illusion to a big problem it will help out the neighborhood and be responsible for the places we live i want or apparent to the web site and >> good afternoon and welcome to -- [speaking spanish]. >> operations, can you please mute that microphone for us.
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apologies. >> chair: no worries. good afternoon, everyone, this is our december 23, 2021, special meeting of the -- [indiscernible] -- >> i believe that sounds as 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
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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 ] >> clerk: mr. president, you
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have a quorum. >> chair: thank you so much. madam clerk, i will entertain a motion to excuse supervisor peskin from today's meeting, as he is out of town and unable to participate. can i get a motion to excuse. made by supervisor ronin and seconded by supervisor chan. >> clerk: on the motion to excuse. [ roll call ]
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>> clerk: there are 10 ayes. >> chair: thank you, that motion to excuse is approved. the san francisco board of supervisors acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral 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,
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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
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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
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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.
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in a great partnership -- well, i should also say our e-mail address is 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
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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,
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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,
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 ]
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>> i want you to tell me today to open this linkage center which i hope it's the beginning of the mental health service
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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>> 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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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>> 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,
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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,
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 direction she tells me what she
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wants to see. >> supervisor preston: so she tells you she wants all the people in tents on a particular block gone. >> when we have tents in places where it impedes traffic, when we have tents causing problems, we have worked with h.s.h., homeless and supportive 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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


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