San Francisco voters have sent City Hall a somewhat muddied message: They want more services for homeless people, but aren’t willing to spend more money for them.
On Tuesday, voters resoundingly passed Proposition J to dedicate funding from a sales tax hike to homelessness and transit, with 66 percent saying yes. However, they rejected Proposition K, which would have actually raised the sales tax, with 65 percent voting no. That means homeless services lose out on $50 million a year that was already assumed in the budget. More than $100 million was tagged for transit.
So what happens now on one of the city’s most dire issues? Like anybody who comes up short on cash, Mayor Ed Lee is checking under the couch cushions to find some extra change. (To be fair, in a city with a $9.6 billion annual budget, there’s a huge couch and lots and lots of change. And voters did pass a school bond, a City College parcel tax and a transfer tax hike, so it’s not like there weren’t a lot of hands out.)
On Thursday, Lee sent a letter to Board of Supervisors President London Breed and Controller Ben Rosenfield saying he was canceling Prop. J, which was allowable under the way the measure was written. He also told them the once-balanced budget is now not balanced because of Prop. K’s failure.
In the letter, he told them certain priorities must continue, including funding Navigation Centers to take in encampments of homeless people, traditional homeless shelters, outreach teams for those on the streets and more than 800 vouchers to help pay for rental housing. He has told his budget director to find reductions in other parts of the city budget or additional revenue to pay for them.
Lee’s spokeswoman, Deirdre Hussey, attributed the sales tax demise to “a ballot that failed to offer voters a vision for our city and instead offered them a laundry list of measures that were polarizing and politicized.”
We’ll say. In light of the shocking presidential election, squabbling over whether the mayor should get to appoint four members of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board or all seven seems rather insignificant, does it not?
Lee’s new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has a budget of $220 million a year, with another $45 million or so in homeless money going to other departments. Jeff Kositsky, director of the new department, said the top priorities will continue regardless.
“We’ve been working on a Plan B,” Kositsky said. “It’s disappointing that we don’t have the $50 million, but there are certain things that are high priority for the department and for the mayor, and we’re just going to have to find a way to make them happen.”
Those priorities include opening a new Navigation Center in Dogpatch by February or March and another one South of Market by late summer.
The department will also proceed with plans to hire staff to help homeless people, including veterans who receive federal housing vouchers, find available apartments. Currently, about $30 million in Kositsky’s budget comes from the federal government, which could be in jeopardy if President-elect Donald Trump carries out his pledge to strip cities that provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants of federal money.
“There are some uncertainties now with the new president about what’s going to happen with these kinds of programs in the future, but for now we have access to them and we’re going to take advantage of them,” Kositsky said.
Also still on the table is expanding hours of traditional shelters — most of them close during the day — to allow people to do their laundry, use the bathroom and get a break from the streets, Kositsky said.
So what won’t make the priority list? Kositsky said it’s too soon to say. One area could be creating more permanent supportive housing, though new projects are so long term that none is immediately on the chopping block.
“Our back’s not up against the wall for any deal we were planning to do,” he said.
San Francisco could get some much-needed help from the state to address homelessness — eventually. We ran into Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at the annual election day luncheon at John’s Grill, and he said Los Angeles, Stockton, Fresno and other California cities share San Francisco’s homeless crisis.
“There’s something deeper that’s happening here,” said Newsom, who pledged his campaign for governor in 2018 will focus on homelessness “big time.”
“We’re fleshing out the contours of what that will look like,” he said. “The state needs to step in.”
After election day, many San Franciscans we saw were walking around dazed, puffy-eyed and looking like somebody died. So how about a little good news?
Remember those women at Lava Mae, the nonprofit that turns old Muni buses into shower stalls for the homeless? They’ve met with so much success, they’re taking their show on the road to Los Angeles.
Their first offshoot starts this week; they’ll be in Venice on Tuesdays and near Skid Row on Fridays. Founder Doniece Sandoval said that with 47,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County, the need is huge.
“We’ve never seen anything like it, even with the tent encampments here,” she said.
In more Lava Mae news, those walking through Hayes Valley on Saturday might wonder why there’s a gigantic toilet — so big you can walk into it — erected on Octavia Boulevard. The art installation created by Robin Lasser is Lava Mae’s way of celebrating World Toilet Day, which is intended to raise awareness about the lack of basic sanitation around the world.
Sandoval sent an email blast the morning after the election telling Lava Mae followers, “However you voted, whatever you believe, the sun will continue to rise and set, the birds will sing, and time will tick away because life goes on. … There are many, many good fights to fight and good people to lead them.”
She should know.
- Russia elections: Kremlin-backed parties take a hit
- EU denies its £51billion agriculture budget is used to shore up political corruption in eastern member states after damning report into widespread fraud
- Expect budget to be very pro-tax reforms: Sanjay Sinha, Citrus Advisors
- Glittering stocks may lose sheen post Budget; Titan, TBZ may see pressure on upside
- Apple pledges $2.5 billion to fight California's homeless crisis and build affordable housing in the state
- Budget Analysis | Isaac's Nava Kerala dreams come with a price
- EU hits Italy with start of disciplinary action over budget violations
- Budget 2018: ABC funding frozen in $84 million hit to bottom line
- FG plans new taxes to fund 2019 budget
- Govt may retain 3.4% deficit for FY20; market to scale new highs after Budget: Poll
- Federal budget jargon buster: Work through the waffle
- Prince Charles is hit by a major counterfeit art scandal as he sends back £105m Monet, Picasso and Dali paintings lent by bankrupt businessman James Stunt after an American forger claimed HE painted them
|Escort C65 Radar Detector with X, K, & SuperWide Ka Bands, Front and Rear Laser Detection, DSP, and AutoMute$189.95||Disney Sing It Pop Hits with Microphone Bundle Wii check it now at Amazon||Demon's Souls - Greatest Hits with Art Book and Soundtrack CD - Playstation 3 check it now at Amazon||Fit to the Hits with Tamilee: Rock Hard Assets & Motown Moves$20.99||Fit to the Hits with Tamilee: Motown Moves$9.98||The Girl's Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World4.4★ / $24.99||Fit to the Hits with Tamilee: Rock Hard Assets$8.99||David Spade - Take the Hit$7||SUP FIT with Jodi K - The Best Stand Up Paddleboard Fitness WORKOUT check it now at Amazon||Outdoors with T.K. and Mike: Deer Huntin' check it now at Amazon||Outdoors with T.K. and Mike: Bass Fishin' check it now at Amazon||Outdoors With T.K. and Mike: Duck Huntin' check it now at Amazon||Outdoors with T.K. and Mike: Turkey Huntin'$12.24||Outdoors With T.K. and Mike: Deer Huntin' 3 Volume 1$92.44||Outdoors with T.K. and Mike: Elk Huntin' check it now at Amazon||Outdoors with T. K. and Mike/ Squirrel Huntin' check it now at Amazon||Outdoors with T.K. & Mike: Duck Huntin' ~ Comedy Hunting DVD$53.74||Outdoors With T.K. & Mike - Duck Huntin' check it now at Amazon||Duke Basketball DVD - A Clinic with Coach K$33.09||STOTT PILATES: Pilates with Props Volume 1 check it now at Amazon||STOTT PILATES: Pilates With Props, Maximum Resistance Vol 2 check it now at Amazon||Arabesque - Greatest Hits with Sandra Cretu (Import) check it now at Amazon||Pilates Fusion: Mix And Match With Props!$15.99||take a ride with a fool$8.99||Take Duluth Home with You$21.95||Baby 12" Doll Take Along Set With An Extra Set Clothing And Feeding Needs check it now at Amazon||Toy Major Knight with Accessories Playset (4-Piece) check it now at Amazon||Thomas & Friends Take Along - Douglas with Tender check it now at Amazon||Frigidaire GLEB27Z7H 27" Single Electric Wall Oven with Star-K Certified and Vari-Broil Temperature C, check it now at Amazon||25 Weight Loss Recipes For Emotional Eaters On A Budget: Take Control Of Your Weight Loss With Ease (Conquer Emotional Eating) check it now at Amazon|
Homeless budget takes major hit with Prop. K rejection have 1593 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at November 12, 2016. This is cached page on USA Posts. If you want remove this page, please contact us.