Editor’s note: “Conversation With Campos” is a weekly series of conversations with District 9 Supervisor David Campos addressing issues and events in the Mission. If you have questions for Campos, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mission Local: The streets near the 16th Street BART station are cluttered with trash, and generally the Mission seems to have more litter than other parts of the city. Why is this the case?
David Campos: I don’t know what the answer is in terms to why this part of town is not as clean as another.
It’s something that we have been trying to deal with for quite some time. We’ve met with the Department of Public Works numerous times … to see if they can increase the number of times the streets are cleaned … to increase the number of trashcans.
That’s one of the big beefs that I have. We don’t have enough trashcans in our neighborhood. [Ed. note: The city reduced the number of street trashcans in 2007.] That’s not what we did at the Board of Supervisors or in my office. That stems from the prior administration under [Mayor Gavin Newsom].
[The previous administration] felt that too many people were using the street trashcans for the purpose of throwing away their own trash. And some businesses were doing that … it was a misguided decision. If you don’t have enough trashcans, you make it more likely that people will litter. You have to make it easier for people to put the trash away.
ML: On to our “Prop. of the Week.” Some say that Prop. 32 is pushed by large corporations who want to silence unions. Others say it’s an effort to limit the influence of special interests in politics. What do you think?
DC: I’m against Prop. 32. You can tell a lot about a ballot measure by who’s funding it. You have a lot of corporate special interests behind the prop.
[The prop] is presented as trying to fight special interests, but it’s disguised in that sense because the very purpose is to allow other interests, in this case corporations, to have more influence than they have. It’s a [means to] … limit the voice of laboring interests to speak out.
Look at the people who are funding it … if you look at the expenditure, they’ve spent millions of dollars influencing Sacramento … and they’re spending the kind of money they’re spending on it for a reason.
If we want to talk about limiting special interests in government, we need a larger discussion of what that means. No one has an answer to that right now. [Let’s] find ways to take money out of political system. I do support public financing. When you have that available to candidates, when candidates are not funded by special corporate interests, you level the playing field in politics.
When you have super-PACs like you have at the federal level because of the way the Supreme Court has interpreted finance law, it’s billionaires trying to influence the election. That’s the real problem. Prop. 32 doesn’t do anything to address that issue.
ML: We’ve begun to incorporate reader questions/concerns in our column. One reader is a parent with two children. He is concerned with the lack of spaces — at least near his neighborhood — where kids can play safely. He suggests creating more pocket parks. What do you think?
DC: We’re always looking for ways to add recreational spaces or parks especially. There is a parks bond on the ballot in November. There will be money dedicated to Garfield Park to improve the park, including improving the play area of kids.
One of the things we’re always looking for is ideas. If [the reader] feels that there are specific things they would like to see at Garfield Park, I would like to hear directly from them. We have allotted money for that purpose.
I also encourage people, if there’s a specific area where they believe a park or recreational space may be appropriate, let us know. Parque Niños Unidos on 23rd and Folsom streets is a perfect example of the parks we have built in the last few years. The neighborhood came together, working to make that happen.
[The reader] can come to office hours, email me and my office. I’d be happy to respond and engage with them.
ML: Shifting gears, I’d like to know: What is your favorite SF sports team?
DC: I love the Giants. For me, I grew up with my dad watching sports; he’s a big fan and he has liked different kinds of sports: baseball, basketball, soccer.
Baseball is always something that has a special place in my heart because of him. I think the Giants in many respects embody the San Francisco spirit. When they won [the World Series] a couple of years ago, it was a come-from-behind win — that’s something that inspires so many of us.
I have to say that I haven’t gone [to a game] this year because it’s been a busy year for us. I try to make it from time to time.