Editor’s note: This column is one of a series of weekly conversations with District 9 Supervisor David Campos addressing issues and events in the Mission. If you have questions for Campos, send an email to email@example.com.
Mission Local: We talked last week about your campaign platform. Looking forward, what are the first steps you will take as a newly reelected supervisor come January?
David Campos: There are a number of things I’m working on in terms of immediate things. One of them is the issue of reliability of Muni, of the service that is being provided.
And what we talked about before: what happens with the nuts and bolts of concerns of constituents. One of them is the issue of trash and litter in a larger discussion in the city. [We need to] start that conversation. One of the things we talked about is the frequency [with] which certain streets are cleaned in specific spots. I’d like to have a larger, more in-depth discussion about that.
ML: What would that discussion entail?
DC: Whether or not the frequency [of street cleaning] can be increased. One of the issues that has come up is the number of trash cans in some of the streets. I’d like to have a discussion about how those decisions are made, how many there are allocated and the placement of them. We also need to figure out ways in which we can engage the neighborhood. When it comes to litter or trash, there are certain things that the city can do, but residents have to help out as well.
ML: Will increasing trash cans citywide require legislative action, considering that former Mayor Gavin Newsom reduced the number of trash cans in 2007?
DC: I’d like to have a discussion. We’re not sure if that requires a legislative solution. We need to figure that out with the Department of Public Works. It might be an issue of resources, [and] I’d like to have a better understanding of how we can have more.
We’re continuing on improving the quality of our streets, [like] the pavement. We’ve seen improvements on South Van Ness and Mission streets and the work around Cesar Chavez is being completed. [I will continue] to make sure that other streets in the community are taken care of.
ML: How about potholes and biker safety? Will you address those issues?
DC: The issue of potholes is embedded in improving the quality of our streets. In terms of the bike lane system, we are working on that. We are trying to find additional money to be invested by [the] city and at the regional level to improve bike networks. It’s another issue that [revolves around] improving streets. And there are many.
You highlighted a couple, like pedestrian safety and traffic calming, which is directly [under] MTA and the county transportation authority. We’re going to have a hearing early next year to discuss how that works.
ML: Can you explain what you mean by “how that works?”
DC: Right now, it’s not clear if there is a citywide strategy around [traffic, pedestrian] issues in specific districts. But [we need to do] a better job of [implementing] specific requirements on traffic calming. Some of [these programs] were put on hold until the city figured out resources. I’d like to have a better understanding about how some of those requests [for improvements] are authorized. Not just how we’re responding about concerns about an intersection or street, but are we being proactive? Are we dealing with it before it becomes an issue and we hear from people.
ML: We’ve talked [about] violence, but our readers are still extremely concerned about the persistence of crime in the Mission. Besides increased policing during heightened violence, can you provide concrete examples of how you and the city are addressing systemic violence?
DC: I had a meeting with Mayor Ed Lee yesterday, and I want to make sure we are doing everything we can. [We talked about] three specific tasks.
One is that we increase the number and frequency of foot patrols in the Mission. Right now, we have central patrol on 24th and Mission streets. The hours are not [enough] because of staffing issues. [We want] mediated patrol that is there during the day and the evening so there is presence besides 24th Street on Mission and on 16th Street. So dealing with the number of foot patrols.
What I’ve heard from the [city police] captain is that, depending on staffing levels on a given day, they are present from the early afternoon to about 6 p.m. on 24th Street. But that depends on staffing. So [we would like to see] more constant patrol on a daily basis and that goes for a longer period.
We would like to see more foot patrol throughout the day and evening. The mayor said he would look into that. And I’ve spoken to the [police] chief and captain to figure out how to increase [presence] that will continue.
ML: How about sending out undercover officers?
DC: I do think that we have undercover officers, but there’s something to say about an officer in uniform walking the beat.
Secondly, we [want to] increase the number and hours of violence prevention workers who are working closely with the police department and Mission police station to deal with crime when it happens and to prevent violence.
ML: How many prevention workers are working with the police department?
DC: There are a number of them who are working, but [we want] a more permanent increase in hours and times. They [received a] supplemental increase of $30,000 in the last couple of weeks to increase their hours in response to the uptick in crime. And we want to see a permanent increase.
ML: Where did those funds come from and [where] will future increases in funding come from?
DC: Different parts of the budget. [We need] to identify money that could go for that purpose. If we can find additional purses, we can have an increase in the number of workers and the time [they work].
ML: Who are these workers? How are they qualified?
DC: You have some that are selected and work with the city under the auspices of the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families. They have to be qualified. It’s a competitive bid process. Others come from organizations like Community Response Network, HOMEY, Horizons, the Boys and Girls Club.
ML: How many prevention workers are working today? What would an increase entail?
DC: [We need to] have a discussion on what those numbers should be with the police department and violence prevention workers themselves to see what’s possible.
[Thirdly,] I have asked for an increased police presence at Bernal Dwellings housing development, so that a housing authority police officer is assigned to the public housing development.
I have asked the housing authority and the police department and mayor to make [increased] funding so that there is someone assigned permanently to Bernal Dwellings. We would like to see a police officer assigned permanently in the way it happens in some housing developments.
ML: Why Bernal Dwellings, specifically?
DC: We had a shooting that happened around Treat near [the] Dwellings.
And one of the things that we are doing is increasing programming that we have on site, and at the clubhouse at Garfield Park.
ML: What do you mean by programming?
DC: Having all kinds of programs: arts, after-school programs, services around mental health. A jobs program that could be brought in. With the kind of programming that we have, the increase would depend on what residents of the development [want to see].
ML: Are these programs in process, or are they just planned improvements?
DC: There are some programs that are being offered now. I’d like to see more after-school programs for the kids. I’d like to see jobs programs. I heard that there might be a need to provide mental health services. We’re open to ideas from the community.
ML: And how are you working with the police department to address gang violence, which is [distinct] from petty crime?
DC: We’re watching that very carefully and working with Gang Task Force. They’ve increased their presence. And part of the reason we’re increasing the number of violence prevention workers … the main thing they do is they try to prevent gang violence. They help the police with that. That’s one of the reasons we’d like to see more of them.
ML: Would you say gang violence has increased recently?
DC: There has been an increase in gang violence. That’s why we increased the presence of violence prevention workers. That’s why we want to maintain that increase.
ML: Yesterday SF Gate reported that a women’s group is leading the recall effort for previously suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. You said last time that you would “wait and see” before supporting or opposing a recall effort. Have you changed your position since then?
DC: I am not going to oppose a recall. I think that the residents of San Francisco have every right to recall their sheriff. In terms of being involved, that remains to be seen. A lot of it depends on how Mirkarimi performs. I’m waiting to see that.
In terms of the letter from the district attorney [who asked Mirkarimi to recuse himself of domestic violence cases], I have read it. There are some legitimate concerns that have to be raised.
Now whether there is actual or perceived tension [regarding Mirkarimi’s retention] … those are concerns.
ML: Supervisor Jane Kim – one of the four supervisors who voted to reinstate Mirkarimi – said she would support a recall effort. Will you collaborate or work with her in that regard?
DC: I’m open to that. But it depends on how [Mirkarimi] performs.
ML: Have you talked to Mayor Lee about the recall effort?
DC: I haven’t talked to the mayor about that issue. And he hasn’t talked to me. There are legitimate concerns. We can talk about the best way to address them.