Editor’s note: This column is one of a series of biweekly 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: Wednesday was a national day of action to support immigration reform, which is being debated in Washington, D.C. What specifically would you like to see in an immigration reform bill?
David Campos: We have been working with the people who are focusing on this at the national level. We also introduced a resolution with the Board of Supervisors calling for comprehensive reform that includes the LGBT community, for example. We address the fact that there are many LBGT couples that are separated unnecessarily because of the broken immigration system, and [want to make] sure that there is a path to citizenship [for them].
ML: What impacts would we see locally from national immigration reform?
DC: The lack of a comprehensive solution at the national level does impact what happens locally. It will have a very direct impact on undocumented people who live in the Mission and other parts of the city—whether or not they’re able to legalize their status, whether or not they can get work permits.
There is a lot happening. Health care reform will go into effect in a matter of months that doesn’t cover undocumented people. That’s an example of the absence of immigration reform. There’s also this so-called Secure Communities Program. My hope is that once there is comprehensive immigration reform, those kinds of efforts will go away. We won’t have to deal with the federal government making our police officers deal with these [things].
ML: There have been several violent incidents over the past few weeks in the Mission, including two homicides, two incidents on Muni and a shooting involving a police officer last weekend. What can you do in partnership with the police department in immediate response to these?
DC: The most important thing that I can do is to make sure that the police department has the resources it needs to do its job. We work very closely with them to make sure that we understand what happened, why it happened, that there is a proper response [in the] short term, but also [in the] long term. The main focus for me around the police department is making sure that we have enough police officers for the captain to have as much community policing as possible.
We also work with violence prevention workers to make sure we prevent crime before it happens. Every time there is a shooting, it’s very tragic. We are constantly working together to make sure there is no retaliation. We also talk about larger, long-term strategies: Do we have enough police on the street? Are we doing enough to prevent crime by working with our violence prevention workers?
Nothing is really more important to us. We have been on the phone and meeting constantly with the chief and captain the last few days. We called for a comprehensive hearing that will be happening in the near future at City Hall, so we can talk about what is happening—what is working, what isn’t working, what else can we do.
It takes a lot of things to prevent violence. It’s the precedence of after-school opportunities, internships, jobs—those are the kinds of things that we are focusing on.
ML: Do you think legislation along the lines of State Senator Mark Leno’s proposal to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. would open up the possibility of more incidents like the shooting of two men by a police officer last weekend?
DC: I don’t think we know [enough] about what happened to jump to conclusions. I don’t know that we know that it was people coming out of this particular bar.
What I believe in terms of the entertainment community is that most establishments are responsible and want to work with police. I support local jurisdictions having the option of extending hours. One thing that could happen is to allow different establishments to close at different times. But we have to see what actually took place here.
ML: Lastly, do you ever get out of San Francisco for a break from your work as supervisor, and if so, where do you enjoy going?
DC: From time to time we do try to do that. The main time for us to take vacation is during our legislative break, usually in August. I do love to travel and see new places, but obviously with this job I don’t have time to do this as much as I’d like. I have been to Asia, Europe and South America. From time to time, we might get away to wine country, but not as often as we’d like.