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Supervisor John Avalos and San Francisco mothers came together to ask Mayor Gavin Newsom for a special kind of Mother’s Day present: Stop the impending cuts to programs serving victims of domestic violence and their families.

About 40 people — mostly members and clients of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium — gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to share their stories of abuse and recovery to show how the proposed 25.3 percent cut to programs would be detrimental to thousands of women in San Francisco.

“Families are under a lot of stress and we know that domestic violence rises when our economy is suffering,” said Avalos, who is also the chair of the Board of Supervisors’ budget and finance committee. “I really look forward to the day we don’t have to talk about preventing cuts. We can talk about how we’re coming out — we have funding to do the innovative programs, the innovative approaches that will help do the better prevention work that we know all of us are capable of doing.”

Avalos gave the example of how 10 years ago, the homicide rate linked to domestic violence was about 10 homicides a year, and it is now at two homicides a year.

Supervisor David Chiu, president of the Board of Supervisors, followed suit, thanking the agencies for the “myriad of services they provide in this city of St. Francis.”

“I very rarely appear at an event like this because it’s actually very difficult with a half a billion dollars in budget cuts that we’re facing this year to be able to look all of you in the eye and say that we will vote consistently against any types of cuts,” Chiu said. “But I think when it comes to these specific cuts to protect our women, to protect children, to protect our families, I am very comfortable standing here with you saying this is something that we have to do.”

The mayor is instructing the Department on the Status of Women to reduce their budget by $654,810, plus up to a 10 percent contingency for a total of $982,314, according to a statement from Avalos’ office.

But to meet these demands, cuts would be as follows:

Of the 34 programs facing cuts in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, 14 are based in the Mission:

Asian Women’s Shelter: Domestic Violence Shelter Services (Shelter)

Bar Association of San Francisco VLSP: Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (Legal)

Community United Against Violence: LBT Prevention and Education Services (Prevention)

Horizons Unlimited of San Francisco, Inc.: Females Against Violence Peer Leadership (Prevention)

Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.: RAICES (Prevention)

Mujeres Unidas y Activas: Sanando el Alma (Intervention)

San Francisco Women Against Rape:

  • Sexual Assault Prevention Education (Prevention)
  • STAND (Prevention)
  • Sexual Assault Crisis Line (Crisis Line)
  • Sexual Assault Intervention and Advocacy (Intervention)

Riley Center of St. Vincent de Paul Society:

  • Brennan House (Housing)
  • Rosalie House (Shelter)

WOMAN, Inc.:

  • Therapy and Latina Case Management Program (Intervention)
  • Crisis Line Program (Crisis Line)

What would these cuts really mean? For Maria Chavez, director of the Riley Center on 18th Street, it means that their 26 staff members “won’t be able to work as effectively with families so less families will be served.”

“We can talk about the numbers and we can talk about the financial aspect, which I think is a really important thing — San Francisco is suffering — but we’re talking about the dollars that would be lost today,” Chavez said. “We’re not talking about the dollars that would be lost year after year after year as we see more and more generations dealing with domestic violence in their lives.”

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Kimberly is currently a journalism major and business minor at San Francisco State University. Come May 2010, she will be moving on to bigger and better things, i.e. living and breathing journalism, not just studying it. But for now you can usually find her at City Hall every Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meetings. Having lived her entire life in San Francisco, she itches to travel far and wide, most likely to be convinced that every other city and town pales in comparison.

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  1. Many of these programs are sexist and violate anti-discrimination laws. Lets cut their funding and force them to compete and demonstrate that they actually reduce violence and not just perpetuate dependence and use of the system. Try getting involved in them and see the lack of professionalism and fear mongering pettiness they engage in. Many of these organizations are fronts for radical feminism male bashing and other left-wing nonsense that destroy the lives of many based on hearsay and the assumption that women are always the victims.

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  2. “Domestic violence” programs are culturally racist as they impose white “values” on people of color and their relationships. Yellow, Black and brown people have every right to decide how family members should act toward each other.

    The whites, in their arrogance, seem to like telling black, brown, and yellow people how to behave, even in private.

    Fortunately, white men and white women are having politically correct and CHILDLESS relationships. Thank God, the white race will soon be extinct and their ideas on how other groups should behave will disappear along with them. Demographic = Destiny

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  3. Chevron gouged $24 billions in excessive profits in 2008, as per http://www.tyrannyofoil.com. Schwarzenegger should put an excessive profits tax on these profits, instead of protecting the oil corporations from fair taxation, then, there would be sufficient public funds for all the vulnerable, people programs. Big business lost the fight to eliminate domestic violence funding, so now they are coming back with a vengeance. There is no funding provision for battered women shelters in the proposed budget. Schwarzee picks on the most vulnerable, and not on corporate tax “deadbeats.”

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