After demanding a revote on Mayor Breed’s Tenderloin “state of emergency” declaration, the supervisors debated it for three hours Tuesday night, and then just punted another vote out to February 8.
When the SF Board of Supervisors was tasked with approving or denying London Breed’s proposed Tenderloin state of emergency declaration, they held a marathon ten-hour meeting that went until 12:30 a.m. Christmas Eve, and ultimately approved her declaration. Yet there was no declaration on paper at that point, merely Breed’s public comments, which skewed toward performative profanity like “we are going to make life hell for them” and a vow to be “less tolerant of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city.”
And so the board did receive a written plan in late December, and decided to hold another vote on the declaration at Tuesday’s meeting. Board President Shamann Walton diplomatically said there were “additional questions and concerns on the emergency order,” and Supervisor Dean Preston more bluntly called the plan “smoke, mirrors, and a lot of cops."
Or in the words of Supervisor Aaron Peskin, “I continue to be concerned about the lack of public health detail in this — I guess it’s called a ‘plan,’ I would call it more of an aspirational three-page-and-a-few-line document.”
“we don’t do sweeps, supervisor” pic.twitter.com/492UCJNfLw— tweets for charity (@aughtnom) January 5, 2022
The three-hour debate heard Tuesday detailed responses on the plan from many City Hall appointees (but not Mayor Breed), like Deputy City Attorney Anne Pearson, and Department of Emergency Management head Mary Ellen Carroll. And if one lasting sound bite came out of the meeting, it was from Carroll, and it may remain an unflattering meme.
“Have there been sweeps in the Tenderloin since the emergency proclamation?” Sup. Preston asked Carroll.
After a very long pause, Carroll responded, “We don’t do sweeps, Supervisor. But if you're talking about [Healthy Streets Operations Center] resolutions, yes, there has been.”
tuned in just in time to hear director carroll say with a disgusting smirk "we don't do sweeps, supervisor, we do HSOC resolutions" when asked by preston if there had been any sweeps in the TL since the proclamation.— tj 🌹🏳️⚧️ (@timmyjules) January 5, 2022
Yet this controversial declaration still seems to have majority board support, partly because it does contain behavioral health care and treatment, temporary shelter, and transitional housing components. “I worry about and do not agree with a law enforcement-led response in the Tenderloin,” said supervisor Hillary Ronen. But, she added, “I do believe that what will make a difference is a proper health-led response to this crisis. And that begins having enough case managers.”
Other supervisors support it because they approve of the muscular law enforcement and Breed’s PG-13 public statements. “There are gaggles of people selling drugs openly,” complained supervisor Ahsha Safai. “The people that live there, and reside there, and work there overwhelmingly want additional police presence and response.”
Yet for the three hours of discussion, the board kicked the can again. “I respectfully propose that we check in again in the middle of February,” Peskin said, and ultimately, the board agreed with taking the measure up again on February 8. That postponement passed 8-3, with only supervisors Catherine Stefani, Rafael Mandelman, and Myrna Melgar dissenting.
And surprisingly, we did not hear much out of supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the Tenderloin. “I would support bringing it back February 8 if that makes sense,” Haney said late in the meeting.
So the board essentially thumbed its nose at Breed’s plan, while still allowing it to move forward. That is a short-term win for Mayor Breed. But still, she’s laid down a marker with her Tenderloin emergency declaration that seems to vacillate on whether it’s a response to crime, tents, or opioid use. And if she wants a long-term win out of this, at least one of those ills affecting the neighborhood has to improve.
Image: Darwin Bell via Instagram