After her last pick for the Homelessness Oversight Commission was tripped up over an accounting scandal, Breed’s newest pick has hit a hurdle over some Nextdoor comments opposing an RV triage shelter.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed opposed the creation of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) Oversight Committee, but voters approved it anyway. Now that committee is creating yet more headaches for Breed.
Breed gets four picks for the commission, and the supervisors get three. But Breed hasn’t been able to get her fourth pick approved yet, as her previous pick Vikrum Aiyer had his nomination done in by a five-year-old, Obama-era Washington D.C. scandal wherein Aiyer improperly billed federal taxpayers for more than $15,000 in personal expenses.
“I can’t say I’m educated on the subject” - Dena Aslanian-Williams, mayoral nominee to SF Homelessness Oversight Commissionhttps://t.co/ZGOKHDJOzw— TJ Johnston (@TJJohnston415) July 17, 2023
Meet Breed’s new pick, Dena Aslanian-Williams, former president of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council and one-time government affairs chair for the San Francisco Association of Realtors. But the Chronicle reports Aslanian-Williams’s nomination is also drawing some controversy, as it turns out she’d opposed an RV homeless shelter that had been proposed near Lake Merced.
The controversy comes from a Nextdoor post which Aslanian-Williams did not post, someone else published the post opposing the shelter. But Aslanian-Williams did "like" a comment that said SF was “inviting everyone from all parts of the US to come live here. We will pay for food, housing, anything you want.” Aslanian-Williams herself did, however, reply “yep. And discard your trash too,” and added, “Just come to paradise a spot right by the Pacific, reserved just for you.” In another reply, she told a resident of the area to “please fight this.”
As of Monday, though, Aslanian-Williams was walking these comments back somewhat. “Honestly, I was just responding as a private person to a social media post and being pretty snarky about it. I apologize,” she told the Chronicle in a Monday interview, noting she opposed a shelter at that location, but did not oppose the concept of RV shelters. “I really, really truly care about this city. I care for neighbors and businesses, and I care for the people who are experiencing homelessness.”
What may be a bigger threat to Aslanian-Williams’s nomination is a general lack of experience with the homelessness issue, as being in an executive position with a realtor lobby may not necessarily give one great familiarity with this topic. Aslanian-Williams had worked with the San Francisco Association of Realtors Foundation’s Welcome Home Project, which helps formerly unsheltered people get on their feet once they find housing.
Though at a Monday meeting of the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee, she admitted she was involved with the Welcome Home Project “primarily as a fundraiser.” And she had perhaps a less-than-dazzling response when Supervisor Shamann Walton asked about her ”overall feelings about the unhoused community.”
“I have to say that I am a newbie when it comes to that issue,” Aslanian-Williams responded. “I can’t say that I’m educated on the subject.”
Nonetheless, the Rules Committee did unanimously approve her recommendation to the HSH Oversight Committee. Aslanian-Williams’s nomination will now go to the full Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting.
Image: Screenshot via SFGovTV