Remember that SF Office of Reparations that once considered $5 million lump-sum payments to Black San Franciscans? Now the city can’t even afford the $2 million a year to run that department, and the office is gutted in Mayor Breed’s budget cuts.

Very early in 2023, it made headlines nationwide that a soon-to-be-formed SF City Hall department called the Office of Reparations was possibly considering $5 million lump-sum payments to eligible Black San Franciscans, to address historical harms to the Black community.  Right-wing media went berserk over the idea, but as the SF Board of Supervisors considered the plan, it became clear that those $5 million payments were unlikely to be part of the final legislation.

Though now amidst the city facing a more than $700 million deficit, that whole Office of Reparations found itself on the chopping block. And the Examiner reports that the Office of Reparations has lost all of its funding in Mayor Breed’s just-announced new budget cuts.

The Examiner describes the Office of Reparations as being “suspended,” so the department  is technically not eliminated, and could return should surplus times come around again. The Chronicle’s reporting on the matter notes that Breed is cutting $75 million from the budget.  That report notes that the cuts eliminate vacant positions and pause programs that haven’t started yet. The Office of Reparations falls under both of those categories, and is losing the $4 million budgeted for it over two years, which amounts to $2 million a year.

Breed’s spokesperson Parisa Safarzadeh tells the Chronicle that Breed “does not believe we need a new bureaucracy to implement programs to benefit the African American community.” She says the city is “already doing that work” through Breed’s Dream Keeper Initiative (which Breed started, and clearly prefers to Supervisor Shamann Walton's Office of Reparations). That initiative provides startup capital and grants for Black-owned businesses.

But this is rough for the reparation legislation’s sponsor Supervisor Walton, whom per the Examiner, initially requested $50 million for the Office of Reparations, then  lowered that to $10 million, of which he only received $2 million, and now it's $0.

“I understand the importance of no cuts to existing programs, but the Black community will continue to pursue justice and equity through reparations here in San Francisco,” Walton said in a statement to the Examiner. “My hope is that the city’s deficit is eliminated quickly so that we can fund the Office of Reparations and fulfill the commitment made to address the historical injustices and inequities that have persisted for generations for Black San Franciscans.”

So he’s being gracious. Still, it’s stunning turn for a program that once floated $5 million payments to individuals, and now cannot even $2 million a year to keep the lights on.

Related: San Francisco Supervisors Discuss Reparations Proposals and That $5M Lump Sum Idea [SFist]

Image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 13: San Francisco Mayor London Breed looks on during a press conference at San Francisco Police headquarters on April 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California.