Tim Redmond, the longtime executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, left the paper late Thursday night after the owner forced him out, he said. Redmond said his dismissal stemmed from a dispute over personnel and editorial direction. Stephen Buel, editor of the Guardian’s sister paper, the San Francisco Examiner, called it a resignation. Buel said the Guardian has been losing money and Redmond resigned to prevent the firing of other staff.
A “homeless bill of rights” in California must wait until next year for a vote in the full Assembly after clearing its first hurdle. Advocates say the legislation would protect homeless people from local enforcement of so-called “quality of life” laws, and specify homeless people as deserving of protection in the state’s antidiscrimination statutes.
The San Francisco Public Press interviewed people living in the city without housing as they gathered at the Mission Resource Center and the S.F. Night Ministry open cathedral Sunday service at United Nations Plaza. They shared their experiences about lacking a permanent place to live.
Frequent calls to the police to respond to disturbances outside a South of Market homeless shelter have prompted the city to crack down on misbehavior and make it easier for shelters to summarily reject clients seeking a bed. Practically every day at the Multi-Service Center South shelter, the police are called to break up a fight or quell acts of violence. But the problem isn’t just inside the shelter. Homeless activists say the long lines people must wait in for hours makes the space outside the building a conflict zone.
A new push for a statewide “Homeless Bill of Rights” could lead to free legal representation for anyone citied under laws such as San Francisco’s sit-lie law or anti-panhandling ordinance. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced Assembly Bill 5, as a response to what he said was a national trend of enforcing laws on public behaviors related to homelessness. If it becomes law, California’s homeless residents would have the same anti-discrimination protections for their housing status as others do for race, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics. “We need to stop criminalizing the behavior of people who have nowhere else to turn,” Ammiano said. “People who are in need of mental health services or who have lost jobs and their homes are being told, ‘Move along or go to jail.’”
The bill would bar discriminating against homeless people while they seek or maintain tax-funded benefits.
Residents in San Francisco’s northeastern corner will soon get a say in how a small piece of San Francisco’s budget is spent improving their neighborhood. Supervisor David Chiu announced last week that residents of District 3, which includes North Beach, Chinatown and part of the Financial District, could vote on how to spend $100,000 in discretionary funds. It’s part of a civic innovation called participatory budgeting, with the money earmarked for one-time community projects.
Monday night’s large crude-oil fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, which produced a towering column of acrid black smoke and aroused widespread panic in the area, served as a dramatic backdrop to new research showing that minorities and low-income people believe they bear the brunt of health problems related to air pollution.
Ranked-choice voting in San Francisco will continue in its original format and any attempts to change it will have to wait until after the November election. By agreeing to send three proposed alternatives back to the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee on Tuesday, the board assured that all three potential ballot questions posed by supervisors Christina Olague, Mark Farrell and David Chiu wouldn’t make their July 27 deadline for the November ballot.
A majority of retailers surveyed last November in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood said the enactment of San Francisco’s sit-lie law hasn’t worked as expected: Homeless people still hang out in front of their businesses. An independent research report commissioned by the city found that 58 percent of the merchants in the district — the focus of a political battle that led to voter approval of the ban in 2010 — say the same number of people or more continue to park themselves on sidewalks. Sixty-one percent said they encountered sidewalk sitters at least three times per week.
UPDATE: Listen to reporter T.J. Johnston’s updated report on this story at KQED news here. The health of homeless people — especially older and disabled ones — is endangered by a time-consuming wait they endure daily when reserving a bed in San Francisco’s public shelter system, advocates and city officials say. As a result of a hearing before a Board of Supervisors panel, the city has begun a series of public meetings with providers, city officials and clients, to seek improvements in shelter access and the health of senior and disabled clients. Homeless policy director Bevan Dufty and others hope to work out a plan this summer and present it to the board.