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    Rafael Mandelman and Jeff Sheehy Answer Questions Ahead of District 8 Debate

    As columnist Lou Fischer wrote earlier in this issue, The Harvey Milk and Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Clubs are partnering to bring the first District 8 debate between Rafael Mandelman and Jeff Sheehy, who are candidates vying to represent this important San Francisco district in the 2018 election. Sheehy was appointed to the position in January by Mayor Ed Lee to succeed and fill out the remainder of the term of Supervisor Scott Wiener, who resigned his seat to take office as a member of the California State Senate. Both Sheehy and Mandelman have a long history with our local LGBT community, and they have each served as a board member or chair of Alice or Milk in their respective careers.

    Ahead of the debate, which will happen on November 13 from 6:30 pm–8 pm at the SF LGBT Center’s Rainbow Room, we asked both candidates to answer questions concerning a variety of issues, from LGBT youth homelessness to crime in the Castro. We hope that this Q&A, plus the upcoming debate, will help to inform you about the candidates and—if you live in San Francisco—will encourage you to vote in next year’s important election.

    We could have asked many more questions, taking up this entire issue of the paper! You likely have many more as well, so we again urge you to attend the November 13 debate, which will be moderated by Marisa Lago, the state political reporter for KQED.

    1. Several San Francisco neighborhoods comprise District 8, such as The Castro and Noe Valley. What do you believe are the most pressing issues facing some of these neighborhoods, and how might the issues overlap or, conversely, be unique to each location? 

    2. As an out gay man, how do you believe that your life experiences help to inform and benefit your political work in San Francisco? 

    3. Please elaborate on your response to the prior question, mentioning why you believe you are uniquely qualified to be Supervisor of District 8. 

    4. The North Bay fires remind us how devastating natural disasters can be. Do you believe that District 8 is adequately prepared for natural disasters such as potential future fires and earthquakes? If not, what should be done to improve the preparedness? 

    5. Cleve Jones told us that he believes housing is the LGBTQ community’s most pressing need now in San Francisco. What do you specifically plan to do to address that need, while also maintaining quality of life, giving attention to environmental concerns and keeping reasonable levels of density? 

    6. As Cleve Jones also told us, there is a need for individuals within the HIV/AIDS+ community to be close to life-saving medical and other services. Many of these individuals, however, have had to move out of the Bay Area due to the rising cost of living here. What can be done to help resolve the problem? 

    7. Most Ellis Act evictions are used to convert rental units to condominiums or single-family homes. They have led to so many long-time, law-abiding San Francisco residents losing their homes. What can be done to help protect these residents, while also keeping the system fair to landlords? 

    8. There is concern that San Francisco is losing its diversity in all respects: racial, economic, age-related, LGBT and more. What specifically can be done to help improve overall diversity within District 8 and the city as a whole? 

    9. A large percentage of homeless individuals in San Francisco are LGBT youths, many of whom have escaped places—be they their families, other states or countries—where they felt threatened. How can the city best help LGBT homeless youths? 

    10. The Castro feels less safe to us lately. Members of our team have experienced multiple instances of theft, expensive-to-repair car window breakages and intimidating encounters with mentally ill people. Discussions with store owners reveal that many share our concerns. In fact, while we were having one such discussion, a store owner had to stop a gang of shoplifters. To what do you attribute the perceived increase in crime, and what steps do you plant to take to make The Castro and other neighborhoods within District 8 safer for residents and visitors? 

    11. Per the previous question, many chronically mentally ill people and substance abusers are living on the streets of District 8. What can be done to humanely help them, while also keeping the district safe for residents, business owners and visitors? 

    12. Please mention anything else that you would like for our readers to know. 


    Rafael Mandelman

    1. District 8’s neighborhoods are distinct and have different concerns. For example, vacant storefronts are especially vexing concerns in the Castro and Noe Valley, but other issues are higher priorities for folks living in other parts of the District. Still, there are also issues that cut across neighborhoods. Homelessness and mental illness are more apparent in the Castro, but no one living in San Francisco can escape these problems. Similarly, concerns around property crime, traffic congestion and unreliable public transit cut across the District’s neighborhoods. And parents in every neighborhood want to be able to send their children to a great school that is close by.

    2. I love our queer community. One of the things that led me to get involved in the SF LGBT Center Board, which I co-chaired for five years, was the Center’s commitment to the idea of a queer community that takes care of each other and leaves no one behind. I had a relatively easy coming-out experience. I had grown up in San Francisco, knew gay teachers at my high school, had seen gay characters in movies and on TV, and I was at the time studying at Yale College, known at the time as the gayest of the Ivies. My friends and family were mostly fine with it (although as my grandmother’s memory failed, I found myself having to come out to her over and over again), but all in all, going gay was pretty darned easy for me.

    I have always been profoundly aware, however, that my path out of the closet was only so easy for me because so many people—in San Francisco, at Yale, throughout the world—had suffered and struggled and sometimes died to clear a path for young queer kids like me. My deep appreciation of the many ways in which I have benefitted from others’ work and struggles makes me feel a deep sense of obligation to in turn “pay it forward” in our LGBT community and in our broader community.

    3. I am proud of my nearly two-decade-long history of engagement around issues and causes that matter to District 8 residents. As President of the City College Board, I fought to keep the College open, while at the same time working tirelessly to fix the administrative and financial problems that had made the school vulnerable. Today, City College is open, accredited for seven years and free for all San Franciscans.

    As Co-Chair of the SF LGBT Center’s Board, I worked with the Center Board, staff and supporters to set the Center on a path of fiscal stability for the foreseeable future through a remodel of the building that added approximately ten thousand square feet of badly needed non-profit office space. Over the last two decades, I have served our city and our community as a Democratic Party activist and longtime member of our Democratic County Central Committee, member of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Commissioner on the San Francisco Board of Appeals, and Board President of Livable City.

    Professionally, I have worked for seventeen years as a lawyer for local governments and affordable housing developers around the Bay Area revitalizing neighborhoods and building much-needed housing. The challenges facing our City are significant, but so are the opportunities, and I believe my track record of working on issues of neighborhood livability, housing and homelessness, transportation and public education make me uniquely qualified to help restore San Francisco’s reputation as “the City that knows how.”

    4. The wave of natural disasters experienced across the globe this year has been absolutely heart-breaking. Many of us have friends or family who were directly impacted by the North Bay fires or other of these horrific events, and we all know that San Francisco’s day is coming. I remember the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, and we know that it is only a matter of time before a far worse earthquake strikes.

    The Board of Supervisors can play an important oversight role in ensuring that the City is prepared to respond effectively when a disaster strikes. News stories from earlier this year, about poor communication among city agencies during April’s PG&E power outage and the City’s failure to establish cooling stations during the record-breaking Labor Day heat wave, suggest that we have some work to do on that front.

    Of course, a critical part of any emergency response will come from neighbors, and in that regard, I believe District 8 is in good shape. The District is blessed to have extraordinarily engaged official and unofficial neighborhood organizations; many of our residents have had Neighborhood Emergency Response Team program training (and more of us should); and events like our ubiquitous street fairs and block parties provide an opportunity to build community and meet each other in good times that may prove life-saving and essential in the inevitable event of a natural or manmade disaster.

    5. I agree with Cleve. Too many LGBT seniors live in fear of eviction and too many LGBT youth come to San Francisco seeking refuge, only to find themselves living on the streets. I believe we can and must increase the City’s housing supply for all income levels, but I believe we need to dramatically increase the City’s production of affordable housing for middle and lower income folks.

    I have worked for nearly two decades on creating housing, and especially affordable housing, in communities around the Bay Area, and will bring that real-world, practical experience to the policy debates at City Hall. Building affordable housing is not easy, but the elements are pretty simple: it’s really all about land and dollars. We need to identify as many potential sites as possible that the City or another public agency already owns or could acquire for affordable housing, and we need to identify more revenue to use for land acquisition and construction costs. I have worked on multiple housing bond campaigns over the years and will continue to advocate for the City to find more money in its $10 billion budget for affordable housing development, as well, of course, as maximally leveraging State, Federal and private funding.    

    6. When Openhouse and Mercy Housing complete their work at 55 Laguna, they will have created 110 units of LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing with a 40% neighborhood preference. It is a terrific development, but the reality is that we need a dozen more such developments to begin to meet the need. Happily, Openhouse has shown us a model, but now we need to take that model to scale, and as Supervisor for District 8, I will work tirelessly to find the land and funding to build the permanently affordable housing seniors, people with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable folks in our community need to survive in San Francisco.

    7. District 8 saw 262 Ellis Act evictions between 2007 and 2016. That’s in addition to the 331 owner move-in evictions in District 8 during the same period. When a tenant who has lived in a rent-controlled apartment for decades is evicted, we all know the odds are slim of that tenant finding another unit in San Francisco he or she can afford. The displacement of these long-term residents from the neighborhoods they helped re-create and re-vitalize is among the saddest and most troubling realities of contemporary San Francisco.

    I support and have worked for reform of the Ellis Act to prevent its use by speculators looking to make a quick return by flipping and converting rental housing units. I also support local efforts to protect tenants at risk of eviction, such as the City’s small sites acquisition program, which acquires rental buildings that are going on the market and are at high risk of conversion. However, I would be interested in looking at more cost-efficient ways to incentivize property owners to maintain the affordability of units over time. For example, I would like to see the City explore the potential acquisition of covenants over units occupied by long-term tenants to ensure the continued affordability of those units. I also would like to see the City start more strategically funding the acquisition of buildings that are not currently on the market, but have a high proportion of long-term tenants and may be at risk of conversion in the future.

    8. Housing unaffordability is the greatest threat to diversity in District 8, the city and indeed the region. As I have said, we need to build more housing affordable to folks at all income levels. But we also need to ensure that all San Franciscans are in a position to benefit from the economic opportunities being created in our midst. That’s why I want to see the City work with the Unified School District to ensure that every public school in San Francisco is a great school, and it’s why I am so proud of my work to save City College and make it free for San Francisco residents. As a Supervisor, I will continue to work with the School District, the College, great non-profits like JVS (which works with unemployed people to help them find them meaningful and sustaining work) and our local employers to ensure that the incredible economic opportunities being created in our city and our region reach the greatest number of our people.

    9. San Francisco has earned a reputation as a city of refuge for LGBT people, but, as we have discussed, the reality of the housing crisis means that too many LGBT youth arrive here to find a much harder and less welcoming place than their forebears in decades past. We are lucky to have a set of amazing non-profits working with this population, from Larkin Street to LYRIC to the LGBT Community Center, but we need to do much much more to create pathways off the streets for youth.

    We need to move forward with the creation of a Navigation Center specifically focused on moving youth out of homelessness, and we need to work with nonprofits like Larkin Street to create more long-term housing for formerly homeless youth. Next month, I will be introducing a resolution at the City College Board of Trustees directing our administration to explore options for the creation of housing for our homeless and at-risk students, and as a member of the Board of Supervisors, I will continue to be a strong champion for this cause.

    10. The Castro is a neighborhood in need of some serious love and attention. I have been spending time in the Castro since I was in College, and I share the sense that all is not well in the neighborhood. Mentally ill and drug addicted folks are being left to rot on our sidewalks, petty property crime is on the rise, and I am hearing too frequently about friends and acquaintances getting assaulted.

    Better policing is only part of the solution, but it is an essential part. Although groups like Castro Community on Patrol do great work, we need actual police officers walking a beat in the neighborhood, and I am pleased that the new police chief has expressed a commitment to increasing neighborhood foot patrols. We also need the police to prioritize investigation of property crimes, and again I am pleased that the new police chief, with some prodding from the Board of Supervisors and outraged neighbors, is committing more resources to that effort. Part of improving safety also involves getting mentally ill and drug addicted folks into the care they need (more on that below), which will free up our police to do more of the traditional police work we expect them to do.

    11. My mother struggled with mental illness for much of her life and was homeless when I was younger, so addressing homelessness and mental illness are personal and particular priorities for me. We do not currently have the facilities we need to compassionately care for the mentally ill, so instead we do something much more expensive over the long term: we just leave them to cycle from street to hospital to jail and back again.

    We need many more psychiatric beds at SF General and elsewhere for folks in immediate crisis, and we need to establish longer term facilities for folks who may be stabilized but will not remain stable if released to fend for themselves. We need to significantly beef up our public guardian office so that we can pursue conservatorships over folks who cannot care for themselves, and I believe San Francisco needs to initiate a conversation among doctors, lawyers and civil libertarians about changing the State law standards for involuntary commitment to allow us to more easily get folks into care who clearly cannot care for themselves, but may not meet current standards for a 5150 hold or a conservatorship.

    12. One of the few things I regret about running for Supervisor is that the demands of the campaign have required me to step back from regularly writing for the paper, but it is a treat to be back for this issue at least. My great thanks to the publishers, staff and contributors for the labor of love that is this publication and the opportunities it has afforded me to communicate with our community over the years.



    Jeff Sheehy

    1. I am honored to represent District 8, and have worked to respond to the unique needs in each neighborhood. In Mission Dolores and Dolores Heights, we convened the Recreation and Park Department, Police Department, Public Works and Public Utilities Commission to improve the area around Dolores Park. In the Castro, we’ve partnered with the Castro Merchants, Community Benefit District and local realtors to fill retail vacancies and improve public spaces. We’ve helped deliver pedestrian improvements in Diamond Heights, increase safety at Twin Peaks and bring the quality-of-life Fix-It team to Glen Park, the Castro and Duboce Triangle.

    Yet the neighborhoods share common challenges that hurt our middle class: lack of affordable housing, ever-present homelessness, property crimes such as auto break-ins and home burglaries, and under-resourced public transportation are all linked. That’s why, in addition to solving local neighborhood concerns, I bring a Citywide focus to create the systemic changes that will benefit all San Franciscans.

    2. With Donald Trump as president, our community faces tremendous challenges. We’ve also seen these challenges before as Ronald Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis in our country. Our community rallied then and I know we can rally now to protect and expand the critical gains the LGBT community deserves.

    I moved to San Francisco because the community I grew up in Texas wasn’t safe for LGBT people. Many young people face that same experience today, which is why we’re seeing an influx of LGBT youth, and we must continue to welcome them into our City.

    In the early 90s, I became involved in politics and activism in San Francisco—first canvassing for Greenpeace and joining Kathleen Brown’s 1994 gubernatorial campaign. In 1995, I worked on Roberta Achtenberg’s campaign for Mayor in SF. In 1996, I was elected president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club for the first of two terms. That year, Geoff Kors, Carol Stuart and I created San Francisco’s Equal Benefits Ordinance (Geoff’s brilliant idea, one of many over the years), which required companies doing business with the city to provide the same benefits to domestic partners as they did to married couples. We pushed it through the Board of Supervisors using the considerable clout of the Milk Club and Mayor Brown signed it. Crucially, companies were required to offer benefits everywhere and we were able to expand health coverage and pension benefits across the country. Hundreds of thousands of LGBT folk had access at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

    There was resistance: immediately upon the law coming into effect June 1, 1997, United Airlines sued to block the law. I led the national boycott of UA, which included numerous civil disobedience actions including the takeover of UA’s downtown SF ticket office by a crew of Tinky-Winkys. In 1999, UA caved and offered domestic partner benefits worldwide. The rest of the industry followed. To date, over 8,000 companies have complied.

    3. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Lee, Senator Wiener and former Supervisors Roberta Achtenberg, Leslie Katz and Susan Leal are supporting my campaign to retain this seat and become the first openly HIV-positive person elected to the Board of Supervisors.

    I was diagnosed with HIV in 1997, and joined ACT-UP Golden Gate. We obtained the first funding for people with HIV needing organ transplants with the help of Assemblywoman Carole Migden in 1999 along with scholarships for people with HIV to allow them to continue with their education after the life-saving introduction of anti-retroviral therapy.

    After this early activism, I decided to make a difference in public service. In 1998, I was hired by the District Attorney and trained as a victim advocate assigned to assist same-sex victims of domestic violence and hate crimes. In 2000, I joined UCSF as the communications director of the AIDS Research Institute, where I remained until appointment this year to the SF Board of Supervisors and also won the first of two terms on the DCCC in SF.

    In 2003, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom asked me to be SF’s AIDS Czar, which I did on a volunteer basis since we were facing cuts in services. In the role, I did everything I could to stave off cuts and protect vital services.

    In 2004, Californians passed Proposition 71, a measure to provide $3 billion for stem cell research and respond to the Bush Administration’s flawed decision to defund science. I was appointed to the HIV advocate seat on its governing board by Senate President Pro Tem, John Burton, and reappointed in 2012 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. As a treatment activist, I have been forceful in advocating for HIV cure research, and become a subject matter expert on cell/gene therapy cure approaches. Through this agency, called the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, I have led the agency to fund close to $100 million in HIV/AIDS related research and CIRM currently has three clinical trials underway attempting to cure HIV using cell/gene therapy. In addition, I have been a leader on the CIRM board as chair of its science subcommittee and vice-chair of its peer review committee. CIRM is working towards cures across a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions using regenerative medicine, which is on the path to be one of the technologies that is transforming healthcare. At CIRM, we are starting to see our funding produce cures, including a gene and cell therapy cure for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency—more familiarly “bubble baby” disease—because these children born without immune systems can have virtually zero contact with the outside world. Thirty plus children have been cured at UCLA and now live normal lives.

    In 2013, Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at SF General Hospital (includes historic Ward 86) and I launched San Francisco’s Getting to Zero Consortium, a multi-sector, independent consortium operating under the principles of collective impact and which seeks to make SF the first municipality to achieve UNAIDS goals of zero new HIV infections, zero HIV related deaths, and zero HIV stigma. We just announced the surveillance data from 2016 and we have reduced new infections by 50% since the Consortium started, mainly through sophisticated implementation of initiatives to uptake PrEP, aggressively increase testing, immediate linkage to care, initiation of therapy and retention and re-engagement in care. We are on track to reduce new transmissions to 20–30 in 2020 from the peak of 2300 in 1992.

    As Donald Trump tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cuts vital HIV services and threatens the very lives of our community, my experience and proven track record make me especially qualified in this uniquely dangerous time.

    As a husband of 19 years and father of a middle-school student, I remain focused on keeping San Francisco’s future bright for all of us and generations to come.

    4. My heart goes out to those impacted by the North Bay fires. This tragic event reminds us of the dangers of climate change. Early in my term, I spoke at San Francisco’s March for Science to make certain our City is on record in support of the evidence-based approaches we need to prevent natural disasters.

    At the local level, I am impressed by the work of the volunteers in the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team and the Office of Resilience. We must be prepared for disasters, and that’s why I worked through the budget process for the 911 call center under the leadership of Director of Emergency Management, Anne Kronenberg. Residents should be prepared with water, flashlights, batteries and all of the other essentials to survive for 72 hours. More information can be found at

    We are planning to address climate change that is a significant threat to San Francisco, with the Central Waterfront specifically at risk. The sea wall would collapse in an earthquake, for instance, but rising sea levels present another threat. I am working with the Port and the Office of Resilience to support bond measures to rebuild the sea wall and to take other measures to strengthen the City to overcome these challenges.

    5. The first and most important thing we need to do is to protect people in existing housing and preserve rent-controlled housing. I worked to pass crucial legislation to reduce fraudulent owner-move in evictions and strongly support our City’s small sites program, which buys properties to protect existing tenants. In the budget, I secured millions to fund housing subsidies for seniors, people with disabilities and people with HIV/AIDS.

    We also have to build more in neighborhoods that have the infrastructure to support this growth and I will never support a moratorium on building new housing. I strongly backed HOME-SF, the recently enacted housing density bonus law. HOME-SF is an optional program for homebuilders constructing mixed-income in certain areas of San Francisco. Under HOME-SF (, 30 percent of the units in a new housing project must be affordable to low, middle and moderate-income families. To provide more family friendly housing, 40 percent of the total units in the building must be two bedrooms or larger (with an additional option of providing 50% of all bedrooms in the project in units with 2 or more bedrooms). In return, density bonuses and zoning modifications are provided, adding more affordable units. San Francisco’s Planning Department projects HOME-SF could result in up to 5,000 new affordable units over the next 20 years.

    I also support housing development in the City’s pipeline that will add thousands of units at Pier 70, Mission Rock and right on Market Street where the Plumbers’ union hall current sits next to an underused parking lot. Mayor Lee’s Executive Directive to build at least 5,000 units per year and accelerate bringing these units to market is a great first step and I wholeheartedly support that approach.

    6. San Francisco remains one of the best regions in the world for high-quality healthcare, with innovative research, world class hospitals and talented doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. We must ensure people with HIV/AIDS can benefit from these services by using funding from the federal Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program and bringing more local resources to bear for housing specifically dedicated to people with HIV. HIV-specific housing subsidies also help and I supported budget add-backs last summer specifically for seniors and people with disabilities. Our fantastic AIDS Legal Referral Panel, under the leadership of Bill Hirsh, is keeping people in their homes by successfully fighting illegal evictions. I will always be committed to looking out for the HIV/AIDS community—and that has been the cause of my life.

    7. My office works every day to address individual cases and we are working on a couple right now. Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting are working at the state level since the Ellis Act is a state law that cannot be overturned by the City. Most if not all of the Board is actively seeking ways to address this.

    However, perhaps more significant are OMI evictions, which I addressed a bit in an earlier response. With new legislation that has strong enforcement mechanisms, we are trying to stem the tide of OMI evictions.

    8. We are working with the Human Rights Commission to convene a community meeting to address issues of racial and socio-economic diversity in District 8 and welcome ideas from the community.

    More affordable housing is essential for addressing economic diversity and I am supporting efforts to increase specifically targeted housing for seniors and [housing for] people with disabilities is also needed.

    9. Youth homelessness is one of my top priorities considering that one in five people in the City is a young person and of that population, half identify as LGBTQ and 13% are HIV positive yet this population was receiving only 7% of homelessness funding.

    I held a hearing on youth homelessness, declared 2017 the year of Transitional Age Youth and worked with the Mayor to include a $1.54 proposal for young people in last year’s budget. The proposal allocated $289,000 for the San Francisco LGBT Center to extend its drop-in hours to six days a week and provide meals 5 days a week. An additional $350,000 would be put toward funding a new outreach coordinator at Larkin Street Youth Services, which works with homeless youth. And $906,000 goes to housing subsidies for young adults.

    More needs to be done. I support additional supportive housing for youth in D8 and have had discussions with Tipping Point. I support a navigation center for youth in D8 and have made it clear I would welcome it to D8.

    I believe we need a robust system that includes multiple types of housing and educational, vocational, employment and health program[s] that address this internal refugee problem.

    10. Multiple factors drive the increase in crime. One is what you mention, people in acute states of behavioral health distress, which can include severe, chronic mental illness and substance use, especially crystal meth. One need is for additional behavioral health beds, which are coming online. We also need more cooperation from the conservator and judges in assisting those with severe chronic mental illness to stay on their medications.

    The increase in property crime is real, not perceived. Part of it is driven by reduced penalties for property crime. Part of it is due to the fact that SFPD receives 5–6,000 homelessness related calls a month. That diverts a significant amount of resources from a department that I believe needs more officers. The increased foot patrols, including patrols in the Castro and Dolores Park, are reducing car break-ins where they have been introduced. I was the only member of the Finance Committee to ask for more officers during last summer’s budget negotiations. More officers on the street will decrease property crime. In addition, Chief Scott is providing additional support by establishing the Strategic Operations Section, which will investigate and prevent property crime. This section will include centralized investigators who will share crime information with the District Attorney to enhance prosecutions and also place investigators in stations to specialize in neighborhood crime issues. A specific focus will be on known repeat offenders.

    I support the Adult Probation Department in their pilot to intensely monitor repeat offenders out on probation. This program is so far trending positively in reducing incidents of re-offending.

    I also strongly support community organizing via neighborhood watches (SF SAFE groups) to enhance prevention. I have worked with several SF SAFE groups in District 8 and I included a SFPD community liaison position to work with SAFE groups and help establish new ones and also coordinate with SFPD.

    11. Working with Department of Public Health Director Barbara Garcia, I supported the City’s budget approved last summer that increased mental health and substance use beds by providing funds for the Hummingbird Navigation Center at San Francisco General and to lease and staff a floor at St. Mary’s Hospital with approximately 55 beds. While this increase in capacity is a good first step, I support more funding until we can show we have the ability to provide the needed services. I also support the DPH/SFPD LEAD (law enforcement assisted diversion) pilot program. This program has just started and is based on a successful program in Seattle. It offers users at risk for arrest the opportunity to choose treatment instead.

    I also support safe injection programs. This should be coming before myself and my colleagues in the coming months. A well-run program as envisioned by SFDPH envisions comprehensive services being delivered that will include linkages to housing; treatment programs; opioid substitution programs using methadone, buprenorphine and naloxone; Hepatitis C and HIV treatment and other needed healthcare.