Monday, March 31, 2008

Middle Polk Neighborhood Association March 17 Meeting Notes

Central and Northern Police Stations Report

Both stations have been running regular prostitution stings against Johns and prostitutes. Prostitution activity has been far less visible on Polk Street. Unfortunately, this usually just means that the trade has moved elsewhere.

Both stations are also running regular traffic watch actions which target expired registration and give the police the option of impounding the autos. Red light runners are also targeted.

Dawn Trennert asked about the recent rash of daytime crimes, including drug dealing, assault (an anonymous man walked up to Dawn and punched her in the face), and a few daytime incidents of women being mugged in their doorways.

The officer responded that they have been doing a lot of homeless outreach, getting more folks in touch with services to help them get off the streets. He also said that it is important for everyone to be good witnesses. Call in any suspicious activity. It helps to make a running commentary as the event is happening so that you will remember details. Call any crime in progress in to 911.

An apartment building owner asked what could be done about the people who repeatedly try to steal the metal guards he installed around the trees in front of his building. Usually, the perpetrators are only successful in pushing the metal guards over.

The officer said he should call in if he sees anyone behaving suspiciously around the trees. He is also going to set up a "passing call" for the issue. A "passing call" is when they make the beat and sector officers more aware of the problem and they respond by making extra passes by the property.

Supervisor Sandoval
Supervisor Sandoval came by to stump for his proposed liquor store restrictions. There are more liquor stores per-capita in San Francisco than any other city in California. State guidelines say there should be no more than 1 liquor store per 1250 residents. We currently have 1 per 800 residents. The restrictions would include the following:
  • No further liquor stores would receive permits for a location within 500 feet of an existing liquor store.
  • Maximum of 15% of shelf space can be devoted to alcohol
  • Maximum of 5% of shelf space can be devoted to fortified liquor
  • No single servings of liquor of a size smaller than 6 oz

Contact your supervisor to weigh in.

DPW Report from Mohammed Nuru

The MPNA thanked Maurice Sullivan, the neighborhood ambassador from DPW for the excellent work he has done.

Dawn Trennert asked why the Ambassador program was cutting back from 40 to 30 hours. The program was begun partly as a way to develop young workers' skills. Once an ambassador has completed a certain number of hours, they graduate from apprentice to journeyman. The funding for the program is the same for both years, so once an ambassador achieves the journeyman status, their hours go from 5 days a week to 3 days a week so that the program can still afford them. Since this is a two year program, it is assumed that these workers are using the other two days off to secure other work from the city or private contractors.

We are one year through the two-year ambassador pilot program. When the program expires, it will be up to the neighborhood to fund the program. Most communities pay for the service by forming a benefit district and taxing themselves.

There is another pilot program being tested on Polk Street.The city has contracted with a private graffiti removal service to remove graffiti from private buildings. Call 311 to report any graffiti problems and the city will either send a clean up crew or give the property owner a notice to clean up the graffiti.

The Giants gave the city $200,000 to place trees in empty tree basins. Additionally, there have been 21,000 trees planted in San Francisco in the last four years.

A MPNA neighbor asked if the city has funds to maintain the trees it is planting. Nuru said that the city has a 3-year contract with a private contractor to care for the trees for three years. In the mean time they are devising a plan for the continued care of the trees. The planting process has taught them a lot about what kinds of trees work best and where. DPW also learned they have to plant larger trees, as the 15 gallon trees were lost quickly.

Another neighbor asked what is done about sidewalk damage caused by root systems. Nuru responded that the city will repair any damage caused by city-owned trees. Just phone the report to 311. In the instance of privately owned trees causing the damage, the DPW will notify the owner to fix the sidewalk. If the owner is unable to afford the repair the city will work out a payment plan or possibly even fund the repair from an emergency fund. When there is a large stretch of sidewalk damaged by trees of many owners, the city will coordinate the contractors for the whole block - one permit etc.

Dawn asked about efforts against littering and dog waste. Dawn made dog litter signs available for those who have a place to post them. Nuru said that the most effective tool they have is educating kids grades 1-8 about litter.

A neighbor asked about the newspaper racks that seem to generate a lot of trash and graffiti. Nuru said that the city has a newspaper rack guide with standards that each vendor has to adhere to. If you see a stand that is problematic, report it to 311 and the city will cite the vendor, giving them 10 days to repair the stand or it will be removed. 500 new stands have been installed downtown that are maintained by a contractor. These standardized stands will be rolled out to other neighborhoods.

Wylie noted that she had seen nice new trashcans on Divisidero. Nuru said that the city purchased 50 new trash cans to test. These new cans were designed to address some of the problems with the old cans - the locks were too easy to pick and the recycling parts were ineffective. Another 50 have been ordered and he will see to it that some of them are placed on Polk.

One outcome of the corridor programs was that DPW was able to establish standards of what city facilities should look like. The guidelines can be found online. Nuru recommended that neighbors take a look at the guidelines and walk the neighborhood, then report on what needs work. (by calling 311 naturally)

Saturday, April 19 - One Year Anniversary Clean up of Polk Street

The next clean up day marks the one-year anniversary of the clean up program. Nuru pledged one city worker for every 5 volunteers who turn out to clean up the neighborhood, and will supply any equipment needed, such as a steam cleaner.

Meet April 19 at 9:45 am at Its a Grind coffeehouse on Polk. All equipment will be provided.

District 3 Supervisor Candidates' Debate - June 16

MPNA is looking for volunteers to help organize the debate. Contact Dawn at to volunteer.

Next meeting is Monday, April 21, 7pm at It's a Grind on Polk.

No comments: