Thank you for the opportunity to answer you questionnaire. I look forward to more interactions with the Fillmore / Lower Fillmore Neighborhood Association (FLFNA).
Andrew “Ellard” Resignato
1) Describe in your own words what is the purpose of a Supervisor representing a District in
? (2000 characters including
spaces) San Francisco
The purpose of a Supervisor representing a District in
Francisco is to listen to the residents of that District and
represent their point of view to the larger community. San Francisco
A Supervisor is the defender of the rights of the people in his/her District. In many cases I believe the Supervisor will need to stand up to powerful interests that try to usurp the interests of the residents of the District.
A Supervisor should be a leader in bringing about change that improves the living conditions for the people. They need to be present in the community to understand the way issues are affecting people. He/she can propose legislation, advocate, direct City resources, or simply work with the community to solve problems that affect District residents.
I also believe that the Supervisor needs to have a vision for the direction of the City and should work to enact that vision through political action and through the power of the office.
2) What do you believe are the three most pressing problems/challenges in the Lower Fillmore and what is your strategy to address and resolve them? (4000 characters including spaces)
1. Public Safety is an issue I think is most important to the Lower Fillmore neighborhood and is a symptom of some greater issues that need to be addressed like: lack of educational and economic opportunity, youth unemployment, substance abuse, and need for community policing. I think the problem has been exacerbated by our current drug laws which are discriminatory and tend to criminalize young men branding them felons and preventing them from being eligible for employment as well as provide for their families.
I believe police resources are being squandered busting people for drug crimes when they should be used to solve violent and property crimes. I also believe discriminatory drug laws along with gang injunctions, and sit-lie ordinances have further eroded the relationship between the community and law enforcement in addition to systematically stripping away civil liberties from specific groups of people. All of these are exacerbating the public safety issue and need to be addressed by the District 5 Supervisor.
I would recommend treating drug abuse as a public health issue and not as a criminal justice issue which includes spending more money on substance abuse treatment and educational programs and having police make less drug arrests. Community policing needs to be emphasized as the model that works. Police need to present in the community to not just make arrests but to interact positively with community members and develop relationships. It is incumbent on the District Supervisor to make sure this is happening.
Lastly, the community itself has to be involved in monitoring the safety of the neighborhood work with the Supervisor to ensure that public safety is being handles correctly by the city and it’s departments.
2. Community Cohesion is an issue while not easily solved needs to be addressed in the Lower Fillmore. The legacy of Redevelopment has caused in-fighting in the community that has served to erode trust of community members in each other. In order for the problems of crime, economic opportunity, and cultural renewal to be addressed the community needs to come together. It is only through working together that communities can solve these larger issues. The District 5 Supervisor can have an impact by using the office to hold community meetings aimed at bringing the community together and directing city resources to finding solutions that community members all have a stake in developing.
3. Helping small business in the neighborhood is an important way to help the community thrive. The City has been rolling out the red carpet with tax breaks and other incentives for large tech companies but I believe the city needs to help small businesses grow and thrive in neighborhoods like the Western Addition/Lower Fillmore. Lower Fillmore used to be a thriving neighborhood due to the many small African-American owned businesses that operated there. We need to figure out ways to bring businesses back including helping people in the community start small businesses. As Supervisor I intend to focus on small business as the sector of our economy that can provide economic opportunity in neighborhoods across the city including Lower Fillmore.
3) What have you done to improve the condition of people who were negatively impacted by The Redevelopment Agency? (2000 characters including spaces)
Honestly, I have not been very active in this realm but the most important thing I have done is educate people about the legacy of redevelopment in the Lower Fillmore Neighborhood. Many people are unaware of the decade’s long fight that has been waged in the neighborhood. They do not know anything about the thriving Fillmore neighborhood before the redevelopment bulldozers came in and how the Geary corridor was used to separate rich and poor, black and white. When I go to
I ask people if they even know who he was and explain to him that this man who
this plaza is named for really doesn’t deserve it. Justin Herman Plaza
My belief is that the community needs to come together to heal the scars caused by the Redevelopment Agency and help the people impacted by the Agency. The District 5 Supervisor has a stake in this and should make sure that all parties are being treated fairly in future development projects, assuring community input. The Supervisor needs to emphasize that retaining the culture and history of the neighborhood should be a city priority.
4) Do you believe the Gang Injunction helped the community, if yes how? (2000 characters including spaces)
I do not believe the gang injunction has helped the community. I believe gang injunctions further erode the civil liberties of specific people, break up families, and simply move gang violence from one place to another. I do not believe the injunction is addressing the root issues and serves as a band-aid for greater social issues that need attention. Issues like youth unemployment, lack of educational and economic opportunity, crime, and marginalization need to be addressed. I see the gang injunction along with discriminatory drug laws and the sit-lie ordinance as a type of institutionalized racism that serves to deny people rights. Gang violence is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed but I believe the gang injunction is a bad-aid and not a long term solution to the problem.
I would like to see more community-based programs supported by the city that utilize former gang members to de-escalate gang wars and educate current gang members on the inherent problems with a gang lifestyle. I think tensions between police and the community are exacerbated by gang injunctions.
5) What community work have you done that you are most proud of? (2000 characters)
At my current position as Director of the San Francisco Immunization Coalition I have worked throughout the SF community to educate parents about the importance of immunization to prevent disease. I have worked to bring the message of the importance of preventing diseases like pertussis, hepatitis, meningitis, and measles to diverse communities including communities where health access is the lowest.
I have worked to decrease health disparities for African-Americans and Latinos when it comes to immunization by working with organizations like the San Francisco Giants and community leaders like Dr. Nadine Burke and Cecil Williams in the
Bayview/Hunters Point, and Western Addition neighborhoods, among others. Mission
In addition, I have worked hard to prevent deaths and hospitalizations of infants from pertussis (whooping cough). In 2005, an infant born in
died of the disease. Since
2008, I have worked hard to spread awareness about this disease which is making
a resurgence across the San Francisco
I have also worked with all birthing hospitals in U.S. to institute policies that help
protect infants and newborns from contracting this deadly but preventable
infection. In addition, I have advocated for research into a better, longer
lasting pertussis vaccine to provide better protection and help us better
control the disease. San Francisco
Prevention is not a glamorous job. When you prevent disease nothing happens. But I believe it is up to leaders to anticipate problems that will affect people in the future – be it disease, violence, natural disasters, and find ways to prevent or reduce the suffering caused by these issues. Finding ways to prevent problems that adversely impact people is a passion of mine and a characteristic I will bring to the job of District 5 Supervisor.