Fillmore/ Lower Fillmore Neighborhood Association Questionnaire
Submitted by Julian Davis, Candidate for District 5 Supervisor
FLFNA Questionnaire Responses
District elections allow for a fine-grained level of neighborhood representation and also create an opportunity for grass roots candidates to compete and win against larger special interests.
A supervisor has various roles to play in representing a district. On a basic level a supervisor must be a diligent advocate for constituents. That means having a responsive and effective office at handling the myriad daily issues that come up for residents and merchants in our neighborhoods. This level of commitment is what we expect of any elected office holder.
District supervisors also have a role to play as supervisors for the entire city. In this capacity, it’s important to both represent the interests and needs of the district but also to have a larger vision about the future of San Francisco and to present a positive legislative agenda for the district and the city at large.
The three most pressing issues for the Lower Fillmore are public safety, clean streets, and community economic development.
Our communities should be safe places to live and work. Adding more beat cops may help in the short term, but we need to address the root causes of poverty and crime, and foster fair and effective community-police relations. It’s also about neighbors looking out for each other and building a trusting community. As supervisor I will ensure that our police department achieves culturally competent community policing.
On any given day a pile of litter and garbage can be seen collecting at street corners in the neighborhood such as Fillmore and Golden Gate. While it is the everybody’s responsibility to be good stewards of public space, the City should also step up and ensure that we have clean streets. As supervisor I will make sure that DPW is on the job in our neighborhood and also work to organize district clean team days in conjunction with DPW so that residents can take an active role in keeping our streets clean.
Finally, the Lower Fillmore has seen intensive redevelopment over the past few decades and yet has not fully succeeded at creating a vibrant commercial corridor in the Lower Fillmore. Fillmore between Turk and Eddy is stark reminder of the failure of redevelopment. Why should a whole city block in the heart of town be shuttered with venetian blinds? It doesn’t make any sense. As supervisor I will work to support community based entrepreneurs so that we can bring life to the storefronts of the Fillmore commercial corridor.
I have worked for most of my organizing career on remedies to the negative impact of redevelopment on the neighborhood and on the African American community. Working with San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center and other community partners, we were the first to successfully sunshine the Redevelopment Agency’s records of displaced people from the redevelopment era. This allowed us to do effective outreach about the certificate of preference program for the first time since its inception.
I also worked to amend the City’s planning code to expand the certificate program to Mayor’s Office of Housing administered units, not just redevelopment units - our housing reparations ordinance was passed by the Board of Supervisors. Without this change, certificates would have been useless in the Fillmore after the agency exited the district over the last few years. In addition I and other activists worked to extend the program to children and grandchildren of displaced householders.
While these accomplishments are important, it’s still not enough. I will continue to bring leadership to this issue as supervisor in District 5 by focusing on economic and housing justice for a community whose roots were ripped from the ground.
I did not support the Gang Injunction and still don’t. I believe the Gang Injunction is of marginal utility and raises serious concerns about the civil liberties of those whom it primarily affects. After a crisis of violence mid-decade, community members, including myself, stepped up to take leadership by enhancing programs for at-risk youth in the neighborhood, especially in public housing. The collaborative approach to programming was successful and we’ve seen a steady decrease in youth on youth homicide since that time. I believe it was the work of the community, the Supervisor’s office, and the Public Defender’s Office that successfully addressed the root cause of violent crime in the neighborhood, not the Gang Injunction.
I am most proud of my work as President of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center. At Booker T, I have had the honor of working with a fantastic staff to envision a new center that will be a home for emancipated foster youth and provide them with critical on site support services. It is not always easy to win approval for this type of development but we did it because we were organized and had the courage to do what’s right. The new center will better serve our community’s needs and will include a San Francisco bureau of Youth Radio, a tech skills center, a childcare center, a mind body health center, and a community garden, in addition to a new gymnasium.