tv [untitled] October 21, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm PDT
as in chinatown. it the most important thing, and this is where i get disturbed by the criticism, because it sounds like what we used to debate at city hall, where nothing got done about our infrastructure. this is a valuable infrastructure complement to our city's transit system. and we need that infrastructure for the 10,500 new homes that we're already building in bayview. we are congested. you can ride any muni, and you can see that the congestion is there. so the timing is now. the bids have already been in. the first series of bids were below the estimate, because we're moving quickly on it. this is the wrong time to stop a very valuable 45,000 of project that we discussed and approved year-after-year. >> this is a hot-button issue, so go ahead. [applause] >> i decided to weigh in because i felt like i was when
addressing here and not someone here to speak to but i agree that we need to invest in infrastructure. when i have spent time talking to merchants in chinatown, one of the big issues, parking and nightlife. it is very hard for people to get there at night. i think this will help promote their businesses in the evening, too. i think the most important way that we're going to be a to rebuild trust in the community for this project is to make sure that we have complete transparency on his being awarded the contract and who is getting the jobs. it that is absolutely critical that the next mayor provide that transparency so we can rebuild the trust around this project and other infrastructure projects that come in at the future. [applause] >> all right, mr. avalos wanted to weigh in. >> i wanted to talk about not necessarily the merits of central subway. i do support the marriage. i have worked on projects for the water system improvement program. some of the products are like $400 million.
i get a squeamish a feeling every time a vote on those things. i also did that feeling on central subway. that is part of the work of standing up and making difficult decisions as an elected official. but i truly believe that this is a good project for san francisco. but there are people all over san francisco who are opposed to it. as a candidate, i have heard a lot of dissent about it. i feel that now that we have the mayor's race going on, that we're using central subway as a wedge issue. it is playing havoc with money we can get from the federal government. a lot is at stake. we need to improve our entire muni system across san francisco. this is one phase we need to do now, linking that a. i support the project. i want to see more happening. balboa park. we need to figure that out and the sense that area. we need to get rapid transit in geary as well. [applause]
>> my position is to from the other candidates. why? because we have to base decisions on facts. we have to have evidence-based findings before we can make conclusions. what is happening is this issue is becoming politicized. we have a grand jury that specifically found a serious design defects in this product was causing twice -- costing twice as much as originally planned. and the last time we ignored to the grand jury -- the other day, the last time we did that, it was over pension reform. so we have to address the issues. there will be a hearing in october. let's wait for that hearing. let the facts speak for themselves. [applause] >> thank you.
i agree. what i also want to say, one of the issues i have always had with the project and the members of the board of supervisors was that in some ways, this is a very myopic view. do we what subways in san francisco? it could relieve some much traffic off the streets, there is no question. it is a successful, accessible way of travel. it is a great way to get from one part of the city to another. this project is only 1.7 miles and we never look at extending it anywhere else. the hearing i called for would have extended it, look at extending it to north beach and marina greens and presidio, lombard street. the presidio has a federal mandate to bring people to it.
there are all sorts of revenues and sources of money we could use for this project, but the city has always been hesitant to move outside of the little foot. that is correctly the central subway. -- the little footprint that is correctly the central subway. i think that is why we are spending so much money to invest in this. >> thank you. we have to more people? >> this recent controversy about the central subway pains me. as somebody who grew up in chinatown, lives in chinatown, goes back to chinatown because a family and friends, it is painful to hear how we will not have the central subway. this issue now is also about leadership in the city. you have the grand jury that has raised serious questions about central subway. regardless of whether we like it or not, you have to take the grand jury report into second kind of rigid and to some kind
of consideration. the mayor needs to look at these issues. if not, this project will be dogged by controversy, delays, and ultimately the people of san francisco will suffer. i would implore the mayor to deal with this issue, put it to rest. we have to come together as a city and move forward at the central subway. >> thank you. [applause] >> i agree with what the supervisor said, which is we have never regretted it ever building a light rail system or subway system. i have never heard people complain about the tunnel that we had to build in the 1920's. i am sure when those were built, we had complaints, issues, concerns, yet most people now on the west side of town are very fortunate they have a rail line.
we are doing 8 town halls on the different municipal wants to talk about how to improve transit. we do not hear did not build the sub, they are asking, what is our subway coming? when people talk about 1.7 miles, we are seven by seven city. that is almost one-third of san francisco. you are building a subway system over one-third of san francisco, one of the densest neighborhoods. for the people who say they do not need it, they have never ridden 30 stockton in their life. if you ride it once, you'll be convinced that you need it. i[applause] >> alright, everyone has weighed in. we have time for one more question from each reporter. mr. schaeffer? >> this is about city finances. the current budget is $6.8
billion. that is twice the size of the budget of alameda county and the city of oakland combined, twice what they spend, yet we still do not have money for basics like paving streets. there is a bond measure to pave the streets. my question is, what is the problem? why do we spend so much money, yet have so little money for basic things? >> i think we have to look at where the city is making investments and are we getting a good return on that. we spend a $13.5 million per year on the top 225 street alcoholics, jail, so boring centers, individuals moved by paramedics -- sobering centers, individuals moved by paramedics. i have advocated what seattle does, housing where individuals
or chronic alcoholics -- >> does that tell a larger store? >> i think it does. 12.9% of the time, an operator is not showing up for a shift. that is a huge loss. we have $11 million of fare evasion. i know it is not working. i know what has not worked under three past mayors and we will do the things that make sense and are rational. >> ms. chen? >> i have a question about central subway. we heard from the committee support for the subway, especially chinatown, but some people criticize this as a political move in the race. does that mean that you are giving up on the chinese votes? >> i lost the last part of the question. >> are you using this as a political move in your may world campaign and ignoring the chinese coast?
>> nothing could be further from the truth. the grand jury report came out this summer and raised legitimate questions when you look at the municipal figures in terms of projections, in terms of cost, impact on operations, revenue figures, and the like. i think leadership is about standing up and answering tough questions and asking tough questions when situations arise. after rye read the grand jury report, looked at the entire history, it caused a great deal of concern. i supported the project. i live in the southeast sector of san francisco. i remember looking at it back in 2003, when we discussed it. $650 million it is one thing. $1.2 billion is another. i want chinatown to get what it deserves. of what to make sure that folks
through san francisco that the -- i want to make sure the folks at 3 san francisco the quality municipal system they are meeting and crying out for. >> final question? >> early every saturday morning, i walk down embarcadero with my 6-year-old daughter and we walk by the same dozen-plus homeless people sleep on the sidewalks, human excrement next to them, broken bottles nearby. you have children. what do you say to them when they ask, mom, how come the city lets these people live on the streets? what do you say not only from the perspective of the people on the streets but the people who are walking by and visitors? what is your answer to that? >> the answer is is not human to allow people -- and as a mother, the thought of having a child live on the street or sleep on the street, not have a home is a
terrible thing. this is why we need to model some other programs in terms of how we treat address reform. i have talked often about projects, the road home, a project in denver. the mayor came in, wondered what they were spending on homelessness. they were spending about $40,000 per person and have very low effectiveness of getting people to self sustained ability or the path to long-term care. the centralized all services with complete transparency and accountability. someone down on their luck could needs job training, compared with somebody who needs long- term support. now they are spending less than half of that and having a higher success rate of getting people back to solve sustainability. a lot of people access services to get their hair cut or teeth checked. we should use that and bring all of the service providers together and have a true impact
with complete transparency and accountability on something that is terribly inhumane. >> if you were mayor, would you do more than say it is not acceptable to sleep on the streets and give someone an alternative? >> it is our obligation to give someone an alternative and do everything we can to get them into the right type of supportive services. it absolutely is an obligation and we cannot just turn our head and said that is okay. i don't think it is ok for people to defecate in the street. it i have seen that too often when i do the neighborhood walks. there are things that are not acceptable in a civilized, world class society. we really need to provide the right kind of supportive services. i brought up denver. it was on the front page of the chronicle, talking about aggressive panhandling.
to educate people about what other services are allowable, and out panhandling has gone down 83%. i think we need education at the same time. [applause] >>, like to answer this. i have not been asked the question directly. really, homelessness is a national problem. it is not just a san francisco problem. the truth is before reagan, there is not a problem of homelessness. that is an important thing, those of us who are old enough, to bring out. this is not something that is endemic in our culture, is a result of the intentional dismantling of public housing. we need more public housing in this country so that people have places to live. a bed and shelter is not housing as counted in san francisco as housing.
people need homes. we need a national plan to build housing, public housing, for poor people, so whatever people's circumstances are, they have a place to live. it is a very basic thing, and we need more public housing in the whole country. the truth is the reason why it is bad and san francisco, many reasons, but it is also because other countries and cities are much more draconian. i live in new york city when giuliani solved the homeless problem by shipping people to the bronx and not allowing them to come back into manhattan where they may trouble the tourists. >> everybody will get a chance because homelessness is one of the questions from the audience. iwe will do this alphabetically. what we will do is start with
the question about homelessness. >> thank you. i have worked with homeless individuals my entire career. i can tell you it is a very complex issue. it involves economic injustice, it involves mental illness, drug use and abuse, and i am a believer that the way that we can solve homelessness is through support of housing. this is something we started to do in san francisco, but on only in small increments. i believe if you want to solve a problem, you have to have the political courage, will, and backbone to get it done. we would need about 10,000 new housing units in order to address homelessness and san francisco. these have proven to be very successful. correctly now, with the return of over 33,000 prisoners through
realignment, low crime offenders, these are individuals who are now succeeding through support of housing. i think this is the answer, but it takes the political will and the funding to make it happen. >> one of the issues we did not seem to talk enough about, and this goes to part of what mr. schaefer's question was earlier, as most of the most people currently on the streets have very severe cases of mental illness. a lot of them have high cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disease. part of what we are faced with now is taking care of those real illnesses, and not just providing housing. you could give housing to people who are mentally ill, but it will not be able to hold it down. in new york city, they passed kendra's law, and our own senate
in california passed laura's law, that would allow san francisco to bring assisted outpatient treatment outside of the current prison system. by doing that, we saw in new york they were able to bring homelessness down by 60%, a decrease in incarceration of the mentally ill by 72%, and the program itself, the pilot program in los angeles has worked very well. for every one person with mental illness in our system, it costs us $100,000. by pulling them out, it costs 25,000 others to give them assisted outpatient programs outside of the jails. it costs $25,000 to give them assisted outpatient services. [applause] >> i agree, are homeless issue
in san francisco is a national problem it also affects families with children. a big part of the homeless population are families with children, and we need an approach that has already been planned. the 10-year effort to end homelessness and san francisco talked about the continual of care, and we need that. that includes support of housing, not just a room, but housing that comes with support services that include mental health services, substance abuse, job training services. having that model is one that is working. there is a great organization among many called the community housing partnership that does a really great job of providing housing for people with dignity, and we truly need to have expansion programs like that. right now, the program counts shelter beds as housing. that will not end homelessness. i have been part of trying to change that program to make it
more robust around housing and not taunting shelter beds. -- and not counting shelter beds. >> moving on. >> i have already discussed the fact i do not think in san francisco we can do what mayor giuliani did in san francisco -- did it in new york. i say that as a former prosecutor who knows that would be impossible to find 12 people who would put somebody away for aggressive panhandling. this is why i support the committee justice center, moving forward with supportive housing, but i agree with john avalos, one of the real issues is expanding affordable housing. i am proud of my record of expanding affordable housing to the homeless veterans, seniors. just last night we passed a piece of legislation for transitional teenaged use. we passed legislation that we
have to commit as a city to investing more, expanding all of our housing opportunities, and i am proud of the fact of the past year i have helped move forward the creation of close to 34,000 new units of housing, affordable housing. >> when i talked about housing and the model in seattle, saving $4 million in the first year getting 75 people off the streets, i am supporting the d.a. because it he will do some of things we need around neighborhoods. i think there are some things that new york did around restorative justice that are important. the reason i did not support sit and why is because there are laws on the books not being enforced. there are laws about urination and camping. the problem is if you get an infraction, which is a parking ticket equivalent, you have five weeks to show what. that does not work. the focus is 60% motion to
revoke, which have been felonies. i think we need a law enforcement system and somebody who understands how you can waste money to cycling people in and out. i am proud of the fact that i started a young adult supportive housing project that houses 30 people and was supported by the neighborhood. i know how to get it done. thank you. i>> in new york, the state weigs in. california, the counties are totally responsible. willie brown was spending $200 million per year on social services, for 9,000 to 13,000 homeless people. the program caramel long as it would cure homelessness, but it was designed to elevate the author to the next higher office. we're now servicing 13,000 people, but at a cost that is 10
times greater. it is going to non service providers whose business is, what, homelessness. as your mayor, i will monitor and all that does not competitively bid contracts that are sucking up your money, depriving the homeless people of the true help they deserve. that is where the problem is and that is why the problem keeps growing. it is really obvious to me what is happening with the homeless. [applause] >> i think closeness has been the most vexing problem that mayors have faced over the past 25 years. if there was one simple solution, we would have dealt with it, but it is comprehensive, the causes are national in scope, and the solutions also have to be national in scope, with a local twist. i happen to believe there are lots of points that were made. we have not done a very good job of coordinating services we provide.
that is why i think moving the homeless workers under the mayor's office, out of the department of public health is important. that is why we need a city run drop-in center. i will also say the committee justice board, which has been successful, is not being utilized as much as it should be by the court system itself. it is the new york model, or did get services you need it or you go into the criminal justice system. unfortunately, the courts are dismissing cases in mass. we have to utilize that system. finally, we need to make sure as part of our cbo reform efforts that we have accountability for the services being provided to us as customers. >> since 2004, there have been 12,000 homeless lives that have been transformed because of our city's policy of housing first.
that is care -- that has proven we need to do more. i attended today's project almost connect and there was a big section that we created called the appointment. he should have seen the number of people looking for employment that are homeless. they want jobs. they want the city to make sure that can get help to get these jobs because they know they could work their way out of homelessness is to have the job training and job support. that is what i want to continue doing as your mayor, picture we have that job training at all different levels. on october 1, we created other jobs program without federal help. two other people are sweeping the streets and cleaning trash from the parks, without any regard to their background except they needed the jobs and they were san francisco residents. that is how we get people involved in their own transition of their lives is through the job creation program and we need to do that more. [applause] >> your point about project
homeless connect is great because somebody people access those services and that is why we need to make it a permanent facility and bring together all of the different providers of services that support the community into one central organization under homeless connect. and really have the discipline and accountability to continue to fund those that are having a positive impact on the committee, and we have to have the discipline to look at organizations that are no longer needed, no longer serve their intended purpose, no longer having positive outcomes and not continue to fund those. we cannot perpetually fund organizations. we have to have discipline and accountability to make sure they are having an impact. [applause] >> we're going back to the earlier question, why does this problem still exist. one of the reasons i believe is we have generally governed by anecdotes, not by data or outcome. what we need to start doing is
looking at how many homeless people we have moved. but the mayor said 12,000 people. i know that care, not cash has moved 37,000 people into homes. that was an 85% drop of general assistance, partly achieving its goal. but it is not enough. one of the reason our campaign partner is partnering is because we need more data and organization and focus on how many folks we are helping, not just helping this one compelling person but are we really moving the population into permanent housing. that is why we also need to make sure those are partnered with solutions. most critical thing about getting somebody served it is having a place to live. it is hard to chase them out in the streets. it is much easier if you know where they live. >> the reason why we have failed dealing with the homeless problem and san francisco and
other urban areas is we really do not understand what homeless is. but homeless is is the condition under which individuals are no longer at home. the problem is that's the solutions will not give them a home. that is not the solution. you have to understand the underlying cause of that homelessness. some individuals may not have a job, may not want a job. maybe other individuals who have mental health, physical, social problems, and you have to address those underlying problems. you cannot simply just provide services and simply said, we provided services. you have to also understand whether a program you have established is effective in dealing with some of the metal health and social health and other physical health needs of these individuals. if you cannot make the initial diagnosis and tailor the program based on their needs, you will continue to perpetuate these kinds of individuals that we
call homeless and the problems that continue to have. [applause] >> thank you. we will continue to ask questions from audience. thank you for your input. we will continue to do this alphabetically. we start with you. ext. person, we will start with you. everyone will answer the same question. the question to everyone, what can you do to keep the middle class of san francisco and bring families back to the city? >> we are the city with the fewest children per capita of any other city in the country. as a child who was born and raised in san francisco and played on the streets, i can attest this is a fabulous place to grow up and be raised. but people, the middle class