tv [untitled] January 29, 2014 12:00pm-12:31pm PST
past arrests and convictions and help try to relieve legal barriers to reentry that they face. we regularly meet with clients whose past convictions and arrests are a complete insurmountable barrier to obtaining employment and employment for which they are qualified. and even finding a place to live. and this occur when they've made every possible effort to rehabilitate and create a stable life for themselves and their families. housing and employment are basic needs that everyone deserves access to. and for our clients at the second chance legal clinic and for other clients of other legal services organizations those are the two most important factors to successful reentry. as many people have already testified to today, we strongly believe that by creating a fair plane for people to gain access to housing and employment there will be a significant benefit to all the citizens of san francisco. since by creating stability for our clients and their families,
creating safer communities, and helping communities thrive, and also by creating a sense of inclusion that will motivate people to give more meaningful [speaker not understood]. thank you. >> thank you, ms. harper. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is cynthia vasser and i'm in support of this legislate. i'm a former journalist and i do want to [speaker not understood] with a mark. and i just want to remind the supervisors that san francisco politicians have long been leaders in criminal justice reform. and if we really want to make honest reform to the criminal justice system, we have to think about what happens post conviction. so i appreciate your support for this current legislation. >> thank you, ms. foster. good afternoon, my name is karen drucker. i'm a community organizer with the central city s-r-o collaborative. people across the political spectrum have started to realize that we need to rely less on the criminal legal
system and this legislation is vital to making that successful. it's particularly vital for the residents we work within your district, supervisor kim, who need housing, who need jobs in order to -- in order to stay in the kind of life we'd like them to be living. so, i encourage this legislation. >> thank you, ms. drucker. hello, supervisors. i'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. my name is jerry owester, i'm a member of all of us or none. [speaker not understood], i'm formerly incarcerated. say that not to say that is who i am today, but that is who i am going to be documented as for the rest of my life. but who i am is a son, a father, an uncle, a homeowner, a taxpayer, a student, and i think this resolution is a good -- you're moving in the right direction. but all that who i said what i am will be erased and put what
i preface this speech on. formerly incarcerated. if we do not erase that, we do not move into the future. we do not allow [speaker not understood] redemption or forgiveness or rehabilitation to take place in a person's life. so, i thank you, first of all, for taking the initiative to move us into the 22nd century. i thank you. >> thank you, mr. oster. and i'll try to not to identify you as a rams fan. [laughter] [speaker not understood]. good afternoon, i'm not sure you can ban that box. good afternoon, i'm pete riley with the california partnership and we're a statewide coalition of antipoverty organization. thank you to you, supervisor kim, and your co-sponsors, for bringing this forward. we see poverty is created by a bunch of big things but can be aloe limb nayedth by little
things. we strongly encourage you to make a big move on. we do work at the state level and have been heavily involved in the conversations around recidivism and correction spending and we think a unanimous vote from the san francisco board of supervisors would go a long way. there is an open conversation in sacramento about what are resolutions, how can we get to incarcerating less people and bringing people home safely. this would take a huge step and really send up a flag to put the energy into that conversation in sacramento. so, we'd love to have that wind at our backs when we're having this conversation. also i've got a second to make a public service announcement. folks, the very powerful [speaker not understood] should go up to the next hearing in room 400 that is going on right now around the same policy. so, please don't leave. if you testified here, please go up and make testimony upstairs as well in room 400. so, thank you all very much. we enjoy a strong work on this. thank you. >> thank you.
hi, good afternoon, supervisor kim. i would really like to thank you for taking the time to let us speak. i'm roxanne [speaker not understood] and executive director of the treasure island homeless initiative. i know you've been very helpful in coming out to our island and many occasions and listening to the residents of treasure island. one of the things that i would like to do is just reiterate i'm sure it's been said several times, but having persons that are incarcerated and they get out, they have a very difficult time finding a job. i know because in addition to an associate director i'm the job broker for treasure island and one of the things that i find is that we have to do extra special leaps and jumps and hoops in order to help these persons find employment. one of the things i do know is when we do help them find employment, they tend to have
less or no recidivism. they don't go back into the criminal life-style. they become taxpayers. if they have had some type of alcohol or drug addiction, they stop that. they become clean, they become sober, they become homeowners, they become taxpayers, they become all the great things that we envision for all of our citizens in san francisco. and i just want -- i believe that we definitely need a unanimous vote. i think we need to accepted that message to sacramento. thank you. >> thank you, ms. [speaker not understood]. and before our next speaker i'm going to call up 10 more name cards. madam clerk, are there any more cards for this item? thank you. so, i have charlie goss. jesse stoute. michelle rodriguez. roxanne doningues shell. c.p. van derhorst.
[speaker not understood]. [speaker not understood]. and anisha [speaker not understood]. good afternoon, my name is manuel la fontaine. i'm a proud member of all of us or none, a fa their, [speaker not understood] looking for housing upon coming home and it was extremely difficult. i was forced to move to [speaker not understood]. public safety entails means everyone is asked to affordable housing, sustainable meaningful employment, and quiet life absent of discrimination. many of us state that the minute we come home, even though we have the credentials and qualifications to obtain housing, employment, and while i really appreciate the authors of this bill, everyone has worked on it [speaker not understood] committee for civil rights, chp community housing
partnership, and other folks that are i do not remember at the moment, we also have to recognize that the first step of a huge process, slavery was abolished officially, but it still remains as long as people are incarcerated. [speaker not understood] the south. while this has the potential to open up a good dialogue and conversation, we need to figure out how do we get human resources department and other places not only in san francisco, but throughout the state to look at this and how to deal with the obstacles of business because what tends to happen in the city of san francisco and anyplace in america and in the western world [speaker not understood] i still have 32nd, right? business trumps human dignity. business trumps human rights. commerce trumps [speaker not understood] inalienable given for being a human being and we must stop that and that's why i commend you, supervisor kim,
supervisor cohen and the rest of us fighting for a better world, a better san francisco. thank you. >> thank you, mr. la fontaine. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is charlie goss and i work on government and community affair for the san francisco apartment association. i want to thank supervisor kim and supervisor cohen for bringing about and authoring this important piece of legislation. we represent [speaker not understood] in san francisco, and we recommend that they do not run criminal background checks. that being said, not every landlord in san francisco is a member of the apartment association and there are some who still make a practice of running criminal background checks. by and large, we are supportive of this legislation. i do have a recommended amendment or a suggestion that has to do with the affirmative posting and signage and advertising requirements in the
legislation. section 49 08 c addresses the affirmative -- posting requirements as well as section 49 08 a. we are would recommend that some of the language in section c be removed before this legislation is passed along. we believe that the language in subsection a, that the housing provider will consider for tenancy qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of this article should be sufficient. we want to keep in mind that the people that are subject to this legislation are providing affordable housing. they are providing below market rate housing and they might be nonprofit employees, and we want to make the application process as easy to comply with for the employees. we don't want to subject them to liability. and ultimately, as i said, we
are not supportive of running criminal background checks, but we want to make sure that housing providers are able to comply with what's included in the legislation. so, i thank you for your consideration. >> thank you, mr. [inaudible]. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is jesse [speaker not understood]. i'm here with legal services for prisoners with children, lspc. lspc is a statewide organization and we've been in san francisco 35 years now, advocating for the rest asian of the civil and human rights of formerly incarcerated people. came here this day to say we consider housing and employment to be human rights, that people need to have housing and employment in order to get by, especially in this city. so, we think that ending discrimination against formerly incarcerated people is a vital civil right that we should pass this legislation, the fair chance ordinance, before the board of supervisors so that
san franciscans will have the same [speaker not understood]. we want to make the point increasing housing and employment will help improve public safety. that we'll live in a safer place in our city as long as people are more easily to reintegrate and rehabilitate. we think justice will be served and fairness will be increased if we pass this ordinance. that being said, we want to thank supervisor kim and supervisor cohen for sponsoring this legislation. we do appreciate it. and finally i want to make the point for everyone in the audience today, thank you for your public comments and we want you to know the small business commission just passed this upstairs in room 400 so we can stay here and watch how this hearing goes. thank you all so much for your support. >> thank you, mr. [speaker not understood]. thank you for all your work on this legislation. hi, my name is michelle rodriguez. i'm a staff attorney with the [speaker not understood] project. thank you so much, supervisor, for your leadership on this and it has been as other people that gave testimony before have mentioned been such a pleasure to work with all of the different organizations like
lawyers committee, chp, all of us or none. for those who don't know, we're a national organization. we advocate for good jobs and marginalized workers. and in our work across california and the nation, we know from policy makers across the country, they are watching this ordinance. they are watching the fair chance ordinance. and with good reason. we have 65 million americans with a record 75 of those being in california. the time is now to ensure people with a prior record can work and can find housing. and as well what we see across the country is national momentum for policies like this. we did a recent count of local jurisdictions even higher than what you mentioned, supervisor, and this is just this past week. the 56 local jurisdictions that now have this policy, 10 states with this policy, an additional four states right now have pending legislation. and just for a snapshot, the governor of delaware endorsed such a bill in his state of the
state address just last week. so, we have four states and four local jurisdictions with private employer laws, and our fair chance ordinance even includes housing. so, this really is the next wave of smart, effective policies that are going to help our workers be self-sufficient and families to thrive. so, let's have that unanimous vote. we need it not only for our local community, but this is going to be a model across the country. thank you. >> thank you, ms. rodriguez. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is roxanne doningues shell and i am the second chance [speaker not understood] coordinator at the lawyers community for civil rights. i am here to speak in favor of the fair chance ordinance. as a member of the coalition working on the ordinance, i have been in charge of our change.org petition which to date has over 500 signatures and that is in addition to the 1700 that community housing partnership has collected.
and i have copies of those [speaker not understood] for you. >> you can hand that to the clerk. and also many people have commented on our [speaker not understood] stating why they support the petition. paul ruckus wrote this is important because incarceration should end when a prison sentence ends. do the crime, do the time, and that's that. these disclosures prevent people from reintegrating and moving on in society. indeed exasperating recidivism and the cycle of incarceration. [speaker not understood] from san francisco wrote, people deserve second chances to live productive live. that can't happen if there is a bias built into every interview process. this levels the playing field and gives a quail [speaker not understood]. last rebecca from san francisco wrote, many individuals encounter multiple barriers in their life to obtain secure employment such as education
past experience, [speaker not understood]. however, just because an individual committed a crime in the past should not prevent them from obtaining a stable job. employment is crucial to a person's stability, housing and self-worth. by removing the box will help more people move into employment and toward self-sufficiency. the [speaker not understood] supports the fair chance ordinance and i urge you to vote yes. thank you. >> thank you. hi, my name is [speaker not understood] vanderhorst and i'm here to sub mort the fair chance act. i'm not going to do a policy speech. i'm going to do something anecdotal. i am the face of the people that need this legislation. i've done a lot of years in and out of jail, was a heroin addict for 30 years, and i was homeless for many, many years. and 12 years ago i had the
opportunity for housing, and that opportunity for housing changed my life. i was able to go to college. i was able to found a program at city college for women coming out of prison because i had a place to live. i had stability. but even though i went to college and i founded a program, it's very hard for me to find a job because i have no work history other than little jobs waitressing, being a made, being a cab driver, and that one box that's always there, have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony. [speaker not understood]. people overlook misdemeanors. but when you have a hundred of them, it's impacting, i know. i have a hundred of them. i think that what's really, really important is that not only is housing made available to us legally, but we need help paying the rent.
we need help being able to stabilize ourselves because you can have a place, but if you can't pay the rent, then you're going to end up back in the street. so, i know my time is up. i'm the face that you're trying to legislate for, and i would very much like to thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is meredith [speaker not understood]. i'm a resident of san francisco and a staff attorney at the lawyers committee for civil rights. i want to start by thanking supervisors kim and cohen for their leadership on this issue. i direct our second chance legal clinic. each month a resident of san francisco comes to our clinic looking for help in overcoming the barriers they're facing due to a arrest or prior conviction. they're looking for stable jobs and housing. but because of the stigma of having a prior record they're prevented from being able to support themselves and their
families. i want to give a couple exam ifsv from our clients experiences. one of our clients was honest about her past convictions and she was hired at her company. years later a new owner came in and conducted background checks and she was fired. the new owner had an across the board policy against people with convictions even though there was nothing new on her record and she had an exemplary work history at the company. another client was brought in at his new job and had already started his training program when the background check came back. the report said that he had a felony conviction when in fact he only had a misdemeanor on had i record. but the employer thought he had been dishonest. even though he tried to if i can the error, he was terminated from the job. what we see is too often the background checks trumps [speaker not understood]. this affects people of color who are disproportionately represented in the criminal
justice system. we need common sense policies like this ordinance that delay the background check and allow people to be considered based on their qualifications and not on the check in the criminal conviction box. for these reasons we urge your support of the legislation. thank you very much. >> thank you. good afternoon, supervisors. thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak here today. my name is nisha [speaker not understood] and i'm an attorney at attorneys for civil rights second chance legal clinic. as my colleagues have indicated, we help people [speaker not understood] overcome barriers associated with records such as housing and employment. i work with a range of clients from age 20 to 60 all who are trying their best to turn their lives around and overcome these challenges related to past mistakes. i have seen firsthand how critical stable employment and housing are to the livelihood
of these individuals and their families. the fair chance act would not only improve the life of these individuals, but also it would improve the economic stability and safety of local communities in the city as a whole. thank you very much. >> thank you, ms. ajmani. and before our next speaker, i'm going to call 10 more speaker cards. i have jim lazarus. sharon brown. amora tabi. jessica willis. rebecca welna. earnest stokes. edmond juicy. beatrice [speaker not understood]. machaela davis. hello, my name is [speaker not understood] from the proud member of all of us or none and i strongly support this ordinance. although i don't have a conviction history, i too have
been struggling to find work. it's hard enough as it is to find work. this would be further compounded if i did have a record. we need to be reducing those barriers for people looking for work and increasing opportunities that benefits everyone. it's a no-brainer to pass this. i just want to add that i agree jesse said the housing and employment is a human right and [speaker not understood] also feels that way and said that in 1948, yet the u.s. hasn't ratified. that's all i want to say. thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, supervisors. jim lazarus, san francisco chamber of commerce. supervisor kim and supervisor cohen and you, [speaker not understood], i especially enjoy and ivy, a great thanks to you for reaching out early in the process, allowing us to convene numerous members of the business community, small and large employers, to work through a process with the
advocates and yourselves on legislation that we're very proud to support. we think this does the right thing for employers and job applicants. to be honest with you, i kind of joked early on when this was introduced that we'd call this fat chance we'd hire a felon ordinance. but it's really far different. it's a fair chance and it's more than a fair chance. it's just the right thing to do as an employer to broaden the scope of the applicants that you have to give them a fair chance at the interview process and to create working -- work opportunities for people that need it the most. and i think so many of our employers that were involved in this process again thank you for opening that to us and coming up with legislation with the advocates and we're pleased to endorse and urge a unanimous vote at the board of supervisors. thank you. >> thank you, mr. lazarus. [laughter] hello, good afternoon. my name is jesse wiletz and i
have lived in san francisco for nine years and i strongly support the fair chance ordinance. thank you all for the work you're doing. >> thank you, ms. wiletz. good afternoon, my name is rebecca welna i am a resident of san francisco in the mission district. i just want to formally register my support for the fair chance act. i won't repeat what's already been said in a very articulate and heart felt manner. i'll just say thank you very much for co-sponsoring and i hope that this is just the beginning of a [speaker not understood] like this. >> thank you, ms. welna. good afternoon, i'm machaela davis i'm a staff attorney at the aclu in northern california. one thing we do is work on alternative to incarceration around the state. we really are focusing on counties redirecting resources to strategies that strengthen communities and make our communities safe and healthy. decreasing barriers to employment and housing as
everyone knows is one of those key strategies to keeping our communities safe and healthy. as the state continues to undergo the changes under criminal justice realignment, county level reform is all the more important. and we're looking forward to san francisco continuing to serve as a positive example to other counties around the state. so, i want to express our strong support of the legislation and thank supervisors kim and cohen and the rest of the board for their support. >> thank you, ms. [speaker not understood]. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is ernest stokes. i'm a long time resident of san francisco, i live in the bayview district. basically i'm here because i'm in favor of the fair chance ordinance because i believe the legislation the way it is right now is unjust. i when a person has served their time, served out their sentence, the [speaker not understood] should end. without the fair chance ordinance, there is no end to the punishment. i mean, they are continuously
being punished. the current legislation which presupposes a number of things. number one, people can't change, can't grow, can't be rehabilitated. in other words, it presupposes that. the history is destiny. fair chance ordinance says that, number one, we believe in people and that people can change, can grow, and everyone can make a contribution to society. in closing, i'd like to say that every saint has a past. every sinner has a future, and that's why i support fair chance ordinance. thank you. >> thank you, mr. stokes.
good afternoon, my name is [speaker not understood] and i'm here with power, people organized for employment rights. and we are also here to support the fair chance ordinance. we started a project a little over a year ago that in collaboration with [speaker not understood] advocates, a number of groups called the black priorities project and we conducted a bunch of listening sessions all over the bay area. many of them in san francisco and the top three issues that came out of those were housing, employment, and criminalization as the number one causes that were leading to the displacement of african-american families. we're excited about the fair chance ordinance is that it links all those issues, removes some of the really critical structural barriers that are impacting our communities. it still is elusive when you don't get hired for a job so i think all the enforement pieces that are in here are critical. they're going to still be difficult to up lift. we're excited about that. and we thank the leadership of supervisor kim. we hear there is possibly unanimous support for that. that's very exciting. and i think the next step might be to look at policies that are
about sort of affirmative action you know because that's where we get to the step where we say, look, folk are coming out prison. we already know so much of our community is impacted. how do we start an employment program and get some of these big corporations to say we're going to affirmatively hire people coming out of prison. this is one of those steps that takes us in the right direction and it's historical. thank you. >> thank you. hi, i'm edmond juicy. [speaker not understood]. you started with love, family and friends and brotherhood moving beyond. and just to think this year i found out martin luther king, there were like 2 80,000 people in jail. today america has 8 to 10 million people in jail. this is a perfect opportunity to give people a new start. just myself, two years ago i ended up in san francisco jail
and i got acquitted for the charges. but, you know, i learned while i was in squall ~ jail about fair chances coming out. this is a good day. when i learned that people in jail really do need fair chances when they're there and coming out to our community. i live in the tenderloin, 55 mates, it's pay part that's heavily -- you know, that's how we go to bed, we wake up. we know everything [speaker not understood]. it's going to be a good start. [speaker not understood] right here, martin luther king said this year, you have to keep moving forward. this is the day that san francisco is moving forward for our nation because it's very important that united states stay great. and i think this is it and also happy to get the people from city college to sign it. [speaker not understood] that's the rams. it's about city college, too, all the people for justice. we are so happy to sign this
thing, it was just a joy to collect these names. i'm so glad community for partnership, it [speaker not understood] that we can change and grow in san francisco. thank you all for bringing this today and let freedom ring, let freedom ring, let it ring. >> thank you, juicy. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is beatrice [speaker not understood], i'm an organizer with power. and just like jaren said, we launched the black priorities project and we've had a number of conversations with members of the black community, those in the bayview and the fillmore and different parts of the bay area. and unfortunately the large number of incarcerated women [speaker not understood] 850 bryant and a lot of them told me personally that it was very challenging for them to think about the prospect of