tv Government Access Programming SFGTV May 9, 2018 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
[off mic] >> supervisor safai: good afternoon, everyone. the meeting will come to order. welcome to the may 8th, 2018 meeting of the rules committee, my name is supervise ahsha safai. to my left is norman yee and catherine stefani. our clerk is michael young. i would like to thank baltasar and [inaudible] for staffing
this meeting. clerk do you have any announcements before we begin? >> please make sure to silence any cell phones and related devices. items acted upon today will appear on the may 15th, board of supervisors agenda unless otherwise stated. >> supervisor safai: great, mr. clerk, please call item number 1. >> item number one is a motion approving or rejecting mayor's nomination for the reappointment of sonya melara for the police commission for the term ending april 30th, 2022. >> supervisor safai: thank you. i don't think we have any opening statements. >> mr. chairman safai, vice chairman yee, commissioner
stefani, my name is sonia melara. i would like to give you highlights of my work in the last almost four years. friends have asked me why would you want to do this again. my response has been i have been a part of probably some of the most difficult times in the history of the police commission, the department and the city. however, i would not change it for anything as the changes that have taken place are just being implemented and i want to see them bear fruit. with dr. marshal who is also here today, we are the two non-lawyers on the commission who bring a different community perspective to this body. when i asked mayor lee why he would want me on the commission he pointed to my background as he had known me for many years. i have worn many hats in my
life but i will outline just a few. i'm here as a former small business person, a social worker, an immigrant, a woman and a resident of district 7. i bring this perspective to the commission and believe that the public safety, that public safety must be a balance between the safety of our citizens in the safety of police officers. i have exhibited this balance and made evidence-based decisions while deliberating policies with my fellow commissioners. i have taken leadership roles or participated in the development of policies that affect our entire city. to note a few in the past four years i have spent part of hiring a new police chief. a new d.p.a. director. i have actively participated in the d.o.j. cops assessment and recommendations implementation as well as the development of
policies such as the introduction of body-worn cameras, new use of force policies, addressing the needs of children arrested parents, domestic violence, use of electronic controlled devices. i have also been representing the commission as a member of the language access stakeholders and language access services to address the needs of non-english speaking residents who receive police services. in my day jobs i'm the executive director the rally family visitation services a member of the san francisco state university social work faculty and others. rally family is a community problem adopted by saint francis hospital 25 years ago. at rally we work with families referred by the family courts around the bay area in need of supervised visitation primarily due to domestic violence. i have been involved in the
area of domestic violence since the early 70's, a group of us came together to establish the first shelter for victims of domestic violence in california like casa de las madres. this was a time when speaking against domestic violence wasn't very popular. i worked with the police department to establish. they didn't have a computerized system to access restraining orders and injuries were due to domestic violence and i served as executive director on the department of the status of women, i increased funding for domestic violence by 150%. which included funding two provincial programs. i also worked on various initiatives to improve police response. as a faculty member of the school of social work at san
francisco state university i have taught a range of subjects including policy, program and fiscal management, mental health and child welfare, especially as it applies to marginalized communities. throughout my professional careers i addressed hands on. through my younger years through juvenile justice commission i traveled around the country to oversee the implementation of changes to the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act. i worked for the san francisco sheriff's department to address the needs of women in jail and their children. i'm a strong believer in prevention and have a deep understanding that we need to do whatever we can to address social and economic barriers and deal with violence in our communities. which would result in enhanced public safety and less police involvement.
every community wants to be safe and that includes having a police department that is responsive to everyone's safety. however, while i believe all police officers should be acknowledgable in training and crisis intervention and mental health need, they are not social workers. we should ensure the people who need assistance get it when they need it from qualified professionals to ensure that police officers focus on the duties to the citizens of san francisco. we need to develop partnerships like the one the police department has with the hot team which is the homeless outreach team. i believe we need to balance social consciousness with crime to protect those victims of crime and safety of officers who risk their lives to enforce the laws on our streets.
years ago i worked on the first team for project safe as the district coordinator, i believed then and now when communities work together they can create the most successful crime prevention strategies. looking at eliminating traffic if fatalitis. this is a great project. i'm presently involved in the tenderloin plan, this collaborative brings together the community partners, the private and government sectors to implement initiatives that will help address public safety and health concerns in the tenderloin especially for children and the elderly and the police department is an integral part of this effort. i have served under several mayors on the parking and traffic commission. the immigrant rights commission.
the health commission and police commission. i believe i have been appointed because i have dedicated to working on and solving difficult issues for all san franciscans and representing those who may not have been able to speak for themselves. i have demonstrated fiscal responsibilities. ensuring that we address priorities without hurlting those who need help the most. i believe i have the understanding and background to continue to be a productive and useful member of the police commission. our work has just begun. with the use of force policies, body worn cameras and electric control devices. we need consistency and commitment to continue the implementation of reforms presently moving forward. thank you for your attention in this matter. >> supervisor safai: thank you,
commissioner. any questions from supervisor commissioner yee? >> thank you, supervisor. i guess we had a little discussion was it yesterday? one of the things we talked about is the creation of the staffing task force. >> yes. >> supervisor yee: and how i wanted your views on what role a commissioner or commissioners should be taking in this task force. could you sort of elaborate? >> yes, when you came to us to propose this i was under the impression this was a commission-led efford. -- effort. however the chair set the agenda for our meetings.
supervisor stefani. >> >> supervisor stefani: thank you for your comments. we talked about where we are today in terms of the community and a lot of the issues that have been talked about. and was distressing to me is a lot of the angst felt amongst the community and how we address that going forward so we have a positive relationship with the community with our police department and with the commission.
it's something we need to address as a whole society. >> supervisor safai: if we have any other questions, which i think we will after public comment, we will bring you back up. at this time we will open up item number one for public comment. anyone interested in speaking to this item come up and speak. please clearly speak your name and speak clearly in the microphone, if you have comments to leave with the clerk, please file them in the bucket to the right. >> john davis speaking for myself. one function of the police commission is to be an independent oversight department who could make life and death decisions. it's for this reason i cannot support sonia melara.
racial justice and disability rights advocates, and others, ms. melara voted for the police department carrying tasers which studies show do not decrease shootings and are deadly in and of themselves. she is accountable only to police unions who basically believe police could do no wrong ever. this also goes to major problem on commissions where one person, it's mayor makes the decision on who the person on the commission is and needs to be dealt with. >> thank you very much. [off mic] >> supervisor safai: i want to remind members of the public please no public outburst. members of this committee often have other conversations we have to have, it doesn't mean we aren't listening. please proceed. >> my name is jackie barshack,
i want to speak against the reappointment of sonia melara. i attended the taser working group also known as conductive energy device working group, i attended every single meeting so i speak from my experience. this working group was formed last summer and was fronted by commissioner melara and her clear intent from the beginning was to equip the s.f.p.d. with tasers. public opinion be damned. rather than lead the discussion whether it was a good policy to give tasers to the s.f.p.d. and whether users are an appropriate use of force she set the working group's goal to implement her policy around the use of tasers. although the d.o.j., the department of justice report recommends that the san francisco police department only consider tasers, commissioner melara ran the stakeholder group with the
intention of putting tasers in the hands of the s.f.p.d. no matter what, that group, commissioner melara set the agenda, cut off discussion even from fellow commissioners, ignored expert opinions and quashed dissent among the stakeholders giving them minimal time to voice their concerns. commissioner melara addressed tasers as an inevitability presenting an already composed 8-paged draft policy when police commissioner bill hinge suggested there be input from the community on tasers, commissioner melara responded the community forum would only take place after the working group had established a working group on tasers, but the community didn't want tasers at all. when samara demanded expert testimony and it be the basis
of the workforce [buzzer] >> supervisor safai: thank you, ma'am. next speaker. we have a long agenda today, folks. i just want you to know we want to move the committee forward, thank you. >> and this committee appointment decision is very important. i'm catherine freshman, i speak in opposition to the reappointment of sonia melara, it pains me to do so as an antiracism and advocate for people of color but i must speak against the appointment of sonia melara for the reasons stated before and the way she treats other commissioners. i urge you to contact commissioner bill hing who recently resigned from the commission and ask why did he resign. i would say a large part is
because of the bullying and rude treatment he received from commissioner melara. i haven't attended that many police commission meetings recently but in 2016 i attended almost all of them as well as in 2017 and i observed there was this push to implement the tasers even though the community, i attended both the community input meetings, spoke very vociferously opposed the tasers and human rights convened a special input group and session for people at sunnidale to hear the people most likely to be tazed to hear their input on tasers unanimously were opposed to the tasers. so despite vociferous community opposition, they adopted the tasers, i don't think commissioner melara listens to the community or represents our
views. she has a very top-down perspective on what needs to happen at the police commission. and i don't think she holds s.f.p.d. accountable and that is the function of the police commission. >> supervisor safai: thank you. next speaker? >> hi, my name is kathy black and i'm the executive director of casa de las madres. i speak on behalf of our 20,000 plus members and we are proud to support the nomination of reappointment of sonia melara. they started something big and would change the course of history for women and their children seeking violence-free lives. they started one of the first shelters specifically for victims of domestic violence. from there a remarkable
movement took off one we see out in the news everyday now. addressing public safety and public health issues associated with domestic violence and other crimes has been the hallmark of sonia's career and home life. she helped create a safer san francisco by funding and supporting aimed at reducing incidence of domestic violence against women and their children. many of those programs actively collaborate with law enforcement. she worked to address public safety by developing and implementing economic empowerment programs. in this work she has convened
law enforcement, probation, community organizations that address the safety of adult victims and their children. she is one of the truly thoughtful people i have had the pleasure of working with. she has a keen understanding . >> supervisor safai: thank you, next speaker. >> my name is yuki. i've been saved my life about four times by this city. and a lot of it is from security that the city provides.
-- city government in general. i ask you be accountable to the citizens of san francisco and not recommend sonia for reappointment. >> supervisor safai: thank you. next speaker. >> good afternoon, chair safai and supervisors stefani and yee. my name is carol ito. i have known sonia from the mid 70's probably longer than anybody in this year. we really cut our teeth in terms of becoming community advocates and social workers in the field back in the day and attended san francisco state graduate school together as well. i'm supporting sonia's reappointment for a simple reason. number one we need to thank her along with the other commissioners who have had a very difficult four years or more working and trying to balance what the community demands of them and what is
workable with the police department and staff. i really feel that sonia's experience over the last almost 30 years here both as an executive director, starting on behalf of women who have been abused and children who have been neglected she provides the kind of experience to balance those decisions. i hear what some of the community members have said about tasers. this is an issue that sonia and i had deep discussions because i didn't agree with taser implementation at the time brought up with this commission. i had the privilege of talking to chief scott about this, because i supported the chief and commission's movement for the major policy changes in terms of force, the force regulations and the implementation of all the changes and to integrate the tasers in a timely fashion, which i think some of the delay will accommodate those kind of realities and remember the
commission voted. there was only one negative vote against the tasers, so in terms it's not just sonia's decision that made this happen. >> supervisor safai: thank you, ms. ito. next speaker? she has always been part of the community in representing, not only by being a woman that does what she says and says what she means but also the fact as an advocate for diversity for a woman it is something that we need to have, we have a lot of mistrust in the police force
and by having a person who understands how it works, understands the needs of the community, it's important to have someone like that. ask you to support the reappointment of ms. sonia melara. thank you. >> supervisor safai: thank you, next speaker. >> good afternoon supervisors my name is alice gomez, retired city worker for 30 years. my last position human resources of the police department i'm aware of the challenges operationally and from a policy perspective to those who serve san francisco and the police department. i'm here to support commissioner melara's reappointment because while there are many challenges and difficult perspectives we all
confront she is one who demonstrated her commitment to the city and i strongly urge you to support her reappointment to the commission. thank you. >> supervisor safai: thank you. any other members of the public wish to comment on this item? please come forward. just so we could move the meeting along if people could please lineup if they intend to speak on an item. please come forward. >> this lady, this appointment, she says she wouldn't change anything. so she wouldn't change the death of luis gongora, mario woods, imil. she wouldn't change that? she wouldn't change the fact they shot them in the back, she wouldn't change that? you want us to trust the police department but the police department has a codified pattern of violence towards people of color. you could look at it, at its
booking statistics, etc., etc.. downtown san francisco is an open drug den and the police department, they are standing on the corner, almost like watching this happen. the homeless sweeps, the police are being violent toward the homeless slashing them in the back. where does she stand? does she even care? this taser meeting, they violated the sunshine ordinance, the brown acts. now we have a police commission that is going to violate the law and they are supposed to hold law enforcement accountable. i mean, why would you endorse someone who would violate the law just so that some people believe this taser initiative is a bribe regarding alex nieto trial for them doctoring the taser time shootings.
so we need -- this just doesn't work. we need this taser situation, it's disproportionately going to raise the deaths by the police department and disproportionately raise violence by the police. the police department, they have no trust. we can't trust them. >> supervisor safai: thank you, sir. any other members of the comment wish to comment? [applause] >> supervisor safai: i wish to remind members if you wish to support members, please use this, we don't have an audible support. any other public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. commissioner yee?
>> supervisor yee: ms. melara, where is she? come on up. i just wanted to give you an opportunity to respond. i heard several people talk about their observations of you not being, i guess, or being rude and disrespectful to certain people. and that's disturbing for me to hear more than one person say that. i just want to give you the opportunity to respond to that. >> obviously the other side is not here. we were participating in the meetings. one of the things we were doing, we did, is we called a group of stakeholders in the community that was big and that was ruled by the sunshine ordinance in the same way all meetings are held. so comments were limited from the public.
so we couldn't, when people started talking and they went over their time, they were asked to stop. and so they didn't like that. the other piece and i heard it here is the fact that the purpose of the task force, the purpose of the task force was to develop a policy for tasers. several members of the stakeholders group asked from the beginning they should not be talking bay policy. about a policy. they asked to have or not to have tasers. and i continuously said the purpose of the group was to develop a policy in case the commission decided to move forward with that policy. and it was only the commission's choice in vote that would say yes or no to tasers. because we didn't want to do it backwards. we didn't want to say taser yes
or no without an explicit policy that outlined all of the concerns of the community and if you you look at the policy right now, the way that it is written, it includes all of the input from the community in those stakeholder mealdings. -- meetings. including the things that i felt was important to include. >> supervisor yee: so the other part of those comments were how you, i don't know the exact word but how you were rude to certain commissioners. >> i think the reference was to commissioner hing. commissioner hing was asked to join the committee and half passed through the committees we were having. one of the things we had done
at the beginning of the task force, we developed a time line by which we were going to produce a policy. when he came on he started asking questions as to why we were not having any more meetings. and we did extend it, we extended it to more meetings but i had to tell him that wasn't something we could do for a long time. so the fact was that we did have more than the meetings we had planned to have. in fact, one of the things i was called for was testimonies by experts in the community. yes, summer marion asked for that and one of the things proposed instead of just the stakeholders having those experts testimony that it be brought before the commission. that's something we didn't plan but we still have, so we brought all the stakeholders
before the commission for the entire commission to hear their testimony. if he felt he was being undermined or, i don't know, i can't, i tried to talk to commissioner hing a couple of times. he didn't say much. >> supervisor yee: thank you. >> supervisor safai: supervisor stefani. >> supervisor stefani: commissioner, just a few questions. did you read the assessment of the san francisco police department by the department of justice, the findings released in october 2016. >> correct. >> supervisor stefani: with regard to the tasers, you know, they mentioned you formed the taser working group. are you familiar with recommendations 16.1 and 16.2? >> yes. >> supervisor stefani: so 16.1 states, these are the recommendations from the
department of justice, correct. it says working with all key stakeholders and community members, the s.f.p.d. and commission should make an informed decision based on expectations sentiment and information from top experts in the country, correct? >> yes. >> supervisor stefani: what did you take that to mean? >> that meant we come together and discuss what would be the rules and regulations that could be in a policy and of course it would be done with the help of experts in the community. and we have those experts come to us. >> supervisor stefani: is that what prompted you to form the taser working group? >> no. we formed the working group first. >> supervisor stefani: before the d.o.j. recommendation? >> no, i'm sorry. the d.o.j. recommendations lead to that. >> supervisor stefani: right, okay, that's what i was asking. so recommendation 16.2 states
the city and county of san francisco should strongly consider employing i.c.w.'s, correct. >> correct. >> supervisor stefani: what did you take that to mean? >> that we should strongly take it on. several felt that a policy needed it be worked on in order for us to strongly consider that. >> supervisor stefani: and did you explore at any time why the d.o.j. might make such a suggestion why tasers should be -- >> it's been proven around the country that has decreased gun involved shootings. >> supervisor stefani: it's a less-lethal opportunity. >> it's a less-lethal alternative as well. >> supervisor safai: i have a question on the concept of meet and confer. i think members of the public
have been hearing about that over the course of the last six months and there's been some on the commission that have felt certain things should fall under meet and confer with the police officer association and others did not. >> it's a rule in the city to have working conditions of its workers, no matter which union to have a meet-and-confer process. therefore in every instance we pass a policy of the commission where it involves working conditions we must meet and confer per city policy. >> supervisor safai: the city attorney is the one who would
direct you, or not direct you, it's not a decision left up to the commission as part of the collective bargaining decision. >> correct, yes. >> supervisor safai: i don't have any other questions right now. any other commissioners? does someone want to make a motion? or any other comments? supervisor stefani? >> supervisor stefani: yes, at this time i would like to thank the commissioner for her service and move this forward with recommendation to the full board, with positive recommendation and amending the motion to remove the rejecting language. >> supervisor safai: could we do that without objection?
>> i'm a little bit hesitant because of what i heard today. >> supervisor safai: okay. i will support the motion but with the understanding if i hear more stuff like today i may change my mind. >> supervisor safai: okay, so there's a motion on the floor to approve the mayor's nomination for reappointment, sonia melara to the police commission for term ending april 30th, 2022. and i think we could do that without objection? >> yes. >> supervisor safai: okay, great. so moved. before we move to the next item, i would just like to say i think what commissioner melara, i think what commissioner yee has highlighted and we heard, i think you should be prepared, there will probably be more
questions of that. i do also want to say i've known you for some time. i think the work you bring and the background you bring is a different perspective than many people have on the police commission. there are going to be very hard disagreements on tough matters and not everyone is always going to agree but i think the perspective is one you bring that is important for this commission. but i would take heavily the comments and be prepared as we move this process forward. but congratulations. please call the next item. >> item 2 is a motion approving or rejecting the mayor's nomination for the reappointment of joseph marshall to the police commission for a term ending april 30th, 2022. >> supervisor safai: unless there's initial comments by colleagues, mr. marshal could you come forward and address the committee? >> good afternoon, supervisors. i'll be very brief with my
opening statement. it's very simple. i served on the police commission for quite a while. folks have really asked me point blank why do you want to do this again. that is because we are in the process of a number of reforms at the san francisco police department. those reforms take time. changing a culture takes time. i want to see it through. it's very simple as that. my own personal background is i work with young people, i have for all my young life and adult life. as a teacher and administrator in the san francisco unified school district and running my own youth organization, alive
and free, boys and girls club. i do a community radio program. the two things i'm most interested in and doing something about is community violence and police violence. my young people do intersect with police. there is a huge change afoot in the nation around policing. and san francisco has been singled out by the d.o.j. as an organization that can be the model for police accountability and reform. i could outline again if you would like. in particular the next frontier for us is bias. that's one of the recommendations of the d.o.j.
and we in fact, i am the commission person appointed to bias. we have started in the academy with making changes around addressing implicit and explicit bias during the process of putting out. for all those reasons and let me add one other, i love our police chief bill scott. i was certainly one of the commissioners who recommended him to be our police chief and i want to support the efforts he is putting into this department. so i know that i teach my young people if you want things to change, change begins with you. in this case i got to see the change through as far as i could see it.
i want to make sure as best i can to make sure it continues to happen. very simple. thank you. >> supervisor safai: great, thank you. any commissioners have any questions? supervisor stefani? >> supervisor stefani: thank you. it was great to meet with you, it was i really enjoyed our discussion on this issue as i said to commissioner melara in my question before, you and i discussed the feeling in the community that we hear about, that we are hearing about in this room, how do you see that getting better? what can we do, we talked about bias.
how do we begin that, what's hard to see is the demonization of people who disagree with one another, it's not that i disagree on i certain set of facts what i bring to the table, it's people think that you are, they take it to such an inth degree, you must be a horrible person if you disagree. it's very problematic on a topic that is very important to the health of the city and how we treat each other and interact. on the police commission, it's an important job, obviously. i would just like to know how you think we could start to build those bridges and mend
it's been working very, very hard to close that gap. i talk about this all the time about how they feel about the police. bias training is important. this is a whole different frontier these will be worked on. actually there ray lot of things, the body cam ras will make a big difference. c.i.t. officers, all those things have really helped. one of the hard things when things don't happen is when you don't hear anything. i could bring in a number of people they are beginning to be different. having said that, it takes a long time to change a culture. trying to change the culture of the violence in the community. that takes a long time to do. i think as we move forward
heard a lot of things about individual encounters with police officers that have been rewarding. we have been pushing them forward. from my perspective hasn't been open, wants to do that, they already instituted a number of things in the academy and training and even with the d.o.j. recommendations in making those things happen. again it's not finished, it's not complete and here is the toughest thing. any time something happens somewhere else. i do feel the department is moving forward doing a better job but we need to continue to push them in that direction.
collaborative effort, the spirit you put this forward in. as we move forward with every other d.o.j., i think it makes sense, i am fine with it, i think it's a great idea. i mean that, i do. >> supervisor yee: would you like to serve on the task force? >> i'm not going to say no, i'm not going to say yes. i hope that doesn't affect your vote. bias is something i'm working on. we will see. that's my honest answer also. >> supervisor yee: at least i appreciate your honesty. >> thank you. >> supervisor safai: commissioner marshall, i think your background not being an attorney but rather someone that comes as a community organizer, someone who has been out a youth mentor and the work
you have done with the youth i think that's a very, very important perspective. how it has influenced your decision making on the commission and the decision making of your colleagues. >> when i was first asked to be on the commission, i cannot represent anything as an adult that i teach my young people something different.
even discourse. it's nothing like some of the things i've seen happen. i don't think anything could be accomplished that way. and so that's my own up bringing as a black man knowing all the things i know about society and the police and trying to produce as much harmony as i can between the police and community is what has driven me all along. incrementally i see us doing that. i have police officers come through and work with my young people all the time.
my work with young people has driven me to do and community violence and police violence are the things i want to do the best things to eliminate and they intersect. >> supervisor safai: what would you say your number one priority for continuing your work on the commission. i know you said some of that in your opening remarks but what would be the top priority? >> for me personally is something, that's the next level. there's so much latitude at a particular stop, he could go this way and that way, say hello and give you a ticket. all of this latitude or her latitude at that particular point and even though people
have bias, you want to get them in touch with those biass, so it doesn't affect their decision making. in those cases the biases are affecting their decision making. that's something we have to drill down on in addition to everything else we are doing. the other thing i would like to work on, we have got to do something about the number of shots officers are firing. i can't get my arms around that, the lay person like myself don't get how many shots fired when 2-3 shots come from someone else, the number volume. if we have any other questions we will call you up. >> supervisor safai: any other members of the public would like to come up, please come on
up and anyone else please line up so we could move the meeting forward. >> mr. davis, i oppose the commissioner's reappointment for pretty much the same reasons i oppose commissioner melara, so just putting it out there, i don't want to read a whole statement so don't reappointment him, thank you. >> supervisor safai: next speaker? >> i'm karen fleshman from san franciscans for police accountability and i also speak in opposition to the reappointment of dr. marshal to the police commission. like dr. marshal i come from a background of youth development and community organizing. i am an attorney and nationally recognized expert on racism and unconscious bias. i serve on the working group with commissioner marshal. i urge you not to reappointment him because he served in his position since 2004 under his
tenure sfpd has been rogue and ranked 8th nationally in per capita officer involved shootings. two unrelated investigations show the depth of bias at sfpd. where has dr. marshall been? when i asked at the work group if the officers had been disciplined he told me he didn't know. i urge you also to learn more about bias and about the law. bias is not a disagreement or calling or demonizing someone because they have different beliefs. it's scientifically proven we have deep-seated stereotypes that drive our behaviors