tv Government Access Programming SFGTV July 22, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PDT
seated to my right is vice-chair shamann walton, and seated to my left is rules committee member gordon mar. our clerk today is victor young. and i would like to thank the staff for staffing this meeting. >> clerk: please make sure to silence all cellphones and electronic devices. completed copies of any documents to be included as part of the file should be submitted items acted upon today will appear on the july 30 supervisor's agenda unless otherwise stated. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. can you read item number 1. >> clerk: item number 1 the to the clerk. motion approving/rejecting the mayoral nomination for the appointment of eduardo santacana to the board of appeals, for a >> chair ronen: thank you so much. mr. santacana, come on up.
>> thank you for the opportunity to be here today. i am honoured to be nochl nateded to serve as a commissioner on the board of appeals. i would like to start by thanking the mayor for nominating me, executive julie rosenburg and commissioners rig swig, daryl honda and racism tanner for speak being to me about the board's work. i've been a resident of san francisco for nine years. i live with my wife, my 1-year-old daughter and my mother-in-law in the inner park side neighbourhood. for the past four years i've worked as a trial lawyer in jackson square. before that i had the privilege to serve as a law clerk for judge john tiger here in san francisco in the federal district court. in my work i litigate a wide
variety of cases, mostly commercial disputes and intellectual property disputes to provide you a recent example of what i do that i'm particularly proud of, i respected the oakland alamena council authority in an arbitration against the golden state warriors arising out of the 1996 renovation of the oracle arena in oakland. when the team decided to leave oakland for san francisco, they sued the coliseum authority because they argued their lease entitled them to skip out on $50 million of public debt that renovated the arena for them to play there. my trial team successfully persuade the arbitrator that they would have to pay that public debt even if they left which was a significant victory for the taxpayers of alamena and oakland. i'm also proud of my commitment to a for pro bono work.
i am helping migrants seeking asylum or other forms of immigration relief here in the bay area. i also helped spearhead our challenge to president trump's travel ban along with my colleague who is here supporting me as well. in addition i serve as a board member and prochair for the committee of the bay area chapter of the constitution society, which is a network of progressive lawyers in the bay area that gather at events and panels to discuss relevant issues at local and national committees. i am thrilled to be nominated to the board of appeals. my interest comes from a sense that i could do more in this community and in particular through public service. i'm aware that the board has often has lawyers on it, but that currently there isn't a commissioner with that set of skills. so my hope is that i can contribute in this unique way to the work of the wonderful
commissioners who currently serve on the board are already doing. as a law clerk on the d.c. circuit, i had the privilege of doing work similar to the work of the board of appeals. in particular the d.c. circuit hears many administrative appeals for federal agencies and decides whether those agencies have followed federal law. while i was at the d.c. circuit, i learned the skill set required to study new cases in technical areas of the law and in complicated industries and those skills, as i see them, include ensuring that all parties feel heard, preparing diligently for each case, working to find an impartial and fair solution that serves the ends of justice and the policies enacted by the legislature, and providing consistent guidance to the community so that agencies can act predictably and fairly, not only in the cases that are appealed, but in the many cases not appealed. these are the skills i've developed and honed over several years and i think i can apply them readily and well to the
board's work. i'm also aware that the board's work involves very emotional disputes, disputes where commissioners must hear neighbours who have disagreements with their own neighbours, disagreements with the way the iis being run, and they are all running for the board's consideration and the board's task is to remain impartial and fair while also remaining to the laws it is charging. as a lawyer helping two different judges perform this task, i can attest to the challenge of threading that needle. i think i'm well-suited to the task of exercising independent judgment in these types of cases, while hopefully making sure that even though there must be winners and losers, everybody believes they have a fair opportunity to be heard and their city is working for them. thank you and i'm happy to answer any questions you may have. >> chair ronen: thank you so
much. i just say you're absolutely unbelievably qualified for this position. >> thank you, madam chair. >> chair ronen: and i appreciate your willingness to serve in this capacity. colleagues, do you have any questions? no. i'm going to open this item up for public comment. if any member of the public would like to come forward now is your time. >> good morning, esteemed supervisors. i'm rick swig and the board of supervisors appointee as the commissioner to the board of appeals, and i currently serve as president of the board of appeals. eduardo has been very diligent in investigating what his responsibilities would be with the board of appeals. you know, we serve many masters, we serve those who appeal, those who are the permit holders and of course we serve the city and its departments to make sure as a quasi judicial body we make
the best decisions possible. in speaking with him, he was very clear on that subject and he's taken the time to come to our meetings. he's taken the time to interview my fellow commissioners. we are all very, very comfortable with the opportunity of him joining us on the board of appeals and i hope you feel equally. as he mentioned, we are not only lacking a commissioner, but we are also lacking a commissioner with specific legal skills and he would be very, very helpful in filling out the skill base that we require to do our job. so i hope that you find positively with regard to his appointment. thank you very much. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. next speaker, please. and if anybody would like to speak on this item and if you can line up over to your right, my left, that would be great.
thank you. good morning. >> good morning, i'm john kecker. i started the law firm where eduardo works and i'm here to vouch for him, but first i've got to say i'm so thrilled to be here because in 1977, i ran for supervisor the first time they had district elections, diane finestein won and i lost in district 3. harvey milk won in district 5 -- those days -- i got more votes than the democratic club and harvey milked it because in those days there were a lot of feuds unlike now. anyway, it's great to be here. i worked with eduardo santacana in various contexts. i worked with him on the alameda county case that he talked about that he was instrumental in
winning and saving oakland $50 million. i worked with him on the pro bono cases he didn't mention, he's been an absolutely sensational lawyer. to be a good lawyer, you have to be a good man. he is a good man filled with integrity and judgment and we're lucky to have him. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. next speaker. >> when you get this job, i'd like to see you pay attention to the most vulnerable people who are in the city and county of san francisco and the area. i'd like to see you start off with the people not included and inclusionary ordinance that's been voted for by the people in san francisco, but every time there is a housing opportunity the most vulnerable people are not included. every time the city claims that
it's 100% affordable housing, the only people that can afford it is the people in high income brackets. a lot of these appointments that come out, the lowest income that's accepted for a person to put in an application is like about 80, $90,000 a year. if you are who you say you are, that is a violation of constitutional law pertaining to the 14th amendment, due process and equal protection under the law. that's not equal protection under the law, providing housing opportunities for only people in high income brackets and as far as people in income brackets that's below the target, as far as being acceptable and eligible to put an application in for the housing opportunity out of the mayor's office on housing where you claim you are an equal opportunity housing organization is disgusting. that's called discrimination. that's why you've got a minimum of 8,011 people out in frisk and
it turns out on a review that it says 30% more than that. there is a total of 2,000 people in san francisco and it's because of this price fixing and price gouging. i want to put a strong emphasis on it. you represent that people economically disadvantaged as a pro bono, i do some work for several years myself. so if you get nominated and i think you will, i'd like to see you focus in on that. can you promise me that? all right. [ bell rings ]. >> chair ronen: thank you, mr. wright. next speaker, please. >> good morning and thank you. my name is simona amaluchi. i am a partner at the kecker law firm. i've known eduardo for four years when he started working at the firm. i remember thinking this guy is going to be a star and he has absolutely proven that correct.
over the past four years, eduardo and i have had the opportunity to work closely together on various large matters, and i'm also his official mentor at the firm. so over time, we've had conversations about professional goals, about the purpose of our jobs, about life, about being working parents, and i feel that i've really gotten to know him, not just as a lawyer, but as a human being. the thing that strikes me the most about eduardo is his deep sense of commitment to justice and his ethics. he's a terrific lawyer and anyone who meets him will know that, but what sets him apart is that he cares about justice, truth, and serving the underprivileged. and as a result of that, he's devoted a large amount of time to pro bono cases, some of which i've worked with him on. just last week, we've got news
that one of eduardo's pro bono clients an unaccompanied minor from el salvador called oscar got his papers after fleeing death threats from ms 13 because he refused to join the gangs and they put a literally death order on him and he ran for his life and eduardo saved him. now, when one of my friend's nannies needed help because she too had a sister who was fleeing fers persecution, eduardo stepped-up to the plate and took her asylum case and he's representing her now. it's not just our paying clients that he devotes his time to, it's the people who are the most vulnerable in society. eduardo understands -- [ bell rings ]. >> chair ronen: thank you. thank you. thank you so much. next speaker, please. >> good morning, supervisor ronen, fellow supervisors. my name is maxwell pritt.
i am here this morning as the chair of the bay area lawyer chapter of the american constitution society. in that capacity, i have known eduardo since 2012, and for everyone who doesn't know what the american constitution society is, we are a group of a progressive lawyers that believe the law should be used to improve the lives of all people. we believe in genuine equality. we believe in meaningful access to justice. we believe that transparency and truth are the enemy of tyranny and that it is the life blood of democracy. i believe that eduardo, having known him since 2012 in this volunteer capacity, will work to achieve these things for the city of san francisco and the people of san francisco in this capacity. so you know, he has been a member of the board -- the lawyer chapter board since 2012. the board is comprised of about
20 to 30 lawyers from the attorney general's office, the doj, from private practice, from city office, every aspect of progressive lawyering in the bay area. we also have an advisory board that includes individuals like city attorney dennis rara, our good friend and dear friend who passed away jeff adachy as well and many others. [ bell rings ]. >> eduardo has not just been a member of the board. he has taken an active role in one of the most difficult things for our board, which is programming chair, and which he has served in that capacity since 2006. we put on roughly two dozen programs every year, and this year under eduardo's leadership we received a programming award from the national office of the american constitution society at our national convention in washington, d.c. so i just
wanted -- [ bell rings ]. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. next speaker, please. >> good morning, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. my name is jay rappaport and i am an associate at eduardo's law firm. as mr. santacana's colleague, i would like to echo what the other speakers have said about his skill, integrity to pro bono service. as his colleague we see that every day and everyone at his firm shares great pride in his nomination. i feel an added pride because mr. santacana is not just a co-worker but has been my friend and classmate for well over a decade. if you told me when we met as law students long ago that he would have received this honour, i wouldn't have batted an eye. his passion and commitment to public service are readily apparent when you meet him. if there's one instance that exemplifies that spirit, it's
his leadership to join our effort to fight the travel ban. mr. santacana mentioned our efforts to fight that in court, but what he didn't mention he was on the ground at sfo within hours of the travel ban coming down. he was there to bring his skills to bear, not because he thought it was glamorous or would help his career, but the great needs of those in need demanded it and that's the kind of person he is. those values are in the best tradition of the bar, of course, and they're ones i would hope to see in any public servant. of course for my perspective mr. santacana would not be just any public servant. for many years i've benefitted -- [ bell rings ]. >> and his unassailable values. whenever i have a problem, whether it's legal or personal, he's the first person i would turn to. i can say from experience that our city would benefit tremendously from his talents. i'm proud as a colleague and friend to support his nomination
and i promise you, you won't regret his nomination. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. is there any other member of the public who would like to speak on this item? seeing none, public comment is closed. again, mr. santacana, thank you so much for your willingness to serve in this capacity. it's a very important undertaking and it seems like you do a lot of volunteer work and all of that work you do is so much integrity and passion and we're really appreciative that you're going to bring your talents to the city of san francisco. does anyone want to make a motion? >> i would like to make a motion of amending item 1, removing approving/rejecting -- >> chair ronen: without objection, that motion passings unanimously. thank you so much. mr. clerk, can you please read
item number 2. >> clerk: item number 2 is term ending july 1, 2020. (clerk of the board) is a hearing to consider appointing three members terms ending november 30, 2020. >> chair ronen: i would like to give time if you would like to speak about your appointments. >> good morning, i'm betty packard. i came to san francisco in 1982. i had my first newspaper job in 1953, and served -- >> chair ronen: you look very young. >> i was. i was in high school, as a matter of fact. and served as a newspaper reporter on four different newspapers, one in franklin indiana, two in indianapolis. then i married, had two children. my husband was killed. i went back to school, got some
more education and was a director of high school journalism at the largest high school in indiana. then i became an adjunct professor at bal state for weekend education. 15 years i raised my children in indiana and then suddenly i found this great guy and married and one day he said we're moving, and i didn't understand why but he was a career army officer. so we arrived here -- i arrived here as a result of the united states army in 1982. we served at the presidio. when he retired in '87, we decided maybe we would like to stay. i had been serving on the california abortion rights league board and doing president of the california press women and doing some work here and head of the high school journalism contest for both san francisco and california. so i was already pretty much involved in the work when i
received a call and said from the california broadcasters association that they needed a representative for the ballot simplification committee. this was 1997. and i said, oh, i just don't have the time to do that. they said, it's just a two-week commitment. will you please come for the two weeks and do this commitment because we really need a quorum for this very vital committee. and i thought, well, sure, i can do that. i showed up. the room was packed. the hallway was packed and i thought i'd never done this before. i thought what are all these people doing here for my appointment and it was the cross at mount davidson. so i learned a little humbleness at the moment. but yes, that was 1997. here i am 22 years later. this is the 12th time i've appeared before this committee. i now represent the national academy of television arts and
sciences because the california broadcasters association joined forces with them. so i have chaired the committee since 2004. i am very proud of the job we do. i am a constituent of supervisor walton, but he will never see me at any political meeting because it's one of the things i do as chair of this committee, i never attend a political meeting. i never want anybody to have the privilege of saying i'm biased or i'm walking into something with a bias. i work very hard to keep the committee on a very straight and narrow chair that -- so that we hear everybody. i know, i think it was chris daily who used to be we are the epitome of democracy and would say go here to betty's committee because they are democracy in action, and i'm proud of the fact that's been our reputation
over the years. for the moment we have been operating at a real disadvantage because the school board has failed to highlight and put forth a nomination. so instead of five people, we've only had four, and it -- and we're going to come through this session with only three because mr. patterson is travelling and cannot be here for this session. but the fact that we're going to have a huge session for november, i'm happy to have him back. but i'm very proud of our group. one of the things i've learned to do is go out also and speak to public groups before the election and talk about the need to get out to vote, try to explain the ballot, try to explain why we have a ballot simplification committee, in fact, what a ballot simplification committee is, because a lot of people don't -- [ bell rings ]. >> they not only don't know, but don't appreciate it.
i ask not only do you approve myself and i'll let ashley take the floor here in a minute, but that you also approve scott. he's a valuable member of the committee too and you don't need to come back to hear him again so that he can come back in november and meet with us. so i'm very proud of the work that we do and the work that i've done. [ bell rings ]. >> i hope you move us forward. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. we're getting in touch with the school board to make sure they make their nomination. [ laughter ]. >> they used to answer -- >> chair ronen: we're on it. >> my name is ashley raveche. i thank this committee to listen to my application for reappointment to the ballot simplification committee. i served last term.
a little bit about me. i am up for the league of women voter's seat, so the ballot simplification committee is a league legacy. we are the champions that brought this committee to san francisco government as a transparency and accountability measure as well as to streamline election electio elections so that citizens didn't need a law degree in order to vote. so often it is a thorn in the legislators' side. i want to say we are a partner in this work and that we really do appreciate and understand the nuances of what you've prepared for us to dismantle and digest into an eighth-grade reading level. so it's really -- i'm happy to participate on this committee again if you approve my nomination and i'm happy to work with every board supervisor who's bringing a ballot measure before us. a little bit about how i became a part of this is that i served
three years as the league of women voters president for san francisco, where we do community engagement, advocacy, voting rights work. currently i'm a mom, i have a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old, as well as doing community engagement at the state level and doing human rights lobby work for aca 6 which is a free to vote, as well as reforming -- yeah, there's a rally out front. it wasn't planned, but you will see the work we're doing. also reforming use of work in the state. so we're getting a bill on the govern's desk and he's ready to sign. it was exciting because we utilized san francisco as a model for use of reforms in the state. i won't take up any of your time.
i'm welcome to questions. thank you. yes, please hopefully consider scott patterson as well as betty packard for the reappointment. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. if any member of the public would like to speak on this item, now is your chance. seeing none, public comment is closed. i wanted to thank you both for this crucial job. it is one of the least-known, most-powerful committees that we have in the city and county in san francisco. for those who are watching or are here who don't know about the ballot simplification committee, when there is an initiative on the ballot or an ornss or a charter amendment, the city attorney prepares the question which could make-or-break basically a measure depending on how you word it, the voters might be
more or less inclined to support or oppose the measure. but it doesn't just stop there. it goes before a public body, the ballot simplification committee, where a group of citizens who are appointed from various interest groups that want to protect our democracy and make sure that it's fair and open, get to sit on the decision-making body to re-write the question if they want to. they are the final arbiters of what the official ballot question is on the ballot, and us as citizens, we get to go and argue one way or the other. what was prepared by the city attorney wasn't answered and here's why. their other job is to make sure that every single thing that's written on the ballot is understandable to someone with an eighth-grade education. so it's just incredibly
important. as some forces in our society are trying to weaken our society, this ballot simplification committee is strengthened. i would like to thank you for your work. >> i would just echo all of chair ronen's comments about the importance of the -- this committee, and also thank you so much to ms. packard and ms ms. raveche for all of your commitment and to serve on the committee and the city. i would like to make a motion to move this forward to the full board with positive recommendation. the appointment of scott patterson to seat 1, betty packard to seat 2 and ashley raveche to seat 3 as the committee report for consideration at the july 23rd board meeting. >> chair ronen: and without objection, that motion passes unanimously. congratulations and thank you so
much. mr. clerk, can you please read item number 3. >> clerk: item number 3 is a rules and regulations supporting assembly constitutional amendment no. 6 to allow automatic restoration for voting rights to those on parole upon completion of a state or federal prison term. >> chair ronen: thank you so much. the sponsor has joined us. >> thank you so much, chair ronen and supervisors mar and walton for having me here today and thank you to all the community members who are here who just joined us moments ago for a rally on the steps of city hall in support of aca 6. the free the vote act will give california voters on the 2020 ballot, the opportunity to restore voting rights to people on parole upon completion of a prison term. aca 6 is currently on the assembly floor and is expected to be up for a floor vote in the last two weeks of august. once it clears the floor, it
will head to the senate. this resolution is supported by my colleagues walton, mar, brown, mandelman ronen and fewer. it was co-authored by many colleagues as well as our isn't that true senator wiener. i want to give a brief background and turn it over to our experts who have been leading this fight of that. california law permits an individual who is a united states citizen, a resident of california, and at least 18 years of age at the time of the next election to register to vote. it also allows otherwise eligible individuals to pre-register to vote at age 16 or 17. however, an exception to this law is people serving in state or federal prison or on parole for a felony are prohibited from voting. this will amend sections 2 and 4 to restore voting rights to individuals upon the completion
of their prison term. by eliminating an arbitrary barrier to voting, this will align california with 18 other states and washington, d.c., which have restored voting rights on release of prison or have laws in place at all. the ban the box legislation and san francisco's ban the box ordinance help formerly incarcerated people by prohibiting employers from considering any conviction prior to making a job offer. this is a positive step in the right direction, but we have to go further. roughly 50,000 californians are unable to vote as a result of felony disenfranchisement laws. disenfranchising people on parole is marginalizing people in our state and country-wide. this has disprorntly impacted
the voting power of black and brown communities to this day. on the 50,000 people on parole three out of four of those individuals are people of colour. according to the department of corrections and rehabilitation, data shows that in san francisco specifically of the 772 people on parole, 347 of them are black, 117 are hispanic, 202 white, and 106 identify as other. this means that 45% of the people who cannot vote in san francisco because they are on parole are black, even though black residents make up less than 6% of san francisco's overall population. these statistics are consistent with the state's findings that the majority of people on parole are people of colour. many of the 50,000 californians on parole are working, paying taxes and positively contributing to their communities, but are unable to vote at any level. initiate justice conducted a survey in 2018 of more than a thousand people in prison and on parole in california.
86% of those surveyed said that voting would help them feel more connected to their communities. 95% of those surveyed said they want to have a voice in society and elected leadership. our society is stronger when it includes voices of those marginalized. aca-6 is the next step towards ending the legacy of african union disenfranchisement and enjoying the growing freedom to vote. i want to thank the many community advocates here including all of us or none, initiate justice, aclu of california, anti-recidivism coalition, the league of california women voters. white people for black lives, as well as author assembly member kevin mccarty. i also want to thank arc who are
here, san francisco and alameda public defenders office and some staff from my office for all the work on this. with that, i'm going to introduce our subject matter experts who are here. i also have some very small amendments to the resolution, which i'll pass out copies here. they basically just say that there are 18 other states, rather than 14 other states, that have taken similar steps. with that i'm going to turn it over to our subject matter experts who can provide more context and information and who will also be available for follow-up questions. the first person i want to introduce is a -- has been fighting this fight for a long. he will give you these little flyers where it shows all of the steps over many years to get us to this point and all of the
struggles to make sure that we actually have a democracy that includes everybody and is, i think, one of our greatest champions not just for this issue, but one of the most important civil and human rights leaders in the country and long-time friend of mine dorcy young. >> thank you. i've been doing voter registration for over 20 years, and i -- like outside of a narcotic anonymous meeting, in front of the liquor store. some of the stuff that just jumps out at you is the age of which people are normally registering the vote that's on parole or off of parole or have
been convicted of a felony, you get into the area of people registering to vote, 35, 40, 52 years was the oldest person i registered to vote. at a certain point 50,000 is more than just 50,000. that 50,000 carries with it a message that you cannot vote if you've been convicted of a felony. if you want something different to happen with the larger population because right now we only talk about the 50,000 that's on parole, but there is hundreds of thousands of people who don't necessarily feel that they have the right to vote because they've been convicted of a felony. i'd like to drop something else, probably in the middle of this. y'all think that my fight is for democracy just by itself. my fight is to become recognized as a legitimate citizen of this country. so if i don't have the right to vote, i don't know if i'm a citizen. if i don't have the right to sit
on jury, i don't know if i'm a citizen. if i don't have the right to sit in public office or retain a public office, i don't know if i'm a citizen and i don't think that people should be running around the state that don't know that as true when they are. so like -- last year my wife spent doing voter registration and right before she died, barack obama was elected governor. during the course of the evening he was being elected, i asked her: did i squander our time together doing voter
registration will often take you away from the house a lot. she told me she wouldn't have me any other way because she met me doing the work. you know, i'm proud of san francisco. you'll is the first county that banned the box. now we up to about 35 or 36 whole states. san francisco gave us that. we came to san francisco when a lot of issues weren't that -- and you weren't that progressive on either, but i'm proud of san francisco. maybe one day when we have a parade on martin luthur king, you will recognize the work of my homies, secured the right to employment, we continued the fight, secured the right to housing and not to be
discriminated in housing, both public and private that happened in san francisco. so san francisco is an important part of this. so i ask you to actually pass this on and allow the board of the supervisors to vote. something happened this year that i can't ever recall ever happening. last month we ran four-page ads in the sacramento b three times on three sundays. at the bottom of the ad it says something really, really significant. it says that this ad was paid for by incarcerated people. so if this issue was so important, we're acting as fully as we can and, by the way, i'll always want you to remember 537 votes determine the core
election and they actually determine the next two decades of what we did in the middle east where we sacrificed husband and wife and treasure to vote. thank you. >> thank you, darcy. next we have darris siprian also from legal services. >> thank you for having us and thank you for the support. my name is darris siprian and i'm a policy manager for -- just briefly for those who are not familiar with all of us, i just want to say we are a nationally recognized grassroots movement with the goal of uniting and strengthening our voices, visibility, and leadership in our communities and for our communities. so i'm here on behalf of those
voices and we are here in united of aca-6 unlike some of the voices i represent today, i have had the opportunity to vote, however, that opportunity was 33 years ago. i was 18 years old. i can remember the day very vividly. me and my dad went to the poll and past our votes. on our way home he had a look on his face. i had seen this look in the past. it was a look i had seen when i won the spelling bee in fourth grade. a look i got an a in algebra or hit a home run. he was proud of me and he was proud. so i understand that now, but what i didn't understand then is that when my dad was 18 years old, in the 1950s, he faced a different kind of voter suppression. he faced a different -- i don't want to -- like a more violent
jim crow, but make no mistake, it's the same jim crow with this felony disenfranchisement. and that is just another name for voter suppression. it absolutely serves no legitimate law enforcement purpose. it serves no public policy purpose or no public safety purpose. what it does serve is a sign of power and supremacy that derives from a strategy to politically marginalize communities of colour. that's what it serves as. just to make it real quick, according to united states department of justice, parole has three-fold purpose. one, it's to assist people on parole with problems concerning finances, residences. two, it protects people in society to assist incarcerated people by getting them into the community which prevents recidivism. and also parole prevents needless incarceration for those
less likely to residivate. i'm told that i'm a citizen. i have all the burdens and responsibilities of a citizen. i'm a tax-paying citizen, but i don't have the same rights as a citizen. i have no say in what elected representative represents me, our district, nor do i have any say on how mitacs dollars are spent. so i just want to say we are all aware of this country's history. it's marked by successful struggles to expand voting rights for different classes of people, race, gender, class. this is an opportunity to continue to build on that expansion. so we all have an opportunity to send a message to californian citizens across the country that voting is a cornerstone of a democracy and we will not tolerate any type of voter
suppression no matter how you disguise it. so i'm asking this board today to support yes in support of the rules and regulations for aca-6. thank you. >> thank you. next i want to call up brendon woods who is the alameda county public defender. >> good morning, members of the committee. thank you for allowing me to say a few words about this important pieces of legislation that is being considered in sacramento. as you heard, aca-6 will allow the voters to decide whether people on parole should be given the right to vote. as i said earlier in a rally today just to provide some context, 21 countries, 21, currently allow people to vote if you are on parole or if you
are in prison. 21 countries. those countries include spain, switzerland, sweden, germany, and even south africa. south africa. in april of 1999, the constitutional court of south africa declared the universality of the disenfranchisement is important, not only for the nation and democracy to vote for each and every citizen is a badge of personhood. in south africa they literally said every vote counts. in south africa they recognize that people in custody lose their liberty, not to be stripped of other fundamental rights. the number of people who have been stripped of this right has risen dramatically with the rise of mass incarceration. in 1976 there were 1.7 million people disenfranchised. that those to now today 6.1
million. 6.1 million. in 2016 november election, there were 6.1 million citizens who were ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction. for context 4.# 7 million were not incarcerated. 4.7 million were on the streets. due to overincarceration, this has a devastating effect on black and brown communities. black people are four times more likely to be disenfranchised. 1 out of 15 black opposed to 1 in 56 non-black voters. 2 #.2 million black people are banned from voting in this country. aca-6 will address this and it will also increase public safety by welcoming returning citizens.
research conducted on this topic consistently finds that harsher voting restriction laws results in higher rates of recidivism in those states. higher recidivism laws equate to more disenfranchisement. so in 2012 a study posed by uc berkley. if one has no stake in his or her community, then one has little incentive to involve in a social manner in order to avoid punishment. this is important to rehabilitation and reintegration. in a recent study, 76% of parolees said that voting would help them stay out of jail, 76. furthermore, i'm going to end with this, people who are
incarcerated or on parole are uniquely situated to offer solutions on how we can prevent incarceration and promote public safety. voting would give them and allow them to have a voice in important policy decisions. so it is time that we in california stop telling our neighbours they don't belong, stopping telling them they can't participate. let's put that rhetoric to an end. democracy needs everyone. we need to fix this. we need to patch aca-6. we need to free the vote and i urge you to support the resolution. thank you. >> thank you to all three of our experts and to the many experts who i see also in the room here with us today. we can open it up. >> chair ronen: sure. we'll now open this item up for public comment. anyone who would like to speak,
if you could line up on your right this side of the room. mr. wright, would you like to start us off? >> this is very important and by the same response he has numerous demonstrations, demonstrating how it affects people of color, but i want to highlight that everybody here is fair and equal opportunity abrogater and speaking up for the race they're standing up for, but also i want to point out i believe everybody is like me fair and outside the people of colour as well because, see, there are whites too who are in the same type of position as people of colour who don't have the opportunity to vote as well. so all of you who are caucasian nationality white people, when you see us speaking like this,
we're not just speaking up for ourselves, we're speaking up for you too because you're on parole too and you can't vote. this is not a situation where we want differential treatment. we're equal opportunity abrogators, and we want equal protection under the law and due process. don't think we're being biased against you because we're not. getting everybody to think that is the way to be and applies to the housing opportunities here in san francisco and it hasn't been fair. some of you touched spaces on housing while you're talking about the voting situation. all of it is a derivative of each other. [ bell rings ]. >> is that clear? i also want to point out that when you paid your debt to society, you should automatically have a clean slate to begin with. when you get sentenced for that amount of time, that time is completed, that's why you're
released. you've been on parole or probation is just a way to make sure that you don't fall back in the system and the situation where you're behind bars again. [ bell rings ]. >> chair ronen: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i'm very nervous. excuse me. my name is louis hammonds. i'm a member of the united players and i support all or none. i'm a formerly incarcerated inmisstai inmai inmate who is a returning community member. that's something that says to us as a whole that we're stakeholders and we have a moral obligation to make a difference in our community. i also work for the division of parole as a navigator. i help those returning home to navigate their way through the
system to be a success. many restrictions as they were talking about rely on trying to try to help us protect ourselves, make sure we're doing the right things. we have motivation tempered with patience and we're renewed back into the recovery of life. this restriction actually is an opposition to that. it does not promote harmony, productivity, pro-social justice, and so i would say that i have to just speak for myself. there's nothing that i could ever do to repay society for my incarceration or the acts that i've done, so i don't come here to say i've done my time, i deserve that right. it's going to take a lifetime for me to even try to mend those things. but what i do say is as a leader of this community that i ask that we be stakeholders and brought to the table. they say every vote counts -- [ bell rings ]. >> what i here is every life should count. i respectfully request as a son
of a mother who retired with the u.s. army spending 38 years and the father of a son of a police officer in stockton, i say pleased allow us to come to the table as stakeholders and make a difference in our community. thank you very much. >> good morning and greetings to all. i am formerly incarcerated and i represent all of us or none which is a project for prisoners with children. parole serves as a vehicle of re-entry into society in which individuals regain their -- reclaim their full citizenship and which entails the right to pay taxes, the right to vote, and the right to serve on juries. it is my civic duty and responsibility to change the narrative as to who formerly
incarcerated folks are. we are not inmates, convicts, parolees, we are returning citizens. for the record, i am full support of aca-6. thank you. >> good morning, everyone. my name is paul conley. i was born and raised in san francisco, and i know that san francisco has a long history of not absorbing everybody in the population. this is another attempt to ostracise members of the society. the statistics that you provided are troubling that black people are less than 6% of the population, 45% of people on parole in san francisco are black. i'm from a community of color, and it's disappearing, almost every black neighbourhood in san francisco is disappearing. if 46% of people on parole are black, there's no wonder why, we don't have a say so on a local
level, we're losing your property, so much, our freedom and i would like for us to do whatever we can to make sure people from this city can remain in this city and have a voice in this city. >> my name is arian chekova. i am a resident of san francisco since 1992. i'm a public school teacher in san bruno and a parent here in the city. i am a sister of a man who served ten years under minimum sentencing guidelines. this caused our entire family to be imprisoned for those ten years, but it didn't end because there's 20 years -- he is out now at the age of 33 and he's out it now and he's got a 20-year parole sentence in which he cannot vote, he continues to
not be a citizen of this country. during his sentencing, during his imprisonment, my father and mother who were very poor, were unable to get him a good lawyer, therefore the long sentence, overly long, drove across the country. my father died of a heart attack. one could say he died of heart break to go and see his son. he never saw his son again. over the ten years he was imprisoned, my mother lost her job, lost all of her retirement. i spent thousands of dollars bringing myself, my son, my husband, my whole family out to visit my brother between two to three times a year in the south of this country. [ bell rings ]. >> it's a long journey for families. i saw a lot of broken families. i empathized with all the families, all the women, all t