Does SF need a contingency plan?

Mayor Lee says it's enough for us to be "resilient."

Mayor Ed Lee said today that he’s not formulating any specific plans for how to respond across the board to the impacts President Trump will have on San Francisco.

“We’re just going to have to be resilient,” he told reporters after “Question Time” at the Board of Supes.

The mayor vows to defend Sanctuary City -- but what's the plan?
The mayor vows to defend Sanctuary City — but what’s the plan?

Lee said repeatedly that he would protect SF’s Sanctuary City policies, but I don’t think anybody knows exactly what we will be facing. What happens if federal agents show up with a subpoena signed be a federal judge demanding access to all records of city identification cards, which are issued to people who can’t get a traditional ID?

“If they ask, we will say no,” Lee said.

What happens if Trump cuts off more than $400 million in federal funding to San Francisco? “We will continue to fund the things that we can,” he said.

At the board meeting, he called on the supes to help him find savings and possible new revenue sources.

If the new administration tries to cut off funding for public housing, Lee hinted there might be a legal challenge.

But he suggested that my scenario – federal agents targeting San Francisco, a symbol of all the Trump dislikes, for large-scale raids and deportations was a bit of a stretch.

Maybe so. Maybe the Trump rhetoric is overblown, and when he finally gets into office, he will back off. Already, he’s saying that he will first go after the “criminals” who lack documentation.

But does that mean he will send agents into the Sheriff’s Office to demand access to every inmate in the county jails to check their immigration status? How will the city respond?

A “unity rally” Monday was nice, and his comments to the supes about the need for us all to work together is nice, but isn’t it a good idea at this point to develop a serious contingency plan?

Isn’t it better to be prepared for the worst – especially when we know there’s a good chance it will happen?


  1. If a Court issues a subpoena and another Court doesn’t quash it, those who don’t comply go to jail. It’s all well and good to say “we won’t comply” but, when push comes to shove, do you really think anyone on our current BOS will go to jail? That said, immigration enforcement is the Federal government’s job and it’s unlikely any court would force a state or city to do something that is specifically enumerated in the constitution as a Federal task.

    Why does everything always have to be so black and white, though? IMO, if someone is a violent felon and they are here illegally we SHOULD cooperate because getting rid of that person makes our city safer. If someone was brought here when they were two and isn’t causing any problems, then we shouldn’t.

  2. The concern is how the efforts on homeless shelters, housing, and needed infrastructure is affected. The mayor cannot dip into a magical reserve to solve the financial possible loss, he needs to look squarely at the industrial complex be it AirBnB, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, and all the other institutional and development and secure taxation for the essential services and improvements needed in transit, housing, and open space.

  3. Trump seems to like to lead with excessive force. Thus, the threat of lawsuits to all the women that came forward in response to the ‘Billy’ bus video.

    Making things extremely difficult for SF might be just the way to sway other locales from resisting too vocally.

    Squeezing the budget … yeah … I can just see employees taking a 10% pay cut … (excepting those about to retire, of course)

  4. Thank you for seconding the idea to develop contingency plans. While Trump cannot sequester discretionary funding by executive fiat, he appoints the next OMB Director which makes decisions on sequestration in collaboration with the Congressional “super-committee” of 12, a Congress that will be Republican controlled in 2 months.

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