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City HallThe AgendaSupes face key affordable housing vote

Supes face key affordable housing vote

Plus: more taxpayer dollars for bad cops, and 248 people locked up beyond the legal time for a speedy trial because SF courts are lagging ... that's The Agenda for Nov. 29-Dec. 5

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The full Board of Supes will have a chance Tuesday/30 to push for more immediate spending on affordable housing—or side with Mayor London Breed, who wants to prevent the effort.

At this point, seven supervisors have signed on to back a measure by Sup. Dean Preston that would allocate $64 million to buy and build new non-market social housing.

But Breed has been organizing to defeat the proposal, and she will almost certainly veto it. That means the supporters will need one more vote.

Sup. Ahsha Safai voted for the measure in committee, but is not a co-sponsor. The two other supes most likely to be an eighth vote, Rafael Mandelman and Myrna Melgar, told me they remained undecided last week. Melgar was the only supervisor to join Breed’s Office in a meeting with affordable housers that in part sought to convince them not to back the measure.

Mandelman was at a rally just two weeks ago, arguing that the city needs to buy more apartment buildings so they don’t go to speculators who evict the tenants.

Sup. Rafael Mandelman speaks out against speculative evictions. He could be a swing vote on a measure to allocate more money to take housing out of the market.

It’s going to be one of the more dramatic housing votes of the year, and will reflect the political alignment of the board. The meeting starts at 2pm.

The San Francisco Police Department continues to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in legal settlements for wrongful conduct by officers. The latest: The Government Audit and Oversight Committee will consider Thursday/2 settling for $2.5 million a lawsuit by the family of Keita O’Neil, an unarmed Black man shot and killed by a cop who is now facing criminal charges.

The officer, Christopher Samayoa, had been on the job only four days when he fired the fatal round. The family’s lawsuit says that the older officer who was in the car with him should have done more to prevent the shooting.

It’s likely that the supes will go along with the settlement, and more millions of dollars will go out the door because of killer cops.

That committee will also hold a hearing on the backup at the city’s criminal courts, where, according to board documents, 248 defendants are in custody in the SF jail and have been held well beyond the legal statue for a trial.

Including people who are out on bail, there are 437 felony cases that are pending well beyond the statutory time frame.

As a proposed resolution by Sup. Hillary Ronen notes:

Allowing a person to be caged for an extended period of time when they have not been convicted of a crime is contradictory to one of our nation’s most basic rights and principles—that a person is innocent unless and until the government proves the case against them beyond a reasonable doubt.

Once the legal statute for a “speedy trial” (in felony cases, 60 days unless the defendant waives time) the case is supposed to be dismissed.

All of that changed under COVID, of course, when the courts were closed.

But courtrooms should now be re-opening, along with schools and City Hall and many other businesses and institutions, Ronen says—but while civil cases (including evictions) are going forward, criminal cases still lag:

The Court has 37 departments at the Civic Center Courthouse, almost all of which are currently being used for civil trials as opposed to criminal.

So are misdemeanor cases where the defendant is not locked up:

In April 2021, the Court began sending out-of-custody misdemeanor cases to the Civic Center Courthouse while in-custody felony defendants remained in jail only to have their cases continued again and again by the Court.

Public Defender Mano Raju has sued the Superior Court for its failure to hold timely trials.

Meanwhile, of course, the rightwingosphere is attacking District Attorney Chesa Boudin for not prosecuting enough people—when the court won’t hold enough criminal trials.

Ronen wants to hear from the courts, the DA, and the public defender.

That meeting starts at 10am.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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