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District 11 Council: City College, Pot Club Cap, Fate of St. Luke’s Hospital on the Table

Will Carruthers / Ingleside-Excelsior Light

City College of San Francisco’s new chancellor, the city’s budget, legislation to cap the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the district and the fate of a special care facility at St. Luke’s Hospital were all covered at the District 11 Council’s July 8 meeting.

New Chancellor

CCSF Trustee and New Mission Terrace resident Brigitte Davila announced that the college’s new chancellor, Mark Rocha, had begun work as the first permanent chancellor in six years.

“We really think that [Rocha] is someone that will help with our enrollment issues, manage Free City College and just get City College on track,” Davila said.

Rocha most recently worked as a senior program manager in the New York Governor’s Office after serving as president of Pasadena City College between 2010 and 2014.

Rocha was caught in legal conflict with the college starting in 2013. In 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge found that Pasadena City College violated open meeting laws under Rocha’s leadership.

“The trustees plan to keep a close eye on him,” Davila said.

City Budget

District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai gave en update on how he allocated money for the district in the city’s two-year budget.

Safai allocated his add back money for programs ranging from employment services for transitional age youth to expanding services hours at several local parks.

$35,000 was put toward expanding service hours at the OMI Senior Center, at 65 Beverly St. for the next two years.

Inner City Youth will receive $150,000 per year for transitional age youth development programs to combat unemployment in the Ocean View.

South of Market Community Action Network was allocated $75,000 per year to work on tenants rights issues in District 11.

The Instituto Familiar de la Raza received $75,000 per year to help launch a family resource center for monolingual Spanish speaking families in District 11. The center will help advise residents on issues of displacement, immigration and tenants rights, which are on the rise in the district, according to Safai.

$130,000 was put toward Recreation and Parks Department projects in the district, including $50,000 for Merced Heights Playground, $45,000 for Excelsior Playground and $20,000 for a dog park near the Balboa Park Pool.

The Excelsior Action Group received a total of $180,000 per year for the next two years in the budget process. The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development allocated $75,000 for the EAG while Safai got $115,000 to hire one full-time and one part-time employee to work on business development in the Outer Mission and Ocean View neighborhoods.

Safai worked on two citywide budget items, both of which he advocated for “through the lense” of District 11’s needs, he said.

Working with District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, Safai got $4 million for early childhood development services in the next fiscal year.

“Not only [does District 11] have the most children, we also have the most family child care providers,” Safai said. “These are predominantly women-run, neighborhood-serving businesses.”

Safai also secured $500,000 to fund a Department of Public Works apprenticeship program for transitional age youth, generally defined as 16 to 24 year olds.

“We’re going to be pushing really strongly to get apprenticeships in the parts of our district that have been affected by violence the most,” Safai said.

Present and Future Pot Shops

Safai next described legislation he was drafting to prevent new medical cannabis dispensaries from opening in District 11.

“District 8 and District 6 have more [MCDs], however they are different types of businesses,” Safai said. “I probably walked by [an MCD in the SOMA] twenty times and didn’t even realize it was an MCD. I thought it was a cologne shop.”

By contrast, patrons of Cookies, one of the MCDs in the district, are greeted by “a steel cage… and multiple security guards,” Safai said, adding that nearby merchants have complained about the MCD.

Safai’s legislation comes at a time of uncertainty for the future of marijuana because California cities are currently deciding how to regulate adult use marijuana, which will be legal starting on Jan. 1, 2018.

Saving St. Luke’s

On June 15, Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center informed employees that the subacute care facility at St. Luke’s Hospital would be closed in October as part of its transition to a new medical facility to be completed in 2019.

The announcement raised concerns that the closure of the facility, which is used for patients who need specialized but not acute care, would force San Franciscans to travel as far as Sacramento or Los Angeles for care.

Union officials argue that the closure may violate agreements CPMC made with its union and the city while CPMC says that the closure was planned as part of the move and approved by the Department of Public Health, according to Bay City News.  

Safai promised to “hold them accountable” at a hearing that he and District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronan requested about the closure. The Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee will discuss the matter on July 26. 

The District 11 Council meets next on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Ingleside Police Station’s Community Room.

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