MINUTES OF THE
SOUTHEAST COMMUNITY FACILITY COMMISSION
MEETING THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2009 – 6:00 PM
ALEX L. PITCHER, JR. COMMUNITY ROOM,1800 OAKDALE AVENUE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94124
1.0 CALL TO ORDER
Commission President Willie B. Kennedy called the Thursday, March 12, 2009 meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. in the Alex L. Pitcher Community Room at 1800 Oakdale Avenue. Commissioner Kennedy read the Sunshine Ordinance.
1.1 ROLL CALL
6:16 p.m. Commission Secretary – Carla Vaughn
Commissioners Present: Kennedy, Brown, Churchwell, Chung,
Yang arrived 6:34 pm
Commissioners Excused: Jones, Sampson
Staff Present: Toye Moses, Executive Director
Ella Empleo, Management Assistant
Carla Vaughn, Commission Secretary
1.2 CONSENT CALENDAR
Commission President Willie B. Kennedy announced the Consent Calendar.
Commissioner Brown moved to accept the consent calendar and the minutes of the Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Commission meeting. Commissioner Churchwell seconded the motion. The consent calendar was accepted.
2.0 PUBLIC COMMENT
Sam Murray, SFPUC Communications Manager provided a report on the Digester Project. The Southeast Digester Taskforce has started and Commissioners Brown and Yang are a part of the Taskforce and have been attending meetings and learning about digesters and sewer systems.
Two famous doctors provided a presentation regarding digesters and global digesters to the Taskforce and Mr. Murray offered to provide a tape of the presentation and said an agenda would be provided to discuss the master plan and whether the digesters would be moved or maintained in the current location.
Mr. Murray suggested bringing people to the Commission to discuss the master plan.
Mr. Murray advised the Commission the annual PUC Career Day would be offered to Balboa High School this year.
Mr. Murray reported the PO of funds for the upcoming Health Fair had been approved and would soon be available.
Mr. Murray thanked the staff for all of their hard work putting the event together.
Carla Vaughn, Commission Secretary announced the following:
a) Press Release: Mayor Gavin Newsom Announces San Francisco Ranks First For Archiving Most Government Meetings Online.
b) Press Release: Mayor Gavin Newsom And Bay To Breakers Announce Revised Policies For 2009 Race.
c) Press Release: Speaker Pelosi And Mayor Newsom Announce Doyle Drive Project Is Shovel Ready; Stimulus Investment To Be Expedited.
d) Press Release: Mayor Newsom Announces NBC Universal To Film T.V. Pilot In San Francisco.
e) Press Release: Mayor Newsom Spurs Job Creation With Announcement Of $28 Billion In Capital Investments For San Francisco Over The Next Decade.
f) Press Release: Mayor Newsom’s Statement On The United States Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Decision In Favor Of San Francisco’s Universal Health Care Program.
g) Statement: Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Statement On President Obama’s Decision To Reverse Bush Stem Cell Policies.
h) Press Release: Mayor Newsom Releases Up To $23 Million From Rainy Day Funds To Save Teachers’ Jobs.
i) Press Release: Mayor Newsom Kicks Off Arbor Day By Announcing City Has Met Goal Of Planting 25,000 Trees.
j) Statement: Mayor Newsom’s Statement On HIV/AIDS Care And Treatment Funding.
Commissioner Kennedy applauded the Mayor for releasing funds to save the jobs of teachers.
Chair Kennedy welcomed Ms. Simin Shamji, Deputy Public Defender and Director of the Specialty Courts & Reentry Programs.
Ms. Shamji has been with the Public Defender’s office for thirteen years. She said she is doing the work she has always wanted to do, defending the rights of individuals accused of crimes.
Ms. Shamji said the services of her office have been expanded through Jeff Adachi and the services provided go beyond representation in the court room.
Ms. Shamji explained the Reentry Program and how Clean Slate, a program of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office that can help people clear their criminal records, is a part of that program. She advised the Commission San Francisco was the only city in the nation that provided this program and there was only one attorney assigned to handle all of the cases and there were approximately 3,000 cases.
Ms. Shamji said it was an uphill battle with an attorney, paralegal and a clerk handling all of the cases. These individuals staff walk-in clinics throughout the communities. This has proven to be the most efficient way to get the word out to the communities.
Ms. Shamji provided flyers announcing the Clean Slate Program.
Commissioner Brown had a question regarding “Three Strikes”, and how it might relate to the Clean Slate Program.
Ms. Shamji answered they were two totally different programs.
Commissioner Churchwell asked how one public defender handled all those cases.
Ms. Shamji responded the work was not compromised and there is a 90 percent success rate. She said 1400 motions were filed in 2008 and that is a high number. There are a handful of motions filed that do not involve any extreme legal research. There is no trial or anything elaborate that goes into the process. Everything else goes to court when it is ready.
Ms. Shamji reported there was no funding for additional staff however, the work was not compromised.
Commissioner Churchwell asked if someone applied for a job and their criminal record had been expunged do they still have to put on the application that they had a record?
Ms. Shamji said no and that is the thing again in San Francisco there was this measure called “Ban The Box” so for city employment especially you cannot ask the question, “Have you ever been arrested for an offense? Because the fact of an arrest is not a fact that you were guilty of that crime. There are some applications that you will find ask that question and you might have an arrest and you don’t know how to answer it. In the situation where you have gotten your criminal conviction expunged you can legally state that you do not have a conviction, which is not the same as saying you do not have an arrest.
Commissioner Churchwell said that was not what was on the application.
Ms. Shamji responded if the application asks “Do you have any arrest?”, unless you have the motion where you are able to show that you were factually innocent of that offense and got your arrest record sealed and destroyed, which is done regularly, you cannot say no to that question. What you can do is call NELP and say look, these folks are asking this question and they should not be. However, if you say that to your employer you are not getting that job because it raises the flag, and if you lie and get caught you are going to get dismissed. That is why San Francisco banned that question from city employment applications When organizations have that question on their job application we get interest groups involved to try and get them to reverse that and unfortunately it is at the cost of the employment of the individual that is making the complaint.
Commissioner Churchwell said he was glad the expunge process was available.
Ms. Shamji said more attorneys were needed provide this service to the community.
Chair Kennedy said many programs have the distinction of coming from the east coast, however this was one program that was exclusively from the west coast. Commissioner Kennedy said she was bothered by the fact that many young men that are arrested for crimes that should be a misdemeanor are nine times out of ten charged with a felony and it is hard for them to get rid of the felony because it follows them.
Commissioner Kennedy wanted to know the difference between expunged and sealed.
Ms. Shamji said if something was expunged there was the danger it might pop up if it wasn’t sealed. Today’s technology allows companies to get someone’s rap sheet from somewhere other than the appropriate processes of getting criminal history through the Department Of Justice which would reflect all of the sealed, unsealed and expunged records, and they would get a sanitized version of the rap sheet. Instead that may not happen because the company may not want to wait six weeks and they may get some agency to do a quick run and they get the entire rap sheet and that has happened and it is an unfortunate danger. There needs to be legislation around that about the use of unauthorized information.
Ms. Shamji explained the difference between an expungment and a sealing is that an expungment is you have a conviction for something and you plead guilty. When the judge is doing an expungment it is making the guilty plea a not guilty plea and dismissing the charge. In a sealing the difference is the arrest record is sealed.
Dr. Moses thanked Ms. Shamji for the wonderful job she was doing and the success of the Clean Slate Program.
Dr. Moses asked for a statistical breakdown of individuals using the Clean Slate Program.
Ms. Shamji said currently there was not a database tracking system, however, they were hopeful the information would be available in the future. She added that during the last six months 233 people had been helped in the BayView District alone.
Commissioner Kennedy said the laws need to be changed and the public needs to be made aware of the discrepancies in the arrest of African-Americans and Latino-Americans. These young people are arrested and charged with felonies when the charge should be a misdemeanor.
Ms. Shamji provided flyers to the Commission with the dates and times of the Clean Slate operation.
Chair Kennedy thanked Ms. Shamji for her informative presentation.
5.0 REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
6.0 HEALTH AND HOUSING AD-HOC COMMITTEE REPORT
Ella Empleo reported the location of the upcoming Commission retreat would be the PUC/Oceanside location which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. She said there was a request for the goals of the retreat by Tony Flores, Operations and Maintenance Manager. As soon as this information is provided the room can be reserved and the facilitator scheduled.
Commissioner asked why justification was needed.
Ms. Empleo responded because SFPUC was paying for the facilitator and food.
Director Moses said staff would take care of the response.
Commissioner Kennedy said the retreat was to put together a strategic plan for the upcoming year.
Ms. Empleo reported a new project was underway to display the Commissioners
portraits in the Alex Pitcher room.
Dr. Moses said the portraits would include current and past Commissioners.
Commissioner Chung said it was a good idea.
8.0 NEW AND ON-GOING BUSINESS
9.0 INTRODUCTION OF NEW BUSINESS BY COMMISSIONERS
Carla Vaughn, Commission Secretary reminded the Commissioners an invitation
was sent to Dr. Davis, Executive Director of the BayView Senior Center in January to provide information on the Ageing Campus. We have not heard from him. A second letter will be forwarded.
An invitation was also extended to Al & Jackie Norman regarding the African Market Place. A reminder letter will be forwarded.
A second reminder invitation will be forwarded to Chris Iglesias, Director of the Human Rights Commission to address the Commission on “The Unfinished Agenda” and Proposition 209.
Commissioner Kennedy said when the second phase of the Shipyard is ready to start someone should come and provide information to the Commission.
Commissioner Kennedy requested a follow-up letter to the Mayor inviting him to address the Commission.
Commissioner Kennedy requested a congratulations letter to the Mayor for releasing funds for teachers.
10 PUBLIC COMMENT
Commissioner Kennedy announced the meeting of the African-American Democratic Club sponsored by the African-American Chamber of Commerce at Rasallas Jazz Club and Restaurant to get acquainted with San Francisco elected officials on Wednesday, March 18th from 6 to 8 pm.
Commissioner Brown suggested sending congratulation letters to Speaker Pelosi and Senator Feinstein for their support of the HIV/AIDS funding.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:40.
Carla Vaughn, Commission Secretary