Sunday, November 09, 2014

9 Action Items for Campos to Be a Better Supervisor

(Campos at a City Hall rally in September. Credit: Paul Chinn, SF Chronicle.)

On Election Day, I held my nose and cast a vote for Supervisor David Campos in his bid for the District 17 seat of the state assembly. I was under no circumstances voting for his opponent Supervisor David Chiu and now that the race is over, I wish to offer a few suggestions to Campos in his remaining time on the Board of Supervisors.

These recommendations would go a long way toward showing me and others that Campos can accept constructive criticism and improve his record of delivering tangible results for constituents and supporters.

1. Begin providing weekly updates about the LGBT homeless shelter in District 9. I've followed the delays and lack of movement on this project for a few years, it's been in the works for about four years, and a recent article in the Bay Area Reporter by Seth Hemmelgarn provided a status report.

While I understand building permits and all are a laborious process, that is no reason for Campos to not tell the community what's happening and if there's anything individuals can do to move the project to finally open and provide beds and services to homeless queers. Campos complained in the BAR story that he wasn't getting balanced or objective coverage.

In addition to bemoaning the paper's reporting, Campos can his own on the shelter.

2. What's happening with opening a bricks-and-mortar shop for Tamale Lady Virginia Ramos? Almost one-year ago, Lauren Smiley at Mission Local reported that Campos had secured a lease for her on a storefront on 16th Street near Mission. Campos aide Nate Allbee was quoted saying they'd spent six-months pulling out all the stop for Ramos.

In May, Jay Barman over at SFist gave an update and noted that Allbee said Ramos' place would be open by late spring. Well, it's late autumn and the Tamale Lady venue isn't operational and selling food. Campos needs to share monthly updates on this project.

3. Since Campos has three paid City Hall staffers, he and they should start writing and posting monthly newsletters about their activities on his City-funded web pages. His page for the dormant Campos Connect newsletter, last one was published in October 2013, should be the place we can turn to and learn about his agenda and City Hall goals.

4. Speaking of his Supervisorial web pages, he should set an example of voluntary transparency and begin posting his monthly work calender on one of the pages. After doing that, he could expand his government transparency agenda and urge his Board colleagues to do the same with their calenders.

5. Let's not stop there. We could use Campos pushing all City department heads and holders of elective office to post their monthly calenders, along with expense and travel reports, on their site and make it easier for taxpayers to keep tabs on our public servants.

6. Campos could also lead the fight to have public comment at the Board meetings on Tuesday at a fixed time, so taxpayers know when to show up and take advantage of addressing the Supervisors for two-minutes. Currently, public comment time is decided willy-nilly and citizens don't know if they should be in Board chambers at 3 pm or 5 pm or whenever. We're expected to just sit around waiting patiently, with working folks losing wages, until public comment is allowed.

7. Formally withdraw the plan,whatever the stalled plan's status, to rename San Francisco International Airport to honor Harvey Milk. This idea from Campos grabbed headlines and sucked the political oxygen out of the struggle to address the affordability crisis and eviction epidemic hitting the entire city, particularly so in District 9.

8. Let's hear what Campos' plan is for the next six months at City Hall. Put the plan in writing and on the web for public debate. Will he run for the Board president's position? If not, who does he support as the next president after Chiu moves to Sacramento? Is Campos preparing a strategy for stopping the Maximus Partners luxury condo at the 16th Street BART Plaza? What legislation is he preparing to introduce and topics for discussion at the committee level?

9. I'd like for Campos to get interested in airing the San Francisco Fire Department's commission meetings on SF GovTV. In the spring, when I approached his City Hall office about pressuring the Department of Public Health's commission meetings on Channel 26, the staff wasn't interested in the project. Here we had a city agency with tremendous influences over the health of hundreds of thousands of citizens, not to mention a huge multimillion dollar budget, and no one could watch and hear the health commission meetings.

After a month of my solo lobbying, DPH director Barbara Garcia authorized money be spent installing cameras and microphones in the auditorium at 101 Grove Street and the public and taxpayers now can tune in and watch anytime with the video-on-demand option at SF GovTV. Campos could have had a feather in his cap on this government transparency matter and used it as an example of his power of persuasion during the assembly race.

The fire department, with an $86 million budget, is under much pressure and scrutiny because of a shortage of trained EMT ambulance workers and poor response times to medical emergencies on the streets and in homes. Department chief Joanna Hayes-White faces calls from many quarters to be replaced. In short, a number of crises roil the SFFD and their commission meetings aren't televised. This must change in order to better serve the City and improve this vital department.

At minimum, Campos can send a letter to Chief White-Hayes strongly urging her to either move her meetings to a camera equipped room at City Hall, like the police commission did long ago, or install the necessary tech equipment to begin airing SFFD meetings on SF GovTV by the end of the year.

Campos has two years left on the Board of Supervisors. He's going to need plenty of prodding to be a better elected official. Let's see if he's open to my advice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are some pretty basic and well-reasoned items for Campos (or any Supe) to consider and expedite.

Makes me wonder what we pay all that good money for right now?