Friday, July 03, 2015

Roberto Hernandez's Carnaval = $1.1 Million in City Funds

Sunshining, looking at government records and sharing them online, is one form of activism we need in San Francisco's Mission district as public polices are debated and created by a small circle of unofficial community leaders, policies average folks have to live with.

This week, I've shed light on Maria Zamudio, a paid organizer with Causa Justa who's also a coordinator of Plaza 16, and Luis Granados, the executive director of MEDA which has a controlling interest in Plaza 16, pointing out that both live in Oakland. When we discuss potential social solutions for the Mission, the residency of where "our" leaders live must be part of the community's transparency principles.

Another Mission honcho is Roberto Hernandez, who's seen by many as the Mayor of the Mission and lives in the district. Among his various roles is running the fabulous two-day Carnaval Parade and Festival every May, that's a whole lotta fun and also builds community, and just like with the LGBT movement's SF Pride, is and should be receiving City funds.

BTW, SF Pride received $58,400 in 2013 and 2014, while in 2015 the amount went up to $64,200. Use these figures as a comparison when considering how much City funding goes to Carnaval.

It is the San Francisco Grants for the Arts program, funded by the Hotel Tax Fund, that doles out public money to parades. Here are the numbers for Hernandez's stewardship of Carnaval:

2003 / $103,900

2004 / $103,900

2005 / $103,900

2006 / $103,900

2007 / $103,900

2008 /   $93,500

2009 / $103,900

2010 /   $78,600

2011 /   $78,600

2012 /   $78,600

2013 /   $70,700

2014 /   $70,700

2015/    $79,700

Add the annual amounts together and they total $1,173,000 over thirteen-years. That figure has generated millions more in money spent in the Mission during each two-day celebration, and brought together diverse folks to enjoy a great party and a dose of political engagement.

This video of Hernandez ranting at the June 4th Board of Supervisors meeting, when they were considering a development moratorium for the Mission, illustrates his concerns and agenda for his Mission domain. I've heard this stump speech of his before in which he list complaints and stats from questionable sources.

While he's good at throwing a party, I'm not convinced he's an effective political leader, one with the ability to offer realistic solutions and mobilize beyond his Latino base, but at least he lives in the Mission.


Anonymous said...

Michael, while I respect the work that you try to do in bringing transparency, I am not OK with your attack on Roberto Hernandez. Roberto has paid his dues over and over to our community and has been selfless in giving to others. Although still young, he is considered an elder and veteran for many causes and issues in the Mission. Take it easy, you're targeting the wrong person here.

Michael Petrelis said...

We'll have to agree to disagree. I think folks need to know how much City funding he's received over the years for Carnaval and also question his leadership on Mission housing issues. No one in the Mission is above being held to account. Roberto is not an effective political organizer in my view.