Kaiser Reverses HIV Drug Cost Hike
Recently, Kaiser Permanente instituted a policy change to reclassify numerous HIV medications
as “specialty drugs”, which dramatically increased the cost to patients. After I learned of the change, I met with Kaiser and expressed serious concern
about how this would affect people living with HIV – and undermine our strategy to reduce HIV infections -- and announced I would hold an oversight hearing on the subject. Our HIV advocacy community – including Project Inform and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation – also articulated strong concerns. Thankfully, Kaiser quickly reversed the change and returned to its original, affordable co-pay system. I’m grateful to Kaiser for taking this step, so that our HIV-positive residents will continue to have access to these life-saving medications. Click here
to read my statement on the subject. The issue, however, is not resolved, since other health plans continue to hike the cost of “specialty drugs” for patients, and is not limited to HIV drugs. I’ll be exploring this issue at a hearing and working with advocates and state officials to resolve the issue.Seismic Upgrades and Allowing New In-Law Units
We need to implement a wide range of solutions to increase housing supply in our city. Last year, I introduced legislation to allow the construction of new in-law units in buildings
undergoing seismic improvements. Last week, the legislation was unanimously endorsed by the Planning Commission, and it will be heard at the Land Use and Transportation Committee next week. For those currently undergoing or planning to undergo seismic renovations who may be interested in the program, please contact the Department of Building Inspection here
to find out more. Monster Homes in Corona Heights
As recently reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Corona Heights neighborhood is seeing a steady stream of projects converting smaller homes into massive homes
. Corona Heights is a beautiful and rustic neighborhood, with homes nestled in wooded lots. I’m a big proponent of building more housing in San Francisco, but the goal is to add more housing units. Converting regular-size homes into massive homes doesn’t create new housing. I recently introduced legislation to address the issue, not by banning these expansions but rather requiring projects with dramatic expansions that don’t add new units to seek a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission
. The legislation won’t impact more traditional home renovations and expansions designed to accommodate growing families. The legislation will help ensure that developers and property owners are working with neighbors to build in a responsible way that does not dramatically impact the character of our neighborhoods.
Long-Term HIV Survivors Transitioning From Disability: Hearing and Report
Those in our community who have been fortunate enough to survive with HIV are now facing a new challenge: transitioning from private disability to social security as they reach the age of 65. Because social security provides lower financial benefits than private disability policies, many HIV survivors are facing difficult financial circumstances that may compromise their ability to ensure basic needs like housing. To better understand the impacts and needs of this situation, I asked our Budget and Legislative Analyst to prepare a report, and on April 1, I will be holding a hearing on the report and what the city can do to support this population. You can read the report here
. Measles Vaccine Resolution
The current spread of measles has made clear the dangers of allowing children to go unvaccinated. There is no scientific basis for failing to vaccinate our children, and the risk we take on by allowing this to happen is a public health problem. To address this, State Senator Richard Pan has introduced Senate Bill 277, which will end California’s vaccine exemption loophole. I’m supportive of this bill, and I introduced a resolution
at the Board of Supervisors this week in support of it. We should be moving forward in our fight against infectious disease, not backwards.
African-American History Month Honoree
At this month's African-American History Month Celebration at the Board of Supervisors, I honored Bebe Sweetbriar. Bebe has been a strong leader in our community for years, and I was proud to recognize her for all the work she does to make San Francisco a more dynamic and accepting place.
Scott recognizing Bebe, along with Supervisor David Campos and Sister Roma from the Sisters of Perpetual IndulgenceCOMMUNITY UPDATES
Dolores Park Construction Update
Construction at Mission Dolores Park is still moving ahead, despite the recent vandalism to the construction site during the weekend of February 14. The vandalism caused about $100,000 in damage and will likely delay the reopening of the north side of the park. The majority of the damage was incurred when the vandals hot-wired the construction equipment and drove across the newly installed turf and concrete, damaging the equipment, the new grass lawn, and portions of newly-placed concrete that hadn’t fully cured. The vandals broke portions of the irrigation system, crashed into building and site walls, and started a fire in the new maintenance yard. Two arrests were made by the San Francisco Police Department. The contractor is still assessing the damage and the ramifications to the project’s schedule.
- The project is moving ahead, despite this interruption, and important highlights include:
- The North Restroom is 99% complete – new toilets, sinks, and hand dryers have all been installed. Providing new and larger restrooms was one of the most important goals of the project and we are excited to have realized this.
- The clubhouse will start demolition on Monday, and will last about 1 month. The construction fences have shifted in order to include a safe and secure perimeter around the building during this demolition.
- The Operations Building is complete and the Rec and Park team is moving in.
- The final stretches of pathways will be paved in the next 1-2 weeks.
- The site lighting is almost complete, and site signs and furnishings will be installed shortly.
Earlier this month, the Sisters informed me that they have decided not to sponsor Pink Saturday this year. I completely respect the Sisters' decision, which they made after thorough community outreach and thoughtful deliberation. I'm extremely grateful for the many years of hard work the Sisters put in to Pink Saturday. The Sisters managed the event through some very trying years, and they did it solely because of their passion for the community. We all owe the Sisters a big "thank you."
Now that the Sisters have informed the city that they will not be managing this year's Pink Saturday, I'm in conversation with the Mayor's Office, the Police Department, MTA, and others about next steps. We very much want Pink Saturday to continue, likely as an event that begins and ends earlier than before. We believe an earlier start and end time will address a number of the problems the event has experienced in recent years.
Particularly in light of a possible pro-marriage Supreme Court ruling in late June, Pride weekend is likely going to be even bigger than normal. We have to be prepared, and that means prepared for Pink Saturday as well. Over the next two weeks, I will be working with the Mayor's Office and other city departments, in consultation with the Sisters, to determine how Pink Saturday will be managed and by whom. I'm optimistic that we will have a path forward. Stay tuned.
Scott at the Imperial Court 50th Anniversary Gala
4th Annual Community Roast/Tribute of Donna Sachet
Friday, February 27th
Beatbox, 314 11th Street
Join me as for a night of celebrating and ribbing the lovely Absolute Empress XXX, “The” Leather Empress and “The” First Lady Donna Sachet. Cocktail reception at 7:00pm, following by the roast and tribute at 8:00pm. $20 suggested donation. Click here for more.
Setting Goals for San Francisco Playgrounds: A Community Design Forum
Saturday, February 28th
Mission Playground Clubhouse, 19th and Linda Streets
The San Francisco Parks Alliance is holding a Community Design Forum to learn what YOU want to see in your playgrounds! What is your vision for San Francisco's playgrounds? What experiences would you like to help the city's children enjoy? Everyone who cares about playgrounds is welcome: Parents, children, grandparents, community members, landscape architects, child development experts, and more. This is the first time San Francisco residents have had the opportunity to get together and talk about what you'd like to see for playgrounds citywide. Click here for more.
Cookie Dough: A Celebration of Life
Sunday, March 1st
Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street
Join Heklina, Peaches Christ, Sister Roma, BeBe Sweetbriar, Fernando Ventura, Greg Sherrell, Pollo Del Mar and many more to celebrate the life and legacy of Cookie Dough. The event is free, and a portion of bar proceeds will go to Cookie’s husband, Michal Chu. Click here for more.
LGBT Business Builder: San Francisco
Monday, March 2nd
PG&E Auditorium, 245 Market Street
The LGBT Business Builder is an historic national initiative in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The purpose of this initiative is to remove barriers and increase access to strategic growth opportunities for America’s LGBT business owners. Join NGLCC and SBA for the inaugural LGBT Business Builder event in San Francisco. For more details, click here.
The 2015 Nitey Awards
Monday, March 2nd
The Grand Ballroom at the Regency Center, 1300 Van Ness Avenue
The San Francisco Nightlife Awards, The Niteys, celebrates excellence in creative content and patron experience in the Nightlife Industry. Cocktail Reception begins at 6:00pm, show to start at 7:30pm. The After Party will take place in the Sutter Room downstairs following the awards show. For tickets and details, click here.
Scott at the Tet Festival celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year
The Bay Lights 2 Year Anniversary
Tuesday, March 3rd
Come check out the Bay Lights and celebrate their two year anniversary. They will be taken down for the rest of the year so you won’t want to miss this! For details at the Bay Lights website.
Buena Vista Park Volunteer Workday
Saturday, March 7th
Next to the Children’s Playground above Buena Vista West at Waller Street
Please join neighbors and other Buena Vista Park supporters as we help care for our Park. As usual, we’ll meet at 9:00am next to the Children’s Playground above Buena Vista West at Waller Street. Wear sturdy shoes, long pants, long sleeved shirt and bring gloves if you have them (or Rec & Park will provide). More details here.
Happy 5th Birthday Hard French!
Saturday, March 7th
El Rio, 3158 Mission Street
Free BBQ till it’s gone! Featuring special guests: DJ Bus Station John (Disco Daddy), Wam Bam, Ashleyanne (KALX), Larsupreme, Paul Paul (Soul Party). You and your best friend are invited to help us kick off YOUR 5th Hard French Season on the patio at El Rio. Event details here.
Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade
Saturday, March 7th
Second and Market Streets
Let’s welcome in the New Year of the Ram, the 8th sign of the Chinese Zodiac. All ages welcome to this colorful parade. Get ready to see dancing dragons and hear firecrackers, it will be a festive day! More details here.
Sunday Streets Embarcadero
Sunday, March 8th
Embarcadero: Taylor to King Street
Bring your bikes, skateboards, rollerblades and more to the Embarcadero for a car free afternoon of activity and fun. Click here for more details.
Scott joining the Friends of the Urban Forest for a street tree planting
Castro Farmers Market Grand Opening
Wed, March 11th
Market and Noe Streets
Come enjoy delicious fresh food in your district! It will be open every Wednesday, 4:00-8:00pm starting March 11until mid-December. More details here.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Saturday, March 14th
Second and Market Streets
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrates and showcases Irish community, Irish culture and character in all its forms. Featured groups from throughout the Bay Area’s Irish community including schools, youth organizations, labor unions, cultural groups, as well as the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments will march down Market Street. Again this year, the popular Festival will be held at Civic Center Plaza, in front of City Hall before, during and after the Parade. The Festival gives you an opportunity to learn more about Irish history and culture. There will be live music, Irish food and Beverages, dancing and cultural and business exhibits for the entire family to enjoy. Click here for more information.
33rd Annual Auction and Children’s Art Show
Saturday, March 14th
San Francisco County Fair Building, Hall of Flowers, 1199 9th Avenue
Rooftop Alternative preK-8 School is celebrating 43 years of serving Bay Area elementary children and their families. Doors open to the public at 5:00pm. First silent auction table closes at 6:30pm. Live auction program begins at 8:30pm. More details here.
Folks for Polk Pub Talk
Wed, March 18th
7:30pm – 9:00pm
Join the Supervisor and discuss accessible and safe transit options around Polk St. More information here.
Elvira Dayel Office Art Reception
Thursday, March 19th
San Francisco City Hall, Room 274
Please come to the District 8 City Hall office for an office art reception for Elvira Dayel. Elvira has generously lent me her artwork to be displayed in our office. Nosh and refreshments will be provided. More details about the artist here.
Scott honoring the 3900 block of 20th Street Neighborhood Watch at the Neighborhood Empowerment Network Awards
Buena Vista Park Capital Improvement Plan Meeting #2
Tuesday, March 24th
Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way
Buena Vista Park is both a central and critical natural resource to San Francisco and its residents. As such the Departments of Public Works and Recreation and Park are embarking on a planning effort to identify both long- and short-term strategies to help sustain and improve the park. The final outcome will identify and prioritize several critical small short-term projects. The next meeting will be to discuss a refined menu of potential projects based on feedback from the first meeting, held on February 10th. The meeting will be held at the Randall Museum in the Buckley Room. Click here for more info.
SF LGBT Center Soiree
Saturday, March 28th
City View at The Metreon, 35 4th Street
A fun time with live music, food and a silent auction, the largest fundraiser of the year. Buy your tickets now!
19th Annual San Francisco Multicultural Passover Freedom Seder
Tuesday, March 31st
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California Street
Join JCRC, JCCSF and Congregation Emanu-El for the 19th Annual Multicultural Freedom Seder at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. During this multicultural and multifaith seder we celebrate freedom for all with songs, storytelling and a delicious kosher meal. All are welcome! Details here.