By Supervisor Scott Wiener
Editorâ€™s Note: With this issue we welcome Supervisor Scott Wiener as a columnist for the Bay Times. Whenever possible, we attempt to present information from first hand sources representing diverse viewpoints within the LGBT community. We are honored to include Supervisor Wiener in our strong lineup of columnists.
There has been a lot of news coverage at City Hall lately focused on a few big ticket items (if a naked sheriff scandal breaks out, the media might explode), but I want to report on a couple of important nuts and bolts issues that Iâ€™ve been working on that have gone under the radar.
Letâ€™s start with trees, specifically the ones that line our streets. For years, the city maintained these trees, but due to lack of funding the Department of Public Works has been passing maintenance responsibilities on to property owners over the past several months.
Unfortunately, these owners may not have the resources, inclination or know-how to properly look after our trees. This worries me, as our urban forest is vital to our world-renowned reputation as a beautiful city. Iâ€™ve called for a hearing, which is scheduled for November, to discuss what can be done to address this issue. One suggestion would be to implement a sustainable funding stream that would enable DPWâ€™s continued maintenance of street trees. I look forward to hearing more bright ideas on this subject and working with all stakeholders to come to a solution that will allow our trees to thrive.
From street trees we move to streetcars. Everyone has a gripe about Muni, and our mass transit system has a lot of problems that need to be rectified in the long run. However, one fix we can make in the short run is to upgrade our aging fleet. Thatâ€™s why I introduced legislation, which the Board approved, to purchase 45 new hybrid-diesel Muni buses and to upgrade 80 buses in the current fleet. These new and refurbished coaches will reduce the breakdowns that cause so many delays on our Muni routes. The new buses will also have low floors that allow for quicker boarding, which will reduce loading times and get our buses moving more quickly to the next stop. With Muni, every step and every second saved count.
While saving trees and fixing buses might not be headline grabbers, they are the improvements to our city that affect people everyday. Iâ€™m proud to be working on these issues, and others just like them.
Okay. Enough of the nuts and boltsâ€”letâ€™s talk nightlife. One of the first things I did in office was to call for an economic impact report of the cityâ€™s entertainment and nightlife industries so we would understand how our public policies affected this industry. Nightlife is an essential part of our culture and economy, and Iâ€™ve worked hard to ensure that it flourishes. This includes crafting policy and engaging passionate members of the community with visionâ€”people like Naomi Akers.
This past month I was proud to swear in Naomi to the Entertainment Commission. Naomi has been a nightlife advocate and enthusiast for years. As the Executive Director of the St. James Infirmary, along with her years of HIV/AIDS advocacy, she brings a public health experience that will be valuable on the commission. I wish her luck and look forward to working with Naomi on nightlife issues in the coming year.
Scott Wiener represents District 8 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. More information may be found at www.scottwiener.com. You can contact Supervisor Wiener at (415) 554-6968 or email@example.com.