District 10 Residents Concerned About Crime, Homelessness

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San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 10 is located on the southeast corner of the 7 x 7 and includes significant overlap with the View’s readership. On November 8 incumbent Shamann Walton will face challenger Brian Adam in a race for the District 10 Supervisor seat.

The View asked D10 residents to identify the biggest challenges facing their community, how they feel about San Francisco, and whether Supervisor Walton has been doing a good job. From Bayview to Potrero Hill, several common themes emerged: residents are concerned about crime, street drug use, homelessness, and the ability to afford to live in San Francisco. The San Francisco Police Department is seen as being too passive. Walton is generally viewed favorably, but most interviewees weren’t familiar with his politics. With a few exceptions, San Franciscans are pessimistic about the City’s future. 

Photo of District 10 Resident, Elliot

Elliot, photographed while selling watermelons near the intersection of Shafter and Third streets, has been a Bayview resident for 51 years. He said that homelessness is the District’s biggest issue and thought that when larger tent encampments are dismantled, the occupants move into smaller pockets, which can lead to more theft. Elliot said he sees “a lot of stuff that 10 to 15 years ago the police wouldn’t allow.” He thought this “is a double-edged sword”. He commended a new police officer in the community who defused a traffic nuisance without resorting to tickets and fines, yet laughingly noted that “some guys see this and think, I’m gonna do what I want to do, cause they ain’t gonna do shit.”

Photo of District 10 Resident, John

John was sitting outside Farley’s Coffeehouse when the View caught up with him. He’s a 31-year Hill resident, but since retiring from teaching for the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) two years ago, he spends most of his time in the Sierra Nevada. John has a positive impression of Supervisor Walton, “but not much more to say.” He believes wrongdoing and homelessness are the District’s biggest challenges, noting that “crime was actually getting better, and then with the pandemic got worse.” John’s been a victim of violent hate crime gay bashing near Mission Dolores, as well as an armed robbery at Bloom Saloon. While the incidents occurred many years ago, he still thinks misconduct has worsened, “crime is just terrible.” John follows criminal activity on Nextdoor.com, an online neighborhood forum.

Photo of District 10 Resident, Maia

Maia has been running a business in Bayview for the past three years and was having a drink with friends at the Laughing Monk Brewery when the View interviewed her. She said that “The Bayview has an incredible amount of neighborhood and community strength, but it does not get the infrastructure support it needs…simple services like street sweeping.” Her business makes deliveries throughout San Francisco, and she observed that other neighborhoods benefit from more resources. Currently, there’s an unhoused person living on the street next to her enterprise who is combative with Maia and her staff. She’s been unable to resolve the situation despite calling 311, a non-emergency municipal service number, as well as the police, who told her that they can’t act until someone is physically harmed. “I shouldn’t have to put myself or staff at risk” Maia said. The police should be more helpful, going so far as to “take the time and call the additional service organizations themselves.” In spite of these challenges, Maia doesn’t want more police presence, “in a predominantly Black neighborhood, I don’t think that more cops is ever the answer.” A better solution would be a task force equipped to deal with each unique case. She’s proud that “SF is the City for aggressive liberal policies, social justice, climate awareness,” which is what brought her to the Bay Area.

Jorge, encountered at McClaren Park, a neighborhood in which he’s lived for 10 years, said affordability is a major issue for him and his wife. They both work full-time but “rent prices are going up, we get no type of help, and we cannot get an apartment.” 

Photo of District 10 Residents, Rebecca and Greg

Rebecca and Greg are long-time Dogpatch residents and have lived on 22nd Street since 2005. “Dogpatch used to be much fewer people, more industrial, brownfields,” said Greg. Despite being keen voters in local elections, they’re not familiar or enthusiastic about Supervisor Walton. “He is a name and campaign poster,” remarked Greg. Safety is the biggest issue for Rebecca, “I’m so scared, I carry mace and a noise horn. Crime is random, blatant, and brazen.” Their apartment building has been subjected to multiple break-ins while residents were home in recent years. For Greg, “many things are headed in the wrong direction. There is a gigantic drug addiction and mental health problem, wrapped up in a guise of homelessness,” He believes the City needs to “deal with the dealers and treat the addicts and cannot just let people do whatever they want…inclusivity and compassion are not incongruous with dealing with crime.” Rebecca, who owns a customer-facing business, quipped that her “clients’ liberalness is gone.” Traffic violations are another shared concern, particularly for Greg, who is an avid walker. ”I have had lots of close calls with cars. At Pennsylvania and 22nd drivers run right through the stop, and for whatever reason, it continues to happen.” They’re hoping for more traffic controls. Despite their issues with San Francisco, they have no plans to leave and don’t know where else they’d go.

Marchelle, a Bayview resident for 25 years, was working as a restroom monitor when the View spoke with her. She sees homelessness and affordability as the biggest issues and lamented the City’s poor use of funds, urging politicians to “stop spending $20,000 on garbage cans.” (Earlier this year the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved release of $427,500 to fund new trash can design and deployment, up to $20,000 for one prototype garbage can). She thinks that excessive background checks are preventing those released from prison from being able to find jobs. Marchelle believes crime is an issue but doesn’t see additional police as the answer, “the police do too much, arresting and sending people to jail. We do not want that, do not need that.” She’s pessimistic about San Francisco, “most definitely getting worse, doing pathetic. Need to offer more jobs, especially to past felons who have such a hard time getting employment.”

Photo of District 10 Resident, Carlos

Carlos, a 20-year Bayview resident, was cleaning the front of his home near Palou and 22nd streets when he talked with the View. He always votes but isn’t familiar with Supervisor Walton. For him, the issues have largely remained the same for the past two decades: “crime, drugs, and cleanup…things were a little better 20 years ago. The City is not doing enough.” Carlos thinks that an increased police presence on Third Street would improve safety and lawfulness but emphasized that additional officers “should not be used to intimidate people. For me, that’s bad.” Carlos said he’s done his best to tidy up his home and street and noticed that it’s helped motivate his neighbors to do the same.

Jon, a 31-year District 10 resident who lives on Texas Street, moved to San Francisco “because the climate is great and because it was a liberal City. Now, I wonder where my tax dollars are going.” He sees wrongdoing as San Francisco’s biggest issue and has noticed an increase in crime over the past six to seven years. “I cannot point a finger at any one particular thing or person, but police enforcement is more lax,” Jon said. He’s neutral regarding Supervisor Walton but noted that “he seems to be concentrating more on the Bayview.” Jon applauded the transformation of an abandoned shipbuilding site into Crane Cove Park at the intersection of 18th and Illinois streets, “that’s nice and was a good thing.” 

Photo of District 10 Resident, Tony

Tony was enjoying Bayview KC Jones Playground near the home he’s lived in for the past five years when the View happened by. He supports Supervisor Walton, especially that “he was from the community and involved, not just an outsider grabbing power.” Safety is Tony’s top priority. He considers his neighborhood reasonably secure. “We have car break-ins but no shootings. I hear news that people are getting shot, but luckily I don’t see it.” Tony considers homelessness a safety issue, noting “I do not feel comfortable walking by homeless encampments with kids”. However, he recognized the challenges the issue poses, “Yes, I want my Mayor and Supervisor to figure out homelessness, but I understand that no City in 50 years has figured it out.” His two children were at the park with him, and he said that during the pandemic “we could not rely on SFUSD to get our children out of Zoom school.” Bringing students back into the classroom was his family’s top priority; they’ve since moved their kids into private schools. Tony is optimistic about San Francisco, “I have seen a lot of positives in 10 years being in the City.” However, while “SF is supposedly a world class city, Market Street is gross. It smells like pee and poo. If you want to attract tourism, you need to clean the City up.” Tony engages with local organizations and recently volunteered at a trash clean up organized by the Bayview Merchants Organization and Avenue Greenlight, alongside Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Walton, who “did a little picking up.”

Photo of District 10 Resident, Chamisa, with her children

Cole Valley resident, Chamisa, was playing with her two children in Dogpatch’s Woods Yard Park. She just secured American citizenship, with this November her first opportunity to vote. She believes “homelessness is the biggest problem, and maybe cleanliness,” and thinks these issues are getting worse. Chamisa spent a few years volunteering at a homeless shelter for teenagers in San Diego, and through the experience learned that “a lot of the homeless do not want to work,” and that in some cases “helping can be enabling…. It’s a tough issue.”

A 20-year Hill resident and female business owner who requested anonymity believes there’s been a growth in homelessness over the past five years. She attributes it to the warmer and drier weather, “climate change has made it easier to survive as a homeless person”. She thinks the City needs to do more cleaning, which is incompatible with the homeless population.

Photo of District 10 Resident, David

David was arriving at the Potrero Hill Playground with his family when the View interviewed him. As a father of two young children, public schooling is his biggest concern. He feels fortunate that his kids got into the elementary school they wanted. If they hadn’t drawn a suitable school, they would’ve left the City. (In contrast to many public-school districts around the nation, SFUSD doesn’t enroll students purely based on their home address but uses a student assignment policy, or lottery system, intended to best match school openings with family preference. The intent is to create more equitable enrollment). David said it’s a stressful process, with very meaningful consequences. He considers homelessness and public transport to be San Francisco’s major policy issues. Regarding crime, he “has not noticed things getting worse but has noticed people talking about things getting worse.”

Brian has been a Hill resident since 2012. His two daughters happily attend Starr King Elementary School, “we got a good outcome from the lottery.” Brian is enthusiastic about redevelopment of the Potrero Annex-Terrace residential complex across the street from Star King, which’ll provide mixed income housing and is part of the Hope SF redevelopment that’s been supported by every district supervisor since it was launched more than twenty years ago. “We are super supportive of this work,” said Brian. “The old projects are super run down.”.

Share your thoughts about the issues facing San Francisco, how well Supervisor Walton is representing the District, your views on the police and cirme, what you feel about the City’s future, and what can be done about it: editor@potreroview.net or
at surveymonkey.com/r/M9C3ZD9.