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New Police Captain, David Chiu Representative and District 11 Supervisor Brief Council

Will Carruthers/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

New Ingleside Police Station Capt. John Hart, Assemblymember David Chiu’s representative and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai gave presentations before the District 11 Council at the group’s November meeting.

Ingleside Police Station’s New Captain

John Hart, Ingleside Police Station’s new captain, introduced himself to the council and outlined his work in District 11 so far.

Hart, who is also a lawyer, took over the station from Joseph McFadden on Oct. 21 as part of a rotation of six captains across the city.

In his 19 years with the SFPD Hart worked at Southern, Tenderloin, Mission and Bayview stations and managed security at Candlestick Park events.

Hart said he had tried to “hit the ground running” by going to as many community meetings as possible and taking a four-hour tour of the Excelsior and Outer Mission with community members.

Hart said that he would focus on “problem properties” in the Excelsior and Outer Mission neighborhoods including several gambling dens and bars with troublesome customers.

On his tour of the neighborhoods, Hart had the surprising experience of a gambling den employee admit to him that “we’re facilitating gambling here” by outlining the store’s business model.

“I’ve never had such a confession in my life,” Hart said.

Creating a case against the establishment may be tricky because of its innovative business model, Hart said. Customers add money to their phones in the store but the actual gambling can be done outside the store.

Hart later wrote a six-page police report about the incident.

“We’re just trying to get as much documentation as possible so then we can go after the property owners. They’re definitely part of it,” Hart said. “Part of it is just walking in, introducing myself and saying ‘I know what you’re doing and we’re watching.’”

La Oficina, an Excelsior bar where a security guard shot and killed a man in May, is another property that Hart has his eye on.

At its Nov. 8 meeting, the Entertainment Commission passed a 30-day restriction on La Oficina’s music license.

“It’s not the biggest inconvenience, but it puts them on notice that we’re watching and, if you keep it up, the next stop is going to be your alcohol license,” Hart said.

The police department is working with state agencies and surveying the bar.

Hart also deployed several radar trucks in the district in an effort to punish speeding cars.

David Chiu’s Update

Catherine Arbona, a field representative of District 17 Assemblymember David Chiu, summarized the past legislative session.

This year, 11 of Chiu’s bills were made into law and most of them focused on housing and immigrant rights. Under Assembly Bill 291, it will be illegal for landlords to threaten to contact immigration officials during disputes with their tenants.

“As of Jan. 1, 2018, your landlord is no longer allowed to use your immigration documentation status against you,” Arbona said.

Under AB 450, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not be allowed to enter workplaces without a signed judicial warrant and employers won’t be allowed provide information on employees’ immigration status without a subpoena.

“We hope that this prevents bad employers from doing these things and helps good employers from being intimidated by ICE,” Arbona said.

A few of Chiu’s bills were passed as part of a package of 15 housing bills written as an effort to solve the state’s housing woes.

Chiu’s AB 74 allows California to use MediCal funds to provide rental assistance for homeless people.

“It helps get homeless people who need supportive services into housing where that care is available,” Arbona said. “[Housing people] has been proven to be a much quicker way to get people addiction services treatment that will last.”

Supervisor Update

District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai’s aide, Cathy Mulkey-Meyer, updated the council on current projects in the district.

Work on playgrounds and parks in the district continues. After delays in work, Balboa Pool is estimated to open in March. Final designs for Alice Chalmers and Merced Heights playgrounds are in the works.

Safai’s office is advising Starbucks, which is interested in moving into the Excelsior, to locate itself on Geneva Avenue, away from Cumaica Coffee and Excelsior Coffee, which is expected to open in February.

Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization

In a surprise appearance, Safai himself spoke about his attempts to save the District 11 medical cannabis dispensary cap he put in place in July during the city’s lengthy process of creating a framework for legal adult use of recreational marijuana.

Safai’s cap was in danger as other supervisors asked for similar carve-outs for their districts and commentators became frustrated with how complicated the legalization process had become.

Safai insists that his legislation is different than other proposals because District 11’s experience with MCDs has been worse than other parts of the city.

“We were the only district in this city that had three [MCDs] approved in one night. That’s never happened again,” Safai said, adding that there had been a lot of complaints about the district’s MCDs in the seven years since they were approved.

District 11’s commercial corridors have the highest vacancy rates in the city and residents would rather shut down problem businesses and develop a robust commercial corridor instead of contending with more MCDs, according to Safai.

“We have all these other needs and people are going to tell us, ‘because of you have a cap you’re causing problems for other parts of the city,’” Safai said. “I’m just letting you know, that’s where the debate is. I won’t make a motion to remove our limit on our commercial corridors… in exchange for something else, but someone might do that in the land use process.”

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