The Department of Health
and Human Services billed it as a national
“listening tour,” and late last month the department’s
assistant secretary for children and families, Wade Horn,
visited the city to hear from state and local officials about their
experiences implementing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
(TANF) program created by the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That
legislation is up for congressional renewal next year, and HHS’
sessions are an attempt to forge consensus and minor fine-tuning,
according to Horn.
He told the Chronicle that he’s not heard anyone
express a desire to return to the old welfare system, nor has he
evidenced complaints about the new five-year time limit on federal
The look of the well-heeled western regional
welfare department directors assembled at the Grand Hyatt bore
out Horn’s statement. Among them, as Lisa Gray-Garcia reported
in the San Francisco Bay View, was a total of one actual
welfare recipient. Gray-Garcia herself, a credentialed
representative from POOR Magazine, and a former welfare
recipient, was not invited.
While the sole TANF token inside extolled welfare
reform, some 200 welfare rights advocates assembled out front. Horn
called them “protesters” and added that they needed to learn how
to communicate better.
As the event ended, Horn suddenly emerged
surrounded by four aides, saying he had heard the crowd wanted to
talk to him. To no one’s surprise, the questions were as tough as
the answers were mechanical. Horn was asked if he would meet with
them again to “really talk.” “When can you commit to a date?”
“I will commit to the process,” Horn said as
he walked off. “I am not sure when or where.”
Kudos to AsianWeek for apparently being the
only media outlet to broach the fact that Redevelopment Agency
Commissioner Benny Yee operates a real estate agency. The
speculation on the street is that Yee’s affiliation with
for-profit brokerage and construction companies weighed heavily in
Yee’s decisive (4-3) Commission vote to reject nonprofit TODCO’s
(Tenants and Owners Development Corporation) affordable housing
project on 6th Street.
Although Yee argued that first consideration be
given to SOMA-based nonprofits, he pressed to keep the bid process
open even after TODCO was the only developer to respond with a
proposal on two separate occasions. Yee’s calling TODCO “an
unconscionable monopoly” in the South of Market area
aroused the vehemence and suspicion of residents. TODCO currently
has eight of 28 Redevelopment Agency–funded projects.
Yee was unavailable for comment about the
allegations, AsianWeek reported.
Tenant Times in its
latest issue offers an early reminder that the March 2002 elections
for Superior Court and California Supreme Court will
shape the future of the city and the state. The paper cites recent
Superior Court decisions which have struck down laws shielding
tenants from senior and disabled evictions, racial discrimination,
free speech violations, and massive rent increases. Anyone wishing
to help with the Judicial Campaign Research Project can
contact the Tenants Union: 415-282-5525;
The effect of the recession on the Mission
district is thus far a mixed bag, according to the New
Mission News. Businesses keyed to the hotel and tourist trades
are hurting, as are, for obvious reasons, mail services. Grocery
outlets and seasonal foodstuffs industries are doing well, along
with “restaurants and bars that have had good patronage in the
The Northeast Mission Industrial Zone, ground
zero for recent gentrification battles, lies either cratered,
vacant, or fallow. Bryant Square construction stopped months
ago, the late S&C Ford facility is moribund, available
commercial space is voluminous, and live/work loft construction has
Antagonisms are heated further up 24th Street, however,
as residents and merchants lock horns over the proposed installation
of fourteen parking meters on 24th between Castro and Diamond.
The Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association sought
the meters in response to customers’ difficulties in finding
spaces to park.
The Noe Valley Residents and Professionals
Association, comprised mainly of 24th Street residents,
countered that meters would make an already problematic residential
parking situation worse by bringing more cars into the neighborhood
and impacting nearby streets. The Noe Valley Voice reports
that neither the intercession of the Department of Parking and
Traffic nor compromise discussions between the two groups has
There may yet be some solace in the failure of
Prop. F and Measure I in the Bay View, Hunters Point, and Potrero
neighborhoods. The Potrero View reports that the San
Francisco Community Power Cooperative has received a $1.5
million grant from the San Francisco Department of the
Environment to help southeast residents and businesses reduce
electricity consumption and save on energy bills.
Lighting retrofit and weatherization programs, a
refrigerator trade-in program, energy saving kits and access to
neighborhood recycling and vehicle repair assistance programs are
available for a $10-per household yearly co-op membership fee.
the Tenderloin 4, those four low-income buildings that the Redevelopment
Agency labored hard to save from privatization last year? For
the residents of at least one of them, life continues to be
worrisome. A recent visit to Marlton Manor, at 240 Jones,
turned up ugly thick mold in bathroom vents as well as what appeared
to be expired inspections on the elevators and fire alarms.
requests for explanations to Mercy Charities Housing, the
building’s new guardian, went unanswered.
This just in from NextArts, the folks who
show their support for the local music community by staging free
WE’RE GETTING EVICTED. And that’s a scary
proposition, as all too many know.
The good news is that we’ve found a suitable new
space with a reasonable landlord, but we need help to make the
move-in costs. Do you love us that much? Because we love you.
And if you think that what we did last year was
cool, just wait until you see what we have planned for 2002. It only
So, if you believe in Bay Area music and would
like to see and hear it free in our public spaces, please send your
love and holiday cheer to the address below. Be sure to include your
e-mail address on any correspondence so we can add you to our
(low-volume) “Friends of NextArts” mailing list. Inclusion on
this list keeps you informed of private and unannounced events.
Seriously, we can’t do it without you.
PO Box 192425
San Francisco, CA 94119
Phone 415 468-7694. Fax 415 508-0311
P.S. Our thanks to all of the Bay Area musicians
and music lovers who contributed to a successful 2001 season. Stay
tuned to www.NextArts.org
for notes and history on our epic 2nd year.