Monday, April 08, 2019

Navigation Centers: Most important issue in November

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez

In the previous post, letters to the editor disputed the Chronicle's account of the meeting where Mayor Breed encountered neighborhood opposition to locating a Navigation Center on the Embardacero.

In the Chronicle's email feed, the editorial on the encounter was described this way: When homeless-hating San Franciscans shouted down their mayor. Neighborhood opposition to Navigation Centers is about hate?

But the text of the editorial said that the opposition showed "the city’s intolerant side," that Breed's opponents in the meeting were "NIMBY bullies."

The text also has this:

Breed has a difficult sales job. She’s attempting to convince a well-heeled Embarcadero neighborhood to accept a 200-bed homeless facility on a city parking lot. 

The proposal came with little warning or outreach, making the proposal a tougher sell.

Up until the meeting, the mayor had stayed in the background. Her decision to appear shows how invested she is in this project, which could be followed by others located around the city. 

Housing and treating street homelessness can’t be confined to only a few spots in the Mission or Bayview areas. But open spots for shelters are hard to find in a dense and developed city.

Can we look forward to similar meetings in Pacific Heights, the Marina, and St. Francis Woods? Not likely, given this kind of reception when Mayor Breed is up for reelection in November. (That's also why, by the way, Scott Wiener's SB50 is unlikely to be politically acceptable to supervisors elected by district.)

Will Valle Brown, Breed's appointed successor as District 5 Supervisor, support a Navigation Center in District 5? Not surprisingly, nothing about that on her website.

According to a flyer I picked up the other day, Brown's opponent in November, Dean Preston, supports "navigation centers in every district," though I don't see any mention of the idea on his website.

District 5 voters will be interested in learning where exactly Preston thinks a Navigation Center should be located in their district.

Mayor Breed's fiasco on the Embarcadero now makes Navigation Centers an important issue in November's election.

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Navigation Center for whose neighborhood?

Photo: Leah Millis

The above is a photo of the proposed location of a Navigation Center discussed below:

Letters to the editor in today's SF Chronicle:

Regarding “Mayor stands up” (Editorial, April 5): The Chronicle’s editors were very kind to Mayor London Breed in the editorial.

Prior to her arrival at Wednesday’s first real informational meeting on a plan to place a 200-bed facility for the homeless on The Embarcadero, city staff, police officials and consultants had spent an hour explaining to a largely skeptical but respectful crowd of South of Market residents how the center would operate. The meeting was going well.

Within minutes of her arrival, an impatient and frustrated mayor faced with very predictable caterwauling threatened to walk out of the meeting and then just as quickly reversed herself and told those opposed to her plan that they should leave. The reaction of the crowd was just as predictable as it was avoidable.

Breed needs to try much harder to find common ground with her constituents who have legitimate concerns (and are hardly the NIMBY bullies The Chronicle imagines) about yet another homeless shelter in the SoMa neighborhood.

Bob Wynne
San Francisco

Regarding “Disregard for the homeless” (Letters, April 4): I read that a letter writer feels it is shameful that a planned Navigation Center for the homeless is in limbo because of worried neighbors in apartments ringing the area.

Such holier-than-thou preaching does not accurately reflect life in the real world. Did she expect the area’s residents to be jumping for joy and shouting hallelujah? 

Homeless encampments are often rife with drug and alcohol problems as well as mental and emotional health issues. Crime among the homeless is an ongoing problem.

Few among us, especially parents with children, want this kind of climate introduced into our neighborhood. I doubt these problems would suddenly disappear because the homeless are being housed in a navigation center. To pass judgment and criticize people with these kinds of objections is asinine.

Kenneth Jones
San Francisco

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