City Hall: Supervisor Eric Mar

Increasing public safety in the Richmond
As many of you know, on Thanksgiving Day last year Albert Bartal, a forestry firefighter and father of a toddler, was run down by a car driven by a South City man after the two got into a fight at the Jack in the Box on Geary Boulevard at 11th Avenue. This incident sparked outrage and concern on the part of many Richmond residents. I have been working hard to channel the frustrations over the tragic assault and the history of incidents and issues surrounding the Jack in the Box and other late night businesses into a proactive community plan to make our neighborhood safer.

The District 1 community won a victory at the Entertain­ment Commission on Jan. 24 when the Commission decided to grant Jack in the Box only limited extended hours of operation. The operator had been seeking permission to operate 24 hours per day. Though I backed the community's call for having the restaurant close from 2 to 4 a.m., the commission decided that the business would have to close from 4 to 6 a.m. This permit comes with strong conditions, which I and our police captain supported, that will make this restaurant and the surrounding community safer. Community residents who had been active with the Police Advisory Board for the past year and others that wrote, spoke out and signed petitions had an important impact on the commission's decision.

Besides the safety conditions recommended by former Richmond Station Capt. Keith Sanford, and officer Tobias Moore, who address security, parking lot safety, toilets, trash pickup and security cameras, the commission also adopted my stronger safety recommendations. These include: the increase of security guards to seven days a week, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.; adding a second guard for Fridays and Saturdays to better patrol the parking lot and perimeter on evenings when more bar and late activity occurs; having shift managers also participate in patrolling the parking lot during the 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. periods to help with reducing noise and disturbances; improving the signs outside to let customers know that the parking lot is off limits to loitering; preventing customers from eating outside in the outdoor seating area after midnight; and increasing exterior/perimeter lighting and monitoring them better so bulbs are replaced in a timely manner when they go out.

Besides supporting stronger safety measures to hold Jack in the Box accountable, I am working on a comprehensive safety strategy with SF SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone), merchants, residents and the Richmond Police Station. In addition, SF SAFE, through its director Cindy Brandon, has agreed to do workshops with neighbors and residents surrounding the Jack in the Box to help them develop block groups to raise the safety level of the neighborhood.

I am also working with new Richmond Station Capt. Eric Vintero and his staff to increase patrols around the Jack in the Box, which includes bars such as The Hearth and Would You Believe, massage businesses, the Geary Parkway Motel and other merchants across the street and other neighborhood hot spots, like the area around the Rockit Room on Clement at Sixth Avenue.

Entertainment Commission Vice President Audrey Joseph and commission staff have offered to help us create a safer Richmond District by co-sponsoring with me a "community summit" on late-night activities. It would bring together bar owners, late-night restaurants and community stakeholders to collectively address neighborhood safety concerns. I hope to organize this summit within the next two to three months.

Finally, I want to thank the neighbors who have been organizing for a safer community in the Richmond for helping me and my staff, the Richmond Police Station and SF SAFE develop a comprehensive community safety plan.

Hearing on large events in Golden Gate Park
On Monday, Feb. 13, at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee of the SF Board Of Supervisors I will be holding a hearing on the community impacts of large events in Golden Gate Park.

The purpose of this hearing is to allow residents to speak out and dialogue with city Rec. and Park, police and department staff regarding future plans for large events in the park, such as Outside Lands (August) and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (October). We will discuss how these events impact our community and, most importantly, it is an opportunity for you to speak out and give suggestions how our City can mitigate or eliminate problems that arise from these events.

The committee meeting will get underway at 1 p.m. Please feel free to contact my Legislative Aide Nick Pagoulatos, at (415) 554-7412 or nickolas.pagoulatos@sfgov.org for additional information.

Coffee Hour with Eric
My next coffee hour is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Toy Boat Dessert Cafe, 401 Clement St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, at 6 p.m. If you need my attention before then, please feel free to contact my office at (415) 554-7410 or e-mail eric.l.mar@sfgov.org.

Supervisor Eric Mar represents District 1.