Mayor Breed placed Proposition H on the ballot in response to the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She called out San Francisco’s “broken” permitting system and even issued an executive order on November 19th last year requiring City departments to implement Proposition Hwithin 30 days.
Working with our clients, we are trying to get several retail permits throughout the city, and the permit department remains bogged down and back-logged. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspections was mandated by Proposition H’s passing to begin streamlining operations and secure emergency permits within 30 days. Still, there has been no sign that this has occurred, and there has been no sign of Mayor Breed attempting to implement these necessary changes.
We Need To Hold Our City Officials Accountable.
The biggest problem is that no one is actually in charge. Mission Local ran a great story on the corruption and nepotism that has existed so long in the City’s permit department. Currently, the Deputy Director position remains open when the previous director, Tom Hui, was ousted for essentially turning the department over to an expeditor who was arrested for money-laundering charges.
You would think that given the amount of corruption, the endless amount of red tape, and the bureaucracy in the SF Department of Building Inspection, we would be looking for an experienced high-level, organizational hire.
Not San Francisco. The only job requirement for this role is to “hold a high school diploma or GED.” But, under the educational substitution provision, one needn’t possess any education at all if they have just two years of experience in the field.
This vacancy was posted on the city’s website on January 27th. The original deadline to apply was February 3rd. I emailed to inquire about the jarringly quick turnaround and they informed me that the deadline moved to February 12th. And to date, they still have not hired someone.
The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection needs a complete overhaul from top to bottom. The city should call for an emergency meeting of government and private companies and individuals that deal with the building department regularly to create a “think tank” on how to fix this mess. On the table should be very regulation that prevents retail businesses from opening up in our city, including evaluating the need to continue with the 11 store formula retail rule.
Our neighborhoods are gutted with high vacancy rates, particularly in large spaces. No neighborhood has to fear a large retailer coming to these vacant parcels because, frankly, they can’t make money opening stores in our city. Between our crime, the homelessness, and our heavy taxes–– large retailers have already overlooked our city as an option.
We should be figuring out a way to incentivize them back and not create large neighborhoods of blight!
We Need Leadership NOW.
As a native of San Franciscan, I’m appalled to see where our City’s priorities are. This week, San Francisco got rid of its extraordinary high school achievement in Lowell High School. It is creating a re-education campaign that looks a lot like what the Nazis created in World War II by renaming over 40 schools including Lincoln, Washington, Hoover, and Paul Revere. We have become the laughing stock of the country.
What Mayor Breed should be doing is publicly propose a plan to take back our City from homelessness, cleanliness, crime and create an emergency committee of all businesses and individuals to come up with a plan now to fix the economic devastation that has hit our city. If not, San Francisco won’t recover for years. The Mayor needs to be much more vocal in these trying times. Instead, she’s missing in action.