DHIC Fall Gathering – Saturday, October 5

We invite you and your family to the DHIC Fall Gathering on Saturday, October 5, from 11am to 1pm, on Sanchez Street between 21st & Hills Streets.

Enjoy our History Exhibit with photos and stories of Dolores Heights including the 1906 Earthquake, the “Mayor’s house,” Sanchez Hilltop and much more.

Our D8 Supervisor, Rafael Mandelman, will be there at 11:30 am; followed by Jessica Closson, SFPD Community Engagement, liaison at noon.

Learn about the work of our Green Garden Stairway Clean-up, Planning & Land Use, and Neighborhood Safety groups.

SFMTA representatives are hosting a table to discuss the findings from their study to speed up the J Church line.

Join or renew your DHIC membership and be entered in our drawing for great prizes at 12:30 pm.

So bring your questions and suggestions on all things Dolores Heights & San Francisco. Please join us to see old friends, meet new neighbors, and to learn about key issues in our community!!

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2020 Friends of Noe Valley Garden Tour Seeking Gardens to Showcase

Hello Neighbors!

The annual Friends of Noe Valley Garden Tour 2020 is actively looking for gardens to showcase on the tour next May. Over the years most of the gardens have been located in lower Noe Valley around 24th Street. This year we are hoping to showcase some gardens from the hills of Noe Valley including Dolores Heights.

The 2020 Garden Tour will be held on Saturday, May 16th from 10am to 4pm. There are typically 8 -10 gardens on the tour. All types of gardens are encouraged – manicured, wild, vegetable, pet friendly, owner or professionally designed. Around 200-250 people attend the tour viewing the gardens, at their own pace and in any order, with a map that is provided. Entrance to a garden must be through a passage, garage or walkway that does not involve passing through a residence. Prices for tickets are $20 for adults and $16 for seniors 65+. Children under 12 are free. Raffle tickets for a garden makeover are also sold. Proceeds from the Garden Tour are returned to the community through a donation to a beautification project in the neighborhood.

Here is where you come in. Do you or a neighbor have a garden that you think should be considered for the Garden Tour? Don’t be shy! The Garden Tour committee would love to see it. Let us know even if you are unsure. The committee members have lots of ideas and can help you out. Participation in the Garden Tour is actually a really FUN experience!

If you have a garden you’d like to be considered or have any questions please contact –
Peggy Cling

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Assessors Office’s Services for Property Owners

From the Office of Assessor Carmen Chu: Tips to Save on Property Taxes

The Office of Assessor Carmen Chu determines the assessed value of all property in San Francisco. This work results in property tax revenue which goes to support vital city services and public education. There are many programs available to help save on your annual property tax bill. Below are brief descriptions and links to some of our Office’s most popular tax savings programs, as well as programs administered by other local agencies.

Homeowners exemption: If you own and occupy your property as a primary residence, you may be eligible to receive a Homeowner’s Exemption on your property taxes. This exemption deducts $7,000 from your assessed value, thus lowering your property tax bill each year. For more information, we have developed the Property Tax Savings for Homeowners fact sheet.

Property tax savings for families: Thinking about passing on property to your children? CA tax laws allow parents to transfer ownership of their primary residence and other properties as eligible to their children (and vice versa) without reassessing the property to market value. This means the recipient would be able to keep your current assessed value on the property and continue to pay property taxes as you would have. A similar tax benefit is also available for property transfer to a grandchild, however eligibility for each program is unique. To share more information on these programs, we have created a brief informational video on Property Tax Savings for Families.

SFUSD parcel tax exemptions for seniors: Over the past several years, SF voters have approved measures which provide funding to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), including the Quality Teacher Education Act of 2008, the School Facilities Special Tax of 2010, and the Living Wage for Educators Act of 2018. All of these measures include an exemption for seniors ages 65 and over, provided they meet certain criteria. If you are 65 or older as of June 30, 2020, you may be eligible to receive over $600 in savings on your property tax bill. This exemptions program is administered by SFUSD, and you can find out more by visiting the website of their Senior Citizen Exemption Office.

Property tax savings for historic properties: The Mills Act program allows qualified owners to receive property tax reductions and use that savings to offset the cost of rehabilitation, restoration, and maintenance of their qualifying historic properties. This program is administered by the San Francisco Planning Department. For more information, please review this Historic Preservation Bulletin on the Mills Act program.

Learn about estate planning at the Family Wealth Forum: At the Assessor’s Office, we understand that planning for a secure financial future is a top priority for San Francisco families, but laws around inheriting property can be complicated. That’s why our office is organizing the Family Wealth Forum, a community event designed to provide families with the necessary tools to kick-start the estate planning process. The next Family Wealth Forum will be held in May 2020, but pre-registration is open now. To learn more and register, visit the Family Wealth Forum webpage.

If you have additional questions about the assessed value of your property and how you can save on your property taxes, please visit our website at sfassessor.org or reach out to the Office of Assessor Carmen Chu via email sfassessor@sfgov.org, by calling (415) 554-5596, or visiting us in City Hall, Room 190, Monday-Friday from 8:00 am-5:00 pm.

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Update on Homelessness Issues in Our Neighborhood

Are the Park and surrounding areas looking better? DHIC has been working for one year with other neighborhood associations to address issues caused by homelessness around Dolores Park and the Castro. At the July 31 Town Hall, City representatives heard the growing frustrations of neighbors and they committed more resources focused on the Park and surrounding areas. There is now a “Hot Spots” list of areas that are receiving more services daily and weekly. This includes areas in the Park and the Sanchez Stairs.

Do you see an improvement?? With the increased services and resources, we expect to see faster and more effective action on the 311 issues, on daily safety, and on the recurring “come and go” homeless camps and belongings. DHIC is working with Supervisor Mandelman, Captain Caltagirone, SFPD Mission Station, and other city representatives. We have asked SFPD to increase their focus on drug sales and use around the Park and Mission High and Children’s Day School.

Let us know your thoughts at info@doloresheights.org. And please attend our Fall Gathering on Saturday, October 5. Jessica Closson who’s working directly on the strategy and to escalate issues will be there to meet you and other neighbors. (See announcement in this issue.)

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Green Garden Day – Saturday, October 5

Our Green Garden Day stairway clean-up takes place on Saturday, October 5 from 9-11 am at Cumberland and Sanchez Streets.
Heavy lifting and hill climbing are not required.
There’ll be coffee provided by Spike’s Coffees & Teas and treats from the DHIC, garden tools and gloves courtesy of SF Parks Alliance and SFDP.
Our mission is to improve our public staircases and their surrounding green areas with a healthy combination of gardening, safety, neighbor involvement and fun!Everyone is welcome.
E-mail stairs@doloresheights.org for more info, or just show up!

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SF 311 Reporting Advice

SF 311 – online, call or use the app for non-emergency encampments, garbage, etc.

911 – if there is an ongoing crime or threat of violence or a person is in mental distress (screaming, yelling or engaged in other alarming behavior) or the person is unresponsive.

SFPD non-emergency dispatch- 415-553-0123 – if a person is injecting drugs; person or group is on private property.

Please copy on all reports

Tom Temprano

District 8 Board of Supervisors, Constituent Services

(415) 554-6968


Jessica Closson, SFPD Community Liaison, District 8

‭(415) 713-6877‬


Gaetano Caltagirone, Captain Mission Station

(415) 558-5400


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Educate Yourself on the Proposed Mission Dolores Green Benefit District

Have you heard about the proposed Mission Dolores Green Benefit District? The District would provide enhanced services (above and beyond the City’s existing services) funded via an overlap tax on properties. It requires obtaining support from 30% of property owners support via a petition. Then the City would administer a special election with a ballot sent to property owners within the proposed district. A simple majority of the weighted vote is required to authorize the district. DHIC has not taken a position on this proposal. The Formation Committee organizing for the Mission Dolores GBD is seeking support and volunteers. And “No GBD Tax”, a group opposed to the establishing GBDs in San Francisco, also seeks to educate residents and obtain their support. Please educate yourself by visiting these groups’ websites and talking with your neighbors.

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Stop AB 1487 Overreach

AB 1487. This bill, as amended this week, creates an “uber” regional agency (the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority – BARHF) that will govern and fund housing in the nine-county SF Bay Area. These last-minute amendments prevent any public review, hearing, or comment on the creation of a new, powerful regional authority. This “housing finance authority” will be governed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) board and staffed by MTC employees.

The MTC will hand-pick a small group of representatives to make housing and fiscal policy for the entire Bay Area. The bill also gives this entity the power to propose taxes, to distribute funds among public and private entities (including housing developers), and to impose its measures on local governmental ballots.  

This bill is an overreach and expands the MTC’S charter without any voter approval. Many local officials are concerned about this takeover of their local authority. Please write to Governor Newsom asking him to veto this bill so that the creation of a regional finance authority can receive full review and hearing. If possible by Tuesday, September 3, please write to your local assemblyperson. For Dolores Heights, our Assemblyperson is David Chiu, who sponsors this bill. We urge you to register your opposition – even with a sponsor.

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Many State Bills Will Override San Francisco Planning Codes & Regs

Here’s a round-up on housing legislation in our state legislature. In May SB 50 was postponed until the 2020 session (though it may come back through last-minute, back-room deals and maneuvers that involve a “gut and amend” of another bill and waiver of rules – stay tuned!). Many housing bills that are still on the docket seek to usurp San Francisco’s policies, ordinances, and planning codes by passing statewide laws. These are only the tip of the iceberg. In 2019 our state legislators introduced 200 bills to replace local planning laws and process with state-mandated standards and processes.SB 330 and SB 592 were heard this week before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 330 mandates that all cities follow its prescribed timelines and review process for approval of housing projects. SB 592 sponsored by Senator Wiener originally governed beauticians and barbers. However, Senator Scott Wiener used a backroom “gut and amend” maneuver to re-write SB 592 making it a vehicle for more state mandates under the Housing Accountability Act. These changes further override the San Francisco’s control over planning and zoning. These bills are being pushed under the battle cry of “the housing crisis.”

A plethora of bills governing Accessory Dwelling Units. The worst of the group are: AB 68, AB 69, AB 881 and SB 13. For context, San Francisco has its own Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance which allowed for legalizing existing ADUs and for permitting of new ones. AB 68 will in effect legalize multiple dwellings on all single family lots statewide. Under AB 68 an ADU “within the buildable area” can be approved without any City review or any appeal by adjacent neighbors. AB 69 instructs the state Housing Department to develop ADU construction standards by 2021. AB 881 provides for ministerial and not discretionary approvals of ADUs and invalidates provisions of local ADU ordinances that restrict ADUs in a variety of ways. SB 13 limits what local law can require of an ADU and like AB 881, requires a “by-right” ministerial process and shortens the approval time from 120 to 60 days. SB 13 also deletes the current enforcement procedure which included mediation.

AB 1487 creates a “housing finance authority” governed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission board and staffed by MTC employees. This bill is an overreach and expands the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s charter without any voter approval. It gives the MTC the ability to hand-pick a small group of representatives. The bill also gives this entity the ability to propose taxes and to impose its measures on local governmental ballots.

If your head is spinning, here’s a data-driven analysis  written by an Albany elected official arguing that California’s housing crisis is simply one of affordability. Using data from California state agencies, it refutes the narrative that we need to incentivize more market-rate housing. And it illustrates how the jobs/housing imbalance has increased the cost of market-rate housing beyond what median (and lower) earners can afford.

If you oppose these bills, please write to your assemblyperson and to Governor Newsom. DHIC advocates for policies and laws at the City and state level that fund and incentivize more affordable housing, that balance the needs of existing neighborhoods and their built environment with future growth, and that allow all stakeholders (especially local residents) to have a voice in the process. How do these bills solve San Francisco’s need for below-market rate affordable housing or address the decreasing quality of life from poorly planned growth?

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Town Hall Meeting on Homelessness in Our Neighborhood

Approximately 40 residents attended a Town Hall on homelessness in  Dolores Park and surrounding areas. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and his team brought together representatives of all City departments that are working on this issue in our neighborhoods.

What we heard – the City is bringing more staffing and services to the Dolores Park area: 

  • The Park will have two full-time rangers from 6am to 10pm daily. And undercover and uniformed SFPD officers are stationed around Dolores Park stairs and sidewalks to prevent gang presence in the Park
  • Rec & Park has increased other services in the park including restroom monitors at high usage times to ensure cleanliness and order
  • After the Park closes at 10pm, the Rangers and SFPD sweep the Park three times during the night to enforce the ban on overnight camping in the Park
  • DPW and SFPD is actively moving campers off the street medians. DPW is further locking down street lighting access boxes – used by homeless individuals to charge cell phones
  • Healthy Streets Operations Center is taking a person-centered approach to the most disruptive homeless individuals in our area. The goal is to assess these individuals and get them to key services, especially mental health and substance use treatment
  • Teams are using “hot spot” maps based on 311 and other reports to bring proactive health, street cleaning, and other services. The Dolores Park/Castro areas now average 700 monthly requests for services. (So keep opening those 311 cases!! And to avoid phone hold time, download & use the mobile 311 app.)

What the City representatives heard: despite the additional resources – residents expressed growing concern, anger, and frustration are growing. Many residents are fearful – for their children, for themselves – owing to the aggressive and crazy behavior they see among homeless individuals on their sidewalks. City officials are seeing a new type of homelessness: come and go (vs. permanent encampment). Getting these individuals into services requires a different approach than simply moving people and their belongings. And homelessness is trending upward. Per Emily Cohen, the Mayor’s Advisor on Homelessness, while 50 homeless individuals are housed each week, approximately 100 to 150 newly homeless show up each week.

DHIC has been working for one year with other neighborhood associations around Dolores Park to give feedback and recommendations to the City. Supervisor Mandelman facilitates a monthly meeting for that purpose. With the increased services and resources, we expect to see faster and more effective action on the 311 issues, on daily safety, and on the recurring “come and go” homeless camps and belongings. This current approach is a holding action. We need more effective policy, strategy, and resources to handle those who are mentally ill and substance abusers and those who openly use drugs on our streets adjacent to schools. We need to balance the needs of the homeless against the needs of our neighbors, families, students, and visitors. We welcome your opinions, ideas, and comments on this and other neighborhood issues. Email us at info@doloresheights.org

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