Supervisor candidates' forum on Sept. 13

The Consolidated General Election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. One local issue that is sure to have an impact on our neighborhood is the selection of a supervisor to represent District 2. The San Francisco Department of Elections has listed six qualified candidates who are vying for the role. In alphabetical order, the candidates are Kat Anderson, Barbara Berwick, Mark Farrell, Vilma B. Guinto Peoro, Janet Reilly, and Abraham Simmons. (Michela Alioto-Pier has been denied candidacy by the recent California Supreme Court ruling.)

There are numerous challenges facing our neighborhood – and San Francisco in general – and the Board of Supervisors plays a pivotal role in how those challenges are met. To give our neighbors an opportunity to meet the candidates and learn where they stand on the issues, the Marina Community Association (MCA) is joining other neighborhood groups to host a candidates’ forum, an event where supervisor candidates will have a chance to establish their position on issues and answer questions from the community. In addition to the MCA, other sponsors are the Cow Hollow Association, Marina-Cow Hollow Neighbors and Merchants, Golden Gate Valley Association, Marina Merchants Association, and Union Street Merchants Association. The event will be held at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater on Monday, Sept. 13 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free and all residents of District 2 are invited to attend.

One topic that has been at the forefront of local interest lately is the King Edward II Inn and the plan to convert it to housing for at-risk young adults. But this particular project is only one aspect of a much larger concern about the Lombard Street corridor. Even before the King Edward II project was proposed, the Bridge Motel was being sued by the city attorney as a public nuisance, and other hotels are struggling with the difficult economic times. Clearly, this is an area of the City in need of a comprehensive master plan. But many residents feel that their concerns are lost in the planning department, which is ultimately overseen by the Board of Supervisors.

If you are a resident of the Marina or Cow Hollow, or a regular reader of the Marina Times, you are well aware that parking, traffic and transportation are additional ongoing areas of concern in District 2. A recent plan by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to extend parking meter hours until 10 p.m. and enforce meters on Sundays met with strong objections from neighbors and businesses alike. But the portion of the plan that creates variable meter pricing – parking meters that charge different rates based on the time of day – is still going forward as planned. Residents also frequently express concerns about traffic through the neighborhood, cutbacks in Muni service, corporate busses on residential streets, and a broad variety of parking issues. Clearly, there will be some interesting questions posed to the Supervisor candidates.

Other issues that are likely to come up are in the areas of crime and safety, neighborhood commercial districts, zoning compliance, the Presidio and Doyle Drive, the yacht harbor renovation, the San Francisco school system, and issues surrounding open space and playgrounds. In addition to these topics, members of the public will be invited to submit their questions for consideration. While it will be difficult to have every candidate elaborate in detail on every issue, our goal is to create an open forum where each candidate will have an equal chance to express their ideas on how to meet the challenges of the district. We hope to see you there.

John Millar is the president of the Marina Community Association, a volunteer organization dedicated to protecting and improving the distinctive residential quality of the Marina District by actively participating with government and other civic agencies for the betterment of our community.