To Marina Safeway Management: On the morning of Dec. 15, 2019, an individual defecated in the middle of an aisle in your store. I am writing to ask that you increase security both in your store and in your parking lot, commit to calling the police and to filing a police report when incidents do occur, and to continue to work with my office and our city departments to make your store safe for all our neighbors who rely on it.
I do not expect you to account for every private individual’s actions in your establishment. I know that, between ever-growing bureaucracy, homelessness, and property crime, San Francisco has more than its fair share of challenges that make it difficult for businesses to operate.
But much of the frustration I have heard from residents, customers, and community members is the result of your perceived lack of interest in addressing the persistent challenges in and around your store.
The homelessness, mental health, and addiction crises our city faces are not news to anyone in San Francisco, and no one person, agency, or business can be expected to solve them alone. Nevertheless, we must all do our part. I write today to urge you to be a good neighbor and to take a leadership role.
I encourage you to begin by increasing your investments in security. When I was a member of the Budget Committee, I successfully fought to deliver an additional 250 police officers to our force, as well as over $1 million to keep foot patrols on our streets on behalf of our community. But we know that our Police Department remains under-funded, and we rely on our partnerships with private institutions that must contribute to enforcing the most basic standards of behavior. I ask you to help to make sure that your store is safe and welcoming for all — for visitors, for children, and for families.
I recognize that private security will not prevent or be able to address all instances of crime. With that in mind, I ask that you instruct your employees to engage constructively with the San Francisco Police Department when necessary. Just as we encourage all residents to call 911 when they see crimes in progress, I urge you to do the same. Call the police when they are needed — when people threaten customers, use illegal drugs, or expose themselves mid-aisle, to name a few examples that we are all familiar with. Wait for the police to arrive, and file police reports. All of this matters when the Police Department decides how to allocate resources, and we need you to be a partner.
The fact that you called the police when an individual relieved himself in your store and then canceled the call just minutes later is baffling to me. By canceling the call for service, you didn’t give us a chance to help.
I appreciate your coming to meet with my office following this incident, but one conversation is not enough. I ask that you continue to engage with me. We — neighbors, community leaders, and patrons of your business — have had enough inaction. With this letter, I extend an open offer to continue our work together to make your store safe and welcoming for all.
I write not just to ask you to do your part, but to commit to doing my part as well.
I will continue to advocate at the Board of Supervisors for resources that will allow us to make a cleaner, safer, more welcoming San Francisco. This means pushing for more street cleaning resources, new trash cans — including three recently installed in your immediate vicinity — and more foot patrol officers in our neighborhoods.
I will demand that the Police Department and the Dispatch Center be responsive to your calls, as they must be to those of any concerned neighbor.
I will work with you until we finally implement much-needed solutions that alleviate the harms we are seeing at your store — the harms to your business, the harms to those suffering from addiction and mental health issues, and the harms to the children and families forced to become witnesses to incidents like those of Dec. 15.
No one alone can solve the problems we face as a city. They require continued, concerted effort over long periods of time. But they are not immutable. Whether elected leader, neighbor, or business, we all share in the responsibility of working together to take care of our city.
Permissiveness in the face of our challenges harms everyone — your neighbors, your customers, and your employees. Join me in making a commitment to improving our community.
I am not demanding that you do it alone. Rather, I ask that you face the challenges we are all too familiar with head-on, that you be a good neighbor, that you do your part. I look forward to working with you to make our community the best it can be for all.
Supervisor Catherine Stefani