Candidates lay out Mission plans

Candidates vying to represent the Mission district in the November election face one of San Francisco’s biggest problems after last week’s eruption of shootings and killings in the neighborhood, which has residents fearful of gang
retaliation.

“We are at the place where people are dying on a regular basis, and it’s a crisis,” school board member and District 9 candidate Mark Sanchez said.

Last week, the Mission neighborhood was rocked by violence, with the fatal shooting of the president of the San Francisco chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club along with several suspected gang shootings and killings. There have been at least seven homicides in the area in the past three weeks.

David Campos, police commissioner and District 9 candidate, said the “city is not being proactive enough about violent crime.” He said there are not enough officers in the Mission district and coordination needs to improve between the police and community-based organizations. 

Sanchez, on the other hand, said The City also needs to hold community-based organizations more accountable.

“If we can’t show that we are being effective and kids are dying then we ought to look at other programs,” he said.

Several candidates for the seat, which represents the Mission, Bernal Heights and Portola neighborhoods, said community members do not trust police, which is why witnesses do not come forward.

Candidate Eric Quezada, executive director of Dolores Street Community Services, said the distrust has led to the feeling that “you can get away with murder in San Francisco.”

Quezada was critical of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to delay issuing city identification cards to illegal immigrants and others, a card that could be used as a valid ID when reporting a crime to local police without fear of deportation. The delay, he said, only makes The City less safe.

Candidate Eric Storey, a telecommunications technician, offered two suggestions to curb violence: ramp up enforcement of low-level crimes, such as vandalism and traffic violations, and “double” the amount of street and sidewalk sweeping in the neighborhood.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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