Mayor Ed Lee, left, and Acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin observe a body-worn camera demonstration at the San Francisco Police Department’s training facilities on June 30. (Rachael Garner/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Mayor quickly vetoes community policing legislation

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/on-guard/

Easy come, easy go.

Only a day after legislation to create neighborhood property crime units in the San Francisco Police Department passed at the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Ed Lee has vetoed it.

The legislation was approved 7-4 at the board, with Supervisors Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell and Katy Tang voting nay. That’s one vote shy of a veto-proof majority.

The legislation, which was authored by Supervisor Norman Yee and also sponsored by Supervisor David Campos, would’ve amended administrative code to require the creation of property crime units in each district, through foot patrols and community crime prevention “among other tactics,” according to the legislative digest.

Apparently, the mayor thought the measure micromanaged police.

In his veto letter to the Board of Supervisors, issued Wednesday, the mayor wrote, “The San Francisco Civil Grand Just warns us about the perils of segmenting The City into small policing units, as this ordinance would have us do.”

But probably more salient to the current political climate, Lee also said Yee and Campos’ measure would create “conflicting and duplicative” rules with Proposition R –– which Lee introduced with Supervisor Scott Wiener.

That “Safe Neighborhoods Ordinance” (yes, another wholly separate police ordinance) would create a minimum staffing requirement for neighborhood crime, like burglaries, automobile break-ins and auto thefts, among others.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, Lee also said Yee and Campos’ measure is “motivated by ballot politics and not public safety” because it restricts the SFPD’s ability to coordinate “internally.”

Lee’s spokesperson, Deirdre Hussey, explained the mayor’s Safe Neighborhoods Ordinance doesn’t micromanage police because it’s citywide.

Yee’s legislation focuses on property crime in districts only, she said, “hamstringing the police from having a city-wide strategy for targeting crimes that impact our neighborhoods.”

Campos was pretty livid about the veto, and told On Guard, “Talk about playing politics with public safety. If he is willing to veto this while at the same time supporting what Wiener is doing, it’s a clear indication of the mayor being unwilling to challenge the [police union].”

He added, “Community policing is bad? Hard to imagine a mayor would actually say that.”

Campos said this measure is needed. “People are coming into San Francisco and breaking into cars because they know they can get away with it,” he said.

Apparently, the mayor disagrees. Or, if we’re being generous, he disagrees with how that problem should be solved.

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