SF requires safer storage of firearms left in vehicles

San Francisco added a new gun control law to the books Tuesday by mandating storage requirements for firearms left in unattended vehicles.

Gun owners will have to ensure, if they leave their firearms behind in their parked cars, the weapons are in trunks inaccessible from inside the vehicle or in lock boxes affixed to the vehicle.

Supervisor David Campos introduced the law in the aftermath of the July shooting death of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 with a gun stolen from a federal agent’s vehicle. In October, three drifters allegedly stole a firearm from a tourist’s parked car and used it to fatally shoot a woman in Golden Gate Park and a man in Marin County.

“Here in the Bay Area, we have seen examples where guns have ended up in the wrong hands [and] lead to tragic outcomes,” Campos said.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the legislation. A similar state law has been proposed in the Sacramento legislature.

Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor, spend up to six months in jail and pay a $10,000 fine. The law exempts local law enforcement if they have policies of their own. The law would not apply to on–duty law enforcement from outside jurisdictions.

‘DOESN’T SMELL RIGHT’

The largest debate at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday was over a $55 million sole-source contract — meaning the job wasn’t competitively bid — to Oryx Development and Charles Pankow Builders related to the rebuild of the Southeast Treatment Plant, long a source of complaint from nearby residents over the odors of the sewage.

“This thing doesn’t smell right to this supervisor,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who voted against the contract, along with supervisors Campos and John Avalos.

While not mentioned directly during the meeting, those critical of the deal have noted the political donations these companies made in recent years to Mayor Ed Lee and his allies, such as Pankow’s $25,000 supporting the mayor’s transportation bond in 2014. Peskin’s opponent this past November also benefited from their political spending.

Part of the treatment facility project includes relocating The City’s fleet management facility, which the companies would rebuild on nearby parcels purchased by The City.

Harlan Kelly, head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, defended the deal during the meeting and said it was needed to meet deadlines of the sewage treatment project.

“It is costing us $3 million a month in escalation if we don’t move quickly,” Kelly said, noting the land for the future fleet shop didn’t become available until within the year.

John Updike, director of the Department of Real Estate, stood behind the deal. “We are very comfortable” with the selected firms and costs, he said, noting, “This is not the preferred or normal path of delivering a public project.”

Updike said the brokerage firm referred the developer team to The City.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the sewage treatment site, agreed the process was flawed but appealed to her colleagues to approve it to avoid delays. “I am resentful for the position that I have been placed in,” Cohen said.

TEACHER EVICTIONS

Campos introduced legislation that would prohibit landlords from evicting families with children under 18 years old during the school year for so–called no–fault evictions, including evictions when an owner moves in, condo conversions and capital improvements. It would also apply to someone who works for San Francisco schools, including teachers or custodians.

He noted that the idea came from Dean Preston, director of Tenants Together, who is also running against board President London Breed for the District 5 seat on the board this November.

“San Francisco is facing an affordability crisis. We are also facing a teacher shortage crisis,” Campos said. “This combination has proved very disastrous for our city.”

MEGA EVENTS

Supervisor Jane Kim took another step toward restricting how San Francisco hosts so–called “mega events” in the wake of the debate over hosting the ongoing week-long celebration leading up to Super Bowl 50.

Kim requested the City Attorney draft legislation that would require a fiscal feasibility analysis for any event that would last more than 24 hours, clearly define what is a civic event and require formal event agreements submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review.

In the case of Super Bowl 50, there was no formal agreement and there has been criticism of the deal since the event will cost taxpayers an estimated $5 million in public safety and transit impacts.

“I have received hundreds of emails and communications in person, even snail mail and over the phone demanding that San Francisco be reimbursed,” Kim said.

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