Police foot beat mandate gains footing 

Voters will decide in June whether to mandate that police officers walk regular foot beats in San Francisco neighborhoods and patrol Muni’s most crime-plagued routes.

In 2007, the Board of Supervisors approved legislation mandating a pilot foot-patrol program. At the time, The City was experiencing record-high homicides, and then-police Chief Heather Fong was being criticized for weak leadership.

The legislation, which sparked the most politically charged debate at that time, was strongly opposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, who said the board shouldn’t involve itself in legislating police resources, a duty that, he said, should be left up to the police chief. Newsom vetoed the legislation, but it was overturned by the Board of Supervisors.

The new measure, which was submitted Tuesday by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, would require the captain of each police station to work with merchants and community members to establish specific foot-patrol beats in the area. Similarly, the department would determine which Muni routes to patrol.

The measure also would require police Chief George Gascón, who was sworn in to his post in August, to regularly report to the mayor and Board of Supervisors about the effectiveness of the foot patrols.

The ordinance was submitted Tuesday, the deadline for members of the board to submit measures for the June 8 ballot with at least four supervisors’ signatures.

Other measures submitted Tuesday would impact development and landlords. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu submitted a measure that would strengthen Proposition K, a measure approved by voters in 1984 that protects sunlight in parks and open space.

Supervisor Chris Daly submitted a measure would prohibit landlords from increasing rent to more than one-third of a tenant’s income.


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