Events, community ambassadors and participatory budgeting are on the table for Ingleside in this year’s nearly $14 billion city budget.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors budget committee is expected to reach an agreement by next week. The full board must approve the budget by Aug. 1.
The Ingleside Light interviewed District Seven Supervisor Myrna Melgar and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai about where they intend to direct funds for Ingleside and the city.
Melgar said that she is both keeping district needs in mind but also doing what’s good for the entire city.
“Because we're still in a pandemic, kids and seniors and transportation are important, as well as homelessness and affordable housing so those are my priorities for the entire city,” Melgar said.
Her focuses citywide are on the quality of life issues for its residents, small business and workforce recovery and overall support for resident’s food and health.
Funds allocated toward the district will focus on community and safety.
“We are continuing to do quite a bit of investment in the Ocean Avenue corridor,” Melgar said. “I'm proposing that we put in a bunch of money into events on the corridor to get people to come out and shop our stores and eat at a restaurant and just be out.”
Events include another Lunar New Year festival and an additional celebration as well.
Another focus is toward the overall safety of residents.
“We have money for ambassadors that assist, safety wise, on the streets, helping eldery residents shop without fear of being targeted,” Melgar said. “There’s been, unfortunately, an increase in hate crimes against our Asian neighbors so having folks who can help walk with you helps with that safety factor.”
Residents can have a say on how funds should be spent each year through participatory budgeting, which will continue next year, Melgar said.
Lauren Chung, Safai’s legislative aide, said that the five-person office will continue its focus on supporting small businesses by providing them with the tools they need to recover fully from the pandemic such as setting up a citywide $2 million direct relief pilot program during the last budget cycle and working with Mayor London Breed to put $10 million into the budget for direct grants. They have also continued to battle food insecurity by supporting meal distribution programs.
After redistricting went into effect in April, Safai is responsible for overseeing more of Ingleside than before, including part of Ocean Avenue’s retail district.
The office is looking to add mental health services for youth and families back into the budget, Chung said.
“Anyone who needs it, really, because it's been a stressful couple of years,” Chung said. “Now, more than ever, people really need to take care of their mental health.”
Safai is planning to direct funds toward public safety and community resources through initiatives like building new Ocean View libraries and implementing park upgrades and support to the Recreation and Parks Department budget requests to add more staffing for safety and presence.
Safai is pushing hard for Ingleside since he felt that this has been a forgotten part of the city before coming to office, Chung said.
“There has always been this notion that folks don’t understand that this is still in the city and county of San Francisco and he’s really tried hard to change that narrative,” Chung said. “We are committed to investing in this neighborhood and making sure that our residents are heard and that Ingleside feels the investment that we’re trying to bring in.”
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