San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission
Full Commission Meeting
Monday, December 14, 2009 at 5:30 PM
City Hall, Hearing Room 416
One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
1. Call to Order and Roll Call
The meeting was called to order at 5:40 pm by Chair McCarthy
Present: Commissioners Alexander, Danfoura, Enssani, Fuentes, Gonzalez, Haile, Jones, Lingad-Ricci, McCarthy, Melgarejo, Perez.
Not Present: Commissioners Moses (excused) and Ng (excused).
Staff Present: Adrienne Pon, Executive Director-Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs; Priscilla Olivas, Senior Policy Analyst, Sally Leung, Executive Coordinator; Richard Whipple, City Hall Fellow; and Whitney Chiao, Public Administration Intern.
2. Public Comment
There was no public comment
3. Concerns of Visitacion Valley Residents
Marlene Tran, former IRC Commissioner, appeared before the Commission to voice her concern for the recent changes made by MUNI to bus lines that serve Visitacion Valley residents, of which 60% are Asian immigrants. On August 6, 2009, MUNI received approval to change the name of bus stops that are frequently used by residents. The lines that changed have the highest number of incidents and the second highest number of juvenile offenders, and the change threatens the safety of residents who may be unaware of the changes. She also stated that passengers with expired transfers may be cited while in transit, which can generate fear when passengers are approached by a stranger. She requested that MUNI provide a bilingual translator between law enforcement and the community, and that the EALS Ordinance be strengthened.
Diane Yee also spoke before the Commission. As a resident of Visitacion Valley for 23 years, she is aware of the safety concerns of residents. Many of her family members have been mugged, and many find riding the bus at night to be terrifying. The signs announcing the change in bus line names were posted only on the three most used stops in Visitacion Valley and only two days before the change went into effect. As a result, riders who do not know the new stops occasionally take the wrong bus and end up in unfamiliar parts of San Francisco. She requested that the Commission help take care of this matter.
Commissioner Alexander invited Ms. Tran to attend a future Programs and Access Committee meeting to discuss the issues further. Other commissioners also recommended drafting a resolution, or holding a hearing where MUNI and the members of the community can speak on the issue. Chair McCarthy also stated that if someone wanted to make a complaint, the Office of Citizen Complaints take complaints related to the Police Department, while 311 takes all other complaints.
4. Action Items: Approval of Previous Minutes
Motion to approve meeting minutes from the October 5, 2009 Excelsior Neighborhood meeting made by Commissioner Gonzalez, seconded by Commissioner Haile, and approved unanimously by the Commission
Motion to approve meeting minutes from the November 19, 2009 Combined Committee meeting with deletion of Commissioner McCarthy from “Not Present” Commissioners, made by Commissioner Fuentes, seconded by Commission Alexander, and approved unanimously by the Commission.
5. Action Item: Election of Officers for 2010 (Chair, Vice Chair)
The Commission first voted on the Commission Chair position. Commissioner McCarthy was nominated by Commissioner Gonzalez, and seconded by Commissioner Enssani. There were no other nominations. Commissioner McCarthy accepted the nomination, and the Commission voted unanimously to reelect Commissioner McCarthy as the 2010 Commissioner Chair.
The Commission proceeded to elect the Commission Vice Chair. Commissioner Fuentes was nominated by Commissioner Ricci and seconded by Commissioner Jones. Commissioner Melgarejo was nominated by Commissioner Perez and seconded by Commissioner Fuentes. Before proceeding with the vote, the Commission discussed the role and qualifications. The Vice Chair takes the place of the Commission Chair when needed, and should be flexible and available. In addition to regular Commission responsibilities, the Vice Chair should remain up-to-date on policies related to immigration and stay on top of the Commission’s work. Commissioner Fuentes withdrew his name. Commissioner Perez was nominated by Commissioner Ricci and seconded by Commissioner Melgarejo, but Commissioner Perez also declined the nomination. Before the election, Commissioners asked Commissioner Melgarejo to say a little about herself and her work.
Commissioner Melgarejo immigrated to the US from Paraguay in 1993 and has many personal experiences as an immigrant. For the last four and a half years, she has worked with faith-based communities and one critical aspect of her work has been to help empower immigrant communities. She would like to see people coming to Commission meetings feeling empowered, and see the Commission’s work expanded to outside the meetings. She believes that all people can be trained and grow so that they can help support their communities. The commissioners thanked Commissioner Melgarejo for her comments and proceeded to vote on the position. The commission voted unanimously to elect Commissioner Melgarejo as the Commission Vice Chair. The Commissioners thanked the outgoing Vice Chair for his work in the last year and look forward to working with the new Chair and Vice Chair in the upcoming year.
6. Action Item: Approval of Annual Commission Planning Retreat
Director Pon provided an update on the Commission’s upcoming planning retreat and meeting. The Commission retreat will be held on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at the Atrium Conference Center on the 2nd Floor at 1 South Van Ness. Agenda items will include the Commission’s priorities and work plan, their platform, positioning and outreach, subcommittees, scheduling, and the resolution on the immigration reform debate. The retreat will be facilitated by Chantel Walker, and the Director emphasized the importance of Commissioners attending. Motion to approve retreat agenda, made by Commissioner Haile and seconded by Commissioner Jones.
7. Action Item: Introduction of Proposed Resolutions
Commissioner Perez drafted two resolutions which she brought before the Commission. The first is in regards to International Migrants Day, in which the Commission acknowledges migrants and that their rights and contributions should be acknowledged. Furthermore, the Commission acknowledges that immigrants have recently been targeted by the media.
Director Pon recommended that the Commission rephrase the resolution as advisory to state that the Commission recognizes International Migrants Day and urges the Board of Supervisors and Mayor to support it as well. After some discussion on terminology of Native Americans and migrant workers and a few motions, it was decided that a press advisory would be drafted by Commissioner Perez instead.
The second proposed resolution summarizes the Commission’s position and principles for comprehensive immigration reform. Although it is not time sensitive, Commissioner Perez would like to have it approved and sent to Congress before the discussion on comprehensive immigration reform begins. The resolution is based on the commission’s past work and discussion, and addresses: economic equity, labor rights of workers, a clear path to permanent residence, respect to civil and human rights, family reunification, and encouragement to improve the quality of life in Latin America. Commissioners raised their concerns about creating a timely, but well-thought out resolution and that the resolution should be finalized after the November 9, 2009 symposium report has been published so that no important points are omitted. However, timing is also critical, as the Commission wants to take a proactive stance on the issue. The Commission decided that instead of finalizing the resolution at the meeting, commissioners will write a letter of support to Congressman Luis Gutierrez, congratulating him for passing the first comprehensive immigration reform bill and include a summary of the commission’s stance. Commissioners Perez and Danfoura will co-write the letter. The commission will continue to discuss the resolution more deeply and discuss at their retreat in January.
Motion to approve the letter to Congressman Gutierrez, made by Commissioner Perez and seconded by Commissioner Alexander.
8. Director and Staff Reports
Director Pon thanked the Commission for their work, and believes that the Commission has great potential for the upcoming year. She encouraged commissioners to think about their target audience and how to position themselves strategically in the community.
2010 Census Updates: The Director’s is currently focusing on the 2010 Census. The strategic plan is being submitted to the Mayor, and community outreach grants are being processed. Beginning in January, the Director will be spending a significant amount of time on the Census. Mr. Whipple is helping the Director bring grants to contract, and Mrs. Olivas will monitor the contracts and interactions with organizations. The Director plans to hold a series of stakeholder meetings and events in Supervisorial districts. She urged Commissioners to attend upcoming meetings and also invited them to the Census Kickoff Event on January 4, 2010, which will be held in the North Light Court at City Hall. Commissioners can find more information on the grantees and the Census on the OCEIA website.
EALS Ordinance Requirements: The old ordinance is still in effect. Departments are required to submit their reports by December 31, but the Director will probably allow a grace period in light of the amendments. She also plans to hold informational sessions with each department to inform and prepare them for the new requirements.
CIR Symposium Report: Staff plan to have a final report by the end of the month, but are still waiting for written testimony from the speakers and panelists. Commissioners Danfoura and Gonzalez were asked to help review the draft .
April 13th HRC Joint Hearing Report: The Human Rights Commission is ready to publish the report from the hearing on December 18, 2009, but this still needs significant IRC Commissioners input and major edits before it will be ready. Mr. Whipple updated Commissioners on the results of the Community Needs Survey. He reported that the Commission should find other effective ways of reaching out to the committee and to send ideas to him before the retreat.
9. New Business
Director Pon introduced Priscilla Olivas, OCEIA’s Senior Policy Analyst. She will be working primarily on the Census, and has been working with the grantees and on the RFP process. At the retreat, she will be conducting Census training for the commissioners. Ms. Olivas stated that she has been enjoying her new work and looks forward to working with the Commission.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 by Chair McCarthy.