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Immigrant Rights Commission
Minutes of Meeting on July 11 2005
City Hall, Hearing room 416
I. Roll Call:
Members Present The meeting was called to order on 5:10 p.m., Commissioners Alexander, Enssani, Escobedo, Haile, Lau, Melara, Ng, Nguyen, Specktor & Tran were present. Commissioner Tran arrived at 5:57p.m. Commissioner Ng arrived at 5:18p.m & left at 6:35 p.m.
Members Absent Commissioner Eke, Jones & Ow were absent & unexcused. Commissioners Kaff & Lee were absent & excused.
Others Present Dang Pham, Executive Director & Winny Loi Commission Secretary
II. Approval of minutes for June 13th: Commissioner Melara moved to approve the amended minutes adding some information of how the commissioner will nominate awardees for next anniversary, which was second by Commissioner Haile. The Commission unanimously adopted the amended minutes.
III. Welcome New Commissioners: Commissioner Enssani & Eke.
1. Rachel West-In Defense of Prostitute Women’s Safety: The Board of Supervisors passed resolution Mitigating Violence Against Prostitutes. Ms. West has been working with Supervisor Ammiano & also met with other BOS who supported this resolution. Sex work is a way of supplementing starvation. They are vulnerable to violence. Many women work in unsafe areas. The police & the courts never take violence against the sex workers seriously. Many are illegal immigrants, who are vulnerable & always taken advantage of. Most women are mothers. There is a lack of welfare support for immigrant mothers. On page 35 of the San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution Report, there is good recommendation in the report, which talks about immigration and prostitution. There was lots of input in the immigrant rights organizations, such as the Asian Aids Project & The Center for Southeast Asia Refugee Settlement. This report was written to benefit sex workers, including immigrants. If it were implemented, the Police & courts would have to prioritize protecting prostitution from violence. She wants the IRC to support a resolution, so she can bring it back to the BOS to get this implemented. Immigrant sex workers would greatly benefit from the implementation. 7.6 million dollar was the estimate for 1996 when the task force was meeting. The money was spent on spying, harassing, arresting & prosecuting sex workers. The task force proposed that the money should be spent on protection & services. If this money were released to the community it would help single mothers & other young immigrant women who want to get out of prostitution. Help in housing & childcare is what they need most.
Chandra Roderick from Crossroads Women Center: Many sex workers are women of color & immigrants. These women face high levels of violence. They are forced to work on the streets. A Black woman who is picked up on a sweep; the chances of being deported are very high. Many of these workers take more dangerous jobs & underground jobs. Commissioner Melara suggested that they should go to the BOS & asking them to ensure or enforce the changes, when the changes are made. Make sure the Police Department & the District Attorney’s (DA) office behave differently towards the sex workers. Police Department & DA may not be the department to bring out programs & resources for women. The BOS should ask the Department of Human Services, Department of Public Health & other departments to help women who are working on the streets. The funds that the Police Dept. & the DA’s office should be used in a more positive way. Urge the Mayor’s office & City Departments to invest resource available to assist this population. Commissioner Lau suggested that Ms. West should work with Commissioner Lee to draft a resolution. Commissioner Haile moved to accept the principle of the resolution from In Defense of Prostitute Women’s Safety & ask them to incorporate suggestions of immigrants & broadening the scope of the services. Commissioner Melara seconded the motion.
2. Maria Luisa Oscar-Report on the Status of services for Hispanic/Latino: She works for the Institute on Aging. There are 10 district wide social service workers & she is the only one who speaks Spanish. The total population between disabled & seniors that are Spanish speaking is 40,000. The report is a comparative analysis of 7 programs. The City, State & Federal, funds these programs. This provides the basic needs of life for seniors. They have the highest poverty rate of any other senior & ethnic group. The poverty rate for individuals at the age of 65 or older has an income of $8,000 a year. On page 10, there were 11,577 Public Housing & Section 8 Households listed as elderly or disabled with the following breakdown. Caucasian receives 34%, Asian/Pacific Islander receives 32%, African American receives 25.5%, & Hispanic receives 7.5%, Native American receives 0.05%. In this case Hispanic/Latino recipients, at only 7.5% of those served, are very significantly underserved in comparison to their percentage in the relevant population. They have been complaining for a long time, because they have not received services. She met with Mike Farrah in the Mayor’s Office on June 2004, he asked her to do a case study & show him numbers. She put together the Report on the Status of Services for Hispanic/Latino Seniors and Adult with Disabilities in San Francisco. The city did respond with something positive; they gave back her full time position.
V. IRC 8th Anniversary Celebration & Award ceremony: Commissioners Ng is bringing two roast pigs. Isabel & Jay cannot make it to the meeting, but the others are confirmed that they will attend. We have a total of a 120 people that will attend this event.
VI. MUNI –Draft Response to compliance plan: Commissioner Escobedo informed the commission that Muni was suppose to respond by July 1st, but they didn’t respond until the day of the IRC meeting. The letter is not really a response. Commissioner Escobedo made a motion to find Muni of non-compliance of the Equal Access to Services Ordinance for the correspondence we issued on June 7th & June 8th ; and that the Executive Director will draft a non-compliance findings consistent with the correspondence. It should be submitted to the Program & Access Committee four days before the next committee meeting. The Program & Access Committee will finalize the findings & it will be sent out thereafter. The Executive Director & the Commissioners should do a follow up to the Board of Supervisors. Commissioner Haile second.
VII. Equal Access Ordinance-Report of the meeting with Luna Yasui: Ms. Yasui was the program officer for Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), but now she has been promoted to Acting Director for CAA. CAA was one of the organizations, which put forth many efforts to get the Equal Access to Services Ordinance (EASO) passed. They have talked about amending the compliance plans. Commissioner Escobedo analyzes the EASO & suggests amendments to the Ordinance.
Amend the Tier 1 departments to add additional departments;
Definition of Substantial Number of Limited English Speaking Persons;
Definition of Public Contact Position;
Need to enforce Sections 89.4. Translation of materials;
The staff should do on site visits to the Tier 1 departments four times a year.
Ms. Yasui was going to write a letter to the Planning Department since they have not certify the language groups that they needed to do under the statue. Commissioner Escobedo is still working with Ms. Yasui on the language of the letter. The Planning Department is supposed to certify the language groups. Commissioner Melara suggested adding the Human Rights Commission to the list. Since they have a large staff to handle complaints.
The Program & Access Committee plan to meet on July 27th. There are 8 members on the joint committee. Ms. Loi will contact Commissioner Jones & Lee to resign from the joint committee, since there is a quorum issue.
VIII. Bylaws: Mr. Pham is working with the City Attorney’s office to work on the language of the bylaws.
IX. Winny’s departure: Winny is currently with the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. She will eventually work there full time. The Immigrant Rights Commission is now in a process to find another person to replace Winny. During her time with the Immigrant Rights Commission, part of her assist Administrative Services answer calls & schedule the vehicle pool; she also assisted the City Administrator.
X. Directors Report: Commissioner Alexander was interested in Mr. Pham meeting with the German parliament. The Immigrant Rights Commission receives calls from the Mayor’s office & was asked to meet with them. They wanted to know more about immigration & the immigrant community. In Germany they had same issues with undocumented immigrants. The meeting took place at the Human Rights Commission.
Adjournment: The Commission meeting was adjourned at 7:10 p.m.