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Meeting Information

Full Commission

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NOVEMBER 14, 2005


The Commission Meeting was convened by Vice Chair, Commissioner Deborah Escobedo at 5:05 p.m.


Commissioner Escobedo introduced Marie Mitchell as the new Commission Secretary for the Immigrant Rights Commission and called for the Roll Call.


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Commissioners Deborah Escobedo, Solomon Jones, Svetlana Kaff, Felix Levy, Samira McCoy, Sonia Melara, Phu Nguyen and Zina Specktor; Commissioner Marlene Tran arrived at 5:15 p.m.; Commissioner Gilberto Alexander arrived at 5:20 p.m.; Commissioner (Chair) Diana Lau arrived at 5:35 p.m. and Commissioner Elahe Enssani arrived at 5:55 p.m.


MEMBERS ABSENT:  Commissioner Vera Haile (excused), Ivy Lee and Sam Ng (excused).


STAFF PRESENT:  Dang Pham, Executive Director, Marie Mitchell, Commission Secretary.


GUEST PRESENT:  Winny Loi, former Commission Secretary, Edwin Jocson, Former Executive Director, West Bay Filipino Multi Service Center, Myrna Lim, Advocate, Community Leader and Marie Lorraine Mallare, Former Commissioner of IRC.




New Commissioners, Felix Levy and Phu Nguyen, were welcomed and they were asked to introduce themselves.




Commissioner Jones moved to approve the minutes and Commissioner Melara seconded. No discussions followed and the minutes were approved as submitted. (Note: Commissioner Escobedo asked Mr. Pham to check with the City Attorney to determine whether or not a member can abstain from voting on the minutes if s/he did not attend the meeting).




Ms. Marie Lorraine Mallare, Former IRC Commissioner, introduced herself, as well as Mr. Edwin Jocson, former Executive Director of West Bay and Ms. Myrna Lim, Advocate and Community Leader, made a joint presentation on behalf of West Bay, the first non-profit Filipino Multi-Service Center. The Center has been closed due to funds being held at the Board of Supervisor’s Finance Committee. West Bay ’s current funding sources are the Department of Children Youth and Their Families, the Mayor’s Office of Community Development, the Office on Aging and the Department of Public Health Community Behavior Health Service totaling $468,501.


The impact of the budget lost in the community will affect 217 individual households which will no longer receive free food or groceries; 45 elderly Filipinos who will miss daily lunches and support services; and 52 youths who will not receive substance abuse education and social support.


(1)   Meeting w/MUNI


On October 25, 2005, Luna Yasui of Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), Helen Kwan of Chinatown Community Development Corp. and Dang Pham met with Stuart Sunshine, Acting Executive Director of Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) about the MUNI’s noncompliance status of the Equal Access to City Services (EAS). 


Mr. Sunshine strongly indicated that he is willing to work closely with the Commission and the leaders of the immigrant community to bring MUNI into compliance with the EAS Ordinance, but gave no specific dates to achieve this.  At the meeting, Mr. Sunshine also directed his Personnel Director to clearly identify the public contact positions.  Mr. Sunshine will assign a liaison from his office to work closely with the Program Access Committee and the Commission in an effort to remove the MUNI from the non-compliance status list.  But as of this time, the Commission has not received any contact information from the MUNI Liaison assigned to work with us. 


(2)   Meeting with Supervisors Peskin and Ma


Commissioner Melara reported to the Commission of the meetings with Supervisor Peskin and Ma.  Both meetings went very well.  Supervisors Peskin and Ma agreed to Co-chair of the proposed hearing.  Supervisor Peskin suggested for the Commission to work with the Department of Human Resources to the plan for the future for the recruitment of bilingual and bicultural staff. A number of city workers will be retiring either this year or next year in mass, which would give this Commission an opportunity to work closely with DHR and emphasize the hiring of bilingual and bicultural public contact positions.




Mr. Pham introduced Ms. Marie Mitchell as the replacement Commission Secretary for Ms. Winny Loi, who has moved on to the Office of Labor and Standards.


Commissioner Lau informed that this was Commissioner Marlene Tran’s last meeting and that she will be missed!  She encouraged her to stay active and thanked her for her community activism and dedicated services.


Commissioner Lau also thanked Ms. Loi for all her many years of dedicated work for the Commission.




Commissioner Escobedo complimented Mr. Pham on his Director’s written report.


(1)   Cultural Competency Task Force

Commissioner Melara expressed her concern of Mr. Pham’s time consumed while working as one of the lead staff for this Task Force.  In addition to Mr. Pham, other staff support include Ron Vincent, Department of Telecommunications & Information Services and Kevin Matthews, Assessor/Recorder’s Office.


(2)   Day Labor Program

Mr. Pham indicated that the Day Labor Program’s renewal contract has been signed by all parties involved and the money has been released by the Mayor’s Office.  La Raza Centro Legal, Inc. already received their first check for reimbursement for July, August and September 2005.  The RFP for next year has gone out, and there was only one application from La Raza Centro Legal, Inc. thus far. At the proposal conference, there were two organizations present, La Raza Centro Legal and the Volunteer America in Oakland.  Volunteer America decided not to submit a proposal.




(1)   Finance & Operations Committee

Nothing to Report


(2)   Joint Program & Access Committee & Policy & Legislation Committee

Mr. Pham was asked to put together the next clean draft so it could be sent to all of the committees before the next meeting.  Commissioner Melara requested that everyone read the report, page by page, line by line, as every Commissioners  name will be on it.  She requested that if Commissioners don’t agree with something or need more clarification, it will be discussed at the next meeting..



Commissioner Lau reminded Commissioners to contact staff to place proposed items on the agenda. The staff will then develop a draft agenda, which will then be reviewed and approved by the Chair.




Commissioner Escobedo moved that the Commission meeting be adjourned, seconded by Commissioner Jones.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.