Herrera Joins Mirkarimi, Dufty to Expand ‘Neighborhood Rescue Team’ Model to Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Lower Haight

Initial Coordinated Inspection Today Included Multiple Departments, Focused on Hotspots on 300 and 400 Blocks of Haight Street

SAN FRANCISCO (May 17, 2006) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today joined District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and representatives from a broad cross-section of City agencies to launch the expansion of the City Attorney’s Office’s “Neighborhood Rescue Team” model in San Francisco’s Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley. Replicating a successful initiative launched two years ago to better address neighborhood nuisances in Bayview and Hunter’s Point, the approach brings together inspectors from various city departments and state agencies who are responsible for enforcing health, building, fire codes and other state and city laws for coordinated inspections of properties and businesses where neglect, mismanagement and even deliberate lawlessness may threaten the health and safety of tenants and neighbors.

The initial Neighborhood Rescue Team inspection took place this afternoon at commercial establishments in the 300 and 400 blocks of Haight Street, locations that have witnessed a dramatic upsurge in incidents reported to police and complaints of neighborhood nuisances in recent months. Inspectors from the Departments of Building Inspection, Fire, Public Health, Planning, Parking and Traffic, and Public Works examined establishments for health and safety code violations. Such inspections frequently precede notices of violation, which will be issued by the various departments and coordinated by the City Attorney’s Office. Under the Neighborhood Rescue Team approach, Supervisors Mirkarimi and Dufty will be regularly apprised of progress in enforcing safety codes and abating violations, with the City Attorney additionally providing updates to community organizations himself or through representatives.

“With the Bayview Neighborhood Rescue Team, we created a model to get tough on neighborhood nuisances, to maximize our effectiveness, and to ensure ongoing community engagement,” said Herrera. “After nearly two years of successful intervention in Bayview and Hunter’s Point, I think we have a very promising prototype for addressing similar hotspots in Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley. Of course, expanding this program would be impossible without the hard work and hands-on involvement of Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Bevan Dufty, who worked hard to help launch this program in neighborhoods they represent. I want to thank both of them, together with their staffs, for laying the groundwork to ensure our efforts will succeed to abate nuisances, discourage criminal activity and return our streets to the safety and livability neighborhood residents deserve.”

“When it comes to sustained uninterrupted spikes of violent crime and the petty crime that deflates a neighborhood’s self esteem, I am not interested in patchwork triage, I want a comprehensive approach that obligates quantifiable results – This Response Team is a solid step toward reclaiming our streets,” stated Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

“This model builds upon the City Attorney’s outstanding code enforcement work,” said Supervisor Bevan Dufty. “I am eager to work with Dennis in abating nuisance properties and businesses that, left unchecked, encourage crime and undermine neighborhoods. This will make a difference.”

Neighborhood Rescue Team inspectors and representatives from San Francisco City government included:

  • City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office (Neighborhood and Residential Safety Chief Anne-Christine Massullo and Deputy City Attorney Katherine Houston)
  • Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Neighborhood Services (Kriztina Palone)
  • District Attorney Kamala Harris’s office (James Thompson, Assistant District Attorney)
  • Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (Boris Delepine, Legislative Aide)
  • Supervisor Bevan Dufty (Rachelle McManus, Legislative Aide)
  • San Francisco Police Department (Northern Station Captain Kevin Dillon; Code Officer Jeff Sung; Park Station Captain John Ehrlich; Code Officer Sgt. Schiff; Inspector David Falzon)
  • Department of Building Inspection (Kevin McHugh, Senior Building Inspector; Carla Johnson, Senior Building Inspector; Patrick McKenzie, Senior Housing Inspector)
  • San Francisco Fire Department (Terry Gee, Inspector; Mary Boucher, Inspector)
  • Department of Parking and Traffic (James Lee, Assistant Director of Enforcement)
  • Adult Probation Department (Arturo Faro, Supervising Probation Officer)
  • Planning Department (Rachna, Code Enforcement Planner)
  • Department of Public Health (Lillian Dyson, Inspector; Ajamu Stewart, Senior Inspector)
  • Department of Public Works (Barbara Moy, Bureau of Street Use and Mapping; Larry Stringer, Environmental Services)

In addition to city agencies and officials, the collaborative model includes a key state agency in California Alcoholic Beverage Control, which was represented by Investigator Ricardo Bautista.

Success of Bayview Neighborhood Rescue Team

Serving as the prototype for the coordinated approach begun today in Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley, the Bayview Neighborhood Rescue Team launched in August 2004 has been supported by active community engagement and an aggressive litigation and pre-litigation strategy. The approach has enabled City departments to quickly and comprehensively identify violations, and for deputy city attorneys to obtain tough, enforceable results at problem locations — frequently without resorting to litigation.