Never one to wait on action from Washington, D.C., San Francisco
officials are forging ahead with their own, more modest version of immigration
As lawmakers on Capitol Hill are at an impasse over a comprehensive immigration bill, Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday will announce the Pathways to Citizenship Initiative, a new program designed to help the estimated 100,000 eligible immigrants in San Francisco navigate the path to naturalization.
The effort "will ensure that we are living up to the American promise," Lee said.
The city will kick in professional assistance and $200,000 a year for the next three years, money that will be matched by local foundations.
That $400,000 annually will let organizations already helping immigrants, like Catholic Charities, Asian Law Caucus and La Raza Community Resource Center, expand their reach and coordinate their efforts to become more effective, program organizers said.
"We're really applying more street-smart approaches," said Adrienne Pon, head of the city's Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs.
- John Cote
Ballot battles: It looks like San Franciscans are in for dueling ballot measures over a luxury waterfront condominium project.
Supporters of the proposed 8 Washington development near the Ferry Building turned in more than 26,000 signatures Monday to get the controversial development on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The group, funded by the developer, contractor and architect for the 134-unit development, needs only 9,702 valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. A spokesman for the effort said he was "absolutely" confident they had met that mark.
"We are one step closer in giving San Franciscans the opportunity to vote 'yes' for new parks, jobs, housing, sidewalk cafes and shops on our shared waterfront," Alec Bash, a retired city planner and supporter of the development, said in a statement.
The city's Department of Elections now has 30 days to verify the signatures and determine whether the issue can go on the November ballot.
A referendum on the Board of Supervisors' June 2012 approval of a special height-limit increase for the project already qualified for the ballot after 8 Washington opponents turned in more than 31,000 signatures a year ago.
That measure will ask voters whether or not they approve of upping the height limit for the project from the current 84 feet along the waterfront to the 136 feet requested by the developer.
Opponents, including nearby residents, the Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood group and the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club, contend the height increase will block views and set a dangerous precedent that will lead to overdevelopment and the walling off of the waterfront.
8 Washington's backers, led by developer Simon Snellgrove's Pacific Waterfront Partners, maintain the project is a public benefit, and they want the public to vote on the entire proposal, not just the height exception.
The developer's initiative includes language that if it gets more votes than any other competing measure, it would take precedence and void the other measure.
And here's a shocker: Both sides accuse the other of being deceptive.
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