Big thanks to supervisors Scott Wiener and John Avalos for leading the way and crafting a measure that will create dedicated, lockbox funding to transform San Francisco’s urban forestry program from a national embarrassment into a national model. And we thank their colleagues, all of whom showed true leadership by working together to reach agreement.
And giant thanks to all of you who took action, stood with us, and spoke out for the trees. You should be proud of what we accomplished together. We still have a lot of work ahead of us — the matter now goes before the voters, so we must communicate the importance of this measure well beyond our current network of supporters and allies. But polling suggests that our efforts will be rewarded in November — and then the REAL work begins, as we assist the City in putting the new funding and new plans to effective use.
I have great news for you, but let me preface it with a reminder of how bad things looked just a few days ago.
San Francisco has 124,795 street trees, 20,000 more than previously estimated, according to the results of San Francisco's first-ever city-wide street tree census. The EveryTreeSF census -- a collaborative effort among San Francisco Planning, San Francisco Public Works, Friends of the Urban Forest, and tree inventory specialists ArborPro -- also identified approximately 40,000 potential planting sites. All the data is now available to the public at UrbanForestMap.org. Find out what species of tree is on your block -- and see the locations of empty tree basins that need new trees. You can also see estimates of the environmental benefits the trees provide -- how many gallons of stormwater they filter, how many pounds of air pollutants they capture, and how many tons of carbon dioxide they remove from the atmosphere.
A collaboration of government, nonprofits, and you to map all the trees of San Francisco's urban forest and understand the ecosystem services they provide.
Fantastic news: Prop E, the "healthy trees and safe sidewalks" measure, is safe. Yesterday the Mayor announced his budget intentions, and made it clear he will not use the "kill switch" that gives him the authority to suspend Prop E if he feels the money is needed elsewhere.
Perhaps his decision is a matter of respect for the will of the voters. Perhaps it's a way to honor San Francisco's global reputation for environmental leadership. Perhaps as a former head of Public Works -- the agency responsible for our urban forest -- Mayor Lee "gets" the importance of the city's green infrastructure.
My guess is he's thinking of the legacy he’ll leave to the generations of San Franciscans who will enjoy the benefits of a thriving urban forest.
Whatever the reason, it was the right decision, and we're deeply grateful for it. And I wanted to be sure you got the great news! We could never have done it without your help.
Terrible news! This is not a drill.
Mayor Ed Lee is considering killing Prop E for trees, passed by the voters last month with 79% support. Please contact him as soon as possible to prevent this disaster -- just copy and paste our draft message below (or use your own words, which is even more powerful).
Email the Mayor at email@example.com or call at (415) 554-6141
PS - details about the background, problem, and politics - www.fuf.net/programs-services/...
"San Francisco, already one of the least-leafy major cities in the U.S., is losing trees faster than it’s planting them. Years of neglect of street trees have resulted in a dangerous environment in which unhealthy trees regularly drop branches or topple altogether, especially during windy or rainy weather.
Our sidewalks are also in terrible shape; more than 6,000 of them are cracked, buckled and uneven. Unrepaired sidewalk damage causes dangerous walking conditions, especially for seniors and people with disabilities. Trees are by far the biggest contributors to The City’s broken sidewalks. Trip-and-fall injuries are the top cause of injury-related hospitalizations and death for seniors.
Both of these problems are the result of a longtime policy failure that could be corrected in one fell swoop. This failure has provoked public outcry recently, as The City has made budget-based decisions to transfer responsibility for the maintenance of thousands of street trees and sidewalks to the adjacent property owners — many of whom don’t have the knowledge or means to provide such maintenance, and some of whom don’t even realize The City holds them responsible for it. Even prior to this deeply unpopular program of “relinquishment,” tree and sidewalk maintenance has been completely inconsistent: a mish-mash in which The City has maintained some of them and expected homeowners to maintain the others.
Voters will have a chance to fix this mess by passing Proposition E in November. Prop. E will make The City responsible once again for the maintenance of all street trees and the repair of tree-related sidewalk damage. It will pay for these costs through a $19 million set-aside from the General Fund and, therefore, will not impose any additional burden on taxpayers."
San Francisco, already one of the least-leafy major cities in the U.S., is losing trees faster than it’s planting them. Years of neglect of street trees have resulted in a dangerous …
As part of the upcoming Market Street Prototyping Festival, FUF will be building a Pop-Up Forest installation on Market Street for three days in October. We’re looking to enlist some skilled carpenters who can help make this vision a reality (see the artist's rendering below)!
Do you have skills with tools and wood? If so, we'll provide a stipend, building materials and volunteers to help assist with the construction. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More info: marketstreetprototyping.org/20...
We need you! Our ballot measure -- the solution for San Francisco's urban forest crisis -- is in trouble, but you can save it. The measure would require the City to maintain all street trees, fix all tree-related sidewalk damage, and release property owners from any tree-related liability -- and is funded by a budget set-aside and a small, progressive parcel tax.
Nothing is more meaningful to elected officials than the opinions of their constituents. If your supervisor is on the list below -- because they have not yet decided to support this measure -- please call or email them this week asking them to support the Friends of the Urban Forest ballot measure. If you wish, say a few words about why you want the city to maintain street trees and repair broken sidewalks. Identify yourself as a constituent!
Got an extra minute? Forward this to five friends and tell them it's important to you.
Next week I'll send you an update to let you know whether our efforts succeeded. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about this measure or about how you can help, please let me know. Thank you!
District 1 (the Richmond)
Eric Mar: 415-554-7410 / Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org
District 3 (Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, North Beach)
Aaron Peskin: 415-554-7450 / Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org
District 5 (Haight Ashbury, Panhandle, Western Addition)
London Breed: 415-554-7630 / Breedstaff@sfgov.org
District 6 (South of Market, Tenderloin, Treasure Island)
Jane Kim: 415-554-7970 / Jane.Kim@sfgov.org
District 7 (Park Merced, West Twin Peaks)
Norman Yee: 415-554-6516 / Norman.Yee@sfgov.org
District 9 (Mission, Bernal Heights)
David Campos: 415-554-5144 / David.Campos@sfgov.org
District 11 (Excelsior, Oceanview, Merced Heights, Ingelside)
John Avalos: 415-554-6975 / John.Avalos@sfgov.org
Inspiring write-up from Hoodline on Kasey Asberry's work at Just One Tree in the TL - hoodline.com/2016/07/50-new-le...
A local nonprofit's drive to make the city a sustainable lemon producer is bearing fruit in the Tenderloin, where 50 new trees will be planted for the public to enjoy.
Get ready for a ballot measure in November.
"At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce a November ballot measure that would mandate that the city take back ownership, maintenance and liability of all street trees. It would be funded by a combination of a progressive parcel tax — one that increases with the property’s size — and an $8 million annual budget set-aside, the average of what has been spent on urban forestry over the past 10 years.
“This has been a festering problem for decades,” Wiener said. “Trees are getting dumped on adjacent property owners who don’t want them, and that’s an unfair burden. For most property owners, they are going to save money. They will pay a $30 or $40 tax, and they will no longer have to hire an arborist or a contractor or insurance.
All properties must pay the property tax. Properties with less than 25 feet of street frontage would pay $29.50, while those between 25 to 150 feet would pay $1.42 per frontage foot, and properties with more than 150 feet would pay $2 per frontage foot. The average resident or business would pay about $35 annually."
The city couldn’t afford the maintenance and upkeep for its 105,000 trees, so in 2011 it began transferring ownership to homeowners. Residents often didn’t have the cash for costly pruning and associated sidewalk repairs either. [...] a new piece of legislation could soon bring relief to those neighbors and infuse about $18 million into the...
Friends of the Urban Forest is leading a campaign to improve San Francisco’s dismal municipal street tree policies and under-funded urban forestry program. If you’re a San Francisco resident, please join us by adding your name to this petition! We’ll deliver it to City Hall.
The Campaign Friends of the Urban Forest is leading a campaign to improve San Francisco's dismal municipal street tree policies and under-funded urban forestry