S.F. politician aims to make city more felon-friendly

SupervisorJaneKim (1)San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim is continuing her push to eliminate some of the life obstacles that people with criminal records face. Her latest proposal, to come before the Board of Supervisors in coming weeks, is to drop the requirement that people seeking appointment to city commissions and boards have to disclose their felony convictions. The measure would also “limit the ability of city officials to ask or consider individuals’ criminal histories in deciding whether to appoint them,” the Chronicle reported.

Kim got a more far-reaching law — known as Fair Chance — adopted in January 2014 on a unanimous vote of the San Francisco board. Here’s her description of the measure and its rationale in a fact sheet distributed by her office.

The Fair Chance ordinance would provide that certain affordable housing providers, private employers with 20 or more employees, and contractors doing business with the city and county of San Francisco, may not inquire into an individual’s conviction history until after the decision-maker has determined the individual’s qualifications meet the requirements for the position or housing unit and may not include such an inquiry in the initial application for employment or housing.
An estimated one in four adults has an arrest or conviction record, creating unnecessary and significant barriers to employment and/or housing. The U.S. Department of Justice generates over 1.7 million criminal background checks annually for employment and licensing purposes. Otherwise qualified individuals are often discouraged from applying for work in the public and private sectors and from applying for housing because of a conviction history inquiry on an initial job or housing application.

Many business groups have objected to such legislation on the grounds that criminal records are extremely pertinent in deciding whether to hire someone. But the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce backed Kim’s ordinance after months of internal debate.

Parallels with “right to be forgotten” concept

There is a chance the measure could backfire and create embarrassment for the city, as happened with its sanctuary city law this summer, if it results in the hiring of someone with a violent past who has a new incident on the job. But so far, no such problems have prompted headlines in San Francisco and other cities which have adopted similar “ban the box” rules in recent years, including Philadelphia, Newark, Seattle and Buffalo.

President Obama has also called for a more forgiving approach to people with criminal pasts, including providing felons the right to vote.

There are parallels in U.S. attempts to reintegrate felons and the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” 2014 court ruling allowing people to compel search engine providers to block search results that include unflattering items about their histories. Both are spurred by the idea that individuals should be able to reinvent themselves later in life after embarrassing mistakes made while young.

The vast majority of violent felonies in the U.S. are committed by men under 30, according to a Pennsylvania State University analysis which found crime most common among young men 15 to 24 years in age. This concentration of crime among young men is generally true in Europe and around the world as well, according to a 2014 United Nations report.


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  1. Dude
    Dude 13 September, 2015, 09:49

    How do these morons get elected?????

    Reply this comment
  2. desmond
    desmond 13 September, 2015, 12:06

    Caution to any felon riding bart who wishes to separate me from my property. I carry two pieces of protection, 1. To puncture eyeballs, 2. Remove the testicles from the rest of body. The good part is your mouth works, and you won’t have to look at what you will be swallowing for in the next phase of your life. Hopefully, Janie Kim becomes a source of entertainment for a Latino gang. Ideally, she likes heavily tattooed men wearing lots of Cologne.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 13 September, 2015, 21:20

    Could CWD stop writing bizaro articles about SF and San Diego……..no sane person goes to these filthy tourist traps and crime dens!

    Reply this comment
  4. spurwing Plover
    spurwing Plover 14 September, 2015, 06:47

    Another totaly brain-dead liberal and more of their hugs for thugs ideas Just how stupid are they in San Franstinkhole?

    Reply this comment
    • Ted
      Ted 14 September, 2015, 11:08

      Spurwing— although I am liberal in many areas— I agree with you —- this is just goofy and makes us liberals bad….

      Reply this comment
  5. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 14 September, 2015, 17:23

    Me and my class spent three days in San Francisco back in the 70’s we we stayed at a hotel not far from the beach we visted the flischacers zoo,steinhart overvatory.aquarium and even drove their Height Ashbury now i would stop there for a hour

    Reply this comment
  6. Rufus
    Rufus 15 September, 2015, 17:25

    She has the type of face that bruises nicely, and accents her hair beautifully. Absorbing blue dress like Monica.

    Reply this comment
  7. spurwing Plover
    spurwing Plover 16 September, 2015, 07:30

    Open the gate lower the drawbridge let the huns in she sounds as idiotic as Obama with his importing these illegal aliens

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 16 September, 2015, 09:33


      Female Commissars were known to be quite arbritary. Commissar Kim looks to have a short fuse. Be advised as unkind/disrespectable resistance is really futile!

      Reply this comment
  8. Rufus
    Rufus 17 September, 2015, 19:49

    I doed luv making azin ladz, and thyz do luvd Biggs Ruf, liked fitsin 12 inch Subway intud condum.

    Reply this comment
  9. Norman
    Norman 21 September, 2015, 15:58

    SF has a big problem as articulated by the mayor in that families are moving out of SF. Maybe the leniency given to criminals is one reason. How about Critical Mass ruling the streets once per month? How about SF having the lowest owner occupied housing in the country due to restrictive laws? SF is just one big nut house. Only because of geography can this stuff happen.

    Reply this comment
  10. Cindy
    Cindy 21 September, 2015, 20:41

    While I see the concern with violent felonies, most felonies are nonviolent such as felony commercial robbery (otherwise known as stealing a beer from the liquor store) felony possesion of prescription medicine (mostly enforced on kids stealing from their parents medicine cabinet, felony sales of marijuana (even if it is just a joint that some cop asked you to get for him. (entrapment) or the neighbor calls because they hear you arguing with your spouse and now someone has to be charged (to protect those who fear disclosing their spouse is beating them). The law could be a bit more specific requiring that only violent felonies need to be disclosed.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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