Some Black residents in SF could be eligible for $5M payment proposed by reparations committee

Friday, January 20, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A one-time $5 million payment. That's what could be coming to each eligible black resident in San Francisco, if the proposal put forward by the city's reparations committee is accepted.

The city's African American Reparations Advisory Committee presented proposals to city leaders last month.

Sheryl Davis, the executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, says this is a big step at correcting historic injustices.

"Systemic oppression and the systems that have worked against folks, especially in San Francisco," said Davis.

But the committee's recommendations go beyond just financial compensation.

MORE: CA Reparations Task force focuses on key issues over possible compensation
CA Reparations Task force focuses on key issues over compensation

Davis says they also include topics like housing, education and closing the racial wealth gap.

"To understand the businesses that were lost and forced to close because of eminent domain or because of redevelopment. Or even just the folks who weren't allowed to buy property," Davis said.

To qualify, SF residents would have to be 18 or older, have been identifying as black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years and meet two of eight additional criteria.

These may include having to prove they were born in the city between 1940 and 1996, have lived in San Francisco for at least 13 years, and be someone -- or the direct descendant of someone -- incarcerated during the war on drugs.

"I think the big challenge has been, how do we quantify, how do we get to a number. And then the next challenge will be, where does that money actually come from? Who is responsible for that," Davis said.
Those are questions that John Dennis, the chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, also has.

"It seems ludicrous on its face," he said.

Dennis says he opposes the commission's proposals and has serious doubts over how they'd be implemented and if the city could even afford to do it.

"A city with a $14 billion budget more or less, proposing to spend $50 billion. So just financially it doesn't make sense," said Dennis.
He tells ABC7 News, he thinks the recommendations would be vastly unpopular among a majority of San Francisco voters and could carry political consequences for the city's elected leaders.

"It's theater. It's amateur hour. If it passes, I would imagine it's going to end up getting tied up in the courts," Dennis said.

The committee will submit its final proposal to city leaders in June.

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