At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton proposed setting aside $50 million to establish an office of reparations to begin preparing for the proposed actions from the reparations advisory committee.
“Today, I’m again asking for my colleagues to support a supplemental appropriation for $50 million in order to establish the office of reparations and to implement approved recommendations in this fiscal year,” Walton said at the meeting. “The supplemental will specifically be for reparations only and it will guarantee money in this budget cycle, as the final report will be received very soon, to set up an office of reparations, which is already a recommendation.”
Walton says the proposed funding would go toward staffing an office that would create a database to vet the eligibility of recipients of the reparations. He says the work of the office of reparations would start “almost immediately upon approval.”
The supervisor also said he is requesting legislation for the San Francisco attorney’s office to create an office of reparations under the office’s Human Rights Commission.
City supervisors Dean Preston and Hillary Ronen co-sponsored the proposed legislation.
The current proposal from the reparations advisory committee calls for $5 million payments along with other benefits for black residents, including the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for the next 250 years, and homes in the city for $1 per family.
The committee argues the proposals are necessary to remedy past injustices against black residents of the city. The reparations committee is set to meet monthly until June, when it will present its final recommendations. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold its next meeting on potential reparations on Sept. 19, where it is expected to implement the committee’s recommendations.
The reparations plan has been criticized by several groups and individuals, including the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, which has called for investments and opportunities for the black community instead of direct payments to black residents.
“We strongly believe that creating and funding programs that can improve the lives of those who have been impacted by racism and discrimination is the best path forward toward equality and justice,” San Francisco NAACP President Amos Brown said in a statement.