Breaking: San Francisco Board Signals Support for $5 Million Reparations Payment for Black Residents

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept a draft plan from the city’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee that would pay out a one-time $5 million payment per qualifying person.

While board members spoke positively about the advisory committee’s work during the more than five-hour hearing, the acceptance of the draft does not mean the board will ultimately approve all of the proposals included therein. The board can vote to approve, reject or change any or all of the proposals.

The reparations committee will submit its final proposal in June, after which the Board of Supervisors is set to meet on September 19 for its next reparations hearing.

The advisory committee released the draft report in December, proposing the city make a lump sum payment of $5 million to black residents who are at least 18 and have identified as black or African American on public documents for at least ten years. Residents must also meet at least two of eight other requirements. Among those requirements is that the resident is "personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs" or is a "Descendant of someone enslaved through US chattel slavery before 1865."

If even just 50 percent of the city's nearly 45,000 black residents met the requirements for the proposed payments, the city would be staring down a $112.5 billion bill. For comparison, San Francisco's entire budget for fiscal year 2022–2023 is just $14 billion. The budget for the entire state is $308 billion.

And that's without considering some of the other proposals included in the report, such as that the city supplement lower-earning recipients' incomes to meet the area median income (AMI) of about $97,000, for at least 250 years. Another recommendation was to create "a comprehensive debt forgiveness program" for black residents to cancel student loans, housing loans, and credit-card debt in an effort to give "Black households an opportunity to build wealth."

If every black resident qualified for the $5 million payment, the city would be on the hook for $223 billion — a cost of $263,000 for every non-black person in San Francisco, according to Steven F. Hayward, a resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.

Despite the fiscal realities — and the fact that California was never a slave state — dozens of members of the public called for the proposal’s adoption during the hearing.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said the city needs “to reckon with and ultimately apologize for what those who preceded us did knowingly.”

Supervisor Shamann Walton, who wrote the legislation that formed the committee two years ago, said: “It is not a matter of whether or not there is a case for reparations for Black people in San Francisco, it is a matter of what reparations will and should look like.”

Walton told National Review in January that the proposed $5 million payment per qualifying person is actually "much less than a lot of the projections that people say black people should receive for reparations here in the United States."

"You can Google a lot of the reparations work that has been done and look at the monetary formulas that people have put together and most certainly the 5 million is a very minuscule number compared to a lot of research that has been done over the past couple of decades, quite frankly," said Walton, who has represented the city's 10th district since 2019 and previously served as board president.

Asked if there is a figure that he views as more fair or appropriate, Walton responded, "Definitely not."

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San Francisco Board Signals Support for $5 Million Reparations Payment for Black Residents

The acceptance of the draft does not mean the board will ultimately approve all of the proposals included ... READ MORE


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