The Committee on African American Parity of the Human Rights Commission

The Unfinished Agenda

The Economic Status of African Americans in San Francisco




The Committee on African American Parity (CARP) of the San Francisco Human

Rights Commission was formed to assess the status of African Americans in San

Francisco between 1964 and 1990, to determine whether African Americans are

better or worse off today, and to recommend actions designed to correct any

inequities identified in the course of the assessment The CARP decided to focus the

inquiry on eight areas:

·   Employment and Entrepreneurship

·   Education

·       Criminal Justice

·   Housing

·   Health Services

·   Media Relations

·   Political Empowerment

·   African American Families


In 1992, the Human Rights Commission contracted with Polaris Research and Development, a minority owned San Francisco social and public policy consulting firm, to conduct the first study on the CAAP's agenda- an assessment of the comparative economic well-being of African Americans from the perspective of income, employment, and entrepreneurial participation. This report summarizes the findings and conclusions of that study and includes recommendations for a variety of ameliorative actions. The CAAP intends to pursue similar assessments in the other issue areas in the future.


The study looked at the developmental history of the African American community in San Francisco and attempted both to describe the factors that have had a shaping influence on the economic well-being of the city's African American residents and to evaluate their effects over time 


The study found that in the period since the founding of the Human Rights Commission in 1964:

  The African American population has deceased in size. The number of African Americans in San Francisco reached a peak of 88,343 -or 13.4%- of the city's population in 1970. Since that time, the African American community has declined absolutely and proportionately-so that by 1990 there were 76,343 African American residents, or 10.9% of the overall population -

  The African American population is getting older and there are fewer children under 18 years of age.

  The African American population which used to be the second largest ethnic group in San Francisco after whites, are now the fourth largest group. Asians comprise the second largest group and Latinos the third.

  The shift in the San Francisco economy from manufacturing to services displaced African American workers beginning soon after the end of World War II and continuing to the present

  The income of African Americans compared to that of white San Franciscans has declined since 1970 from a high of 60.1% to 45.1% in 1990.

  The income of African Americans compared to that of other non-white ethnic groups in the city indicates that Asian Americans have higher per capita and household incomes than African Americans and Latinos have slightly lower per capita incomes but higher household incomes than African Americans.

  African Americans suffer higher rates of poverty and unemployment and have higher levels of dependency.

  African Americans are greatly underrepresented in many job titles in the private sector.

  African Americans have benefited from the consent decrees addressing the hiring and promotional policies of the fire department and police department even though they have not fully met the goals.

  African Americans have benefited from employment in City and County agencies in San Francisco. Although African Americans have not achieved parity in all job categories, they have exceeded it in others.

  Many African Americans have been pushed out of the city by a combination of governmental programs like urban renewal and the high costs of housing. At one point, rental costs which had been reasonable until 1979 or 1980 escalated until they reached almost 90% of the per capita income of African Americans in 1985.

   Traditionally black communities-like Bayview -Hunters Point-- are becoming more integrated as a result of the net outmigration of African Americans, greater desegregation in the housing market for African Americans, and increased competition for the housing in those communities.


Recommendation 26-Order City agencies to provide better information, data and analysis of African American housing and economic conditions and that such effort be periodically updated. This reporting and analysis of the impact of various other development proposals on housing and the African American Community should be made available.


Recommendation 27-Develop other special programs to increase and preserve housing ownership opportunities. Encourage development of affordable housing with land write downs and sweat equity participation. Negotiate land deals with SF Redevelopment Agency, Section 8 subsidization with SFHA, and assess experience of local sweat equity housing examples-such as jubilee West and Delancey St.-for relevance. (Goals 1, 10, 11)



Recommendation 19-Preserve and enhance African American equity in real estate through purchase of rights of first refusal and/or reverse annuity mortgages with African American homeowners. Implement through the development foundation (see Recommendation) or a community development corporation (Goals: 1, 10, 11)


Recommendation 20-Analyze benefits and liabilities of public housing privatization and/or tenant management programs and develop position on those issues. (Goals: 1, 4, 9, 10, 11)


Recommendation 21-Institute a policy that a portion of affordable housing funds generated by such City programs as Tax increment from Redevelopment Areas, the Office of Affordable Housing Production Program (OAHPP), Revenue Bonds, Hotel Tax Housing Fund and tax credits be allocated specifically to affordable projects serving African American community_


Recommendation 22-Provide a greater emphasis on family housing projects (3­4 bedroom units) in general and specifically in the projects serving African American households.


Recommendation 23-Use tax increments and other City funding mechanisms to buy out affordable housing units in Black neighborhoods that are threatened with conversion to market-rate units.


Recommendation 24-Foster increased participation of African American developers, non-profit housing organizations, consultants and planners in the production of affordable housing in Black communities in particular and throughout the City in general.



Recommendation 25-That neighborhood non-profit improvement programs be fully staffed in African American neighborhoods and administrative services be comparable to those provided in other major ethnic communities.



capable of fulfilling contracts in these areas. (Goals: 6, 9, 10)


Recommendation-15-Negotiate a commitment to increased lending to African American homebuyers and entrepreneurs on the part of banks and other lending institutions. (Goals 1, 7, 8)

Note: According to the Assembly's Preliminary Report on the Status of African American Males in California, "Sanwa Bank, one of the five largest banks in the world with assets of $400 billion, made only one loan to an African American in California in 1991. The Bank of California, owned by Mitsubishi Corporation with more than $7 billion in assets in this state, made only two loans to African Americans last year.


Recommendation 16-Establish a clearinghouse for African American businesses to facilitate networking, mutual purchasing and sales opportunities through the

Black Chamber of Commerce. (Goals: 6, 9,11)


The clearinghouse should also provide links to the myriad of business development assistance programs in the private and public sector.


Recommendation 17-Develop a City housing policy that recognizes and addresses specific housing needs in the African American community. While needs for affordable housing are widely shared in San Francisco, the needs of the African American population are extreme and require more attention and money. Within existing subsidized housing programs there needs to be some type of targeting for African Americans both within and without major concentrations of Black households. Program designs should be modified to address the realities of African American households such as lower incomes, larger family household size and deeper subsidy needs.


Recommendation 18-Institute a policy that African American households have improved access to affordable housing projects in other areas of the City. Access can be improved by encouragement, recruitment and economic assistance.



vocational training programs in the public schools and link training to job placement.

(Goals: 4, 5, 7)

Recommendation 10-Establish an African American economic development district in San Francisco to serve as the center of a new tourism area that will attract tourists in the same way as Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf or other locations that are central to the tourism economy. In this area African American entrepreneurs will be assisted in developing restaurants, night dubs, gift shops, small manufacturing plants, artist's studios, music and video studios, and other businesses that are thematically consistent. The area should be designed to attract African American and other residents of San Francisco as well as tourists. Seek land and development funding from the SF Redevelopment Agency. (Goals: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)


Recommendation 11-Establish an African American development foundation and fund it through: a voluntary "tax" of .005% (half of one percent) on gross revenues of African American owned businesses-especially those that receive city contracting preferences under the MBE/WBE Ordinance, minority preferences from the corporate sector, and/or subsidization through the African American development district recommended above. Issue stock to investors. Seek. matching funds from banks and local corporations. (Goals: 8, 10, 11, 12).


Recommendation 12-Establish training programs for African American entrepreneurs linked to venture funds provided by the development foundation (recommended above in conjunction with Recommendation 11). Require a commitment to hire African American employees a condition of capitalization­(Goals: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11)

Recommendation 13-Negotiate goals with private sector companies for sub­contracts with San Francisco based African American entrepreneurs. (Goals: 2, 4, 6, 9)

Recommendation 14-Meet with municipal agencies and negotiate broad goals for contracting with African American MBE/WBE firms-especially in the areas of finance, insurance, and real estate, fuels and equipment purchases. Identify firms




action hires in targeted areas of municipal employment-especially at the upper levels of municipal agencies.


Initiate and sustain the linkages between the affirmative action programs of the municipal sector and the private sector to identify talent and resources and for increasing the pool of African American recruits for all levels of employment


Recommendation 5-Work with labor unions to increase recruitment of African American youth for apprenticeship programs and to develop joint ventures" with schools for vocational training courses and credits. (Goals: 2, 3, 4, 5)


Work with labor unions to increase recruitment of African American youth for apprenticeship programs and to develop "joint ventures" with schools for vocational training courses and credits. (Goals: 2, 3, 4, 5)

Note: A pre-apprenticeship program has been launched on one of large public works projects (Islais Creek) through the cooperation of the City department (DPW) Business Development, Inc.. and the labor community, to target the hiring of African Americans on that specific jobsite. The program will link other jobs to continue the employment cycle. Special support and attention should be given to this pre-apprenticeship program.


Recommendation 6-Develop/expand mentoring program and recruit black male adults to serve as models/tutors/mentors for 1-2 black male youth (Goals: 5, 7,11)

Recommendation 7 -Establish vocational programs in jails and in conjunction with programs offering alternatives to incarceration. Contract with local companies to supply goods built, grown, or developed by participants. Models such as the horticultural training program at San Bruno jail exist. (Goals: 4, 5, 7, 8)


Recommendation 8-Promote alternatives to incarceration and oppose construction of additional jails and prisons. (Goals: 5, 7)


Recommendation 9-Seek improvements in the scope and effectiveness of



That is, the unstated policy has been to allow people to in-migrate and out-migrate from the city without regard to social policy or goals regarding the composition of the city. In contrast, this-recommendation calls for the establishment of a clearly articulated and publicly stated "vision" which speaks directly to the issue of defining diversity as it pertains to African Americans within the city. This vision should provide the rationale for policy initiatives designed to preserve or enhance the size and condition of the African American population and provide yardsticks for measuring whether the city is achieving its vision. (Goals: 1, 11,12)


Recommendation 2-Note: Negotiate training and hiring goals and sub­contracting goals in conjunction with non-profit and for-profit developments in the city such as: the Laurel Heights campus of UCSF, Mission Bay, SFO International Airport, the Navy Yard, the Presidio, the Port, etc. (Goals: 2, 4, 6, 9) Note: The San Francisco International Airport's $2.3 billion expansion offers the unique opportunity to implement a targeted employment program which will serve as a catalyst for both public and private employment enhancements for African Americans.

Note: The negotiated agreement with Host/Marriot to sub-lease on third of their restaurant operations at SFO to minority firms in return for a non-competitive extension of their lease offers a potential model for any organization or corporation seeking concessions from the city whether for building, easements, land, contracts, etc..


Recommendation 3-Negotiate specific private sector hiring and training goals with the private sector companies in San Francisco-especially those that benefit substantially through sales to African Americans. (Goals: 1, 2, 4, 5)


Develop an agreement with the private sector through the Chamber of Commerce and other business associations, to adopt a targeted employment recruitment program aimed at training and fulfilling all levels of employment. Special emphasis should be given to San Francisco African American residents.



Recommendation 4-Implement aggressive recruitment and increase affirmative



Goal 5-To increase the employability and employment of African American males. Studies show that when incomes are held constant, the rates of single parent families are more or less equal among blacks and whites. Effective economic interventions aimed at black males should, therefore, provide leverage on a number of problems-increasing per capita and family incomes, increasing family stability, and decreasing the number of black males in prison (currently 1 of every 3 black males in California between the ages of 20 and 29 are under the control of the criminal justice system and they make up a third of the prison population although they comprise only 3.7% of the overall state population).

Goal 6-To increase the number of economic viability of African American entrepreneurs and businesses.

Goal 7-To increase the level of 'human capital" in the African American community.

Goal 8-To increase access to capital for entrepreneurs.

Goal 9-To provide access to "protected" or "captive" markets for goods and services provided by African Americans. These should include: goods and services attractive to, or needed by, African American consumers, goods and services attractive to non-African American consumers but accessible only through African American businesses, and access to markets protected by set asides or preferences.

Goal 10-To preserve and/or increase the level of capital and wealth in the African American community.

Goal 11-To increase community cohesion and strengthen identity.

Goal 12-To increase the community's political power and influence on public policy.

The recommendations that resulted from analysis of the data included the following:



Recommendation 1-Secure a clearly stated public commitment of the public and private section leadership of the city to the existence of a viable African American community in San Francisco. , San Francisco, like most cities in the United States, has had a laissez faire approach with regard to population demographics.



The African American community is becoming increasingly bifurcated as working class moderate income blacks are migrating out of San Francisco leaving behind one group of higher income more educated African Americans who are dispersed throughout the city and another group of lower income more dependent and less economically competitive African Americans who are concentrated in public housing and other federally subsidized housing.

The average level of education of African Americans is increasing. The percentage of African American residents of San Francisco reporting that they had completed four or more years of college was twice as large in 1990 as in 1980

  The urban renewal program in the Western Addition destroyed the economic base of black owned small businesses in that part of the city.

  The number and size of Black owned businesses in San Francisco continued to decrease between 1982 and 1987. (Data for 1992 is not yet available from the US Department of Commerce)

  San Francisco's public agencies are not meeting the minority business enterprise and women's business enterprise contracting goals established by the Human Rights Commission. A study commissioned by the city, subsequent to Richmond v. Croson, indicates that the extent of undercontracting is indicative of discrimination in a number of instances.


The report concludes by setting forth 12 proposed goals to guide the development of the the African American community over the next decade. and twenty three recommendations for a broad range of public and private actions aimed at achieving those goals. The recommendations include a variety of self-help initiatives in the African American community as well as calling for both public and private sector commitment and involvement in assuring an equitable place for African Americans in the economic life of San Francisco.


The proposed goals are:


Goal 1-To halt, and/or, reverse the decline in the size of the African American population in San Francisco.

Goal 2-To increase per capita and/or household income in the African American community.

Goal 3-To raise the income of African American individuals and families with the lowest incomes above the poverty level.

Goal 4-To create jobs and job opportunities that fit the full range of skills within the African American community from entry level to those requiring technical skills and professional training