municipal identification legislation
Supervisor Tom Ammiano held a press conference on the steps
of San Francisco City Hall today to announce new legislation aimed
at providing municipal identification cards to residents.
By Ashley Wright
September 18, 2007
San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano introduced legislation
for a San Francisco Municipal Identification card at a noontime
news conference on the steps of City Hall today.
Ammiano gathered supporters of the legislation closely around
a podium facing Polk Street on the sunny steps of City Hall to
speak about the need for a citywide identification system.
Municipal IDs, which would be available to all city residents,
would establish legal identity and residency and would allow card
holders to access basic services such as banking, homeless aid
and library access, according to Ammiano.
Specifically, Ammiano said the ID will help youth, immigrants,
homeless, transgender and elderly, communities he claims are often
targets of crime and unfair treatment because of their inability
to prove identity.
"One of the tools of oppression can be not giving someone
an ID," Ammiano said in front of supporters and reporters
today. "In San Francisco we want to address the issue of
people who provide so much to our infrastructure and yet get so
little reward. There is no greater disrespect than rendering people
invisible who we don't want to give an ID."
Tim Paulson of the San Francisco Labor Council enthusiastically
spoke about the suggested IDs, which he said the council fully
"This ID card is going to legitimize everybody in San Francisco,"
Paulson said. "We are for making sure everybody has access
to city services and protections."
San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson
Ammiano said that individual municipalities can issue identification
as officials see fit in accordance with state and federal law.
He said similar identification cards are already available in
New Haven, Conn., and are being discussed in New York and Los
Supporters who spoke in favor of Ammiano at today's event said
that immigrants, unable to open bank accounts, often carry large
amounts of cash and are targeted by robbers and unfair landlords.
Lilian Castillo of Young Workers United addressed the crowd in
support of the rights that could be afforded to immigrants who
would could apply for an ID.
"Our community is constantly exploited," Castillo said.
"Some of our members have been robbed and beat up and did
not call the police because they were afraid of being reported.
All people, no matter their legal status, have the right to a
Several other speakers chose to address the crowd in Spanish.
Supervisor Sandoval spoke first in Spanish then translated the
same speech to English.
"The U.S. Government at the federal and state level has
left a vacuum when it comes to immigrants rights," Sandoval
said. "It has left a vacuum for local cities and local government
to act. We are here to tell immigrants that we approve who they
are and what they do."
Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval
Other speakers gave the example of homeless persons unable to
access healthcare and homeless shelters, a problem that could
be addressed by citywide IDs, according to supporters.
"When San Francisco residents don't have government issued
ID it is a serious public safety issue for those individuals as
well as out community as a whole," Ammiano said.
"Without ID people are afraid to report crimes meaning perpetrators
are free to strike again."
Youth, too, would benefit from having a card with their name
and emergency contact information immediately available, according
These and other problems could be addressed with a municipal
ID program, said Ammiano, whose supporters include Supervisors
Gerardo Sandoval, Aaron Peskin, Chris Daly, Jake McGoldrick, Ross
Mirkarimi, and Sophie Maxwell as well as representatives from
the San Francisco Labor Council, immigrant rights groups, homeless
shelters, and transgender communities. Mayor Gavin Newsom has
also offered his support, according to officials.
Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Chris Daly, Gerardo Sandoval and Tom
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