One of our members sent HANC a letter which began, “I received this letter accusing me of a crime; levying a fine of $145 and telling me what a selfish, thoughtless person I am.” The enclosed 3-page, single-spaced letter was on letterhead from “Community Action, 1 Dr. Carlton Goodlett Place, Room 348, San Francisco, CA 94102,” which is the address of City Hall. But the letterhead included the line, “Community Action is not affiliated with a Government Agency.”
The letter complained about signs our member had posted for a garage sale as “a malicious trespass and harmful misuse. Such postings are incompatible with community goals and aesthetic standards, recognized as a public nuisance and criminal misdemeanor in particular instances.” The letter continued for two pages with similar language, in the midst of which was a request to “submit a check to cover an $145.00 abatement charge. Make check payable to “BSUM” addressed to Department of Public Works, 875 Stevenson Street, Room 460, San Francisco, CA 94103.” The letter ended with a page of excerpts from various laws, and then with a proof of service.
Although the letter may look somewhat official, the Department of Public Works has posted a warning about letters like this one on its website: “Please Note: If you receive any correspondence from The SF Cleanup Project (endorsed by Quinn Cooper), Neighbors for Livable Neighborhoods (endorsed by Tom Miller or Jessica Miller) or Community Action (endorsed by Denise Johnson), please note that none of these entities are affiliated with the Department of Public Works or any City Agency in the City and County of San Francisco. If you receive a letter from one of these entities, about signs you have posted, please submit it to DPW, Director’s Office, City Hall, Room 348, San Francisco, CA 94102, and DPW will deliver it to the City Attorney’s Office for investigation. For more information contact DPW’s Bureau of Street Use and Mapping at 554-5810.”