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AHF Sues San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener and City’s Board of Supervisors over Civil Rights Violations

August 5, 2014

digitaljournal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO–(Business Wire)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has provided needed healthcare, specialty pharmacy, and prevention and testing services to underserved safety-net patients in San Francisco for approximately 12 years—including operating a specialty pharmacy serving HIV/AIDS patients in the Castro as well as a free AIDS treatment clinic since September 2009—has filed a federal lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco, its Board of Supervisors, and Supervisor Scott Wiener. The legal action, filed Friday, August 1st in United States District Court, Northern District of California (3:14-cv-03499), seeks Injunctive Relief and Damages for Violations of Civil Rights related to official actions Wiener and the Board took against AHF which AHF asserts will impede its ability to relocate its pharmacy and healthcare center within the Castro neighborhood, and in the process, violates AHF’s equal protection, due process and free speech rights…

n its lawsuit, AIDS Healthcare Foundation alleges that by unlawfully discriminating against AHF, Defendants Wiener and the Board of Supervisors have:

  • Deprived AHF of the equal protection of the law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,
  • Deprived AHF of due process, as the spot-zoning laws enacted have no legitimate public purpose and enactment of the laws are not reasonably related to furthering a legitimate public purpose, and
  • Enacted the spot-zoning laws in retaliation against AHF for its engagement in protected First Amendment activities.

AHF is seeking a declaration of the laws’ invalidity and inapplicability to AHF and its pharmacy project as well as declaratory and injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 320,000 individuals in 33 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website:, find us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare(more)

A bit of history is in order here. The citizens of San Francisco voted under Prop M to restrict tall buildings over a certain height. That sparked a revolt by developers who claim they cannot afford to build anything within the constraints of those limits. State and local politicians came to their rescue by creating special district with exceptional powers to ignore any zoning ordinance. Once a projects is designated a special district, the developers can ignore the rules. If special district status is a stretch, any project can apply for exemptions or conditional use permits. It is all in the zoning laws that are under the purview of the Supervisors. This suit stems from that authority, as the Supervisors have the final say in all these matters.

Displacement and gentrification of San Francisco neighborhoods is a major problem in SF that has sparked a huge controversy as the city is being inundated by developers in hot pursuit of new ground. The problem is the ground is already occupied by residents and merchants, who must leave to allow for more construction of dense housing for all the hungry young males intent on securing a high paying tech job in Silicon Valley, who are willing to pay more than the natives living under rent control. How best to accomplish this? Condemn properties that don’t meet Plan Bay Area dense housing requirements.

The real insult is coming from some environmental groups who signed with developers in a rush to build new dense housing and erase cars from the landscape. Scientists, environmentalists, economists, politicians, and the public are split in their opinions on the efficacy of the claims, that building dense housing will deduce greeenhouse gasses. Many claim California communities have already met some of the criteria with the introduction of cleaner, more efficient vehicles. Cities and counties all over the country are opting out of the public transit funds being dangled as an incentive to build dense housing. The fight has resulted in a spate of legal battles and a number of ballot initiatives designed to put the votes in the drivers’ seat as many demand a change in direction and a seat at the table. In San Francisco voters will decide on three ballot initiatives  that could change the course of how the city implements Transit First policies.  Prop L will determine the how many voters support SFMTA current transit priorities that many blame for the parking and traffic problems plaguing the city. Props A and B, will to determine whether the public is willing to finance more SFMTA projects.

This will be an interesting case to watch to see where the supervisors, particularly the ones vying for state office, line up on the issue. Will San Francisco city authorities mount a vigorous legal battle against the Aids Healthcare Foundation?
Comments at the source are most helpful.

Aids nonprofit files federal suit after city halts relocation An AIDS prevention nonprofit has sued The City in federal court for allegedly violating its civil rights, after it was barred from relocating one of its pharmacies because of San Francisco’s chain store regulations.



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