San Francisco Reparations Committee Member Recommends $500 Million Payment Per Person

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
March 3, 2023

A member of San Francisco's race reparations task force suggested Friday that the city should pay $500 million per person to black residents, 100 times more than the $5 million figure his committee originally proposed.

"As a member of that advisory committee in San Francisco, people keep asking us, 'Why $5 million?'" Daniel Landry, the policy subcommittee lead for the city's African American Reparations Advisory Committee, said at a Friday meeting of the state's reparations task force.

"Well, why not $500 million?" Landry asked. "Because you can never repay the damage that's been done to black people in America."

San Francisco's reparations committee proposed late last year that the city should pay $5 million in reparations to almost every black resident over 18 who can prove residency. The committee also proposed that the city fund universal debt clearance and free therapy for black residents, as well as 250 years of $97,000 annual payments for low-income black residents.

This plan spurred fresh backlash this week when the reparations task force chairman Eric McDonnell acknowledged to the Washington Post that the $5 million was not based on any hard data.

"There wasn't a math formula," McDonnell told the Post. "It was a journey for the committee towards what could represent a significant enough investment in families to put them on this path to economic well-being, growth, and vitality that chattel slavery and all the policies that flowed from it destroyed."

Landry further suggested Friday that the government should give land to black Californians, saying he wanted a "deep dive into the land issue" and arguing that California prevented black people from owning real estate.

"Racism, ignorance, stupidity is a way of life here in America," he said. "So I want to be very clear: land, land, land."

Landry's comment is the latest sign that California Democrats' reparations dream has grown increasingly complicated. Legislators in Sacramento and San Francisco established their task forces at the height of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Both committees are required to introduce legislation by this summer.

Several public commenters at Friday's meeting expressed frustration with the panel's delay in devising a plan for cash payments.

One man blasted the panel's work as "political theater" and "scams" that fail to justify the millions spent. A woman slammed California's "Scottish governor," Gavin Newsom (D.), and other non-black leaders for thinking they should have the final say in reparations discussions.

"Now when I think about reparations … we got to mobilize it by ourselves," she said. "This is serious business."