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April 9, 2019

Good Tuesday morning!

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JCruzTheTruth/ CC-BY-SA-4.0

A September lawsuit making it illegal for cities to punish people who sleep on public property unless there are adequate, accessible indoor accommodations has put The City’s shelter crisis in stark relief.

On April 1, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees nine states in the western U.S., rejected a petition to challenge the precedent set by Martin v. City of Boise.

The court stated that “the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.”

City officials opposed Sen. Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) state bill that would raise height limits and prevent local zoning from restricting housing development near transit- and job-rich areas. District Four Supervisor Gordon Mar proposed a resolution to oppose the bill goes to the full Board of Supervisors this week.

“[Senate Bill 50] puts vulnerable communities at risk. We know that private market development left unfettered has negative social impacts and strings public transit and infrastructure,” Mar said.


One to three years before a show goes live, Museum of Modern Art exhibition designer Sarah Choi toils over a miniature model with proportions a half-inch to the foot. She speculates that she creates around 3,000 tiny works of art every year. Her current big project is the museum's featured spring exhibition, "Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again,” which opens on May 18.

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California State Legislature
Scott Wiener at a press conference.

With a banner reading "Ask a survivor of forced treatment," some two dozen protesters disrupted a town hall centered on expanding conservatorship for homeless people through Senate Bill 40. Proposed by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), SB 40 revises and expands his previous conservatorship bill SB 1045, no longer requiring relevant patients to be offered outpatient services before they are forced into a conservatorship.


For veteran Jake Orta, a billionaire’s trash is treasure. After becoming homeless and then living in subsidized housing, Orta became a full-time trash picker, making about $300 per week. While illegal, the practice is rarely punished. The first rule of dumpster-scavenging, he said, is to make sure there are no raccoons or possums. Nick Marzano, who publishes a magazine that documents trash-picking in San Francisco, estimates there are several hundred such scavengers citywide.


Spurred by the uptick in traffic deaths this year, Cheryl Brinkman, a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, has been protesting a lack of district supervisor support for transit safety projects. Several projects, she said, have been watered down or canceled altogether—projects that include calming traffic, adding bike lanes or making walking safer on Mission, Polk and Sixth streets.


A new report found that black babies made up 4 percent of births in San Francisco between 2007 and 2016, but accounted for 15 percent of infant deaths, and that black mothers made up half of the 10 maternal deaths in that same period.

A new nonprofit called SisterWeb trains Spanish-speaking, black and Pacific Islander women as doulas to provide services to at-risk mothers and change those startling statistics.

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ElizabethViera/ CC-BY-SA-4.0

In response to last year’s devastating Camp Fire in Butte County that cast smoke over the Bay Area for nearly two weeks and created an unprecedented public health crisis by fouling the air, San Francisco is developing a new Air Quality Emergency Plan.

A draft released last week proposes that in the event of unhealthy air, City Hall should more aggressively cancel outdoor events, message the public about weather changes and spread word that N095 air masks aren’t sufficient for staying outdoors.

The Neighborhoods


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In November, San Francisco State University received the nation’s largest donation given to a university in cryptocurrency: 56 million XRP tokens. While the value of XRP has fallen 18 percent since then, alumnus Chris Larsen, his wife Lyna Lam and their nonprofit Rippleworks promised to make sure the university received 25 million actual dollars. Forbes pegs Larsen’s net worth at $1.9 billion.



At least five donors to a GoFundMe campaign opposing Mayor London Breed’s planned homeless shelter on the waterfront claim to have received death threats by voicemail. The threats come on the heels of the proposal's opponents shouting down Breed at a meeting and amid a fierce social media debate.


Mission Bay

In time for San Francisco Giants’ home opener on Friday, the large clock affixed atop the video scoreboard at Oracle Park was removed to make room for a larger, high-resolution video scoreboard.


Potrero Hill

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Citing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mishandling of private data and influence over politics, a group of nurses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is working on a ballot measure that would remove the Facebook founder’s name from the city-owned hospital. Campaign organizers say they want to pay for renaming the hospital by soliciting private donations and using the institution’s maintenance funds to replace the signage.



Commercial real estate company Maven is seeking “interesting concepts” to fill three below-market rate restaurant spaces in a renovated building at the corner of Ellis and Leavenworth streets. “The Aviary,” as the historic building has been named, will be decorated with a mural of birds in flight with feather details. It’s scheduled to open later this year.



Last week, the Catholic Archdiocese announced the 110-year-old Star of the Sea School will suspend operations and terminate all staff at the end of the school year. Parents and the elementary school’s administration fiercely debated over curriculum changes, which had been blamed for an enrollment drop.



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Stern Grove Festival

Last Friday, the lineup for the 2019 Stern Grove Festival was revealed. The 82nd summer season kicks off Sunday, June 16, for 10 consecutive weekends until Aug. 18. Grammy-winning hip-hop trio Digable Planets, best known for their 1993 hit “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” and Oakland-based Latin hip-hop group Bang Data will open the show at Sigmund Stern Grove.



On Saturday, District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton held a public safety forum in response to a fatal double-shooting that put the community on edge earlier in the week. Residents were invited to speak about their concerns to inform a forthcoming neighborhood-specific safety plan to be crafted over the next few months.

The Columnists
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Joe Eskenazi: This New Startup Allows San Franciscans to Rent Out Their Homes as Offices. San Francisco Government is Not Amused.

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Tim Redmond: The Agenda: Saving a SoMa Park

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Carl Nolte, Native Son: Tech Boom Driving Reinvention of Historic San Francisco Structures for Office Space

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: It May be Time to Kiss Joe Biden Goodbye

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Joel Engardio: Discovering Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg

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Phil Matier: San Francisco Getting New Red-Light Cameras, but It’s Been a Stop-and-Go Process

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: As San Francisco’s Economy Thrives, Gap Grows Between Whites and Residents of Color