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May 14, 2019

Good Tuesday!

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Whistleblowers Sarah Steele and Michael Bachmann.

The agency meant to protect Bay Area air has long been accused by activists for protecting polluters. Now, two whistleblowers are claiming they have evidence that shows the Bay Area Air Quality Management District tossed critical files inappropriately. The two former employees — who were previously assigned the task of digitizing 60 years of documents — sued the agency, alleging that they were fired in retaliation for refusing to destroy records.

"My staff reported to me that giant garbage bags full of flare reports were found in a garbage bin down in the garage," whistleblower Michael Bachmann said.

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"I've been doing transportation analysis for a long time and I'm used to seeing small changes of a few percent, not anything of this magnitude."

Weekday traffic delays lengthened by 62% between 2010 and 2016 — and ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft accounted for more than half of the increase, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances. If not for ride-hail companies, congestion in The City would have worsened by 22% in the same time period. NPR

It could have made stock market history; instead it became a historic loss. Within five hours of going public, ride-hail giant Uber lost almost $6 billion in market value. The debut of San Francisco-based Uber’s initial public offering last Friday followed the stock market's worst-performing week of 2019 and ride-hail drivers in several states striking for higher pay. Yesterday, the stock took a $7 billion slide. Axios | San Francisco Chronicle


Ahead of Mother’s Day, homeless mothers, children and organizers rallied at the steps of City Hall to call for an additional $14 million for homeless family services and housing. On Thursday, advocates said that adding those funds to the current $300 million homelessness budget would fund more than 300 housing subsidies, increase mental health support for families and expand emergency services.

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NBC Bay Area

In February, days after an NBC Bay Area report, Public Works street-cleaning crews received a notice of violation from the state for overloading and failing to cover their truck beds when taking refuse to the dump. Earlier this month, the reporters found that the crews had not changed the practice.

Public Works announced it will retrofit trucks with tarps to secure cargo, but executing the plan will take more than a year and cost $500,000. The department also plans to educate employees about overloading trucks but has not set any goals for when training will start.


Public transportation news digest:

In an opinion piece, activist Marc Salomon calls for the Board of Supervisors to reject any new leadership appointments within the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and instead examine and fix the agency's structural and policy problems. San Francisco Examiner

To aid her effort in halting San Francisco’s wave of traffic fatalities, Mayor London Breed told city transit officials to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes over the next two years, doubling the current pace of construction. The announcement faced opposition from merchants and residents against the removal of traffic lanes and parking spaces. SFBay | San Francisco Examiner

Breed also called upon the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to impose stricter penalties on drivers blocking bike lanes. Curbed San Francisco

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Two weeks ago, San Francisco police requested that journalist Bryan Carmody give up the name of person in the police department who leaked a police report detailing the circumstances around the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi. On Friday, a group of police officers and two FBI agents raided his home and office. Now First Amendment activists are taking up Carmody’s case, saying the authorities violated state law that protects journalists from being compelled to give up their sources. Washington Post | Mercury News

On Thursday, Sen. Kamala Harris told a San Francisco audience that the press, and especially the black press, is critical to providing quality information to the public. San Francisco Chronicle


Police were first to take the blame for taking four hours to respond to a robbery at a Chinese-owned bakery in January. Emergency officials, who are reviewing the 911 call, have said the dispatcher and interpreter also contributed to the delayed response. The two have since received additional training. “When you have an incident like this when somebody gets robbed and injured, the community spreads word pretty quickly and says ‘Yeah, I was right. What’s the point in reporting,’” Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee said. “We need to cut those examples out.”

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The Community Health Needs Assessment shows a stark difference in the life expectancy of San Francisco residents by race. Produced every three years by the Department of Public Health, the report quantifies inequality in terms of health. On average, Asians can expect to live to be 87 years old while Black people/African Americans and Pacific Islanders have a life expectancy of 72 and 76 years respectively. White people have a life expectancy of 81.7 years.

The Neighborhoods

Visitacion Valley

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Recreation and Parks Department
A rendering of the forthcoming playground.

McLaren Park Playground will undergo a major renovation that includes a climbing net structure for children with a a grand view of The City. The playground will also have its own permanent restroom. Construction will start this summer.


Mission Bay

“All dynasties fade, even those — especially those, maybe — building new temples for themselves.”

The New York Times’s John Branch reflects on the Golden State Warriors as the team prepares to transition to the Chase Center, leaving Oakland and its Oracle Arena behind.



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A rendering of the Mission's latest 100% affordable housing development.

On Friday, a 143-unit, fully affordable project at 1990 Folsom St. broke ground. Proposed by Mission Economic Development Agency and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in 2016, the project, which is the fifth 100% affordable project to begin its rise in the neighborhood in the past year, is expected to be complete in 2021.


South of Market

The San Francisco Department of Public Health ordered Eat Club, a Redwood City-based startup company, to cease operations at a warehouse where it packages food for tech company employees. Images of pigeon droppings on food crates and live rodents were shared with the press.


North Beach

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Carlos Valiente and Anthony Molina.

Carlos Valiente, 26, and Anthony Molina, 31, have been arrested and charged with the March 2017 killing 21-year-old Oswaldo Fuentes. Each is being held on $1 million bail.



A man fell backward into the traffic lane on Golden Gate Avenue and struck his head a Golden Gate Transit bus turning right onto Hyde Street, authorities said. He later died from his injuries. District Six Supervisor Matt Haney called for turn signals to be installed at the intersection to prevent future collisions.


Mid Market

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In the depths of the Great Recession eight years ago, city officials and business leaders initiated what became known as the “Twitter tax break” to attract tech companies to rundown Mid-Market Street. In a three-part series, the San Francisco Chronicle examines its impact, from small business vacancies to job creation.



Fifty years ago, the Mission was a news desert. It had rapidly changed into a refuge and home for The City’s Latino community, and the mainstream press only seemed to cover crime. By 1970, an intrepid group of community members started the biweekly bilingual newspaper El Tecolote. Today, the publication’s parent organization is making plans for its 50th anniversary.

The Columnists
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: As San Francisco Seeks Vape Ban, JUUL Drops Money into Small Merchants Gala

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: Spare Us the Subpoena Soap Opera, But We’d Love to See Trump’s Taxes

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Joe Eskenazi: Custard’s Last Stand: Mission Pie vs. the Gig Economy

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Tim Redmond: New Study Challenges Wiener’s Approach to Housing

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Denise Sullivan, S.F. Lives: Peaceful Warrior: Artist Creates His Own Reality

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Carl Nolte, Native Son: Best Places in San Francisco at the Best Time of the Year

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Phil Matier: In San Francisco’s Tenderloin, There’s a Revolving Door — of Drug Dealers, That is