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October 1, 2019

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Surveillance footage of Edward Peng.

A Hayward man who operated a tour guide business in San Francisco has been charged with spying for the People’s Republic of China, federal prosecutors announced at a Monday news conference. “Defendant Xuehua (Edward) Peng is charged with executing dead drops, delivering payments, and personally carrying to Beijing, China, secure digital cards containing classified information related to the national security of the United States,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson said. Peng served as a courier between October 2015 and June 2018, picking up information while leaving cash payments. FBI agents captured Peng through use of a double agent only identified as “Source” in the charging documents. Sacramento Bee | Reuters


In the wake of the revelation that 31 Behavioral Health Center beds were left empty by the Department of Public Health even as psychiatric patients languished in jail, a DPH official testified under oath that a mentally ill man was quickly moved from jail to a hospital bed to avoid public scrutiny at a court hearing. Beyond that hearing, the availability of beds for mentally ill patients has city government in a scramble to act amid vociferous criticism. Mission Local

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Civil Grand Jury
The cover of the Civil Grand Jury's recent report on pedestrian safety.

San Francisco's Civil Grand Jury called upon the Board of Supervisors to impose an assortment of safety measures to mitigate the dangers of e-scooters. The jury published its recommendations in a July report following a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency estimation that several companies could be permitted to roll out between 1,000 and 2,500 scooters on city streets in the coming months. The City’s e-scooter permitting program will begin Oct. 15, the day its pilot program ends. SF Weekly

“I like scooters; you can ride ‘em in a dress,” Mayor London Breed told the San Francisco Examiner, signaling support for the rental conveyances as other elected officials called for their use to be curtailed. San Francisco Examiner


Proposition C, a November ballot measure to overturn San Francisco’s e-cigarette ban, has been suspended. JUUL Labs’ new CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said the startup will stop funding the campaign after putting in an eye-popping $11 million. “We understand JUUL’s leadership has decided to cease support for the campaign as part of a larger review of the company’s policies. Based on that news, we have made the decision not to continue on with the campaign,” a Prop. C representative states. San Francisco Examiner

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The City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees gave 10% raises to administrators and approved plans for an independent analysis of how much administrators’ salaries should be. The raise comes on the heels of a scandal when the faculty union discovered that the college had already budgeted giving administrators 90% to 100% raises. Chancellor Mark Rocha said the increases are necessary to attract and keep administrators. San Francisco Examiner


The Municipal Transportation Agency warned Lyft to make its e-bike batteries safe from combustion, otherwise it risks losing its operating permit. The pedal-assist e-bikes in question have been removed from city streets pending safety review. San Francisco Examiner


To slow the pace of fentanyl overdose deaths, the Department of Public Health will use $300,000 in local, state and federal funding to hire two overdose prevention educators and start programs at SROs that have had overdoses or appear likely to benefit from the services. The programs will be modeled after Vancouver’s Tenant Overdose Response Organizers program. San Francisco Chronicle

The Neighborhoods

China Basin

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San Francisco Giants
A rendering of China Basin Park.

The Giants will begin the first of their Mission Rock development project on top of a parking lot south of McCovey Cove. This winter, the team is set to begin building a 5-acre waterfront park called China Basin Park that will have tide pools and an open space fronting the bay with an occupancy of 5,000. The later phase of the development includes 1,300 housing units along with retail and office space. Curbed San Francisco



Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar announced the purchase of a six-unit Taraval Street property that will protect low-income tenants. The nonprofit Mission Economic Development Agency quickly acquired 3544 Taraval St. with help from City Hall’s Small Sites program. The building will also be rehabilitated with a $400,000 grant from City Hall. San Francisco Examiner


South of Market

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The Office of the City Attorney settled a lawsuit brought by neighborhood nonprofit organizations attempting to block the rezoning of Central South of Market that would unleash $6 billion in new office and housing developments. Concessions from City Hall include performing additional studies of the neighborhood’s needs for public facilities and seismic stability. Also, for-profit developers that will benefit from the upzoning will offer commercial spaces for 40% below market rate over 30 years.
San Francisco Chronicle



San Francisco’s Holocaust Memorial near the Legion of Honor museum’s parking lot is being dismantled for a full restoration after 35 years in the elements. "It’s a sensitive project and it’s a good time for us to do it," an Arts Commission official said. The project will be completed in November. NBC Bay Area


Forest Hill

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SF Urban Riders
Stakeholders and Supervisor Norman Yee cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony.

Over the weekend, the SF Urban Riders and Laguna Honda Hospital held an opening ceremony for the reconstruction of community trails on the hospital’s campus that had been neglected and grown over. Volunteers had monthly workdays to uncover the trails, but more work lies ahead: One “lost” trail still needs to be liberated from the bushy brush. Hoodline


West Portal

West Portal Avenue’s four-block commercial corridor boasts the lowest rate of storefront vacancies across San Francisco. One secret to success: affluent residents. “According to 2010 census data, West Portal’s 8,052 residents have a median household income of $140,737, compared with the city median of about $96,000,” the San Francisco Chronicle found. San Francisco Chronicle



A new 52-unit apartment building at Church and Market streets leased to Sonder — a startup specializing in short-term, furnished apartment rentals — may be short-lived. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is working with the Office of the City Attorney on legislation to close a loophole allowing the company to operate what amounts to an unregistered hotel. Hoodline

The Columnists
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Denise Sullivan, S.F. Lives: Into The San Francisco Urban Wild With Lt. Ellie Sadler

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Tim Redmond: Here’s Who’s Getting Rich From Tobacco Money

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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: City Solution To Clinton Park Anti-Homeless Measure: ‘Larger Boulders’

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Joe Eskenazi: Dysfunctional, Failing Behavioral Health Center Feels Like A Microcosm Of All San Francisco

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Carl Nolte, Native Son: The Changed City Is Sometimes Appealing To An Old San Franciscan

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: Democrats Have Cheapened Impeachment. Can They Now Sell The Real Deal?

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: A Knife, A Threat And One More Frightened San Francisco Woman Left Dismayed By City Inaction