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July 23, 2019

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“Where’s the accountability? Who pays for these delays besides the riders, the taxpayers and the communities dealing with endless construction?”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has exhausted nearly every dollar of the Central Subway's $1.6 billion budget, according to a new report by an independent federal monitor. San Franciscans could be the hook to pay for the remainder of the problem-riddled project, lest The City wishes to be left with a trainless hole in the ground. The warning comes amid SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin's impending August departure and the project contractor Tutor Perini Corporation's condemnation of his leadership.

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Transportation Roundup

“This is a crisis. People are dying on our streets.”

Supervisor Matt Haney and pedestrian safety advocates have called on Mayor London Breed to declare a citywide "state of emergency” following the deaths of two pedestrians in four days just several blocks apart in the Tenderloin. The mayor has not made the declaration, which could give San Francisco more influence at the state level to make changes like lowering speed limits. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has committed to implementing short-term changes near the sites of the two deaths. Street safety advocates will gather at 9 a.m. today on the steps of City Hall to call on others to join their cause. San Francisco Examiner

Bay Area business leaders seek to develop a November 2020 ballot measure that would generate at least $100 billion over 40 years to fund a host of infrastructure projects — among them, an extension of Caltrain into the Transbay Transit Center. San Francisco Chronicle

Lyft's electric bikes are back in San Francisco following the company's preliminary legal victory over The City last week when a San Francisco Superior Court judge required that Lyft be given the right of first offer. San Francisco Chronicle

The SFMTA has issued permits allowing Lyft to put its black-and-pink "hybrid" rental bikes on city streets. Curbed San Francisco

Ride-hail drivers demonstrated outside Uber headquarters on Friday as they delivered a letter demanding negotiations for improved working conditions, among them higher wages and more employee protections. San Francisco Examiner

A pigeon nest on a broken 24th Street Station escalator stopped its repair for a month. BART erroneously blamed a federal law meant to protect endangered species. KQED

Dean Preston, a tenant’s rights attorney running for District 5 supervisor, is campaigning on making Muni free. San Francisco Examiner


Last week, Judge Rochelle East ruled that she never should have issued a search warrant to the San Francisco Police Department for journalist Bryan Carmody's phone records and that SFPD must release most of the evidence supporting its warrant application. Carmody was targeted for obtaining a leaked police death report of former public defender Jeff Adachi. The leak embarrassed the department and City Hall and led to calls for an investigation.

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In a move that would lay off 13 employees and save $1.6 million annually in dog training programs alone, the San Francisco SPCA will stop offering its dog training classes and cut back on adoption services in the coming weeks. While the nonprofit says it’s adapting to a costlier city, some believe the changes are prompted by a California Supreme Court decision and a bill that would make many contract workers employees.


“Any young person who is homeless or experiencing exploitation in our streets is one too many.”

San Francisco became the only county in California to receive a $9.3 million grant that would house and support youth who have survived or are at risk of trafficking, Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday. SFGate

San Francisco’s 2020-2021 budget will provide an additional $9.8 million for 4,700 low-income adults through the Human Services Agency’s County Adult Assistance Program. It offers assistance to adults who are without dependent children, homeless, disabled or looking for help obtaining jobs. KRON

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The mystery has been years in the making.

The @KarlTheFog Twitter account has more than 361,000 followers, but no one seems to know the identity of the social media mogul. SFGate’s Amy Graff investigated.


On Monday, the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee unanimously voted to support California lawmakers’ efforts to place a measure on the 2020 ballot giving parolees the right to vote. The vote followed a City Hall rally supporting state legislation from Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. Leading the rally was Supervisor Matt Haney, who sat on the committee and argued that denying parolees that right is a form of voter oppression, adding that of the 772 parolees in San Francisco in 2017, 347 were black and 117 were hispanic. San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco's nationally acclaimed Pretrial Diversion Project, a 43-year-old nonprofit organization that has overseen the release of people accused of crimes in The City, may lose its funding to San Francisco's adult probation department due to an unforeseen consequence of Senate Bill 10, which ended California's cash bail program. San Francisco Chronicle

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“Part of Juul’s strategy is to create credibility and buy influence by hiring everybody who would take their money. We shouldn’t be fooled: Juul created the youth e-cigarette epidemic and refuses to take responsibility for it.”

San Francisco-based Juul Labs hired University of California tobacco-use researcher Dr. Mark Rubinstein as its medical director. While the company said he will work toward stemming the teen vaping epidemic, critics say the move comes directly from the Big Tobacco playbook. California Healthline

The Board of Supervisors will likely approve today legislation put forth by Supervisor Shamann Walton to establish a working group that would develop recommendations for assisting small businesses in handling The City’s ban of flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products. San Francisco Examiner


Killings are down in Bay Area cities, and San Francisco had the most dramatic reduction with 18 homicides in the first half of 2019 compared with 27 during the same period in 2018. San Francisco police credit the decline to plainclothes teams and foot patrols as well as focusing investigations units on specific violent crimes to identify serial offenders.

The Neighborhoods

Pacific Heights

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As tensions mount with Iran, attorneys for the State Department coincidentally filed an Ellis Act eviction against a couple that has for decades lived in a former Iranian consulate owned by the department. Citing the expense of making extensive repairs, the government has elected to mothball the mansion.



Some 200 neighbors who attended a town hall were divided on a proposed overnight parking lot for people who live in their vehicles. The site being discussed, known as the Upper Yard, sits beside the Balboa Park BART station, where it is used for Muni employee parking. It would operate as a “vehicle triage center” for approximately one year.


North Beach

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North Beach Neighbors

With the majority of Washington Square Park closed through early 2020 for renovation, North Beach Neighbors launched a weekly pop-up park in a small nearby parking lot on Sundays. Activities range from yoga to terrarium-building classes.



A Sacramento Superior Court Judge has prevented opponents of the Embarcadero Navigation Center from having their lawsuit challenging the homeless shelter heard in Sacramento. Preliminary construction for the center on Seawall Lot 330 is underway.



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Last week, the Historic Preservation Commission denied a neighborhood group’s bid to add the decrepit greenhouses at 770 Woolsey St. to The City’s registry of historic landmarks. Developer L37 Partners has proposed building a 63-unit townhome on the 2.2-acre site.


Civic Center

In may, Asian Art Museum computers were taken over by ransomware. While few details have been disclosed, the cyber-hold up disabled some or all of the institution’s computers. A spokesperson said no ransom was paid.


North Beach

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Punch Line Comedy Club

With just more than a week to spare, the lauded Punch Line comedy club secured a new lease ensuring it can stay at its current location with Google as its landlord. While details of the agreement are unclear, supporters were pushing for a 10-year lease.


South of Market

Boutique Crenn, culinary superstar Dominique Crenn’s new bakery and cafe to open in the Salesforce Tower, will be zero waste. Patrons will have to bring in their own mugs to take away coffee and tote bags to hold to-go items.

The Columnists
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Denise Sullivan, S.F. Lives: Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant: A Place of Friendship

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: Statue of Maya Angelou Comes Into Sharp Relief as San Francisco Diversifies Public Art

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: Everyone Assumes Trump Will Debate in 2020. What Makes Them So Sure?

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Joe Eskenazi: Is Nancy Pelosi Challenger Shahid Buttar the Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — or Don Quixote?

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Tim Redmond: San Francisco Responds to Climate Crisis (But Will Anyone Mention Uber?)

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