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June 20, 2019

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San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban the sale of e-cigarettes until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration completes its approval process for the nicotine-delivery devices. Controversy surrounding the ban includes the approximate 700 small business owners who sell vaping products being forced to eliminate them from their stores to Big Tobacco-backed Juul operating out of a city-owned facility on the waterfront. Courthouse News | The Hill

Juul spent $400 million to purchase a downtown office building the day the ban was passed by the Board of Supervisors. San Francisco Chronicle

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SF Appeal
One of the "Silver Twins" historic fire hydrants.

San Francisco will soon install commemorative plaques at the sites of three historic fire hydrants. Known as "The Little GIant" and "The Silver Twins," the three hydrants — located at 3899 20th St., Hayes and Buchanan and Van Ness Avenue and Ellis Street — prevented fires from reaching the Mission District and the western region of San Francisco during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, according to a June 10 resolution.

  

“The census underpins our democracy. The Census Bureau should not be in the business of trying to make it harder for people to be counted.”

On Monday, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) penned a letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham requesting that paper copies of the 2020 census not be restricted to solely to English and Spanish. The officials stated that almost half of The City's households speak a language other than English at home. Although the census will be available online in 12 non-English languages, the move to limit the paper edition would overlook thousands of San Franciscans and cause a significant undercount of seniors and low-income households citywide.

  
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SFist
District attorney candidates Leif Dautch, Suzy Loftus, Nancy Tung and Chesa Boudin.

From having old cases reviewed to creating an online portal for tracking the status of cases, the four district attorney hopefuls running to succeed outgoing District Attorney George Gascon presented a range of ideas for responding to sex crimes in San Francisco. The campaigning follows calls by an increasingly vocal crowd of sexual assault survivors who have accused police and the DA's office of mishandling cases. Of 864 sexual assault reports in 2017, DA office prosecutors reviewed 88 and prosecuted 35.

  

Four San Francisco supervisors introduced a ballot measure that is similar to one proposed by Mayor London Breed to speed up construction of teacher housing. The supervisors’ measure would allow 100% affordable and teacher housing on 3,000 lots over 10,000 square feet and on suitable publicly owned sites. Breed’s measure would define teacher housing as any project with two-thirds of its units reserved for educators. San Francisco Chronicle

On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed crystallized her opposition to a 24/7 mental health treatment center proposed by supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney for the November ballot. At root of the conflict is a stark disparity between two cost estimates: The Department of Public Health estimates it would require $278 million in one-time costs and $244.31 million to $1.1 billion annually. The Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates a bill of $32 million in one-time costs and $70 million or more annually. San Francisco Chronicle

Supervisors Rafael Mandelman and Gordon Mar requested a hearing on the working conditions of gig workers and may push for the passage of Assembly Bill 5, statewide legislation that would reclassify independent contractors at companies like Lyft and Uber as employees, granting them more benefits. San Francisco Examiner

  
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HOVR
A hovercraft used for ferry service.

Transportation Roundup

Water Emergency Transit Authority directors voted 4-0 to spend $500,000 on a hovercraft feasibility study that will evaluate up to five potential routes for the flying boats. SFGate

For the second consecutive Sunday night, San Francisco International Airport’s new rideshare pickup spot has increased wait times for hundreds of riders, sometimes for up to an hour. Uber stated that after the new ridesh pickup area was designated, the average time it took for a ride to show up upon request nearly tripled on Sunday nights; cancellations almost quadrupled. SFGate

At an Uber headquarters press conference, ridehail drivers accused Uber and Lyft of sending them in-app messages asking them to sign a petition opposing a worker-friendly state bill. The petition accompanies a pre-written message that could be sent to legislators. Mission Local

On Monday ,Supervisors Ahsha Safaí and Aaron Peskin threatened to reject the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s budget over frustration caused by cuts to the number of parking attendants in The City’s 39 parking garages. SF Weekly | San Francisco Examiner

  

Facing more than $30 billion in potential damages in lawsuits resulting from its equipment sparking multiple wildfires across California, Pacific Gas and Electric reached a $1 billion settlement with local governments harmed by the blazes. The settlement does not affect lawsuits filed by private homeowners and businesses. It would also have no impact on any criminal case.

  
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USA Today

Somehow, San Francisco isn’t No. 1. USA Today analysis shows The City ranks third as the least affordable city for teachers. A mid-career teacher spends an average of 62% of their $77,000 salary on rent. Santa Rosa and San Jose top the list as most unaffordable. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is the most affordable.

  

In San Mateo County last year, stun guns killed three unarmed men with a history of mental illness. Nonetheless — and despite seeing a cultural shift that has lowered its use of force — the San Francisco Police Department is seeking $1 million to buy Tasers. The Board of Supervisors may or may not approve that set-aside today.

  
The Neighborhoods

South of Market

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Eagle Plaza
A rendering of the completed Eagle Plaza.

Eagle Plaza, a new $1.85 million public space dedicated to the leather and LGBTQ+ communities and named after the bar SF Eagle, officially broke ground. “Eagle Plaza will serve as a gathering place for us to honor these communities that make San Francisco unique,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.

  

Mission

Dozens of people gathered in Dolores Park for a Guinness World Records-setting “cuddle puddle” — a group of people gathered for cuddling — over the weekend. Dakota Bell and Jesse Escalante organized the event in celebration of Pride month. Plans are in place to make the cuddling sessions a monthly occurrence.

  

North Beach

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Recreation and Parks Department
An map depicting Washington Square Park's closed area.

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department will close Washington Square Park for six months to replace its 65-year-old irrigation system. Once completed, the 1.5 acre-park’s 2 million gallons of water per year will be saved. The restroom and playground will remain open.

  

Fort Mason

The Presidio Trust’s Board of Directors rejected a WeWork-led proposal to turn 30-acre Fort Winfield Scott’s 22 buildings into a “Campus for Change,” where nonprofits and startups could address the pressing problems of the world. However, the benefits offered were not enough. “The Presidio is a national park. It is not a derelict neighborhood of the city in need of redevelopment,” one board member said.

  

Richmond

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Planning Department
A rendering of the swimming pool for the Alexandria Theatre.

Today, the Planning Commission will vote on whether to approve a proposal to turn the Alexandria Theatre into a swimming pool with office space and an educational after-school center. The historic movie palace has been Its parking lot has already been developed into housing.

  

South of Market

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors approved a $35 million proposal to install two-way, car-protected bike lanes on Howard Street between Fourth and 11th streets and on Folsom Street between 11th and Second streets. The changes were spurred in part by pedestrians and cyclists injured and killed in the area.

  

Hayes Valley

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Instagram

Public Works removed the “Hayes Valley Hearts” — multi-colored hearts painted on the sidewalk at Octavia and Ivy streets popular on Instagram — after receiving a complaint. A neighbor put up a sign calling the hearts a safety risk because people stand in the street to take photos of the guerilla art.

  

Richmond

The Board of Education held an open discussion on what to do about George Washington High School’s controversial Depression-era fresco ahead of a vote to be held next week. Supporters called its removal erasing history while proponents said its violent imagery had to go. Covering it will cost somewhere between $375,000 and $875,000.

  
The Columnists
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Phil Matier: Price of Gas to Jump More Than a Nickel a Gallon on July 1

  
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: Mayor Breed’s Teacher Housing Plan Lacks Key Supporter — Teachers

  
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Robyn Purchia, Green Space: Don’t Rubberstamp Verizon Wireless Antenna Proposal

  
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Kelly Dessaint, I Drive SF: The Angst of the Taximeter

  
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Broke-Ass Stuart, Broke-Ass City: Taking a Day to Let San Francisco Wash Over Us