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June 13, 2019

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London Breed for Mayor
London Breed signs paperwork at the Department of Elections.

“The only way to beat an incumbent in San Francisco is to prove that they’re either incredibly incompetent or corrupt.”

Six long-shot candidates have qualified to challenge Mayor London Breed for her seat at the November ballot. Breed narrowly defeated Mark Leno, a termed out state senator, last July in a race prompted by the death of former mayor Ed Lee.

The six challengers are:

  • Ellen Lee Zhou, a public health worker who ran in July and picked up less than 4% of The City's first-place votes.
  • Joel Ventresca, a retired San Francisco International Airport administrative analyst planning to campaign from the left.
  • Paul Ybarra Robertson, who has listed no contact information nor identifying details.
  • Jean-David Hsu, to run as an independent, who says he will clean up the Tenderloin.
  • Wilma Pang, a professional singer and music educator with a history of unsuccessful attempts at running for various offices.
  • Robert Jordan, a street minister who said he's "a hard worker with no ego. I think this is my year."

A new artificial intelligence tool from the District Attorney’s Office seeks to decrease the likelihood of potential racial bias exhibited by prosecutors deciding on cases. The tool, which will remove hints of race from police reports, will replace redacted information with labels such as “race” and “neighborhood.” Before their final decision, prosecutors will review the full police report and other evidence that might reveal the race of people involved. San Francisco Examiner

In an effort to make investigations of police officer-involved shootings independent, the District Attorney’s Office will take on the task of criminally investigating San Francisco Police Department officers following police shootings and in-custody deaths. Mission Local

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The late Virginia "Tamale Lady" Ramos.

San Francisco will soon dedicate a day to honoring the legacy of the "Tamale Lady." Perhaps The City's most beloved street vendor, Virginia Ramos would visit bars throughout the Mission and beyond, dishing out homemade tamales and wisdom, saving up to send her seven children to college. On Tuesday, Mission District Supervisor Hillary Ronen proposed honoring Ramos on her birthday, June 23.


Voters next year will decide whether to pass a $628.5 million Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response bond. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place the bond on the March 2020 ballot. The proposal, which is expected to receive its second required board vote to be made official, lists the funding for general categories but leaves the fine details to be ironed out and approved by a two-thirds vote from the public.

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“Not being able to provide support to family members who were behind bars — it can be quite depressing and frustrating.”

San Francisco will no longer charge jail inmates for phone calls nor mark up the cost of items at the jail store, Mayor London Breed and Sheriff Vicki Hennessy announced. Eliminating the practice, which costs inmates and their families some $1.7 million annually, allows inmates to do better in jail and during re-entry, according to Anne Stuhldreher, director of financial justice at the treasurer’s office.


“I'm sick and tired of me and my fellow tenants starving at the end of the month because our rent consumes anywhere from half to 80% of our income.”

Jordan Davis, a tenant representative on City Hall's Single Room Occupancy Task Force, is on hunger strike until the Board of Supervisors supports her proposal to cap rents for all SRO tenants at 30% of their monthly income. Using the California Public Records Act, Davis discovered some SRO rents are capped at 30% of tenant income, while others are $673 per month, much too high for tenants on fixed incomes.

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torbakhopper/CC BY 2.0

Thirteen San Francisco Police Department employees filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court accusing department administrators of promoting “lower-scoring candidates” who happen to be African American or female, according to the lawsuit. The City Attorney spokesperson said the examination process is “designed to provide qualified individuals with the chance for advancement while ensuring fair treatment without regard to race, gender, religion, age or other status.”


While serving as San Francisco District Attorney, presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) didn’t act for 5 years on the suggestions of her staff to enact a Brady policy, a rule requiring prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence, a Wall Street Journal investigation found. The years of inaction shows Harris’ balancing act between her “liberal base’s demands that she be a ‘progressive prosecutor’ while also securing backing from police officers.”

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Ford GoBike is now Bay Wheels.

Transportation Roundup

Ford GoBike, the Lyft-owned bicycle rental operation, will be rebranded “Bay Wheels,” and begin offering electric bicycles to customers — all while the company sues San Francisco to maintain domination of the bike rental market. San Francisco Examiner

At a committee hearing, District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer called for the current taxi permit system to be done away with, cab permit owners to be paid back and a new system to be put in place. 48hills

Regional transportation advocates announced a proposal called “Faster Bay Area,” a nine-county-wide plan to raise $100 billion in taxes over several decades. Mercury News

Starting next month, Muni passengers paying cash for fares will be charged $3 per ticket while those using Clipper cards or the Muni Mobile app will pay $2.50. Affordable transit advocates say the difference amounts to a penalty for using cash, which will disproportionately impact on low-income passengers. Hoodline

The Neighborhoods

East Cut

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A cross section rendering of the Transbay Transit Center.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority announced that the $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center will reopen on July 1, nearly 10 months since the transportation hub closed due to structural defects discovered shortly after it opened to the public. It will return to full service over time.


Civic Center

For the first time since the 1980s, the Heart of the City Farmers Market will be open Sundays, Wednesdays and, now, Fridays, delivering its usual lineup of local farmers offering up fresh produce. However, the Friday market will feature a craft bazaar sponsored by Etsy and Square.



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Mayor London Breed announcing the purchase of 1515 South Van Ness Boulevard.

The site of a proposed development project on Van Ness Boulevard once opposed by community will become affordable housing now that the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development has picked up the property for $18.5 million.



The city-owned Fillmore Heritage Center will open this weekend for the San Francisco Black Film Festival and Juneteenth celebration, but when it will next open is unclear. City Hall has not selected an operator to manage the facility, which closed three months ago after a fatal shooting.



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The “Flower House,” a rowhouse on 25th Avenue near Noriega, became an instant social media destination for its colorful mural. But as quickly as it went up, it was painted over. Tenant Patricia da Silva said the artwork was about “flower power” and “spreading positivity in negative times.”



As City College of San Francisco prepares plans for hundreds of units of student and faculty housing located on its flagship Ocean campus, other community colleges are doing the same. Providing affordable housing is part of their expanding mission, advocates say.



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Stern Grove Festival Association
Sigmund Stern Grove has hosted a free music festival for 82 years.

Dr. Douglas Goldman, whose great-grandmother, Rosalie Meyer Stern, bought the land that would become Stern Grove in 1931, is the fourth generation of his family to steward the Stern Grove Festival Association, the organization responsible for the Stern Grove Festival.


West Portal

Streetsblog San Francisco’s Roger Rudick inspected the efficacy of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s West Portal Transit-Only Lane Pilot and found little enforcement of private vehicles blocking the streetcars. SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the kinks are still being ironed out.

The Columnists
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Phil Matier: Oakland Council Taking Its Time, Wants Answers About A’s Ballpark and Financing

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Tim Redmond: Michael Storper on Housing

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Robyn Purchia, Green Space: Trees are Necessary for San Francisco’s Future

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Kelly Dessaint, I Drive SF: Playing the Airport Taxi Game

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Broke-Ass Stuart, Broke-Ass City: San Franciscans Cannot Take the Heat