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August 29, 2019

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“This is robbery.”

San Francisco-based ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft are keeping just over one-third of driver revenue, according to data from 14,756 fares collected by car-related news website Jalopnik. If the findings are representative of the whole, Uber and Lyft are taking around 10% more from their drivers than they have reported. Meanwhile, despite their classification as independent contractors, drivers cannot control the price of their own services. Jalopnik

Federal officials indicted a former Google executive for allegedly stealing files that helped him build a self-driving tractor-trailer company and sell it to Uber for $680 million. New York Times | SFGate


In 2007, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. hired an outsider named Ed Salas to perform a system-wide risk evaluation, NBC uncovered. Two months before the fateful San Bruno explosion in 2010, Salas produced a report documenting a surprising pressure surge on one of the utility’s aging gas lines that would inflict $500 million in damages if it exploded. He also described shoddy record keeping and emergency crews ill-equipped to respond to serious disasters.

What’s more, in reviewing the high voltage transmission network, Salas also identified risk of “fires caused by aged equipment failure that PG&E had not taken timely action to replace.” Salas left the company in frustration. Now he operates a church in Southern California.

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Transit Supply

"Coming from somewhere with very little transit, where we had one bus and it didn't go anywhere I wanted to go, to where you can go anywhere is kind of life changing."

Twenty-nine-year-old designer Chris Arvin turned his passion for public transit into a side hustle. In March, he launched Transit Supply, an online merch shop selling enamel pins, apparel, stickers, magnets and prints all depicting streetcars, buses and other transit-related imagery.


"No video, no case. That’s the reality."

Police are tapping 1,000 private security cameras to keep tabs on San Francisco’s neighborhoods. Cryptocurrency giant Ripple founder Chris Larsen is bankrolling the majority for multiple business improvement districts and other local groups. He said he believes that some 100 professional criminals are targeting The City, and security cameras are the solution. SFist

Friends, colleagues or neighbors on the playa? There's a live webcast of Burning Man. SFStation

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Mayor London Breed announced on Monday that $805,000 will be used for the installation of 22 more water filling stations at The City’s public schools and 14 more at parks and open spaces. Funds for the stations come from the Soda and Sugary Beverages Tax Measure, a 2016 voter-approved tax of one cent per ounce of sugar-filled beverages. To date, 107 stations have been installed. CBS

Breed announced on Tuesday that $3.5 million of The City’s budget will be put toward expanding mental health programs at public schools for the next two years. San Francisco Examiner


“It’s so frustrating that we — legitimate businesses — are always being lumped in with illegal syndicates.”

Since 2015, hundreds of massage therapists have been required to jump through expensive and time-consuming legal hoops to set up shop. The most onerous is for them is The City’s conditional use process, which requires massage therapists to have months of rent saved before starting the process and can take 11 months. The Department of Public Health last week sent 206 massage therapists letters giving them a choice: Comply with the law within 30 days, or pay $1,000 daily in fines.


As promised, opponents of two voter-approved tax measures that passed with simple majorities have appealed Judge Ethan Schulman’s July decision to uphold them. In January, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and collaborators sued to block two 2018 tax measures used to fund childcare and early education and homelessness services. While City Hall is collecting the taxes, they won’t be spent until the legal issues are resolved.

The Neighborhoods


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Mission Local dug into a Valencia Street oddity: Why one storefront has been boarded up for decades despite the corridor’s astounding transformation as The City’s cultural and culinary capital. Turns out waylaid plans for a mixed-use development are at the core of the mystery.


Potrero Hill

San Francisco General Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Services changed its practice of restricting patients from lying down 24 hours a day, 18 months after it was introduced and roundly criticized. “Vertical treatment,” used in emergency rooms nationwide, requires noncritical patients to sit in bays rather than recline on gurneys, saving space, expediting treatment and saving time and money. Patients will now be able to recline their seats from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.


Russian Hill

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Pacific Union International

A six-bed, seven-and-a-half-bath mansion at 950 Lombard St. put on the market for $45 million in October 2018 just took a $4.5 million price cut. If it sells for $40.5 million, it will be the most expensive home ever sold in The City. The current record is $38 million.



More than four years after the San Francisco Police Department killed 20-year-old Amilcar Perez-Lopez, the beginnings of a new mural depicting the Guatemalan immigrant was unveiled to the public. The unfinished mural is being produced by a team of muralists and expected to be completed in the next few months.


Union Square

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Questions about tactics used by BART police in an incident on the Powell Street BART station platform are being raised on social media. Some witnesses said a BART police officer escalated a conflict with a pair of teenage girls while others said it was handled with finesse. A BART spokesperson said footage of the incident is under review.


South of Market

A $100 million plan to fix the sinking and tilting Millennium Tower has been endorsed by a panel of experts three years after the discovery of its structural issues made headlines internationally. The proposal calls for the 58-story building to be shored up by 52 2-foot-thick circular piles drilled 250 feet down into bedrock.


Mission Bay

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SFBay has a thorough overview of the soon-to-open Chase Center. Find information about the state-of-the-art scoreboard, the bars and restaurants, transportation options and more.


Potrero Hill

Physicians, health care workers and immigrant students held a demonstration outside San Francisco General Hospital to protest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, increased immigrant detentions and the recently expanded policy curbing visas and green cards.

The Columnists
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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: San Francisco District Attorney Candidate’s Big Idea: Convert Juvenile Hall Into Mental Health Treatment Site

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Phil Matier: San Francisco Top Dem Campos Wants Shanti to Pull Award to Dede Wilsey — Cites GOP Fundraiser

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Tim Redmond: Behind the ‘Dark Money’ in the District Attorney’s Race

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Robyn Purchia, Green Space: The Trump Administration Blow to Wild Salmon

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Kelly Dessaint, I Drive SF: Don’t Blame Today’s Taxi Drivers For the Past

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Broke-Ass Stuart, Broke-Ass City: Chase Center: A Giant Roomba That is Still a Bad Idea

Since You're Here ...

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