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April 2, 2019

Good Tuesday morning!

The City’s Getting to Zero campaign to reduce new HIV diagnoses is getting results faster than any other city in the country.

In 1992, more than 2,300 AIDS cases were diagnosed in The City. When the statistics are released later this year, the number of HIV infections diagnosed in 2018 is expected to count 190, down from 221 in 2017.

“San Francisco is a model for the rest of the nation,” National Coalition of STD Directors Executive Director David C. Harvey said. “Some states and cities … do not have the resources of San Francisco and will have a problem replicating the exact model.”

An investigation by the City Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit found that Vince Courtney, the former president of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, improperly voted to award two contracts totaling $1.25 million to labor organizations directly connected to his employer Laborers’ Local 261.

The San Francisco Chronicle obtained documents showing that the City Attorney was investigating “possible violations of law including, but not limited to,” three separate state and local government conduct codes.

Receiving the ill-gotten funds is the Laborers’ Community Service and Training Foundation. The tax-exempt organization, directly affiliated with Local 261, disagreed with the city attorney’s conclusion.

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San Francisco Sheriff's Department
Sheriff Vicki Hennessy is retiring in January 2020.

Vicki Hennessy, the first woman to lead the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, will step down in January 2020 after more than 40 years with the department. The decision follows a painful knee-replacement surgery as well as personal and family issues. Hennessy, 66, said she no longer has the time for the job.

Earlier this year, Hennessy’s deputies allegedly engaged in excessive force and misconduct in county jails. Mayor London Breed nonetheless called her a trailblazer in the department.


On Thursday, Mayor London Breed appointed Ingrid Mezquita to lead the Office of Early Care and Education, a department of the Human Services Agency charged with overseeing programs for children five years old and younger. A Mission District native, Mezquita previously served as the executive director of First 5 San Francisco, an organization that works closely with the OECE and advocates for supporting young children.


The San Francisco Police Officers Association dropped its lawsuit to block the San Francisco Police Department from releasing misconduct records, ranging from dishonesty to use of force, as made available by Senate Bill 1421. Several police departments across California have unsuccessfully tried to prevent documents from being disclosed since the law took effect at the beginning of the year while others remain tied up in the legal process.


On Monday, a choreographed musical number was shot for an NBC television pilot "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist” on Columbus Avenue in North Beach. The show centers on a young woman named Zoey, played by Jane Levy, who suddenly obtains the ability to hear the thoughts of those around her as songs. No specific shooting dates elsewhere in The City have been revealed.

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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
New issues may further delay the opening of the Central Subway.

Disagreements with contractors, mysterious leaks and worker shortages have been identified as causes for delaying the opening of the 1.7-mile Central Subway extension in a new federal monitor’s report. Started in 2010, the project was supposed to be substantially completed a year ago. At the beginning of this year, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said it was 83% complete. It likely won’t begin service until May 2020.

The Neighborhoods


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Controversy over Mayor London Breed's proposed Navigation Center at Seawall Lot 330 led to dueling GoFundMe campaigns: One to fund a legal case against it and the other, which has five times as many donors and has collected more than $150,000, to support the Coalition on Homelessness.


Lake Merced

The Professional Golfers' Association of America Championship is coming to The City’s own TPC Harding Park next year, the first time since 1977 that the championship has been held in Northern California. The course is scheduled to host the Presidents Cup in 2025.


Alcatraz Island

Eleven years after voters decisively axed the measure, a proposal has returned to the November ballot to seize Alcatraz Island from the federal government and transform it into an arts center. The non-binding legal text asks whether San Francisco should support and facilitate acquiring the island to turn it into a global peace and creative arts center? The measure, last proposed by the Global Peace Foundation and "the Light Party,” previously garnered 28 percent of the vote.


The Presidio

Leading San Francisco in habitat restoration, the Presidio is now reaping the benefits in droves of native silver digger bees, which haven’t been seen in The City for most of a century. Known scientifically as Habropoda miserabilis, the non-aggressive, sand-loving bees were driven out out region as it was paved over for urban development.


South of Market

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Transbay Joint Powers Authority
The cracked south Fremont Street girder.

Officials with Skanska and Herrick, the contractors that manufactured and installed the steel girders that cracked in the Transbay Transit Center forcing it to close, dispute the Transbay Transit Authority’s conclusion that they were at fault and have requested to present their side of the story to the agency’s board of directors. Skanska is seeking an independent third-party review.


Western Addition

A man allegedly withdrew a sword from his jacket and slashed a passerby before taking off on foot, leaving behind a pool of blood and a “Make America Great Again” hat. One witness said the suspect had shouted homophobic slurs at him and his girlfriend at a nearby convenience store after they flipped him off for glaring at them and wearing the hat.


Pier 39

After being given a reprieve due to its bankruptcy, Pacific Gas & Electric will continue following the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s order to investigate and clean up any contamination around Pier 39 stemming from a Manufactured Gas Plant once located at 250 Beach St., which the utility operated until 1931. A full remediation plan will be submitted by the end of the year.


Mission Bay

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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
A rendering of the forthcoming UCSF Mission Bay platform.

Streetcar service was restored to the T-Third line after 10 weeks of bus substitution to make way for the construction of a new streetcar platform capable of handling the huge crowds expected at the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center. However, the platform will be not be ready until May.

The Columnists
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Phil Matier: 49ers Add Second Taylor Swift Show at Levi’s Stadium, and Everyone Takes a Bit of a Bath

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Tim Redmond: How to Take Housing Out of the Private Market

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Denise Sullivan, S.F. Lives: A San Francisco School Where Black Studies Start Young

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: Attorney in San Francisco District Attorney’s Office is the Queen of Car Break-Ins. Someone Has to Do It

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Joe Eskenazi: Potrero House of Horrors: New Owners But Same Old Problems for Haven of Squatters and Filth

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Carl Nolte, Native Son: Golden Gate Bridge Toll Increase to Near $10 Draws Collective Shrug

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: Nancy Pelosi for President. No, Really

Check it out
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Market Street Railway
The Market Street Railway’s new Streetcar Guide web app provides factoids about The City's historic and vintage fleet.

Historic streetcars are getting their own app on Friday, when the Market Street Railway nonprofit releases the Streetcar Guide, a NextMuni-like live map that teaches streetcar history. The app is a passion project of two San Franciscan partners who fell in love with the old metal conveyances.