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April 25, 2019

Good Thursday! This San Francisco is taking a break. See you May 7.

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San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

First it was the doors clamping on passengers and then it was the lynch pins connecting trains. Now the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has identified another issue making its new fleet of Siemens streetcars falter. Using the emergency brake is causing vehicle wheels to prematurely flatten. Only half of the new fleet is in full-time service.

The Board of Supervisors, which also acts as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, halted its vote to provide $62 million for more Siemens streetcars. For its part, the SFMTA has assigned more ambassadors to stand on train platforms to warn passengers about the doors and hired a consultant to review the Siemens streetcars. San Francisco Chronicle | San Francisco Examiner

Muni supervisor Mustafa Mohamed is blowing the whistle on alleged favoritism in the Metro Light Rail training division. Mohamed, who previously coached students in a 40-day train operating course, alleges he was pressured to pass undeserving students and fail students who could have succeeded. “There are people who can’t even tell what track they are on,” he said. CBS

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The American Lung Association's latest "State of the Air" report ranked the Bay Area eighth in its list of top ten smoggiest cities in the nation. First place went to Los Angeles. The report, which covers 2015-2017, examined two types of air pollution: smog, also known as ground-level ozone, and soot, also known as particulate matter. “California's air quality is worsening despite having the strongest environmental regulations in the nation,” said John Balmes of the University of California at San Francisco.


On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed proposed a charter amendment to make approval for housing that’s either 100% affordable or for teachers “by right,” excluding them from discretionary review and appeals if they meet zoning requirements. It will be up to the voters to pass the charter this November should the Board of Supervisors place it on the ballot.


Mayor London Breed is turning to the voters to pass a third ballot measure related to affordable or teacher housing this November. On Wednesday, she announced a plan to remove housing restrictions on public land for developments that are either 100% affordable or for teachers. Five hundred parcels zoned for public use would be affected, assuming they are owned by either the city, state or federal government


On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors gave The City three months to find a site where the those living in vehicles may park overnight. Mayor London Breed committed $1 million toward the program, which will also provide access to showers and bathrooms. “It’s not perfect but we have to start somewhere,” said District Five Supervisor Vallie Brown, who authored ordinance. “We’ll be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and adjust as we go.”


At the request of Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, the FBI will investigate an allegation of excessive force used by a sheriff’s deputy on an inmate at County Jail No. 5 in San Bruno. “The department has been under some scrutiny for a while about independent investigations.” Hennessy said. Deputies are not required to wear body cameras at the jail. However, the inmate's attorney said there were several witnesses.


On Wednesday, District Four Supervisor Gordon Mar put forth a plan to capture the wealth created by tech companies entering public markets that could generate up to $200 million for a “Shared Prosperity Fund” in two years time. His plan, which would have to be approved by two-thirds of the electorate, would tax stock compensation at a rate of 1.5%, up from 0.38%.

A City Controller report predicts that the median house price in San Francisco will rise 11.3%, to $1.45 million, once the tech companies go public.


San Jose dubbed itself the “Capital of Silicon Valley” 31 years ago. And for 31 years, A. Jarrod Jenkins, a board member of the San Jose Downtown Association, has called for his city to relinquish the title. Any grasp San Jose once had on the tech industry, he said, was stolen by cities such as San Francisco, where seven of eight big tech companies are expected to go public this year.


It happened again. The Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund, a state program that shifts a portion of local property taxes to public schools, produced another windfall for The City like last year, and city officials are making plans to spend the estimated $140 million. On Tuesday, District One Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer introduced a proposal to dedicate 50% of the funds to affordable housing.

The Neighborhoods


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Presidio Trust
A rendering of the renovated theatre.

Following two years of construction and 20 years of inactivity, the 1938-built Presidio Theatre is on track to become a performing arts center. When it opens in September, the former 600-seat theater will feature an outdoor plaza and space for a number of uses, such as live music, rehearsals and dance.



The hotly debated multiservice homeless shelter proposed for an Embarcadero parking lot received a unanimous thumbs-up from the San Francisco Port Commission on Tuesday. It’s expected to open in early fall — assuming neighbors don't sue The City to halt the project. The 2-year lease would provide up to 200 beds and supportive services for San Francisco's 4,000-plus homeless people.



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David Hegarty

In a Zionsville, Pennsylvania, warehouse sits the recently completed organ for the historic Castro Theatre. The largest pipe-digital hybrid organ in the world, it boasts seven keyboards, 1,800 pipes and 120 speakers. The Castro Organ Devotees Association, which organized and fundraised for the new instrument, expects it to be installed next year.


Union Square

For a second time, the Board of Supervisors rejected Museum of Ice Cream’s bid for an alcohol license so it can open a mezzanine bar at its 1 Grant Ave. location. The wildly popular venue’s founder Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora pledged to appeal the decision.



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Mission Local

Mission Local put together a gorgeous multimedia package about the origin and history of the famed Carnaval.


Nob Hill

San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, American Bach Soloists and Notre Dame de Paris organist Johann Vexo will perform at Grace Cathedral on April 29 at 6 p.m. in solidarity with Paris in the wake of Notre-Dame Cathedral fire.


Visitacion Valley

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Dante Alighieri/CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

"His idea is to take the Cow Palace away from the state fairground system and put it in the hands of an 'authority.'” Kevin Patterson, who has produced the Great Dickens Christmas with his family since 1999, casts shade on State Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill to make governance and use changes to the Cow Palace.


Aquatic Park

On Monday, Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center relocated an elephant seal that came ashore last week to allay concerns that the animal could become stressed by the number of visitors in the area.

The Columnists
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: Making ‘Auntie Rose’ Proud: Breed Swears-In Chinese Commissioners

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: 2 Galileo ‘Born and Raised’ Graduates Look Back on Century of San Francisco Memories

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Phil Matier: It’s No Walk in the Park on Transbay Transit Center Roof — Path Already Needs Replacing

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Robyn Purchia, Green Space: A Public Bank is Good for the Planet

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Kelly Dessaint, I Drive SF: Taking a Break from Behind the Wheel

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Broke-Ass Stuart, Broke-Ass City: When The City You Love Does Not Love You Back