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February 5, 2019

Good Tuesday morning.

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Treasure Island Development Authority
A rendering of Treasure Island once it has been redeveloped.

Twenty-two years after the Treasure Island Naval Station closed, the question of public safety lingers. Meanwhile, a deadline approaches for the Navy, which is required to hand over the human-made island to City Hall for housing development by 2021.

Reuters reviewed nonpublic meeting recordings, interviews with former regulators and thousands of pages of public documents to find out why the Navy understated the toxic contamination on Treasure Island despite concerns from scientists and residents.

Navy contractors have discovered 1,289 low-level radioactive items underneath streets, sidewalks, playgrounds and yards; if more than 50 are held a foot away for less than a day, a resident would be exposed to more radiation than the annual public limit. Many residents have complained to state authorities about asthma, rashes and child hair loss.

“They never should have allowed anyone to live there,” Gaetano Taibi, a radiation safety officer on Treasure Island, said.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Last year, movie star Michelle Yeoh became the first celebrity named the grand marshal of Southwest Airlines’ Chinese New Year Festival and Parade. This year, Mayor London Breed will be grand marshal. The Year of the Pig celebration is expected to gather 4,500 people.


Will they or won’t they? On Sunday, NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai reported that the Oakland Raiders reached a deal with the San Francisco Giants to share Oracle Park for the 2019 season. "When we're ready to make the announcement, we will," Raiders owner Mark Davis stated in a text message.


Mayor London Breed and District Three Supervisor Aaron Peskin have called for Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital to stop a billing policy that leaves privately insured patients shouldering the majority of their hospital bills. So-called “balanced billing” is being suspended for three months while the hospital develops a comprehensive plan for improvements.


Last week, the District Attorney George Gascon dropped all criminal charges against three deputies accused of forcing jail inmates to fight each other after prosecutors discovered that the Sheriff’s Department destroyed evidence and improperly conducted its investigations of the incident.

The District Attorney’s Independent Investigations Bureau will review the case to determine whether there is enough untainted evidence to file new charges.


In January, San Francisco Public Utilities Commissioner Vince Courtney, who has served on the body since 2010, sent a resignation letter to Mayor London Breed. Courtney stated that his work on political campaigns could pose a conflict given newly enacted laws that prevent commissioners from raising money for political candidates. Moreover, the San Francisco Chronicle discovered that Courtney attempted to get an SFPUC gardener fired, despite commissioners being prohibited from engaging in decisions at the personel level.


In response to the weekend storms, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing distributed 75 additional "emergency" mats for The City's unsheltered population of roughly 7,500.


Fifty times stronger than heroin, the cheap synthetic opioid fentanyl has not been as deadly to drug users in San Francisco as it has in other cities. Phillip Coffin, the director of substance use research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, attributes the lower death rate of fentanyl users in The City to the drug’s clear labeling and City Hall’s well-funded harm-reduction groups. Nonetheless, he added, the drug remains much more dangerous than heroin, and tends to be more inconsistent in potency and quality.


Last October, two e-scooter companies made many promises to be permitted to operate in The City on a provisional basis. A new report on Scoot and Skip's progress shows they have failed to deliver a community advisory board, safety helmets and a discounted plan for riders willing to pay a monthly amount.

The Neighborhoods

South of Market

Last week, the Trans Joint Powers Authority, the governing body of the Transbay Transit Center, announced that the beleaguered bus station would begin undergoing repairs — and that the facility may not be operational until June.



More than 50 massage therapists, acupuncturists and other body workers may be forced out of their rented offices in ActivSpace after the San Francisco Department of Public Health determined that the building was zoned for production, distribution and repair. Personal services are prohibited. The tenants are working with District Nine Supervisor Hillary Ronen to address the issue.



Last week, Mayor London Breed helped christen the $14.2 million Fire Station No. 16, located at 2251 Greenwich St. The two-story, 10,870-square-foot building is seismically safe and LEED Gold Certified.


South of Market

In The City’s super hot office space market, one question lingers: How much is Salesforce Tower? A recent corporate filing by its owner Boston Properties gives a hint. The company bought out a partner that owned a 5 percent stake for $187 million. Based on that, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Roland Li estimates the building is worth $3 billion.



Last month, Japantown nonprofit Kimochi was added to The City's Legacy Business Registry. Founded in 1971, Kimochi offers Japanese-speaking seniors activities, home-delivered meals and in-home support among other services.



Society Cabaret will operate out of the Harvey Milk Center For The Recreational Arts until the end of the year. Its longtime host the Hotel Rex at Union Square underwent renovation and rebranding as Hotel Emblem, forcing the popular event series to relocate.


Visitacion Valley

Starting Wednesday, police officers who speak both Chinese and English will be available to residents to file reports and follow up on cases every Wednesday at the Asian Pacific American Community Center. The new service is being provided in response to the violent robbery of an elderly Chinese person who was left with life-threatening injuries in January.

The Columnists
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: Loftus Leading on Fundraising in District Attorney’s Race, but Dautch is Close Behind

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Joe Eskenazi: How San Francisco Flushes Away Scores of Millions of Dollars on a Stinker of a Toilet Contract

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Phil Matier: Cars Still Hold No. 1 Spot for Getting Around in San Francisco — and It’s Getting Worse

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Carl Nolte, Native Son: London Breed Eternally Optimistic on San Francisco’s Future Despite City’s Struggles

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: Insured San Francisco General Patients on the Hook for Pending Bills Despite New Policy

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Denise Sullivan, S.F. Lives: After Surviving the Bombing of Hiroshima, Jack Dairiki Appreciates Everyday Life in The City

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Tim Redmond, The Agenda: Debate Over $185 Million Windfall Begins This Week

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: Kamala Harris Learns the Perils of Presidential Front-Running

Happy Belated Birthday!

Yesterday marked the 201st birthday of San Francisco's Emperor Norton KQED