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August 27, 2019

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An excerpt from New York Times reporter Mike Isaac’s forthcoming book “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber” reveals that in 2014 the San Francisco-based ride-hail behemoth created a $1 charge on fares called a “safe rides fee” to perform background checks on drivers. The company pocketed the nearly half a billion dollars, never using a dime to improve rider safety. New York Times

Seven women filed sexual assault lawsuits against San Francisco-based Lyft. Vice


The City may be forced to pilot eliminating cash bail as the result of a lawsuit. At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers warned that San Francisco is taking too long to develop an alternative to cash bail, citing the state Judicial Council report on pretrial release programs in other counties. In November 2020, state voters will decide on the fate of cash bail.

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San Francisco played host to the factions of the Democratic Party and the progressive political movement on Friday for the Democratic National Committee summer meeting. Most presidential candidates called for unity and successively took potshots at President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, hundreds of Sunrise Movement activists outside held a sit-in, demanding that the candidates hold a debate on the climate crisis. San Francisco Examiner

In a warehouse blocks from the DNC meeting, Sen. Bernie Sanders held a town hall on college affordability for a crowd of 1,400 supporters. ABC7


Bay Area residents may get to vote on a one-cent sales tax next year for funding an array of transportation projects across the region. Suggested improvements would include an exclusive right of way for Caltrain and BART, more express freeway lanes and potentially a new BART transbay rail crossing for the Transbay Tube. It would fund up to $100 billion over 40 years for regional transit districts like BART and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, according to the coalition proposing the tax. SFGate

Passengers who took a BART survey rated the transit system’s elevators and restrooms as being cleaner between April and June. About 62% of riders expressed satisfaction with the cleanliness across stations in those months, a 2% increase over last year. Satisfaction with elevators shot up 10%, to 58.8%, compared to the same quarter of last year. BART plans to include its elevator attendant program at the Montgomery Street and Embarcadero stations this fall. San Francisco Chronicle

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Sharp Park provides habitat for the endangered Garter Snake.

The Recreation and Park Department was one of 26 agencies awarded part of $4.1 million by the state government for conservation projects. $207,000 will go toward a quarter-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail connecting Visitacion Valley to John McLaren Park, and $200,500 will be used for restoring 1 acre of Garter Snake habitat at San Francisco-owned Sharp Park in Pacifica.


As Pacific Gas & Electric Company leadership assures its 16 million customers that they won’t be on the hook for resolving the utility’s bankruptcy, their bills may significantly go up anyway. The company has requested that the state allow it to add $30 to the average electric and gas bill over the next several years to cover infrastructure safety and improvement work. Critics say the company should have paid for these projects years ago.


“Shall the city overturn the law passed by the Board of Supervisors suspending the sale of electronic cigarettes that lack required FDA authorization, and adopt new regulations on the sale, manufacture, distribution and advertising of electronic cigarettes in San Francisco?”

A coalition for e-cigarette giant Juul asked a judge to order San Francisco to change the wording of the proposed voter summary for Proposition C, alleging that it's misleading. Prosecuting attorneys allege that the question incorrectly implies e-cigarettes are unauthorized. San Francisco Examiner

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced San Francisco-based Juul’s ballot measure to overturn The City’s ban on e-cigarettes. San Francisco Chronicle

The Neighborhoods

South of Market

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First Amendment Gallery

The friends and family members of Day’von Hann, a 15-year-old anti-gun violence advocate who was shot and killed in the Mission District last month, painted a mural near Sixth and Howard streets to memorialize Hann. The colorful work is emblazoned with the words “Rise to Heaven.” Youth violence prevention group United Playaz and the First Amendment Gallery donated the space and materials for the artwork.


Union Square

Once the space near the Powell Station exit to Hallidie Plaza is completed, the $7.6 million ceiling renovation will be done. The project to outfit the station with a metal grid and energy-efficient lighting began in 2011 as part of a “station modernization project.” It was supposed to be finished in 2012.



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A rendering of the Cesar Chavez Street development project.

Last Thursday, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the conditional use authorization application for a six-to-seven-story mixed-use building on Cesar Chavez Street between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue. The project will have 57 units of housing. The developer, at the request of community organizations, agreed to increase the number of affordable housing units, place a new mural and make other aesthetic concessions.


Twin Peaks

“I thought, ‘They can’t just kick us out.’ We intended to stay there.”

Seven tenants renting rooms in a large home through HubHaus, a San Francisco-based startup that facilitates “co-living communities,” are working to mediate their eviction in a case that is emblematic of City Hall’s trouble regulating companies attempting to make money off of arranged housing.


Mid Market

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Muralist Believe in People, also known as BiP, is putting up a huge artwork on Atlas Property’s new building at 22 Franklin St. While it will not be done for four months, so far the artwork depicts a child's face and text that reads "What is public art, and does it really [unreadable text]? If not, can we steal it back?” It’s BiP’s fifth mural in The City.


Pacific Heights

The City’s property crime crisis just got heavier. A woman found her 2017 Prius ransacked in a new manner. The 180-pound, $10,000 high-voltage battery was carefully removed from beneath the vehicle’s backseat.


South of Market

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Grab your E-11 blaster rifle and wallet. The VOID, a virtual reality experience pop-up in Westfield San Francisco Centre, is featuring a game called Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. Players don vests and headsets before entering a world from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away for 30 minutes and $35.


Mission Bay

“They need to make sure they get the traffic there right.”

One week before the inaugural event of the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center, Salesforce co-CEO and major donor to UC San Francisco Marc Benioff called for Mayor London Breed to ensure that emergency vehicles can travel through traffic around the area and its adjacent medical facilities. The commentary comes on the heels of a San Francisco Examiner expose finding that it took one ambulance nearly half an hour to reach Mission Bay from downtown.

The Columnists
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Tim Redmond: The Trump Supporters Who Opposed Rose Pak Chinatown Station

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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: San Francisco Police Chief Apologizes for ‘Past Actions’ Against Transgender Community

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Joe Eskenazi: Fiasco: Behind the Mayor and Department of Public Health’s Alarming Decision to Repurpose Permanent Housing Into Temporary Shelter

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Carl Nolte, Native Son: Far Away and Under the Redwoods, But Haunted By the Sights In San Francisco

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Willie Brown, Willie’s World: Democrats Hand Trump a Gift On Guns. He May Not Be Smart Enough to Take It

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Sally Stephens: A Shameful Anniversary That Forces America to Confront Uncomfortable Truths

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Phil Matier: Feinstein on San Francisco Mural Flap: Don’t Destroy It, Don’t Cover It Up

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: Neighbors Had a Plan to Transform Haight Street Eyesore. Then City Hall Said: ‘Never Mind’

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