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July 18, 2019

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San Francisco Civil Grand Jury

As the big one looms, San Francisco’s civil grand jury has deemed the Outer Richmond, Outer Sunset, Bayview-Hunters Point and other outer neighborhoods ill-equipped to deal with the next major earthquake and the attendant fires it would likely cause.

None of these neighborhoods has a seismically-safe high-pressure emergency water supply system. At risk are thousands of homes that the jury found extremely vulnerable to devastating fires. The report recommends numerous provisions.

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Department of Environment

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a 15-cent mandatory price hike on checkout bags to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. Should the board give its second vote of approval, checkout bags will cost 25 cents in San Francisco beginning July 1, 2020. The legislation also bans grocery stores from providing the single-use pre-checkout bags typically used for produce or bulk items, requiring shops to provide a compostable or recyclable alternative instead. SFBay

Separately, the 157,000 San Francisco Public Library patrons with overdue materials will all but certainly be forgiven. The Board of Supervisors is expected to pass the legislation this month. Mission Local


The Department of Building Inspection has contradicted a conspiracy theory published on Medium alleging that District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin lives in a giant home illegally converted from a rent-controlled duplex into a single house. Truth in the allegation would cast a political shadow on the supervisor, a longtime rent control advocate. Curbed San Francisco

Separately, Peskin published a Newsweek op-ed calling for the U.S. should follow San Francisco's lead in banning the government’s use of facial recognition software. Newsweek

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In 1994, MTV aired the third season of the reality television series “The Real World,” which brought together strangers as room for several months in San Francisco. Judd Winick and Pam Ling, who have been married since they met on the show, joined ABC7 News for “The Real World’s” 25th anniversary.


“This administration’s seemingly callous willingness to deprive families of a roof over their head and to separate family members from one another — whether at the border, in communities across the country — is an unconscionable policy.”

Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera penned a letter to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development condemning its proposal to remove federal housing aid for any family with an undocumented immigrant. The city officials called the plan heartless, stating it would separate families, force some onto the streets and cost the local and federal government millions of dollars. San Francisco Chronicle

Following nearly 20 years of litigation, three paint manufacturers will pay $305 million to eight California counties to clean up lead paint that has poisoned tens of thousands of children annually throughout the state. KQED

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“Workers here do not want to be treated like second class citizens.”

Flourishing signs that read messages like "One job should be enough," some Facebook cafeteria workers picketed at the social network giant's downtown San Francisco office on Tuesday to call for higher wages and shorter work days. The workers, employed at 181 Fremont St. by contractor Flagship Facility Services, have been negotiating their first contracts at the location since April.

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Transportation Roundup

Another issue has been identified with Muni’s new fleet of light rail vehicles. The rear-view camera screens go white, rendering them useless when attempting to monitor on- and off-boarding. The issue is credited with injuring one man whose hand was clamped in a LRV door. NBC Bay Area

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director Ed Reiskin appointed Nadeem Tahir, a former regional Federal Transit Administration program director, to lead the Central Subway project. SFBay

With a split vote, the SFMTA Board of Directors made The City’s electric scooter program permanent. Curbed San Francisco

Mayor London Breed and District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin proposed an ordinance called the Electric Vehicle Roadmap to increase the number of electric charging stations at parking structures among other strategies to lower emissions. SFGate

If Bay Area Rapid Transit has its way, The City would foot half of a $91.3 million bill to literally cover 21 BART escalators. The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee halted that plan Wednesday. San Francisco Examiner


“I think it is critical to hear from the hospital regarding the protocols that they have in place to ensure that abuse like this never happens again.”

District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee called for a hearing about the alleged abuse of 23 patients at Laguna Honda Hospital. An investigation by the Office of the City Attorney found incidents of staff medicating patients without prescriptions and taking photos and videos without consent. Since City Hall released information about the investigation last month, six Laguna Honda employees staffers were fired and CEO Mivic Hirose resigned.

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A series of measures are headed to the ballot this year and next. Here’s the rundown.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to put a measure on the November ballot that would tax ride hail companies to mitigate traffic congestion. It is estimated to generate $30 million per year. San Francisco Examiner

A proposal to create a seven-member commission to overseeing the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing moved toward the November ballot as its author District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney struggles to negotiate its creation with Mayor London Breed. SFBay

The Board of Supervisors moved the “Sunlight on Dark Money” initiative closer to the November ballot. It would add transparency around political spending and close loopholes. San Francisco Examiner

District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar withdrew a November ballot proposal asking voters to tax stock-based compensation for public companies such as Uber. He plans to introduce a similar measure for the 2020 ballot next week. San Francisco Examiner

The Neighborhoods

South of Market

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This weekend, Filipino-themed night market UNDSCVRD will launch its third season on Stevenson Street between 6th and 7th streets to activate the neighborhood. Its organizers are partnering with Zendesk and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to build an immersive street art basketball court painted on the parking lot at 1064 Mission St.



Carlie Wilmans, landlord and arts philanthropist behind the 500 Capp Street Foundation’s David Ireland House, has ender her attempt to evict an immigrant family to create temporary lodging for artists after being dealt serious criticism from tenant and art activists. Both parties are discussing the resolution.


Hayes Valley

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After conducting two successful pilot closures, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency unanimously approved permanently closing off Octavia Boulevard from Linden to Hayes streets to private vehicles. The move will ease traffic but require the elimination of 11 parking spaces.


Hunters Point

The Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure Commission approved revised schematic designs for the development of Block 52 and 112 units of affordable housing for Block 54 of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard despite ongoing concerns about contamination at the Superfund site. An independent panel of experts from U.C. Berkeley and U.C. San Francisco is examining the cleanup efforts at the behest of Mayor London Breed and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton.


Union Square

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Google Earth

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin is calling for the end of the Mills Act designation for the Chronicle Building that affords its owner $5 million in tax breaks. The building now comprises high-end residences. The Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee will scrutinize whether its owner, Marriott Corporation, is complying with the Mills Act, which requires that the owner be actively improving or protecting the property.



Now that the Board of Education has scheduled the destruction of New Deal-era frescoes in George Washington High School, a group of free-speech, art and historic preservation activists announced they will place a measure on the March 2020 ballot to protect the controversial murals.


South of Market

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San Francisco firefighters rescued a pair of window washers stuck outside the 10th floor of the Millennium Tower, also known as the “Leaning Tower of SoMA.” The motor on their window-washing rig failed, leaving them stranded on The City’s sixth tallest building.



Mission Local reporter Julian Mark tells of living in 959 South Van Ness Ave. The ornate Victorian, called the John Coop house, has been made famous for its role in the hit film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

The Columnists
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, On Guard: Trump Jr. Fundraises for President at Nob Hill Party for San Francisco Republicans

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Heather Knight, On San Francisco: Mayor Angered It Takes So ‘Damn Long’ to Build Housing as Homelessness Spikes

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Tim Redmond: Haney’s Plan for Homeless Commission Faces Close Vote

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Robyn Purchia, Green Space: Meal Planning Can Help Reduce Food Waste

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Kelly Dessaint, I Drive SF: Escaping Traffic Woes at SFO

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+What I'm Reading: Kamala Harris Makes Her Case from this week's New Yorker magazine.