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The GrowSF Report: Killer robots? Let's terminate this fake news.
Plus: Baby overdoses on fentanyl at the playground
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of November 28, 2022:
- No, we didn’t legalize killer robots
- Baby overdoses on fentanyl at the playground
- Graffiti cleanup program launches to help businesses
- Opinion: An unelected commission sacked S.F.'s election chief. The problem is even bigger than you think
No, we didn’t legalize killer robots
If you were paying attention to the news this week, you almost certainly saw clickbait headlines about how San Francisco legalized killer robots and Supervisor Dean Preston lying about dystopian policies. This is false, and we’re pretty disappointed with the local news media and elected officials for spreading these lies.
Here’s what actually happened: SFPD was seeking clear rules on how they may use robots in certain situations—like bomb threats or active shooters—and a question arose: if the robot had the ability neutralize the threat, would that be allowed even if it resulted in injury or death of the suspect?
Take these two real-world examples, for reference:
A robot could safely disable a bomb and cause a small detonation, but that would probably kill the bomb-holder
A robot was dispatched into an active shooter or hostage situation, and it is armed with a remote-operated pistol. A human operator controlling the robot makes the decision to neutralize the shooter, which may or may not kill them.
These are not killer robots. These are robots sent into deadly situations, operated by humans via remote control, who may follow written, well-established, and vetted procedures to decide whether deadly force may or may not be applied.
We expect better from our local news outlets and from our elected officials. (Although, are you really surprised that Dean Preston is lying yet again?)
Baby overdoses on fentanyl at playground
In another sad reminder of the drug epidemic in San Francisco, a 10-month-old baby suffered an accidental fentanyl overdose earlier this week. Luckily, paramedics were able to administer a dose of Narcan (a life-saving medicine that reverses fentanyl overdoses) and saved the baby’s life.
Sutter Health’s CPMC hospital states the diagnosis as “accidental fentanyl overdose, initial encounter” followed by “respiratory arrest.” The document states the hospital completed a urine fentanyl screening among other lab tests.
Graffiti cleanup program launches to help businesses
Mayor Breed announced the launch of the city’s new effort to help businesses clean up graffiti. City crews will be available to clean graffiti on businesses free of charge. To take advantage of the new program, businesses just need to call 311 or file a request online.
Thank you Mayor Breed, Supervisor Melgar, and Small Business Commissioner Sharky Laguana!
Opinion: An unelected commission sacked S.F.'s election chief. The problem is even bigger than you think
Danny Sauter, a North Beach resident and nonprofit director, wrote an opinion piece for the SF Chronicle detailing the problems that the Elections Commission has recently caused after they refused to renew the contract for the widely-praised Director John Arntz.
Indeed, it’s not hyperbole to suggest The Department of Elections under Arntz has set a national standard for how to run municipal elections.
[…] despite his 20 years of exceptional service, Arntz was unceremoniously shown the door last week. Not by Mayor London Breed, not by the city administrator, or the Board of Supervisors, or anyone you might assume had the power to do so. Instead, the decision was made by the obscure San Francisco Elections Commission, which is made up of six unelected volunteer representatives who meet once every other month or so.
And then sign our petition to demand the Elections Commission renew Director John Arntz’s contract.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Demand an investigation of corrupt city contractors
Every year San Francisco spends $1 billion on programs with no accountability or outcome metrics. You look around the city and wonder, where did all that money go?
Story after story is uncovering corruption and wasted tax dollars. The latest story from the SF Standard reports:
At least 22 health department employees are holding jobs at an organization that is affiliated with, or receives funding from, their department.
We must demand a full audit of all contractors and nonprofits receiving city funding and an audit of all city employees moonlighting on their payrolls. Sign here to demand nonprofits receiving city funding be audited and corruption investigated.
Slow Streets and Great Highway up for votes
The future of the Slow Streets and Great Highway are both up for votes this Tuesday. If you’d like to weigh in on making 15 Slow Streets permanent, you should send a personalized email to the SFMTA board.
Legislation goes before the full Board of Supervisors to keep the Great Highway car free through the end of 2025 from noon on Fridays through 6 a.m. on Mondays. If approved, this will give an opportunity to properly study the effects of the closure. To weigh in, send an email to the Board of Supervisors with your personal story for why you’d like the Great Highway to remain car free.
Celebrate San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city. Here’s what makes it great:
Shop Dine SF holiday edition
San Francisco’s ShopDine SF site has a great list of holiday events happening in every neighborhood and merchant corridor in the city. This week’s events include:
City Hall Holiday Pop-up, Civic Center
Dec 6, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM at San Francisco City Hall
In The Black Marketplace, Fillmore
Dec 9, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM at 1567 Fillmore St.
West Portal Snow Day
Dec 10, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM at 176 West Portal Ave (the parking lot next to Walgreens)
San Francisco firehouses are getting decked out for the holidays!
For the past two years, San Francisco firehouses have reignited a 1940s tradition of a holiday decorating competition. Fire stations across the city can choose to participate, using their own funds to set up whimsical displays. A total of $3,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, to be distributed to local charities. (SF Standard)
Thank you firefighters for helping get the whole city in the holiday spirit!
Denman Middle School robotics team heads to Lego League championships
Congratulations to the James Denman Middle School robotics team on your success so far! Good luck in the championships!
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