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The GrowSF Report: San Francisco is not a "strong Mayor" city
PLUS: Senator and former SF Mayor Dianne Feinstein passed away
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of October 2, 2023:
- San Francisco is not a "strong Mayor" city
- Senator and former SF Mayor Dianne Feinstein passed away
- CARE Court launches in San Francisco, seven other counties
- Gunmen storm Happy Donuts, steal $1,500+, community rallies to help
- Whack Donuts / York St Cafe collab opens in FiDi
- Compton’s Coffee expands in North Beach
- Blue Whale is Chef Ho Chee Boon’s latest on Union
San Francisco is not a "strong Mayor" city
You’ve probably heard that San Francisco is a “strong Mayor” city, but how true is that, exactly? Well… it turns out the Mayor used to be a LOT stronger, and the SF government is now more strong Board than strong Mayor.
In GrowSF’s latest report, we found that over the past twenty+ years, Supervisor Aaron Peskin has systematically eroded the power of the Mayor’s office, removing the ability for the Mayor to hire Department heads, appoint people to commissions, and otherwise run the city effectively.
When Willie Brown took office in 1996, the Mayor controlled 19 commissions & departments, while the Board of Supervisors only controlled 3. But by 2022, Peskin had succeeded in flipping that balance of power. Now, the Mayor only controls 13 and the Board controls 15, including the most important departments like Planning, Police, and Homelessness.
If you're unhappy with high crime, dirty streets, and poor bus service don't blame the Mayor, blame Aaron Peskin and his allies. Read our full report here.
Senator and former SF Mayor Dianne Feinstein passed away
Senator Dianne Feinstein was an icon. After struggling with health issues, she passed away earlier this week at the age of 90. Senator Feinstein commenced her career in public service when she was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1969.
Senator Feinstein was a woman of firsts. She was the first woman to be President of the Board of Supervisors, the first woman to serve as Mayor of San Francisco after Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk were assassinated, and the first woman elected to the Senate from California. In the Senate, to which she was reelected five times, she was the first woman to chair the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
She was also a trailblazer on several policy issues. She’s most noted for being a proponent of gun control well ahead of her time, proposing a ban on handguns in San Francisco, and ultimately drafting the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. And she was one of the first politicians to understand the severity of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Thank you for your service, Senator.
CARE Court launches in San Francisco, seven other counties
We’ve all seen people in San Francisco who clearly need some help. People who are half-clothed and yelling obscenities while stumbling down the sidewalk. We all know that they aren’t getting the mental health treatment they need, but until recently it’s been illegal to help them.
But that sad reality has just changed for the better. Starting this week, San Francisco has opened its first “CARE Court” which will help families of people with a diagnosis on the schizophrenia spectrum (or other qualifying disorders) to petition the court for mandatory treatment, according to a report by the Associate Press.
This comes as welcome news to the large majority of San Franciscans who want people who are unable to care for themselves due to mental illness to receive help and medical treatment.
Gunmen storm Happy Donuts, steal $1,500+, community rallies to help
Two armed men stormed the Happy Donuts in Noe Valley early Monday morning and stole over $1,500, according to George Kelley at The Standard. Three staff members were present and had guns pointed at them while the robbers emptied the cash register and stole an ATM.
But there’s some good news to this horrible event: San Francisco Police have already arrested two suspects wanted for several armed robberies, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon; seizing illegal guns in the process.
And Noe Valley resident Julian Weisser organized a flash mob to help Happy Donut recover – pledging to buy the first 100 donuts for anyone who showed up last Wednesday morning. The fundraiser was a success and we spotted District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, School Board Recall volunteer Laurance Lee, and GrowSF team member & Noe Valley Democratic Club president Carrie Barnes all in attendance.
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Recent & upcoming openings
A great city is constantly changing and growing, let’s celebrate what’s new!
Whack Donuts / York St Cafe collab opens in FiDi
Vegan doughnuts are coming to 4 Embarcadero Center, Suite 4507. The new collab between Whack Donuts and York St Cafe is utilizing the city’s new “Vacant to Vibrant” program, according to Lauren Saria at Eater SF.
Open 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Compton’s Coffee expands in North Beach
Fillmore-based Compton’s Coffee House has just opened a second location in North Beach at 543 Columbus. Stop by for a great cuppa
Blue Whale is Chef Ho Chee Boon’s latest on Union
If you’ve enjoyed Empress by Boon, you’ll love Blue Whale. The mastermind behind it has opened a more casual space in Cow Hollow/Marina at Union & Buchanan, writes Paolo Bicchieri at Eater SF. Get the wasabi crispy Tiger prawns with pineapple.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Help build a computer lab in Chinatown
Help fund a brand new computer lab at Cameron House in Chinatown! Cameron House empowers the San Francisco Chinese community through family-centered programs. This new computer lab will help children and seniors in Chinatown have access to computers.
This fundraiser is sponsored by the John & Erica Jersin Foundation and 13F, a joint venture in angel philanthropy backed by Bilal Mahmood and Jason Shen, and is supported by North Beach Neighbors organizer Danny Sauter.
The Spirit of San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city and the Bay Area. Here’s what makes it great. Brought to you by The Bold Italic.
What we’re doing this week
SF’s 155th Italian Heritage Festival & Parade 2023
The San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade is the longest continuously running Italian Heritage Parade in the United States and celebrates the accomplishments and culture of all Italian-Americans. The inaugural parade took place in 1868 in San Francisco’s downtown, featuring the bands and marching units of Italian fraternal organizations, including the Garibaldi Guard, Swiss Guards and Lafayette Guards. Throughout the years, it has remained a sign of the vitality of the Italian communities in the Bay Area.
WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 8 — The parade begins at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: The foot of Jefferson and Powell Streets in Fisherman’s Wharf
What we’re writing about
The real crime in San Francisco: Fashion
In San Francisco, there is a fresh crime wave that no DA can stop. Emboldened criminals are rushing around the streets wearing backpacks with suits, tan shoes with dark worsted slacks, and Patagonia fleece vests with chinos, dress shirts, and Allbird sneakers. Let's take a look at some of the city's most common fashion offenses today, as well as potential solutions.
Castro Street Fair is a testament to Harvey Milk’s legacy
Harvey Milk made important strides for us even before he became the first openly gay supervisor elected to office in San Francisco. He started Castro Street Fair some 49 years ago to promote queer businesses that faced hostilities and challenges, like his own Castro Camera on 575 Castro Street. We think he would be proud of his efforts this past weekend.
Presidio is the new home of the magically Mediterranean Dalida
Turkish food is having a moment locally, thank goodness. And from some masterful chefs. Chef duo Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz opened Dalida in San Francisco on June 30, 2023, in one of the Presidio’s striking brick buildings lining the Main Parade Lawn, within eyesight of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, surrounded by forests.
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