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The GrowSF Report: San Francisco might be allowed to clear encampments again
PLUS: People are coming back to San Francisco
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of September 4, 2023:
- San Francisco might be allowed to clear encampments again
- People are coming back to San Francisco
- What’s behind SF’s safety crisis? A hiring crisis.
- Café International struggling from constant shoplifting & break-ins, demands change
- Is Daniel Lurie running for mayor?
- SF home sellers are hurting
- Sunset Night Market starts this Friday!
- The Stud will reopen in early 2024
- Holbrook House lures FiDi workers with caviar & champagne
- Dacha Cafe + Bar keeps co-workers fueled up in SoMa
San Francisco might be allowed to clear encampments again
Both sides in this fight are claiming victory, but here’s the takeaway: San Francisco may soon be allowed to clear encampments again. The city has been blocked from cleaning up homeless encampments by a court injunction due to a lawsuit brought by the Coalition on Homelessness.
The plaintiff in the suit against the city finally relented and agreed that someone cannot be considered “involuntarily homeless” after they have been given an offer for a bed at a shelter. This is a good sign — rejecting shelter will no longer be a license to stay on the street. Once the City wins the suit, it will mean that in order to clear a homeless encampment the city must: 1) have a bed available, 2) offer that bed to the person in the encampment, 3) clear the encampment & order the person to move along if they refuse the bed, or move them inside & clear the encampment if they accept the bed.
City Attorney David Chiu said in a statement that he “was pleased the court agreed that people who refuse shelter can’t be considered involuntarily homeless,” writes David Sjostedt for The Standard. We’re happy that people may soon be brought inside and the sidewalks will be clean & clear again.
People are coming back to San Francisco
GrowSF extends a big welcome to everyone returning to San Francisco! We missed you!
Everyone needs to do what’s best for themselves and their families. Sometimes that means moving away, and sometimes it means moving back. For some, like Rachel Weissman, pictured above, San Francisco’s AI boom is the big draw, writes Liz Lindqwister for The Standard.
“It’s not as hustle-and-bustle as before, but especially in the last few months, if you’re building in AI, you’ve moved back here,” Weissman said.
For others, it’s the startup scene, or the weather, or the spectacular natural beauty. But whatever your reason for making San Francisco home, we’re glad you’re here!
What’s behind SF’s safety crisis? A hiring crisis.
As a city, we seem to be spending more and more on public health and safety, and getting less for it. Friend of GrowSF and former Assembly candidate Bilal Mahmood penned a new investigation in the Chronicle uncovering why: bureaucracy in the city’s hiring process.
While public health and safety budgets have grown over 1 billion in 3 years, the number of unfilled jobs has grown from 6.8% to 13.7%, with over 4,000 of our 35,088 jobs sitting vacant. 1000 of those jobs are police, nurses, and ambulance drivers. The reason: it takes 255 days to hire a single city employee.
Bilal uncovered 800 pages of service commission rules and 32 labor union agreements that slow our hiring processes to a halt, requiring candidates to wait months after they apply, and take paper exams (like the SAT!) just for the chance to be interviewed. Fortunately, progress is being made as Mayor London Breed has authorized a new team to deploy a Continuous Online On-Demand Testing system, which has already hastened the timeline to hire to 100 days - a great example of leadership in digital innovation.
Café International struggling from constant shoplifting & break-ins, demands change
“Daily shopliftings, extortions coupled with a propensity to violence, back to back break-ins and thousands of dollars in debt for property damages. My Lower Haight is sinking in a sea of lawlessness[…]”
The owner of Café International, Zahra Saleh, is frustrated. Angry, even. She posted a note on her café’s door notifying her customers that she’d be closed for five days as she had “gone thinkin’,” reports Megan Munce for The Chronicle. Saleh is fed up with rampant crime that’s driving her out of business, and the cold shoulder she’s being shown from City Hall.
Located in the heart of Dean Preston’s District, the Lower Haight has been rocked by a surge in crime. Given Preston’s opposition to law enforcement, we don’t expect a quick improvement. So stop by Cafe International and buy a snack to help out a struggling small business.
Is Daniel Lurie running for Mayor?
Daniel Lurie, the founder of Tipping Point Community, which funds organizations that fight poverty, may be running for Mayor. According to Josh Koehn at The Standard, Lurie has notified supporters of a “special announcement” in about two weeks. This comes after many months of making the rounds talking to potential supporters, neighborhood groups, business groups, and elected officials.
While Lurie hasn’t published a platform yet, we believe he’ll run as a moderate Democrat.
SF home sellers are hurting
“Roughly one in eight, or 12.3%, of home sellers in San Francisco lost money on home sales in the three-month period ending July 31,” according to a new Redfin report, writes Lydia You in The Standard.
Rising mortgage rates have made houses suddenly way less affordable for new buyers, with rates around twice what they were just a year ago. That means for a $1 million home (about as cheap as you’ll find in SF) with a 20% down-payment, monthly payments have risen from $3,500 to $6,300, before property taxes.
Since buyers care about total monthly cost more than home price, a buyer who could have afforded that $1MM home can now only afford a $650,000 home.
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A great city is constantly changing and growing, let’s celebrate what’s new!
Thanks to Supervisor Joel Engardio, a Taiwan-style “Night Market” is coming to the Sunset starting Friday, September 15! Come eat, drink, shop, play, connect and be local at the first ever Sunset Night Market featuring delicious food, local art, “Taste of Irving” food tours, live music on 3 stages, dance performances and 8:30pm dance party at 21st Ave!
Festivities kick off Friday, September 15th at 5pm at the 23rd Ave stage with inspiring words from Mayor Breed and Supervisor Joel Engardio as well as a cooking demo from the one and only Chef Martin Yan!
The Stud, San Francisco’s oldest gay bar, will reopen at a new location in early 2024. The new spot is at 1123 Folsom, writes Tony Bravo for The Chronicle. We’re thrilled to see this classic SF institution get a new lease on life.
Holbrook House opened inside One Sansome on Wednesday, September 6th, hoping to lure workers returning to to the office with champagne, caviar, and luxe cocktails, reports Dianne de Guzman at Eater SF. But they’ll also have more affordable fare for the breakfast and lunch crowd, so be sure to stop by and grab a pastry & coffee to go!
Grab a coffee or low-ABV cocktail from Dacha Cafe + Bar while you’re getting sh*t done at Trellis co-working. They just opened inside the hip co-working spot at 981 Mission to keep workers well-fueled.
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
Flower Piano is back in San Francisco Botanical Garden
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is once again is transformed into the city’s own alfresco concert hall where everyone is invited to play and listen. Participants are invited to explore the Garden’s global living plant collections as they seek out the 12 pianos spread out across the 55-acre living museum. At each of the pianos, there will be scheduled professional performances, open play time for participants, and community partner performances – reflecting a range of genres, ages, and cultures.
WHERE: San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
WHEN: Sept. 8 - 12, 10 A.M. - 6 P.M.
Sunset Night Market
A family-friendly night market inspired by the night markets of Asia, featuring local food, entertainment, activities, merchants, and artists. In creating the Sunset Night Market, we hope to offer the community an exciting new evening destination for people of all ages and a fun, enriching and engaging space for our youth and elderly.
WHERE: Irving Street at 20th to 23rd avenues
WHEN: Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
What we’re writing about
Where to get tipsy while parenting in San Francisco
“I don’t want this to be the story that launched a thousand child protective services cases, but I can’t think of a time in my life when an alcoholic beverage looked more desirable than when I was chasing toddlers around the house. Obviously, we should indulge in moderation.”
As Jan Chong tells us, “Parenting is just hard work. So here are my hard-won and personally-researched list of places that you can responsibly enjoy a drink with your kids in tow.”
Burning Man’s “mudpocalypse” was greatly exaggerated
“After two days of on-and-off rain eventually subsided at Burning Man, I managed to finally leave my newspaper camp in order to slog through the drying mud to go to another camp that I knew had wifi. As soon as my phone got connectivity, it started blowing up. ‘Are you okay out there?’ ‘Please let us know you’re alright.’
Wait, why is everyone worried about my safety and wondering if I’m still alive? Why is the outside world suddenly so concerned about our oft-called ‘stupid little dirt rave in the desert?’” Adriana Roberts explains why concerns of mud at Burning Man were overblown.
Oakland’s newest diner is Black-owned Matty’s Old Fashioned
Think burgers and McDonald’s-esque fish sandwiches in a brick-walled, blue-and-gold, diamond wall-papered space, accented with retro-chic chandeliers, photos of legends like the Rat Pack and comfy, cushioned wood-slatted chairs.
Matty’s is the kind of place where farmers market ingredients make their way into your rich milkshakes, where fried bologna is piled high and smoked at Horn Barbecue and mac ‘n cheese is luxuriously loaded with lobster. There’s steak frites and a “fancy,” horseradish-laden steak tartare, both showcasing the same 30-day-aged beef, but the menu is mainly burger, hot dog and other hefty sandwiches, alongside starters like anchovy-draped Caesar salad, all done with gourmet flair.
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