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The Grow SF Report, Vol. 14
What You Need To Know
The latest updates on SF government progress, policies, and priorities:
Despite the doom and gloom in the press at the beginning of the pandemic, the latest economic data indicates California has no peers among developed economies for expanding GDP, creating jobs, raising household income, manufacturing growth, investment in innovation, producing clean energy and unprecedented wealth through its stocks and bonds. All of which underlines Governor Newsom's announcement last month of the biggest state tax rebate in American history.
When the Board of Supervisors’ legislative meetings went remote at the start of the pandemic, so did public comment. For the first time, SF residents had unprecedented access to provide input to the board. Now that the state is reopening, Supes will resume in-person meetings. They’ve promised to keep remote public comment for now, but the long-term fate of this important new channel for the people to make their voices heard is far from certain.
Politicians Behaving Badly: From Aaron Peskin to Phil Ting
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight asked an important question recently: “Despite a national reckoning on race, gender, and inclusion, why have city officials not ensured women and especially women of color get treated respectfully?”
This question was framed for Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who was forced this week to publicly apologize for two decades of bullying and drunken behavior on and off the job. He announced he would seek treatment for alcoholism. Joe Eskenazi of Mission Local recaps all the details, pointing out people in power knew about, enabled, and ignored the bad behavior for a long time.
But Knight’s poignant question could also apply to Assemblymember Phil Ting, who faced #MeToo allegations last summer. CalMatters published a report with jarring details not usually seen in the respected, nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture focused on the state capitol.
San Francisco’s political establishment has been silent on the Ting scandal. The calls for an investigation by the women quoted in the CalMatters article have gone unanswered for a year.
Parent Hero Confronts School Board Recall Petition Thief
Kit Lam is one of the many parents who had to organize and protest to become their own heroes in the fight to reopen schools. The school board wasted many months in its refusal to plan for a safe reopening. Thousands of kids suffered more than a year of learning loss along with physical and mental isolation in Zoom school. That’s why parents like Kit volunteered many hours gathering signatures to recall the school board.
Then someone dared to steal the petitions from the table Kit was operating at a Richmond neighborhood farmer’s market. Video of Kit confronting the thief went viral: “I’m fighting for my kids’ lives!” Kit shouted at the thief, who wore distinct red glasses. “You stole the petitions! Why are you doing this?”
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight profiled Kit and the theft, which police are investigating.
School Board Recall News: The Good and the Challenging
The good news: Volunteers have gathered 20,000 signatures for each of the three school board members eligible for recall.
The challenging news: A total of 70,000 signatures are needed by September for the recall to qualify for the ballot.
The hopeful news: Recall organizers are now paying full-time signature gatherers who can work during the week when volunteers aren’t available.
The financial news: It will cost about $250,000 to pay for the signature-gathering needed to reach the 70,000 signature threshold by the September deadline.
Summer jobs: Recall organizers are hiring signature gatherers (must be 18+) who can commit to working five hours a day for at least three days a week (on weekdays). It’s a great job for recent high school graduates and college students on summer break. For more info, send an email to: email@example.com.
Update: SF COVID-19 Vaccinations
San Francisco continues to quickly distribute the vaccine. Here’s the latest:
Vaccination Rate: 80% of SF residents over 12 have received at least 1 dose. 71% have been fully vaccinated.
Eligibility: All SF residents 12 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated!
Vaccine Sites: Find a vaccine site near you. Some allow drop-ins, while others are appointment only.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Here are two things you can do right now to help us outdoor dining permanent:
Visit our website for instructions on how to email your Supervisor
Give public comment at the Land Use Committee meeting on June 18. Sign up here to be notified when it’s time to call in.
We’ll keep you informed on updates and other ways to help get this across the finish line!
Fun in SF
Check out some of our favorite fun activities happening in SF right now:
When: Friday, June 25 @ 7 PM
Where: Cameron House (Register here.)
Grow SF is co-hosting a showing of Chinatown Rising, with David Chiu! We’ll be meeting (in person!) for an exciting itinerary:
Meet and greet + interview with David Chiu
Movie showing of the documentary film Chinatown Rising
Q&A with the directors of the film
The event will be next Friday, June 25 @ 7 PM at Cameron House. Please register here.
Check Out Free Experiences From SF Public Library
Little known fact: You can check out passes to museums, the zoo, the Exploratorium, and more using your SF Public Library card.
Speaking of museums now is a great time to visit the Asian Art Museum in Civic Center. The AAM just launched a set of beautiful, new exhibitions highlighting artists of Asian descent both locally and from abroad.
Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:
In another sign that we’re getting back on track, restaurant sales are nearly back to their pre-pandemic levels, exceeding that of grocery sales.
An important reminder that housing policy won’t change unless something is done to address the profits earned by current property owners.
We did it!