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The Grow SF Report, Vol. 19
What You Need To Know
The latest updates on SF government progress, policies, and priorities:
Much needed relief is coming to San Francisco businesses struggling due to pandemic.
The Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was created in March 2021 as a part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, has indeed rescued some 1,300 businesses in and around San Francisco — with a total of $815 million in grants.
Urban Putt was one of the lucky recipients. They could use your business, too!
When a suspect is released before trial, they can be put in a pre-trial diversion program. This helps reduce the jail population and gives people a chance for rehabilitation. But a study by California Policy Lab showed that 55 percent of suspects on pre-trial diversion commit new crimes.
Supervisor Catherine Stefani told ABC-7 News she doesn’t have confidence in the success rate reported by San Francisco’s Pretrial Diversion Project. “They are masking what is actually happening,” she said. “The data wasn’t matching what we were seeing out on the streets.”
Supervisor Stefani plans to introduce legislation to improve the program by ensuring re-offense rates include all crimes committed. It’s important to measure every program for success so we can support the ones that work best.
Supervisor Catherine Stefani passed a law that will impose some much-needed oversight on how the city spends $2 billion.
“The ongoing local and federal investigations have made clear that we need more accountability from city departments, and this ordinance will be a critical step forward to safeguard taxpayer dollars,” Stefani said during a recent committee meeting. “I believe these reforms are long overdue.”
Is Shoplifting a Problem or Not?
A Chicago resident wrote an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle that says San Franciscans are overreacting to reports of a retail crime wave in our Walgreens and Target stores, accusing residents of a “shoplifting panic”.
But that’s not what a security guard who lives and works in San Francisco said about his experience on the front line in a downtown Target store. Rafael Gutierrez is a lifelong Mission resident who quit his security guard job because he didn’t feel safe. Watch Rafael’s powerful video interview with Here/Say Media.
Rafael witnessed brazen shoplifting every day. People filled laundry baskets and garbage bags with items. They emptied shelves and walked out with impunity. Some encounters turned violent.
It’s hard to believe this is just a “shoplifting panic” when you consider Rafael’s story, this San Francisco Examiner report that prosecution rates for shoplifting fell from 70 to 44 percent between 2019 and 2020, and this New York Times report on “San Francisco’s shoplifting surge.”
The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the division within San Francisco’s Asian American community (34% of the population) about how to deal with a rash of high-profile and violent attacks on Asian residents this year.
Many residents of Chinese descent are calling for a significant increase in police patrols. The city’s Asian American leaders, however, said they would rather explore solutions that do not involve law enforcement. One of the most proudly liberal cities in the country is torn between its commitment to criminal justice reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the brutal reality of the city’s most vulnerable residents being stabbed in the middle of the day on busy city streets.
The article said Mayor London Breed wants to increase police patrols while Supervisors Gordon Mar and Connie Chan say the money could be better spent elsewhere.
“It’s not really about the number of officers, it’s really about the quality of our officers,” said Ms. Chan, who immigrated to San Francisco from Hong Kong as a teenager.
Like Ms. Chan, Mr. Mar acknowledges the fear in the community. His wife for the first time purchased pepper spray for herself and relatives.
Eric Adams on Big City Problems
In a remarkable interview with New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, the likely next mayor of New York says his city can’t go the way of San Francisco. He talks about how he will deal with problems both cities face:
Public safety and defunding police? “When I get out of that subway station, I want to see that cop at the top of the stairs.” Well-intentioned liberals, he says, “have piggybacked off of the appealing, attractive conversation. You know, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Well, if they matter, damn it, then we should be talking about a 13-year-old kid being assassinated in the Bronx.”
City Hall bureaucracy that kills small business? “How do you have a Small Business Services that’s trying to get restaurants open, but you have the Department of Buildings that takes a year and half to give someone their [certificate of occupancy] to get inside?”
Update: SF COVID-19 Vaccinations
With the delta variant spreading, it’s important that everyone who is eligible get vaccinated.
Vaccination Rate: 83% of SF residents over 12 have received at least 1 dose. 76% have been fully vaccinated.
Eligibility: All SF residents 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated!
Vaccine Sites: Find a vaccine site near you.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Town Hall with Heather Knight from the SF Chronicle
When things were tumultuous in the past, San Francisco could turn to columnist Herb Caen in the pages of the Chronicle for a daily dose of reason. Who was Herb Caen? He was a columnist for the @sfchronicle from 1936 until he died in 1997. He won a special Pulitzer Prize as the “voice and conscience” of San Francisco.
Does Heather Knight (@hknightsf) play that role today? Meet her at the next Grow SF Town Hall. Tune in live on Twitter Spaces, or listen later on our podcast.
When: Wednesday, July 28, 12pm PST
TogetherSF, Refuse Refuse, and United Democratic Club with Ocean Beach Cafe are hosting a recurring Ocean Beach trash pick up event!
They meet Tuesdays and Saturdays at noon. Let’s come together as a community to care for public spaces and show how beautiful they can be!
Sign the School Board Recall Campaign
The best way to help with the school board recall is to sign the petition and get your friends to sign. The SF Chronicle reported support for recall is at 60 percent. But it has to make it on the ballot first!
Don’t delay. Find signature gatherers around the city or print and mail your signature using this link.
Volunteers (mostly parents) have collected over 30,000 signatures, but they’re only halfway done and a September 7 deadline is looming.
Fun in SF
Check out some of our favorite fun activities happening in SF right now:
Asian Art Museum Exhibition Opens
Get Drinks with Transit Enthusiasts this Thursday
We’re thrilled to see the Exploratorium open again, fun for kids and adults alike! Since touching is pretty much the whole point of the place, masks and hand washing are encouraged. Go have fun!
Take the Kids to a New Playground
Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:
Dean Preston delays or kills every market rate housing project he can, even when it also kills low-income affordable housing – the thing that he says he wants! No action and failed promises from a member of the Land Use Committee.
Shared Spaces will help businesses stay alive, employee more people, and make SF even more fun.
Our own Jane Natoli captured this beautiful photo. We’re so glad we won the fight to keep the ferris wheel.