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The Grow SF Report, Vol. 30
The latest updates on SF government progress, policies, and priorities
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city this week:
Today Mayor London Breed announced indoor mask mandates will be lifted in certain indoor settings (gyms, offices, religious gatherings, college classrooms) as long as infection and hospitalization rates remain steady or decline.
Bay Area public health departments also announced exit criteria for all mask mandates:
The jurisdiction is in the moderate (yellow) transmission tier for at least three weeks
Hospitalizations are low and stable
80% of the jurisdiction's total population is fully vaccinated OR Eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use for 5- to 11-year-olds
San Francisco’s school board has long known about its budget deficit (currently over $100 million per year), yet they’ve refused to address it.
Now, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction has sent a letter to San Francisco’s school superintendent that signals a first step in a takeover of our public schools. The letter states that “the district is no longer a going concern.”
“No longer a going concern” is an accounting term that means the district is broke and may need to slash operations, liquidate assets, and lay off staff!
Recently, the school board was unable to agree on making just $5 million worth of cuts at schools where enrollment has declined. Now they’re on notice that if they can’t cut $100 million, the state will do it for them.
Using updated population data from the 2020 census, San Francisco’s Covid-19 vaccination rates have changed — in some cases dramatically. Neighborhoods which saw high population growth like Mission Bay may be closer to 70% vaccinated than the 90%+ previously reported.
We’re still doing well, but not quite as well as we thought!
A tale as old as time: facing the country’s worst housing shortage, our elected leaders yet again say “Not In My Back Yard” to more housing.
The Chronicle reports:
The project at 450 O’Farrell St. would have allowed property owner Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist to knock down an existing structure and replace it with a 13-story group housing complex. A church would have been built on the ground floor, along with a Christian Science reading room.
The Board of Supervisors once again used young tech workers as their boogeyman, claiming they “feared” the building would become “tech dorms.” Well, young tech workers still need places to live and with their higher incomes will just outbid lower income workers for housing — exactly as every other shortage has played out throughout all time.
Grow SF is deeply disappointed in Supervisor Haney for leading the charge against this housing in his district.
Opioid-related deaths are skyrocketing in San Francisco and other Bay Area counties, largely driven by fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.
The Chronicle’s analysis of Bay Area data shows opioid-related death rates were relatively stable until late 2010s, which is when experts say fentanyl “broke through” to U.S. regions west of the Mississippi. Fentanyl-related deaths made up just 8% of all opioid-related deaths in the Bay Area in 2015, compared with 79% in 2020.
Sonja Trauss, the founder of YIMBY, makes a good case for mixed income social housing, including market-rate rents.
Consider the 1,000 market rate apartments in the Presidio. This federally owned social housing is offered at market-rate rents. Those rents then fund the maintenance of the park.
Social housing advocates typically reject market rate rents, instead focusing on only allowing low-income people to live in those homes. Not only is this demand self-defeating, it also flies in the face of economic reality.
Trauss argues there is a need for housing targeted to the higher income folks a city needs, like dentists and other six-figure professionals who aren’t millionaires. Not all new housing has to be exclusively earmarked for low income families. Building some housing for entry-level software engineers can become a win-win for everyone.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Car Free JFK voter guide
Help keep JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park car-free and open to recreation!
Know Your San Francisco Politics
Ever wonder why San Francisco is the way it is? Find out with Joel Engardio’s SF Politics 101 webinar. It provides an entertaining look at the history that shaped San Francisco, while explaining how City Hall and local politics work.
Learn about San Francisco’s journey from the Gold Rush to tech backlash — and every twist in between. The webinar is brought to life with photos and narrative storytelling. It’s designed for all residents new and old who want to better understand the city they love.
Tuesday October 12
7pm to 8pm
"Wine down" with us for an hour. We promise it will be as interesting as your Netflix show.
"Really, really well-done. Thoughtful and balanced with good humor. Increasing rarity these days." — Diane P.
"Huge praise for a clear explanation of San Francisco history, politics, and our shades of blue.” — Tim S.
"I appreciated the depth of knowledge, cogent presentation, and reasoned responses to questions.” — Jason J.
"Awesome presentation! What a great use of an hour.” — Sanjay J.
“It was a lot more interesting and entertaining than I expected!” — Amy T.
Fun in SF
Check out some of our favorite fun activities happening in SF right now:
Fleet week is back! Whether you enjoy the Blue Angels air show, the ship tours, or just ogling the sailors walking around town, there’s something for everyone. There’s even demonstration of K9 forces in Duboce Park on Saturday! Check out the full schedule on Fun Cheap SF.
Check out Judy Chicago’s multicolored, site-specific Atmospheres performance: Forever de Young. This free, open-air performance is in celebration of the artist’s exhibition Judy Chicago: A Retrospective, now on view at the de Young museum.
The Parade begins at 12:30 pm at the foot of Jefferson and Powell Streets in Fisherman’s Wharf, proceeds south through North Beach on Columbus Avenue and ends in Washington Square in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church. Parade viewing is available throughout the entire route.
Love the Grow SF Report? Share it
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Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:
300 SF Muni operators must report their vaccination status, or be fired.
Update: SF COVID-19 Vaccinations
With the delta variant spreading, it’s important that everyone who is eligible get vaccinated.
Delta variant update
If you received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are worried about the Delta variant, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health Adult Immunization & Travel Clinic (AITC) and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) are offering supplemental mRNA shots.
Pfizer recipients who are over 65, live in a long-term care facility or are over 18 and at risk for a severe case of COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions are eligible for a booster shot if they got their second dose at least six months ago. Also included are people at high risk of exposure due to their job.
Vaccination Rate: 88% of SF residents over 12 have received at least 1 dose. 83% have been fully vaccinated.
Eligibility: All SF residents 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated!
Vaccine Sites: Find a vaccine site near you.
Congratulations to Grow SF contributor Joel Engardio on his latest journalism award
Six months before the school board recall effort began, Grow SF newsletter contributor Joel Engardio wrote an article for his blog titled “School Board Should Treat Parents Like Customers.” It outlined how the school board was failing families. The San Francisco Press Club recently gave the article a first place award for blog/commentary in the digital media category.
Joel’s blog posts won four awards in this year’s contest for a variety of issues including cleaning up corruption at City Hall, reimagining police, and saving small businesses. You can read Joel’s winning articles here. One of our favorites is a personal essay Joel wrote about his husband’s father, who didn’t attend their wedding but eventually came to accept his gay son and son-in-law.