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The GrowSF Report: Budget woes for teachers, police, and homeless
PLUS: District Attorney Jenkins delivering results
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of March 27, 2023:
- SFUSD can’t pay teachers enough
- Supervisors delay police funding, then demand more police
- We must rethink how we spend on homeless services
- District Attorney Jenkins making progress
SFUSD can’t pay teachers enough
San Francisco Unified School District is short around 600 teachers, as well as hundreds of special educators and 200 paraeducators, putting the education and the safety of our students at risk. The reason is actually fairly simple: we don’t pay teachers enough to live in San Francisco.
Teachers rationally go to higher paying and better performing districts, rather than try to make do in high-priced SF.
Like so many issues in San Francisco, our teacher staffing shortage is a direct result of high housing costs. If we can’t pay teachers enough to live here, why would they want the job? We must build more housing, lower the cost of living, and increase teacher pay in order to fulfill one of the most basic promises of a legitimate government: education for its children.
Supervisors delay police funding, then demand more police
Hearing their constituents and reacting (as they should) to unfortunate events in their communities, supervisors have pressured SFPD to provide more police presence in their districts, all while challenging (but ultimately approving) an additional $25M in funding for police overtime.
We’ve had massive student brawls in malls, shootings in BART stations, attacks on elders, and small businesses shutting down due to crime. San Franciscans are demanding safer streets, but we won’t get that unless our leaders change their tune and get to fixing (instead of fighting) our police force.
The insincere rhetoric of Progressive Supervisors is not just frustrating; it is actively harmful.
We must rethink how we spend on homeless services
We’re not sure if it’s good news or bad news that SF’s Department of Homelessness and Supporting Housing can’t spend the hundreds of millions of dollars in their budget. On the one hand, not spending while thousands of people sleep outdoors every night is a shocking abdication of responsibility. On the other, our programs clearly aren’t working well, so why throw good money after bad?
What is clear, however, is that SF needs to radically rethink both how much we spend and what we spend it on. We can’t ignore the fact that 52% of our homeless population have a drug or alcohol abuse problem (slide 34). They need services beyond shelter, which our current system does not deliver.
Yes, we must build shelter and permanent supportive housing. But we must also soberly confront the reality that our system is failing over half of all homeless people by pretending their addictions don’t exist.
District Attorney Jenkins making progress
When voters elected Brooke Jenkins as District Attorney, they gave her a mandate to address the crime epidemic in the city. The data indicates that DA Jenkins has been working hard to keep up her end of the bargain: under her watch, prosecutions resulting in jail or a prison sentence climbed to 50%, up from a low of 25% under Boudin.
And SFPD seems to be onboard, with DA Jenkins noting that officers have been presenting more arrests with better-quality evidence, likely due to increased confidence that her team will prosecute.
The people voted for Brooke Jenkins, and we’re glad to see her enact their will. We wish her continued luck in this very tough and crucial job.
Celebrate 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 writing about
Yes, San Francisco: We’re still reading paper
At The Bold Italic, we couldn’t help but wonder: Are there enough print-only diehards in San Francisco to keep more than a dozen stores in business? We asked around this week and discovered many local shops are still going strong.
Buena Vista Cafe and the Irish coffee of legend
The bartenders imbue the Buena Vista with a classic mystique and old timey charm, all wearing the same white suit jackets, black ties and pressed black pants since time immemorial. The Bold Italic asked bartender John Jeide what makes their Irish coffee so special — aside from it being “the one that started it all” back in 1952.
The Bold Italic will now be run by robots
Our April 1 special edition: The Bold Italic — an internet magazine that has been covering the quirks and charms of San Francisco for more than a decade — has announced that it will now be run by … robots!
What we’re doing this week
Beauty in bloom
WHERE: All over the Bay Area (see map)
March showers bring April flowers…we hope! And if our hope comes true, these 15 gardens, located throughout the Bay Area, are the best place to see blossoms in a rainbow of colors. Go check them out!
Passover starts April 5th, and we are revisiting familiar and new Jewish eateries. If you want to try some traditional dishes or need them for your table, look for our review of Saul’s Deli in Berkeley next week.
It’s also Easter!
It’s bug day at Randall Museum
WHEN: Saturday, April 8
WHERE: The Randall Museum
On Saturday, April 8th celebrate everything insect with hands-on science and art activities, games, live music, movies and more. Check it out here
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Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:
We helped recall the incompetent school board, but our work is not done. We must elect better leads who will raise the bar and focus on student outcomes.
Mayor London Breed chats with Jon Stewart about crime, homelessness, police funding, and more.