The GrowSF Report: Crime is going down because we’re fighting back
PLUS: The #1 thing you can do to fix SF
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of December 4, 2023:
- Crime is going down because we’re fighting back
- San Francisco will hit its housing deadline after all
- Board passes Breed’s legislation to make it easier to open businesses
- Mayor Breed announces much needed budget cuts
Crime is going down because we’re fighting back
Police are now running “blitzes” to confront retail theft rings. Large numbers of undercover police swarm an area and make multiple arrests. It’s time efficient and effective. Just this week 17 shoplifters were arrested at the Target on Mission Street. And the strategy seems to be working.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, larceny (or personal theft) incidents were down 75% from the same weekend last year. And, in a national study, retail thefts in the first half of 2023 were DOWN in San Francisco by more than 30% compared to last year.
According to J.K. Dineen of the Chronicle, “We are also sensing a palpable improvement in the streets, just in time for the holidays,” said Union Square Alliance CEO Marisa Rodriguez.
With these numbers, we hope to see more retail stores returning to downtown.
San Francisco will hit its housing deadline after all
San Francisco will stay in compliance with the state after squeaking by with an essential piece of legislation. The Mayor’s Constraints Reduction Ordinance passed the Board of Supervisors 9-2 with Supervisors Connie Chan and Aaron Peskin dissenting. According to Aldo Toledo at the Chronicle, Mayor London Breed said, “We’ve got to remove barriers to new housing in San Francisco, and this legislation is a key step in making that happen.”
Last week Supervisor Rafael Mandelman delayed a vote to pass the Constraints Reduction Ordinance by introducing an amendment to cordon off homes built before 1923.
But amendments and requests for filing extensions by the Board of Supervisors will only stall the inevitable: unless about 40,000 homes are built in the next three years the city will fall out of compliance again.
Board passes Breed’s legislation to make it easier to open businesses
Imagine being a small business owner who sells coffee but thinks – “how nice would it be to also sell handbags?” Well, thanks to legislation designed to help small businesses on the ground floor – a store owner can do just that without a lengthy permit process.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation introduced by Mayor Breed to amend the city’s planning code to make it easier to open restaurants and bars in more neighborhoods, create flexible retail space, and streamline the approval process for new businesses.
“We are making it easier to fill vacant storefronts and support small businesses that are essential to our economy and the health of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor London Breed about her ordinance in the Chronicle’s story by J.D. Morris.
We’re excited. If new restaurants open in San Francisco as a result of easing the burden of starting a business, you can be sure we will cover it.
Mayor Breed announces much needed budget cuts
The Mayor announced $75 million in budget cuts. Although that sounds astronomical, to put it into context, the city has an annual budget of approximately $14 billion.
The Mayor will use the cost savings to fund her city priorities which include an expanded homeless shelter system, clean streets, additional mental health services, and hiring more police officers.
According to J.D. Morris in the Chronicle, steps are being taken now to stave off a projected budget deficit of $1 billion by 2027-2028 due to reduced tax revenue from downtown businesses.
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Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
The #1 thing you can do to fix SF
If you want to get San Francisco on the right track, the #1 thing you can do today is register as a Democrat so you can vote in an election you may have never heard of.
A lot of SF voters turn to the SF Democratic Party voter guide to help navigate our long ballot. But here’s the problem: their endorsements are made by the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, or “DCCC.” The DCCC is currently controlled by old-school SF political insiders who use it to protect their interests and favored candidates.
Only registered Democrats can vote for the DCCC so if you’re not a registered Democrat, you are unable to vote in this critical election that’s usually determined by only a few votes. If you want to re-register as a Democrat, visit RegisterSF.org for help on how to do it. It takes just 2 minutes and over 7,000 people have already done it.
Join us for Happy Hour on Tuesday
Join us for the December edition of our monthly happy hour!
WHEN: Tuesday, December 12, 6-8pm
WHERE: Orbit Room, 1900 Market Street
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
A Christmas Carol
The Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition returns home. This version of A Christmas Carol stays true to the heart of Dickens's timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. A Christmas Carol is a decades-long cornerstone of the A.C.T. repertory and has become a holiday tradition for families all around the San Francisco Bay Area.
WHEN: December 6th through 24th, 2023
WHERE: 415 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102
SantaCon is the best of times and the worst of times. San Francisco turns into a virtual sea of red, jolly Kris Kringles of all sizes — rubenesque, skinny, sexy and curious. Everyone seems to be having a belly-grabbing, good ol’ time. The day has become a stark contrast to the childhood memory of Santa spending a quiet evening at home with Mrs. Claus at the North Pole.
WHEN: Today, December 9th, noon onward
WHERE: Various bars and locations in San Francisco
What we’re writing about
“Let’s Glow SF” gives San Francisco its favorite holiday distraction: dazzling lights
Trippy, magical, psychedelic — San Francisco alludes to a colorful past this week with the “Let’s Glow SF” light show glimmering on the broad walls, columns, windows and doorways of FiDi each evening until December 10th.
Ranging from animations to glyphs, techno tromp-l’œils to full-on short films, the six sites are arranged so you can take them all in on foot. Give yourself two hours if you’re aiming to catch them all.
Drag queens sparkle on ice skates in Union Square
The holiday season in San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without Drag Queens on Ice, our annual revue where dolled-up local LGBTQ+ performers twirl and tumble on skates — mostly on purpose. This year nine fantastic performers graced the rink at Union Square. In a time when certain states are doubling down on drag ban debates, it’s warming to see so many family-friendly events in San Francisco for our performers.
So I visited the last Blockbuster on the planet, and all I got was this t-shirt
Listen it’s not the most convenient vacation for Bay Area residents, but for Millennials, a Blockbuster Video sighting feels more significant than the world’s biggest ball of twine. If you didn’t know: There is only one Blockbuster Video left on planet Earth. It is in Bend, Oregon, and it’s a relic of a bygone era when the country had more than 9,000 locations.
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