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The GrowSF Report: District Attorney Jenkins charges two SF officials with corruption
PLUS: Richmond shopkeeper, Yohannes Tewolde, killed in brazen robbery
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of August 28, 2023:
- District Attorney Jenkins charges two SF officials with corruption
- Some schools may close
- Richmond shopkeeper, Yohannes ‘John’ Tewolde, killed in brazen robbery
- Veritas sells 25% of its buildings
- Throwback: Photos from BART construction
- Stoa opens in Lower Haight
- Kiln brings fine dining to Fell & Van Ness
- New hotels near 7th & Mission
District Attorney Jenkins charges two SF officials with corruption
Another one bites the dust. And another one gone (and another one?)…
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins continues the fight against corruption in San Francisco government. On Tuesday, working in collaboration with the FBI, DA Jenkins filed felony charges against Lanita Henriquez and Dwayne Jones. Henriquez is the director of the City’s Community Challenge Grant Program, and Jones was Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Gavin Newsom.
According to Josh Koehn at The Standard, Jones is accused of paying Henriquez, her family members, and close associates nearly $200,000 in exchange for Henriquez steering 23 city contracts, totaling $1.4 million, to entities controlled by Jones. Henriquez and Jones each face one count of misappropriation of public money, six counts of bribery, and 23 counts of aiding and abetting a financial conflict of interest in a government contract.
Henriquez was arrested Tuesday, while Jones was reportedly “at large.” Follow-up coverage Wednesday indicated Jones was booked that afternoon and was being held on a $50,000 bond.
Some schools may close
At the school board meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Matt Wayne detailed the monumental challenges facing the district: the loss of 10,000 students over the last 15 years (down to 48,000 now), a staffing shortage and a 20%+ teacher vacancy rate, uncompetitive teacher salaries (not to mention the ongoing payroll issues), and $6 billion in facilities needs. As Jill Tucker writes in The Chronicle, the district must “right-size” as this is a “path that will lead to bankruptcy without action.”
This may eventually require closing or merging certain schools or selling district property. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; the district needs to adjust resources to reflect its reality.
The real question is: will they actually make the tough decisions?
Richmond shopkeeper, Yohannes ‘John’ Tewolde, killed in brazen robbery
Beloved Richmond District shopkeeper, Yohannes ‘John’ Tewolde, was beaten to death by a thug stealing from his store. By all accounts, Yohannes was a deeply loved and respected member of the Richmond community. His life was cut short by a selfish, violent man who was stealing a beer.
We must do more to protect the hardworking people of San Francisco from criminals.
If you are able, please donate anything you can to help the Tewolde family in this terrible moment.
Veritas sells 25% of its buildings
“Ballast Investments is poised to take over ownership of 75 apartment buildings and become one of the city’s biggest real estate players,” writes Roland Li at The Chronicle. They are buying about 25%—nearly $1B of mortgages—of Veritas Investment’s portfolio, the city’s largest landlord.
Demand for housing in San Francisco dipped during the pandemic, which led to lower rents and caused Veritas to default on many of its investments. The law of supply and demand strikes again!
Throwback: Photos from BART construction
A throwback for your Saturday: Photos from BART construction in the 1960s. These photos were found in an abandoned filing cabinet left on the street at Tiffany & Duncan, now dubbed the “Tiffany Cabinet.” It contains hundreds of photos of life in San Francisco in the 1960s. Thank you to David Gallagher for this labor of love!
SFMemory.org is a project of David Gallagher to collect useful San Francisco and Bay Area history resources for researchers and the general public.
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A great city is constantly changing and growing, let’s celebrate what’s new!
Stoa brings cocktails and bites to the Lower Haight. Dianne de Guzman at Eater SF lets us know some Nopalito alums have launched a laid-back, delicious new bar with tasty snacks. They sport some low-alcohol cocktails, too, for the folks looking to enjoy a night out without having a rough morning. Opening this weekend!
Kiln is a new fine dining restaurant and already chasing a coveted Michelin star. The new space on Fell & Van Ness is brought to you by the team behind Nob Hill’s Sons & Daughters, writes Omar Mamoon at The Standard. This decadent, two-and-a-half hour long 20-course tasting menu will set you back a pretty penny — if you can get a reservation, that is!
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
Laugh GPT: SF’s first AI-Powered stand-up comedy show
As artificial intelligence advances, who knows how long our human comedians will be able to hold their ground? Comedians enlisted a joke-cracking AI to hopefully create a night of laughter. They’re challenging you to tell which of their closing jokes were crafted by the comedians or by the machines. Can you save humanity by telling them apart?
WHERE: Savoy Tivoli — 1434 Grant Avenue
WHEN: Sept. 2nd at 7 p.m., and every other Saturday through December.
It’s a free event for the first 50 sign-ups when you use the code HUMAN.
Kings Mountain Art Fair
In 2023, the Kings Mountain Art Fair will celebrate its 60th year under the canopy of the coastal redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Every Labor Day weekend, a transformation occurs in the redwood forest just 30 miles south of San Francisco. Artist booths pop up around the Kings Mountain Fire Station and local beer and wine begin to flow. Admission is free.
WHEN: September 2, 3 & 4
10 am – 5 pm
WHERE: 13889 Skyline Blvd.
Woodside, CA 94062
What we’re writing about
Why I love my life in the Outer Sunset
“San Francisco neighborhoods feel a lot like their microclimates: A radically different experience awaits you just by moving a couple miles down the street. And while I love the Outer Sunset, it is also sedate; a slow pace of life alongside a beach town vibe. The big city feels very far away indeed.” T Von D. describes what has kept her living in our foggiest neighborhood for more than a decade.
Was the SF Civic Center carnival successful?
San Francisco‘s oft-beleaguered downtown transformed into a brief funhouse filled with rides, funnel cake, and prizes last weekend. Hundreds of children and their families filled the block-long space. Neon lights overhead welcomed visitors to shoot basketballs and hit high strikers in order to win stuffed animal prizes. Children slid down a massive rainbow-colored slide and rode a huge ferris wheel that provided a seeming bird’s eye view of City Hall. Was the carnival worth it? We thought so.
Inside San Francisco’s 105-year-old funeral home
More than a dozen funeral homes lined Valencia Street for much of the 20th Century. Back then, funeral streetcars and a local railway ferried the dead and their mourners to cemeteries in Colma. Now, just two remain: Duggan’s Funeral Service, which moved from 1234 Valencia St. to 3434 17th St. in 1932, and Driscoll’s Valencia Street Serra Mortuary.
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