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The GrowSF Report: Drug overdose deaths on track for record high
PLUS: Lake Oroville reservoir returns to 100% capacity
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of June 19, 2023:
- Drug overdose deaths on track for record high
- 283 new homes in Mission Rock
- Mayor Breed to downtown: Help us help you
- Rising violence and crime in the Mission leave residents worried
- Lake Oroville reservoir returns to 100% capacity
Drug overdose deaths on track for record high
74 people died of a drug overdose in San Francisco in May 2023, for a total of 346 souls lost this year. That’s nearly a 40% increase from 2022, and puts San Francisco on track to have its deadliest year ever.
“If overdoses continue at this rate the rest of the year, San Francisco is on track to surpass last year’s 647 deaths and the record 712 deaths in 2020. The city began releasing the data publicly each month in January 2020,” writes Catherine Ho at the SF Chronicle.
The city is not sitting around doing nothing, though. If you’re a regular reader of the GrowSF Report, you’ll know that Mayor Breed’s administration has recently pulled in help from the State by mobilizing the California Highway Patrol and National Guard, to give a needed boost to SFPD capacity. We’ve also convinced Nancy Pelosi to secure federal funding and support as part of Operation Overdrive, which will bring extra DEA resources to bear on our crisis. And Mayor Breed has directed SFPD to start arresting drug users when they are a clear danger to themselves or others, to cut down on drug tourism (95% of people arrested were from out-of-town) and stop overdoses before they start.
We’re encouraged by the increase in attention and resources directed at this problem.
283 new homes in Mission Rock
The area just southeast of Oracle Park, known as Mission Rock, has been undergoing a dramatic revitalization over the past few years. A whole new neighborhood has sprung up, replacing awful surface parking lots with sparkling new homes and offices. The latest apartment building, dubbed The Canyon, is set to open with spectacular views of Oracle Park itself. Interestingly, this development is being run by the Giants, themselves!
What’s more, this new apartment building has 102 of its 283 homes set aside for middle-income families, writes J.K. Dineen for The Chronicle. According to Giants CEO Larry Baer, “It’s going really, really well.”
Mayor Breed to downtown: Help us help you
“Long considered a barrier to development, City Hall is essentially asking how it can not only get out of the way but help accelerate downtown’s rebirth,” writes Adam Shanks for The Examiner.
Mayor Breed understands the stakes. A thriving downtown is vital for a thriving city, both due to the jobs and commerce it provides as well as the tax revenue to fund our network of social services. And now the Mayor’s office has issued a “request for interest from property owners, developers, and architects looking to transform dust-gathering downtown offices into something — anything — different.”
GrowSF’s take is that the city needs to fundamentally reform the planning department and department of building inspection to fix the byzantine process to building anything. A great start would be to pressure the Board of Supervisors to repeal the dozens upon dozens of laws killing businesses before they even start, and to ensure SFPD is properly funded and staffed to provide a safe business environment.
Rising violence and crime in the Mission leave residents worried
After enduring years of declining safety, rising crime, never-ending graffiti, and finally several recent outbreaks of gun violence, injuring many, Mission residents are fed up. Nora Mishanec writes in the SF Chronicle that “residents interviewed by The Chronicle in the aftermath of the mass shooting that injured nine people Friday night said a cloud of unease has settled on the neighborhood, leaving some feeling unsafe, especially after dark.”
The Mission has been held back by Supervisor Ronen, who has continually called to defund the police while her constituents demanded better safety. In a recent interview with The Chronicle, Supervisor Ronen was quoted saying she “really no longer like[s] the job” and she’s “really excited that [she’ll] be done in a year and a half.”
Frankly, Mission residents deserve an elected official who wants the job.
Three candidates have already announced for the November 2024 Supervisor race: Santiago Lerma (Supervisor Ronen’s Legislative Aide and protégé), Jackie Fielder (a defund-the-police far-left activist), and Trevor Chandler (a moderate-leaning, pro-growth, pro-safety candidate). We’re eager to see which candidate can put forward a robust vision for the neighborhoods in District 9: Mission, Bernal, and Portola.
Lake Oroville reservoir returns to 100% capacity
As the old saying goes, good things come to those who build dams and judiciously monitor and ration water usage. Or something like that.
The wet weather has really paid off. High-flow shower heads for all!
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Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Support “Housing for All” at the Planning Commission this Thursday
Thursday, June 29th will be a big day for housing. Mayor Breed, Supervisor Engardio and Supervisor Dorsey's first piece of “Housing For All” legislation will be before the Planning Commission.
Meet on the steps of City Hall at 12:15 pm for a rally in support of this vital piece of pro-housing legislation. Following speeches from the Mayor, Supervisor Engardio and Supervisor Dorsey, we will go up to Room 400 to continue to show our support in front of the Planning Commission.
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
San Francisco Pride Parade
It’s Pride! Come watch the parade — TBI editor in chief Saul Sugarman plans to join London Breed on her float, wearing something fabulous, of course. The parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. and ends in the early afternoon at Civic Center. Here are some of our recommended activities:
Visit Dolores Park on Saturday and attending the 31st-annual Dyke March.
Attend Donna Sachet & Gary Virginia’s brunch at the Westin St. Francis honoring our annual Pride parade grand marshals.
Go to Comfort & Joy’s Afterglow on Saturday. (A very 21+ crowd)
What we’re writing about
There’s an exact replica of San Francisco in Japan, and it’s weird
Okay, to be fair, it’s not exactly “exact,” and it’s pretty much just Fisherman’s Wharf. But it’s still hella weird, especially for a San Franciscan. Bottom line though: they kinda nailed it. There’s an imitation San Francisco in Japan, so of course it’s at a theme park.
A pizza master opens her first place in Berkeley
Pizzeria da Laura opened March 2023 in a split-level space in downtown Berkeley. This review digs into two spots: Pizzeria da Laura and also Original Joes off North Beach’s idyllic Washington Square Park — which dates back to 1937 when it moved from the original Tenderloin location, which closed in 2007 due to a fire.
PHOTOS: San Francisco’s queer prom era
Prom is a time to ask that high school sweetheart to the year’s most notable class social. Girls don tacky frocks, boys rent tuxes, and everyone chips in for a limo. Often though, queer teens factor many external tensions that make going to this event difficult.
Two nonprofits aimed to ease that struggle in recent weeks: the SF LGBT Center threw a soirée for the queer youth of today, and Impulse SF hosted one for adults. We captured it all in photos, and it was beautiful.
What we’re celebrating
San Francisco has a new Asian night market
We’re super excited to see Supervisor Joel Engardio’s idea for a night market in Sunset move forward. He has told The Standard he is “deep in the planning stages” for a market to open on Irving Street between 20th and 24th avenues. That’s a stone’s throw away from TBI editor Saul Sugarman’s home, so you better believe we’ll have a good story on this when it opens. It is a planned pilot program for Friday nights between 5 and 10 p.m. with cooking vendors and stalls.
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