The GrowSF Report: Josué Contreras saves two people from a burning building
PLUS: Police Commissioner Cindy Elias thinks police shouldn’t arrest drug dealers
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of Month date, 2022:
- Local hero, Josué Contreras, saves two people from a burning building
- Homeless sweep lawsuit heading to trial
- Police Commissioner Cindy Elias thinks police shouldn’t arrest drug dealers
- Mid-market mom & pop businesses struggling to survive
Local hero, Josué Contreras, saves two people from a burning building
If you’ve ever been to Trick Dog in the Mission, you might have run in to Josué Contreras. If you have, then you’ve met a hero.
Josué Contreras was manning the door and checking IDs when he started to smell smoke. Rather than sit by and wait for help, he rushed to action.
“Help!” the man cried. “My parents are up there!”
At 35 years old and 6 feet tall, Contreras figured he could help. Firefighters would later call what he did heroic yet also caution that people should generally not run into a burning building.
Josué braved acrid smoke and intense heat to save two elderly neighbors from certain death.
Thank you, Josué. You’re not just a hero — you’ve shown what the average San Franciscan can do when they decide to do what’s right, damn the consequences.
Homeless sweep lawsuit heading to trial
The Coalition for Homelessness recently sued San Francisco to shut down all encampment cleanups until there are more shelter beds than homeless people. This is an interesting interpretation of the 9th Circuit Court case “Martin v. Boise” which found
[Boise, Idaho] cannot impose criminal penalties on homeless residents “for lacking the means to live out the universal and unavoidable consequences of being human.”
In simpler terms: if a city wants to clean up an encampment, they must have an empty shelter bed and offer the bed to the people living at the encampment. This means cities must invest in creating shelters.
The Coalition for Homelessness’s lawsuit asserts that San Francisco cannot take any action until the city has more shelter beds than the total number of homeless people in San Francisco. The Coalition for Homelessness believes overnight shelters are bad and the city should only provide permanent supportive housing (which take about 5 years on average to build).
We think that everyone should have access to a shelter bed, and this lawsuit is an interesting test case for the shelters vs permanent housing argument. Getting people inside today is both the right thing to do and absolutely necessary in solving our homelessness crisis. We don’t have the time to wait dozens of years to build enough permanent housing; we need solutions now.
Now the question of what the city can do and how will be answered in court. We’ll keep you updated on how the case progresses!
Police Commissioner Cindy Elias thinks police shouldn’t arrest drug dealers
“We have had a long history where we tried [arresting drug dealers] and it’s not working.”
— Police Commissioner Cindy Elias telling Supervisor Mandelman why she did not support using police to break up street level drug dealers, December 19, 2022
via Beyond Chron
Unfortunately for San Francisco, Cindy Elias was just forcefully rammed through the appointment process to the Police Commission by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Dean Preston. Elias is a defund-the-police type who thinks that dealers of deadly fentanyl should not be arrested.
While Elias decries the use of police to arrest drug dealers and asserts that there’s a different way to handle our skyrocketing fentanyl deaths, she has yet to present a cogent argument for an alternative.
Rather than wring our hands and hope for a better path, we should copy the model of cities that have fared better.
New York City eliminated open air drug markets through a hot-spot policing strategy that San Francisco refuses to implement in the Tenderloin.
We hope San Francisco can take a page out of the New York City playbook. Not just for the people who want to live in crime-free neighborhoods, but for the thousands of people killed by fentanyl.
Mid-market mom & pop businesses struggling to survive
A new series in the SF Examiner called “Storefront” details the struggles of small businesses in San Francisco.
Nate Haas, co-owner of Moe Greens marijuana dispensary on Market Street was one of the entrepreneurs struggling to make it in the mid-Market area.
Post-pandemic, he says he’s never seen Mid-Market in such bad shape, nor felt so alone in dealing with the area’s many ills. “It feels like it’s all on us as small business owners.”
Haas repeats an all-too-often heard refrain: taxes are too high for city services that are too poor.
Haas said small businesses are doing their part in providing goods and services to the neighborhood, and often are filling in the gap left by the city for security and cleanliness in the area. “We keep paying the taxes,” Haas said. “But we don’t get a lot of the services.”
To turn around mid-Market and bring business back to the area, the City needs to deliver on the basic social contract: we pay taxes, the city provides safety, order, and cleanliness.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Vote in ADEM elections
If you’re a Democrat, please vote in the ADEM elections! This election determines the future platform of the Democratic party. Be sure to check out our ADEM voter guide.
Celebrate San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city. Here’s what makes it great:
Chinese New Year celebration at Chase Center
4pm to 7pm today, Saturday January 21st in front of the Chase Center
Pushing for a better S.F. doesn’t mean missing out on its endless beauty and fun
Heather Knight (arguably San Francisco’s best columnist) defends her sometimes-critical takes on San Francisco:
I try to highlight the city’s problems in hopes our leaders will improve this struggling city that I, and so many of you, still love.
She goes on to highlight some of the great organizations and people in the city. From public service:
San Franciscans, by and large, are a thoughtful bunch who want to make their city better. Vincent Yuen is the perfect example. The Inner Richmond dad in March 2021 founded Refuse Refuse — meaning reject trash — as a one-man cleanup operation determined to keep his block tidy.
From free public art to priceless museum displays to a bounty of live theater opportunities, San Francisco has endless opportunities for arts lovers.
to the beauty contained in every neighborhood:
San Francisco is filled with charming neighborhoods, each one worth exploring — even the one we locals dismiss as just for tourists. I was reminded of that over the weekend when we took refuge from the gloomy skies at Subpar Mini Golf in Ghirardelli Square.
GrowSF’s mission is to both celebrate and to improve the city we all hold dear. Part of improving is recognizing where we fall short and mustering the will to face the challenges to push us all forward. We’re right there with you, Heather!
SF Beer Week is back!
Kicking off February 10th, SF Beer Week returns to the Bay Area with a slew of great events. View the entire (enormous) schedule at sfbeerweek.org
Check out San FranDisco
Running through Sunday, noon to 9pm in front of City Hall
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Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it: