Discover more from GrowSF
The GrowSF Report: Mayor Breed & Sheriff deploy emergency unit to crack down on fentanyl dealing
PLUS: Castro Theatre saved, allowed to renovate
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of June 5, 2023:
- Mayor Breed & Sheriff deploy emergency unit to crack down on fentanyl dealing
- Castro Theatre saved, allowed to renovate
- Making life easier for small businesses
- Lori’s Diner returns to Union Square
- Park hotel group gives up two of SF’s largest hotels
- New cannabis dispensaries banned until 2027
- Sneak peek at SF’s next new park at India Basin
Mayor Breed & Sheriff deploy emergency unit to crack down on fentanyl dealing
130 deputies in the Tenderloin and SOMA for six months to crack down on fentanyl dealing — that’s the promise from Mayor Breed and the Sheriff’s department, Mallory Moench reports in the SF Chronicle.
San Francisco is experiencing a huge shortage in police staffing: we have about 1,500 full-duty officers (down from a peak of about 1,900 in 2017), so extra staff loaned from the Sheriff’s department will go a long way toward boosting safety downtown. 1,500 full-duty officers is about 176 officers per every 100,000 residents. By comparison, the European Union average is about 300 officers per 100,000 — almost twice as many!
This boost in capacity joins two ongoing pushes: One from the CHP to lend staff, and one from SFPD to detain addicts sprawled out on the street or acting violently due to drug use. Since May 30 the extra resources from the State have led to 58 arrests, with 79% of perpetrators being from outside San Francisco.
Over the first week of SFPD’s push, 25 people were arrested, of which 9 had outstanding warrants and only 1 of whom was from San Francisco. Unfortunately, none of them accepted offers of treatment upon release.
Thank you to Mayor Breed, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto, District Attorney Jenkins, Emergency Department Director Mary Ellen Carroll, and Supervisors Matt Dorsey, Joel Engardio, Ahsha Safaí, and Catherine Stefani for their support in making this happen.
Castro Theatre saved, allowed to renovate
In a victory for fun-lovers everywhere, the SF Board of Supervisors rejected a plan to sabotage the renovation of the Castro Theatre, as reported by JD Morris in the SF Chronicle.
In a 6 to 4 vote (Supervisor Ronen was absent), Supervisors Mandelman, Engardio, Dorsey, Stefani, Safaí, and Melgar all agreed that declaring the 20 year old seats inside the theatre historic made no sense, and would likely cause the theatre to shut down entirely since it couldn’t update its programming to fit our changing times.
Thank you for your help making this a reality! GrowSF’s volunteers, subscribers, and fans sent hundreds of emails and phone calls and showed that average people everywhere just want to see our city grow and thrive. A year ago this outcome wasn’t possible — had Joel Engardio lost his election, the 6th vote would have been from anti-fun and anti-change Supervisor Gordon Mar. But because San Franciscans came together to elect sensible people and continue to fight the good fight, we won!
Making life easier for small businesses
It should not have taken the critical situation San Francisco finds itself in to motivate leaders to make these crucial changes, but we are glad they are finally happening. In response to increasing vacancies (and the increasingly urgent pleas from small business owners and entrepreneurs), Mayor London Breed and Supervisors Dorsey, Engardio, and Melgar introduced legislation to make over 100 changes to the planning code which will make it easier to start an run a business. The changes allow a broader variety of businesses into vacant spaces, shorten approval processes, and otherwise liberalize regulations, reports Kevin Truong at the SF Standard.
San Francisco has notoriously complex rules, which in turn often make it difficult for small businesses to open and operate, much less thrive. Facing the twin blows of rising crime and decreased foot traffic, small businesses simply cannot survive. These changes are very welcome, and will help our city recover.
Park hotel group gives up two of SF’s largest hotels
The owner of city’s first and fourth largest hotels, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and the Parc 55, said that they will stop making payments on the loans for both hotels, giving up both properties to their lenders. These properties together account for 9% of the city’s hotel stock, almost 3,000 rooms in total, according to Roland Li at the SF Chronicle.
Park Hotels & Resorts, the owner of both hotels, stated that they wanted to reduce their exposure to San Francisco, citing street conditions, a lower rate of return to office, and fewer conventions in the city, all of which have resulted in fewer business travelers and other customers.
Massive conferences like the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference and Dreamforce resulted in 10’s of thousands of visitors and millions of dollars of revenue to San Francisco businesses. Managers of these conventions had signaled for years that their attendees were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation in San Francisco, but we never took them seriously. Now we are paying the price.
New cannabis dispensaries banned until 2027
Last week we highlighted Supervisor Ahsha Safaí’s legislation to ban new pot stores. After some last-minute negotiation with pro-competition and pro-fairness advocates, Supervisor Safaí amended the legislation to make it temporary — automatically sunsetting in four years.
Banning competition is never the right choice, and it’s concerning that this passed unanimously, but at least it’ll automatically be undone in a few years.
Lori’s Diner returns to Union Square
San Francisco’s small businesses are not just the providers of food, services, and jobs, but they are also the city’s biggest boosters. They believe in SF in spite of the difficulties they face.
Lori’s Diner, a San Francisco institution, is the perfect example of this. Despite lower foot traffic and increased crime in Union Square, the restaurant is doubling down, investing more in their last remaining location in the area, reports Nico Madrigal-Yankowski in SF Gate. They understand that not only do the businesses need the tourists, but the tourists need the businesses, and someone had to commit first. Lori’s Diner believes in San Francisco, and we hope that belief pays off.
Sneak peek at SF’s next new park at India Basin
One of the thinks that makes San Francisco so wonderful are all of the incredible parks scattered throughout the city, some of which are known around the world. And thanks to our incredible Recreation and Park Department, our portfolio of incredible parks continues to grow.
India Basin Waterfront Park is the next big park in the queue, set to be fully complete in 2026. The park will cover 1.7 miles of undeveloped waterfront, the last bit in San Francisco. There will be a boathouse, a recreational dock for fishing and kayaking, and many other areas and activities to enjoy. Thanks to Julie Zigoris at the SF Standard for the sneak peek!
Love the GrowSF Report? Share it
Help GrowSF grow! Share our newsletter with your friends. The bigger we are, the better San Francisco will be.
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
GrowSF Happy Hour
Join GrowSF for our monthly happy hour at Orbit Room!
WHEN: Tuesday, June 13
WHERE: Orbit Room, 1900 Market St
Fleurs de Villes PRIDE celebrates LGBTQ+ icons
WHEN: June 16 - July 4
WHERE: The SF Mint (88 5th St)
In partnership with San Francisco Pride, Fleurs de Villes PRIDE will showcase a series of fresh floral mannequins inspired by San Francisco’s LGBTQIA+ icons and trailblazers, including drag legend Heklina, visionary activist Harvey Milk and “Queen of Disco” Sylvester to name but a few. Admire the historical grandeur of The San Francisco Mint as you visit stunning salons and regal ballrooms bursting with blooms including floral rainbows, chandeliers, hearts and angel wings celebrating the diversity and beauty of the Pride community.
Enjoy refreshments and light bites in the beautiful courtyard, toast to 53 years of San Francisco Pride with a floral cocktail from the Hendrick’s Gin bar, and vote for your favorite mannequin for a chance to win a month of fresh flowers!
For more information, visit fleursdevilles.com/sf-pride
What we’re writing about
Who said doom loop? This new jazz club sprinkles hope on downtown SF
Imagine it: You’re whisked away to an elegant Art Deco hall where a jazz trio is wailing away on a stage while you sit at an oblong marble table with gilt bell lamps, sipping War Years cocktails bathed in the amber glow of sunburst chandeliers.
This is the newly-opened Dawn Club in downtown San Francisco, tucked in an alley-like street called Annie just to the rear of the Palace Hotel. The Dawn Club emerged like a phoenix rising from the ashes of downtown’s “doom loop” paranoia. It’s made for buzzy headlines as a bid to save the neighborhood, and they put it right on their sign. We checked it out this week during their soft opening phase.
Cocktails to eat by: Three standout bars with food in San Francisco
From one of the key cities that birthed cocktails to the world in the 1800s, San Francisco has no end of hundreds of stellar bars with stellar food. We welcome a new one from a beloved industry bartender and standout new menus at two bars we already love, all three with quality food, too. Check out these three bars that serve great food with their cocktails.
What we’re celebrating
From a dirt floor to straight A’s
Congratulations to Oliser Aguilar for showing that dedication mixed with raw intellect can achieve great things! His journey is an inspiration to us all.
Want more positive news? Subscribe to The Bold Italic
Get some good vibes in your life by subscribing to The Bold Italic. It’s the sister project to GrowSF which focuses on what makes San Francisco a great place to live.