The GrowSF Report: Mayor Breed directs MTA to stop ticketing stolen cars; solution delayed by Peskin
PLUS: Senator Wiener’s big bills to help SF
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of October 9, 2023:
- Mayor Breed directs MTA to stop ticketing stolen cars; solution delayed by Peskin
- Senator Wiener’s big bills to help SF
- After 6 years and $70k, this homeowner still isn’t allowed to renovate
- Police staffing & foot patrols
- Lord Stanley is back as a modern French bistro
- Foliage brings affordable prix fixe to Precita Park
- Céleste is SF’s hippest natural wine bar on Union
Mayor Breed directs MTA to stop ticketing stolen cars; solution delayed by Peskin
After a Chronicle story revealed that victims of vehicle thefts were being ticketed, Mayor Breed issued an executive order to the MTA to work with SFPD to identify stolen cars and recover them instead of ticketing them, according to St. John Barned-Smith and Susie Neilson at The Chronicle.
“A victim of theft should not have to worry about unpaid citations,” [Mayor Breed] said. “It is our responsibility to do better to serve our residents.”
Sounds like a no-brainer! But, unfortunately, legislation spearheaded by Supervisor Aaron Peskin has thrown a wrench in the gears. His legislation placed strict rules on the use of cameras by police, which means the SFMTA and SFPD can’t efficiently communicate about which cars are stolen.
Now the city must go through a lengthy bureaucratic process, including “multiple reviews by the city’s Committee on Information Technology, as well as a signoff by a supervisorial committee and a full vote of the Board of Supervisors.” All this so victims are treated fairly. This is yet another example of Aaron Peskin putting up barriers to good government in City Hall.
Senator Wiener’s big bills to help SF
Governor Gavin Newsom has just signed two big bills that will help San Francisco become more affordable, both of which were written by San Francisco’s own State Senator Scott Wiener.
The first, writes Sophia Bollag and Clare Fonstein for The Chronicle, is SB 423 which will fast-track all zoning-compliant home construction to be approved in as little as 90 days (down from the current process which takes 4 to 6 years).
Second is SB 593, which was sponsored by San Francisco, will help the City build thousands of subsidized homes for working-class people.
Both of these bills will take effect soon and unlock affordable new homes for tens of thousands of people.
After 6 years and $70k, this homeowner still isn’t allowed to renovate
Hiten Madhani’s permitting nightmare highlights the need for Senator Wiener’s bills. He has been trying to renovate his home since 2018 to make room for his aging parents, but after six years and $70,000 spent, he still hasn’t gotten his permits approved by the SF Planning Department, writes Susie Nelson at The Chronicle.
“If you’re really really rich, you’ll make it through the gantlet,” [Madhani said]. If not, “you’re s— out of luck.”
Why has Madhani been unable to renovate? Because of San Francisco’s backwards “discretionary review” system that lets one ornery neighbor stick their nose in your business and stop you from doing what you want to do with your own home.
Anyone hoping to legally change the size or shape of their home has to first notify neighbors within 150 feet and then wait 30 days. Any neighbor who objects to the project can then spend hundreds of dollars for the city’s Planning Commission to review the permit at a public hearing.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Next November, let’s elect people who believe in the freedom to renovate and expand your home. Who believe in the freedom to build. Who believe that what you do inside your own walls is your business.
Police staffing & foot patrols
Mayor Breed is introducing legislation to boost police staffing and enable foot patrols by allowing the City to pay Reserve Police Officers for their service. Currently, RPOs are volunteers that help the police monitor things like parades and festivals, as well as supplementing foot patrols. By changing our laws to allow the city to pay these RPOs, we can immediately expand the number of officers available to do foot patrols in merchant corridors.
San Franciscans and small business owners have been clamoring for a boost in foot patrols, and we’re glad to see a simple solution be proposed!
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Recent & upcoming openings
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Lord Stanley is back as a modern French bistro
Lord Stanley survived the pandemic by pivoting into a pop-up space that hosted chefs from around the world, writes Lauren Saria at Eater SF, but now it’s pivoting again. This time it’s being reborn as a modern French bistro. It re-opened on October 5th at Polk & Broadway.
Foliage brings affordable prix fixe to Precita Park
Foliage has just taken over the former Marlena space at Precita Park. They’re bringing an affordable $75 four-course prix fixe meal that changes weekly to the neighborhood, according to Lauren Saria at Eater SF. It opened on October 4th at 300 Precita Ave, serving dinner Wednesday to Sunday.
Céleste is SF’s hippest natural wine bar on Union
The owners of Bodega and Key Klub are opening their third location, called Céleste, on Union Street in the Marina today, Saturday October 14, writes Lauren Saria for Eater SF. They will focus on serving funky natural wines in a funky, party atmosphere. No reservations here, it’s walk-in only. And they’ll be serving “Greek taverna fare” to keep revelers going strong late into the night. Find it at 2165 Union St.
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
Bay Area Maker Faire
Two weekends of crazy fun and unbelievable sightseeing. Explore the world of 3D printing, robotics, drones, cosplay and art in a family-friendly atmosphere. There is something for everyone, from interactive, hands-on activities for kids to immersive technological exhibits for adults. From $23.
WHEN: Oct. 13 - 15 and Oct. 20 - 22. Times vary, but 11a - 6p is a reliable window.
WHERE: Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 560 Nimitz Ave, Vallejo, CA
It’s decorative gourd season
Get into the fall spirit by picking out your favorite pumpkin at a local pumpkin patch. Best of all, these pumpkin patches listed below offer free admission for all. Some fun fall activities like their corn mazes or hayrides may require a fee though.
A big shoutout to SF Funcheap for this list — we often pick through their offerings to find worthy adventures.
What we’re writing about
De Young Open proves to us the Bay Area art scene is alive and well
The Bay Area art world has been buzzing for months in anticipation of the second de Young Open and the rare opportunity for local artists to have their work hung in one of San Francisco’s major art museums. We had the pleasure and privilege of getting a sneak peek at the exhibition and a chance to speak with the artists themselves.
Yokai: Japanese food and vinyl records come to life in SoMa
Yokai is an ode to jazz with quality 1970s JBL Pro Series studio speakers and sound-proofing, making music the soul of the lofty space that was home to Salt House for years. The steel, brick and wood-lined bar and restaurant on Mission Street opened just last month, adding a feather in the caps of Marc Zimmerman, Ben Jorgensen and team behind Gozu, one of the great modern Japanese restaurants in the nation since 2019.
Our favorite Fleet Week captures
This year’s Fleet Week came accompanied with San Franciscans’ routine complaining about military spending and noise. While we totally agree the noise is super extra, the annual event brought us a nice boost in tourism and of course some stunning photos. Here are some of our favorites that photographers shared with us.
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