Discover more from GrowSF
The GrowSF Report: Satisfaction with SF gov hits all-time low
PLUS: The Castro Theatre may close forever (unless you help)
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of April 10, 2023:
- Satisfaction with SF gov hits all-time low
- The Castro Theatre may close forever (unless you help)
- Convert downtown offices into a new UC and student housing?
- Supervisor Chan making SF-Marin Food Bank’s problems worse
- Traffic citations have flatlined
Satisfaction with SF gov hits all-time low
The grades are in and they’re bad.
Satisfaction with city hall has hit an all-time low. The first City Survey since 2019 shows that the city's grades slipped in nearly every service area, with Muni being the only one to see a slight improvement.
Not a single city service received a score higher than a B+, and only one service—Muni—saw a slight grade increase between 2019 and 2023.
San Franciscans gave the worst grades to crime and governance. Public safety received a grade of C+ — the lowest since 1996. SFPD also got a C+. Concerns about safety and crime have played a significant role in local elections, leading to the recall of Chesa Boudin and resulting in GrowSF-aligned candidates winning in Supervisor races.
Public safety received a grade of C+, the lowest since 1996
Government services received a grade of C, the lowest in the City Survey's 27-year history
77% of respondents disapproved of the Board of Supervisors in 2022
Perhaps most worrying in this age of anti-Asian hate, Asian and Pacific Islanders gave one of the lowest average scores for safety at 3.2, down from 3.7 in 2019. Only 30% of Asian and Pacific Islander residents reported feeling safe walking in their neighborhood during the day and night
The Castro Theatre may close forever (unless you help)
Like something out of a bad movie, the Board of Supervisors is threatening to shut down the Castro Theatre forever by forcing through “historic landmark” status on their 20 year old seats. It’s a transparent ploy to extract as much money as possible from the new owners, with no care at all that the landmarking will make it impossible to run the theatre profitably.
You can save the Castro Theatre by signing our petition and calling in to the Land Use Committee on Monday, April 17 around 2pm. If you sign the petition we will email you with more details on calling in when they’re available.
Convert downtown offices into a new UC and student housing?
Former Assembly candidate Bilal Mahmood has started hosting a diverse set of San Francisco residents, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and elected officials for a monthly dinner to discuss solutions to the city's most pressing problems. Among those: the fact that downtown SF is in crisis due to the pandemic-powered remote work shift, which has left many buildings empty and intensified issues like homelessness.
One idea they’ve floated is to create a new university or a vast array of college student housing in the downtown area to help revitalize the city. Public universities could convert vacant commercial towers into student housing, benefiting from tax breaks and bringing new life to local businesses. The idea has received a positive initial reaction from city officials, urban planners, and developers, with some comparing it to how New York City has embraced campus culture.
Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin have introduced legislation to streamline office-to-residential conversions, addressing planning codes and zoning issues, while public universities could leverage their tax-exempt status to limit costs. Although the idea is still in its infancy, it offers hope for a more vibrant downtown and improved support for local businesses.
Supervisor Chan making SF-Marin Food Bank’s problems worse
It’s a very San Francisco story: our overly restrictive laws are getting in the way of feeding the hungry, and rather that focus on fixing the issues, a partisan fight prevails.
The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank now serves 56,000 households weekly, up from 32,000 before the pandemic. However, three emergency pop-up pantries on city park land are set to close in May because they’re on city park land, in violation of the San Francisco city charter.
But instead of trying to help the SF-Marin Food Bank have enough money to meet rising needs of the community, she’s wasting precious time fighting with Rec & Park. It seems as though she’s more interesting in using hungry families as a wedge to re-open JFK Drive to cars rather than finding a way to ensure the food banks don’t shut down entirely.
As chair of the Board of Supervisors budget committee, Supervisor Connie Chan should prioritize funding for the food bank instead of engaging in these political fights and leaving people hungry.
Traffic citations have flatlined
A pretty shocking chart, but it also explains why our roads feel so dangerous. Traffic citations flatlined during the pandemic and they haven’t recovered. This Reddit thread is the source of the graph above and has a lot of personal anecdotes about unsafe streets. We hope the visibility of this chart prompts an investigation from local news sources.
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.
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Celebrate 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 writing about
Saul goes to Saul’s: A Jewish deli adventure in Berkeley
On a rainy day not long ago at Saul’s Delicatessen, we found a respectable corned beef sandwich, lox bagel and matzo ball soup, along with an amazing grape soda.
“Respectable” for us resembles American Ashkenazi fare found in the Midwest (Corky & Lenny’s in Cleveland) and East Coast (Carnegie Deli, naturally).
Here’s what happened when I skipped Muni fare
“It finally happened. I got caught.” Our writer explores her when she forgot to tap her Clipper Card one morning.
In sleepy Mill Valley, a surprisingly quality land-to-sea newcomer: Coho
We step inside Coho, a sustainable seafood eatery inspired by the California coast. It’s a spot almost exclusively dedicated to seasonal vegetables and other dishes from local fishermen, butchers, farmers and two of San Francisco’s best seafood wholesalers: Water2Table and TwoXSea.
What we’re doing this week
“Soirée” for the SF LGBT Center
WHEN: April 15th, tonight! 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: City View at Metreon
The annual party celebrates 21 years of service by the SF LGBT center. Dinner tickets are sold out, but you can still nab ones for the after party. They’ll also sell at the door for $125. The party promises an open bar, dancing, and performances.
“Art Bash” at SFMOMA
WHEN: April 19th 6 p.m. - 1 a.m. 135 4th St.
WHERE: SFMOMA at 151 3rd St.
Vitamin String Quartet
WHEN: April 22nd 5:30 p.m. reception, concert at 6:15 p.m.
WHERE: The Palace 2 New Montgomery St.
These instrumentalists have lent their music on Netflix’s smash hit Bridgerton and HBO’s Westworld. The Vitamin String Quartet — which we are told is among the most popular contemporary string ensembles in the world — will perform at the Palace Hotel.
Our editor Saul Sugarman plans to attend all three events. Be sure to find him in some outrageous outfit and say hi.
Small Business Boogie - Pac Heights edition
WHERE: Pac Heights, various locations
WHEN: Tuesday, April 18, 6-8 pm
This month the Small Business Boogie visits Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights.
They will highlight 4 different local small businesses and visit each for around 20-25 minutes, shop til you drop, and then move on to the next one.
Here’s the schedule:
6:00pm - post.script - (2413 California Street Street)
6:30pm - D&M Wine and Spirits - (2220 Fillmore Street)
7:00pm - Browser Books - (2195 Fillmore Street)
7:30pm - La Mediterranee - (2210 Fillmore Street)
Get to meet the owners of each business and if you make it from start to finish you'll be entered into a raffle with a chance to win a gift certificate from each of the participating businesses.
First drink at the last stop is on the Boogie crew!
🕺Disco attire encouraged!🕺
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.
Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it: