The GrowSF Report: Voting has begun! Read our recommendations
PLUS: No turn on red could save lives
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of January 29, 2024:
- Voting has begun!
- No turn on red could save lives
- New low-income homes coming to the Haight
- Mission Street beset by vacancies
- A North Beach Institution is saved
Recent & upcoming openings:
- A16’s La Pala brings paninos and pizza slices to the Ferry Building
- Early to Rise melds southern comfort food with a three-star heritage (later this month)
Voting has begun!
Our March 2024 voter guide is out now!
In addition to DCCC and ballot propositions, we’re making our first endorsements for Judge!
Normally, judges run without any competition and they sail to victory. But now more people are paying attention and noticed that some judges uphold their own ideologies instead of the law. It's time to change that. We endorse:
Judge, Seat 1: Chip Zecher
Judge, Seat 13: Jean Myungjin Roland
No turn on red could save lives
Despite setting a goal to eliminate traffic deaths in San Francisco, Vision Zero hasn’t worked: 25 people were killed in traffic collisions in 2023.
Now SFMTA is proposing “no-turn-on-red restrictions at approximately 200 intersections” along Market Street according to Noah Baustin at the Standard. The proposal is currently under review and if approved will be presented at a public hearing in March.
“That part of the city has a very high concentration of high-injury intersections […] If you’re picking where to put no turn on red, you want to put it at these most dangerous intersections,” Walk San Francisco Comms Director Marta Lindsey told Baustin at the Standard.
Nearly one-fourth of pedestrian or bicycle collisions involve drivers turning right on red at intersections, and we’re eager to learn if these new restrictions will help save lives.
New low-income homes coming to the Haight
Some much needed low-income homes are finally coming to the site of a former McDonald’s at the corner of Haight and Stanyan. To maximize the number of affordable homes, the builder — Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) — eliminated parking.
While the new homes are situated on or near several great public transit routes, some local businesses (and officials) are concerned about the added influx of cars for these residents:
“I don’t think the neighbors are wrong to be concerned. It’s a fantasy to think that none of these people are going to own cars,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman to JK Dineen at the Chronicle.
In the choice between homes for cars vs homes for people, we’ll pick people every time.
Mission Street beset by vacancies
It’s hard to imagine FIFTY empty storefronts. But you don’t need to imagine, just walk down Mission Street between 14th and Cesar Chavez. Filling the spaces is proving hard because tenants are concerned about public safety, and longtime landlords without debt or property tax pressure aren’t incentivized to fill the space.
“For customers, there’s no purpose in visiting empty blocks…The best case is having business next to business next to business, and we promote each other,” said restaurant owner Ana Valle to Junyao Yang at Mission Local.
But we see signs of hope. Mayor Breed’s new anti-street-vending initiative has reduced shoplifting, police calls, and violence. We believe that Mission Street will come back stronger than ever.
A North Beach institution is saved
The iconic North Beach restaurant off of Washington Square was poised to close after 50 years in business. The former owner Lorenzo Petroni passed away in 2014 and the family “struggled to recover from the pandemic” as reported by Laura Waxman in the Chronicle.
Many elected officials and politicos have graced the restaurant through the decades including Nancy Pelosi, former mayor George Moscone, and Willie Brown who is a regular.
Thankfully two new owners Francesco Covucci and Peter Fazio have stepped in. They currently own several restaurants in San Francisco–Barbara Pinseria, California Fish Market in North Beach, two Il Casaro Pizzeria locations, and Casaro Osteria.
“We still believe that San Francisco is the most beautiful city — you can take a picture from any part of the city, and it could become a postcard. If we ever move anywhere, it’ll be back to Italy. Otherwise, we are staying in San Francisco. Things always change, and the situation in San Francisco will also turn around again,” Covucci told Laura Waxman at the Chronicle.
We couldn’t agree more. San Francisco is beautiful. And how much better does it get than eating Italian food in a legendary place?
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Recent & upcoming openings
A great city is constantly changing and growing, let’s celebrate what’s new!
A16’s La Pala brings paninos and pizza slices to the Ferry Building
WHERE: 1 Ferry Building
Here is a new option for East-coast style pizza-lovers and a feel-good business story: A16 will transform its pop-up at the Ferry Building into a permanent restaurant called A16 La Pala starting this weekend, according to Lauren Saria of EaterSF. You can expect Roman-influenced pizza with a range of toppings and a smattering of paninos (apparently panini is the plural of panino, who knew!).
You’ll have to wait a bit longer for the liquor license, but that’ll be a great reason to come back a second time!
Early to Rise melds southern comfort food with a three-star heritage (later this month)
WHERE: 1801 McAllister Street
Former brunch pop-up Early to Rise will settle into a new location at the former Automat space and be ready for business on February 29, according to Laura Saria of EaterSF. Chef Andrew McCormack of Spruce and Quince will offer tasty brunch options inspired by his Southern upbringing, like house-made doughnuts stuffed with ricotta, bagels and muffins. There will even be a 900-pound smoker for bacon! 🤤
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Fixing SF's Toughest Problems: Fireside Chat with Mayor Breed and Supervisor Engardio
Join Westside Family Democratic Club, GrowSF, and the United Democratic Club for a fireside chat with Mayor Breed. Hear her vision for the city and learn more about the public safety ballot measures coming up for vote in March. Moderated by Supervisor Engardio.
WHERE: United Irish Cultural Center, St. Francis Room, 2700 45th Ave.
WHEN: Thursday, February 8, 7pm
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
'The Lost Inn' at SF Mint
An immersive theater experience comes to the SF Mint — Explore character rooms, play strange carnival games, or grab a drink at the Tavern before the show begins at 8:00 PM. Seating is available throughout the performance, which takes place over 2 floors (elevator available).
The Tavern will stay open for an hour after the show, for those who want to stay for another drink and explore the rooms again at their leisure. The event is $40-$70
WHERE: SF Mint, 88 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
WHEN: Feb. 8 through 24
“Hearts After Dark” Gala
Join the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation on February 8, 2024 to celebrate twenty years of Hearts in San Francisco. It will be an evening of art, music, and dancing to a fire set by The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff—all in support of innovative and life-saving care at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
It all takes place at The Conservatory at One Sansome – a gorgeous event space that was fully restored in 2023, punctuated by granite-clad 38-foot Doric columns and with a breathtaking atrium that gives you a magical outdoor feel within a controlled indoor environment.
WHEN: February 8, 2024
WHERE: The Conservatory at One Sansome, San Francisco
Also coming up: A Love Letter to SoMA on Feb. 15
This one-night-only event will feature new public artworks and interactive events at YBCA—including a yoga class, hands-on art workshops, and film screenings.
They’ll also celebrate the unveiling of a new public artwork by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, as well as public art works by artists Indira Allegra, Jeffrey Cheung, Masako Miki, and Leila Weefur as part of the ongoing exhibition.
This event is free with RSVP.
WHERE: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
WHEN: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 4–9 PM
What we’re writing about
‘Fashioning San Francisco’ reminds us when our city brimmed with style
The de Young’s latest exhibit — Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style — invites us to glimpse rarified creations that ladies wore and continue to show off at fancy affairs during our city’s many high society soirées. A written display reminds us when department stores like I. Magnin & Company and City of Paris served as go-to suppliers of couture gowns for San Francisco’s latest galas.
Any good exhibit also provides a lot to ponder, and we left the de Young deeply considering San Francisco’s local fashion scene.
San Francisco Ballet Gala 2024: Glamorous, exuberant, and gay
The very sparkly evening at City Hall hosted several luminaries on January 24, including the returning Nancy and Paul Pelosi, and a hard-to-miss Lady Camden. The festivities marked SF Ballet’s 91st anniversary and first season programmed by Tamara Rojo, who succeeded Helgi Tomasson as artistic director in 2023. The ballet raised $3 million this season in part from its amazing party that almost deceptively doubles as a charitable event.
A new neighborhood hang comes to San Francisco: The Halfway Club
Opening January 10th in the chill Crocker-Amazon neighborhood just south of Excelsior, The Halfway Club is both a restaurant and bar inspired by “70s dad’s basement bars” via the Midwest. From wood-paneling and a spiffed-up 1970s vibe, to casual fare with grown-up edges, Halfway epitomizes inviting comfort.
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