$20,000 trash can prototypes / Breed calls on businesses to require vaccinations

It's Thursday, July 22.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Replacing our city’s current trash cans has been on my mind since earlier this year when I learned that Public Works had three new potential candidates: Salt & Pepper, Slim Silhouette, and Soft Square

Beyond the cute names, the hope is that at least one of these cans will be an effective alternative to today’s 3,000 green receptacles, which allow for rummaging and thus, mounds of trash to end up on our city’s sidewalks and streets. 

But the process for putting these prototypes to the test has been slow, bogged down by “bureaucratic approvals,” a Public Works spokesperson told me earlier this month. 

On Wednesday, we finally got an update on the project during the Board of Supervisors’ Budget Committee hearing and the news wasn’t so stellar. Namely, the 15 prototype trash cans are expected to cost a whopping $12,000 to $20,000 each, the Chronicle’s Mallory Moench reported. Each. 

Supervisor Matt Haney called the price tag “ridiculous.” While Public Works acting Director Alaric Degrafinried said the high cost was due to the cans’ custom design. 

“At this point they’ve already come up with designs, we won’t save time now to go backwards, but it’s really frustrating that they chose this route,” Haney told the Chronicle. The full Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on the trash can pilot program next week. 

The silver lining? Once mass-produced, the new bins are expected to cost between $2,000 and $3,000 each, Public Works said on Thursday. That’s higher than the current green bins, which cost around $1,200, but a far cry from $20,000. 

And with that...onto some news… 

On Thursday, the San Francisco Department of Public Health joined Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties in issuing a statement that “strongly urge[d] all employers...require their workforce to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.” Currently, the city is mandating that its workers receive the vaccine and Mayor Breed said on Twitter that she “applaud[s] the businesses that are stepping up to do the same.” 

“We need widespread vaccinations to end this pandemic,” Breed said. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, San Francisco Public Press wrote a good report on Code Tenderloin, a community group that’s walking the streets and offering immunizations on the spot to the homeless and those who can’t take time off work to be vaccinated. 

“We’ve been able to go into stores like some of these liquor stores, smoke shops, restaurants, and go in and bring the vaccination to them. And they’re like, so grateful and so happy because they really want it, they just couldn’t leave their store to go get it,” said Donna Hilliard, Code Tenderloin’s executive director. “Sometimes we’ll go in and we’ll ask the person that’s at the front, and then they’ll bring out four or five family members.”

San Francisco’s Controller’s Office released its updated economic report on Thursday, and the slides can be viewed here. They’re worth a quick run-through. 

A few things that stood out to me: Office vacancy jumped to over 20% in Q2, more than 17,000 jobs were created in the San Francisco metro area in June (but there are still 100,000 fewer jobs here compared to before the pandemic), and hotel occupancy is steadily climbing (but well below pre-pandemic averages). 

Also, I thought it was interesting that just over 20% of office workers in the San Francisco metro area are back in person, compared to 30% in Los Angeles and over 50% in Austin. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🚊 The SFMTA confirmed that last week it started testing trains on the new Central Subway line, which runs from the Caltrain depot (at 4th and King) to Chinatown. The Central Subway is scheduled to open in Spring 2022. (Examiner

  • 🦅 Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho had a good write-up on Zack Fernandes, a Bay Area communications manager and founder of the smashburger pop-up sensation, Lil Eagle Burger. “Fernandes has to make it happen the hard way — has to book the space, buy up the beef and press his weight into each patty, one by one,” Ho writes. “You'll get a superlative burger in exchange. You might even want two.” 

    Lil Eagle Burger’s next outing is this Sunday at Churn Urban Creamery & Bakery in Portola at noon. It’s first-come-first-serve and Fernandes usually makes around 80 burgers. (Chronicle

  • 🍽 Stories about restaurant staff shortages continue. On Wednesday, Examiner reporter Carly Graf wrote about local restaurateur Ryan Cole, who’s offering new employees a $1,000 bonus, two weeks paid vacation, and for some, he’s bumped salaries up to as much as $50 per hour. (Examiner

And finally… 

On Thursday, Here/Say Media released the first episode of its video series, “When the Lights Come Up In The City.” 

In it, Here/Say’s Meaghan Mitchell and Broke-Ass Stuart’s Stuart Schuffman head to the Bayview and hear how the pandemic impacted neighborhood favorites like Public Glass, Bayview Makers Kitchen, and Old Skool Cafe

“At the time, all I could think was if Public Glass goes away, then the support for local artists goes away,” Public Glass’ Nate Watson told Here/Say. “And if we don’t have organizations that support artists, then artists leave the community, and I don’t think that people understand what the absence of creative people working in a community actually means.” 

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all. Also, lots of you have had some really nice things to say on Twitter lately about The Minute, and I just wanted to say, thank you. You guys are the best! Writing this newsletter has been a blast for me and hearing that it’s actually helpful makes it all worthwhile. 

Of course, I’m always looking to improve, so don’t forget you can send feedback my way any time: nick@thesfminute.com

Alright! Good night and see you tomorrow. - Nick B.

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