Backseat Tesla driver arrested / Paramedics could soon decide on 'psychiatric holds'

It's Wednesday, May 12th.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

On Monday, the California Highway Patrol arrested 25-year-old Param Sharma for sitting in the backseat of his Tesla while the car drove itself around the Bay Area. Reportedly, Sharma was cited for backseat-driving in April as well. 

California law prohibits self-driving cars to operate in autopilot mode without a human behind the wheel. But Sharma appears unapologetic about it all. 

"I’ve been brake-checked before really hard, and the car stopped. The car came to a complete stop,” he told KTVU after being released from jail on Tuesday. “Elon Musk really knows what he’s doing and I think people are tripping and they're scared.” 

Sharma is due in court on July 6, but apparently, he told KTVU that he doesn’t plan to stop with his backseat driving before then. 


And with that… onto some news… 

Supervisor Ahsha Safaí introduced legislation on Tuesday that would allow paramedics to decide whether a person going through a mental health crisis should be held in confinement for up to 72 hours. Right now, only police officers have the power to make that decision. 

“It’s time to try something different,” Safaí said. “It’s heartbreaking to see people who need help sitting by themselves, talking to themselves, deteriorating. We have a mental health crisis on our streets and we need to show compassion.”

According to the Chronicle, emergency workers receive around 15,000 calls per year involving mental health emergencies, but in 2020, only 148 resulted in “psychiatric holds.” If passed, San Francisco would be the first county in California to broaden such decision-making to include paramedics. 

Safaí’s legislation follows Mayor Breed’s proposal on Monday to create street teams dedicated to “well-being checks,” rather than sending police officers to respond to less-severe mental health calls. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🚴‍♀️ On Tuesday, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority approved a plan to analyze the impact of shutting down a 1.5 mile-stretch of JFK Drive to car traffic during the pandemic. A final decision on a car-free JFK might not come until the end of this year. (Examiner

  • 🐮 Several customers have complained in recent weeks about getting sick after eating at the House of Prime Rib. On Tuesday, the restaurant said on Instagram that it “recently had an isolated issue with some of our prime rib which was immediately discovered and addressed.” (Chronicle)

  • 🏟 The A’s have plans for a new $1 billion-plus waterfront stadium, but the Oakland City Council has yet to approve the project. On Tuesday, Major League Baseball said it was “concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark effort” and advised the team to “begin to explore other markets.” (KQED

  • 😘 City Hall is set to reopen its doors to the public on June 7 after being closed for almost 15 months, which means...City Hall weddings are back! (Examiner

  • 🍜 Michelin starred Mister Jiu’s is the hot, new training ground for upstart San Francisco chefs, Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho reports. Recently, its alumni have gone on to start “some of the more thrilling projects to emerge in the last year, including Lao Wai Noodles, Vietnamese pop-up Claws of Mantis and lasagna purveyor Marinucci’s Pasta Shop.” (Chronicle)  

And finally… 

If you’ve been wanting to help out with our city’s trash problem, but don’t know where to begin, there’s a talk happening next Monday that might be worth checking out. It’s conveniently titled, “How to Keep SF Clean.” 

Vince Yuen, who recently started a trash clean group Refuse Refuse SF,  is leading the talk. Today, Yuen told me that he hopes to get people from feeling “self-conscious” about going outside to pick up trash to having it be “no big deal.” Part of that change will come with education (teaching people how trash is dealt with in the city). But ultimately, Yuen said he thinks more people will feel comfortable throwing on a reflective vest and grabbing their trash pickers when they start seeing others doing the same. 

That's all for today! Thanks for reading y'all and we'll see you tomorrow!

-Nick B.

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