Hey there, San Francisco.
For almost a year now, Chronicle columnist Heather Knight has been sounding the alarm on a local law that gives one person the power to stop a city transit project. During the pandemic, for instance, two individuals were able to delay projects like Slow Streets and efforts to reconfigure roads for Covid testing sites.
Knight wrote that “city officials spent more than 100 hours, worth tens of thousands of dollars in staff time, defending each [appeal].” And in the cases she followed, including Slow Streets, all appeals were rejected in the end.
“With fewer frivolous appeals, staff could instead spend time on the city’s recovery,” SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin told Knight back in November.
To set a higher bar for an appeal hearing to take place, Supervisor Matt Haney and Mayor London Breed introduced legislation that would require 50 signatures from residents, instead of one. Breed’s spokesperson Jeff Cretan called it “common-sense legislation.”
But on Monday, Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Dean Preston, who are a part of the board’s land-use committee, “tabled it, refusing to send it to the full board for a discussion,” Knight wrote in her most recent column.
Peskin called it a “solution looking for a problem,” saying that fewer than 20 appeals come to the board each year. Knight wrote that both Peskin and Preston also “point[ed] out that the same people who support the legislation might one day want to appeal a proposal” themselves.
Breed’s spokesperson Cretan said: “It’s really challenging when we talk about changing the status quo in San Francisco, and we can’t even get these tailored solutions to get rid of bureaucracy approved.”
Knight’s sign-off is probably how many people were left feeling. “Ah, City Hall politics,” she wrote. “Isn’t it grand?”
And with that… onto some more news…
🎨 A new mural, titled “Queeroes,” will replace the controversial fnnch honey bears that once lined the southwestern wall of San Francisco’s LGBT Center on Market Street. The artists, Juan Manuel Carmona and Simón Malvaez, hope to have it completed by June 1, the first day of Pride Month. (Datebook)
😔 A Wednesday morning house fire in Cole Valley left one person dead. And on Tuesday evening, around 7 pm, a hit-and-run collision killed a 29-year-old pedestrian near the intersection of Polk and Hayes Streets. Three others were hospitalized. (NBC Bay Area / SF Bay)
🚨 The SFPD has asked for the public’s help in finding 32-year-old resident Robert Newt, who they believe to be a suspect in Saturday’s two deadly shootings in the Potrero Hill area. The police described Newt as “armed and extremely dangerous.” As the Chronicle noted, releasing both a suspect’s name and photo before an arrest was rare, given the department’s effort to prevent racial bias. But, given the circumstances, the SFPD said that it was “permitted.” (Chronicle)
☕️ Retired Giants’ right fielder Hunter Pence told the Chronicle on Wednesday that he and his wife Alexis are happily living in San Francisco and have no plans to move out of the city. The Pence’s also have a specialty coffee endeavor called Pineapple Labs that they’ll be showcasing at a pop-up event this weekend near Oracle Park. (Chronicle)
🏀 A reminder that the Warriors take on the Los Angeles Lakers at 7 pm tonight. If the Warriors win this “play-in” game, they’ll enter this year’s NBA playoffs as a 7-seed and take on 2-seed Phoenix Suns. If they lose, it sets off a series of confusing scenarios that you can read more about here.
Did you know, as legend has it, the first person to use Bitcoin in a real-world transaction bought two Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC? That’s a lotta Bitcoin.
To celebrate the 11th anniversary of this transaction, crypto writer Anthony Pompliano created a project called “Bitcoin Pizza,” which is partnering with local pizzerias in major cities across the US for one week (May 22-29) to create pies like “Satoshi’s Favorite,” “No Keys, No Cheese,” and “Capital Greens.”
In a promotional video, Pompliano said that 100% of the profits from the pilot will be donated to a Bitcoin developers’ fund. “Not only are you getting tasty food, but you’re also supporting a local, small business and Bitcoin developers around the world,” Pompliano said.
Ken Holman, who owns Eagle Pizzeria, told me on Wednesday that he got a call from “a guy in New York” recently who told him about the promotion and he thought it was a good deal. Holman said Bitcoin Pizza will take a flat $5 fee for each order, even if someone buys three or four pizzas.
“It was a pretty good incentive,” Holman said. “I mean, you can make some good money.”
Participating businesses were given Bitcoin Pizza take-out boxes, a tablet for receiving orders, and instructions for making the pies. When assembling the “Laser Eyes” pizza, for instance, pepperoni’s are to be placed in the shape of Bitcoin’s logo. “I better get practicing!” Holman said.
When asked if he had any interest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, Holman said no and that he “doesn’t understand it.”
He does, however, collect baseball cards and has seen the value on them soar.
“I’ve got some beautiful Mays cards and I’m not believing the numbers,” Holman said. “I’m just like, ‘Wow!’”
That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and we’ll see you tomorrow. - Nick B.