GoFundMe campaign raises almost $900k / Rivian electric vans to start roaming SF

It's Monday, March 22nd.

Good evening, San Francisco. 

The GoFundMe campaign for Xiao Zhen Xie, the 75-year-old Asian American woman attacked on Market Street last week, has raised almost $900,000

It’s a staggeringly awesome number, and a bright spot amid a recent string of horrible attacks against Asian Americans in the Bay Area and country, more broadly. 

It’s also one of a few recent San Francisco-based campaigns that have really taken off. Last week, a GoFundMe for the Uber driver who was intentionally coughed on by his passengers raised over $100,000. In February, a campaign for the DoorDash driver whose van was stolen in Pac Heights with his two young children inside raised over $150,000. Another one last month for the family of Sheria Musyoka, who was tragically killed while jogging near Lake Merced, raised some $130,000

All these instances, of course, we hope never happen in the first place. But I am always so pleasantly surprised when I come across one of these campaigns and see how much people have given. 

GoFundMe spokesperson Patrick Mahoney told me on Monday that since last March, an American has started a Covid-related fundraiser every two minutes. That’s pretty remarkable. 

Also, interestingly, Mahoney said that in October, GoFundMe created a new campaign-type to help people pay for food or rent during the pandemic. That category has quickly become one of the site’s most popular and already accounts for 13% of all campaigns on the platform. 

And with that, onto some news: 

Top elected officials, including almost all city supervisors and Mayor London Breed, are calling for school board Vice President Alison Collins to resign after a series of her tweets from 2016, deemed “racist” and “anti-Asian,” recently surfaced. 

The tweets are laid out in this story by the SFist

Collins, who is Black, tried explaining her tweets in a Medium post this weekend, saying that her daughter had “experienced an incident in her school” and that she uses social media to “speak out on race and racism.” She also said her comments were “taken out of context,” but that she “apologize[d] unreservedly.” 

School board member Jenny Lam called Collins’ statement a “non-apology.”

“I cannot imagine families will now feel safe with someone on our board who felt comfortable saying something so offensive about Asian Americans and still refuses to fully own up to it and apologize,” Lam told the Chronicle

In a tweet on Saturday, school board president Gabriela López said she “stands in solidarity with Vice President Collins and Asian American communities” and that she “appreciate[d]” that Collins had “apologized for her remarks.” 

Some members of the “Lowell community” are threatening to sue the San Francisco school board if it does not reverse its February decision to do away with the high school’s merit-based admissions process. The cease and desist letter penned last Thursday and addressed to school board president Gabriela López said the new plan for Lowell High was “designed to disenfranchise hardworking students” and would “decrease the number of Asian students admitted.” 

“For many years, Board members have falsely attacked Lowell’s merit-based admissions as racist... despite the fact that more than half of Lowell’s students are members of communities of color,” the letter said. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🚲 Bikers, walkers, and even state Senator Scott Wiener gathered in Golden Gate Park on Saturday to advocate for the permanent closure of JFK Drive to car traffic. “Much like the disaster that took down the Embarcadero Freeway, [the pandemic] has shown us that this space is better used by people of all ages and abilities than by SUVs burning dead dinosaurs,” supporter Matt Brezina said. (Examiner

  • 🚚 Amazon will begin testing its Rivian-made electric delivery vans in San Francisco, the company confirmed last week. (TechCrunch)

  • 💸 San Francisco business tenants owe some $400 million in unpaid rent from April to December 2020. Retailers, including restaurants and bars, account for almost that entire number. (Public Comment

  • 🍩 For the rest of 2021, if you show your vaccination card at Krispy Kreme, you can grab a free glazed doughnut. (SFist

And finally… who doesn’t love a good pandemic rent reduction story? The Bold Italic published a story on Monday with 12 of them. 

One person scored a two-bedroom near Duboce and Guerrero for $2,850. Another negotiated their five-bedroom house down from $9,200 to $7,100. 

“Our lovely new home includes two balconies, garage parking, and walking distance to three different grocery stores,” one person said, who landed a dream apartment near Lake Merritt for $2,295. (The same apartment in 2019 had rented for $3,200.) “I’ve been in the Bay for four years now… [and] I feel like I finally made it.” 

That’s all for today! But before we go, I wanted to congratulate the three winners of our recent “share The SF Minute and win trash pick-up gear” contest. The big winners (Jack, Spencer, and Nico) have been notified and we’re working out times to drop off the bucket and gloves.

Thanks again to everyone for sharing The SF Minute with friends and family. It’s helped out so much already!

Have a nice night and we’ll see you tomorrow. - Nick B.

Thanks so much to the team at Felt for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

Felt is a new software company based in Oakland, CA. They’re founded by a pair of experienced entrepreneurs, well-funded, and looking to hire engineers and product designers to build a rich, interactive web application. Reach out if you’re interested ☝