Hotel program for the homeless may expand / Speed limits to drop in the Tenderloin

It's Thursday, February 11th.

Good evening, San Francisco. And happy Lunar New Year’s Eve! 

On Thursday, Mayor Breed again urged the San Francisco Unified School District and teacher’s union to reopen our city’s public schools. This time she took to Medium

“It’s time to set a date for in-person learning to return this year,” Breed wrote. Earlier this week, the mayor said public schools would “definitely” not open this school year under the recent, tentative agreement between the district and the union. 

Breed’s reasoning for the push to reopen: students aren’t showing up, achievement gaps are widening, and the CDC has said it's safe to do so, even if teachers are not vaccinated. 

“Just as we’ve been guided by the science and data throughout this pandemic, we need to continue doing the same now,” Breed said. “The longer we wait, the longer our children continue to fall behind.” 

We’ll continue to follow this closely as things unfold. Now, onto some news for the day…

Five Supervisors introduced new legislation on Tuesday that would expand the city’s shelter-in-place hotel program to offer rooms to 500 more homeless people. The proposal comes after the Biden administration recently said that FEMA would completely reimburse counties for the cost of the program dating back to January 2020. Previously, the city’s homeless department had plans to wind the hotel program down due to funding concerns. (There are over 2,100 people in San Francisco today living in shelter-in-place hotels, which reportedly costs around $18 million per month.)

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to protect hundreds more vulnerable homeless neighbors from COVID and help people on a path out of homelessness permanently,” Supervisor Matt Haney said in a press release on Tuesday. “It would be irresponsible and dangerous to continue business as usual.” 

Haney told me on Thursday that the budget committee will vote on the legislation on February 24th. If it passes through the committee and is approved by the full board and the mayor, the program could expand by early March. 

The Tenderloin may become the first district in San Francisco to drop its speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph. The change might not seem like a whole lot, but as Supervisor Matt Haney said on Twitter: “A pedestrian struck at 20 mph versus 25 mph has 2x the chance of survival.” The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will vote on the speed reductions on March 16, and if approved, they could be enforced by early April. 

Also, as another way to cut down on accidents, the SFMTA is set to pilot a “no-right-on-red” policy at roughly 54 intersections across the Tenderloin. Those changes don’t require a vote and could become official by March. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🚆 The mass vaccination site at the Oakland Coliseum opens next Tuesday, February 16th, and BART is offering free tickets home to those who get vaccinated. (BART

  • 🍻 SF Beer Week (which is a statewide event this year, called “California Craft Beer Week”) kicks off Friday with a set of talks between local brewing legends. (Eater

  • 🐂 The pandemic has changed Lunar New Year’s plans for families and restaurants (and lion dancers!) across the city (Examiner). 

  • 🌲 Parents at Jefferson Elementary in the Sunset District have put together a plan to bring kids back to school—outside. (The Frisc)

  • 🎨 Mission Local has a great, little series called, “People We Meet.” Here’s a quick chat with sidewalk artist Nick Larson, who says he feels “most alive and creative when I’m drawing with chalk.” (Mission Local

And finally… an important conversation broke out on Twitter last night when senior Tech Crunch reporter Megan Rose Dickey asked: “What’s the best pizza in SF?” 

There were a lot of Little Star, Golden Boy, and Tony’s fans, which, I guess, is to be expected. Sorta surprising to me were all the nods for Pizza Hacker and Gioia in Hayes Valley (not a knock on their pizza, I just didn’t realize they had such loyal followings). 

I think if I had to name one, I’d say Pizzetta is my favorite. Though my neighborhood spot, Il Borgo, holds a dear place in my heart and is probably where I order from most. 

All the chatter got me excited to venture out to places I haven’t tried, like Pink Onion and Cellarmaker House of Pizza

Dickey said she ended up going to Tommaso’s Ristorante Italiano and gave it a “Solid A.” Still, she said, “I think my fave pizza is prob still Marcellos.” 

Alright, that’s all for today! One quick question though before you go. 

With all the talk about companies leaving San Francisco, I’m really interested in hearing about people who are starting startups right now in the city. If that’s you (or if you know someone starting an SF-based company right now), I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out directly:

See you tomorrow for our weekend guide. And don’t forget Valentine’s Day is this Sunday 😊. Talk soon. -Nick B. 

Thanks so much to our friends from Candor for sponsoring this edition of The SF Minute. Candor has a newsletter of its own (focused on tech careers) that you don’t want to miss. Check it out!