Japantown hotel won't house the city's homeless / Best SF pumpkin patch guide

It's Wednesday, October 20.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

It’s my birthday! And, I’ll write if I want to. 

Just kidding. I love this job. And it’s an honor to write for you all each day. But maybe, so I can start celebrating, I’ll keep things short. Whattaya say? 

With that...onto some news… 

The 131-room Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown will not turn into housing for the homeless “after the owner backed out of selling the property to the city amid fierce neighborhood backlash,” the Chronicle’s Trisha Thadani reported late Tuesday night. Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, told the Chronicle: “For unhoused people...it’s a big loss.” 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors did approve the purchase of the Panoramic apartment building in SoMa and the Eula Hotel in the Mission, which will add 185 new permanent supportive housing units to the city’s portfolio. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🚎 Ahead of a November 1 deadline for San Francisco employees to provide proof of vaccination, Mayor Breed said Tuesday that 96% of the city’s staff have been fully vaccinated. Still, given the unknown status of some 120 transit operators, SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin said riders could experience “additional unexpected gaps in service and lower-than-scheduled frequencies” on Muni starting Halloween weekend. (Here/Say, Chronicle

  • 💥 Also on Tuesday, during a press conference at Fisherman’s Wharf, Mayor Breed said that the city will start offering rewards of up to $100,000 for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of those involved in “organized auto burglary fencing operations.” (ABC News)

  • 😔 The SFPD told KQED that they believe the person who died at last weekend’s Phish concert may have jumped intentionally from an upper level at the Chase Center. But, they believe the second person fell accidentally. (KQED

  • 🏀 Despite a 5-of-21 shooting performance from Steph Curry, the Warriors beat the Lakers 121-114 in the team’s season opener on Tuesday night. (Chronicle)  

What else I’m reading: 

  • Bay Area Transportation Project Road Map: From BART’s expansion to S.F.’s rail extension, here’s when 10 major transit upgrades will (finally) be done (Chronicle

  • Feds charge ex-PUC boss Harlan Kelly, real estate broker and politico Victor Makras in bank fraud conspiracy (Mission Local

  • Walgreens closures open the door for San Francisco’s neighborhood pharmacies (Examiner

  • The Best SF Pumpkin Patches, Ranked (Broke-Ass Stuart

Zillow house of the day:

Given that it’s my birthday, why not dream big, right? If anyone wants to gift me this beautiful, $2.5 million condo near Alamo Square Park occupying the top two floors of a classic Victorian, I will gladly accept. 

Check it out here, exposed brick backsplashes and all. 

And finally… A piece by Paolo

If you’ve stopped by The Mill lately to order a fancy coffee or loaf of Josey Baker bread, you may have noticed an enormous hanging portrait of a wolf dressed as a chef and surrounded by mushrooms. Or one of a cow wearing a cowboy hat. 

“I have a strong connection to the animal world,” painter Molly Kars told me recently, whose anthropomorphic work has been on the Divisadero coffee shop’s walls since September. The exhibit, dubbed “FACE TO FACE,” ended this week. 

It had been a long time coming for Kars to marry her whimsy style with such a venue. She graduated from SFSU in 2008 and later, lived in Oakland until 2019. Now, she lives and works in a one-room schoolhouse in Sebastopol. It was tech, somehow, that brought her back to the city. 

“I found out about The Mill when I went on an awful online date there,” Kars said. “Despite the date being a total bust, I was impressed by the artwork on the walls, and the next day I reached out to the curator.” 

She’s shown her creations at both the Four Barrel on Valencia Street and the one that used to reside in Portola. She’s sold big pieces across the city’s cafes, something she is sure helped her get into The Mill.

“I’m constantly making new art, expanding my mind as well as my business,” Kars said. “The only problem I face is having too many ideas and not enough time to make them all come to life.”

The Mill exhibit may be over, but you can always check out Kars’ fantastical paintings on her Instagram. Also, she’s working on new portraits for a show at District SF (216 Townsend Street) that will debut in February 2022.

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. - Nick B.

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