Live event talks SF politics / 'Safe Sleeping Sites' to cost half of current program, fewer services

It's Tuesday, April 20th.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Last week, I went to an event in the Mission and listened to Manny Yekutiel (of Manny’s) interview Chronicle reporter Heather Knight and Mission Local reporter Joe Eskanaki about the current state of politics in our city. It was really weird. 

Not the talk itself. The talk was insightful. For the first 45 minutes or so, Knight and Eskanaki brought the audience up-to-speed on the hot button topics in San Francisco today: the school renamings, the City Hall scandal (including the Recology bit), the Ferris wheel, JFK Drive, the gay dad, and Alison Collins

Yekutiel then asked questions, like, has this been a particularly crazy year for city politics? I liked how Eskanaki answered that one. “I think a broader scope of San Franciscans need services and need the city to perform, and it’s not,” he said, in part. 

Here’s a link to the recording if you wanted to watch the entire discussion yourself (It starts around minute 21). Also, don’t mind the creepy guy on the far right. Somehow, the only seat when I got there was on-stage, nearest the speakers. 

Oh, the weird part! I almost forgot. It was strange being around people, of course. To be out in the Mission again, on a cold and windy San Francisco evening, was bizarre. But as foreign as it felt, going to a live event was also pretty fun and surprisingly, exciting (even though afterward, I could barely hear what anyone was saying through their masks). 

This event was the first in a series of four that Yekutiel is putting on. There will also be talks on the future of work, transportation, and art. The future of public art talk, which will include the infamous Fnnch, is happening this Thursday. You can check out tickets here

Alright, now onto some news… 

As we mentioned yesterday, the Board of Supervisors’ budget committee will consider a proposal on Wednesday regarding a plan to provide all of San Francisco's unhoused people space to move to a “Safe Sleeping Site.” And leading up to the discussion, there are a lot of opinions on the topic, as you can see from the responses to Supervisor Matt Haney’s tweet today

It seems that a common question is: If it costs so much money to offer people a place to pitch a tent, why not let them move into an actual apartment or hotel room? 

It’s a good point. And it’ll be interesting to see the response tomorrow from Supervisor Mandelman, who’s proposing the legislation. Last year, in an op-ed piece in the Chronicle he helped pen, the supervisor said, “It is time to speak plainly about street homelessness…San Francisco cannot house every unhoused person.” 

Real quick on the cost part. Looking at the analyst report for the proposal, it appears that Mandelman will make the case that the “Safe Sleeping Sites” under his plan will cost about half of what the “Safe Sleeping Villages” cost today. (Those “villages” are what the Chronicle now famously said cost the city $61,000 per tent per year.) 

According to the plan, to accommodate 5,000 people, “Safe Sleeping Sites” will cost $169 million per year, or $33,800 per tent per year. These sites would include security, showers, and restrooms, but they would not include “on-site clinical, medical, or social services,” as the villages do. 

More on this tomorrow, I’m sure. As the Examiner noted, though: “It may be a challenge for Mandelman to pass the legislation [as] he currently has no co-sponsors.”

Quick bits: 

  • 📝 The school board voted 6-1 on Tuesday in favor of electing Faauuga Moliga as its new Vice President. The only “no vote” came from Alison Collins, who was stripped of her VP title last month. (Jill Tucker

  • 📁 A second effort to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin launched on Monday, but as the Chronicle wrote, it is “not immediately clear how the two groups might work together” since “the groups will not be able to combine their signatures to qualify for a special election.” (Chronicle

  • 📚 San Francisco’s Main Public Library (located at 100 Larkin St.) will partially open on May 3 with other branches to follow shortly thereafter. (Examiner

  • 😔 On Monday, a car crashed into the parklet outside of Napper Tandy pub on 24th street. One person was injured. (SFist

  • 🐻 A man in a teddy bear suit is currently walking from Los Angeles to San Francisco and producing some pretty hilarious Instagram content along the way. All the money he raises from the trip will go to charity, he says. (NBC Bay Area)

  • 💼 San Francisco’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.9% in March after the city added 6,100 jobs last month. That number is down from a pandemic high of 12.7% unemployment in May 2020. (Public Comment

  • 🛒 The popular Korean grocery store H Mart is set to open its first San Francisco location on Wednesday, and Chronicle food critic Soliel Ho calls it a “snack food paradise.” This is a good, little list of what to buy on your first trip. (Chronicle)

And finally… If you were living here at the time, you remember it—the day San Francisco was orange. The New Yorker released a good video on Tuesday remembering that day and explaining the role climate change played in it. 

That’s all for today! A couple of quick notes, though, before you go. 

Yesterday, I said that the building fire that Heather Knight highlighted in her recent column took place in the Mission. That fire actually happened in the Castro. 

Separately, I said the sites in Supervisor Mandelman’s proposal would offer “a sanctioned space in the city to pitch a tent, as well as access to bathrooms, handwashing stations, daily meals, and health care services.” But from the analyst report I came across today, it appears health care services and daily meals would not be provided under the plan. 

Alright, happy 4/20 everybody (people still do that, right?). If so, be safe out there. -Nick B. 

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