Mayor Breed talks gardening hobby, worries about school reopenings

It's Thursday, July 29.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Mayor Breed is a “plant mama,” she told a packed crowd at Manny’s on Wednesday night. The proud parent of thirty-six, in fact. It’s a hobby that she picked up during the pandemic. 

The mayor also started meditating more, and she didn’t hold back from sharing about her love for a good Cadillac margarita and interest in healing crystals.  

“I actually have a smaller one at home,” Breed said, referring to a cluster of clear quartz that sat on a side table next to her on stage. “It’s to help me focus and center.” 

For a good chunk of the one-hour discussion, dubbed “Running SF During a Pandemic,” the audience at Manny’s heard a relaxed madam mayor. She spoke of her brightest moment over the past 16 months (when the city’s health director, Dr. Grant Colfax, finally took off his mask in public). She showed support for a vaccine effort in the Tenderloin that’s giving away free weed (“It’ll at least keep everybody calm,” she said). And she described her future vision for the city, which, she said, was like a “utopia. I want it to be clean. I want it to be green...I want people who are retired to enjoy San Francisco during the daytime. I want young people to get out and party at night.” 

Things did get serious. Like when Breed talked about her desire to cut down on red tape for small business owners. Or, when an audience member brought up the city’s current drug crisis. Breed, whose sister died of an overdose in 2006, said, “I understand the frustration and the pain and the challenge with people who struggle with addiction...What's important for us to do is make sure when they need the help, we have those resources available.” 

Looming over the entire conversation was the threat of the Delta variant. Proof of vaccination was required at the door (I showed a screenshot of my digital record from the state, which worked fine) and various people in the crowd wore masks. 

“I just want to be honest, and I know people are tired of hearing this, but this Delta variant is real,” Breed said. “We are looking at vaccine mandates and mask mandates, and we're looking at how those could work, depending on the situations.” 

On Thursday, Breed confirmed with the Chronicle that the city was exploring both mask and vaccination mandates.

The mayor also suggested that the variant could upend the SFUSD’s plan to resume in-person learning come August. “We had gotten a commitment from the superintendent that the schools will be open this fall, and now, I'm not certain what will happen,” the mayor said. “There are still some real concerns there.” 

On Twitter, today, the mayor said: “​​I want to be very clear that our schools can and must open in August.” And in response to the mayor’s comments, the SFUSD told me it was “excited to welcome students and staff back to school on August 16, 2021.” 

So maybe, crisis averted? We shall see. 

And with that… onto some news…

Quick bits: 

  • 📖 On Thursday, the New Yorker published a profile on District Attorney Chesa Boudin that’s worth a read. “If the country was to try a radical change in how it envisions justice, then surely this was the place,” reporter Benjamin Wallace-Wells writes. “But, if 2020 was a year of experimentation with a new model of criminal justice in San Francisco, then 2021 is the year of backlash.” (New Yorker

  • 🏙 Just two weeks after reopening, Twitter is once again closing its office on Market Street “in light of current conditions.” Other tech companies, like Google and Apple, have delayed a return to their offices as well. (Chronicle

  • 🚮 Public Works plans to install automated license plate readers in spots across the Bayview District where illegal dumping happens regularly. “We want people to think twice before they trash our neighborhoods,” a Public Works spokesperson said. Those caught will face fines up to $1,000. (Examiner

  • 🦑 Maison Nico, a French restaurant in Jackson Square, is serving a dish with halibut, squid, peas, and asparagus all floating in gelatin and it looks...well, I’ll let you decide. (SFGate

And finally… 

On Thursday, Here/Say Media released the second episode of its video series, “When the Lights Come Up in the City.” And this time, Here/Say reporter Meaghan Mitchell and Broke-Ass Stuart’s Stuart Schuffman headed to North Beach to hear from local merchants, including vintage shop owner Al Ribaya of Al’s Attire

“The future, there’s no way but up,” Ribaya said. “I really have no doubt that the pandemic is what happens within the cycle of things.”

That's all for today! Thanks so much for reading y'all.

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Thanks again, everyone! See you tomorrow. -Nick B. 😎