Parklet fines looming for restaurant owners / 'Butt divots' are back on Muni trains
12.7.21 * Circulation 3,422 * 170 members
Hey there, San Francisco.
On Tuesday, SFGATE recycled a 2019 article about how much money it takes to live a “middle-class lifestyle” in San Francisco. The amount (with updated figures for 2021): $300,000 of pre-taxed income.
According to “SF-based finance expert” and blogger Sam Dogen, for a couple with one or two kids, “$300,000 is the income necessary to put something away for retirement, save for your child's education, own a three-bedroom home, take three weeks of vacation a year and retire by a reasonable age,” SFGATE reporter Amy Graf writes.
"It's not an extravagant lifestyle," said Dogen, the finance blogger. "It's a middle-class lifestyle if you consider a middle-class person should be able to afford a modest home, have at least one car, have a kid or two. There are no private jets in this budget."
Dogen’s recommendation for those who think the cost of living is too high in cities like San Francisco? Move.
"Thanks to technology, there's no need to grind so hard in cities where the median home price is over $1 million,” Dogen wrote on his blog. “Life is so much easier when housing is affordable. The country is large. Go explore it!”
For the rest of us who love San Francisco too much to leave (or, whose jobs are tied to physically being here), well...maybe that will be the subject of Dogen’s next blog post.
For now...onto the news…
Top story: One thing you should know
In recent weeks, some restaurant owners have started to receive notices from local agencies saying that their parklets will need to be remodeled to comply with the city’s newly adopted Shared Spaces guidelines. Otherwise, they will start to face fines.
As Chronicle reporter Janelle Bitker writes: “Though restaurants have a June 30 deadline to come up to code, many businesses are already being warned that they will be assessed hefty fines if they don’t make these changes within weeks.”
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who’s reportedly working on legislation that would delay the fines, called the city’s recent outreach to restaurant owners: “the most uncoordinated, messed-up, insulting display of government incompetence.”
“It’s breathtaking,” he said.
Meanwhile, Laurie Thomas, who heads the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, told the Chronicle that she estimates up to 90% of parklets across the city will either need to be removed or significantly updated to comply with the new guidelines.
Quick Bits: Bite-sized news stories from across the city
🎩 Apparently, people waited in line for a LONG time at the “Drive Thru Dickens’ London” event at the Cow Palace last weekend, and some, due to technical difficulties with the food ordering system, went hungry. “Hour 3 of drive through @DickensFair #fail. Bailing on $95 of food + $25 admission,” one attendee wrote on Twitter. “Toddlers crying for the milk we told them they’d get hours ago.” Another person described the experience as, “Utter madness.”
A representative for the event told the Chronicle: “We were completely caught off guard and didn’t anticipate all of the problems that ended up happening...I think we were all just speechless about how we had let down our biggest fans.” (Chronicle)
😑 The woman charged last month with over 100 thefts from the Stonestown Target was arrested on Saturday at the San Francisco Westfield mall for allegedly stealing again. As Chronicle reporter Rachel Swan writes, “a San Francisco Superior Court judge released [the woman] with the stipulation that she wear an electronic monitor and abide a stay-away order from Target.” This time, Swan writes, “prosecutors will seek to detain her without bail.” (Chronicle)
🇺🇸 On Monday, local US Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who announced last month that she would not seek reelection in 2022, endorsed State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) to succeed her. Speier’s district in the House of Representatives includes mostly San Mateo County but also a “sliver” of southwest San Francisco. (KQED)
🕺 Muni announced last week that it’s doing away with bench seating on its trains and bringing back the “butt divots.” SFGATE reporter Madeline Wells sat on the new seats and confirmed they are “way comfier for your butt” and reduce sliding around. (SFist / SFGATE)
🎟 Olivia Rodrigo (who today I learned is a popular singer) is kicking off her upcoming tour in San Francisco with a performance at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on April 2. Registration for tickets closes before midnight tonight. (SFGATE)
☝️ The Warriors’ Steph Curry is 15 swishes away from surpassing Ray Allen and becoming the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point shots made. (Examiner)
What else I’m reading: Links to browse at your leisure
Planning Commission approves 7-story housing complex on former Sparky's Diner (Hoodline)
Opinion: All the outrage over a S.F. restaurant not serving armed police officers is absurd (Chronicle)
Why the King Tides Splashing SF Sidewalks Are No Laughing Matter (Frisc)
The SF Standard did an interesting thing on Tuesday, having two local writers—Scott James and Tim Redmond—review the new book from Berkeley author Michael Shellenberger entitled, “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities.”
For his part, James writes, in part:
Shellenberger’s central conceit is hard to dismiss: San Francisco is a wealthy city with an unrivaled concentration of brilliant minds, and yet we are failing on so many levels: schools are in crisis, the deadly misery of drug addiction is rampant, street crime is a plague, and a shameful number of people, many mentally ill, are unhoused and live in filth and danger on our streets...Shellenberger’s book might be imperfect, but it provokes much-needed conversations.
Redmond, meanwhile, dismisses the central theory of the book that progressives actually run the city. He writes:
San Francisco is run by a strong mayor, who controls the budget, appoints department heads and the majority of every major commission, and can unilaterally fill any vacancy in any elected office. The City Charter specifically bans the legislative body from “interfering” with city departments, giving the mayor the power to implement laws (or refuse to implement them) without meaningful legislative oversight.
The city’s chief executive, in short, has a lot of power. And there has not been a mayor of San Francisco who could remotely be called “progressive” in at least 30 years. So the idea that “progressives” have created the problems on the streets of this city is simply, utterly, fundamentally wrong.
That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and we’ll see you back here tomorrow. - Nick B.