Porta potty removals spark debate / Stern Grove summer music lineup announced

It's Tuesday, June 8.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

A local debate is heating up over public restrooms. 

As the Chronicle’s Mallory Moench reported on Tuesday, the city increased its number of temporary toilets early in the pandemic to serve those who moved out of shelters and onto the streets. 

But as the number of sidewalk tents decreased by 65% over the past year (due, in part, to people moving into hotels), porta potty counts are down as well, from 33 last August to 11 today. 

City officials acknowledged that San Francisco still faces restroom shortages. But, as internal emails reviewed by the Chronicle show, they are also concerned that the presence of toilets will lead to people moving back onto the city’s sidewalks. 

“I think that San Francisco attracts unsheltered people to our City due to a lack of real enforcement and the many amenities we provide to folks,” one official wrote, in part. “I also think some of the porta potties do lead to encampment.” 

Supervisor Matt Haney, who’s advocated for more public toilets, told the Chronicle he thought city officials were “trying to pull away bathrooms because of the visibility of people who might use them.” 

“How about the visibility of people defecating in the streets and pooping all over our sidewalks and the inhumanity of it?” Haney said. “It’s beneath a city as wealthy as ours to make people go on the streets.”

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the issue in a hearing on Thursday. 

And with that... Onto some more news… 

The city’s parklet program, which has allowed for outdoor dining during the pandemic, is one step closer to becoming more permanent. After a two-week delay, the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee voted in favor of the program on Monday. The broader board is slated to vote on the matter on June 22. 

The Land Use Committee did make amendments to the original legislation, including requirements for businesses to keep sidewalks clear and make their space available for public use during non-operating hours. 

Mayor Breed reportedly agrees with a “vast majority” of the changes but disagrees with some. 

Quick bits: 

  • 👩‍🎤 Stern Grove announced the lineup for its summer music series on Tuesday. Tickets are free, but capacity at this year’s ten live performances will be capped at 30% or around 3,000 people. To snag a spot, you can reserve a ticket online twelve days before a show. (Datebook)  

  • 👁 After months of debate, the Castro Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD) board voted not to accept a $695,000 grant that would have been used to install a network of security cameras around the Castro area. “We are an unelected body that would be imposing a system on this neighborhood that I believe is really outside the scope of what the CBD ought to be doing,” one of the board members said. (Here/Say

  • 💉 With 80% of residents over 12-years-old receiving at least one vaccine dose, San Francisco may become the first major US city to reach “herd immunity.” (Guardian

  • 🍔 A Marina-restaurant called The Dorian launched a new happy hour in June from 4-6 pm on Tuesday-Fridays called “Golden Hour.” Its special menu includes discounted drinks and a $50 Wagyu beef burger that comes standard with a top bun coated in 33k edible gold. The picture of this thing is pretty wild. (Bold Italic

And finally… 

KQED published an interesting story on Monday about the San Francisco State professor who co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, a group that’s been tracking hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US since the start of the pandemic. 

“I knew from Asian American history that when epidemics came from Asia, Asians would be blamed and then face racism,” Russell Jeung, the SF State professor, said. “I quickly started documenting the racism.”

The group has recorded some 7,000 incidents thus far. Around 12% have involved physical assault and around two-thirds have been verbal attacks. Stop AAPI Hate’s data has been cited by dozens of media outlets in recent months including the New York Times and Washington Post

As one of Stop AAPI Hate’s volunteers put it: “We’ve grown to be more than just a data collection center. We’ve become a foundation for grounding a movement.”

That’s all for today! Real quick before you go. Tomorrow at 7 am PT, The SF Minute is launching on Product Hunt as a way to spread the word about the newsletter. If you’re familiar with Product Hunt and have enjoyed The Minute thus far, we’d love your support. 

Thanks so much y’all and we’ll see you tomorrow! - Nick B.

Share The SF Minute