Rental firm uses signage to spread positivity / Peskin to remain on board during treatment

It's Tuesday, June 15.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

When my wife and I moved into our new apartment earlier this year and learned that we’d be leasing it through RentSFNow, my mind immediately went to those 2 ft. x 2 ft. signs on the side of buildings seemingly everywhere across the city. 

Once you see a RentSFNow sign, you can never unsee them. 

Recently though, I noticed a change. A nearby placard that once showcased a phone number and website for potential renters had an entirely different message: “Stop Asian Hate.” 

This week, the CEO of Veritas Investments (RentSFNow’s parent company) Yat-Pang Au told me that all 300-plus signs were updated in April after a wave of violent attacks against Asian Americans, particularly those who were elderly. 

“These people beating up on old ladies and men, it’s just ridiculous,” said Au, whose parents moved to the US from Hong Kong before he was born. “I felt the need to do something.” 

The QR code on the signs led people to the website for Stop AAPI Hate, a group that collects data on harassment and hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the US. The signs received around 1,000 scans, which Au said was “good news” if it showed people were curious about the message, but “bad news” if it indicated a high number of crimes were actually happening and being reported. 

And while it was the first time RentSFNow used the signs for something other than attracting prospective renters, Au said it wouldn’t be the last. 

Already, in June, he and his team came up with a new message (“Spread love, stop hate”), which the real estate exec said was broader and especially important as people come back together after the pandemic. Au also pointed to the importance of the month, which includes Pride and Juneteenth. 

“It is valuable real estate signage, but I think right now we have an important opportunity to raise awareness,” he said. “It starts first with knowing and caring about one another, and also stopping hate.” 

(Note: I did not receive a rent reduction for the writing of this article 😊 ) 

And with that...onto some news… 

After announcing his plans to enter alcohol treatment last week, Supervisor Aaron Peskin issued an “emotional apology” at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, the Chronicle wrote

“With or without alcohol, with or without stress, I am accountable for my behavior and I am profoundly sorry for, and frankly embarrassed by, the tenor that I have struck at times in my work,” Peskin said. “I own that. I have a problem and I’m taking serious steps to address it. I’m sorry colleagues, and I’m sorry San Francisco citizens.”

The Chronicle said Peskin will continue his work on the board while going through treatment. 

If you want to read more on the Peskin situation, former Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius (who now has a Substack newsletter of his own!) put out a good piece today that’s worth a look. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🏡 A seven-bedroom Pacific Heights house recently sold for $43.5 million—the highest price tag ever for a home sale in San Francisco. (SFist

  • 🇺🇸 Warriors’ forward Draymond Green will be on the USA men’s basketball team roster in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the Chronicle confirmed on Tuesday. It’s still unclear whether Steph Curry, who’s never played in the Olympics, will be on the team. (Chronicle

  • 🔥 A group of youth climate activists marched over 250-miles from Paradise to San Francisco to scatter wildfire ashes on the front porch of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Pac Heights home. They also painted a 16-foot tall mural on the street outside Pelosi’s house on Monday, advocating for the creation of the Civilian Climate Corps (which was the main reason for their trek). “Invest in us,” the mural read. (Chronicle

  • 🚘 Some 32,000 Golden Gate Bridge commuters were overcharged recently due to a faulty toll sensor that was miscounting the number of axles on vehicles. A Larkspur man discovered the issue when he found a $23 charge on his credit card statement for a trip that should have cost more like $8. Transit officials said impacted drivers would be refunded within the next four to six weeks. (CBS Bay Area

  • 🚋 Cable cars will resume running in August with no fare fees for riders as the service gets back on track for the first time since early last year. In September, regular service (and fees) will return. “San Francisco just isn’t the same without cable cars,” Mayor Breed said on Tuesday. (SF Gate

And finally… 

Video of a man shoplifting in a Hayes Valley area Walgreens on Monday has gone viral on Twitter with over four million views. 

“This is exactly why I held a hearing on organized retail theft and am pushing for greater accountability on shoplifting in SF,” Supervisor Ahsha Safai said in response to the video. 

Over the past five years, 17 Walgreens stores have shut down in San Francisco due, in part, to the high costs of shoplifting at those locations, the Chronicle reported last month. A Walgreens spokesperson at the time said that theft at its San Francisco stores is 4 times greater than the company’s national average, even after spending 35 times more money on security guards compared to elsewhere in the county. 

The SFPD is reportedly investigating the incident. 

That’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading y’all and hope you’re adjusting okay to the new mask norms. We’ll see you here tomorrow! - Nick B. 

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