Hey there, San Francisco. Happy New Year!
This year’s Chinese New Year Parade is back on, but not until February 19.
Until then, you can ring in the Year of the Tiger by visiting the six “life-sized” tiger statues scattered across the city. Here’s a map of where to find them.
Or, as the Chronicle food team writes, you can kick off celebrations with dumplings! In San Francisco, they suggest ordering from Dumpling Alley, Dragon Beaux, Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant, and Xiao Long Bao.
And with that…onto the news…
Top story: One thing you should know
A new report released on Monday shows that some 40,000 housing units (or, around 10% of the housing stock in San Francisco) are sitting vacant.
Supervisor Dean Preston, who commissioned the report, called the vacancies the “elephant in the housing policy room.”
“So much of the conversation around housing in this city has been dominated by a focus on production,” Preston said. “But what’s missing from a lot of these discussions has been the consideration on how we use the housing that exists.”
One idea is to introduce a residential vacancy tax, something that cities like Vancouver and Oakland have adopted. The report on Monday estimated that such a tax could prompt owners in San Francisco to rent out 4,560 empty units within two years.
Quick bits: Bite-sized news stories
😔 The SFPD said during a 3-hour virtual town hall meeting on Monday that the man fatally shot by officers at SFO last month told police that his gun was loaded and asked to be shot. (Chronicle / SF Standard)
🍿 The 24th San Francisco Independent Film Festival (known as SF IndieFest) starts on Thursday and runs through February 13. This year, festival-goers can watch the films at the Mission’s Roxie Theater or stream them online. (Broke-Ass Stuart)
What else I’m reading: Links to browse at your leisure
This Colorful Victorian Was Once a Rare Female-Only Bathhouse (Bold Italic)
The reason San Francisco can't get enough Van Gogh, Picasso and Banksy (SF Business Times)
How San Francisco's 'Bedpan Alley' transformed into 2.5 miles of beautifully landscaped trails at Laguna Honda Hospital (SFGATE)
On Tuesday, the driverless company Cruise opened up a public waitlist for San Franciscans who are interested in giving its robotaxi service a go.
You can sign up here.
A Cruise spokesperson told me that “a small group of friends and family” started using the service late last month. And, as seen in the video below, no humans are in the driver's seat.
Alright! That’s all for today. Have a great night y’all and see you back here tomorrow! - Nick B. 🐅