School board member files $87 million lawsuit / La Cocina to open Tenderloin food hall
It's Thursday, April 1.
Good day, San Francisco.
Sending out the next couple of newsletters a little earlier in the day. Hope that’s okay! And for your peace of mind, no April Fools jokes here.
On Wednesday afternoon, in front of a crowd of 50 people or so, school board member Allison Collins announced her plan to sue the school district and her five fellow board members for a total of $87 million.
The reason: Collins says her free speech and due process rights were violated when the board voted to strip away her vice president title and committee duties last week. Collins also claims, according to the lawsuit, that she suffered “substantial losses in earnings, significant loss of reputation, severe mental, and emotional distress, [and] humiliation.”
This whole saga, of course, started a couple of weeks back when a series of Collins’ tweets about Asian Americans resurfaced. Many local politicians, including 10 out of 11 city supervisors and Mayor Breed, deemed the comments to be racist and called on Collins to resign. Collins refused, and instead issued an apology that said her statements were taken out of context.
Interestingly, as the Chronicle noted, “while the lawsuit was filed in court, the school board has seven days to call a special session and rescind the vote and write a public apology for its actions.” If that does not happen, the district and the five board members “would be forced to defend themselves in court.”
With that, on to some more news …
Separate from the lawsuit, this week, the two parents behind the effort to recall Alison Collins, along with school board president Gabriela Lopez and member Faauuga Moliga, received clearance to begin collecting signatures from supporters.
The couple has mostly been frustrated by the board’s handling of school reopenings and said they would try to recall all seven board members if they could. (The four others are not eligible for a recall because they just assumed office earlier this year.)
“We have some serious concerns about whether the people in power have the ability to steer the ship,” they told the Examiner.
If the couple can collect over 51,000 valid signatures, a special election will be called.
San Francisco faced a $650 million budget deficit over the next two years, but after President Biden’s American Rescue Plan committed a sizable chunk to the city, that number is expected to drop to just $23 million, according to an updated budget report released on Wednesday.
"The deficit we thought we were going to have to close, which would have resulted in layoffs, a lack of support for business, artists, nightlife...those things are not going to be as problematic,” Mayor Breed said on a call on Wednesday. “So I'm excited about what this is going to mean for the city, at least over the next two years."
Still, as Public Comment pointed out, the city faces long-term budget problems. Namely, by 2026, expenditures are expected to outpace revenues by $500 million.
"I think it's important that we don't just take in whatever… stimulus money we get and spend it all at once," Mayor Breed said last week. "We need to be very responsible with how we designate those resources.”
🏟 Public health officials will allow Giants’ stadium to operate at 22% capacity, but fans in attendance will either need to provide proof of a full vaccination or negative cover test (taken within 72 hours of the game). Tickets for April games go on sale Friday for Visa cardholders and Monday for the general public. (Chronicle)
🍽 La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, a 7,000-square-foot food hall in the Tenderloin featuring six restaurants led by women of color, will open on Monday. (Chronicle)
😔 A gray whale carcass washed onto the Crissy Field beach Wednesday morning. The cause of its death is unknown, though whale deaths near the Bay Area are often caused by boat collisions or malnutrition, an expert said. (SFist)
And finally… There's a Mother Jones article that came out yesterday about San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin that’s got a lotta people talking, mostly about a quote from an investor who said, “In San Francisco, VC lives matter.” FWIW, that person said they were misquoted.
But quote aside (if we can), the article offers interesting context to the Boudin recall effort. Namely, that it has been fueled, in part, by tech industry higher-ups and that some of the DA’s most outspoken critics, like angel investor Jason Calacanis and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, don’t live in San Francisco themselves.
Separately, the Chronicle reported on Thursday that a political action committee has formed to defend Boudin against the recall efforts. On its site (standwithchesa.com), the group says it has raised over $125,000.
That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading and for spreading the word about The SF Minute. I really, really appreciate it!
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And finally, a quick shoutout to one of our readers (Tanner) who got me good yesterday with this screenshot. This, to be clear, is the first April Fools’ joke of the newsletter!
Have a great night everyone! - Nick B.
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