Good evening, San Francisco!
When I started The SF Minute (a couple of weeks ago) several readers told me that housing was a major topic they wanted the newsletter to cover. It’s not a surprise. San Francisco has among the highest rental and home costs for any major city in the US while having one of the highest rates of homelessness. Something (or a lot of things) is not working.
Heather Knight’s piece in The Chronicle this past weekend laid out one interesting path forward. In it, she highlighted Sacramento’s recently approved plan that will allow fourplexes to be built on land slated for single-family homes.
Today, 74% of all the land in San Francisco set-aside for housing is zoned for single-family homes, Knight noted. And so, if a lack of supply is a major part of the city’s housing issues, wouldn’t a similar policy to Sacramento’s help our situation?
Local publications and politicians were quick to say such a plan wasn’t so simple. “Sure sounds like you’re just advocating to bulldoze working class neighborhoods in the Richmond, Sunset, Excelsior, and Bay View,” District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston tweeted in response to the story. “Newsflash: The market delivers pretty well at the high end, and poorly at the low end. Because, you know, profits.”
Mayor London Breed, meanwhile, has Knight’s article currently pinned to the top of her Twitter feed, saying: “It's well past time to create more housing throughout SF.”
Anyway, it’s not something we’ll solve today, but it is helpful to see how cities, like Sacramento, are handling their housing policies. And it’s good to follow the local, political debate. Much more on that to come, I am sure.
Now, onto some news….
The SF school board voted Tuesday to move forward with its plan to rename 44 of the city’s public schools that carried the name of figures it found “unworthy of the honor,” The Chronicle reported. The list of names includes former slave owners and conquistadors, for instance. But it also includes the likes of Senator Dianne Feinstein and former president Abraham Lincoln, which made some question the criteria. “It’s not just symbolic,” board member Mark Sanchez said of the changes. “It’s a moral message.”
On Wednesday, Mayor London Breed was critical of the board’s timing on the matter given that public schools across San Francisco are still not open for in-person learning. “What I cannot understand is why the School Board is advancing a plan to have all these schools renamed by April, when there isn’t even a plan to have our kids back in the classroom by then,” Breed said in a statement.
For the ninth straight year, former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds fell short of receiving enough votes to be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Bonds holds the all-time home run record (762) and single-season home run record (73) but is controversial for some in the baseball world given his ties to performance-enhancing drugs. Next year’s vote will be Bond’s last chance to make it into the Hall of Fame.
I’m no venture capitalist, but if I was, I’d seriously consider investing in a pickleball company. Yes, that’s right. Pickleball. Have you ever seen a sport become so popular so fast?! This SFGate article on Wednesday shines a little light on the Bay Area pickleball scene, which I imagine is pretty consistent in cities across the country: courts are packed, neighbors are upset about the noise (it is quite loud), and tensions are brewing with the local tennis community.
The San Francisco Pickleball Community put together a helpful list of places you can play in the city, including Stern Grove Playground and Presidio Wall Playground. Interestingly, the newly renovated Golden Gate Park Tennis Center (which is scheduled to open early this year) will include pickleball courts, though its website says the number of courts is “yet to be determined.” (If you’re a pickleball player in the city and have any stories about what it’s like to play here, I’d love to hear from you!)
And finally… have you taken a walk on the Great Highway since it shut down to car traffic last year? If you have, maybe you’ve run into local photographer Jason Corning who’s documenting the people he sees enjoying the blocked-off streets in a Humans of New York-style photo series called The Great Highway Project. Here’s a link to check out his great work.
Corning told me: “As an Outer Sunset resident, seeing this space enthusiastically used by so many people made me realize that this was far better utilized as a park than just another highway.” On his site, Corning links to a petition to keep the streets closed permanently.
He said he’ll continue the project until “the city has committed to solving our neighborhood’s traffic challenges in a way that allows for this pristine coast to be prioritized for humans and not cars.”
That’s all for today. Thanks again so much for subscribing and if you’re enjoying these newsletters, I’d love for you to share them with a friend!
Talk soon, Nick
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