Students speak out over recall effort / SF no longer atop US office space market

It's Monday, April 5th

Good evening, San Francisco. 

Too often when talking about public school reopenings in San Francisco, we (the media) focus on the board members’ failings rather than the actual impact on students. 

On Sunday, the Chronicle surfaced some alarming stats. Kids seeking emergency mental health services between last May and December at Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland was up 77% from the previous year. Those hospitalized for eating disorders doubled in 2020 compared to 2019. 

“Every place you look — the signs of social phobia and isolation, all the way up to suicide attempts — screams crisis,” UCSF’s director of Covid-19 response, Dr. Jeanne Noble, told the Chronicle. 

And while the adults drag their feet, the youth are speaking up. 

On Friday, Lowell High School’s student newspaper posted an editorial that supported the effort to recall three school board members, including president Gabriela López and Allison Collins. 

“The fact that the board has failed to prioritize the needs of students shows that they should not be in office,” the paper wrote. “Students and their families are hurting, due to the failures by those to whom they have entrusted with their education. This is not acceptable leadership.” 

And with that, onto some news… 

San Francisco Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews had planned to retire in June, but on Monday, he announced that he would stay in his position for another year amid the myriad of issues the school district currently faces. 

“SFUSD needs stability and focus at this time,” Dr. Matthews said. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the school board is set to vote on whether they should reverse their previous decision to rename 44 schools across the city. If passed, the resolution does state that the topic should be revisited once students are back in school full-time. 

For the first time in five years, San Francisco is no longer the nation’s most expensive commercial real estate market. That’s according to CBRE data that the Chronicle highlighted on Monday, which has Manhattan once again taking over the top spot after San Francisco’s office rents dropped 14.8% in the past year. 

Office vacancy rates in San Francisco are now up to 19.7% compared to just 4% at the start of the pandemic, according to CBRE. 

Quick bits: 

  • 🌲 Stanford defeated Arizona 54-53 in the women’s NCAA basketball finals on Sunday. It was Stanford’s third women’s championship ever, and first since 1992. (NPR)

  • 🎤 Live indoor events (like concerts, plays, and comedy shows) can resume in California starting on April 15. There’s also a possibility that some venues may separate guests into vaccinated vs. not vaccinated sections. (Do The Bay

  • 🍗 Eater updated its top fried chicken list for San Francisco and it’s worth a gander. (Eater

  • 🏬 The Stonestown Galleria’s parking lot is hardly ever filled more than halfway, so the mall’s owners have plans to build 2,900 housing units on top of those spaces. Some residents, though, think the owners should be more ambitious and construct more units. (Chronicle

  • 🚑 Instead of dispatching police to non-violent mental health calls, the city has been piloting a program in the Tenderloin and Mission areas in recent months that sends paramedics and behavioral health professionals. On Monday, that “Street Crisis Response Team” expanded its work to the Bayview. (Examiner

And finally… Here/Say published a fascinating story late last week about an Alabama-based artist who’s building a “monumental sculpture” in the Bayview maker space, The Box Shop

The 15-foot tall piece, dubbed “Mothers of Gynecology,” is meant to honor the enslaved women who suffered at the hands of J. Marion Sims, a 19th-century doctor known as the “father of modern gynecology.” 

Ultimately, the sculpture will stand in Montgomery, Alabama, just blocks away from where Sims carried out his experiments. But artist Michelle Browder told Here/Say that after a series of serendipitous moments brought her to construct the piece in San Francisco, she’s glad it’s happening in the Bayview. 

“To know that this is part of the old or one of the last Black communities in San Francisco by the bay, by the water… where these women are going to be erected, I think is phenomenal,” Browder said. “It just seems like this is the right place to do it.”

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you tomorrow. Have a great night! - Nick B.

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