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Neighborhood Empowerment

A decade ago a coalition of activists, neighborhood and merchant associations, nonprofits, faith–based organizations, foundations and academic institutions launched the Neighborhood Empowerment Network, to inspire San Francisco neighborhoods to become more resilient.  Last month, NEN presented its 10th annual award for Outstanding Neighborhood Watch Group to Kansas Street SAFE Association.  Dogpatch won the Comeback Neighborhood of the Year, and Best Community Challenge Grant Project was awarded to Friends of Tunnel Top Park. Jeffrey Betcher, who died last year, was placed in the NEN Hall of Fame (ceremony photos on page 16).

Bus Facility Falls Short

Save The Hill and Grow Potrero Responsibly have appealed Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ming-mei Lee’s order upholding San Francisco Planning Commission and Board of Supervisor approvals for a mixed-use project at 901 16th Street and 1200 17th Street, known as the “Corovan” site.  The petition will at minimum delay the project until 2020…The Dogpatch Neighborhood Association and Friends of Islais Creek are insisting that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Administration’s new Islais Creek bus facility shouldn’t be granted a Certificate of Occupancy until past promises of a public meeting room and displays honoring the area’s history have been met. “Otherwise we will never see it done,” said DNA member Janet Carpinelli. As detailed in the View’s December issue, neighborhood activists believe their initial support for the project, made in exchange for the assurances, enabled it to receive permits from the Arts and the Bay Conservation and Development commissions. Community members estimate that the displays would cost at least $50,000, far exceeding the $10,000 SFMTA has set aside. In an email sent to SFMTA, Carpinelli expressed dismay that the agency hadn’t conducted its own cost study before reaching the $10,000 figure. An original design plan also called for a balcony overlooking the creek, which was later nixed. SFMTA has stated that meeting room access will be limited to appointment only if its security budget allows.  According to building inspector, Steve Hajnal, the Department of Building Inspection has final authority over issuing a Certificate of Occupancy, the last step of a project, whose provision is based on code compliance and whether the construction plan has been met.

Tacolicious Changes Straws

Tacolicious – which’d been distributing more than 180,000 plastic straws a year – has replaced the artificial pipettes with a 100 percent paper product made by Aardvark Straws at all five of its restaurants, as well as at its Ferry Plaza farmers market stand, cantina Bar San Pancho and tequila bar Mosto.  In addition, the eatery empire is collaborating with the Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to the enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches, to become a certified “Ocean Friendly Restaurant.” “Big changes create big impact, so it’s exciting to see a restaurant group taking the step to eliminate plastic straws from all of its restaurants and lead this movement among the restaurant community,” said Eva Holman, Surfrider activist. Tacolicious is the largest restaurant group in San Francisco to go no-plastic straw; other no- or alternative-straw establishments include The Make Out Room – not a single straw served in 20 years – The Perennial – which uses straw straws – and Pagan Idol, which relies on paper straws.  The View editorialized against the nature-damaging consequences of plastic straws in its November issue.


A couple of View readers pointed out that while all other District 10 Supervisor candidates had their names appear in the headline associated with an article about them in the December issue, Uzuri Pease-Greene’s did not.  Given the importance of name recognition, this could be seen as unfair, and even, since Greene is one of only two female candidates so far running, unintentionally sexist. In addition, Pease-Greene’s name was incorrectly spelled in the article.  The View regrets the error, and encourages its readers to give Pease-Greene a look as they consider their options for the D10 seat.