Short Cuts

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COVID-19 triggered a run on grocery stores, and a collapse of other economic activity. Early in the shelter-in-place period, Good Life Grocery’s co-owner, Kayren Hudiburgh, said the store’s Bernal Heights outlet has been swamped with shoppers. “They are buying the usual…lots of toilet paper, water, disinfectant, juices, chips and tons of canned food. Lots of boxed cereals, chicken broth, pasta and pasta sauces…would have expected folks to stock up on cheeses, fresh meat, chicken or fish – protein sources that they could freeze if they needed to – but they are shopping like PG&E is going to cut off the power and the freezer and refrigeration will be off. And everyone is in a rush…to get in and to get out but our customers do make an effort to help each other out. We still have our daily deliveries of fresh bread, fish, chicken, meat and all the wonderful produce that comes in each morning and on Saturdays from farmers at the Alemany market. If we run out of something it is usually in stock the next day or so…large grocery trucks are still coming every other day and dairy and yogurt trucks twice a week at Potrero, three times a week at Bernal. But it is a crazy pattern of shopping with folks buying not one box of cereal but 12 boxes…same with pasta…Anybody need a job? WE NEED MORE EMPLOYEES! Competitive pay scale with all the benefits and flexible scheduling.”


According to Tara Hobson, San Francisco International High School principal, food donations will be distributed to students from tables located on 18th and De Haro streets by San Francisco Unified School District Student Nutrition Services. “No ID is required,” said Hobson. “If you would like to donate additional goods, we will accept drop-offs at the front of the building anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. We would appreciate if donations are left outside the building. Custodial is sanitizing the inside of the school and not allowing people to enter. SF International High School will ensure donations to our students’ low-income families will reach them.”


Prior to the City’s “shelter in place” order, the number of people living in cars and recreational vehicles jumped by 25 percent since last year, to more than 800. The highest concentration of live-work vehicles, 363, is in Dogpatch and Bayview-Hunters Point. What’s more, nine out of 10 individuals placed in shelter beds by the Healthy Streets Operations Center were back on the streets within days. A long intractable problem has demonstrated, yet again, resistance to the same ol same, ol strategies, consisting chiefly of temporary beds and modified shelter beds, in the form of Navigation Centers. Once the current crisis subsides, perhaps it’ll be time to try something new: there’s plenty of empty cruise ships available, which could be repurposed as housing, with appropriate public health management. Proposition K, which directed the City to dedicate e surplus property to affordable housing, remains largely ignored, especially for small lots that could host accessory dwelling units. Maybe San Francisco should actually enforce its own laws. Or how about bringing back dormitory-style living or expanding group housing…?


Taste of Potrero, a culinary fundraiser that supports Daniel Webster Elementary School, would have celebrated its 10th anniversary in May. However, the planning committee canceled this year’s event in response to municipal orders to suspend public gatherings as a means to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual event typically features more than 50 of San Francisco’s best chefs, brewers, bartenders and winemakers. Proceeds normally cover 75 percent of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association budget, paying for essential support staff, supplies and programming. With the San Francisco Unified School District facing a financial shortfall, funds will be needed to support Webster’s students, a large number of whom are socio-economically disadvantaged. Consider making a tax-deductible donation: Tickets purchased can be refunded by emailing: 


Although San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) suspended most parking enforcement activities last month, metered parking remains animated. The agency reduced base rates throughout San Francisco to 50 cents an hour for cars, 10 cents per hour for motorcycles until May 1. SFMTA closed some City-owned parking garages and limited others to monthly passholders, including the 16th Street and Hoff Street garage. The Zuckerberg General Hospital Garage remains open to the public. SFMTA also postponed new late penalties on citations, extended deadlines for submitting citation protests, payment and community service plans, as well as citation, boot, and tow hearings deadlines. The agency is no longer forwarding delinquent citations to the Department of Motor Vehicles or Special Collections.


Virtually all small businesses in San Francisco are facing challenging times. With little or no revenues coming in, they’ve had to lay off staff; many will likely go out of business entirely. On Potrero Hill Goat Hill Pizza, Pera, and Plow are struggling, along with many other enterprises. According to Chris Hillyard, owner of Farley’s, “Farley’s is closed for the safety of our staff and the community. There’s no safe way for us to be serving coffee on a daily basis. It’s pretty surreal that our last day before instituting our temporary closure was also our 31st anniversary. For the first time in 31 years, we didn’t have live Irish music and bagpipes on St. Patrick’s Day. The best way to support Farley’s right now and ensure our survival is to purchase coffee beans online which’ll be shipped direct to you. We roast our beans weekly in Oakland and then mail them out to anyone that orders. Additionally, purchasing gift cards online is a huge help since it provides much needed income now to get through this business closure and the purchaser is able to use the gift card once we reopen. Equally important is staff donations. We have a “virtual tip jar” that the community can contribute to and we allocate the funds to all the staff that were employed at the time of the shut-down.” Buy local, remotely!