Short Cuts

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Park and Rec Hassles Kids

Four San Francisco Park and Recreation staffers took the time to hassle a teenager, two adolescents, and two eight-year-olds for playing soccer at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center last month. The officials accused the group of not being a “coronavirus pod,” even though two were siblings, and all have been practicing together for the past couple of weeks.  That, and the teenager was wearing a mask, with much social distancing.  The staffers also asserted that the collection of small cones the cluster was using to practice ball handling created “tripping hazards.”  Apparently, it’s now illegal for children to play, even if they’re practicing proper public health protocols… 

Stay Gold a Go

In a unanimous vote last month, the San Francisco Planning Commission approved Stay Gold’s plan to open a cannabis dispensary at 667 Mississippi Street. Friends of Mississippi Street requested the Commission vote, citing concerns over parking, neighborhood compatibility, and a growing number of marijuana outlets where other amenities are needed.  Before the meeting, Stay Gold made three concessions:  it shrunk operating hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday; abandoned plans for an onsite smoking and vaping room; and extended security from the corner of Mississippi and 22nd streets to 300 feet north. Opponents pointed out that Stay Gold will be the City’s only weed shop located on an otherwise all-residential street. The site is zoned for mixed-use. Commissioner Theresa Imperial was recused from voting; Commissioner Milicent Johnson was absent.

Slow Street

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) implemented a Slow Street on Mariposa Street from Kansas to Texas streets in June. The Slow Streets program is designed to limit through-traffic on residential roads, dedicating them to foot and bicycle traffic. Twenty Slow Street corridors have been planned or implemented throughout San Francisco, providing more space for social distancing. Under the program access to driveways and deliveries are maintained for residents and businesses; the California Vehicle Code states that motor vehicles still have the right-of-way.  Slow Streets were selected based on survey results and analyses conducted by SFMTA staff and other municipal departments. “The Slow Streets in the Mission and on Potrero Hill allow more space for walking and keeping a distance,” Raymond O’Connor, Captain of the Kansas Street SAFE Neighborhood Association, and Kansas Street resident, told The View. “They are a welcome innovation but not used much. Neighbors seem neutral about the program at the moment. I know I appreciate more space when I walk for exercise and perhaps the City may innovate further by permanently turning streets into walkways.” 

Lion captured

Throughout the world wildlife has reclaimed streets where human activity has been reduced during public health lockdowns. Coyotes, raccoons, skunks and other urban critters are longtime San Francisco residents.  Last month, a young mountain lion was captured at Fourth and Channel streets. San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) officers and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife cornered the cat, deploying a large net to seize it without using a tranquilizer. The feline had been spotted wandering around other City neighborhoods in days prior to its capture, including along the Embarcadero, and at the intersection of Market and Fremont streets…Perhaps the big cat was drawn to the park on the south side of Mission Creek; or maybe it’d heard that the Mission Bay Citizen’s Advisory Committee had unanimously approved an application by Curo Pet Care, a small animal veterinary practice, to operate out of a ground floor space at the corner of Fourth and Channel. Endorsement of the tenancy required a Secondary Use Finding from the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure per the Mission Bay South Redevelopment Plan. The vacant, commodious commercial space under Mercy Housing is the last retail storefront in the 1100 block to be occupied.

China Basin Park Designed 

Proposed designs for China Basin Park, a five-acre waterfront space across from Oracle Park, include tidal shelves that’ll descend into the Bay, adjoined by a small sandy beach, coastal garden play area, boat access ramp, outdoor seating, public restrooms, and two paseos leading to the Bay Trail, with pedestrian and bicycle pathways. The park would also feature a Bay overlook at a knuckle wharf, and protect the shoreline. The Mission Rock – Pier 70 Design Advisory Committee wants more consideration given to use of native plants and the planned storm water system modified to allow for water use in irrigation. Mission Rock partners, San Francisco Giants, Tishman Speyer and Port of San Francisco, have committed to delivering the park during the first project phase, scheduled to be completed in 2023, which’ll also include two towers offering 540 housing units, and 550,000 square feet of office space in two commercial buildings. Webcor is the general contractor for horizontal construction: infrastructure, streets, and China Basin Park. In April, an interim Bay Trail opened across from Oracle Park, connecting Third Street and Terry Francois Boulevard. 

Pee Gee Company 

The City and County of San Francisco protested Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) bankruptcy plan at the California Public Utilities Commission, raising concerns about the utility’s proposal to borrow $7.5 billion to finance bankruptcy-related costs by adding a new charge to customers’ bills. The CPUC approved PG&E’s reorganization plan but hasn’t yet blessed the utility’s “securitization” proposal, which includes a fee tacked on to ratepayer invoices to enable the utility to borrow money at a lower interest rate. PG&E wants to establish a trust that’ll eventually pay ratepayers back for the surcharges, insisting that this tactic makes its proposal “ratepayer neutral,” as required under state law. The City and County questions the legality of the complex financial scheme, noting that there’s no guarantee that PG&E’s “optimistic expectations” about its financial performance will allow payments to be made, illegally shifting long-term risks and costs to energy users. PG&E also proposes to share the upside with customers if it makes more money than expected, but under the proposal ratepayers only get 25 percent of any upside, while bearing all the downside. “PG&E’s securitization plan is a financial house of cards,” said City Attorney and Dogpatch resident Dennis Herrera. “We can’t lose sight of what this proposal does: PG&E wants to add a new charge to ratepayer bills with no guarantee that customers will be paid back. PG&E wants ratepayers to take on all the risk. This plan does not come close to the standards of ‘ratepayer neutrality’ established in state law, nor does it protect the public interest. PG&E’s proposal would shift all of the risk to ratepayers and leave the CPUC with no recourse to alter this arrangement in the years ahead, regardless of any future bankruptcies, negligent or criminal behavior, or other financial schemes and gimmicks. To protect ratepayers and the public interest, the CPUC should reject this proposal.”