Short Cuts

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Herrera Sues

Last month, City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the San Francisco Unified School District to compel it to reopen public schools as allowed by public health officials. A hearing is set for March 22, 2021. The submission details the harms being visited on children as a result of continued school closures. In January 2021, the University of California San Francisco Children’s Emergency Department at Mission Bay reported the highest number of suicidal children seen and treated on record. Court declarations filed by public school parents describe how a five-year-old child has “regressed to hitting,” a seven-year-old has “uncontrollable meltdowns that turn [the] whole house upside down,” eight- and nine-year-olds are suffering “anxiety, distress, anger, depression and the loss of the love of learning,” and a 15-year-old was found “curled up in a fetal position, crying, next to her laptop at 11 a.m.” The scientific consensus of federal, state and local health officials is that in-person instruction is safe with basic precautions, like masks, physical distance, handwashing and proper ventilation. Vaccines aren’t a prerequisite.

Realtor Honored

Corcoran Global Living bestowed its William and Trudy Drypolcher Community Service Award to Melinda Lee last month.  Lee has devoted considerable energy to such organizations as the University of California, San Francisco Family House, Potrero Hill Archives Project, and the SOMA Rotary Club distribution center of Potrero Hill, among others.  Originally from central Nebraska, Lee moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1986. She previously worked in arts administration, including the Oakland Ballet and Oakland Symphony, and served as U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi’s personal assistant. 

Anchors Away!

Umpqua Bank will permanently close its De Haro Street location next month…Like many youngsters who have moved in with their relatives during the public health crises, Old Navy is raising anchor at its Mission Bay headquarters and moving in with its parent company, Gap Inc. Gap said it wanted to create “flexibility” for its divisions, which include Banana Republic, Intermix, Athleta, and Janie and Jack. It’s yet another company that’s downsized its office space during the pandemic, as the shift to remote labor roils the commercial real estate market. Yelp, Levi Strauss, Twitter, Pinterest, Salesforce, and Dropbox have also indicated that they’re going to shrink their San Francisco footprint. Gap had an estimated 4,500 employees in the City before the pandemic. It’s unclear when Old Navy will move out of 550 Terry A. Francois Boulevard. All units will ultimately be consolidated in two buildings along the Embarcadero: 2 Folsom Street, a 544,813-square-foot building Gap Inc. owns and uses as its corporate headquarters, and 1 Harrison Street…with Amazon’s growing distribution footprint in Bayview and Mission Bay perhaps Southside San Francisco will return to its roots, dominated by warehouses, food services, and light manufacturing, with biotechnology and health care thrown into the mix. Would that be such a bad thing?

Wiener Declines

A recent email exchange between State Senator Scott Wiener’s Communication Director, Catie Stewart, and Steven Moss, the View’s publisher.  

Moss: “I’d like to arrange an interview with Scott. The focus would be less on immediate issues, as on municipal governance, corruption, and democracy. This is not a pressing request; if something can be arranged before the end of April that’d be appreciated.”

Stewart: “Can you send over a few more details? Corruption and democracy with regards to what?”

Moss: “We’re developing a series of articles about the present condition of state and local politics, governance, and institutions.  Specific cases of corruption, such as the rolling investigation into dealings at the City and County of San Francisco, may be used as exemplars, but the focus is more contextual. I hope that helps.”

Stewart: “I think we’ll pass for now. The Senator isn’t commenting on the ongoing investigations.”

Bumps in the Road

One reader was so outraged by the View’s publication of a photograph of a January 6 Washington D.C. Capitol protestor who wore a sweatshirt with the logo, “Camp Auschwitz” that she threatened to throw away all copies she encountered and encourage advertisers to stop doing business with the paper, causing it to fold. A longtime volunteer editor for the View, whose grandmother was murdered at the Nazi death camp, and who hadn’t reviewed the photo’s placement before it was printed, agreed that without additional context it seemed random and potentially triggering. The View acknowledges use of the image, with the associated caption “January marked a bumpy transition of power in the United States,” was glib and insensitive. It was intended as an acknowledgement of the deep challenges democracy faces. Ironically, one of these challenges is peoples’ quick willingness to deploy “cancel culture” tactics when they disagree with someone or something, including a community newspaper with a 50-year history of encouraging positive civic engagement. It’s a complicated time to be an American.