Short Cuts

in by

Enola Maxwell Gently Weeps

The school site at 655 De Haro Street is commonly referred to as the “Enola Maxwell Campus,” named for civil rights leader and longtime Potrero Hill Neighborhood House executive director, whose moniker was applied to a middle school that occupied the location during the first decade of this century.  It’s presently exclusive home to the San Francisco International School, which moved there in 2017. In the before times, it also housed New School of San Francisco, an elementary through high school tuition-free charter. In 2019, ever-hostile to charter schools, the San Francisco Unified School District declined to renew New School’s lease, forcing it to relocate to Russian Hill…SF International School caters to high schoolers newly arrived to the United States, with roughly 270 scholars, more than double its student population five years ago, but still leaving the campus less than half full.  There are no plans to house any other institutions at the site, with SF International School’s student population expected to expand over time under the leadership of Interim Principal Nicholas Chan…Hard to know what Ms. Maxwell, who died in 2003, would think of the constant changes at “her” campus, where SFUSD previously evicted Creative Arts Charter School, and to which Daniel Webster Elementary School parents had once advocated relocating and expanding to include upper grades.  In 2016, then SFUSD School Board vice president, now District 10 Supervisor, Shamann Walton, himself a charter school-hater, was quoted in the View saying that Potrero Hill deserved a middle school. We had one; it was kicked out.

Microunits to the Max

State Senator Scott Wiener roundly endorsed DM Development’s proposed 300 De Haro Street project at a virtual town hall meeting he held last month. The De Haro edifice would rise 120 feet, and feature 450 microunits, as small as 220 square feet, with shared bathrooms and kitchens, mostly offered at market rates. There are no family units. The building would include 40 units – eight percent—affordable to people making less than $47,000 a year. Another 127 would be set aside for individuals earning less than $75,000 annually. Weiner’s Senate Bill (SB) 35 obviated the need for San Francisco Planning Department or Board of Supervisors approval. DM Development initially met with Potrero Hill residents, who wanted to negotiate for a smaller project, but ultimately stopped talking and doubled the project’s size to meet SB 35 requirements, thereby dodging local government decision making processes. “I’m really glad to see this moving forward,” said Wiener. “The developer tried to work with the neighbors but that doesn’t always work out.”

Healthy View 

“How’s the View doing,” is an oft-asked question about San Francisco’s longest running neighborhood newspaper, which turned 51-years-old last month.  It survived the worst COVID months, principally through generous donations from readers.  Advertising seems to have stabilized, though Delta could force revenues back down.  A key indicator of the paper’s health is its number of pages, largely dictated by how many ads have been placed. The goal is a fifty-fifty balance between paid and unpaid content, with gaps in ad revenues made up through contributions and subscriptions.  A pink-cheeked, robust publication would span 24 pages or more.  It’s been a while since that happened. Sixteen pages is the minimum; healthy, but with little muscle.  Twelve pages, which the View faced last spring, is a paper on its deathbed.  For now, at least, the View is ambulatory, thanks to you.