BART No Longer Requires Masks to be Worn, but Board Members Want to Reinstate a Mask Mandate

Passengers no longer have to wear face coverings to ride BART, but the regional rail agency’s Board of Directors will consider reinstating a mask mandate at its April 28 meeting.

The agency announced shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday that masks are optional to wear on BART trains and stations, effective immediately, after the state’s Department of Public dropped its mask requirement on public transit earlier in the day. That decision came after a judge in Florida overturned the federal masking policies for public transportation and airplanes.

BART joined the Bay Area’s largest transit operators — Muni, Caltrain, VTA and AC Transit — in ditching mask mandates, though that change could be temporary for the region’s largest rail system.

Rebecca Saltzman, president of BART’s Board of Directors, said she and two other directors from San Francisco, Janice Li and Bevan Dufty, will introduce a temporary mask mandate at next week’s board meeting.

Commuters with and without masks travel on a BART train in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Commuters with and without masks travel on a BART train in San Francisco on Tuesday.Scott Strazzante/The Chronicle

Saltzman said late Wednesday afternoon that a mask mandate on BART is still necessary given rising COVID cases in the region and the fact that BART’s youngest riders — children under age 5 — are not yet eligible for vaccination. A mask mandate would also help protect immunocompromised BART riders, as well, she said.

“I think folks who don’t have young children or who don’t have these health problems maybe don’t realize it and are kind of back to regular life, but it’s scary, still, for a lot of people,” Saltzman told The Chronicle. “And even though everybody’s sick of this pandemic we need to protect our most vulnerable riders.”

The duration of the proposed mask mandate had not yet been finalized as of Wednesday, Saltzman said. For reference, the federal mask mandate that was overturned by a Florida judge’s order Monday was set to expire May 3.

The judge’s Monday order sent Bay Area transit agencies scrambling to decide whether to keep enforcing mask wearing on trains, buses and ferries, creating a confusing patchwork in the interim.

By Wednesday afternoon, all Bay Area transit agencies, as well as the region’s three major airports, said they would no longer require masks.

BART’s potential reinstatement of a mask mandate could make it an outlier, and it’s unclear if other transit agencies would act on their own to require masks again. Public transit had been one of the last remaining places in the Bay Area where masks were required to be worn — which some transit leaders said inadvertently sent the message that transit carried greater risks of catching COVID.

Click here to read the full article at the SF Chronicle

Sacramento Currently Spending $44 Million on Growing Homeless

The City of Sacramento is spending more than $44 million to provide eight homeless shelters and camping options, most not yet built or ready, and three Project Homekey motel conversions. According to city officials, “most of that comes from state and federal grants that are not certain year to year.”

This homeless spending comes on the heels of city residents learning that waste collection services are going up drastically: 4.0% increase for recycling, 4.50% increase for garbage, 20.50% increase lawn and garden, and 7.0% increase for street sweeping.

Senate Bill 1383, authored by then-Sen. Ricardo Lara and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016,  requires organic waste (food waste) be recycled to reduce methane, “climate pollutants” and greenhouse gas emissions in landfills.

Sacramento County has more than 11,000 homeless living on the streets and in the parks, and all shelter beds and spaces are full on any given night.

The Mayor and City Council now calls Sacramento’s drug-addicted, mentally ill homeless vagrant population the “unhoused,” “people experiencing homelessness,” “guests,” and “our unhoused neighbors,” as if these really are our neighbors who were just one paycheck away from living on the streets. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Despite the uncertainty of ongoing funding, the City is planning on these various shelters into 2023. “We think for 2023 we have pulled together the funds to cover the shelter piece, from both the State Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grants and by redirecting some funds within the Department of Community Response budget.

While the city’s total siting plan involves 20 potential sites, City staff said they are currently focusing efforts on eight sites, “that have shown the most potential for development and activation. Some of these sites have been added to the plan in recent months.”

This is the status of the eight proposed and existing homeless sites:

  • Joshua’s House is a private hospice facility not yet built on a city-owned lot in North Sacramento. The developer recently applied for a permit and the site could be up and running late this year.
  • Miller Park Safe Ground is a 60-tent low barrier shelter has been opened since Feb. 8. It has already served approximately 140 people, 25 of whom have moved on into positive settings.
  • Auburn Boulevard Respite Center is sited at the former Science Center Museum. It is in use now as administrative space for Hope Cooperative and Department of Community Response outreach teams. It is ready to be used as a respite center for adverse weather conditions.
  • North 5th Street is an existing 104-bed shelter which, under the siting plan, has been expanded to 145 beds and will add another 18 in July for a total of 163.
  • Downtown Service Hub is an unnamed location that is the subject of ongoing negotiations to purchase the building and use it as a central hub for homeless and the service providers who work with them.
  • Colfax Yard is a vacant city-owned vacant lot not yet ready for official use being used now as an unsanctioned parking spot by homeless. The State Water Board ordered an environmental clean up  for longer-term, sanctioned safe parking. The homeless there now will need to vacate.
  • Roseville Road RT Station is currently used unofficially by homeless parking vehicles. The city is working on a three-way agreement among the City, RT and Cal Trans. When completed, that agreement will allow between 50 and 70 vehicles to safely park there.
  • The 102-acre Job Corp site was recently purchased as federal surplus land, not accessible yet. In the short term, the site requires new road access and other improvements before part of it could serve as a safe parking site.

Currently available shelter for homeless totals 164 spots according to this list – 104 actual beds, and 60 tents in a public park.

Sacramento has more than the 11,222 homeless people accounted for Sacramento in 2019-2020. Where are they sleeping? We don’t know how many are sleeping in their cars in designated parking lots, and other default parking locations.

Again not yet ready or opened are three Project Homekey motel conversions, La Mancha, Vista Nueva, and Central Sacramento, the City is working on with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency on, expected to provide more than 300 rooms to be used mostly as supportive and transitional housing.

Last month the Globe reported that Sacramento city manager Howard Chan warned the City Council that future funding for the city’s existing homeless shelters was uncertain, even as the City Council was pushing to open more large homeless sites to address Sacramento’s growing homelessness crisis.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

In San Francisco, Mayor Picks Risky Fight With The Left

Breaking from calls to defund the police, Breed aims to end ‘the reign of criminals.’

SAN FRANCISCO — When San Francisco Mayor London Breed arrived at UC Davis for her freshman year, she saw her new classmates surrounded by family. Except for the friend who dropped her off — her belongings in two small bags — she came alone.

Breed would frequently make her way back to the notoriously unsafe housing project in San Francisco’s Western Addition where she was raised by her grandmother. She came not just to visit but often because of tragedy.

“When I was coming home, it was for the funeral of somebody I grew up with,” Breed said in an interview in the city’s ornate Beaux Arts City Hall. “And I just thought, what if he was here with me? I just imagined them walking around campus, and this could be their life. And that’s what got me involved in public service.”

Breed, 47, is a rising star in California politics because of her stewardship of San Francisco during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her efforts to tackle crime, homelessness, addiction and education in a city that is famously — if not always accurately — known for its liberal, live-and-let-live ethos.

Up for reelection in 2023, Breed received national attention when she didn’t mince words as she declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin district, beset by overdose deaths, open-air drug dealing, violence and homeless encampments.

“It’s time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end. And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies. And less tolerant of all the bulls—that has destroyed our city,” she said in December.

In a break with liberals who have called for defunding law enforcement, Breed’s emergency declaration allowed her to quickly increase police budgets and bypass city bureaucracy to ramp up services to addicts and mentally ill people who are living on the streets. (About 1 out of every 100 residents of the city is homeless, according to data from the federal government.) The declaration just expired, and some question whether it had a tangible impact.

Regardless, Breed’s approach drew praise at a pivotalmoment for San Francisco, which was already struggling with gaping inequality between tech millionaires and working-class residents before the pandemic exacerbated the divide and also destroyed tourism in a city that is dependent on visitors from around the globe.

After a series of smash-and-grab robberies late last year at luxury stores in San Francisco and other cities in California, police presence in Union Square noticeably increased. An armed guard stands sentry at the entrance of a Louis Vuitton store that was looted, and Macy’s glass storefront remains partly covered with plywood.

“She’s giving voice to something happening in a lot of progressive cities right now,” said Sean Clegg, a Democratic strategist who lived in San Francisco for much of the last three decades. “She’s capturing the mood of the moment.”

But Breed’s efforts have also been faulted by some Democrats who argue she is falling back on failed policies that place the interests of the well-connected above those of the marginalized.

Kaylah Williams, the immediate past president of the city’s Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, pointed to Breed’s opposition to several ballot measures, including a successful 2018 proposition that raised taxes on the city’s largest companies to fund more services for homeless people.

“We see time and time again, a lot of corporations and corporate interests put ahead of the interests of working-class San Franciscans,” said Williams, who was the deputy campaign manager for San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin.

Breed has repeatedlysaid that she is “unapologetic” and has rebuked white progressives such as Boudin — who is facing a June recall — as not understanding what it is like to be poor and a minority person in San Francisco.

“I can’t help but take risks in order to transform lives so that the experiences that I had growing up doesn’t happen to the next generation,” Breed said recently, speaking at a celebration of a $120-million two-year campaign she createdthat transferred money from law enforcement budgets to programs aimed at bolstering the city’s Black residents.

Later that day, Breed waved a wand at the reopening of the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” play at the historic Curran Theatre, which had been closed for nearly two years because of COVID-19.

“This is really icing on the cake as we start to reopen our city and recover from this pandemic,” she told costumed Harry Potter fans before cannons shot confetti in the air and celebrants clinked bottles of Butter Beer.

Such moments — including a cameo in a “Matrix” film that was shot in the city and write-ups in Vogue — were unthinkable when she was younger.

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Breed said her experiences as a child and young woman ground her approach to governance.

She was raised in a roach-infested housing project so dangerous it was called “Outta Control Projects,” or OC.

She never knew her father, and her mother was largely absent. A younger sister died of a drug overdose; a brother is imprisoned. A cousin was shot and killed by police. She witnessed her first homicide when she was 12. The men in her family were pimps, hustlers and drug dealers, Breed said.

“I just know that we were poor, and it was hard. And there were times where I wanted to go out there and sell drugs and do illegal things in order to have money, and fortunately I didn’t,” Breed said in her office, surrounded by pictures of herself with Democratic luminaries, awards and a desk plaque that reads, “What Would Beyonce Do?”

“And I’m glad I didn’t and I’m glad that I’m in a place that could help empower other people so that they don’t feel that they have to choose a path of doing something that can land them dead or in jail or on drugs.”

She and her neighbors were too afraid to speak to police after witnessing officers beat suspects and commit other crimes. But she also remembers the compassion officers showed her aunt, who was developmentally disabled and acted out — experiences that shaped her view of law enforcement as both necessary and needing reform.

“It’s a real balance of making sure that people in communities like I grew up in also feel safe and able to communicate and work with police,” Breed said.

She attributes her success largely to the women in her life — her grandmother and members of the community who guided her, helping her write college application essays and providing an outlet that led her to stay out of trouble. “It was just so many people, and it was constant,” Breed said.

As part of a city summer program for low-income youths, Breed worked at the Family School starting at age 14. Some employees didn’t want to work with Breed because she was “rambunctious,” so then-administrative assistant Minyon McGriff had the teen assist her in the office.

“She was always a bright, funny, smart kid. She just grew up hard because she grew up in the projects. She was rough around the edges,” said McGriff, 60. “Simple stuff — how to dress, appropriate behavior, basic etiquette — those are a lot of the things she got from us.”

Breed’s experience at the Family School prompted her to create a program in 2018 that offers a paid summer internship to any working-age student in San Francisco who wants one.

Such relationships, as well asher sorrow that friends she grew up with could not experience what she did at UC Davis, prompted Breed’s first foray into public service — registering voters for the NAACP while in college. After she graduated, she worked on Willie Brown’s 1999 mayoral campaign and served as executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex and on several other city entities before winning a seat in 2012 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

She has been dogged by claims that she was a puppet of the machine run by Brown — a legendary force in the city and state’s politics — as well as business leaders, wealthy donors and other power brokers who have long controlled San Francisco politics.

She has repeatedly lashed out at such allegations.

“So why do women have to be a pawn for somebody?” Breed told the Fog City Journal during her 2012 campaign. “Willie Brown didn’t wipe my ass when I was a baby — my grandmother took care of me.”

Brown declined an interview request.

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times

The Housing Crisis Is Pushing Both Bay Area Landlords And Tenants To The Financial Brink

In a quiet corner of Oakland, Pat McHenry Sullivan agonizes over taking out a life insurance loan to pay off rent debt for her and her husband, who lives with dementia.

A few miles north in Berkeley, Susan Marchionna is in the reverse predicament: She’s debating selling her house of four decades after a drawn-out dispute with a tenant who she says in state filings has not paid rent since the fall.

As a renter and a landlord, McHenry Sullivan and Marchionna are on opposite ends of California’s two-year effort to prevent a pandemic eviction crisis. But both are still waiting for answers to months-old applications for $5.2 billion in statewide rent relief — two of thousands of Bay Area residents unsure where to turn as local eviction battles intensify and a March 31 deadline looms for a final layer of emergency state rental programs.

“I’ve been sitting here since early December with everything in limbo,” said McHenry Sullivan, 79. “It’s heartbreaking, and it’s exhausting.”

The tension playing out in living rooms, city halls and county eviction courts follows an unprecedented expansion of America’s housing safety net. First there were broad local, state and federal eviction bans, most of which expired in California last fall. Then came the multibillion-dollar statewide rent relief effort, designed to accept applications and shield those still waiting for approval from eviction through March 2022.

With that deadline fast approaching and politicians so far unresponsive to tenant advocates’ calls for another extension, renters and small landlords report widespread confusion and fear about falling through the cracks. Only a fraction of relief funds has been paid out, fueling concerns that indebted renters will be pushed out of the region or end up homeless.

The situation is even more complicated in McHenry Sullivan and Marchionna’s home county of Alameda, where stronger local eviction bans haven’t prevented messy eviction disputes.

Now, as landlord and tenant groups battle over the future of renter protections, both sides warn that housing could get harder to find as property owners — fed up with California’s piecemeal approach to rent relief and evictions — take rentals off the market or raise income requirements in a bid to insulate themselves from future tenant disputes.

One thing’s increasingly clear: Even in a swath of the East Bay with some of the nation’s strongest protections for renters, there’s no escaping the turmoil redrawing the map of where people can afford to live.

A renter’s exit plan

Until the fall, McHenry Sullivan thought she would be able to keep paying $1,426 a month for the Glenview two-bedroom that she and her husband, John, 82, have rented since 2006. But then the author and speaker’s extended unemployment benefits ended, and the pandemic didn’t. Medical equipment, taxi fare to doctor’s appointments and the countless hours McHenry Sullivan spends caring for her husband and their home, limiting her ability to pursue outside work, all added financial pressure.

September 2021 was the last month the couple paid rent on time. To cover the rent for October, the final payment they’ve made, McHenry Sullivan said she was forced to dip into a life insurance policy, leaving less money for her or her husband if widowed.

McHenry Sullivan has a master’s degree and is comfortable enough with computers to have run her own business for years, but she was stymied by Oakland’s rent relief website, which she said repeatedly malfunctioned when she tried to apply in the fall. She called politicians and ventured to San Francisco for help from one of the few housing clinics offering in-person assistance, then was told to apply for a state program instead. In December, after months of fruitless calls to check her application status, she was told to reapply to the city program.

She’s still waiting for answers.

“Nobody ever responded,” McHenry Sullivan said. “Nobody.”

Tenant advocates say the odyssey through California’s maze of state and local rent relief programs isn’t uncommon for Bay Area renters looking for help. Cities and counties including Oakland, Marin and Sonoma opted to run their own rent relief programs instead of routing all residents to the bigger state program Housing Is Key. Several local programs have already stopped accepting new applications or run out of money, though more federal funding may become available in the coming months.

Click here to read the full article at the SF Chronicle

What Will It Take For S.F. Public Schools To Drop The Mask Mandate? Officials Won’t Say

San Francisco private schools and many Bay Area districts expect to abandon mask mandates later this month, but the city’s public school district has decided against the change and declined to provide details or dates for when their 49,000 students will be able to drop face coverings.

District officials say they will continue to require masks indoors, noting that county and state health officials “strongly recommend” students and staff continue to use them.

But require and recommend are not the same, and many families and health experts are asking for clarity on what criteria the district is using to decide when it will lift the mandate.

The district said masking is part of the current discussions with the union.

The San Francisco Unified’s stance will leave its public school students following a different set of rules than many if not most private school students in the city, as well thousands of other students across the Bay Area, where officials in most counties have already announced they will lift the mask requirement as of March 12.

While some families felt relief that masks would stay on in San Francisco public schools, others expressed frustration at the lack of clarity and metrics.

Districts in Contra Costa, San Mateo, Solano, Marin, Santa Clara counties as well as many others across the state announced this week they would follow the state’s lead and leave mask use up to individuals, including Santa Clara Unified, San Ramon Unified, Mill Valley Elementary and Mt. Diablo Unified.

Alameda County and Berkeley health officials announced Thursday they would also lift the mandate, which would likely mean some districts there would also make masks optional, although Oakland and other districts had not yet said what they will do.

In San Francisco, at least a handful of private schools have also said they will stop requiring masks, including Sacred Heart Cathedral, Adda Clevenger School and all of the city’s Archdiocese schools, which serve 23,000 students.

In addition, city health officials announced public buildings will no longer require masks either, except during public meetings.

That means public school students can go into city libraries, City Hall, boba shops, malls, restaurants and virtually any other venue or retail establishment without a mask. Classrooms will be virtually the only place they will have to wear one.

Bay Area infectious disease experts say that while SFUSD’s decision to maintain the mask mandate is not in lockstep with many other districts, it has both positives and negatives — and overall, is a complicated issue.

“I see both sides,” said UCSF infectious disease Peter Chin-Hong, saying the current “gray zone” of the pandemic has led to a lot of confusion and frustration, especially as it relates to schools.

Click here to read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle

Migration To California Has Plummeted — From Every State. The Decline Was Especially Extreme For One Region

Every single state in the country sent fewer people to California in the first two years of the pandemic than the prior two years, even as many of those same states saw more Californians move in, according to a Chronicle analysis.

New England had the greatest decrease in California movers of any region, with Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire among the states that saw the biggest drops.

The findings come from consumer credit data collected by the California Policy Lab, a research group based out of the University of California. The data, called the University of California Consumer Credit Panel, tracks movements of the approximately 90% of Californian adults with active credit information every quarter. It includes Californians (and ex-Californians) that have moved both within counties and to and from other states.

The data goes through the third quarter of 2021. To analyze moves over comparable time periods, we looked at data from the first seven quarters of 2018-19 and compared them to the same period in 2020-21.

The Chronicle has previously used the data to show that “net domestic migration” to California — the number of people moving into the state minus the number leaving within the U.S. — went down during the pandemic. San Francisco also saw negative net domestic migration.

But while moves from California to other states have increased, the data shows that most of the state’s net migration decrease came from fewer people entering the state, not more people leaving. In fact, every state had more Californians enter it than residents of that state that left for California in the first seven quarters of 2020-2021.

Internal migration is down in the U.S. overall during the pandemic, so the number of people moving to any U.S. state likely declined in this period. But data from the United States Postal Service suggest it the decline in incoming residents was particularly large in California.

“It’s more about [declining] Calentrances than [increased] Calexits,” Natalie Holmes, a research fellow at the California Policy Lab, previously told The Chronicle.

Click here to read the article at SF Chronicle

More S.F. Voters Supported Recall Of School Board Members Than Elected Them In 2018

More San Franciscans voted to recall three school board members than elected them in 2018, despite a relatively low turnout in the special election last week.

With nearly 175,000 votes counted, and few remaining ballots still outstanding, the tally demonstrated a clear landslide and countered claims that the recall was a Republican-fueled election dominated by white families frustrated with the board’s progressive politics.

The voter turnout as of Friday was at 35%.

More than 131,000 voters ousted board member Alison Collins, who received 122,865 votes in 2018 when she was elected to the job.

Board President Gabriela López received 123,463 recall votes compared with 117,843 in 2018, while Faauuga Moliga received 117,843 recall votes, nearly 10,000 more than the 107,989 who elected him.

The data also shows that a majority of voters in every neighborhood in San Francisco supported the removal of Collins and López, while all but one, North Bernal Heights, voted to oust Moliga.

The recall divided the city for the past year, with a grassroots effort of frustrated parents and community members pushing for the board members’ removal over the slow reopening of schools during the pandemic and the board’s focus on controversial issues such as renaming 44 school sites and ending the merit-based admission system at Lowell High School.

Opponents of the recall said that the election was a waste of time, money and energy that could have been better directed toward students and that commissioners were carrying out a racial justice agenda that many voters back and is meant to address inequity in the schools. They pointed out wealthy investors, including some Republicans, largely bankrolled the recall effort.

Voters specifically targeted Collins over racially offensive tweets she made before her election, saying Asian Americans used “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’”

Amid calls for her resignation from city leaders and community groups, she sued the district and five fellow board members for $87 million after the board stripped her of the vice presidency and her seat on committees. The lawsuit was tossed out of court before the first hearing.

Within the next few weeks, Mayor London Breed is expected to appoint replacements to finish out the commissioners’ terms, which end in early January 2023. To remain in office, the replacements would have to run in the upcoming November election, but might have an edge as incumbents.

“The voters of this city have delivered a clear message that the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else,” Breed said in a statement on election night. “There are many critical decisions in the coming months — addressing a significant budget deficit, hiring a new Superintendent, and navigating our emergence from this pandemic. … The school district has a lot of work to do.”

Collins and López remain in office, and will not officially be removed until 10 days after the Board of Supervisors accepts the results. New board members would probably take seats around March 11. Moliga, however, stepped down Wednesday. His seat will be vacant until Breed appoints a replacement.

Collins and López remained defiant last week, attributing the recall to white supremacy, a backlash against social justice issues and deep-pocketed Republicans.

“So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence,” López said Thursday on Twitter. “Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this.”

Click here to read the full article at the SF Chronicle

Schlok’s Is Finally Opening Its bagel Shop Next Week After ‘Bleeding Money’ Over S.F. Bureaucracy

Despite San Francisco’s notorious bureaucratic red tape, a new destination for chewy, malty bagels is on track to open next week.

Schlok’s, the pandemic-born pop-up that used to sell out in minutes, opens its permanent shop at 1263 Fell St., near Broderick St. on March 2. It comes from James Lok, formerly a chef at Michelin-starred destinations like Benu and the Restaurant at Meadowood, and Zack Schwab, who also co-owns Pacific Heights bar the Snug.

Finally getting to this debut has been a bumpy journey. On Wednesday, Schlok’s shared a dramatic update on social media, saying it couldn’t open this week as planned because the Department of Building Inspection was still in the process of approving a three-sentence statement that was submitted on Feb. 7. It called on fans to contact San Francisco officials “to help them understand the extreme burden that continues to be placed on small businesses trying to open in this city.”

The Schlok’s space used to be a laundromat, so significant work was needed for the build-out. Toward the end of construction, Schwab said everything from plumbing to electrical seemed fine. But then the city needed clarification on a door Schlok’s installed. It took 10 business days to schedule another inspection and sign off on the door — too long for a small business, in Schwab’s opinion, but actually the target length of time for the Department of Building Inspection (DBI), according to spokesperson Patrick Hannan. He also noted that Schlok’s cancelled three previous inspections, though Schwab said that was because the inspector was on vacation.

At Wednesday’s inspection, DBI cleared Schlok’s to open, though the business still needs to complete more paperwork and two more inspections with the agency. Ultimately, Schlok’s couldn’t schedule its final health inspection until that door sign-off from DBI, which he hoped wouldn’t take two weeks because of its seeming simplicity. Every day of waiting resulted in “bleeding money,” Schwab said.

“When you’re pretty much done with your inspections, you have to start planning to ramp up your operations and open,” he said. “We hired five people in addition to our two managers who have been on salary for months now. We started ordering product.”

When Schlok’s first secured its Lower Haight space last April, Schwab was optimistic that the shop could open by September thanks to Proposition H, a measure aimed at streamlining the permitting process for small businesses. Despite his estimate being off by several months, he thinks Prop. H probably still helped considering the horror stories he’d heard in the past.

“But I think the issue was Prop. H only gets you so far,” he said. “It’s just getting those permits, then you’re just where everyone else finds themselves with the bureaucracy and delays and everything else that’s been so hard for small businesses.”

With the ordeal mostly behind them now, Schwab is eager for customers to visit next week. The modern bagel shop will bring the essentials to the Lower Haight: bags of fresh bagels ($3 each or $33 for a dozen), bagel sandwiches and schmears. But Lok’s take on these typically New York-style classics is unique, with vivid malty notes and a thin crust. Now operating out of shop designed to produce bagels and outfitted with new equipment, Schwab says the bagels are tasting better than ever.

Schlok’s will make its own schmears as well as cure and slice gravlax-style lox in-house. Coffee comes from San Francisco’s Saint Frank. Schwab said he’s expecting more demand than the shop can handle at first. To cut back on the inevitable lines, it’ll make most bagels available for pre-order online starting at 6:45 a.m.

Click here to read the full article at the SF Chronicle

Ousted San Francisco School Board President Blames White Supremacists For Recall

The progressive San Francisco school board president who was stripped of her position in a recall vote this week has dramatically claimed that those who ousted her are “aligned” with white supremacists.

“So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence,” president Gabriela López tweeted Thursday.

“Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this.”

López and two other board members — vice president Faauuga Moliga and commissioner Alison Collins — were all voted out on Tuesday.

Her tweet included a photo of a Washington Post headline that said the three ousted board members were “seen as too focused on racial justice.”

This headline says it all. If you are not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” Lopez added.

The board members were ousted in the wake of widespread backlash over COVID-19 shutdowns and a controversial plan to rename dozens of schools.

Click here to read the full article at NY Post

S.F. School Board Recall: Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga Ousted

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported the ouster of three school board members Tuesday in the city’s first recall election in nearly 40 years.

The landslide decision means board President Gabriela López and members Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga will officially be removed from office and replaced by mayoral appointments 10 days after the election is officially accepted by the Board of Supervisors.

The new board members are likely to take office in mid-March. The three were the only school board members who had served long enough to be eligible for a recall.

The recall divided the city for the past year, with a grassroots effort of frustrated parents and community members pushing for the trustees’ removal over the slow reopening of schools during the pandemic and the board’s focus on controversial issues like renaming 44 school sites and ending the merit-based admission system at Lowell High School.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she wasn’t surprised by the results.

“We faced the hardest time of our entire lives as parents and as students in public schools and this Board of Education focused on issues that weren’t about dealing with the immediate crisis of the day, and they didn’t show the leadership that that was necessary and that parents needed to hear, and that kids needed to hear,” said Ronen.

At least a hundred recall backers had gathered in the back room of Manny’s Cafe in the Mission District on Tuesday night.

“This is what happens when you try to rename the schools in the middle of a pandemic!” exclaimed David Thompson a.k.a “Gaybraham” Lincoln, an SFUSD parent dressed in head-to-toe rainbow drag and towering platform shoes, who described his persona as a form of protest. “We wanted to show the diversity of the community behind this recall. I knew they were going to say, ‘Oh isn’t it just a bunch of Republicans?’ and I’m like, do I look like a Republican?”

Within the next few weeks, Mayor London Breed is expected to appoint replacements to finish out the commissioners’ terms, which end in early January 2023. To remain in office, the replacements would have to run in the upcoming November election, but would have an edge as incumbents.

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