The GrowSF Report: Elections Commission debacle
PLUS: All the Holiday fun in San Francisco
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of November 21, 2022:
- Election Commission opts not to renew Elections Director’s contract
- Homeless “Nonprofit” referred to FBI for investigation
- San Francisco will name its first drag laureate
- Cathenge lights up Hayes Valley in time for the holidays
Elections Commission opts not to renew Elections Director’s contract
A week after the November 8 election, the Elections Commission voted 4-2 not to renew Elections Director John Arntz’s contract.
John Arntz has run free, fair and functional elections for the last 20 years. Before he took the helm, there were five directors in five years, ballot boxes floating in the bay and a lack of confidence in city elections. He turned the department around and has instilled confidence that San Francisco elections are accurate and impartial.
All 12 of the managers in Arntz’s department signed a six page letter to the commission outlining his excellent performance and urging his reappointment, but their input was ignored. Arntz received excellent performance reviews from the Elections Commission in 2020 and 2021 for running “one of the best elections in the country”.
So why didn’t the Elections Commission renew Arntz’s contract? Why are they opting to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to run a search for his replacement? Why are they upending one of the few San Francisco government departments that runs smoothly and without scandal?
“Our decision wasn’t about your performance…” reads an email sent from commission president Chris Jerdonek to Arntz.
Sign this petition to let the Elections Commission know that we must demand renewal of the Elections Director’s contract based on excellent performance.
Homeless “Nonprofit” referred to FBI for investigation
The San Francisco Standard reported last week that city controller Ben Laureate wrote to the FBI with concerns about the nonprofit United Council of Human Services (UCHS) because “access to housing was illegally sold to some residents.” A few days later the SF Standard reported that organization was so mismanaged, they actually lost their nonprofit status months ago. UCHS has received about $28 million from the City of San Francisco as a homeless nonprofit.
San Francisco pays nonprofits nearly $1 billion every year for services. But you look around the city and wonder, where did all that money go?
We have no standardized approach to knowing if $1 billion of our tax dollars going to nonprofits every year are being put to good use or are being wasted. A recent audit by the SF Controller revealed that we aren’t measuring the effectiveness of these nonprofits. We are seeing more stories every week of misuse of funds by corrupt organizations.
We must demand fiscal responsibility and accountability so that our tax dollars are being used to solve problems, not lining the pockets of ineffective or corrupt nonprofits. You can help demand accountability by signing our petition.
San Francisco will name its first drag laureate
Applications are now open for San Francisco’s first drag laureate! Kind of makes you wonder what took us so long to have an official ambassador for SF’s beloved drag scene. It’s never too late!
The program, which was unveiled earlier this year, aims to support LGBTQ+ nightlife and entertainment in San Francisco. A vetting committee consists of various city agencies, including the Entertainment Comission and the Office of Transgender Initiatives, as well as people affiliated with the Transgender District, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Castro Cultural District, Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits, and others. The winning artist gets a $55,000 stipend and serves an 18-month term.
Cathenge lights up Hayes Valley in time for the holidays
Artist David Normals’ six “Catoliths” are illuminating Hayes Valley with psychedelic lights and purrs.
The 32nd annual Hayes Valley Holiday Stroll is happening the same night from 4-9 p.m. There will be roaming music, drag queens, games for kids and deals at the local shops. It’s sure to be a great night to kick off the holiday season!
Celebrate San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city. Here’s what makes it great:
Holiday Light roundup in San Francisco
Checkout Datebook’s roundup of the best holiday lights in the Bay Area including these favorites in San Francisco:
Thrive City Winter Wonderland tree lighting - Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.
“Entwined” in Golden Gate Park - beginning Dec. 1 daily from 5-10 p.m.
Let’s Glow SF illuminates downtown - Dec. 2-11 from 5-10 p.m.
Civic Center Plaza Tree Lighting - Dec. 7 from 4-7 p.m.
Glow: Discover the Art of Light at the Exploratorium - Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from noon-5 pm.
Golden Gate Park holiday celebration
Head to Golden Gate Park for the annual tree lighting event and a host of holiday activities and attractions, including a snow play area, carnival rides, kids activities, food trucks, live entertainment and a special appearance by Santa and his helpers. Enjoy public pianos, art installations and newly installed activities along the car-free promenade.
A Charlie Brown Christmas and other great holiday concerts
Did you know the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas was recorded in San Francisco?
Bay Area pianist Adam Shulman returns to perform Vince Guaraldi's beloved soundtrack to Charles Schulz’s 1965 holiday classic, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' at SFJAZZ on Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. It’s a wonderfully entertaining performance!
Datebook highlights other holiday concerts including:
A John Waters Christmas at the Great American Music Hall - Nov. 29 at 8:00 p.m.
Kim Nalley’s Gospel Christmas at Feinstein’s - Dec. 18 at 3:00 p.m.
Acrobats will take your breath away in Dear San Francisco
Dear San Francisco at Club Fugazi will take your breath away! A team of acrobats will take you on a 90 minute Cirque du Soleil-esque joy ride. Bring the whole family! Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays, get tickets here.
Love the GrowSF Report? Share it
Help GrowSF grow! Share our newsletter with your friends. The bigger we are, the better San Francisco will be.
Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:
Union Square is looking festive! It’s a great place to take visiting relatives over the holidays!