The Grow SF Report, Vol. 8

What You Need To Know

The latest updates on SF government progress, policies, and priorities:

The SF Library is Back

The San Francisco Public Library reopened this past Monday, May 3, an important milestone in the march toward a return to normalcy in our city. The Chronicle published the heartwarming story of 70-year-old Russell Lewis, the first person in line at the library’s reopening. When asked how much he’d missed the library, Lewis said, “It would be like asking, ‘How much do you miss your hand?’” Read the full story here.

A Primer on Homelessness in SF

Homelessness is arguably the most pressing, near-term challenge our city is facing, but few of us really understand the circumstances that lead people to homelessness. Our very own Steven Buss, Google engineer turned full-time activist, has published a great essay dissecting the homelessness problem in San Francisco. It’s an uncomplicated explanation of a complicated issue and a great primer for anyone who wants to learn more about how they can help us solve this very important issue.

A Closer Look at SF’s Discretionary Review Process

A few weeks ago, entrepreneur Jason Yu made waves when he spoke to the Chronicle about the bureaucracy that prevented him from opening his dessert shop even after 22 months and $200,000. A significant portion of the delays Yu faced can be attributed to the actions of nearby ice cream shop Garden Creamery and a convoluted part of the permitting process known as discretionary review. Read the full story here.

Update: SF COVID-19 Vaccinations

San Francisco continues to quickly distribute the vaccine. Here’s the latest:

Your Action Plan

Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:

Grow SF Town Hall: How San Francisco Beat COVID

When: Thursday, May 6 at 5 PM
Where: Clubhouse

Join Grow SF’s Bilal Mahmood, Joel Engardio, and Steven Buss in a conversation with Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management. Hear how her team managed the COVID crisis, reduced infection rates, and managed vaccine distribution in SF.

Subscribe to our Podcast

Never miss another Grow SF Town Hall by subscribing to our new podcast. We’re making available complete recordings of these important and enlightening conversations with our city’s leaders. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Help Us Save Outdoor Dining

Grow SF, together with Streets for People and other groups who like to have fun, are fighting to make outdoor dining (the Shared Spaces program) permanent.

Making the program permanent will help our restaurants and bars get back on their feet, create thousands of jobs, and generate tax revenue for the city. Outdoor dining will also attract tourists who will support all businesses in the city.

Sign Our Petition

Want to help? Fill out our volunteer form.

Recall the School Board

The movement to recall the SF School Board is in full swing. Signatures must be pen on paper (online doesn’t count). Download a petition here to print, sign, and mail. Or come to the drive-thru signing this Sunday.

Click here to read the full case for the board recall.

Drive-Thru Petition Signing: Mother’s Day Edition

Date: Sunday, May 9
Time: 11am to 1pm
Place: Lowell High School, 1101 Eucalyptus Drive

Get your mom what she really wants this Mother’s Day — your name on a school board recall petition. Fill your car with family members and swing by on the way to your Mother's Day activity. Walk-ups and bikes are also welcome.

Check Out Better Public Schools

Amid this important effort to recall these corrupted School Board members, it can be easy to lose sight of the work we must do on the institution itself. We need real, structural changes to ensure our schools are run by people who care about educating our kids and not bolstering their political resume. To learn more about how we can change our system for the long term, check out Better Public Schools.

Fun in SF

Check out some of our favorite fun activities happening in SF right now:

Dim Sum & Drawing in The Richmond

When: Saturday, May 8
Where: These locations in The Richmond:

  • Gourmet Dim Sum (8th and Clement)

  • Clement BBQ (bt 7th and 8th)

  • Good Luck Dim Sum (across from New May Wah and Steins bt 8th and 9th)

  • Wing Lee Bakery (across from Green Apple bt 6th and 7th)

Alamo Drafthouse Returns July 23

Your eyes do not deceive you! Alamo Drafthouse is set to reopen its gourmet food and dining movie theater on July 23. The Chronicle has the full story here.

Check Out the Bay Area Book Festival

Since 2015, Bay Area Book Festival has featured the boldest and most brilliant literary voices in conversations about issues that matter, with a focus on justice and diversity. It’s a world-class literary extravaganza taking place each year over two days in Downtown Berkeley. All of its programming—250-300 authors on 15 stages—is accessible with one $15 pass, and the Outdoor Fair, a wonderland of literary vendors, kids’ activities, and family fun, is totally free.

This year’s Book Festival kicked off last weekend in downtown Berkely and will continue through Sunday, May 9. Check it out!

Topical Tweets

Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:

The incredible sight (and sounds) of people cheering as they enter the library for the first time in over a year

Golden Gate Park has continuously evolved to better serve residents in San Francisco. Let’s not stop.

People are returning to the city and rent prices are starting to creep back up, but it’s not too late to snag a great deal