The GrowSF Report: Funding for SFPD officers passes, thanks to you!
PLUS: Parents sue SFUSD, demand algebra be taught
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of March 20, 2023:
- Funding for SFPD officers passes, thanks to you!
- Parents sue SFUSD, demand algebra be taught
- Mayor Breed’s plan to help small businesses
- “Tiny homes” offer hope for homeless
- Parents, teachers, officials struggle to deal with rise in youth violence
- What Vietnam’s alleyways can teach the Bay Area about bureaucracy and community
Funding for SFPD officers passes, thanks to you!
The will of the people was heard! Thanks to your emails and phone calls, the Board of Supervisors passed a $25M budget supplemental to fund police overtime by a vote of 9 to 2, with District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton as the dissenters.
Our Police force is woefully understaffed, requiring officers to work additional hours at overtime rates, which is expensive. But the safety of San Francisco residents is at risk, necessitating this additional funding.
Join us March 31 for the New Liberal Conference
GrowSF is cohosting a one-day conference with our friends at the Center for New Liberalism (CNL) on March 31 at the SPUR Urban Center in SoMa.
Join us for two open bar happy hours, lunch, and panels on education politics, housing, public safety, and more!
Parents sue SFUSD, demand algebra be taught
San Francisco Unified School District’s plans for math education just don’t add up, multiplying parents’ frustrations with the district.
The district banned teaching Algebra 1 in 8th grade and removed accelerated math options in middle and high schools. The stated goal was to reduce the equity achievement gap, but data from Stanford University suggests that not only did these changes not help that cause, but they prevented students from pursuing advanced math education.
The study found that there were dramatic delays in algebra 1 and geometry admission. The report found that immediately after the reform, student participation in Advanced Placement math fell 15% in San Francisco public schools.
That’s why parents are now suing the district. While we support the noble goal of eliminating the equity achievement gap, holding students back and preventing them from reaching their potential is not the way. We wish the parents the best of luck in their lawsuit!
Mayor Breed’s plan to help small businesses
In San Francisco, we are often our own worst enemy. Case in point: existing legislation that makes it too difficult for small businesses to open in SF.
We are very excited for Mayor Breed’s proposed legislation to make more than 100 changes to the city’s planning code to allow for (among other things): retail spaces to be used for multiple purposes; professional services to be included in ground floor retail spaces; and a proposal to push supervisors to remove limits on bars and restaurants on commercial strips in their districts.
We hope that our commercial districts will see further renewal, buzzing with new businesses and activity!
“Tiny homes” offer hope for homeless
Sometimes all you need is a change in perspective. In this case, the change is how city and state officials count “tiny homes”: as permanent housing instead of temporary. The goal is to unlock federal subsidies and help move our 5,000+ homeless residents into shelter.
These tiny homes are much cheaper than affordable housing, and are very popular amongst residents, particularly for the privacy and security they offer. The GrowSF office is just a block away from the tiny home village pictured above, and we have nothing but good things to say about it! It’s safe and clean and gets people out of tents.
The first step to reducing homelessness is to get people housed, but that is impossible in a city where a single unit of affordable housing can cost over a million dollars. But these tiny homes only cost about $50k each.
Allowing people to live in safety, privacy and dignity with these tiny homes seems like a great solution all around.
Parents, teachers, officials struggle to deal with rise in youth violence
The kids are not alright! SF has seen a spate of youth violence, including stabbings and confiscated guns at schools, brawls at Stonestown mall, and a host of other incidents. These issues follow a national trend following the pandemic, and educators believe students now lack the ability to self-regulate and build relationships, compared to peers prior to lockdowns.
SFUSD and city leaders have committed to pushing more resources to address the problems “including expanding several programs to prevent school and street violence, increasing mental health support, and boosting law enforcement or other adult intervention on buses and in schools and other hot spots.” We hope it’s enough!
What Vietnam’s alleyways can teach the Bay Area about bureaucracy and community
Ho Chi Minh city’s approach to rules and order seems to be the inverse of San Francisco’s. Instead of top-down, draconian and restrictive bureaucracy like we have in SF, officials in Ho Chi Minh devolve governance down to the neighborhood level, allowing each area within the city to evolve in it’s own way. And if something works well, city officials change policies across the city to allow other neighborhoods to replicate that success.
A key outcome of this devolved control is the creation of and utilization of more public spaces — places where people can mingle and feel connected. The truly public spaces in San Francisco are limited, and even space returned to people, such as slow streets, have heavy restrictions. When it comes to restrictions and control, it might be worth it for San Francisco to finally learn that less is more.
Celebrate San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city. Here’s what makes it great:
The Crane Kings keep the Bay Area moving
San Leandro Towing is California Highway Patrol’s go-to for help when trucks topple on highways, as happened earlier this week on the Bay Bridge. Learn more about this team that has been clearing our roads of traffic-inducing mishaps since 1973!
This week they cleared a big rig that flipped on the Bay Bridge due to wind. Check out the pictures in this article to see how they did it!
Cherry blossoms in bloom
Stop by the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park to catch the cherry blossoms in bloom!
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Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it:
While CNN covered the shift in SF politics, their car got broken in to
Did you enjoy that hurricane?