Ignoring ‘quality of life’ fines can lead to warrants, jail
San Francisco is an expensive place to find an apartment, sure. But it can also be a costly place to live outside. Police served homeless people in the city with almost 40,000 citations over a five-year period, according to records compiled by the city agency that provides homeless services.
With the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market gearing up across the street at 8:30 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, six elderly Asian women line up their wares across the front of the Grant Building and entreat pedestrians, calling softly: “Buy. You buy.” Canned Bartlett pears, bagged carrots and onions, boxes of Land O’ Lakes American cheese, packages of whole-wheat bagels, jars of Algood peanut butter, dried beans, sesame crackers and squat cans of evaporated milk were neatly displayed at their feet, along with grape juice and orange juice in plastic liters — clearly food obtained from community agencies’ free distribution programs.
San Francisco’s current crop of leaders ran for office on a platform of deploying city resources to encourage private-sector job growth — which in this famously liberal city is seen as about as conservative as an elected official can get. But last week a task force convened by Mayor Ed Lee and four members of the Board of Supervisors opened an opportunity to expand the meaning of the pro-business moniker to a new crop of startup, do-gooder social enterprises that enable small-scale, peer-to-peer economic activity and resource sharing.
The Quesada Gardens Initiative, which has helped green and revitalize one of San Francisco’s most economically neglected neighborhoods, is struggling to survive as funding is running dry. Formed in 2002 as a community-building effort by Bayview residents, it has gone on to transform portions of the community, spreading through vacant lots, backyards and community spaces. It has also begun to produce significant quantities of food for a neighborhood where the available of healthy options is limited.
It’s been almost five years since San Francisco launched its innovative, universal health plan — Healthy San Francisco — and last night a panel of public health experts and care providers gathered at the Tenderloin’s Glide Foundation to provide a snapshot of how the program is faring. The panel was co-sponsored by the San Francisco Public Press (which produced a team reporting project on Healthy San Francisco in the Winter print edition and online), Glide and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
The San Francisco Human Services Agency has won a state grant to refurbish a building next to the United Council of Homeless Services, a community-based organization, that could offer overnight shelter to 100 people a night by early next year.
Public Press writer Rick Jurgens reported on San Francisco's payday loan industry in our Winter 2011 print edition. He found that large corporations like Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse are among the biggest backers of these profitable low-finance firms. A subsequent whirl around the world of social media has revealed that payday loans are a fact of financial life for many, and some alternatives do exist.
A proposal to regulate two popular Castro District hangouts by restricting chairs and shopping carts is a step closer to becoming city law. The Board of Supervisors will decide Tuesday on an ordinance, which passed the Land Use Committee this week, that would ban nighttime sitting, sleeping, vending, smoking and even pushing a shopping cart in Harvey Milk and Jane Warner Plazas.
A medley of people wait for the San Francisco Public Library to open in the morning. Students on a deadline. People who really need a library book. Retired folks. And people checking email. As the doors open, patrons stream into the atrium at the main branch near the Civic Center in downtown San Francisco. Some head to their favorite reading nook; others to computers to start surfing the Web.
Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.
A campaign to get a new measure on the November ballot that would increase penalties against human traffickers in California launched Wednesday in San Francisco. The campaign, announced on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, requires 800,000 signatures to make it into the state ballot. The California Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act would increase prison terms and fines for human traffickers (up to $1.5 million, which would go to fund victim services), remove barriers to prosecute child sex traffickers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders and disclose their Internet accounts, mandate training for law enforcement officers, and prohibit the use of the sexual history of trafficked victims in court.