Six months after San Francisco agreed to lend the developer of a run-down Western Addition public housing complex $2.7 million for emergency repairs, the work is behind schedule and many residents at Plaza East Apartments say their units remain damaged by mold, leaks and pest infestations — even after repairs were done.
As eyes across the nation turn to Derek Chauvin’s scheduled sentencing June 25, many prisoners have little faith that his verdict will be upheld by higher courts.
Even if he is sentenced to prison, they fear his incarceration could both quell the recent uprising and have little impact on the nation’s larger systemic problem of police brutality.
Charging decisions are made by district attorneys, so “Civic” spoke with San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin about recent cases in which local law enforcement officers have killed people and why he did or did not bring criminal charges against those officers.
Non Plus Ultra, an event company that leases the Palace of Fine Arts, Pier 70, and the Old Mint, is under fire from employees who allege it filed fraudulent unemployment claims, harassed and bullied staff, and fired them when they confronted leadership, according to a lawsuit filed March 1 in San Francisco Superior Court.
After an eight-month pause, court-ordered evictions in San Francisco have resumed, and they’re coming down hardest on some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. The Sheriff’s Department has conducted evictions at 33 addresses across the city since November 2020, according to documents obtained through a California Public Records Act request. More than half — 18 — involved tenants in permanent supportive housing.
Landlords have tried to force hundreds of San Francisco renters from their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, landlords filed close to half the number of eviction notices as in the same period a year earlier, even as state and federal moratoriums on pandemic-related evictions remain in effect.
Nearly four dozen groups announced Wednesday their opposition to San Francisco’s efforts to combat rampant drug dealing in the Tenderloin by using injunctions to increase penalties for dealers.
On Wednesday morning, a coalition of 45 organizations, including the public defender’s office, homeless advocates, immigration rights groups, drug policy organizations and youth-based nonprofits, held a press conference to express their opposition to the strategy. In a Dec. 3 letter to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, they said the injunctions are “draconian and wasteful,” and do little to address concerns around drug dealing and overdoses.
San Francisco’s office of the public defender has a unit dedicated to defending immigrants in court. In most states, they often have no representation because there is no right to counsel in immigration cases. Francisco Ugarte, managing attorney of this unit, talked with “Civic” about how handoffs between agencies work and what happens to someone who is arrested by immigration enforcement in San Francisco, as well as a class action suit the unit helped litigate over COVID-19 outbreaks in detention facilities.
Identifying clear guidelines for the level of exposure to glyphosate that could cause cancer or other illness is a contentious business. Monsanto owner Bayer denies glyphosate, the active ingredient in weedkiller Roundup, is a carcinogen. The European Union and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency back that view. That’s despite a finding from the World Health Organization in 2015 that glyphosate probably is a human carcinogen.
When San Franciscans hike up Twin Peaks or stroll through Glen Canyon Park, they could be exposing themselves to an herbicide that some studies have linked to cancer. But thanks to growing concerns about public health and liability, their risks are substantially lower than they were five years ago, when the city used 20 times as much of the chemical.
That chemical is glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling weedkiller, Roundup. Monsanto owner Bayer agreed in June to a settlement of more than $10 billion with plaintiffs in thousands of pending lawsuits over claims Roundup caused cancer.
As legal victories against the company pile up, Bay Area cities have faced a tough choice — keep using a chemical that evidence increasingly shows is dangerous and exposes them to the legal liability it entails or switch to other, often less effective methods. San Francisco has limited its risk through a strategy known as integrated pest management and its move to scale back dramatically on glyphosate since 2015.
San Francisco will soon spend previously unthinkable sums on the fight against homelessness. The massive influx of cash — nearly $600 million over the next year collected thanks to a voter initiative, combined with hundreds of millions of dollars in expenditures by the homelessness department — could be a game changer.