Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a key source for water in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

SF Water Use Efficient, but State Restrictions Would be Challenging, Official Says

San Francisco’s residential water use is among the lowest among large cities in California, said Steven Ritchie, assistant general manager for water for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Ritchie joined “Civic” to explain how the city sources and uses its water, and why it is fighting state restrictions on the use of Tuolumne River water.

Sara Eisenberg deputy city attorney

City Attorney to SF School District: Show Us Reopening Plan Details

After more than a year of online learning, certain groups of students and staff at some San Francisco schools began meeting in person in mid-April. For tens of thousands of students, distance learning continues. The school board and district intend to give every student the option of coming back full time in the fall. But the lawsuit that City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed against the district and board in February to compel them to reopen schools promptly is ongoing even as more students return to campuses. Sara Eisenberg, a deputy city attorney and chief of strategic advocacy in the city attorney’s office, said on “Civic” that the city attorney’s office is continuing the case to ensure that the district actually follows through on its promise.

Courtesy of Free Burma Action Committee.

S.F. Organizer Sees Repetition of Brutal History in Myanmar Military Coup

When Ko Ko Lay has managed to speak to his 86-year-old mother living in Myanmar under a military regime, she has told him she cannot sleep through the night. Like many civilians, she fears armed nighttime raids. “They are so worried about one day some security forces will come and will break through their door, and and they’re going to torture, and they’re going to kill,” Lay said. 

On Feb. 1, after a democratic election, Myanmar military forces seized control of the government and declared a year-long state of emergency. Civilians have been protesting that takeover, and the military has responded with deadly use of force, killing hundreds, including at least 40 children.

Protesters hold a sign listing demands, in English and Spanish, regarding San Francisco's rent assistance program.

Nonprofit Obstructing Rent Aid for Thousands of San Franciscans

A local group that worked with San Francisco on a public program to allocate rental relief funds is keeping a list of thousands of applicants from city staff, an official confirmed Friday. That has made it impossible to follow up with the applicants and give them additional help.

Q Foundation created the web application tool for rent assistance through San Francisco’s Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Several street-level apartments, some boarded up, are shown. San Francisco officials have agreed to loan the developer and property manager of the Plaza East housing complex $2.7 million for repairs.

City Approves $2.7 Million Loan to Private Developer to Start Repairs at Plaza East

San Francisco officials have agreed to lend a private developer $2.7 million to make repairs at a public housing complex in the Western Addition.

Last week, the Citywide Affordable Housing Loan Committee, part of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, approved the loan to McCormack Baron Salazar, which owns and manages Plaza East Apartments. For years, residents have lived with leaking pipes, pest infestations and electrical fires.

San Francisco’s Supervisorial Districts Will Be Redrawn

Redistricting, the process by which electoral districts are drawn, will happen locally as well as at the state and federal levels. San Francisco will use census and resident input to redraw its supervisorial districts, a process that begins this year and will likely carry on into 2022. Alison Goh, president of the League of Women Voters of San Francisco, explained to “Civic” how the process will work and outlined the transparency and outreach the League wants to see from the city.

Shireen McSpadden, Noelle Simmons, and Cynthia Nagendra, new leaders of San Francisco's homelessness agency.

Multiple Challenges Confront New Leaders at SF Homelessness Department

The selection of Shireen McSpadden to lead the city’s homelessness department is being greeted optimistically by officials who have dealt extensively with San Francisco’s chronic inability to find shelter for all its residents.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Joe Wilson, a prominent advocate for homeless people, said they were encouraged by the choice of McSpadden, who is set to take over May 1 — becoming the fourth person to hold the role in 14 months.

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing was founded in 2016 by former Mayor Ed Lee, who consolidated programs that had been scattered throughout different departments and brought them all under one roof with the promise of ending homelessness for 8,000 San Franciscans in four years.

Cynthia Choi

To Stop Asian Hate, Invest in Prevention, Victim Support, Advocate Says

Nearly 4,000 incidents of anti-Asian attacks — including verbal and physical assaults — were reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a national tracking project launched by a coalition of activist groups last year, as of late February 2021. Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, one of the founding partners of Stop AAPI Hate, reflected on the increase in attacks with “Civic.”