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Politics & Policy

Supes in 2 mins: Street vending, housing the homeless, perks for SF residents at Golden Gate Park

A piece of legislation stemming from Mayor London Breed’s crackdown on crime in the Tenderloin is up for consideration at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, as is a nearly $55 million state grant for a permanent supportive housing facility in the SoMa. Also, supervisors are expected to vote on whether to allow San Francisco residents free access to the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers. (As always, if you’re looking for the full kit and caboodle, check out the meeting’s full agenda.)

Street Vendor Regulation

During a string of press conferences in December, Mayor Breed announced a public safety emergency in the Tenderloin. Breed’s plan aimed to dismantle fencing operations—the act of selling stolen goods in public spaces. However, Supervisor Hillary Ronen pushed back on the legislation in late February, arguing for educational outreach, increased permit accessibility and stipulations that avoid penalizing the sale of used goods.   

The newly amended legislation, if passed by the full board Tuesday, would shift the responsibilities of enforcing the law from police to the Department of Public Works. It would also waive fees for the first year a vendor holds a permit.  

A recent report by the board’s Budget & Legislative Analyst estimated the  Department of Public Works would need 13.8 new full-time employees—at an annual cost of more than $2.15 million in salaries and benefits—to carry out enforcement. While the report states that “sidewalk vending is unregulated in most areas of the city,” many vendors have complained of paying for SFPD permits that were never enforced. The new legislation proposes a $250 fine for first-time violations, $500 for a second violation and $1,000 for every subsequent violation within a year of someone selling goods without a permit.  

Panoramic Hotel Acquisition 

Supervisors are set to vote on whether to acquire the Panoramic Hotel at 1321 Mission St. in order to provide permanent housing to homeless residents. The acquisition faced community pushback in September, as residents of the surrounding South of Market neighborhood complained about a potential uptick in crime and a lack of rehabilitation services. If approved by the full board, the property would open by March 21 with the potential of housing up to 200 people. The city is tapping into $54.8 million worth of state funds from Project Homekey to complete the hotel’s purchase.  

Free Access to Flowers

Supervisors will discuss whether to eliminate admission costs for San Francisco residents and non-resident veterans who visit Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of Flowers. The Budget & Legislative Analyst predicts that the waivers will cause a $571,385 revenue loss but could be nullified by a $1 increase in prices for non-residents. Admission prices for the park attractions go toward the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens.  

David Sjostedt can be reached at