This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hold a pivotal vote in the ongoing saga over the Castro Theatre. The board will also vote to approve a labor agreement with the city’s firefighters and urge a name change for one of Golden Gate Park’s more charming attractions.
Apart from regular business, supervisors may also address the closely-watched Banko Brown case: Board President Aaron Peskin said Monday that he'll be introducing a resolution urging the California Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice to review the evidence after District Attorney Brooke Jenkins reaffirmed her initial decision not to charge Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, a Walgreens security guard who fatally shot Brown last month.
Later in the week, the board’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold multiple hearings on some of the city’s hot-button topics, ranging from police overtime to the political antics of one of San Francisco’s most influential affordable housing operators.
As always, the wonks can sift thoroughly through the details in this week’s agenda.
On Tuesday, a pivotal vote on the future of the Castro Theatre will likely dominate the board’s regular agenda.
At issue is one in a number of planned changes to the landmark status and zoning uses of the legendary cinema—in this case, what changes the operator Another Planet Entertainment can make to the main level. Another Planet is seeking to modify the floor to accommodate uses other than film screenings.
The commission approved the proposed changes. But Board President Aaron Peskin and District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, both members of the land use committee, amended the plan to mandate fixed seating and sent it to the full board. Peskin also has a beef with Another Planet over promised renovations to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium that reportedly haven’t materialized.
Committee chair and District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar opposed the amendment, and the Castro’s home supervisor, Rafael Mandelman, isn’t a fan either. He’s announced that he will offer amendments to change the legislation back.
“It has been my hope all along to find a resolution that [...] activates the Theater as much as possible, contributes to the neighborhood economy and allows for much-needed and long-deferred investments in the building,” said Mandelman in a statement.
Given the number of people who have been organized over this issue, the Castro Theatre discussion will likely take up most of the board’s time on Tuesday. The vote on the matter will also be close. Hopefully, there will be an intermission, but you’ll have to bring your own popcorn.
And in case you thought this was the end of the Castro Theatre saga, there’s almost certain to be sequels. The Planning and Historic Preservation Commissions are holding a joint meeting Thursday to discuss more changes to the theater, including zoning changes to allow nighttime entertainment and bar uses on the first and second floors. Stay tuned.
The board is also set to approve new labor agreements for the city’s firefighters Tuesday. The agreement includes wage increases of 10.75% over three years, retention and holiday premiums, and a pilot program for emergency childcare reimbursement for those working mandatory overtime.
The agreements were recommended unanimously by the board’s oversight committee on May 4, despite concerns over yet another major department relying on mandatory overtime to provide full service. During public comment, firefighters testified to retention and staffing issues.
Another notable vote Tuesday is a long-percolating resolution urging the Recreation and Park Department to come up with a new name for Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.
The lake’s namesake, 19th century Assemblymember William Stow, was a virulent antisemite who actually proposed a “Jew Tax” designed to bankrupt Jewish-owned businesses.
Wonks who are tired of the Castro Theatre drama might wish to save their SFGovTV viewing for this Thursday’s meeting of the Government Audit and Oversight Committee, which will feature several blockbuster hearings:
No word on what the reviews will be, but there’s definitely something for everyone here.
Mike Ege can be reached at email@example.com