An open letter to Supervisor Mandelman

Dear Supervisor Mandelman,

I was very disheartened today to read that Flying Falafel at 463 Castro faces new permitting woes. After narrowly escaping the DR process, the owner, Assaf, lost hope in getting permitted as a restaurant, so he changed business models to be a coworking space. However, a neighbor complained to the Planning department, who determined that the new business model is an entertainment use. Legalizing that would require going BACK to PlanCom to get a CU. As a pro-small business activist who organized supporters for Assaf’s Planning Commission hearing, it is both sad and infuriating that his business…

The ordeal of a falafel shop encapsulates everything wrong with San Francisco’s permitting process

San Francisco has a major problem with retail vacancy, a result of a regulatory thicket of oddly specific zoning requirements, terrible Prop 13-induced incentives for commercial landlords, and difficulty finding staff who can afford the extreme rent. Vacancies harm neighborhoods through a deader street life and fewer public spaces for neighbors to come together, and can have a knock-on effect on other businesses as poorly maintained street fronts drive away potential customers.

You might think that in light of this, the city would be rolling out the red carpet when a business wants to open in a vacant storefront. Unfortunately…

The most important election you’ve never heard of

TL;DR: ADEM is the most important vote you’ve never heard of. ADEM chooses who the Democratic party endorses, which is worth around 16% in an election. Turnout for ADEM is usually in the hundreds, so your vote will have more impact than any other vote you’ve ever cast. Come vote for pro-housing candidates! If you live on the east side of San Francisco (Assembly District 17), vote the “United Resistance” slate on Saturday January 12 at the Women’s Building. …

Dana Beuschel

data scientist and advocate for more homes and less dysfunction

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