From Pop-Ups to Bakeries, Job Training Centers and Art Studios, You Might Be Surprised at What’s Not Allowed.

According to a recent study, San Francisco is the hardest city in the United States to run a small business. We see the impact of this in our District 3 neighborhoods, where places like North Beach have a 21% vacancy rate (and this was before the pandemic).

This is a crisis many years in the making and is the result of my opponent’s devotion to highly political approval processes, complex codes, and decisions to carve District 3 out of new uses that would have made it easier for small businesses to open.

After it took our neighborhood association years and over a dozen permits to open a farmers market in North Beach, I knew that something was deeply broken about the way we treat small businesses in San Francisco.

But we have a chance to change this…

How can we keep Union Square vibrant until tourism and retail rebound?

As I’ve been meeting neighbors and small business owners in District 3 neighborhoods like Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, I’ve heard deep concerns and questions about how their neighborhoods, in particular, will survive the coming months and years.

One corner store owner in Nob Hill shared with me this week that his sales are just 20% of what they typically are because of the drop in tourists. A neighbor near Union Square put it simply to me, “Where have all the people gone? When will they come back?”

Many of District 3’s neighborhoods, from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Financial District, are heavily dependent upon tourism and retail. These neighborhoods normalcy all depend on industries that are impacted in this pandemic, from tourism to commercial office tenants to retail. …

It’s been nearly 100 days, and yet, San Francisco’s densest set of neighborhoods still does not have a single Slow Street.

Slow Streets are SFMTA’s response to COVID-19 to make more room for essential workers to travel, families and children to play, and neighbors to practice social distancing as they walk in crowded corridors.

Across the city, other neighborhoods have experienced Slow Streets, but our current leadership hasn’t fought for the same experience. This means our neighbors in Chinatown, Nob Hill, and North Beach have been left out.

We set out to change this by creating our own Pop-Up Slow…

By now, it’s reasonable to have low expectations of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors when it comes to public transit. The examples are too clear, and the list too long: a Central Subway that will be finished years late, the lack of a true network of protected bike lanes, and a collection of buses that crawl along at just 8mph.

But those choices were limited to our 7x7, and we saw their impact only on our own clogged downtown stress and slow transit lines. …

What a reimagination of law enforcement and community investment can look like in San Francisco.

In the weeks since the killing of George Floyd, San Francisco has shown both incredible compassion and strength. Compassion to grieve together, and strength to lift one another up.

We’ve marched. We’ve protested. And now, we turn towards reimagination. Of what it takes to keep our communities safe, what our engagement with law enforcement has been, and what it should be.

50+ days after the concept was introduced, District 3 finally has a “Slow Street.”

I stopped by this week to check things out at Stockton & Lombard.

It’s on a hill.

It’s 3 blocks long.

It had cars flying by.

The densest neighborhoods in San Francisco deserve a whole lot more. We’ve seen other neighborhoods come alive with Slow Streets by allowing for more open space for families, space for essential workers to travel, and social distancing to support nearby businesses.

Almost 300 of you supported our call almost three months ago for a network of Slow Streets within…

On Monday, I knelt with thousands of others at City Hall in San Francisco to call for action and real change in light of the turmoil and terror that the last week has brought.

My heart breaks for George Floyd, his family, and the entire African American community that has yet again experienced injustice at the hands of law enforcement. My heart is with all of you, regardless of race, who grieve with our African American Brothers and Sisters.

As a white male who has been surrounded by privilege my entire life, I know I need to listen more than…

We’re hearing lots of calls for a return to normal in San Francisco.

Count me out. There’s nothing normal about:

  • a homeless shelter wait list of 1,000+
  • a storefront vacancy rate of 18%
  • a 1-BR rent of $3,600

Let’s not go back to normal. Instead, let’s drive our City forward and do the things that it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for us to do.

This means reshaping our streets to prioritize people over private vehicles.

This means removing bureaucratic hurdles that bog small businesses down.

This means allowing and incentivizing housing that our families and workforce can live in.

A scene from SOMA Street Food Park last year. We can turn blacktop spaces like this into outdoor dining, as long as proper social distancing and health procedures are in place.

When it is safe again for restaurants and cafes to open for sit-down service in San Francisco, the reality is that they will likely be limited to 25% to 50% of their prior capacity.

This is the right decision for the safety of the staff and patrons, but it also limits the business a restaurant can do on a given day. If they can’t make more room inside, they’ll need to make up for the revenue gap somehow. One answer? Using the space outside their restaurants.

Parking spaces can be converted to service areas quickly. …

Polk Street in San Francisco’s Russian Hill Neighborhood

Over the past few months, I’ve been in touch with countless small businesses as our campaign for Supervisor has shifted its energy to helping neighbors during the pandemic. From learning how to apply for PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), access ever-evolving City grants, or adapt to the latest technology to offer new services, there’s no shortage of ways small businesses need our support.

During this time, I’ve been struck by the disconnect between what some businesses are aware of versus others. Many still don’t know about programs and resources available to them that could significantly improve their chances of survival. …

Danny Sauter

Running for District 3 Supervisor in San Francisco. Renter, non-profit director, and community organizer. Follow me: @DannySauter

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