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Friday News Roundup: In-N-Out backlash and Tragedy at the Chase Center

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Hey there, San Francisco. 

My name is Nick Bastone, and I’m a reporter here in the city. Earlier this year, I started a newsletter called The SF Minute. The idea is to provide a quick, easy-to-read recap of our city’s news each Monday through Friday. You can subscribe (for free!) to that newsletter here

Recently, though, Stuart and I thought it would be fun/helpful to turn those daily news recaps into a weekly one for Broke-Ass Stuart readers. So that summary is what you’ll read below. I hope you enjoy it! And thanks so much for having me. 

In-N-Out backlash grows 

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San Francisco’s Public Health Department shut down the city’s lone In-N-Out late last week for the burger joint’s failure to properly check Covid vaccination cards at the door. The Fisherman Wharf location has since reopened, but indoor seating remains unavailable. 

And, In-N-Out doesn’t seem like it’ll comply with the city’s mandate any time soon. This week, the company’s chief legal and business officer told Kron 4 News: “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government.” 

Those comments set off a flurry of backlash against In-N-Out from publications across the city. “They don’t care about their workers, and they don’t care about you,” Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho wrote in her column on Wednesday.

Examiner opinion editor Gil Duran called on the company to “cease the anti-virtue signaling on vaccination [and] stick to making burgers.” 

More to come on the In-N-Out saga, I’m sure. 

Japantown hotel won’t be used to house the homeless after all 

The 131-room Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown will not turn into housing for the homeless “after the owner backed out of selling the property to the city amid fierce neighborhood backlash,” the Chronicle’s Trisha Thadani reported on Tuesday. Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, told the Chronicle: “For unhoused people…it’s a big loss.” 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors did approve the purchase of the Panoramic apartment building in SoMa and the Eula Hotel in the Mission, which will add 185 new permanent supportive housing units to the city’s portfolio. 

In total, Mayor Breed said this week that the city has purchased or leased 714 permanent supportive housing units since July 2020 as a part of her Homelessness Recovery Plan. The goal is 1,500 units by July 2022. 

Chase Center tragedy 

Two people at the Phish concert on Sunday night fell from the upper level at the Chase Center. One person died, while the other was seriously injured. 

The SFPD told KQED that they believe the deceased concert-goer may have jumped intentionally. But, they believe the second person fell accidentally.

On Thursday, after receiving a complaint regarding “unsafe” guardrails at the venue, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection conducted a site audit. A spokesperson for the department, however, said they had “found the area under investigation to be fully code-compliant.” 

Vaccine deadline for city workers approaches

Ahead of a November 1 deadline for San Francisco employees to provide proof of vaccination, Mayor Breed said Tuesday that 96% of the city’s staff have been fully vaccinated. Still, given the unknown status of some 120 transit operators, SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin said riders could experience “additional unexpected gaps in service and lower-than-scheduled frequencies” on Muni starting Halloween weekend.

Geary transit project deemed an early success

On Wednesday, Mayor Breed and other city officials gathered to celebrate the completion of the Geary Rapid Project, which finished on budget and on time and included various improvements along the corridor for pedestrians and public transit services. 

One such upgrade, the red-painted, public-transit only lanes, has “resulted in a 20% boost in reliability and travel times for Muni’s 38-Geary and 38R-Geary Rapid lines, making them among the service’s fastest and most reliable,” the Chronicle’s Richard Cano reports

School board recall election confirmed for February

The SF Department of Elections confirmed on Monday that the recall effort against three school board members—Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga—collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. A special election is scheduled for Feb. 15, 2022.

SFSU offers free tuition to vaccinated teens 

San Francisco State University is offering four years of free tuition to ten local students between the ages of 12 and 17 who get the Covid-19 vaccine. Eligible students can apply at designated vaccination sites across the city starting on October 25.

18 arrested in “mid-level” drug ring bust 

On Tuesday, the SFPD said it arrested 18 people allegedly involved in a “mid-level” drug ring that operated between the East Bay and San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Authorities seized 17 pounds of drugs, including 12.5 pounds of fentanyl.

And finally… Souvla goes plant-based 

For the first time since opening its Hayes Valley location in 2014, Souvla has made a menu addition. On Wednesday, the local Greek chain started offering plant-based lamb on its sandwiches and salads made by Dogpatch-based Black Sheep Foods.

FWIW, I tasted the plant-based lamb on a Souvla salad this week and thought it was awesome

Alright, that’s all for this week. Thanks y’all for reading and again, if you want to receive these quick news updates daily, I’d love for you to subscribe to The SF Minute. Otherwise, have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here next Friday! – Nick B. 

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Nick Bastone

Nick Bastone

Nick Bastone is the founder of the San Francisco-based newsletter, The SF Minute. Previously, he worked as a tech reporter for The Information and Business Insider.

2 Comments

  1. Ashton
    October 22, 2021 at 6:44 pm — Reply

    IN-N-OUT is within their rights to serve anyone. This is tyranny. I wouldn’t call it a backlash. Shame on San Francisco.

    • October 26, 2021 at 2:43 pm — Reply

      Yes… such “tyranny” to try and stop a worldwide pandemic that’s already killed millions of people and left hundreds-of-thousands more with “long COVID” illness.

      Yes, truly the billionaire burger company is the victim here.

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