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Monday News Roundup: Election results, CA Approaches Endemic

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As of Wednesday, fully vaccinated San Francisco residents are not required to wear masks in most indoor spaces.

Hey San Francisco, and happy Presidents’ Day.

I finally got out to see the Magnificent Magnolias at the Botanical Garden on Saturday. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a visit. If you get your tickets online ahead of time (they’re free for SF residents), you can bypass the line at the gate and head straight for the magnolias.

With the sunshine on Saturday, the in-person Chinese Lunar New Year parade, COVID restrictions loosening, and free cable car rides, it felt like the city was more alive than it’s been in a long time. It was a great weekend for being out and about in SF.

Ok, let’s get to last week’s news.

School board members ousted by voters

Just minutes after the city released initial numbers for the school board recall and wide margins were evident, the Chronicle projected that board members Alison Collins, Gabriela Lopez, and Faauuga Moliga would be ousted.

And, by the end of the night, the landslide remained.

  • 78.5% voted to recall Alison Collins
  • 74.9% voted to recall Gabriela Lopez
  • And, 72% voted to recall Faauuga Moliga

As one person put it: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen 80% of San Franciscans agree on anything until now. Wow.”

On Twitter, some, many of whom live outside of the city, characterized the recall results as “the product of pent up frustration among voters with COVID rules and other measures born of the city’s liberal-leaning policies,” the Chronicle wrote.

Others opposed those takes.

“Are people outside the Bay Area seriously hearing a ‘Even liberal San Francisco is done with these COVID precautions’ spin from the school-board recall?” local tech editor Jeremy Owens wrote. “Because that is seriously not what this recall was about – it is very much about THAT board being bad at its ENTIRE job.”

Either way, Collins, Lopez, and Moliga will officially leave their posts sometime in early March, and they will be replaced by three board members appointed by Mayor London Breed.

  • Those appointees will need to run in the upcoming November election should they want to keep their positions past January 2023, when the terms for the three recalled board members were set to expire.

Breed said on Wednesday that she hasn’t started interviewing replacement candidates. She did say that in the coming months, “the school district has a lot of work to do.”

Haney and Campos move on

Perhaps overshadowed by the school board recall was the race to fill the State Assembly seat for District 17, which encompasses the eastern side of the city.

In that election:

  • Matt Haney received 37.4% of the vote
  • David Campos received 35.5%
  • Bilal Mahmood, 21.2%
  • And, Thea Selby, 6%

Since no candidate received at least 50% of the vote, a runoff election will now take place on April 19 between the top two vote-getters, Haney and Campos.

“I believe that when the votes are cast on April 19, the voters of the 17th assembly district will say we want someone who is beholden to the voters and not the corporations,” Campos told supporters at the Eagle Bar on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Haney said he congratulated Mahmood and Selby on their “strong campaigns.”

“They both brought a focus on policy solutions and big ideas,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to learn from them, work together and partner closely.”

California approaches COVID endemic status

As of Wednesday, fully vaccinated San Francisco residents are not required to wear masks in most indoor spaces. Businesses can still require masking, and from the looks of it, many still are. According to KRON, the city’s K-12 schools will still require masks in the classroom until at least February 28, when officials say they’ll reassess the policy.

On the heels of the new San Francisco policy, state officials announced on Thursday that COVID is approaching endemic status in California. As UCSF’s Dr. Bob Wachter told ABC7 a few weeks ago, this means that COVID “​​is not dominating people’s lives. People can begin letting down their guard and doing some things they haven’t done before.” The seasonal flu is an example of an endemic illness, according to the SF Standard.

The state also published a new COVID response plan called SMARTER which is “designed to make California more flexible as case rates and hospitalizations fluctuate with future variants,” the Standard also said.

Here’s what else happened last week…

  • 🔫 On Tuesday afternoon, a parking lot shooting at the Market Street Safeway left two people injured. One of them was an 85-year-old woman who was dining across the street inside Woodhouse Fish Co., SFGATE reports. Restaurant owner Dylan MacNiven said it’s unclear if the woman sustained injuries from the broken window glass or if “the bullet actually grazed her.” (SFGATE)
  • 😔 Authorities accessed unsent text messages from the local family that mysteriously died last August while hiking in Mariposa County. “No water or ver (over) heating with baby,” a final text read. (SFist)
  • 🥇 SF native skier Eileen Gu won two more medals for China at the Beijing Olympics last week. (AP)
  • 🚶 San Francisco’s State Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced legislation on Wednesday that would decriminalize jaywalking in California. (NBC Bay Area)
  • 💊 In addition to the five San Francisco store closures Walgreens announced last year, the company will close two downtown locations (at 88 Spear St. and 141 Kearny St.) by the end of February. (Chronicle)
  • 🍺 After an eight-year run, Magnolia is closing its Dogpatch brewpub, the company announced on Monday. Magnolia will “refocus [its] attention” on its original, Haight Street location, they said. (Eater)
  • 🎸 San Francisco’s Small Business Commission has granted legacy status to Hyde Street Studios, the Tenderloin District recording and production studio that’s hosted musical legends like the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Green Day, and more. (Chronicle / Hoodline)
  • 🛣 A San Francisco judge recently ruled that the city, not the courts, should decide whether to fully reopen the Great Highway to car traffic. Still, the Board of Supervisors is not expected to decide on the matter until 2023. (Chronicle)

That’s all for this week’s update. I’ll see you back here next week for more news. And remember, if you want quick, local news bits like this delivered right to you each weekday, click here to sign up for The SF Minute. It’s free!

– Natalie

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Natalie Mead

Natalie Mead

Natalie began her career at a tech company, but she has since seen the light and absconded with enough free t-shirts to last a lifetime. Now, she writes for The SF Minute and a smattering of other local news outlets.

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