News from San Francisco and around the Bay for Monday, November 9

Police Seeking Woman Who Allegedly Threw Burning Pants Into Store

Police are seeking a woman who walked into a store in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood early Thursday morning and nearly started a fire.

Around 2:05 a.m., police received a call reporting an arson happening at a store in the 300 block of Golden Gate Avenue, according to police. Officers learned the woman walked into the store and ordered food. The woman then refused to pay for the food and left, police said. The woman then returned to the store, apparently carrying a pair of pants that were on fire, according to police. The woman threw the fiery pants onto the floor before leaving the scene, police said. The suspect is described as a black woman believed to be around 24  years old, according to police.
No injuries were reported during the incident.

Three-Alarm Fire Involving Tire Store in Mission District

A three-alarm fire Sunday morning in the Inner Mission neighborhood of San Francisco destroyed an auto business and displaced 17 people at an apartment building, an assistant chief of the San Francisco Fire Department said.

The first report of the fire came in at 7:45 a.m. at 16th and Shotwell streets, assistant chief Dave Franklin said. No civilians or firefighters were injured, Franklin said. The fire destroyed an auto business that sells tires and other auto equipment, Franklin said. A business named Rolling Stock is located at the corner of 16th and Shotwell streets, according the firm’s website. The company was not open for business at the time of the fire, Franklin said.

The fire also burned an apartment building on 16th Street where 17 people had to leave their homes, he said. Another business on Shotwell Street sustained minor damage, he said. That business was also closed at the time of the fire, he said.

The American Red Cross responded to help the people displaced, Franklin said. About 110 fire personnel worked to extinguish the blaze, he said.

Olympian, Kenyan Win Women’s, Men’s Fields in Big Sur Half Marathon

An Olympian and a Kenyan were the first place finishers Sunday in the women’s and men’s divisions of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, organizers said.

The race started at 6:55 a.m. and took runners through Monterey and Pacific Grove, organizers said. Boulder, Colorado resident Kara Goucher, 37, won the women’s division with a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 13 seconds, according to organizers.

Kenyan Elisha Barno, 30, won the men’s division with a time of 1:03:04, the third fastest time in race history, organizers said. Runners have been racing in the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay each year for the past 13 years, according to organizers. Goucher’s time was the second fastest in race history among the women, organizers said.

Belainesh Gebre holds the record with a time of 1:09:43, marathon spokesperson Julie Armstrong said. Ian Dobson holds the overall race record with a time of 1:02:33 set in 2006, Armstrong said. Kenyan Meshack Kirwa set a record in the male Master’s division, which hosts runner’s 40 years old and older, with a time of 1:04:25, organizers said. He finished eighth overall, according to organizers.

Marijuana Dispensary Proposal Draws Opposition From Fisherman’s Wharf Businesses

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, known for attracting tourists and sea lions, could start attracting medical marijuana patients as well if the San Francisco Planning Department approves a proposed cannabis dispensary in the neighborhood.

The proposed dispensary at 2627 Taylor St., which is expected to come before the Planning Commission for approval next month, has drawn some opposition from members of the Fisherman’s Wharf business community.

A petition launched on by the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District, which has drawn 81 supporters in four weeks, urges San Francisco Planning Commission president Rodney Fong to deny the request to open the dispensary at 2627 Taylor St. The petition states that Fisherman’s Wharf, “is not a suitable site for the proposed dispensary” and that there is nothing to prevent additional dispensaries from moving to the wharf and “the beginning of a corrosive effect on its status as a family friendly destination.”

However, a competing petition launched in favor of opening the dispensary by Russian Hill resident Ray Connolly, the prospective chief executive officer of the proposed dispensary KRINZE, already has over 5,570 supporters, and is gaining fast. Connolly said he wants to start the non-profit dispensary to help families with loved ones suffering from chronic pain or other illnesses.

“I started KRINZE because my father died of cancer, and medical cannabis would have helped him,” Connolly wrote in the petition. “By opening this dispensary, I hope to serve residents in SF neighborhoods that do not have dispensaries.”

Connolly’s petition argues that Fisherman’s Wharf is already home to a host of bars and nightclubs that are not “family friendly,” yet the benefit district has chosen only to protest medical marijuana dispensaries. Connolly said Friday that he expects to present his petition and the collected signatures to the San Francisco Planning Commission on Dec. 17 when the commission is scheduled to consider his application.

Planning Commission Approves Mayor-Supported Golden State Warriors Arena

The San Francisco Planning Commission approved the design and environmental study for the proposed Golden State Warriors multi-use arena and two office towers in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood on Thursday.

However, the 18,000-seat arena, which is proposed to occupy the site of what is currently a parking lot across the street from the University of California at San Francisco’s newly built medical center at Third and 16th streets, still faces opposition.

The Mission Bay Alliance alliance, which is comprised of UCSF stakeholders and concerned citizens, maintains that the arena will cause significant traffic that could negatively impact patient care and access to the hospital. The alliance has also stated that they feel the arena project is being irresponsibly fast-tracked. Earlier this week, the city’s Commission on Community Investment
and Infrastructure (OCII) unanimously certified a final subsequent environmental impact report on the project.

Thomas Lippe, an attorney hired by the Mission Bay Alliance, has offered the city potential evidence that the environmental report has deficiencies related to air and water quality concerns, as well as traffic issues. The alliance issued a statement after the report was certified by the OCII, calling it a “rubber stamp process” that demonstrated the city was moving its plan along with “no opportunity for a thorough review.”

The mayor, who happens to be one of the project’s strongest supporters, appoints the commission members of the OCII. Although those posts are subject to confirmation by a majority of the Board of Supervisors, critics have expressed skepticism regarding whether the commission is a fair judge on the matter. The mayor and the president of the Board of Supervisors also appoint members to the San Francisco Planning Commission, who approved the design and environmental study of the arena Thursday. A Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) prepared by the OCII found that “implementation of the proposed project would lead to significant, unavoidable project-level and/or cumulative impacts related to transportation and circulation, noise, air quality, wind, and utilities and service systems.” The concerns initially expressed by UCSF Medical Center personnel regarding the arena were assuaged in a preliminary agreement that included the creation of a special transportation improvement fund for the neighborhood and a limit to be placed on events at the arena in special circumstances.

Mayor Lee has expressed his eagerness to see the Warriors come to the city, saying on numerous occasions that he is looking forward to their 2018-19 season in San Francisco.

83-Foot Tall Holiday Tree To Be Lit in Union Square

An 83-feet tall reusable holiday tree will be lit with more than 33,000 LED lights and hung with 1,100 ornaments later this month in San Francisco’s Union Square, officials with the Union Square Business Improvement District said.

The tree is a gift from Macy’s for the 25th Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. Nov. 28, according to Union Square BID officials.

American singer, songwriter and actress Jordan Sparks will headline the festivities at the ceremony, Union Square BID officials said. Vocal Rush from the Oakland School of the Arts, the Transcendence Theatre Company and Contra Costa Children’s Chorus will also perform, according to Union Square BID officials.The tree will be lit at about 6:40 p.m., Union Square BID officials said. Old St. Nick will be available for pictures and to hear holiday wishes on the seventh floor of Macy’s Union Square starting Nov. 28 through Dec. 24.

Weather Forecast For the San Francisco Bay Area

Today will see showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Some thunderstorms may produce small hail. Highs will be in the mid 50s to lower 60s and southwest winds will reach 10 to 20 miles per hour.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy in the evening with a slight chance of showers, becoming partly cloudy. Lows will be in the 40s to mid 50s and northwest winds will reach 5 to 15 miles per hour. Tuesday will be sunny with highs around 60. Northeast winds will reach around 5 miles per hour, becoming northwest winds in the afternoon.

(News Courtesy of Bay City News)