Wednesday San Francisco News Roundup
SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR ANNOUNCES INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT HISTORIC SMALL BUSINESSES
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos this week announced a ballot initiative intended to protect historic small businesses and nonprofits from displacement by offering financial incentives to landlords willing to grant them long-term leases.
The Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund, co-sponsored by Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar, would register qualifying businesses and nonprofits 30 years and older as historic assets, according to Campos.
Once registered with the city, legacy businesses could qualify for annual grants of $500 per employee, as well as annual grants of $4.50 per square foot to property owners willing to extend them 10-year leases.
A report by the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office found that 4,000 small businesses closed in 2014 in San Francisco, compared to only 693 in 1994, according to Campos.
“San Francisco wouldn’t be San Francisco without our Legacy Businesses and we need to protect them,” Campos said in a statement Monday, noting that it is small businesses and nonprofits that give the San Francisco’s neighborhoods the unique charm for which the city is known.
The ballot measure caps the number of businesses that can be nominated for registration each year at 300, out of an estimated 3,000 thought to be eligible citywide. Annual grants would be capped at $50,000 per business and $22,500 for property owners.
The fund is expected to cost around $3 million a year, according to Campos.
SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISORS APPROVE LEGISLATION TO EDUCATE ABOUT HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM SUGAR BEVERAGES
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that aims to educate consumers about the potential health problems associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as well as limit advertising and sales of such products on public property.
The three-part legislation, drafted by Supervisors Malia Cohen, Scott Wiener and Eric Mar, will require health warnings to be placed on advertising for sugar-sweetened beverages.
Under the legislation, the warning on the advertisements will read: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and
County of San Francisco.”
In addition to the warning, which was modeled off of the U.S. Surgeon General’s health warning placed on all tobacco cigarettes since 1966, the legislation also places a moratorium on sugar-sweetened beverage advertisements on city property and prevents city spending on such beverages.
San Francisco supervisors supported the legislation unanimously and argued that soda, and other sugar-sweetened beverages, are major contributors to diabetes. They said the public deserves to know the associated health risks when considering their purchases.
Wiener said that despite a $10 million lobby by the soda industry against San Francisco’s Soda Tax in the 2014 election, he is pleased that this legislation was unanimously supported.
In the November election, 56 percent of the voters in San Francisco approved a two-penny per ounce tax on sodas and other sugary beverages distributed in San Francisco, but that the special measure needed a two-thirds approval.
Wiener said a 12-ounce can of soda, on average, has ten teaspoons of sugar. He said he hopes that this legislation will inform citizens that, “these are not just harmless products that taste good, that these are products that are making people sick.”
Wiener said these drinks are “fueling the explosion of type 2 diabetes” and that education is the only way to reverse that trend.
Supervisor Mar said that this legislation was targeted by “Big Soda” and that during the board’s Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing on this item last week, a dietician hired by the American Beverage Association, testified that sugar-sweetened beverages are not the problem.
Lisa Katic, a registered dietician and a consultant for the American Beverage Association, testified against the legislation arguing that the warning label unfairly targets the beverage industry and ignores the bigger health issue at hand, which she said is access to nutritional guidance and lack of exercise in people’s routines.
Katic said she doesn’t think warning labels will create the desired impact and that instead, legislators should focus on educating people about how many calories they need each day based on their activity level.
But the supervisors and numerous medical professionals at the hearing maintained that the warning labels would help educate people about the link between sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and other related illnesses.
Following Tuesday’s vote, Bob Achermann, the executive director of CalBev, said in a statement that the supervisors singled out one industry and one type of product.
“Today’s vote not only erodes the freedom of speech in San Francisco – especially for local businesses and beverage companies – it also misinforms the public about what causes diabetes and obesity by unjustifiably singling out beverages,” Achermann said.
This legislation makes San Francisco the first U.S. jurisdiction to require health warnings on soda advertisements and to ban soda advertisements on publicly owned property, according to the supervisors.
SAN FRANCISCO PUBILC UTILITIES COMMISSION ANNOUNCES NEW AD CAMPAIGN TO REDUCE WATER USE
Bay Area residents are doing a good job reducing their water usage, but San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials hope an eye-catching ad campaign unveiled Tuesday will encourage them to do even more in an effort to meet state conservation goals.
The ads, which will be seen on billboards, buses and bus shelters in San Francisco as well as in San Mateo and Alameda counties, encourage residents to take a “Short and Steamy” shower or to go “Full Frontal”-with a front-loading, water-conserving washing machine, that is.
Water demand for the Hetch Hetchy system is well below the five-year average so far this year and total system usage is at its lowest point since the drought of 1977 despite an increase in the overall number of customers served, SFPUC officials said. San Francisco residents average 44 gallons per day, and 11 percent of the California cities with the lowest residential per capita water use are within the Hetch Hetchy system.
The Hetch Hetchy reservoir, a key water supply for San Francisco and large portions of the Bay Area, is 92 percent full, while the overall Hetch Hetchy system is at 53 percent of its storage capacity, according to Steven Ritchie, assistant general manager for water enterprise.
“The net effect is that we’re in a good position going into the summer,” Ritchie said.
However, the state is asking San Francisco for a 10 percent water use reduction and a 25 percent reduction for outdoor water use. Bay Area agencies that purchase water from the Hetch Hetchy system are also asking their customers for reductions.
Last year, the 26 agencies that purchase water from Hetch Hetchy reduced water use by 14 percent, but this year they need to cut by 17 percent, according to Nicole Sandkulla, CEO for the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency.
“With new ads catching our users eyes, we can educate the public about easy ways to reduce their indoor and outdoor water user,” Sandkulla said in a statement.
San Francisco residents can obtain free water-saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and kitchen-sink aerators, and customers with regional agencies should check with their water companies for rebates for conservation measures such as lawn removal and the installation of low-flow toilets and washing machines, officials said.
San Francisco is also working on water recycling and groundwater projects intended to reduce the city’s reliance on Hetch Hetchy water, especially for irrigation in areas like Golden Gate Park, officials said.
As much as 4 million gallons a day of drinkable groundwater could be produced by one project within San Francisco city limits by 2016 or 2017, officials said. The water would be blended with existing drinking water supplies.