HANC 2017 Year in Review

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In many ways, 2017 has been a difficult year. Our response has been to try to keep our neighborhood informed and encourage our members and neighbors to take positive action.

In January, we heard about a plan to replace 86 rent-controlled units in Kirkham Heights with a new development of 445 units in five buildings up to eight stories high and eight 3-story townhouses. We also heard from City College Trustees who were still struggling with the Accrediting Committee. These both had happy endings, as the Kirkham Heights developer withdrew its application with the Planning Commission in August, and City College has been accredited and offers free tuition.


In February we heard about the hearts and colored lights adorning Haight Street for the Summer of Love celebration, and the contributions and successes of Taking It to the Streets. We also presented a documentary about the developments at Parkmerced. In March, we had an early presentation from the Electronic Freedom Frontier about the coming repeal of net neutrality and about online privacy. We also heard an update on the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics (now Health Right 360) and about a proposed Recology rate change from the Ratepayer Advocate at the Department of Public Works.

In April, we heard from District 5 Supervisor London Breed, near the start of her new term, and we also heard from an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union about the ACLU’s response to the current administration regarding immigration and other issues. Our May meeting was titled “Healthcare at a Crossroads.” We discussed the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the efforts for Single Payer in California, and the beginning of work on safe injection sites in San Francisco.

In June, HANC hosted a panel discussion on the Summer of Love, where we tried to provide both a historical and a neighborhood context. We were saddened by the loss of local UPS driver Wayne Chan in the shooting at the UPS distribution center.

In July, the Panhandle Pedestrian (south) Path and cross-paths were finally paved. Our July meeting focused on two Rec and Park projects: the Panhandle Playground and the Stanyan Street Edge project. Both projects are in the planning stage, with completion scheduled for Summer, 2019 (Stanyan Street Edge) and late Fall, 2019 (Panhandle Playground).

As per our usual custom, we had no meeting in August. But reports first appeared during the month that the City of San Francisco was interested in purchasing the site at Haight and Stanyan and replacing McDonald’s with affordable housing. At our September meeting we presented an introduction to San Francisco politics from a HANC perspective. We also heard from DPW and MTA about the major construction (all sidewalk and roadway between the buildings to be replaced) planned for Haight Street from Stanyan to Central.   We lost another friend and community member when Gus Vardakastanis (the Haight Street Market) was killed in a hit-and-run incident later in the month.

In October, about 60 people came to HANC’s meeting to discuss possibilities for the McDonald’s site. Park Police Station Captain John Sanford was replaced by Una Bailey.

In November, The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development held its own community meeting about the McDonald’s site, where another large crowd expressed its opinions. At our November meeting, we heard about the City’s attempts over the years, and its future plans to bring high-speed fiber internet to all of San Francisco. We also heard about the efforts to repeal Costa-Hawkins, the State law that limits cities and other localities from extending and expanding rent control.

On December 11, Mayor Ed Lee died suddenly from a heart attack. London Breed became Acting Mayor (and remains District 5 Supervisor and President of the Board of Supervisors). A resolution authorizing the City’s purchase of the McDonald’s site was introduced at the Board of Supervisors meeting the following day.

We ended the year with a presentation by San Francisco’s new Office of Cannabis, a presentation by Motivate / Ford GoBike on its plans for the Haight-Ashbury, and with our annual holiday party.

We hope 2018 treats all of us well.

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