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Inside San Francisco

Inside San Francisco (Jul 10th, 2019)

Hey there, SF!

My name is Shane, and I’m so excited to be writing Inside San Francisco for you.

I’m a local news junkie, and I’m looking forward to bring you the most important and interesting daily news stories.

Hopefully, the only changes you’ve noticed in your newsletter is a different bio down at the bottom, but if you’d like to shoot me a message or a “hello,” you can reach me at shane.downing@inside.com or on Twitter @SCdowning. It’s only been a few days, but I very much appreciate your readership!

— Shane

On Thursday, expect mostly sunny skies, with a high/low of 68/56. You can expect more of the same on Friday, with a high/low of 67/57.

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1. Nearly one year after identifying and jailing the alleged “Rideshare Rapist,” the accused serial sexual predator’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Sandy Feinland, claimed that the DNA that solved the case was illegally obtained by San Francisco police. In a written motion this week to the city’s Superior Court, Feinland wrote this: “Even though Mr. Vilchez Lazo exhibited no signs or symptoms of intoxication, police detained Mr. Vilchez Lazo — for over 20 minutes — pretending to conduct a DUI investigation.” Feinland contends that police fabricated a reason to pull over his client to get his DNA without a warrant, making the stop and search illegal. Vilchez Lazo has pleaded not guilty. - SF CHRONICLE

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2. They’ve only been at the Richmond BART Station for a month, but the agency’s new double-decker fare gates are getting plenty of attention, and some critics have compared them to a guillotine. Although it’s clear something needs to happen to slow the flow of $25 million a year away from the agency due to fare evasion, some riders aren’t fans of the vertical two-gate design. “Yes, right now, some of this stuff is going to look like it came out of Frankenstein’s lab,” said BART Board President Bevan Dufty. “We’re not going for aesthetics. We’re going for practicality.” - SFGATE

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3. In a new study, firefighters who battled the Tubbs Fire in October 2017 have tested at “troubling” levels for toxic exposure and may be at an increased risk of cancer. According to the study's results, firefighters’ blood and urine samples showed elevated levels of mercury and chemical compounds associated with firefighting foams. “We love doing our jobs," said San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson, "But we are dying at a high rate of cancer, and that’s got to change.” - KPIX

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4. In a party-line vote, President Trump’s nomination of attorney Daniel Bress to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The confirmation gives Trump seven appointees in a court he regularly criticizes as “biased” and “hostile” for its rulings against his administration. California Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein were two of the 45 votes against Washington D.C.-based Bress’ appointment. Democratic appointees will remain the court’s majority; however, according to University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, “there will be increasing numbers of three-judge panels that will have two Republican appointees.” - SF CHRONICLE

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5. There will be a $600 million housing bond on the November ballot, and if it gets two-thirds approval from voters, the funding will go toward building or rehabilitating approximately 2,800 affordable housing units in San Francisco over the next four years. The bond was reportedly a joint effort by city politicians, nonprofit developers and construction unions, and at a meeting yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to place the bond on the ballot. - SF EXAMINER

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6. San Francisco’s Legacy Business Program is reportedly feeling the strains of rising demand and a shortage of available funds. The program, which was created in 2015 to preserve the city’s longstanding businesses through rent stabilization and business assistance grants, has added over 180 businesses to its registry. However, in the fiscal 2018-2019 year, the number of grants requested from legacy businesses exceeded the program's available funding. - SF BUSINESS TIMES

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7. If you were planning to take a drive up north on Saturday, change your plans and drive south, because Pacifica’s scenic Taco Bell is reopening in three days as a Taco Bell Cantina. The reimagined eatery will boast a new menu, alcoholic beverages, and Lagunitas IPAs. The first 50 guests will get Taco Bell hot sauce-themed beach towels, and the first 150 guests will get free crunchy tacos. The reopening event is scheduled from 12-3 p.m. - SFGATE

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8. In other food-related news, AL’s Deli (598 Guerrero St.) will open in the Mission on July 17. You can check out the menu here, but expect things like potato hot pockets stuffed with smoked salmon and cream cheese, falafel corn dog bites, and a smokey brisket sandwich. AL's Deli will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and for all of you Dolores Park weekenders, there will be delivery and pickup via Caviar. - EATER SF

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9. There will be a free outdoor screening of “12 Pianos” tonight in Lower Polk Street’s recently renovated Fern Alley, between Polk and Larkin streets. The film will be just one of many showcasing the importance of bringing life to underutilized spaces, and if the screening is a success, organizers may try to coordinate more. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. - HOODLINE

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10. Today's SF in Pictures: Instagram user timtast1c

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Shane Downing is an award-winning journalist based in Oakland. As a freelance writer, he’s passionate about covering the LGBTQ+ community, at-risk youth and local news. He's a former Hoodline editor, and his work regularly appears in Oakland Magazine and The San Francisco Business Times. When he's not writing, Shane is an avid baker, gardener and tennis player.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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