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News, people, culture, events and the trends shaping the Bay area

Record crowds are expected to celebrate the 4/20 'holiday' today. For years, cannabis fans have gathered in Golden Gate Park to celebrate - and smoke - the substance, but with recreational marijuana now legal in California, even more participants are expected on what's known as Hippie Hill. This year, the event is a bit more structured than in the past, as area businesses have raised around $200,000 to help the city pay for 183 portable toilets, 60 private security guards and clean up crews after the event. Dispensary owners, who say that today is their "Black Friday," also expect a boom in business. Those who don't partake should expect heavy traffic on streets near the park, and police say that they are devoting extra officers to the area. - KRON 4


A controversial Bay Area judge has broken his silence. Judge Aaron Persky burst onto the national scene following the trial of rapist Brock Turner. In June of 2016, when the former Stanford student was sentenced to only six months in jail for his crime (he served three months) followed by three years of probation, the case was seen as an example of how leniently men who sexually assault women - especially white men - are treated by the legal system. A move to recall Persky from the bench was mounted, and in June Santa Clara County voters will determine his fate. Persky, who has remained silent since the outcry began, met with the San Jose Mercury News's editorial board to speak out against the recall effort and defend Turner's sentence. “Recall proponents have said something to the extent of, 'We’re putting rape culture on trial.’ So now I am the face of rape culture," Persky said. "So you have to ask yourself, am I really the face of rape culture?” - SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS


Following attention for an incident of alleged racism in 2015, Berkeley's Elmwood Cafè has closed. The restaurant found itself at the center of a media tumult in 2015, when Berkeley comedian W. Kamau Bell said workers racially profiled him and tried to remove him from the premises. Recent news of the arrests of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks brought memories of the Berkeley incident back to Bell, who in a piece on CNN wrote that Elmwood's owner, who had publicly apologized to Bell, instead chose to "Wait for the media backlash to blow over and the return to business as usual while making but not measurably adhering to ANY OF THE CHANGES PROMISED." A "recent wave of negative Yelp reviews accusing the business of racism" resulted, and the restaurant has reportedly closed. Its Facebook page has been removed, its Instagram page set to private, and a sign on the door reads (sic throughout) "Elmwood Cafe Has Closed Our sincere gratitude to all in the community Thank you for your support through the years." - BERKELEYSIDE


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The Bay Area's notoriously nasty commutes might cause gas to hit $4 per gallon. While AAA reports that the national gas price is $2.73 as of Thursday morning, that average is far higher in California, with Gas Buddy noting a state average of $3.56. But in the Bay Area, $3.56 might soon look like a bargain, as analysts say that in a few weeks prices could reach $4 a gallon. The reason, says a AAA spokesperson, is higher demand, as "Bay Area commuters are driving longer distances oftentimes because of work." Also a factor is the cars those commuters drive, as "consumers are starting to choose bigger vehicles again," many of which burn fuel at a higher rate than a compact car. - NBC BAY AREA


A Western Addition mansion will become a new restaurant and hotel. Once known as San Francisco's priciest Airbnb (at a cool $10,000 a night), the historic Payne Mansion at 1409 Sutter Street has been up for sale for "the past few years" with an asking price of $13.5 million, the SF Business Times reports. But now it's been purchased by the father-and-son hospitality team Bernard and Jonathan Rosenson, who operate multiple other hotels and restaurants across California. The duo has renamed the space "the Mansion on Sutter," and its restaurant "1881" (the year the structure was built). It's currently being renovated, with a grand opening planned for July. - SF CHRONICLE


A local magazine is predicting that Mark Leno has already lost the race for SF mayor. There was a time when former state Senator Mark Leno seemed certain to become San Francisco's next mayor, the top contender in the 2019 race for Room 200. The political picture changed with Ed Lee's untimely death, however, and former interim Mayor London Breed rose as a player to be reckoned with in this June's election. Though a recent poll still places Leno at the top of the charts, San Francisco Magazine asks in a piece published Wednesday "Why does it feel like Mark Leno’s already lost the mayoral race?" His identity as a gay man hasn't been enough to rally voters, they write, and "his insistence on civility and decorum may end up being a liability in an election season dominated by disgust, fear, and anger." Do you agree with their assessment? - SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE


BAY AREA REAL ESTATE NEWS

San Francisco's Planning Department has unveiled a new plan to protect cultural and economic diversity in the Mission District. Called Mission Action Plan 2020, the set of proposals includes new regulations for the number of bars and restaurants in the area, preservation of spaces that allow light manufacturing, and would require special authorization for businesses that replace so-called “legacy businesses,” Mission Local reports. Assuming the plan is approved by the Board of Supervisors, it should go into effect this summer.

In an effort to offset San Francisco's carbon footprint, the city is planting 2000 more trees over the next two years. The effort will cost about $4 million, UPI reports, and is "expected to be worked into the upcoming budget." The ultimate goal is to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, so in addition to the tree effort "the city plans to make 80 percent of all travel in the city by a sustainable mode of transit." The strategy behind the latter project has yet to be revealed.

A huge new development is up for approval next week. Socketsite reports that the proposed building at 1140 Harrison Street will include "a mix of 131 studios, 90 one-bedrooms and 150 two or three-bedroom apartments," to rise up to seven stories. Included in the space will be a gym, dog spa, bike lounge, and lobbies as well as 6,600 square feet of ground floor commercial space. If it receives Planning Department approval, the structure will break ground this year and finish construction in mid-2021.


WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK

Cal day: On April 21, UC Berkeley throws open its doors to the public, offering over 400 free lectures, performances, tours, concerts, and more. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can even create a schedule for yourself here.

You spin me right round: April 21 is also Record Store Day, with vinyl purveyors the world over offering special events and sales. "This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store, " organizers say, "the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities." You can find out what your local shop is up to here.

Vertigo on the go: Director Alfred Hitchcock loved San Francisco, and some of his most iconic shots are set in the city. San Francisco City Guides has the scoop on where the auteur made his mark, via their free Alfred Hitchcock's San Francisco walking tour on April 22 at 11 a.m. Participants should meet at the fountain in Huntington Park, off Sacramento Street between Taylor and Mason, then expect to cover several blocks through Nob Hill and Union Square.


A 12-year-old kid has determined that a well-known Oakland landmark is bad for the environment. The "Painted Rock" at Marjorie Saunders Park has been emblazoned with messages for over 50 years, traditionally decorated with shout-outs and well wishes. It took 12-year-old Cameron Cox to determine that that tradition is toxic, as when it rains the water running off the rock contains "harmfully high levels of levels of acetone, butanone, benzene and other volatile compounds." In times of heavier precipitation, that water then enters Sausal Creek, which feeds into the San Francisco Bay. “It’s disgusting, because one gallon of paint can contaminate up to one million gallons of water, and that can cause cancer for the people who eat the fish that are caught in the bay,” Cox says. City officials are now considering steps to change the painting practice, with one proposing "chalk, or a biodegradable, environmentally-friendly alternative." - EAST BAY EXPRESS


Demonstrators are protesting at SFO after a peace activist was held at the airport. Filipino peace activist Jerome Aba had been invited to the U.S. by several church institutions, with the plan that he would speak on the human rights situation in the Philippines at several ecumenical events. However, when he arrived at SFO this week he was reportedly denied access to the country over "an unspecified problem with his visa." According to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they do "not consider country of origin or human rights activism to be determining factors for admissibility," but they declined to comment on Aba's case, even though he's said to have meetings scheduled with religious and government officials, including members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Protesters gathered at SFO to fight for his entry to the country, and "are also launching a phone barrage to the Customs and Border Protection Agency for those outside of the San Francisco/Bay Area." - ABC 7


BAY AREA FOOD NEWS

People who've been boycotting Oakland’s Boot & Shoe Service over sexual misconduct allegations against its owner might be able to return, as he's reportedly sold it to a former staffer and her spouse. Eater SF reports that owner Charlie Hallowell, who's allegedly sexually harassed a slew of employees, sold the venue to former employee Jen Cremer and her husband Richard Clark. Cremer's a former assistant general manager at Pizzaiolo, Clark's a former associate general manager of Tartine Manufactory, so it's safe to describe the pair as "industry veterans." They'll take the place over within the next two months.

Beloved Mission restaurant Boogaloo’s is back, baby. Shuttered following a fire two years ago, the spot reopened Wednesday, SF Weekly reports. Back are brunch faves including their huevos rancheros, Nicky’s polenta, and the temple o’ spuds. Eater SF has a shot of the new menu, and says operating hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

It's official: SF's first Shake Shack will be in the shuttered Real Foods Co space at the corner of Fillmore and Filbert, Socketsite reports. That is, if the city approves: the formal application to convert the space at 3060 Fillmore "into a full service restaurant 'd.b.a. Shake Shack'" has just been filed. With over 160 locations worldwide, the company will have to manage the city's chain retail restrictions, making this the first step in what's sure to be a very long road.


WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK

Love your mother: Saturday, April 21 is Earth Day, which means celebrations and events across the Bay Area. Funcheap SF has a great list of local and sustainable activities, including clean-up events, city-specific celebrations, and festivals.

Skating party: If the weather is fair, Midnight Rollers' Friday Night Skate party is on. A weekly event, skaters take off from the Ferry Building at 9 p.m., heading toward Pier 39 and beyond as "tourists stand mesmerized." You're asked to wear helmets and protective gear, to observe the rules of the road, and to avoid drinking booze during the event. 

Cry, little sister: Sure, you loved The Lost Boys, but did you love it enough to drive up to Petaluma to hear star Kiefer Sutherland's country croonings? That's what the city's Mystic Theatre is hoping on Sunday, April 22. The Flatliner apparently released his first C&W record in 2016, and is touring in its continued support. Tickets start at $28 and are available here.


A controversial statewide housing bill has reached the end of the road. Proposed by SF Supervisor turned California State Senator Scott Wiener, SB827 would have removed cities' ability to zone themselves and forced them to allow the construction of apartment and condominium buildings of roughly four to five stories within a half mile of public transit lines. Opposed by environmentalists and local leaders, it's been described as the most hotly contested bill of this legislative year. And now it's dead, crushed in its first committee meeting. “Unless something significant changes, SB 827 won’t move forward,” Wiener says, but plans to introduce a new version of the proposal next year. - SF BUSINESS TIMES


A glowing, 50-foot-tall "tree" has appeared in Hayes Valley. Entitled SQUARED, the LED installation is intended to represent a tree that's “reimagined in a futuristic world post nature.” The installation, which first debuted Burning Man in 2014, is by artist Charles Gadeken, a Bay Area-based industrial artist. SQUARED will make its official debut on Patricia’s Green starting May 5, and will remain for one year. - CURBED SF


A teen driver allegedly struck an SFPD officer then fled. The collision happened at around 3 p.m.Tuesday, when a plain-clothes cop walked in the crosswalk at Eddy Street at Larkin Street. A driver in a blue Mercedes who was making a left turn struck him, then fled the scene. The culprit, who police say is 18-year-old SF resident Marisa Androvich, was nabbed at a traffic stop at California Street and 26th Avenue about 30 minutes later. She was booked San Francisco County Jail on a felony hit and run charge and is being held on $53,000 bond. Androcich was also driving without a license, police say. The officer was transported to the hospital with injuries to his arm, and is expected to survive. - NBC BAY AREA


An SF church is holding a 'Beyoncé Mass.' San Francisco's Grace Cathedral says they will be holding a Beyoncé Mass to open "a window into the lives of the marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females.” Organized by The Vine, Grace Cathedral's "new service and community for urbanites and spiritual seekers," at the mass parishioners will be invited to sing along with their favorite Beyoncé hits as well as hear "readings from scripture by women of color and a sermon by Rev. Yolanda Norton," a religious scholar who taught a course called "Beyoncé and the Bible" at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The event was planned even before the singer's noteworthy Coachella performance, as a Cathedral spokesperson says “In this year where there’s been so much conversation about the role of women and communities of color, we felt a need to lift up the voices that the church has traditionally suppressed." The mass will be held on April 25 at 6:30 p.m. - SF CHRONICLE


CITY HALL NEWS

As any local with eyes can see, that cease-and-desist San Francisco sent to the companies that dumped hundreds of rentable electric scooters on city streets made not a dent in their business. But Tuesday, SF's Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to require the companies to apply for permits in order to operate in town. It remains to be seen if to remain permit holders the companies will be expected to ensure users will follow CA vehicle laws, which require operators to wear a helmet and stay off the sidewalk.

After uproar from the city's Italian-American community about a Supe vote earlier this year to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, the Board Tuesday agreed to make the second Monday of October Italian American Heritage Day as well. The sole dissenter was Supervisor Hilary Ronen, who said “When I voted to change the second Monday of the month to indigenous peoples I did that because to me that particular date is inextricably linked with the arrival of Columbus to this land and centuries of pain that our country has inflicted on indigenous people." A shared holiday, she says, “muddies that political act.”

SF will have to live with its dirty streets until after the city budget is worked out, it appears. Supervisor and mayoral candidate Jane Kim had moved to send $1.1 million "left over" from last year's budget towards cleaning the city's debris-strewn streets. While the Board agreed to pass the plan, the vote was only 6-5, making it vulnerable to veto from the mayor. And that veto is definite, as Mayor Mark Farrell not only vowed to sink the plan at the time of the vote, but because Kim says that as of Tuesday, she has not been able to change his mind. For his part, Farrell says he plans to prioritize street cleaning in his budget proposal. He's currently working with city departments to close a more than $100 million deficit in the budget, which must be completed and sent to the Board by June 1.


WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK

Dangly bits: On April 21 we have the 8th Annual World Naked Bike Ride, which in SF will run from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Cyclists will meet at the Ferry Building, then head out in "sun clad nakedness, topless, bikinis, body paint or latex, leotard or lingerie, or tuxedos, whatever you feel like." As the event commemorates the Eighth anniversary of the British Petroleum Deep Horizon explosion and Macondo Well oil spill disaster, riders are urged that "an appropriate statement can be made to mimic spilled oil" using black body paint or trash bags. 

Fair fair: Billed as a "a kickass, insta-worthy, female empowerment event," April 21's Femme Fair is intended to "inspire and uplift women in the community, by providing an event that empowers females from all walks of life to live peacefully in their truth." That happens, it appears, via all-you-can-drink cocktails, skin care, and a peek into 15 style bloggers' closets. OK! Tickets are available here, and start at $35.

Morning dance party: Daybreaker will bring their early-morning celebration to SF's City Hall, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday April 21. Participants including 100+ senior citizens will "serve as a powerful and positive symbol that breaks down ageist taboos" as they shake it to music from the 1950s – 2010s. Tickets are available here, and are pay what you can.


San Francisco police are investigating a homicide near a Chinatown elementary school. The SFPD announced Monday that they were called to an alley at Joice and Clay Streets at 8:30 Sunday morning. According to the Chron, an employee of the Chinese Historical Society discovered a dead man in a cardboard box on the sidewalk. The victim, who has yet to be publicly identified, was reportedly homeless and lived in the alley, adjacent to both a school and a playground. The scene of the slaying was reportedly violent, with "blood splattered on the brick wall and torn, blood-soaked cardboard on the sidewalk." An SFPD spokesperson confirms to Inside San Francisco that this is SF's 11th homicide for 2018. - SF EXAMINER


John Mulaney, Nick Kroll, and the Wu-Tang Clan will appear at Clusterfest 2018. The second year of the comedy and music festival is scheduled for San Francisco's Civic Center on June 1-3, and also boasts headliners including Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, Trevor Noah, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Che, Reggie Watts, Maria Bamford, and the Lonely Island comedy group. This week, additions the announced lineup also included Jeff Ross, Bianca Del Rio, Michael Rapaport, and Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz (performing together). A reproduction of Paddy’s Pub from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was also announced, with other food and drink experiences to come. You can see the full lineup here, and single-day tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. April 19 . - SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS


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