DNA Lounge: Wherein there's a San Francisco Venue Recovery Fund now, sort of

It's a start! We're very grateful to Supervisor Haney for his work to make this happen. Now the fund just needs to have some money in it. And nobody seems to know where that might come from.

SF Will Prioritize Struggling and Legacy Venues for Entertainment Relief Fund -- But the Fund Needs Private Donations

The SF Board of Supervisors voted this week to establish the San Francisco Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund, as a way to funnel money to struggling music venues and arts institutions that have been shuttered by the pandemic. But right now it seems like a "fund" in name only, and it will need private funding to provide the kind of help that local venues really need to recover. [...]

The mayor subsequently allocated $1.5 million toward the San Francisco Relief Grant program for these venues, but this is just a tiny sum compared to a need that is most certainly in the tens of millions.

Last year, the San Francisco Venue Coalition drafted a proposal for a $48 million fund to get the city's venues back on their feet, estimating each venue's overhead expenses at $18,000 to $35,000 per month.

Haney's legislative aide said of the fund that private donations from the Bay Area wealthy who want to see SF thrive after the pandemic are likely the best hope for the fund.

"We should not overlook the fact that we have more billionaires in our city than almost any other city in the world," Mahogany said. "If San Francisco is the place they want to live, they should have an interest in keeping it a place where people want to visit and stay. If they don't want to see that disappear, perhaps they can spare a few million to see the city survive."

"And then a miracle occurs."

Relying on the generosity and civic-mindedness of billionaires always works out so well. Hey, look at how great that went for Paris a couple of years ago:

The lesson from the ruins of Notre Dame: don't rely on billionaires.

You remember the story, of course you do. One of the most ancient and holy buildings on Earth, Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, goes up in flames. Barely has the fire been put out before some of the richest people in France rush to help rebuild it. Within just three days, France's billionaire class has coughed up nearly €600m. Or so their press releases state. [...]

Weeks go by, then months, and Notre Dame sees nothing from the billionaires. The promises of mid-April seem to have been forgotten by mid-June. "The big donors haven't paid. Not a cent." [...]

Meanwhile, the salaries of 150 workers on site have to be paid. The 300 or so tonnes of lead in the church roof pose a toxic threat that must be cleaned up before the rebuilding can happen. And pregnant women and children living nearby are undergoing blood tests for possible poisoning. But funding such dirty, unglamorous, essential work is not for the luxury-goods billionaires. As the Notre Dame official said last month, they don't want their money "just to pay employees' salaries".

My own personal experience with trying to solicit donations from the very small number of "high net-worth individuals" that I know personally was an exercise in learning how very impoverished most of the extremely wealthy feel. You can't even imagine.

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Silly Straws

Use Physics, Not Plastic, for Safety

I was told by an SFMTA official that there is no way to stop a motorist who is so reckless that they'll blow red lights and go 100 mph on city streets. Too many engineers and planners don't get that their street designs are what make reckless driving possible in the first place. Most of San Francisco's streets are so wide and straight that speeding is not just possible, it's almost encouraged.

But imagine driving 100 mph through this intersection in Paris:

It doesn't matter if you're Mario Andretti or Mr. Magoo, go much faster than 20 and you will hit a pole or a tree. Steel poles and the traffic cop of physics make it impossible to speed. Those poles were added specifically to force drivers to slow down as they navigate between Rue Lamark and Rue Caulaincourt.

Using physical obstacles to narrow lanes, tighten turns, control speeds, and stop encroachments is understood in the Bay Area on some level. But instead of steel, the city relies on "silly straws," better known as safe-hit posts, to encourage motorists to slow down and stay in their lane.

I've watched cars drive over entire blocks worth of safe-hit posts. It's such a common problem, the SFMTA couldn't even manage to find a picture for its Tenderloin safety project web page that didn't include a broken safe-hit post:

I've asked, multiple times, why the SFMTA continues to use plastic straws instead of steel or concrete to force motorists to slow down and stay in their lanes. It's not that K-rails, steel posts, and concrete planters are prohibitively expensive or difficult to install. I was told on the q.t. that the city just doesn't want the liability from its installations smashing up people's cars.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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