After the Chronicle ran a report noting that 90% of the city’s Shared Spaces parklets “will need to be removed or significantly changed” under new regulations, Breed ran to rant on Medium and called the report “misinformation.”
Monday’s Chronicle ran a pretty eye-opening story about new rules that have been added to the city’s Shared Spaces parklet program and recent violation notifications that went out to restaurants, which many restaurant operators say are quite onerous and costly. That piece featured an excellent graphic detailing some of the most difficult parklet restrictions, and interviewed Golden Gate Restaurant Association executive director Laurie Thomas, among others.
Many SF restaurants are preparing to dismantle their parklets, and they might not have the money to rebuild.— Janelle Bitker (@JanelleBitker) December 6, 2021
The city's restaurant association estimates 90% of parklets will be impacted by new guidelines https://t.co/qlh2hknGF2
That piece noted that the Golden Gate Restaurant Association “estimates that as many as 90% of parklets will need to be removed or significantly changed to meet the guidelines, which span more than 60 pages.” It also adds that “many businesses are already being warned that they will be assessed hefty fines if they don’t make these changes within weeks.”
The article did quote a Breed spokesperson, Jeff Cretan, as saying that no such enforcement is actually being done.
The Shared Spaces program isn't going anywhere. I led the charge to make this program permanent and I'm 100% committed to making this transition as easy as possible for businesses.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) December 8, 2021
I want to clear up some misinformation around what's happening:https://t.co/NNiHsmZ7VO
Mayor London Breed is not at all happy with that article, and as you see above, she calls it “misinformation.” She also tore into it with an angry rebuttal on Medium, saying “Recent reporting on this has made it seem like the program is in danger or that 90% of businesses will need to close their parklets, or that City guidelines are impossible to follow, and I want to be very clear that this is not even close to the truth.”
Breed does not specifically mention the Chronicle, but it’s pretty obvious which article she’s talking about, as she takes specific umbrage with the “hefty fines” and “more than 60 pages” language.
There’s a lot of talk of 60 pages of regulations, but it’s worth taking a look at the guidelines.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) December 8, 2021
It's not 60 pages of fine print. They're basically the same guidelines we've had since last spring, just with more graphic design, diagrams, and examples. https://t.co/MNtxtGNcUV
“No one is being fined or forced to change their parklet right now, except in a small handful of extreme cases for significant life safety or disability access issues,” she says on Medium.
“And while there’s a lot of talk of 60 pages of regulations, it’s worth taking a look at the guidelines,” Breed continues. “These aren’t 60 pages of fine print — they are basically the same guidelines we’ve had since last spring, just with more graphic design, diagrams, and examples to better understand how it all works.”
One could fairly argue that the Chronicle is generally a pro-Breed paper, so maybe this spat is surprising. But the Chron runs a lot of articles, some butter Breed up, other are unflattering. Some Chron articles have a pro-developer bias, others have an anti-gentrification bias. Some seem pro-Chesa Boudin recall, other seek to debunk hysterical crime narratives that fuel the recall.
But Breed seems to bristle here at a piece that she feels may threaten her pro-small business bona fides. She’s pretty vocal about wanting credit for this program, and is hostile toward the flip side that there may be some blame, too.
Image: @LondonBreed via Twitter