The Agenda, Nov. 12-19: A homeless sleep-in, a D-8 debate…

... plus reefer madness at City Hall and the history of local development politics

More than 1,000 homeless people are on the adult shelter waitlist in San Francisco. The city continues to find ways to criminalize these folks. This is Homeless Awareness Week, and the Coalition on Homelessness is organizing a Sleep Out to call attention to the city’s failure to solve the problem. On the evening of Thursday/16, hundreds will gather at the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround with sleeping bags and spend the night the way thousands of our neighbors do: Outside.

This is life for a homeless family in San Francisco

If you can show up and stay the night, bring a sleeping bag and some food. If you just want to contribute food and drinks, get in touch with Kelley Cutler,

You can make signs, bring art, bring friends … make this a huge statement of support for the people who have been forced to live on the streets (in many cases because of evictions and gentrification). For more info, go here.

The June, 2018 election will include a long list of ballot measures, starting with an effort by the tobacco industry to repeal the city’s ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products aimed at kids and a move to guarantee everyone facing eviction the right to a lawyer.

But there’s also a race that could change the balance of power on the Board of Supes, and that’s the D8 contest between incumbent Jeff Sheehy, appointed by Mayor Ed Lee, and challenger Rafael Mandelman.

The city’s two main LGBT political clubs, the Harvey Milk Club and the Alice B. Toklas Club, are hosting a debate between the two candidates Monday/13 at the LGBT Center Rainbow room. It starts at 6:30pm.

This will be the first chance for voters to see the two offer their contrasting vision for D8 and the city’s future. (For starters, I hope someone asks them both about the right-to-counsel ballot measure. And police Tasers. And market-rate housing.)

If you can’t make it, you can watch the livestream on

The same night (so much going on!), I will be moderating a panel discussion on Prop. M, the Downtown Plan, Tenderloin rezoning and the legacy of the critical land-use battles of the 1980s. The panelists are Sue Hestor, Calvin Welch, and Brad Paul, who have been involved in local development issues for more than four decades and have an incredible wealth of historical information and analysis. It’s hosted by the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association. 7pm, 1541 Polk St.

A long list of elected officials, activists, community groups (and even a Chronicle columnist) are wondering why the Board of Supes is moving to strictly limit cannabis sales in the city. It’s as if we are back in the days of Reefer Madness.

Legislation that comes before the Land Use Committee Monday/13 and the full board Tuesday/14 could make it pretty much impossible to open a legal cannabis outlet anywhere except in some very small and limited districts – or it could prepare the city for a reasonable regulatory approach. In other words, San Francisco, where 74 percent of the votes support legal weed, could be at the forefront of this business – or let other cities set the standards and get the customers.

The defense finished calling witnesses in the Garcia Zarate trial last week, but it appears the prosecution will have a final rebuttal witness Monday/13. The trial’s in Dept. 13 at the Hall of Justice, and if you want to go, you need to show up by 8:30 to get in the lottery for a public pass. It appears at this point that closing arguments will be next week.