tv Government Access Programming SFGTV August 25, 2018 10:00am-11:01am PDT
a wheelchair that is probably against the law but i'm not a lawyer and i don't know the code. to force someone out on the street to get killed by a car, versus making a change to a tree basin, i vote change the tree basin. and i think it would be -- if someone files suit to that they probably would win in this environment. but, i don't understand -- why can the -- i'm questioning the -- with all due respect to your director, i'm questioning the wisdom of a generic, we're only going to do three foot basins, when it is the advocacy that we hear from you on a constant basis. we want more trees.
so why is there this -- where we have different conditions within the city and we do have these lovely little allies where people live and where there can be two-foot basins that would have simply lovely trees and enhanced the condition of the alley. why is there this -- >> to limit a three foot basin without exception? >> i understand the feedback. it's really about survivability. what we end up with are a lack of pedestrian clearance, low branches, a lack of clearance over the road to establish a 14-foot clear an directionally over the face of the curb for ought owes. it's both restricting pedestrians. there's more and more discussion
about how much space do we need for pedestrians. it's about how much damage the trees are being subjected to. one thing we can certainly improve upon is really creating an educational section on our website that documents that and the struggles that we're coming across in san francisco with trees and allies. it's not a very pretty picture. there's a lot of tree mortality, there's a lot of damage similar to what we saw this evening in the photos. and when we look at -- when we go to industry events, of course san francisco's always unique for a number of different reasons. we have other colleagues who say and never plan in less than a 6x6 basin and they're thinking of san jose or some wide sidewalk area and we're thinking like, we're going two feet, two and a half feet, three feet and they're like where is the room for the tree and you just go, well, you have to thread the needle. so we need clearance away from
the windows. we need clearance away from the facade. we need clearance over the road and we see a lot of trees damaged over the road. we can do a better job really trying to demonstrate that and there really is a real battle for getting these street trees to survive. and a lot of them have gone unplanted because we're directing the property owners not to replant them. so it is a real issue. it's probably not something that's come up a lot. but i do feel like there is a -- there's both an interest in really creating these living allies but contrary to that, there's efforts by the planning department and friends at urban forest, some of it is conceptual with colorful murals. it's a real challenge. i always point to north beach. there's some allies in north beach that have zero street trees and they're some of the most amazing, quaint allies that you see.
the sidewalk is three feet wide. we just need more room for our street trees and we're trying to be better advocates to make sure what we're sitting in will survive long-term. >> are there no species with a tall enough trunk to alleviate the issue of parked cars offering even when there is a no-parking situation cars that would come by and swap the tree on their way by. >> it is a little challenging. it's counter intuitive. but for a narrow sidewalk, we need a very up right species. a lot of our small stature species that are small in maturity tend to be oval and round-forming like a japanese maple or something like that with a lot of low branching. there are a lot of up right species that are large stature, where they're like we'll be very
narrow up and right but it's also going to be getting much bigger. the trunk, the root base, reall- >> like a palm. >> yeah. i mean a palm in some ways is the engineered -- that could be an answer. but it is, there's not a huge pallet. we've talked about do we have a -- do we shorten our expectations on an alley tree and say we'll get 20 years out of a purple leaf plum and we know in 20 years if it gets banged up too much, start over and begin new. we've had those discussions. but we're still really trying to hold the line with the seven foot sidewalk as our minimum. >> but that's really one size fits all, isn't it? >> i mean, it's -- it's pretty straight forward. we neededfour-foot- wide path of
travel for pedestrians. we have a certain amount of space leftover for street trees. >> president fung: this is not the first time the tree issue in all he's havallies have come up. we've heard of multiple times and i'll go back to your example. i can remember multiple times in north beach where this board has been granted an appeal and the replacement with those trees that has potentially less impact, maybe not when they're 50 feet tall but -- isn't there some -- and i think that's what commissioner swig says, isn't there a solution to this issue
without having bare allies? >> that's a good question. it's one i've been dealing with since 2005. it's always how small is too small to plant a tree. we used to allow a three-foot basin and allow there to be a layer of bricks along the pedestrian edge so there's at least a little more accessibility for pedestrians. that was a thought for a while. we increasingly have just seen so many trees get damaged. it's just the way that the industry and the professionals are approaching it. now i think it's right for residents to assume when you move to a block it's tree lined. you just anticipate that this is going to remain that way. a lot of examples where that doesn't -- isn't the case. derado terrace off ocean avenue, we call it arbor-geddon.
it's the worse-planned street tree setting. they're way too narrow for trees. we're finding owners are butchering the trees and they're trying to manage the tree the best way we can, which is essentially cutting the canopy off. derado terrace is really a low water mark point from a how did that happen. in terms of the pedestrian we want it all. we want a little narrow sidewalk for pedestrians but let's throw trees in there so the new homeowners who move in have something green. in the bay view, there's a similar subdivision that is brutal. >> those are all fairly new. i've sold off la cont and those are new developments. we're taking '80s and '90s. >> correct. exactly. there's a few other examples i have where it just -- well gold
mine, diamond heights neighborhood is another area where the sidewalks in diamond heights are so narrow that there's a lot of landscaping and vegetation at back of the sidewalk and so in diamond heights we're doing a similar thing for years. the tree needs to be removed and we're saying the homeowner, those trees are maintained by public works. oddly enough, they always were when diamonds heights. >> it was an development, correct. >> that could be the case. that's an example where there's a setback wher where there's something off in the community that is green. that's easier. when we know that there can still be a nice plant, shrubs but i get it. we're pro trees and you know, i can't say that everything and everyone within the bureau or the department is all in the same beige. there are a lot of varying
approaches to this. if we were looking at a two and a half foot wide tree basin, you know, but then it's like well if you are looking at a two navdeep basin why not two feet. if not two feet why not 18 inches. >> remember that the same discussion occurred on the masonic redo. the planter is only a couple of feet wide. in the middle of four lanes, you know. >> sure, it's got to be at least three and a half feet. it's another example of street trees getting the pinch. we can't upset bike lists and we can't upset motorists and pedestrians and the trees end up with a three and a half foot wide median in all that space. they're always getting the pinch. at a certain point we're saying, you know what, we're not being successful in establishing those trees.
>> any further questions? >> i am still not satisfied with the ones -- we're going to play ping-pong, president fung and myself. the one size fits all just doesn't work for me. i think that's the issue. i think whether it's -- why can't it go to a two and a half foot wide. why can't there be a met grate around ha tree trunk that is stabilizing the continuation of the sidewalks so that there is some grace with, for lack of a better term, so that a person in a wheelchair can get by and still allow a tree and still allow a street to be harmonious
and add trees as the appellant's self-made graphic showed. it really enhances the situation on the street. that's what i'm wrestelling w the gums need to go because they're going to be a problem in every which way you described. but, why not replace those gums with something appropriate in a narrower base is my question? just because the director, with all due respect, decides that, you know, the next director could come by and be completely different. i don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater due to one director's point of view versus the harmony of an alley. i'd like to figure out a solution with that. >> ok.
>> thank you. >> is there any public comment on this item? please approach. if you can come up. just one person? two? can you come up front, please. thank you. >> a few years ago, my tree died and i had to have it removed. i got a tree guy. the city approved it and they said well, you can't -- the city at that time, i don't know, if you took a tree out you had to replant another tree. he said you have a choice of replanting or not because your size or your footprint for the tree is too small. so they gave me the choice there. i had a small and that's why i can't understand him saying oh,
he can't give on that. i agree with mr. swig here that you can make adjustments. the other thing at issue is i've been living in this house for 40 years and i've seen this tree ascend. it's quite large right now. it's not a straight, it's moving over this way. it's like a canopy over the street. and i'm concerned because of all the wiring and we've had severe winds in san francisco over the years. this is a species that is related to the eucalyptus. years ago before they did construction down there, there was a bunch of eucalyptus trees and a few of them were knocked over. as my concern, since they're
leaning, if it falls it will fall on my house. or it could discharge wiring that could start a fire because it's all electrical wiring there. i just wanted to bring that to your attention, thank you. >> thank you. >> next speaker, please. >> hi there board members. my name is ben. i am the homeowner and resident of the property adjacent to mr. potter's at 471 hickory. i support the removal and replacement of those trees. for all the reasons mr. potter gave. i'm not going to reiterate those. i would like to call board's attention. i came here prepared and rather fired up to call to the board's attention the inconsistency between the rules as given by the bureau of urban forestry and what is shown in the findings of the denial that mr. potter is appealing. as you know, they have claimed venues including specifically denial that the treat trees are not replaceable due to current
withstandings and that sin consistent with i found. i asked the bureau of urban forestry can you send me the standards and the woman said yes, here are the planting orders. >> overhead, please. >> the implication here is this is out-of-date. i was told it was current. i'm now even more upset that i'm spending time worrying about something that is not current. this shows a 6'6" sidewalk that includes the curb, the sidewalk at 477 is 6'7" inches. it meets the standard of the diagram from the order and shows this exact scenario. you can see this is also in your packet from mr. potter showing the width of the sidewalk. that width is the edge of the curb, the outer edge of the curb as shown in the director's order. this seems simple to me. i was prepared to say it seems simple. something went wrong.
mr. potter has asked to replace the trees and he has been given the run around. he is told well, you k. you can't. this is the director's order and here is the current rule. is it an informal rule. i don't know, i've called and tried to find the answers. the denial states it's the sidewalk width and this is the director's order of planting according to the bureau of urban forestry. there may be a different one but i haven't seen it. the city owes mr. potter and the commission a pointer to whatever the adopted regulation that they're citing for the minimum of the basin. i know mr. potter and i know he has worked in good faith to replace the trees. i am here speaking for fairness and good governance. i don't like the idea, i understand this may not be the central issue here.
maybe it is? i don't care for the sense my neighbor has been given the run around through the process thus far and i think he needs to be showed with clarity if this is a rule, someone has to point to that rule because i haven't seen it. we can't ask members of the public to tell them to follow the public and they can't do it based on rules they can't find. i ask the board to right that wrong. thank you. >> thank you. >> any other public comments. seeing none. we'll move on to rebuttle. >> mr. potter. >> you have three minutes. >> thank you. first off, i want to say we are right near the octavia boulevard. there's a lot of traffic and noise there and having trees is really important as a buffer for both the pollution and the noise. i think replacement is very
important for the block. again, i had mentioned previously the alley on one side of us is lilly. the alley on the other side is linton. they are currently planting sidewalk gardens that are lower than three feet there and tree basins that are narrowing than three feet as well. over the last two months or so so that is inconsistent with what we're being told tonight. also, lilly and linden are featured in the marketing material for both the city and friends of the urban forest about ideal neighborhood involvement and greening up your block. if those allies, these streets are the same why are we being denied the opportunity to do what they're doing. we're sandwiched between the two of them and our block blocks bleak and grey by comparison. we're all upset by it.
it seems crazy to me. i think there needs to be a more thought out plan for the allies. especially these alleys in the center of the city a few blocks from city hall itself. that's my point. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. buck. >> chris buck, san francisco public works bureau of urban forestry. just a couple of things, not so much rebuttle but just confirming some of the feedback that we've heard this evening. just reiterating that the owner did apply to remove both trees with the intent up front to replace both trees. correct when a tree is removed it be replaced and of course it's subject to meeting guidelines that we have. i apologize. i tried hard to get a copy here
before you so i can have that with me this evening. i don't have that with me. it does appear that a colleague provided the old director's order as outlined. i completely understand the frustration and we're not trying to purposely move goal posts on anyone. the appellant's brief really stated that they're confused and frustrated. it is confusing and it can be frustrating. i've been dealing with this issue for five years and with public works since 2005. you have to really love trees to stay in this job that long. because really, my job is an educator, it's not to move the goal posts, we want to explain and be consistent. we will get a phone call tomorrow with an opposite concern. someone who doesn't want a tree and we say no, it has seven feet there's room for a tree and they insist it has to be as wide as
deloris. i'm not sensitive about the negative feedback. i do want to work to try to figure out how we address this long-term. this is not going to be the last tree that we need to remove on an alley. i hear the feedback from you, commissioners, this evening. i will bring that back to our department. karla was the captain of our debate team so she has me on the verbal argument. i just want to address some of the concerns. we're not here to be defensive or move the goal post. this is an o an on-going issue. it doesn't always come up here. it has in the past. there's one example, there's a little u-shaped street off first street. i'm blanking on the name. it's gus or guy and it turns into another alley. there's a high-rise development and what we did on that block,
we had a removal of like five brazilian pepper trees. replacement with trees that we had to move to a shared street model so we can get the sidewalk width to allow replacement trees to occur. we've had the issues here before. most of the time, we've been able to address them. but a lot of times we can't. we don't find enough room to find replacement trees. sometimes we go to the shared street model where the trees are actually placed in the parking strip area. linden alley is an example of that. there have been some efforts. unfortunately not everyone has the funding to pull off the linden alley project as was installed by blue bottle cafe. it's one of the potential solutions. so we're actively engage in this process and we hear the feedback. >> mr. buck, i've got two quick questions. so one, you are coming to the
board of appeals and you can't get a copy of the director's -- >> it's a testament -- >> how is a member of the public going to get it when you, from the department, has a hearing and can't get it? and the second question is, what is on your website? do you have a website? >> we have a website and i can check what is referenced on the website. we were consistent with a property owner that the sidewalk is narrow. it was discussed in our resulting decision. we've had multi-million dollar projects come before us and they want to plant street trees. we want street trees. the sidewalks -- sorry to interrupt. i'm just asking because if your director's order indicates seven or 6'6" including the curb, i mean, until you've modified that how are people to actually know
this? >> sure, so the public can get concern about tree removal and have reasons for wanting trees to stay or be removed. we have been conversing with a property owner, right. we've stated up front that this sidewalk is not wide enough. we have not provided the property owner, the ap amply ca. it's embarrassing to say i have a colleague who gave me the old director's order. that's i a embarrassing. we're not getting calls from the public to say you are giving me wrong information. during public comment people can say whatever we want. >> i want to find out what information was given and what information is available if you can't get a copy it's concerning for me because the public will have a hard time acquiring that information. >> sure. >> thank you.
>> there has been a recent planting by friends and i will need to -- i have made it to hickory to make measurements. i did not get to where friends were established or recently installed landscaping entries. that need to go, the measurements. we reviewed those projects and my understanding is we had a 7-foot sidewalk where those were allowed. we need to look into that.
>> president fung: what would happen if i propose that we uphold the appeal and allow the removal of the trees and the replacement of those trees in a 2-foot box? >> it is a good question. it is a good question. i do not know what we would do in that case. the director's order is 7 feet. a three-foot minimum basin. we have been telling a lot of other property owners the same thing. the public may not know that. the public is not sitting in all of our conversations and decisions. we have a lot of property owners who do not have trees in front of their homes. because we have been sticking to these guidelines. it is not easy to do. it can be like herding cats, but at some point we are striving
for a better survivability of our street trees and having more space for pedestrians. we need to start somewhere. unfortunately, there's a lot of inconsistency out there. it is not that we are trying to mislead the public, it is truly, there are inconsistencies out there. we are just looking at, is a 2-foot base and enough space for a street tree? it just starts to feel a little bit like we are -- it is just not realistic long term. i don't know where we go from that. i do not know how we would handle that. the maintenance responsibility, it could be that we require the owner to accept maintenance responsibility for the trees. but it's a little unprecedented, to answer the question, in terms of how we handle that, a decision like that. it is a fair question.
>> vice-president swig: i am just doing the meth. if you have a 6-foot six sidewalk, six images that go to the curb, 2 feet goes to the basin, and forefeet is allowable for the pedestrian space, that enables a wheelchair access and, you know, that is a good scenario for handicap access or accessible access. so why not would be my question. i would be willing to go in that direction if the rest of the team goes with me to challenge the viewpoint of the department. and set a precedent. >> it is is a reasonable line.
that is the case already. it is challenging and selecting the right tree for an alley. they tend to -- we want something upright that can get establish. we do not need a 14 feet straight tree. we allow there to be some fluff and smaller vegetation in the way. we do -- we get a lot of -- there are certain species that are absolutely off the table. don't even discuss them. it is always a challenge. what really could do well here? even when we look at the three by three with a 7-foot sidewalk, we are still thinking, get it up, get it out, and not having it to be too too dominating for the site. there are some trees. >> vice-president swig: i have a 2-foot in front of mine and when i first moved in 15 years ago, i was instrumental in working with the people and putting in 270 trees.
so it has been 14 years and i've had no issues with my cherries except for the cherries. the lack of cherries possibly. >> note too many cherries. >> one thing, the sunset is a good example where the sidewalks are mostly developed as a 6-foot wide sidewalk. what we have been doing for years is windows trees need to be removed due to natural causes, we are requiring, we gently point out to the property owner that the line is not where the sidewalk starts. there's a 15-foot wide sidewalk or public right-of-way. we have been requiring that placement trees are replanted within the right-of-way but off that narrow at 6-foot sidewalk when there is space to do that. >> i have one too. rate year. >> that is what we're doing in the richmond and sunset to get them off the 6-foot wide sidewalk. they are not new issues for us, but i hear the feedback and, you know, i'm not going to under
support our department. there is a lot of problems with trees and alleys. as we can hear this evening, no one wants to lose a tree line -- tree-lined street. >> vice-president swig: does your website say that a 7-foot or does the website say 6-foot six? >> i would have to. but that was my goal before hearing this evening. was to look at the application. of the application that the appellant submitted and have a copy of the director's order so i can point to it. >> vice-president swig: ok. thank you. >> commission -- thank you commissioners. this matter is submitted. >> commissioner lazarus: two commissioner's wake's suggestion, would it be a
situation where we did something like that it would be a future disaster or the tree wouldn't thrive. or where there are there trees that would thrive there? >> we have hundreds of street trees in alleys like this in the western edition. we have very similar issues. whole bunch of those alleys. we have very similar settings and some trees have been able to get established and some have added a lot haven't. it is really inconsistent and hit and miss situation. >> president fung: anybody else? i think i showed my cards and i would be prepared to suggest a motion where the appeal is
upheld and that the current street trees are removed and replaced by two new street trees in a 2-foot square box, as long as a 40-inch pedestrian access exists on the sidewalk and that the replacement trees would be at the discretion of the department. that would be my motion if anyone wants to discuss. that would be wonderful. >> i am with the urban forestry. one note is it could be a two by three basin or a two by four. in terms of -- we would want a
three by three or three by four. but just for taxi purposes. i just wanted to put that out there. >> president fung: we can change that up. as long as there is a 40 inch pedestrian access. that would seemingly work. 6 inches, 2 feet, forefeet would give you that 40-inch pedestrian walkway. >> the subject property has a 6-foot sidewalk. it would be a two by four with a 4-foot passage. >> yeah. >> president fung: i do not have a problem with that. the only concerning issue would be that it would set a precedent and calls for further fallback for the department. but as members of the public testified, the department is handing out information that indicates that is a 6-foot six
rather than a 7-foot at the new director's order. given that information, i would support that motion as well. >> on the basis for the motion? it is public safety and the lack of clarity currently with regard to the departmental guidelines. >> ok. so we have a motion -- >> commissioner honda: we would recommend public safety and accessibility on the sidewalk. let's stop it at that. >> and the lack of clarified lines greece.
>> commissioner honda: know, we don't need that. just public safety and accessibility. on the sidewalk. >> there should also be some basis for allowing the tree to be removed. i think you are allowing the tree to be removed. >> the tree needs to be removed because they present a clear hazard and they are in poor health based on the photos that we saw. >> ok. i have a motion from vice president's wake to grant the appeal and overturn the public works order denying the removal of two trees and directing the bureau of urban forestry to issue the tree removal permit for the two trees with replacement of trees and two by four boxes on the condition that they remain -- they remain a 40-inch wide pedestrian access. >> vice-president swig: at least 8 inches. >> 48-inch wide pedestrian access on the basis that the
trees that will be removed are creating a hazard and on the basis that making this change will result in improved public safety and accessibility of the sidewalk. on that motion? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> that motion carries. 5-0. so we will now move on to item number 2. commissioner comments and questions? >> vice-president swig: i guess i will start. sorry, you start. >> you are free to leave if you want. thank you. [laughter]
>> big audience. >> yeah. >> you don't know who is watching on television. >> it is live. there are millions out there. >> yeah, right. you could have done this for me earlier and i wouldn't have to leave. >> tonight is my last court of appeals meeting. it has been an honour to serve the public in this way. i have especially appreciated working with my fellow commissioners. these commissioners are unsung heroes in my mind for the work and dedication that i've seen them display and getting ready for the hearings on weekends and evenings, and the time and effort that they all put into come up with the right or the best results. sometimes the decisions we make or that we have made aren't always popular. no one can say that they were made in a whimsical way or made with a lack of forethought. i feel fortunate to have served
with all of you. i will miss this group of commissioners and the dedicated staff personified by julie and gary. i want to thank brad for all of his wise council. i also want to say that i am appreciative of the opportunity that i've had to listen to scott sanchez and patrick duffy. i don't know a time where they did not come before the board and were not well prepared and articulated their present -- and articulate in their presentations. i learned a lot from them even when i did not always agree with them. i wanted to say a special thank you to melia cohen for encouraging me to become a commissioner and to david chiu were selecting me. it is my hope to once again engage in public service and some other way in the future. it's a great city even with all of its challenges. i wanted to thank the public for
being engaged, showing up and sitting patiently through some long agendas, at times. it has been an honour to serve you. i think you. [applause] [laughter] >> any other comments? >> president fung: i grabbed the prerogative of the office and to also thank commissioner wilson for her service. for her deliberations. they have assisted us in our discussions and our decisions. we will miss you. good luck in your endeavours. >> i would just like to add that i too have appreciated your thoughtful questions, your considered decisions, they have always been of help in getting to the right conclusions. we will definitely miss you and
i am hopeful that your replacement is as equally an avid giants fan as you are. [laughter] >> i will keep it simple. i will definitely miss you and i will miss your deliberations and your smile and your thoughtfulness. it has been fun. [laughter] >> i won't move over there. i bite. >> president fung: i am not moving. >> thank you very much for your levelheaded nature and for the chemistry that you have provided to keep this body so cohesive in the way that we do business. i appreciate your words. we do work hard and you have worked equally hard. in the pursuit of fairness and we wish you very well. we will definitely miss you. >> think you. >> we will still see her again.
>> i will come for public comment. >> on that, one last note, i just want to extend my appreciation. thank you to my loving wife who allowed me to be here on our 20th wedding anniversary. whose patience and tolerance is appreciated. i would not miss this moment, evidently. that is it. >> is there any public comment in item number 2? [laughter] >> police down to the site. >> ok. seeing none, this concludes the hearing. >> president fung: this meeting is adjourned. thank you. >> thank you all.
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. >> i love that i was in four plus years a a rent control tenant, and it might be normal because the tenant will -- for the longest, i was applying for b.m.r. rental, but i would be in the lottery and never be like 307 or 310. i pretty much had kind of given up on that, and had to leave san francisco. i found out about the san francisco mayor's office of housing about two or three years ago, and i originally did
home counseling with someone, but then, my certificate expired, and one of my friends jamie, she was actually interested in purchasing a unit. i told her about the housing program, the mayor's office, and i told her hey, you've got to do the six hour counseling and the 12 hour training. she said no, i want you to go with me. and then, the very next day that i went to the session, i notice this unit at 616 harrison became available, b.m.i. i was like wow, this could potentially work. housing purchases through the b.m.r. program with the sf mayor's office of housing, they are all lotteries, and for this one, i did win the lottery. there were three people that applied, and they pulled my number first. i won, despite the luck i'd had with the program in the last
couple years. things are finally breaking my way. when i first saw the unit, even though i knew it was less than ideal conditions, and it was very junky, i could see what this place could be. it's slowly beginning to feel like home. i can definitely -- you know, once i got it painted and slowly getting my custom furniture to fit this unit because it's a specialized unit, and all the units are microinterms of being very small. this unit in terms of adaptive, in terms of having a murphy bed, using the walls and ceiling, getting as much space as i can. it's slowly becoming home for me. it is great that san francisco has this program to address, let's say, the housing crisis that exists here in the bay area. it will slowly become home, and i am appreciative that it is a
>> this is one place you can always count on to give you what you had before and remind you of what your san francisco history used to be. >> we hear that all the time, people bring their kids here and their grandparents brought them here and down the line. >> even though people move away, whenever they come back to the city, they make it here. and they tell us t