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san francisco

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107-year-old Japanese Tea Garden Pagoda unveiled in San Francisco after 2-year, $1.1 million restoration

pagoda
  • The Japanese Tea Garden Pagoda, which was constructed for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, was renovated and unveiled on Wednesday in San Francisco.
  • The renovation reportedly cost $1.1 million and took the Recreation and Park Department’s carpentry staff almost two years to complete.
  • The structure features five floors and stands 52 feet tall.
  • Although the pagoda’s renovation is complete, the area around its foundation will obtain a new landscape.
  • This phase of the project will begin next year along with the reconstruction of the landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara’s bridge, which serves as the pagoda’s main road.

The Japanese Tea Garden Pagoda, which was constructed for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, was unveiled in San Francisco on Wednesday after two years of restoration.

At the end of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, which celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal and a milestone in San Francisco history, the indoor pagoda was moved into the Japanese Tea Garden in 1943 by park superintendent John T. McLaren. 

Poll: Asian Americans don’t feel safe in San Francisco; only 14% predict improvement

  • According to a poll conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle, Asian American residents in San Francisco feel the least safe out of any other groups.
  • Only 14% of the 490 Asian respondents believe that living in San Francisco will be better in the next two years, the lowest rate among all ethnic groups.
  • Meanwhile, 44% of Asian Americans think that living in the city will even be worse in two years, which exceeds the 35% overall who similarly think so.
  • Asian Americans, who make up over a third of the population in the city, mostly cited safety/crime as San Francisco’s biggest issue.
  • While they acknowledged the crime problem in the city, Asian respondents were found to be the least likely to report being victimized by a crime.

Asian American residents in San Francisco feel less safe than other groups, according to a recent poll by the San Francisco Chronicle. 

As part of its SFNext project, the paper conducted a survey of 1,653 local residents belonging to different racial groups and released its findings on Sept. 14. 

Man arrested for unprovoked attack on Asian woman in San Francisco Chinatown

  • Alejandro Garcia, 30, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly shoving a 53-year-old Asian woman in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
  • The victim, who fell and hit her head on the ground, reported the unprovoked attack herself and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. 
  • Garcia was booked on an aggravated assault charge and is being held without bail at San Francisco County Jail.

A man has been arrested for an unprovoked assault involving a 53-year-old Asian woman in San Francisco’s Chinatown earlier this week.

Alejandro Garcia, 30, is accused of shoving the victim off the sidewalk on the 700 block of Jackson Street at around 8:25 p.m. on Tuesday.

Crime-watch app Citizen offers free 1-year premium access to Bay Area’s AAPI community

  • New York-based app developer sp0n, Inc. is giving 20,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander residents from the Bay Area free premium access to its crime-watch app Citizen for one year as part of its new initiative to combat anti-Asian hate.
  • sp0n, Inc. has partnered up with San Francisco’s Chinese American Association of Commerce (CAAC) for the initiative, which is funded by the Goldwater Collective.
  • “Hate crimes against Asian business owners continue to plague our city and we need to use every tool at our disposal to protect each other,” CAAC said in a statement.
  • Citizen Premium “provides subscribers 24/7 unlimited access to Citizen’s team of highly trained agents through video or text whenever subscribers might feel unsafe or uncertain about their surroundings,” sp0n, Inc. said in a recent press release.

A New York-based app developer is giving 20,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander residents in the Bay Area free premium access to its crime-watch app to combat anti-Asian hate in the region.

Citizen, an app developed by sp0n, Inc., will give these Bay Area residents one year of free premium access, the company announced on Monday.

SF DA Brooke Jenkins to review anti-Asian attacks reported under ousted predecessor Chesa Boudin

  • San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins will reportedly review anti-Asian cases filed during the term of Chesa Boudin.
  • Jenkins, who replaced Boudin after a landslide recall election in June, will begin with 12 cases that were initially investigated as hate crimes — before all but two were dropped as such.
  • The district attorney has reportedly tasked veteran trial prosecutor and former Deputy California Attorney General Nancy Tung to lead the review.
  • In response, Boudin slammed the move as a ruse, saying “playing politics” with charging decisions based on the law “will not make the city safer.”

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will reportedly review several anti-Asian cases filed during the term of Chesa Boudin, potentially paving the way for hate crime charges.

Brooke Jenkins, who replaced Boudin after a landslide recall election, will begin with 12 cases reviewed by the San Francisco Standard and KQED in June, according to NBC News. All 12 cases were initially investigated as hate crimes, but only two were charged as such.

San Francisco rally commemorates first anniversary of Vicha Ratanapakdee mural

  • A rally commemorating the first-year anniversary of a mural created to honor Vicha Ratanapakdee was held in San Francisco’s Chinatown on Sunday.
  • Dozens reportedly attended the event to remember the 84-year-old Thai immigrant, who was shoved to his death while walking along Anza Vista and Fortuna Avenues on Jan. 28, 2021.
  • The unprovoked attack, which was caught on video, occurred at the height of pandemic-driven anti-Asian violence across the U.S. Antoine Watson, 19, has been charged with homicide but not a hate crime in connection with the incident.
  • The mural, created by Thitiwat Phromratanapongse and Sarah Siskin based on an illustration by Jonathan D. Chang, is located at Grant Avenue and California Street.
  • The attendees of Sunday’s rally helped clean the mural. There were also discussions on a street renaming project and an anti-Asian hate open forum, according to NBC Bay Area.
  • A similar but larger rally erupted in Columbus Avenue earlier this month. Around 200 reportedly marched to Chinatown in search of justice for the recent attacks on a 70-year-old Asian woman and former commissioner-at-large Greg Chew.

A rally commemorating the first-year anniversary of a mural created to honor Vicha Ratanapakdee was held in San Francisco’s Chinatown on Sunday.

Dozens reportedly attended the event to remember the 84-year-old Thai immigrant, who was fatally shoved while walking along Anza Vista and Fortuna Avenues on Jan. 28, 2021.

SF Chinatown attracts nearly 40,000 visitors during Autumn Moon Festival celebration

  • San Francisco’s Chinatown held its annual Autumn Moon Festival celebration on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Jenny Chan, the assistant director of the celebration, explained that they decided to hold the event last weekend “because we wanted for people to get the mooncake [and lanterns] ahead of time so they can actually celebrate at home with their family on the day of the Moon Festival,”
  • This year’s actual date of the Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is Sept. 10. 
  • The streets of Chinatown were filled with vendors, music and several events, including a Bruce Lee look-alike contest.
  • Around 40,000 visitors reportedly went to Chinatown to celebrate and help support small businesses.

Nearly 40,000 visitors went to San Francisco’s Chinatown over the weekend to celebrate this year’s Autumn Moon Festival.

The event typically occurs every September, but organizers decided to celebrate early this year.

SF supervisor candidate removed from ballot after providing ‘insufficient’ proof of residency

  • The Department of Elections will not include Leanna Louie’s name on the ballot for the upcoming U.S. elections on Nov. 8 after an investigation found that she is not eligible to run for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in District 4.
  • Investigators found that Louie signed a lease to rent a room at 35th Avenue on March 1. She used her family home's District 10 address to cast a ballot on April 3.
  • Louie used her District 4 address to re-register to vote on May 7. She declared her candidacy on June 3.
  • To be eligible to run for a Board of Supervisors seat, candidates must “reside and be registered to vote in their district for at least 30 days immediately preceding the date he or she files the Declaration of Candidacy,” according to the Department of Elections’ Candidate Guide.
  • “After reviewing the information gathered from the City Attorney’s investigation, the Department of Elections considers Leanna Louie’s nomination petition to be insufficient,” Elections Director John Arntz said in a news release. “The Department will not place her name on the ballot for the upcoming November 8 election.”

Leanna Louie, a candidate running for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, will no longer be included on the ballot for the upcoming elections after failing to provide sufficient proof of residency.

The City Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into Louie’s “legal domicile” after a Mission Local report pointed out that she registered her District 4 residence on May 7 to vote. Twenty-seven days later, she declared her candidacy on June 3.

Mysterious billboards in SF and LA warn Californians: ‘Don’t move to Texas’

CA BILLBOARD
  • A mysterious billboard spotted in Los Angeles and San Francisco this week referenced the Uvalde school shooting to warn Californians against moving to Texas.
  • Texas has seen a huge influx of Californian migrants in recent years due to its lower cost of living and greater business flexibility.
  • Asian Americans reportedly make up the majority of Texas migrants, with the group now composing 6 percent of the state’s population.
  • While many move to Texas for cheaper rent, some — including Asians — are attracted by the state’s family-friendly values.

A billboard that reportedly sprung up in Los Angeles and San Francisco this week warned Californians against moving to Texas with an ominous reference to the Uvalde school shooting.

The billboard, whose creator remains a mystery, claims that the so-called “Texas Miracle” died in Uvalde, where 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School were fatally shot in May.

San Francisco DA Jenkins reveals new pre-trial detention and cash bail policies

SF DA
  • San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced that her new policy will permit cash bail “in limited misdemeanor cases as required by law.”
  • A request for pretrial lockup may also be permitted when there is a “substantial likelihood” that the defendant will harm a victim or the public or will skip a court date.
  • Jenkins’ new policies are similarly compared to Boudin’s reforms.
  • Public Defender Mano Raju criticized Jenkins’ new policy in a statement, noting that it was regressive.
  • Although Jenkins does not agree with eliminating cash bail entirely, she wants to take the public’s safety into account when defendants are released from custody.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced her office’s new cash bail and pre-trial detention policies. 

Jenkins, who replaced ousted former District Attorney Chesa Boudin, revealed on Wednesday morning that her new policy will permit cash bail “in limited misdemeanor cases as required by law.” 

Chocolate shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown teaches employees kung fu to combat crime

  • Mindy Fong, the owner of Jade Chocolates Teahouse and Cafe in San Francisco’s Chinatown, has been offering her employees lessons in kung fu since March to help them combat theft and crime in the neighborhood.
  • Fong was worried about the increase in crime and anti-Asian hate in Chinatown after the COVID-19 pandemic started.
  • She believes the kung fu lessons can prepare her employees for situations that would call for self-defense.

The owner of a chocolate shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown has been offering her employees kung fu lessons after work to help them combat theft and crime in the neighborhood.

Mindy Fong, the owner of Jade Chocolates Teahouse and Cafe, closed her shop at around 5 p.m. on a weekday in March to hold the first of many kung fu classes for her employees following the rise of reported robberies in the neighborhood.

SF DA Jenkins to Asian Americans at town hall: ‘You are now seen and heard’

  • San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins addressed a crowd on Tuesday night to discuss the recent attacks on older Asian Americans. 
  • “I come to you as a sign of change,” Jenkins was quoted as saying. “You’ve been struggling with feeling unheard and unseen... by the San Francisco D.A.’s Office. You are now seen, and you are now heard.”
  • Jenkins, who was appointed to the position just over a month ago, is running for re-election in November.
  • During her speech, Jenkins earned applause while pausing periodically to allow a translator to convey her message to those who do not speak English.
  • According to Jenkins, she would send a message that “this type of conduct is no longer tolerated in San Francisco” by holding people accountable for crimes against Asian American residents.
  • Police Chief Bill Scott acknowledged that attacks against Asian Americans in the city had been going on for over two-and-a-half years.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins earned several rounds of applause as she spoke out against the recent attacks on older Asian Americans during a town hall on Tuesday.

The town hall was organized so that concerned residents could speak and air their grievances directly to local officials in the wake of the latest wave of violence in San Francisco’s Chinatown.