My dear, dear San Franciscans:
My deepest best wishes of good health to all, well-wishes to those suffering, and condolences for those who have passed. My greatest, biggest heart-hugs to our medical and civic employees who have been stalwart, patient and brilliant throughout.
I am Karthik Rajan and I’ve returned to San Francisco not to “Run for Mayor,” but rather to continue a long-seated desire to be instrumental in the conceptualization and realization of what San Francisco can be in the future, for the betterment of all, and to push for “San Francisco values” I learned since moving here in 1993, which I espoused in detail in my campaign for Mayor nine years ago.
Sadly, and in a way that has been painful for me to watch from Oakland, the greatest of my charges in the election of 2011 came to pass. Specifically two:
First, I TOLD YOU we shouldn’t give Twitter and the others from Silicon Valley the huge tax break to move up here, warned it would cause massive class collision and predicted when they were done with the City, they’d pack up, spit and leave. I asked, “Didn’t we already do this once with the dot-commers?”
Secondly, I warned on this site nine years ago that SF was headed toward first, Manhattanization (Salesforce Tower), and then HongKongification (now?) that I declared rampant and unnecessary development
And lo, here we are. Massive empty buildings and plunging artificial rents amidst homelessness and disease.
Let me begin by extending my condolences to Mayor Lee’s family and express my sincerest gratitude to Ed Lee for his devotion to the City, for all the good work he did and the effort he gave. It was the sudden and unexpected death of a lifelong public servant and I am sorry I couldn’t be in the City to offer my condolences then. Ed Lee was an excellent administrator. May his soul rest in well-earned peace.
Second, let me congratulate and commend Mayor London Breed who has been exceptional as our leader during this pandemic. Despite that powerfully connected interests have, and may still, attempt to undermine Mayor Breed, she has withstood such demeaning efforts and risen to the occasion. Kudos to the Board of Supervisors as well. Standing your ground on this important public health issue will require still further resolve.
It is important to note that carelessness, after the influenza of 1918 started to fade at the end of that summer, led to an even worse winter of 1919 for that flu. We must use the momentum we have to create a City that can withstand the upcoming waves of this illness and others like it.
A Pandemic Response Team and Plan for SF should be created, as soon as practicable, built from what we have learned and are learning now. I am very proud of San Francisco for our response led by Mayor Breed and the Board. Thank you. I am happy to offer my services in aid of any of you.
For the last fifteen days, I’ve been staying at The Mark Hopkins atop Nob Hill. While the geography had its same, historic and climactic charm, and my heart swelled to be home, it was like I’ve never seen it before and remains a surreal stage of socially distanced, masked residents, neighbors and tourists diminished in number by such a drastic amount as to seem post-apocalyptic.
The hotel’s new encased patio was the only addition, and it is a nice new vantage. But there were no newspapers in the lobby, none of the normal bustle. I ordered the Chron to help normalize things. It has been a great sign of civilization to me that one single paper is delivered way up here at the Mark Hopkins each morning. I hope all of you will consider getting the physical paper again and renewing your e-subscriptions. It is a local business.
I met with staff here and discussed their experiences during the time the City rendered this a home for essential workers and others afflicted by the chaos of this year.
There has been a remarkable change at the Mark Hopkins that bears note. I intend to write more about that at a later date, but for now must commend staff on their training and efforts to maintain protocols. Some of them said they learned methodologies from practices expected of them during the time of the City’s occupation for civic servants. This was evidence of a success in the fight for public health.
I knew that Labor Day was going to bring 75% capacity to the hotel and wondered how things would change. It has been challenging.
Two weeks ago, I wandered down to Momo’s to watch a couple of Giants games and fired up my old blog, Giants Baseball Corner. You can join me there for baseball talk as our Giants try to sneak into the expanded playoffs.
I have been walking at night and watching folks building out these new sectional parklets – another win for the Mayor and Board. Though harried and working at night, folks are doing so with intention and style. Many expressed hope they will be allowed to be permanent.
Kudos to the creative use of a mural broken into parts by the staff at Merkado – a lovely Mexican restaurant that used to be the Tres Tequila Lounge in SOMA – to make barriers for sections out back of their restaurant to create a patio.
Zeitgeist rocks! Don’t go running down there willy-nilly you idiots. Have some sense of the style and decorum. They are running a right-on version of the biergarten with cool, see-through barriers.
IF YOU ARE AT ZEITGEIST I’M WATCHING OUT FOR YOU TO BREAK RULE NINE. DON’T DO IT.
There are new parklets in the Mission and though I haven’t yet gone for the closed streets because I am not confident protocols will be followed, dropping in on a Tuesday was great. Stopped by Clarion alley and shared a Falafel Deluxe I’d picked up at Truly Med with a street musician.
Went back and had an amazing sangria with fresh cut fruit at a new place installed by a family from El Salvador. Los Amigos has opened right next door to Limon. The juxtaposition was strange – people ordering $3.75 pupusas just feet away from people ordering $30 platos, ha! SF … you crazy, sad place.
Up here in Nob Creek I can very highly recommend the family-owned local spot Aliment. Wassim and Kristine are charming, the food is excellent and they have a drink with turmeric I really enjoyed!
It was great to get an espresso at Trieste and I went to a good spot in North Beach for mussels, but I found an even lovelier little Italian place tucked away called Pazzia – highly recommended, but it only has two tables outside. Make reservations.
I found another spot for Giants fans, Local Tap, where Paulie has built a sweet little outdoor patio and has TVs outside. I enjoyed Giants games there with Marc and Tim and Timmy and Paulie. Good times. Best times I have had in a while.
I miss and love you San Francisco. I hope we can all live together safely and stay healthy and live in peace. I want to help.
Running for Mayor wasn’t really the intention of this campaign back in 2011. It was a social media campaign launched when there was no incumbent and Ed Lee was not allowed to run. But yes, you should totally read this site from back then, including my campaign promises and responses to FAQs to get what I mean.
My campaign was meant to:
- teach people how to use Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) – which was facing its inaugural use
- and diversify the body politic to aid candidates I supported for Mayor against those I feared would decimate San Francisco values and lead us into class colllision
with much love, and
Let’s Go Giants!
from the 14th Floor of the Hop, where I walked out on Red Sky Day through Chinatown and North Beach and it looked like this: