City workers painted over a “response to the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor” at Kantine just hours after it was completed
San Francisco’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is under scrutiny this week for covering over pro-Black Lives Matter art at a local restaurant and — of all places — on a prominent Bernal Heights rock, the latest of the beleaguered agency’s recent stumbles.
The DPW is the agency tasked with keeping the city’s streets and public spaces clean, and is also responsible for enforcing SF’s graffiti ordinance, by sending owners of private property a notice demanding cleanup within 30 days if a building is tagged.
That’s not what happened at Mid-Market Scandinavian spot Kantine, Hoodline reports. Last week, Kantine’s owners commissioned artist Jennifer Sonderby to create a mural for its boarded-up storefront. After two days of work, the end result was a depiction of a clasped black and white hand (here’s a photo), a “response to the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” Sonderby says.
In the dead of night — 2:15 a.m. on Friday, Kantine’s surveillance video reportedly shows — a crew from DPW painted over just a portion of the art, covering the hands but leaving the top couple feet of the mural as-is. (It quite arguably looks worse after DPW’s ministrations! Here’s a photo of the end result.)
It’s unclear why this was done, and after contacting DPW, Kantine owners Nichole Accettola and Joachim Majholm aren’t completely sure, either. The DPW said “our staff should not have painted over it” and that “the employees in the video will be counseled and re-trained on what constitutes an appropriate abatement.” However, the DPW refused to pay for the damage its workers admittedly did, saying that it is a “a regrettable reality in our city’s current climate: we have no resources to repaint your mural.”
This isn’t the only art calling for racial equity that the DPW has covered over in recent days, as the Bernal Heights Boulder, a rock that for years has been home to art depicting the issues of the day, has had messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement removed first by neighbors and then by the DPW, the SF Chronicle reports. As with the Kantine situation, the acting head of the agency (its most recent permanent head, it should be noted, stepped down after his arrest on federal corruption charges) says that the DPW coverup on the boulder was “an extremely unfortunate mistake.”
And in other news...
- If you’re wondering why you’re seeing prominent SF chef Dominique Crenn’s name a lot this week — for example, this Q&A [Conde Nast Traveler] — don’t worry, it’s nothing bad! She’s just doing press for her memoir, which just scored a positive review from her hometown paper. [SF Chronicle]
- Don’t be put off by its boarded up windows: Valencia Street’s 45-year-old, family-owned Mexican standby, Puerto Alegre, is indeed open for takeout. [Mission Local]
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Oakland Carribean spot Miss Ollie’s Tuesday for an in-person meeting with local, minority-owned businesses. [ABC 7]
- Madera, the Michelin-starred restaurant inside Menlo Park’s Rosewood resort hotel, will reopen for outdoor dining on June 18. [East Bay Times]
- There’s a new podcast kid in town! Extra Spicy, a “year in the making” food podcast from food critic Soleil Ho and reporter Justin Phillips, drops its first episode on June 22. [SF Chronicle]
- The last gay bar in the Tenderloin has been saved! Aunt Charlie’s, which seemed destined for closure, has been pulled from the brink after a successful fundraiser. [SFist]
- Japantown ramen sensation Marufuku expanded to Oakland a couple years ago, and now it’s opening a third outpost in Redwood City. [Mountain View Voice]
- Berkeley’s Market Hall Foods temporarily closed its doors this week after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. [Berkeleyside]
- El Grenada spot Breakwater Barbecue got its permit to open two weeks after the pandemic began, so it swiftly pivoted to a limited menu of smoked meats (“prime brisket, pork ribs, pulled heritage-breed pork and smoked beef-and-pork sausage links made in-house”), desserts, and sides for weekend takeout. [East Bay Times]