As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of what we have to be grateful for here in San Francisco, and the list is truly endless. The Trust for Public Land rated San Francisco’s urban park system the best in the U.S. recently, and Businessweek just rated San Francisco America’s Best City in 2012, noting that our “coastal city packs in so much – from world-class restaurants and museums to community fairs and music festivals.” While we are not immune to issues facing urban environments across our country, there is no denying there is something special about our city, and last month drove that fact home more than ever.
WORLD-CLASS DESTINATION CITY
More than one million spectators joined us in San Francisco during the first week of October. The America’s Cup catamarans sailed on the bay, while the Blue Angels buzzed our rooftops for the 31st annual Fleet Week celebration. Fleet Week is one of our city’s most treasured traditions, and despite initial concerns, all of the advance work done to address the anticipated traffic and congestion truly paid off.
While the bay was packed with boats and the sky was filled with planes, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival took place in Golden Gate Park. This year approximately 100,000 people attended the 80-plus performances, making it one of the most anticipated festivals for concertgoers and musicians alike.
In North Beach, San Francisco’s 144th annual Italian Heritage Parade and Festival kicked off one of the city’s oldest heritage celebrations with one of the nation’s longest-running Italian-American parades.
Meanwhile, the annual Castro Street fair got underway with hundreds of local artists, vendors, craftspeople, and organizations lining the streets and celebrating the diversity of the neighborhood.
ROBUST SPORTS TOWN
As if that wasn’t enough to pack into one weekend, the Giants played two home games against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park in the National League Division Series. The Giants became the first team in history to win the NLDS after starting behind 2–0, and are taking on the Cardinals as we write this column. No matter what happens postseason, it was an incredible year with Matt Cain’s perfect game, Angel Pagan’s catch to save the perfect game, Buster Posey’s grand slam in the final game against the Reds, and Tony Bennett’s live rendition of “God Bless America” at the opening game against the Cardinals.
That same weekend the 49ers drilled the Buffalo Bills 45–3 at Candlestick Park, and continue to exhibit great strength this season. After a few years dwelling in the NFC West cellar, it feels great to have our 49ers back.
In mid-October, the NFL invited San Francisco to compete for hosting rights to the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls. The following day, I joined Mayor Lee, Tipping Point director Daniel Lurie, and 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the formation of our San Francisco Super Bowl Bid Committee (Twitter: #sfsuperbowl). While the Super Bowl itself would be played at the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, San Francisco would be the official host city, translating into thousands of local jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of local economic activity, and another chance to show off our incredible city. Serving as the board’s liaison to the bid committee, I will put my full weight behind our effort to bring the Super Bowl to the Bay Area.
In other exciting news, architectural plans for the new Golden State Warriors arena were released in mid-October (www.nba.com/warriors/sf). The new arena will provide a spectacular venue not only for NBA basketball, but also for major conventions, concerts and important cultural events.
Meanwhile, improvements were recently made to the Cow Palace to host our newest sports team, the San Francisco Bulls – a minor league ice-hockey team affiliated with the San Jose Sharks. They played their inaugural game on Oct. 12, 2012, making the Bulls the first ice hockey team to represent San Francisco since the San Francisco Spiders of the International Hockey League in 1995–1996.
SMALL IN SIZE, BIG IN SPIRIT
We may be small geographically, but we are a strong and remarkable city. So many things make San Francisco special, from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to our incredibly distinct and unique neighborhoods. There is something for everyone, and our tolerance and respect for all individuals proves we live up to our namesake of St. Francis.
I’m not only grateful and proud to be a San Franciscan, but I am honored to be your supervisor. I am committed to making our city not only one of the best places to visit but the best place to live. Thank you for allowing me
to be of service.