Remembering Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco was shocked to learn that Mayor Ed Lee passed away after suffering a heart attack on Monday night, while shopping at Safeway with his wife Anita.

The San Francisco Chronicle published a wonderful piece looking back on his life and tenure as mayor. The opening lines are both poignant and telling.

For a no-flash, longtime city bureaucrat who had to be cajoled into running San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee will be remembered for dramatically reshaping the city, but not changing himself at all.

In his seven years in Room 200, Lee, who died early Tuesday morning of a heart attack at age 65, remained the hardworking, jovial guy known for his bushy mustache, corny dad jokes, mean pingpong skills, and distaste for the limelight and political spats.

To read the entire piece, please click here.


Union Square Menorah Lighting Ceremonies

The 1st Union Square Candle Lighting Ceremony took place at Union Square last evening, and the 2nd Lighting will take place tonight at 5PM. These ceremonies will continue through the Grand Finale on Tuesday, December 19.

The biggest events, however, take place this weekend. Here are the details:

Saturday, Dec 16 — 5th Union Square Candle Lighting Ceremony at 7PM
– Menorah Parade after Lighting Ceremony
– 8PM – Young Professionals Chanukah Party

Sunday, Dec 17 — Bill Graham Menorah Day!  
– 2 PM Dreidel House & Kids Crafts activities begin
– 3:30 PM Music by Jerry’s Kosher Deli featuring Greg Anton, Jordan Feinstein, Byron  Rynes, and Ben Bernstein — playing their delectable mix of Jerry/Grateful Dead/Reggae/Bob Marley and Jewish Music!
– 5 PM – 6th Union Square Candle Lighting Ceremony

For more information, click here.

Presenting San Francisco’s 2017 Eater Award Winners just announced the winners of its eighth annual Eater Awards, celebrating the chefs and restaurants that made the largest impact on the past twelve months. There are Editor’s Choice winners, and Reader’s Choice winners in five different categories.  And the winners are:

Restaurant of the Year

  • Editor’s Choice: China Live, 644 Broadway
  • Reader’s Choice: Villon1100 Market Street

Chef of the Year

  • Editor’s Choice: Adam Tortosa, Robin, 620 Gough Street
  • Reader’s Choice: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, 300 Grove Street

SF’s Most Gorgeous Restaurant of the Year

  • Editor’s Choice: Villon1100 Market Street
  • Reader’s Choice: Villon1100 Market Street

Fast Casual Restaurant of the Year

  • Editor’s Choice: RT Rotisserie, 101 Oak Street
  • Reader’s Choice: Split2300 Polk Street

Wine Bar of the Year

  • Editor’s Choice: The Riddler, 528 Laguna Street
  • Reader’s Choice: Birba, 458 Grove Street

To see the entire feature, click here.

Where to See Some of the City’s Best Holiday Lights

The City is lit up beautifully anytime of year, but even more so during the holidays. The nights come early, the lights come on, and everything just seems to become magical. While there’s something to see on virtually every block in the City, if you want to see some of the best displays, consider these three activities:

2017 Lighted Boat Parade  Friday, December 15, 2017; 6PM to 8PM. Spectators can enjoy wonderful views from Aquatic Park, PIER 39, the Marina Green, and Crissy Field.

Holiday Nights & Sights City Tour Now through December 24th, and the 26th through the 30th; Tours run three times nightly: 6PM, 7PM, and 8PM. An 80 minute tour, where a Classic Cable Car (on wheels) whisks you through Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Chinatown, Union Square, the Financial District, the Embarcadero, and Pier 39.

Illuminate SF Festival of Light Now through New Year’s Day, From dusk to dawn. 37 installations in 17 neighborhoods. Some installations are indoors, some are outdoors, all are free.

Weekend Events and the Weekly Real Estate Update

The holidays are officially here as SantaCon 2017 takes to the streets on Saturday, beginning around noon at Union Square. Wear a full Santa or elf suit, and bring a toy! Also happening Saturday, the 15th Annual San Francisco Parol Lantern Festival and Parade take place at Yerba Buena Gardens, Jessie Square, and St. Patrick’s Social Hall from 3 – 8 PM. The event is a Filipino holiday tradition — an expression of hope, blessings, luck, peace, and light. The Lower Haight Art Walk runs from 3 -8 PM on Saturday as well.

On the “Homes for Sale in San Francisco” front, here’s our report for this week, 12/3/17 – 12/9/17

The Tax Law Headed Our Way

Tax law is by its very nature complicated, and the tax legislation that made it through the senate over the weekend was 479 pages long. Nothing is final, but the president hopes to sign a $1.5 trillion tax cut package into law by the end of the year.

Things are going to move quickly, so we thought we would present you with a VERY brief snapshot of where things stand as of today — all in just a couple of paragraphs. You’ll really want to talk to your tax consultant about these matters, but here’s what we know:

It appears that under the new plan, mortgage interest would be deductible on loans up to $500,000 instead of the current $1 million for couples filing jointly. Real estate experts believe this could potentially weaken the incentive in high-cost markets where property deals often require large mortgages.

About 7 million homes, including a third of homes in California, would be affected by the mortgage-interest deduction cap if they were put on the market, according to a preliminary analysis by the National Association of Home Builders. The number of households that itemize to take advantage of the housing deduction would drop to less than 11 million from 34 million currently, according to the group.

The plan could also limit home sales in other ways. Under current law, a couple who sells their home is able to exclude up to $500,000 in capital gains from their gross income, as long as they used the home as their principal residence for two of the past five years. Under the new plan, they’d need to use it as their principal residence for five of the past eight years to qualify. Instead of being able to use that exclusion every two years, they’d be able to use it only every five years.

Here are some links to reports that provide more details on how the new tax law may impact you as a homeowner or home buyer. If interested, please click on, or copy and paste, the links that follow:

Forbes Report:

Chicago Tribune Report:

CNBC Report:

Mercury News Report #1

Mercury News Report #2:

This Seven-Screen Art Installation Is Wildly Different

It’s hard to wrap your head around this thing, but then that’s the idea. It’s meant to be provocative. It’s more art than movie, though you’ll recognize some of the actors. There’s no beginning and no end, though the story takes about an hour to tell. Chronicle art critic Charles Desmarais describes it this way: “Ultra-high-definition video images surround us, weaving together sublime landscapes and brawny city views. They are sumptuous and transfixing; each could be viewed as though it were a distinct work of photographic art.”

We’re talking about Playtime, a free exhibition open to the public now through February 11, 2018 at Fort Mason; Wednesday-Saturday, noon – 8 PM; Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM.

Here’s how Fort Mason describes this work by acclaimed artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien:

“Playtime unfolds across three capital cities—London, Reykjavik and Dubai—that have been extensively reshaped by the recent volatilities in the global financial system. Playtime’s cosmopolitan spectacle, presented in a kaleidoscopic montage across seven large screens, interconnects the lives of its archetypical characters—hedge fund managers and art world players in London; a photographer in Reykjavik; and a Filipina houseworker in Dubai—each of whom is based on a real-life individual directly affected by the market collapse. Julien visualizes the potential of capital to both create social mobility and produce obstacles to it, foregrounding the way each character inhabits and traverses the sweeping high-tech cityscapes, contemporary architecture, and sublime natural landscapes of these worldly locales.”

Told you it was hard to wrap your head around. But that’s probably art at its best, and it certainly seems worth checking out. It’s like no movie you’ve ever seen. For more information, click here.

SantaCon Is Coming to Town This Saturday!


There’s lots going on this weekend, yet once again we’re compelled to single out SantaCon! It’s just such great spectacle. There’s nothing like seeing 8,000 Santas in one place at one time! And the weather promises to be picture perfect this year.

SantaCon events take place all over the world. San Francisco’s SantaCon 2017 happens this Saturday, beginning at noon at Union Square. says “The Santas behind SantaCon like to keep the details under lock and key until the last minute.” Bottom line,  Santas meet at Union Square, mingle, and then head out on one of the routes — walking through the streets spreading good cheer, singing songs, and stopping every now and then for a holiday cocktail or a bite to eat.

Be sure to put on your Santa suit, and have fun! All are welcome but organizers ask that you wear a full Santa/Elf suit — T-shirts don’t count and just a hat isn’t enough.

Be sure also to bring a toy if you can for their toy drive, which runs from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM!