Commentary: Nancy DeStefanis

Notes From a Progressive

As we leave behind the atmospheric rivers that have tormented California this winter, our hearts go out to all the Bay Area folks and those throughout the state who have been left stunned and throttled.

Going forward, I want to stress two things you can do to make our City more habitable.

First, stop taking single use food ware with your takeout order.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB-54 on June 30, 2022, which will begin phasing out single-use plastics in California. How it works: The bill requires all packaging in California to be recyclable or compostable by 2032, cutting plastic packaging by 25% and requiring 65% of all single-use plastics to be recycled.

Currently, only 9% of the world’s 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste is recycled. The remaining 91% accumulates in landfills or litters the environment, and most plastics take more than 400 years to break down. Because single-use plastics are so lightweight, they are easily carried by the wind to litter the ground or end up in open water, causing harm to birds and marine life. Learn more at

San Francisco has already banned single-use food ware! On June 1, 2022, AB-1276 was passed, mandating restaurants may only offer disposable food accessories upon customer request for takeout and delivery orders. This new single-use food ware bill means less waste for California restaurants. Under the law, single-use food ware accessories are defined as: utensils, chopsticks, condiment cups and packets, straws, stirrers, splash sticks, cocktail sticks, cup sleeves and lids. Condiments packets include single-use packets of ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, salsa, soy sauce, sugar and salt.

SF’s Department of the Environment (SF Environment) works with restaurants through outreach and education so they can comply with the law. However, these single-use items continue to be included with take-out orders. Please insist on no single-use items when you order. Food delivery services must give you the option online to ask for utensils. If you don’t opt for the utensils, they are forbidden from including with your food order. SF Environment is the agency responsible for compliance and outreach/education. One can provide information about a non-compliance with SF zero waste policies through the web at:

Second, make San Francisco more accessible for people with disabilities.

Disability access complaints can be made by calling 311 or online here:

Depending on the type of complaint, it will be assigned to appropriate staff for investigation.

Department of Building Inspection (DBI) is limited with the types of complaints they can enforce for various reasons, but are currently underway with their Accessible Business Entrance Program to help businesses become compliant with accessible entrance requirements. If you have any questions about that program, please visit or call 628-652-3724.

Around Town

One of our City’s most precious landmarks – the Castro Theatre – is under siege! The Historic Preservation Committee is scheduled to meet on Feb. 1 to vote on the expansion of the historic designation to include the sloped floor and theater seating. Stay tuned.

Nancy DeStefanis is a member of the Richmond District Democratic Club, has been politically active in the Richmond and Sunset districts for 28 years and in San Francisco for more than 40 years.

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