Axios San Francisco

Picture of the San Francisco skyline

It's Friday — time to cut loose.

Today's weather: Rainy with some breeze. High of 57, low of 46.

Today's newsletter is 894 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Muni's highs and lows

muni train

Muni metro train at West Portal Station in 2020. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While Muni ridership has seen significant gains since the pandemic, officials from the city's transit agency this week warned there's still a looming budget deficit.

Why it matters: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's revenue from ridership fares is only 56% of what it was pre-pandemic, while revenue from parking fees dipped by 12%.

  • SFMTA has proposed increases to Muni fares, parking fees and fines, as well as taxi fees to fund its service operations.

Threat level: The SFMTA needs to bring in $12.7 million in revenue for the upcoming two-year budget cycle (July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2026), the department wrote in a blog post this week.

  • Its money problems are only expected to get worse, with the SFMTA projecting a budget deficit of "a catastrophic $240 million" from July 1, 2026, to June 30, 2027, which could result in the elimination of Muni lines.

What they're saying: "It is no secret that Muni is facing its challenges," Jeffrey Tumlin, director of transportation for the SFMTA, said at a press conference this week. "We are still in the worst financial crisis that this agency has faced in its entire history over 100 years."

  • He added that San Francisco is also still reeling from the effects of COVID-era work-from-home policies.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that SFMTA revenue from parking fees is 12% less than it was pre-pandemic (not 12% of what it was pre-pandemic)

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2. ❄️ Mountain blizzard watch

Photo of workers clearing up trees from a road

Workers clean up trees toppled by a storm last year in San Francisco. Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Brace yourself — another winter storm is hitting Northern California over the weekend.

Why it matters: Powerful winds and heavy snow could lead to blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains and five to 12 feet of snow in the area around Lake Tahoe — including snow rates surpassing three inches per hour, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

  • The governor's Office of Emergency Services is urging residents to avoid traveling to, from or near the Sierras until the area is cleared by authorities.

State of play: Though San Francisco is not forecast to weather the same conditions, rain is expected in coastal areas.

  • The NWS has issued a high surf advisory in effect from 10am today through 4pm tomorrow, warning locals to beware of large 15- to 20-foot waves that have the potential to pull people into the sea or propel dangerous objects.
  • The Bay Area will also be subject to another cycle of high winds, with gusts up to 50 mph expected.
  • A few power outages may result, NWS said in its wind advisory, which is in effect from noon today to 10am tomorrow.

The big picture: The Bay Area is still recovering from its last two winter storms, which led to historic wind speeds, hail and even the risk of a tornado.

  • The one in early February was the worst single storm for PG&E outages in 30 years, with damage causing outages for over 1.4 million customers.
  • At least three people in Northern California were killed in the immediate aftermath.

The bottom line: "March will be coming in like a lion for the West Coast states," per the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

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3. The Wiggle: Navigating the news

Illustration of the Axios logo showing through thick fog.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

ğŸŽ¨ Nonprofit BMAI, partly funded by Laurene Powell Jobs, has bought the SF Art Institute for about $30 million. (SF Chronicle)

The mayor's office released data yesterday showing 47% of people cited for substance use in San Francisco live outside the city. (SF Standard)

🧑‍🍳 Burmese restaurant Mandalay, based in the Richmond District, won a James Beard award this week. (SF Examiner)

4. "Sqream" your heart out

Photo of a person scowling while talking on a phone on a set

San Francisco drag laureate D'Arcy Drollinger plays Drew Buriedmore in "Sqream" at Oasis. Photo: Gooch.

👋 Hey all, it's your Axios SF video host Claire Reilly here, with a tip on a show for this weekend: the parody drag musical "Sqream" at Oasis.

State of play: Part camp horror tribute, part '90s sing-along, "Sqream" loosely follows the plot of the original movie, but with way more jokes and double entendres.

Behind the scenes: For this year's production, the iconic opening character "Drew Buriedmore" will be played by three separate drag performers during the run: Oasis club owner D'Arcy Drollinger, "Sqream" writer and performer Michael Phillis and San Francisco drag songstress Joan.

The musical is showing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until March 23.

5. Weekend guide

Photo of two people in a store filled with sculptures, glasses and books

The Museum of Craft and Design's store. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

We're in the first week of March — so close to spring!

  • Even though the weather forecast predicts rain this weekend, there's still plenty going on in the city in addition to "Sqream."

ğŸŽ¨ Take the whole family to MakeArt Family Day as part of the Museum of Craft and Design's 20th birthday party. Activities include soap sculpturing, ArtBot Toys, interactive embroidery and more.

  • Tomorrow 11am-3pm at the Museum of Craft and Design. Tickets are $10, but kids 12 and under are free.

🧦 Grab a bag and fill it with your curated selection of items at this "Pay by the Bag" thrift store clothing sale. Half of the proceeds go to local organizations.

  • Tomorrow 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm at Studio Valencia. $15 per grocery-sized bag.

🏃‍♀️ Participate in the Chinatown YMCA Lunar New Year run, which winds through the neighborhood's historic streets. You can walk or run in the 5k or run in the 10k — rain or shine.

  • Sunday 8am on Grant Avenue/Sacramento Street. Participation fees start at $60.

🔥 Cozy up around a bonfire at Ocean Beach now that "No Burn" season is over. The National Park Service provides 16 rings/pits for fires between stairwells 15 and 20.

  • Allowed through Oct. 31, 6am-9:30pm only. First come, first serve.

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👋🏾 Megan wants to give a shoutout to Morgan's mom Linda for being such a big supporter of Axios SF.

💀 Shawna needs to free up storage on her phone. This is a recurring problem.

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Kathie Bozanich and Anjelica Tan.