Responding to the interests of both local businesses and residents, South San Francisco officials agreed to cap the commission charged by food delivery companies while also abandoning observance of Columbus Day.

The South San Francisco City Council unanimously agreed Wednesday, Aug. 26, to limit the amount the amount delivery service apps can charge local restaurants at 15% per order and adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The local food industry struggling amid the pandemic due to an inability to serve indoor diners and residents frustrated with a holiday they felt honored an undeserving historical figure supported both decisions.

Mobile apps such as Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash will not be allowed to charge restaurants and diners in South San Francisco more than 15% commission for delivery and 10% for pickups, under the decision.

Standard commissions typically range in the neighborhood of 25% to 35% per delivery — an amount which surprised Councilwoman Flor Nicolas.

“I think it is really hurting our businesses,” said Nicolas.

The policy will remain in place at least until six months after indoor dining is allowed according to health conditions, but officials expressed an interest in perhaps making it permanent.

“I’m not sure I support getting rid of this altogether after six months,” said Councilman Mark Nagales.

The South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce supported the cap, and local businesses surveyed said they consider the fees burdensome as well.

Other Bay Area cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Fremont have adopted such policies. Representatives from the delivery app industry have criticized the limits, claiming they will yield fewer sales, but a staff report claims there is limited evidence to back that position.

Councilwoman Karyl Matsumoto said officials have suggested a similar policy may be adopted in unincorporated parts of the county.

“I really think it is about time,” said Nicolas.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Recognizing concerns raised by residents who feel atrocities committed by Columbus should not be honored, councilmembers agreed to change the name of the holiday observed in October.

“It is time to move forward from Columbus Day and go back and honor the original people of this land and begin a healing process,” said resident Aristel de la Cruz.

While officials ultimately agreed to rename the holiday increasingly popular among organizations recognizing those in native communities slaughtered by the colonizer, other holiday names were considered. Those included days honoring Native Americans, ethnic diversity, ethnic heritage and the Industrial City.

For her part, resident Liliana Rivera opposed officials adopting a holiday observing the history of South San Francisco.

“It is really important to acknowledge the harm that was done. We can’t pretend that it never happened and rebrand it as our city day. It is really important we acknowledge and we learn the truth of our nation’s history,” she said.

Officials suggested they had considered other holiday names because Columbus Day was popular among some who used it as an opportunity to observe Italian history.

Vice Mayor Mark Addiego said such an effort was unnecessary though.

“As an Italian I’m feeling OK and I don’t really need a day for Christopher Columbus anymore,” he said.

Mayor Rich Garbarino indicated he too felt the move was long overdue.

“It is way past time we really rewrite history for what it was, as it was, and not the way somebody thinks it should be,” he said.

In other business, councilmembers agreed to limit live public comment to 30 minutes at the beginning of each remote meeting and any additional comments will be received at the end of the meeting.

The decision comes after officials agreed earlier this month to reintroduce live public comment following concerns from residents who felt their opinions were stifled amid the pandemic.

Residents had been instructed to leave voicemails on a hotline or send their comments to city email accounts, which City Clerk Rosa Acosta would direct to councilmembers, upload to the city’s website and also read into the record during meetings.

Officials balanced their interest for reintroducing live public comment against concerns that meetings were going late into the night.

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(1) comment


OK, get rid of Columbus but can't SSF's Italian heritage be noted in some other way?

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