Elk Semen Weekly enters THC SRO hotel fray: BeyondChron retaliates with praise for Tweedy

Months after I reported here that local blogger Jeff Webb was documenting the dangerous conditions and inept management policies at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Matt Smith of the SF Weekly has now jumped on the story with a long sordid accusation filled article on the THC’s “Vice Hotel”racket this week.

I first told of the existence of the scary videos I saw in early August being posted on YouTubefrom the life of a tenant under veritable siege at The 204-room Seneca on 6th Street, one of the marquee properties in the THC’s growing chain of SROs, that provide so-called “Supportive Housing”. The poster complained of loud & dangerous dealers roaming the halls, overstuffed needle exchange cans, and thuggish , incompetent and suspiciously in-cahoots behavior from some of the so-called “staff”. The blogger, Jeff Webb was then told he was in violation of the imaginary “privacy policy” of the publicly funded joint, and was advised to take down his tiny door mounted safety camera, or face retaliation.

Paid scribe Matt Smith delves into far greater detail than I had time here to do on the THC’s Mission Hotel, and apparently may have withheld some of the more juicy stuff & accusations that are flying around. Smith follows up on the long and winding saga of “activist” Randy Shaw’s many minions that are supposedly providing “supportive housing” to hundreds of tenants with millions in “Care Not Cash” funds. Some say it gets more “supportive” if you bribe a desk clerk, and are running an all night crack dealership…


As documented here previously in August, the situation had declined to the point where the THC, a politically motivated non profit that runs numerous SRO hotels, filed a restraining order against one of it’s own managers whom they accused of “extortion” and called a Norteno “gang member”. Interestingly, in typical half ass fashion, no one from the agency showed up to testify, endorse or follow through on the restraining order after it’s existence became public via Webb’s ever vigilant blogging. When the matter went to court, and no one appeared to either defend or challenge it, it was thusly thrown out by the judge.

More on the “Vice Hotel” industry, “Handshake Drugs” , Why “Matt Smith is like the President” etc after the jump:

The THC has gone from a small volunteer legal services group, to a large scale quasi-city “agency” of sorts with approx 230 full time employees, some pulled from the ranks of SRO hotel dwellers themselves. Since assuming control of over a dozen SRO buildings, the THC, appears to have been negligently ignoring some very egregious activities, including rampant drug use & dealing, violence, extortion and numerous other violations occurring within their managerial realms.

THC head honcho & editorial windbag Randy Shaw, despite his 25+ years on the frontlines that has included crossing the lines from street activism into some sort of executive level “public service” capacity, now finds himself in the strange position of defending his disgraced managerial choices. Shaw in his beyondChron website instead obliquely refers to the incidents and employee removal described in the court documents as a result of mere “personal problems”.

Shaw, perchance in an effort to appeal to the younger & hipper set, also took time recently to hate on the Chronicle’s Joel Selvin and editorialize that indie rawk darling Jeff Tweedy’s bloated 100 minutes of self indulgent acoustic noodling in Golden Gate Park on Friday night was “brilliant” and the show of “his life”. He adds adoringly of Tweedy

“that he played on and on until it was pitch dark in the Park and he was forced to stop singing due to the limitations of the festival’s permit.”

Uh…geez Randy…it sounds great if this were a campfire, but it was a chilly dark night, and becoming a public safety issue with ten thousand folks still to get home, cops & staff getting overtime, and many tired event workers that would have to be back there early in the morning. You make it sound like a gift to have Tweedy strumming a guitar in the dark and berating audience members for their exuberance and grammar. Actually the presence of mopey rock n roll rehab doll Tweedy was a gift from billionaire Warren Hellman, whom you neglected to mention. Let’s give credit where credit was due…

An erstwhile rock critic himself and obvious non-fan of Selvin, Shaw though has refused to comment to writer Matt Smith for the SF Weekly article, and instead attempted spin control via his Beyond Chron and accused the paper of preparing a hit piece before the article ever appeared. Of course, Matt Smith’s credibility as a reporter for SF Weekly is immediately hampered since anyone who read the lactating Barry Bonds “elk semen” piece from last month isn’t exactly prone to take the sincerity of the corporate owned paper at face value. If only Matt Smith were more like Shaw, or Jeff Tweedy…so brilliant, anything he utters must be right. Shaw says instead that Smith is “like our President” and ” feels more comfortable inventing his own world.”

Gee Randy what world do you live in?

Maybe Shaw’s indulging in some of those medications for sale in your “supportive housing” facilities, or that stuff recovering heroin addict Tweedy mentions in his dope rock classic “handshake drugs”…

The Mayor is too busy issuing press releases to care, the sound of Chris Daly being quiet on the THC is almost deafening, but perhaps if Chicken John is elected or even Jeff Tweedy plays for just another 100 blissful more minutes in the dark, this thing will finally get straightened out…

or not…

(bonus mp3)
Jeff Tweedy & Wilco - Handshake Drugs ( Recorded in SF at The Fillmore Auditorium Nov 2004)

1 Comment so far

  1. strunk&white (unregistered) on October 14th, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

    You know, your pieces would be so much easier to read if you would either learn proper punctuation and grammar or have someone proofread them for you. I’m sure you have some interesting things to say, but I’ve basically given up on reading your stuff because it’s so hard to make sense of. Please do your would-be readers a favor and find an editor.



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