Archive for the ‘Tenderloin’ Category

Is Gavin’s Justice Lite Going To Be Justice Served ?

I left the “Town Hall” meeting on the city’s plans for a “Community Justice Center” last night at the library with far more questions and frustrations than when I entered it.

Pitched to the public as a possible solution to solving the spiraling street crimes & homeless situation downtown, I get the feeling no one left anymore reassured that it will actually work, including the organizers sitting on the dais.

For more on the public reaction to the Mayor’s not so “original”, or well thought out concept for community justice, read on…

"Rogue" Syrian Ambassador Gets Serious

Just 24 hours after a troubled 3rd year law student at UC Hastings threatened a suicide leap off the school’s landmark tower, a high ranking diplomat from a “Rogue State”, made a brave appearance in the same potentially contentious academic environment. While not as visually dramatic as the hysterical student with her cellphone in hand being talked down by police negotiators from her 21st floor perch, the ground floor speech by the Syrian Ambassador (and fellow blogger) Imad Moustapha dealt with matters of a far more grave consequence than a student’s bizarrely botched love life.

imad moustpaha
Mustapha, made an eloquent spokesman for a nation that most Americans can’t fathom, find on a map, and perhaps hear only about when a Fox News correspondent mentions it’s candidacy for the Bush administration’s “Axis of Evil”. Just steps from the plaza named after the United Nations he spoke of some of the inner machinations of that body that left his countrymen a bit more than puzzled.

He spoke of a need for better relations between our two countries, and that the smaller Syria would prefer less bullying & bluster from the current administration. Unlike the reception that awaited Iran’s President Ahmadinejad at Columbia in New York, Imad Moustapaha found a far more colloquial reception at the state’s oldest law school. mustpaha at UC Hastings

He claimed he turned down speaking at the local Commonwealth Club in favor of appearing before law students, as a deference to his life before international diplomacy took him away from his job teaching computer science in Damascus.

Fluent in four languages, co-author of the UN-sponsored “Human Development Report in the Arab World”, Moustapha holds a Phd he earned in the UK, and was Dean of IT at the University of Damascus before accepting his Ambassadorship in 2004. Equally parts charming, witty and defensive of Syria’s political positions, the Ambassador relayed tales of his transistion from simple academic life driven by science to life on the diplomatic frontlines, and his small country’s larger perspective on world events and relationships. He brought to San Francisco his perspectives from 4000 year old Damascus, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and he referred to Cairo and Baghdad as baby cities , since they are only some 1000 years old.

Moustapha, standing under a rotating slide show of his country’s treasures and sites, gave brief introductory statements, but spent most of his hour with the students engaged in Q&A. Unfortunately, not that many questions came down the pipe because some of these were “big” questions, not easily answered in short soundbites when involving complex and sometimes confrontational geo-political issues.

More after the jump…

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:

Criminal Anonymity

These reports from last week’s blotter were are noteworthy to me in their total lack of identification. The suspects in the cases are just so run of the mill SF, like how do you ever really find a suspect if the description is: dark clothes, bike messenger bag? Asian girl with short haircut, black shirt and creme pants? Or a tall guy wearing a grey shirt and tan pants. And yet in the last report, the cop was tipped off by earrings made of gun shells. What attention to detail, and what stupidity, yet again, on the part of the criminal element.

Police summary after the jump.

Just a few things I saw today

Today I went to Chinatown in search of Szechuan pepper. My search was successful, and I also got a mortar and pestle with which to grind it. Even better, I got some pictures! More after the jump.

(Also, even though it has nothing to do with what I saw today, a few days ago I heard somebody yell “HEY, PAUL! I’LL TRADE YOU THREE PLAYBOYS FOR A LIGHTER!” over on Hyde, near the library. Gotta love the Tenderloin.)


Life in the Tenderloin

So I was walking out of my building a while ago when I saw a woman pushing a grocery cart and collecting cans for the redemption value. I was drinking a bottle of water:

Adam: Do you want this?
Can collector: Sure.
A: Here you go.
C: Thanks. You want any weed?
A: Uh, no, I’m good. Thanks.

So I guess she’s diversified–if the bottom drops out of the weed market, she has the dependable returns of cans to fall back on. And vice versa.

Finally, two bits of fashion advice:

To the teenager who was walking down Golden Gate with what he thought was a swagger: You’re trying waaaaay too hard, and even if you weren’t, the SpongeBob SquarePants backpack would completely kill it.

To the guy who was selling drugs in plain view at 7th and Market: It may not be in your judicial interest to wear a T-shirt that has a giant marijuana leaf on it and says “Hecho en México – 100% Verde.”

Washing the Statuary

I was walking to the library a few days ago when I saw an interesting sight:

Washing the Statuary

Apparently it was the day for washing the statues. More on how they do it after the jump.

Pretty people like art

Art admirersThat’s the conclusion that I came to after attending the GEN ART LUXE Benefit on Saturday night. The predominately female, under-30 crowd took the opportunity of the oh-so-trendy event to bring out the swanky heels that they’d never wear at a club and to wear those boutique-purchased dresses that hang in the back of their closets.

Or at least that is what I did (since I had free tix from Yelp). And then, in my teal suede heels, I hobbled through the heart of the tenderloin to get to the exhibit, which spanned five floors of the Warfield building. While sipping on my vodka tonic and listening to the DJs, I pretended to understand the art while admiring the pretty people.

Saturday night was the kickoff event for the 2006 Emerge Art Exhibition. You can check out the art of emerging artists at the Warfield building through November 19:

Mondays, 3:00 – 7:00pm
Saturdays & Sundays, Noon – 4:00pm
Or by appointment, call 415-284-9400

Daly & District 6 Candidates To Debate on Friday The 13th

Tossing superstitions aside, the candidates for the most hotly contested seat in the local supervisor’s election are meeting at 12:30 on Oct 13th in Room A on the first floor at UC Hastings. The event marks an opportunity for Chris Daly’s deep pocketed detractors to lob attacks at the often blustery Supe whose social activist agenda has certainly irked deep pocketed downtown developers & their allies in the mayor’s office. Daly-Bike.jpg

The return of Daly to the law school’s civic center area campus is noteworthy in itself, as the last time the supervisor was here, he left in handcuffs.

In a fabled June 2002 incident, the supervisor took over the mic at a public meeting concerning a proposed parking garage and was eventually asked to leave. According to those there, he refused to leave and repeatedly stated “I’m A Supervisor”, eventually a police officer summoned from the Tenderloin Task Force cuffed the protesting politician and put Daly in what he called a “pain hold”.

Now, 4 years have passed, no parking garage was ever built, and Daly’s most heavily backed challenger is actually a graduate of the law college.

Read On For More info on the District 6 race after the jump…

Morty’s Deli: A Nice Sandwich

A few weeks ago, I saw a new restaurant had opened up behind Hastings: Morty’s Deli. It looked like this:


I’m always up for trying a new restaurant, and a new place in the chronically under-restauranted Tenderloin was particularly welcome. I tried it out shortly after they opened, and found they lived up to their name–it was a nice sandwich indeed, made by some nice folks. More after the jump.

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