The Mission steals your bicycle

This article on Mission Loc@l (picked up by HuffPo) popped up yesterday letting us cyclists in the Tenderloin know that we can breathe safely in the fact that the number one place to get your bike ripped off is actually the Mission. While some may say, “Bullshit, it’s the Tenderloin! That’s where all sorts of crime, evil, and spicy food happens!”, this analysis of Craigslist data by Phillip Yip is backed up by SF police stats.

Naturally, those in the Mission would say, “Hell yeah we gotz theftz. Just look at the Valencia bike corridor asking you to get your ride on.” Valencia is a truly awesome set of bike lanes despite cartards trying to take cyclists out by constantly double-parking and/or opening their doors without looking. But, without getting in to the hipster/loinster debate again, we also have quite a large cycling crowd in this neighborhood. But, I think it’s safe to say that we know the dangers of bike theft as stereotyped by others and so we watch our rides when we roll. As well as other possessions when we walk around the neighborhood, even when there’s the potential to score

View the original article and graphic here.

The AoA hereby serves notice

Thursday, November 17th, you can go to City Hall Room 400 and toss your two cents in to the very deep hole that is the Academy of Art’s Institutional Master Plan. What, you weren’t aware that was actually a plan for the AoA other than buying up buildings to add to their real estate empire? Yes, there is, as the city started requiring it in 2006 (which happened to be a year before the AoA received accreditation) and you can read the updated version here.

Done with all 269 pages? Neither am I, but if you feel like getting a grasp of just how large the AoA has gotten, scan through all the addresses. Personally, my favorite bit is under “Transportation” on page 134:

It locates the bulk of its residential and educational buildings along or near existing transit corridors. It supplements City transit with a fleet of shuttle vehicles.

So, apparently we can all ride the princess limos as well? That’s awesome! I’ll make sure to bring up this topic at the hearing and profusely thank Elisa Stephens for her generosity in bolstering our public transportation system in these dire times of cutbacks…

If you want to have real fun, start looking up the addresses listed in the IMP and running them against the SF Property Map to get an idea of all the violations they’ve been racking up like 121 Wisconsin Street where they’re running an unlicensed parking lot for their princess limos.

Of course, that’s just the tip of iceberg. Look at all of the dorms (17 buildings in total) that were pretty much all illegally converted to dorms yet the AoA only claims to “lease”, yet the owner is either the Stephens Institute, Elisa Stephens, or some other name incarnation.

Little Bird is closing

We’re sad to report that today is Little Bird’s last day in business. It was one of the few places in the Tenderloin (if not the only one) where you could have a full vegan breakfast, including vegan pastries, as well as the only coffeeshop in the neighborhood carrying Kombuch and Ritual and De la Paz coffee. As shown by the very high scores on review sites, it’s been a popular local business for the amount of time it’s been open at 835 Geary, a little over a year. But nothing lasts forever and today they are saying goodbye to all their faithful customers. they’ll be open until they sell out of everything, including coffee beans. A real shame given all the raging NIMBY bullshit that they had to contend with in the past year to get outdoor seating.

They made the decision to close just last Friday, so it’s been rather sudden and they’re still deciding what to do with the space going forward. There is a chance that the chef, Sam (who many have enjoyed for his vegetarian/vegan items) will try opening a more evening-oriented cafe/restaurant there. So, stay tuned, or better yet, head down there today to get one last cup of coffee like we did this morning. Little Bird, you will be missed.

Contest: review on Google Places, eat at Canteen!

The season of giving comes early (that and we’re flaky), so we’ve extended the deadline for submitting to our contest to end on Sunday, October 30th by midnight. So you have the whole weekend to go out places, review away, and send us your profile link to get in on this offer! All you need is a minimum of ONE review about a Tenderloin establishment (preferably not a sauna massage parlor day spa)

For those unfamiliar with it, Google launched their Places reviewing site a few months ago. It’s similar to other reviewing sites, but it’s a lot easier to use as it’s integrated with Google Maps and all you need is a Gmail/Google account and you’re off and running. Reviews can be quick, they can cover just about anything (including Muni!).

To spread the word, they’re now giving away $100 gift certificate to Canteen to one lucky Tender reader!

All you need to do to claim this fine prize is submit reviews to Places between now and the 26th, which means you have two weeks to unleash your opinions. Canteen, by the way (not to be confused with Cantina down the street), is one of our favorite restaurants for a special occasion, with great California-style food by well-known chef Dennis Leary. and it has an average of 4.42 stars on Google Places.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below with a link to your Places profile (or email it to us if you’d like), so a team of crack judges (us) will choose the best reviewer based on quantity and quality. Oh, and this being The Tender, at least one of your reviews needs to be about an establishment in the Tenderloin or TenderNob, although naturally we encourage more than that to increase your chances of winning.

Anyways, happy reviewing and hopefully happy eating at Canteen!

World Homeless Day celebrated with random occupations

Today was World Homeless Day and, like last year, it was celebrated by local homeless advocates led by the squatters’ collective Homes Not Jails — with Frank Chu in an advisory role. Their main focus was occupying vacant buildings around the Tenderloin, as opposed to say, SOMA, North Beach, or everywhere else that’s vacant in SF these days.

According to their website, they gathered at Civic Center by Larkin & Fulton at 5pm and were joined by members of the hashtag-friendly OccupySF protestors. At this point, according to Chron intern Vivan Ho who was there, the group was about 20 people with nearly as many journalists covering it. Sounds like the SF I know and love…

The group then rallied towards the former Cathedral Hill Hotel at 1101 Van Ness Avenue, which was subsequently occupied. They reported that most if not all of the rooms remain furnished and in habitable condition. Apparently, the protesters were allowed to stay after security did a safety check through the building. Afterwards, at around 8pm, part of the group split and moved on to the former Charlie Hotel building at 1030 Geary, right above the shuttered Infusion Lounge. For a little bit, they partially blocked traffic on Polk Street but the police merely yawned as if saying it would be illegal were traffic not to be blocked on Polk.

I then stopped petting my neighbor’s cat and left the comfort of The Tender HQ to go check out the “action”. I saw about 50-70 people gathered in front of the building, which contains 17 apartment units that they said should be opened to homeless individuals immediately. They were all eating dinner (spaghetti, I think) served by what appeared to be the guys from Food Not Bombs. I overheard the leaders discussing where to go next, but there didn’t seem to be a clear plan. There were also a few people inside of the building, eating their dinner quietly as well. Across the street four media vans and a couple of police cars were watching the action. On my way back home I saw one of the cops buying some food at Jebena, presumably donuts.

I have no idea if more buildings were occupied as was their initial plan, but I wish they hadn’t focused exclusively on the buildings that are vacant because of the planned CPMC Hospital. For example, how about raising some attention towards 655 Geary? I mean, shouldn’t the main target for such actions be buildings that owners are deliberately keeping vacant for speculation (Hibernia Bank, anyone?) instead of the ones that have an actual development plan?

A thought on reducing violence

We just got word via SF Citizen that, starting early this morning and until early voting begins tomorrow at 8am, David Chiu will be holding a 24 hour marathon of campaign events throughout San Francisco. He will make a stop in our neighborhood at 2:30am to discuss public safety at the Tenderloin Police Station, 301 Eddy Street. So if you have insomnia and would like to experience being in the police station in the middle of the night, or you are a Chiu and/or Chiubacca fan who’d like to see how he looks when sleep-deprived, then don’t miss it.

Somehow this has reminded me of this great quote from criminologist David Kennedy from a discussion last week at the Stanford Law School with East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis about strategies for reducing shootings and homicides in low income neighborhoods. David said he constantly faces skepticism that violence can be diminished in the inner city unless drug use and dealing are first eliminated. His response:

We have lots of communities in America that have drug use, drug dealing and no violence. They’re called ‘suburbs’.

So what do you guys think? Can violence be reduced in the Tenderloin without also reducing the amount of drug use and dealing?

Photo by Bluoz

It’s about to get all evacuation-y

In case you’re about to ask, “Holy shit on a cracker, what’s happening down at Civic Center today?” The word has been spread as part of Civic Response 2011, as reported by SF Citizen:

This will be a coordinated multi-organization joint evacuation drill involving the facilities management and security agencies, as well as the involved building tenants from within the San Francisco Civic Center area. This multi-agency drill will involve civilian and uniformed responders from the local and state government levels and is aimed at helping ensure public safety in the event of an actual emergency.

There will be approximately 1,500-1,800 building tenants evacuated and dozens of responders involved in this exercise. The participating agencies will activate their fire alarm plans and evacuate their tenants to pre-designated locations at Civic Center Plaza, UN Plaza, and the War Memorial area.

Participating Buildings – City Hall, Dept Public Health at 101 Grove Street, UC Hastings College of the Law, Veteran’s Building at 401 Van Ness.

Having been forced encouraged to participate in these at various workplaces, I find them to be more of an exercise in how things should be rather than how things are. In an actual emergency, a third of us are fighting with each other to direct the emergency, a third are running around like headless, flightless chickens, and another third are claiming that there is no emergency while adjusting our tinfoil hats.

Be on the lookout for stolen bud

There’s not much I can add to this theft report except that maybe if you’re walking around with 1.25 pounds (that’s 160 eighths, right?) of weed, you’re just asking to get robbed:

A man was robbed of more than a pound of marijuana as he exited a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The robbery was reported at 12:53 p.m. in the 900 block of Geary Street near Larkin Street.

The victim, a 34-year-old man, was walking out of the dispensary when a suspect pointed a gun at his face and demanded “weed,” according to police.

The victim handed over a satchel that contained 1.25 pounds of medical marijuana and cash, police said.

Love that lack of “special interest contributions”

I’ve been out of town for the last few days, checking out San Francisco Jr. (also known as Portland) which in many ways is currently bitchslapping San Francisco (better roads, better streetcars, better bike lanes, functional 3G, a food cart scene that actually is a scene and not just five carts circulating the city). Upon coming back, I found this which talks about the city getting rid of the public financing for the mayoral race. I’m really very much in favor of this action because this funding system is A) bullshit and B) refer to A.

As is typically the case, there is a gem of a comment:

Supervisor Jane Kim said she doesn’t support the amendment.

“It’s important for candidates to be able to stand against special interest contributions,” Kim said. She said that “there is some question as to whether litigation would be successful.”

For those who were unaware, Kim was bandied about the Tenderloin during the District 6 election by Randy Shaw, director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. This was even directly alluded to in this housing debate where I believe it was Jim Meko who said, while pointing at her, “And we all know that Randy Shaw has a candidate in this election”. And Kim has voted pretty much exactly as Randy has liked since getting elected. So, obviously we can all understand how the “independent” Kim would be very concerned about special interests due to her firsthand experience in the matter.

Shocker, SFPD finally deals with 655 Geary

The Examiner reports that the police finally kicked out “…nearly a dozen squatters from a vacant Tenderloin building…” this morning. While the article only lists the “600 block of Geary Street” it needs to be elaborated on that this is actually 655 Geary, an abandoned building that appears to have been last used by the city several years ago.

Naturally, one might want to ask, “Oh, but how can such a nice big building be empty and let to rot in downtown San Francisco?” While you and I might wonder that, others didn’t and saw the opportunity to make a nice little drug haven. A few months back I saw a couple of thuggish guys forcing their way in to the door in the middle of the day. I called the cops, actually stayed around until they showed up, and then watched them pitifully kick a little at the door for about two seconds, give up, and leave. It was obvious that people were inside as the outside lock was broken and they’d barricaded the door from within. But no, that would have meant work.

I’m not exactly sure what the minimum number of calls is for the cops to actually fucking do something in this town other than mind their pensions. Whatever this critical mass of frustration must be, it appears it had been reached once the dirtbags inside had the audacity to install their own lock on the front door recently.

Once inside, as the article states, the cops found “an overwhelming odor of urine and feces with a swarm of flies in the air, making it difficult to breath”. Apparently, a canine unit was even denied entry to the building after it was deemed unsafe due to “the large amounts of blood, feces and discarded needles in the building”. Really, feces and discarded needles? I’m as shocked as you are.

We can only hope that someone actually does something with this empty space soon and that the owner stops speculating because as long as it remains vacant, it will be blight and get taken over by squatters doing drugs again.

>Update 9/10

And… it’s taken over by squatters doing drugs again as an eagle-eyed and phone-equipped reader wrote in today to let us know that despite the building being properly boarded up from the street level now, the dirtbag crew figured out that they could get in through the second floor by dropping the fire escape for easy access.

The fun appears to never end, although constant zero tolerance of a problem has indeed shown to do wonders in making it actually stop, but hey man, that’s work and there are lanes to double park in, in front of the Tenderloin Station to create gridlock.

>Update 10/7

A Tender reader sent us a tip saying that he saw two men enter 655 Geary at around 8pm tonight. One man unlocked the chain and entered through the gated entrance to the left while the other waited on the sidewalk. A few minutes later, he witnessed the boarded up entrance on the right of the building open, lights on inside, and the man from the sidewalk duck in. They closed up behind themselves. So it looks like this building continues to be one of the spots of choice of the neighborhoods junkies and/or dirtbags.