The phrase “San Francisco values” — at times tossed about the national ether (mostly by the right, in a not-nice way) — is empty, meaningless claptrap, as any city resident knows full well.
What’s considered normal conduct in, say, the Mission or in Cow Hollow might not fly so well in, say, Ingleside Terrace or Presidio Terrace. For an example from just this past week, look no further than San Bruno Avenue in the Portola District (which is sure to garner a double “BUT WHERE’S THAT LOL” from the not-so-truly-415 amongst us, so here’s a link for all you suburban uninitiates).
Recently, some medicinal cannabis folks calling themselves the “Green Goddess Collaborative” tried to open up a pot dispensary in a vacant storefront at 3015 San Bruno Avenue. They abandoned that plan after Tuesday, when about 150 people attended a neighborhood meeting and the “vast majority” vocally, vehemently opposed the addition of a pot club to their neighborhood, according to Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee chair Ling Liang.
“People got very worked up over it,” Liang told The Appeal. A few people did speak out in favor of legal green in their ‘hood — there are none to be found in the southeastern part of town; the nearest are on Ocean Avenue near Sloat and then on 30th Street in the Noe/Mission convergence zone — but they were decidely in the minority. “There was a lot of very strong opposition,” she added.
Now, San Bruno Avenue isn’t the glitziest part of town — it has had its fair share of crime, borders the Bayview and is what Pacific Heights denizens might dub “gritty” — though it’s perhaps easy to see why locals might not want a pot club. There are multiple day-care centers and schools in the area, including Philip and Sala Burton High School about two blocks away, and plenty of foot and bus traffic (of course, the fact that it is a transit hub might have been, from the club owners’ point of a view, a reason to open there).
And indeed, 3015 San Bruno Avenue has had shady occupants before: as recently as last year, there was a rub-and-tug massage parlor called the Five Elements Health Center at the location. But oddly enough, nobody seemed to care much about handjobs-for-hire in the ‘hood, according to multiple neighbors and representatives from Supervisor Sophie Maxwell’s office, who could not recall any complaints stemming from the massage joint.
The Appeal contacted the San Francisco Police Department’s Bayview Station and vice/narcotics unit to find out when and if the place was raided and shut down for prostitution, and we’ll update when we hear back. But according to Liang, the admittedly unassuming-looking-from-the-outside massage parlor “was not a major issue, at least not that I know of. At least, it wasn’t brought to my attention,” even though “everyone sort of knew what was going on there.”
The Appeal’s also made a call to representatives of the pot club, who frankly acted as if we were the FBI (The conversation went like this: Us- “Hi this is Chris, I’m a reporter from the SF Appeal online newspaper, want to talk about the club you guys tried to open up –” Them — “WHO ARE YOU WHO DO YOU WORK FOR WHAT DO YOU WANT” Us – “Uh — is this a trick question? I’m Chris, I’m a reporter, I want to do a story, I” Them – “WHO DO YOU WORK FOR WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS WHO ARE YOU”), but will also update if and when we hear back (though we’re not holding our breath).
And while it’s not our job to race-bait or make sweeping assumptions, we think a few comments we heard from a local merchant are telling. “(A pot club) is never going to happen, not in a million years,” he said, noting that the neighborhood’s demographics are a key reason why. “When you do something to get the Asians motivated, look out,” said the merchant in question, who’s been in the neighborhood for decades. “When they get interested, stuff happens.”
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