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Community survey

Our friends over at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center are running a community survey to assess the needs of adults in our area.

RDNC Coordinator Mila Diaz says the survey information will be used to determine what the Richmond District has, where we are duplicating services and where people have needs that are not being met. The RDNC will also be holding focus groups and interviews as part of the research.

The results will then be shared with Richmond District community based organizations as well as our neighborhood Merchant Associations.

To participate, click one of the links below. Your responses are anonymous and it takes just a few minutes to complete the survey.

English survey
Chinese survey

Sarah B.

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 10:03 am | Posted under Community | 2 comments

“Seedstore” coming to Clement Street

This weekend I noticed papered windows and a sign at 212 Clement announcing that “Seedstore” will be opening soon. According to their window sign and blog, Seedstore will be selling men’s and women’s clothing and vintage goods:

    We’ve been hunting and gathering…all for you! We’ve collected a well curated assortment of clothing, accessories, and goods we’re almost ready to share. Our space should be “ready to shop” by early August 2010

According to their Facebook page, they plan to operate Monday through Thursday from 11 to 7, Friday and Saturday from 11 to 8, and Sundays from 11 to 6. They’re on the same block as Park Life so they’re in good retail company.

You can also follow them on Twitter. Good luck to Seedstore!

Sarah B.

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 1:11 pm | Posted under Business, Shopping | Comments Off

Hundreds participate in “Slash Oil” protest at Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach was abuzz this morning as people gathered for the “Slash Oil” initiative. Nearly 500 people showed up to lie down to call attention to the gulf oil spill. At 11:25am, a helicopter circled overhead to take our picture. I was in the “L”.

Slash Oil was organized by San Francisco writer / activist / taxi driver Brad Newsham as part of a larger initiative that took place today called Hands Across the Sand, a national movement to oppose offshore oil drilling and champion clean energy and renewables.

After forming the slash oil symbol, participants walked down to the water’s edge and spread out across the shoreline holding hands, while the helicopter continued taking pictures. People also joined hands at the shore along Crissy Field.

See more aerial photos here

People attended Slash Oil from all over the Bay Area. I spoke to two women who drove down from Santa Rosa, while others near me came up from the peninsula. Code Pink also attended, providing hot pink fabric that was used to form the slash.

The event got some real street cred when Frank Chu and his notorious sign showed up. He seems to like the laid back protests – we last saw him out here for the sit/lie protest earlier this year. One reader told that Frank refused to sit or lie down while the helicopter was overhead. FAIL, Frank.

Sarah B.

Slash Oil organizer Brad Newsham talks to local media

Why wouldn’t Ghandi be at an event like this?

Getting into position before the helicopter arrived

The pink slash set up by Code Pink

Frank Chu and his nonsensical sign

Two participants who dressed as sea turtles

Participants headed to the shoreline for their “Hands Across the Sand” moment

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 9:49 pm | Posted under Green | 9 comments

Lemonade in the fog

A little Richmond District fog didn’t deter these young entrepeneurs from setting up their lemonade stand today. On the menu: lemonade, vegan cookies and regular cookies. Delicious!

Sarah B.

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 4:33 pm | Posted under Photos | 1 comment

Update on plans for CVS Pharmacy at 32nd & Clement

On Thursday night, representatives from CVS Pharmacy and their developer, Landmark Retail Group, held a public meeting at 3132 Clement to discuss their upcoming tenancy and get feedback from the roughly 60 residents that attended.

The 36,500 square foot building has been unoccupied since 2006, when grocery chain Albertson’s abruptly vacated the premises. The lease has since been taken over by another grocery chain, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, and it was expected they would move in last year.

However due to the souring economy, their expansion plans for Northern California have slowed. Supervisor Mar spoke briefly at the meeting, saying he had met recently with Fresh & Easy and that they are still “totally committed to coming to Northern California.”

Fresh & Easy holds a 25 year lease on the entire building at 3123 Clement Street; CVS will sublet 40% of it (14,271 square feet). Barring any issues with the city and the Planning Commission, they plan to open their doors in the first half of 2011 with operating hours from 7am until 10pm daily. They will hire at least 25 new employees to start.

The interior space will be divided down the middle, with CVS occupying the southern side of the building and Fresh & Easy occupying the north end once they are ready to move in. CVS is already engaged in a co-tenancy with Fresh & Easy in many of their other locations.

The majority of remodeling for CVS will occur inside the building; only new signage will be placed on the exterior. The building itself is relatively new with modern amenities like a full-service loading dock and rooftop parking, so there is not much that has to be done to the physical plant.

CVS is full service pharmacy that also offers household goods, photo services, limited grocery, stationary, cards – all the things you would see at a typical retail pharmacy like Walgreens. There is also space for a potential “minute clinic” which could offer basic care and advice from a physician’s assistant. CVS also said if needed, they will arrange for home deliveries of pharmacy items within the immediate area of the store.

Like most full service pharmacy retailers, CVS plans to sell alcohol which caused concern among some of the residents. One neighbor worried about the sale of alcohol in such close proximity to the park, while another reminded CVS that George Washington High School and a couple of middle schools are close by.

The CVS representative responded that they have been selling alcohol nationwide for over 50 years, and as a result, have many policies in place and extensive training for their employees on how to handle liquor sales. CVS cashiers are required to enter a date of birth at checkout, so everyone, regardless of age, gets carded when purchasing alcohol. In addition, CVS does not sell fortified liquors or individual cans or bottles. To prevent shoplifting, every alcoholic beverage is also fitted with security capping.

The empty interior of 3132 Clement Street

CVS informed the meeting that they plan to request the right to operate up to 24 hours a day and would do so if the demand arises to serve the community. Some residents were not comfortable with this and questioned the need for 24 hour operation and what plans were in place for round the clock security.

Particularly vocal was the President of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association, who said his group was very against any retailer operating 24 hours a day in the neighborhood. He then informed the CVS representatives that they shouldn’t even bother pursuing 24 hour operation from the Planning Commission because “we’ll fight you on that…and we’ll win.”

Given Albertson’s near overnight abandonment of 3132 Clement in 2006 (“they left us out to dry”), one neighbor asked CVS what they planned to do in the event Fresh & Easy, the lease holder, changed their plans to open in the other half of the building.

CVS responded that though they are subletting their space from Fresh & Easy, they are entitled to take on the lease of the entire building if needed and pursue another co-tenant. The representative added that they are “very optimistic” about the business opportunity for CVS and that they are in for the long haul.

Overall, residents at the meeting were enthusiastic about CVS moving into the building, and many seemed relieved to hear that Fresh & Easy still plans to do the same. One resident said he was looking forward to having a pharmacy available for the elderly population in the area.

Another resident said she was glad to see some competition for Walgreens and also hoped that CVS would not insult its shoppers by putting some of its most basic items like teeth whitener and pain relief under lock and key, as some Walgreens do in the neighborhood.

The CVS representatives plan to hold one or two more community meetings to address concerns about operating hours and security. But first, they’ll file requests for conditional use permits, followed by a hearing with the Planning Commission which is also open to the public.

While CVS moves forward with their development, we should also hear more news soon from Fresh & Easy. At the meeting, Supervisor Mar said that in a couple of weeks, Fresh & Easy will be “making some important announcements.” Let’s hope it’s to say they’ll be moving in along with CVS, or at least very soon after.

Sarah B.

Plans showing the subdivision between CVS and Fresh & Easy. Click to enlarge

Plans showing the layout of the CVS store. Click to enlarge

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 11:26 pm | Posted under Business | 11 comments

Become a volunteer at the Conservatory of Flowers

Do you amaze your friends with your knowledge of plants and flowers? Was Cliff Clavin your favorite character on Cheers? Then this opportunity was tailor made for you…

The Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park’s stunning historic greenhouse full of rare and beautiful tropical flora, is currently recruiting volunteers to lead group tours and conduct school visits.

Becoming a qualified volunteer does take some training. The Conservatory hosts an annual 7-week training session this summer which introduces new volunteers to the Conservatory’s expert staff and provides an in depth introduction to their collection of over 1700 species of tropical plants. There is a $50 cost for the training which covers all mandatory training materials.

The 7-week training program will be held at the Conservatory every Monday from July 12 through August 23 from 1-4pm. Once completed, volunteers are asked to commit to two shifts per month for a minimum of a year as either a Jungle Guide leading school groups or as a docent leading free guided tours for adults.

Volunteers who complete the course have ongoing opportunities for education throughout the year including field trips to area gardens and enjoy insider perks like sneak previews of special exhibits, social activities, free passes, a gift store discount and more.

The Conservatory is especially interested in volunteers who speak Chinese and Spanish. Interested volunteers should contact Erika Frank, Director of Volunteer Services, at 637-4326 or efrank@sfcof.org.

Sarah B.

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 1:17 pm | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Volunteer | Comments Off

Richmond District is “spiciest city scene” in AAA’s Via Magazine

In AAA’s recent issue of Via Magazine, they have a nice writeup on the Richmond District and why it’s a destination of choice. They called me a few months back to verify some facts and get some advice on what to check out. So I’m thrilled to see it was finally published. A few excerpts below; read the whole article here.

By the way, the woman in the photo looks SO familiar but I can’t place which Clement Street store I’ve seen her at. Anyone recognize her?

Sarah B.

VIA MAGAZINE | July 2010
Spiciest city scene: San Francisco’s Richmond District
In the city’s northwest corner, lively ethnic eateries lure culinary day-trippers
By Nino Padova

Spices,” Carlos Ayala beams. “You’ve got to check out these spices.” The 34-year-old Guatemalan American clerk skitters out from behind the counter and heads toward the back of Haig’s Delicacies, a dimly lit specialty food and sandwich shop on Clement Street in San Francisco’s Richmond District. He stops at a large rack stuffed with dozens of packaged powders and seasonings: Hungarian paprika, Ethiopian bird’s-eye chiles, Indonesian squash seeds, dried Persian lemons. The array is intoxicating—flavors from around the world, in a store owned by an Armenian immigrant … next door to a Hawaiian barbecue joint and across the street from a Thai noodle house sandwiched between a Vietnamese deli and a Chinese fish market. Up and down the street, dozens of ethnic shops and restaurants sit together, forming if not the heart of the city, then at least its hungry belly.

But it’s salt, of course, that most people think of when they first visit the Richmond. Specifically the salty, frigid air that blows on the shoulders of coastal winds and spitting fog through this long neighborhood. The flavor of the district—north of Golden Gate Park and south of the Presidio, west of Arguello Boulevard and east of Ocean Beach—is multicultural bouillabaisse: Irish pubs, Russian bakeries, Chinese dim sum parlors, and more.

“This isn’t the Mission or the Financial District,” says Mourad Lahlou, chef and owner of Aziza, a sophisticated Moroccan restaurant committed to local, farm-fresh ingredients. “A lot of people come to this neighborhood just to eat, so your food better be good. You don’t see too many gimmicks out here.”

The Richmond’s oldest, best-known attractions—the Cliff House, Lands End, and the Legion of Honor—are clustered at its beachy end. But to get a taste of the area’s ethnic eclecticism you’ll need to venture further inland, to the lively blocks of Clement Street and Geary Boulevard between Arguello and 25th Avenue…

Read the full article at viamagazine.com

Sarah B.

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 12:14 pm | Posted under Community | 4 comments

Police Blotter – June 25, 2010

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of June 25, 2010. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

During last ten days officers have responded to a burglary at marijuana grow house and an armed robbery at another. For operators of illicit marijuana grows there is an increased likelihood of victimization because the clandestine nature of their businesses puts them outside of the protections in our community. This coupled with the fact that they retain product and keep cash on their premises encourages criminals to target grow houses.

When operators are victimized they are reticent to call the police. And, since they have little contact with their neighbors and don’t have usual patterns of activity common to living in an urban setting, it is unlikely that a neighbor would report anything except obvious criminal conduct.

The presence of marijuana grow houses increases the risk of violence in our community. Also, these operations require dangerous modifications to residential structures and electrical systems. As such, grow houses are at an increased risk of fire.

If you believe that there is a grow in your neighborhood please call us. If you sense that a residence is being used for commercial purposes its worthwhile giving us a call. You can call Lieutenant Mark Mahoney at 666-8042 or you can call 668-7387 and leave the information on the Station’s anonymous tip line’s voice mail. In an emergency please call 911.

During the past week, there were 14 traffic accidents, 1 involving injuries. There was 1 citation issued for driving without a license or driving on a suspended license. There were 2 arrests for driving under the influence.

On 06/19/10 at 4:00am officers responded to a call of a burglary in progress on the 2600 block of Cabrillo. A neighbor had heard noises and when she looked outside she could see a ladder placed against a home’s second story window, and could see a suspect climbing the ladder. A second suspect was standing outside with a flashlight and a third was sitting in a minivan parked in the driveway. When the first officers arrived on scene, they observed the mini-van still parked in front and began to approach on foot. When the driver saw the officers, he quickly started the engine and fled north on 28th Avenue. The driver was apprehended at 27th Avenue & Geary. Officers then conducted a walk through of the home for additional suspects and victims and saw that the home was a “marijuana grow house” and recovered over 500 marijuana plants. There appeared to be no one living there. The investigation is on going.

On 06/19/10 at 3:40pm officers responded to a call of a fight on the 4500 block of Cabrillo where a suspect had bitten off a part of the victim’s chin. Officers located the suspect at 48th Avenue and Cabrillo and the victim was in a nearby residence. The piece of the victims chin was also located and he was transported to a local hospital. The two males are roommates who had an argument that escalated into a physical fight. The victim was uncooperative with police.

On 06/23/10 at 6:30pm officers were called to the area of 33rd Avenue and Geary on a report of a large group of juveniles “tagging” an MUNI bus. Based on the description that the caller provided officers arrived and stopped seven male juveniles who were walking south on 33rd Avenue at Anza. The officers told them to stop and five complied, and spontaneously dropped their markers and paint cans to the ground. Two suspects decided to run but they were quickly captured by other officers at 32nd Avenue and Anza Street. The MUNI driver identified two in the group as the ones doing the graffiti on the bus. Both suspects, a 17 and 18 year old were charged with vandalism.

On 06/24/10 at 12:45am officers were called to the 4400 block of Cabrillo on a call of three males tagging the side of a business with one of them acting as a look out. When officers arrived they were directed to the east side of the street where they found one of the males hiding behind a parked car. The other two had fled the scene. A witness had seen them taking turns spray painting the side of the business. The 17 year old was charged with vandalism and being in possession of an aerosol container and released to his parent.

On 06/18/10 between 12:30pm and 1:30pm on the unit block of Cook Street a suspect gained entry into a residence by throwing a rock through a glass panel on the front door. The suspect took a laptop, CD’s, jewelry and a wallet.

On 06/18/10 at 7:45pm a group of juveniles were on a 38 Geary MUNI bus headed towards the Cliff House. At some point near their destination victim heard someone say, “They are going to take your I-phone.” When the bus stopped at 48th Avenue & Point Lobos three victims ran off the bus to get away from a “suspicious group” that was on the bus. The suspects followed the victims, ultimately punching one of them and grabbing his necklace from the victim’s neck. The suspects then took an I-pod from another victim and fled towards the Great Highway. The suspects were described as males in their mid to late teens; one suspect had gold teeth, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. The second male was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and had a stud earring in his left ear.

On 06/19/10 between 3:00pm and 5:45pm on the 400 block of 19th Avenue, a suspect gained entry through an unlocked rear sliding door of a residence. The suspect took jewelry, cash and a passport.

Between 06/20/10 at 3:00pm and 06/21/10 at 8:30am on the 300 block of 6th Avenue, a suspect gained entry into a business by prying open the front door. The suspect then took cash that had been left in the register.

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 11:01 am | Posted under Crime | Comments Off