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City provides grant money to attract more tourists to the Richmond District

It’s rare to see the Richmond District mentioned in local news, let alone on the front page of the paper. But that’s what happened today when the Examiner published a story Visit SF for the beautiful … Richmond district?.

The story details an effort that is underway to attract more tourists to our northwest corner of the city. We don’t get much of the tourist traffic or money according to the SF Travel Association. In a 2010 survey, they found that just 17.6% of tourists visit the Richmond or Sunset, compared to 65.2% who went to Union Square, 56% to Fisherman’s Wharf and 38.4% to Chinatown.

They shouldn’t be surprised at their own survey results, since their SF Travel website doesn’t even include the Richmond District in their list of neighborhoods. Et tu, SF Travel?

But we all know that the Richmond District has great attractions for visitors including two world class museums, beautiful coastline and beaches, nearly every variety of cuisine imaginable, city landmarks and gorgeous parks.

According to the article, the “Neighborhood Partners Program — which awarded nine other grants to businesses or organizations in The City for 2014 to 2016 — will add shops, restaurants and other places in the Richmond to its online and print publications, and provide networking and mentoring opportunities for merchants.”

A two-year grant for an undisclosed amount was given to the Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants and Property Owners Association, led by David Heller.

He told the Examiner that the money will be used for things like stringing lights along stretches of Geary, hanging banners to promote shops and destinations in the Richmond, and beautifying storefronts.

What would you do to attract more tourists to the neighborhood? When you have friends visiting, what do you encourage them to see and do in the neighborhood? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

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 9:43 am | Posted under News | 32 comments

Urban Family Farm Day at the Richmond Library, Saturday June 21

This Saturday from 12noon until 4pm, the Richmond District Branch Library will host an Urban Family Farm Day, featuring animal shows, raffles, and gardening activities.

Stop by the library to learn more about creating your own urban farm, including bee keeping and gardening tips.

Tracy the Animal Show Guy will also give a show at 2:30pm, presumably featuring farm animals like goats, chickens etc. Judging from his video, he looks like he puts on a fun show.

Saturday’s event schedule is:

12:00 – 1:00 Irish jigs and reels with Celtic Sands Trio
1:00 – 2:00 Plant exchange and raffle sign-up
2:00 – 3:00 Bee keeping presentation with Paul Koski
2:30 – 3:30 Animal show & petting with “Tracy, the Animal Guy”
3:30 – 4:00 Raffle and much more!

Admission is free! The Richmond District Branch Library is located at 351 9th Avenue.

Sarah B.

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 12:58 pm | Posted under Events, Kids | Add comments

SF Free Folk Festival at Presidio Middle School this weekend

On Saturday and Sunday, the San Francisco Free Folk Festival returns to Presidio Middle School for its 38th year of music and dance workshops, concerts, dance parties, crafts, vendors, formal and informal music-making, and fun activities for all ages.

This year’s schedule includes workshops like “Flash Mob Choir“, “East Coast Swing“, “Israel Dances Old and New“, “Songs of Simon and Garfunkel” and “African Dance and Drumming“. Needless to say, something for everyone.

Both days are packed with live music performances across five stages from artists like The Rowan Brothers, Windy Hill, Wronglers (once fronted by Warren Hellman), The Littlest Birds, Stringquake and many more.

The festival is very family friendly, and features a lineup of family-focused programming like a Children’s Music Network Song Swap, Kids’ Open Mic, and Songwriting for Kids and Wacky Adults.

Admission is free and the festival runs from 12noon to 10pm on both Saturday and Sunday. On-site parking is available in the Presidio Middle School (450 30th Avenue) lot for $8.

Sarah B.

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 5:01 am | Posted under Events, Kids, Live Music | 1 comment

Photo: California Street, 1908

Raised Frame Houses on California Street Between 17th and 18th Avenues | July 20, 1908. Courtesy of SFMTA Archives

The Western Neighborhoods Project sent this pic our way. It shows California Street near 17th Avenue in 1908, just two years after the big quake.

The structure in the foreground of the photo is an Earthquake Refugee Cottage or “earthquake shack” as they’re often called. Some residents re-purposed them into homes after they were used to house quake refugees between 1906 and 1908 at camps throughout the city. This one was probably moved from the Camp 25 (Camp Richmond) refugee camp that spanned Park Presidio (photo below).

Now if we could figure out if this is looking east or west, we’d post a “today” photo to compare it to… [Update: John Freeman confirmed the photo is looking east, so photo from today is posted below]

Sarah B.

The “today” shot looking east on California at 18th Avenue. Wonder if those are the
same utility poles that were there in the 1908 photo?

Camp 25 located along what is now Park Presidio Boulevard. Courtesy Bancroft Library.

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 9:40 am | Posted under History, Photos | 8 comments

Local links: Sisters in crime, a coyote lady, Green Apple, historic video & more

Photo by Tony Jameson

Happy Thursday to everyone! Here are some local updates to get you to Friday…

  • At Sunday Streets last weekend on the Great Highway, a group tried to break the Guinness World Record for the longest skate chain. They didn’t succeed but it made for some good photos :)
  • The two sisters that were arrested this week on allegations of operating a sex-trafficking ring in the Richmond District were released on $50,000 bail. They have been charged with seven counts of pimping, seven counts of pandering, one count of conspiracy to pimp and one count of conspiracy to pander after allegedly operating brothels at 385 Seventh Ave. and 4719 Geary Blvd. They are due to be arraigned on Friday. [SF Chronicle]
  • We see coyotes frequently in the Richmond District, and one San Francisco woman has taken it upon herself to study and photograph them. “I do it because I love coyotes and want to dispel myths about them,” Kessler said. “I want to help people understand how we can coexist peacefully with these beautiful animals.” She’s also produced videos to educate people on how to get along with coyotes.
  • The Tidy Shoppe at 4050 Geary is offering new makeup classes. The first one on June 26 from 7-9pm is focused on “smokey eyes” and features instruction from Cindy Chan. The cost is $40 and you bring your own makeup. Sign up via their Facebook page or call 668-4050.
  • Green Apple Books will open their second location on 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset on August 1. Get all the details here including a look at the logo for the new store.
  • Speaking of Green Apple, owner Pete Mulvihill met a new “pal” at a recent event in NYC:

  • We don’t think we’ll ever “get” this business, or understand how they even STAY in business, but they continue to attract media attention. A journalist for Vice magazine paid a visit to the face-slapping masseuses at 14th Avenue and Geary. “The routine was like a bit from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers World Tour Live on Stage—but considering I was in a place where beauty-conscious people pay big bucks to get slapped in the face, how could I expect anything else?” Definitely one of the more bizarre pieces we’ve read this year.
  • Prelinger Archives found some unseen footage of Ocean Beach and Playland from 1942-43. In it you can see the Lurline Pier stretching out into the ocean, which was the intake pipe for pumping saltwater to the old Lurline Baths and Olympic Club pools downtown.

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 11:22 am | Posted under Crime, History, Video, Wildlife | 5 comments

Police Blotter – June 11, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of June 11, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

“Hot” is not the first word that comes to mind when people think of the Richmond District. But the interior of a car can quickly heat up on a sunny day. Heatstroke is the second most common cause of vehicle related deaths for children (second to collisions). A child’s temperature heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. Children should never be left unattended in cars not only because of heat but also other safety concerns. People break into cars, people steal cars, and there are some predatory criminals out there in the world.

While we are on the subject, let’s not forget that animals can also be hurt or killed when left in hot cars. If you see a child or an animal in danger, please call 911.

Lately I have gotten several requests asking me to remind drivers about the importance of using turn signals. Here are the relevant sections of the California Vehicle Code:

22107. No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal… in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

22108. Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

24252. (a) All lighting equipment of a required type installed on a vehicle shall at all times be maintained in good working order…

As my driver’s ed teacher said, “We use our signals to let others know what we are going to do, not to let them know what we are doing. They can already see what we are doing.”

On June 25th at 6:00 pm the Police Commission will hold a public meeting in the Richmond District at Presidio Middle School (450 30th Ave). This is an opportunity for the commissioners to hear directly from residents of the district. I will also give a brief report about Richmond Station. This takes the place of our regular monthly community meeting, so we will not meet on June 17th as we usually would.

Follow us on:
Twitter: @sfpdrichmond

On 06/06/14 at 2:50am, officers were called to a vehicle collision on Divisadero and California Sts. The caller was reporting that it was a single vehicle accident and the driver fled the scene. When the officers arrived they saw that the vehicle had hit a light pole on the center median and flipped over, finally landing back on its wheels. The passenger in the car told the officers that she had just met the driver at a bar and he was giving her a ride home. A passerby alerted the officers to the location where the driver was hiding on the 1900 block of Broderick where he was taken into custody. Due to the drivers injuries he was transported to the hospital for treatment and charged with driving under the influence, hit and run and driving without a license. The passenger was treated and released.

On 06/06/14 at 8:40pm, an officer was patrolling the area of Boswell St and Post when he observed the suspect walking unsteadily on his feet. The officer made contact with the suspect to see if he needed medical attention or was intoxicated. The male told the officer that he “was a good man,” and provided the officer with his name, but had no identification. When the officer ran the male in the computer he came back clear. The officer then saw that the suspect was wearing a San Francisco County Jail bracelet which had his photo but another name. The officer then ran that name and saw that the suspect was wanted on a parole violation. The 32yr old was charged accordingly.

On 06/08/14 at 6:36pm, plainclothes officers were in the area of Fulton and Arguello when the observed the suspect standing along the curb line near a car. The officers recognized him from previous contacts regarding auto burglaries. The officers continued to watch him and saw that he was in possession of two backpacks and a small cooler. The suspect walked into the park and sat on a bench and looked through the contents of the backpack. After putting the items back he stood up and went to the bus stop and sat down. Officers then determined that the suspect had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for burglary. The suspect was detained and in going through the property in his possession, the officers found items that had been taken in several auto burglaries. The suspect was also in possession of heroin and counterfeit bills. The 55yr old male was charged with possession of stolen property, narcotic violations, possession of counterfeit bills and auto burglary.

On 06/09/14 at 10:33pm, officers were patrolling the area of 8th and Fulton when they saw a male and female in a loud verbal argument. The officers stopped to check on the two and confirmed there had been no physical altercation. The officers conducted a computer check on the two and discovered that the female was a 16yr old runaway from Sacramento. The male had a warrant out of Texas. The male was searched and officers located brass knuckles in his possession. The 16yr olds father was contacted and he came to Richmond Station to pick up his daughter. The 19yr old male was charged with weapons possession. The warrant from Texas was non-extraditable.

On 06/10/14 at 10:40pm, officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on the 1500 block of Baker. The driver had an outstanding narcotics warrant for his arrest. Upon searching the vehicle the officers located a handgun in a backpack in the vehicle. The 24yr old driver, who is a convicted felon, was charged with possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and narcotic violations.

Between 06/05/14, 12pm and 06/09/14, 5:15am on the 3700 block of Jackson, a suspect entered a home by breaking a window pane on the front door. The suspect entered the home and rummaged through drawers and closets, but nothing appears to have been taken.

Between 06/07/14, 4:45am and 06/08/14, 11:45am on the 3300 block of Washington, a suspect entered a home by first kicking in the tradesman door to get to the rear of the home. Once in the back, the suspect shattered a glass door by throwing a rock through it. The home had been gone through but the owners were out of town, so the loss is unknown at this time.

On 06/09/14 at 2pm, the victim left his bike, unlocked, in front of a business on the 3400 block of California. From the inside of the business the victim saw the suspect jump on his bike and flee west on California St. The victim tried to give chase but was unsuccessful. The suspect was described as a white male 30-40yrs.

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 2:58 pm | Posted under Crime | Add comments

Ocean Beach sand artist Andres Amador featured on CBS News

Artist Andres Amador got national airtime last night on CBS News. Reporter John Blackstone came to Ocean Beach to interview Amador and watch him at work.

On his website, Amador said “I am not so thrilled with the artwork I made. It was the first time trying the design and many things came to me as I was doing it and then as I was able to look from above… Its hard to receive attention of praise for something I don’t feel as complete with. And this I would consider one of those moments. However, I appreciated how they approached and edited the piece and the interview.”

Well Andres, we think it looks great. :)

Sarah B.

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 9:44 am | Posted under Art, Ocean Beach | 1 comment

Recent reports of illegal sex businesses in the Richmond District

The Richmond District’s dirty laundry has been aired out recently in the news, with startling signs that this sleepy neighborhood may be the ideal place for human traffickers to operate illegal businesses.

You may recall in 2013 when the Department of Public Health revoked the operating permits of two Richmond District massage businesses due to allegations of illegal activities and unsanitary conditions.

One was the Clement Service Center at 311 12th Avenue, the other was Warmer Massage at 505 8th Avenue.

The businesses were cited for a variety of infractions including having unlicensed practitioners, unsanitary conditions, being open past permissible operating hours, and operating without a permit.

At the time of the investigations, inspectors were told of sexual conduct between the practitioners and patrons, and condoms were found on the premises, but nothing was witnessed. The businesses were closed, but eventually reopened.

Michael Tarbox, the owner of the market next to Warmer Massage summed up how the neighborhood feels about these businesses.

“We don’t want this business here. We know what it is. We know what’s going on there,” Tarbox said.

The situation is not going away. This past weekend, a Chronicle reporter accompanied a public health inspector and the SFPD on their visits to several city massage parlors.

“Each and every massage parlor was cited for at least one violation – and many of them showed clear evidence of human trafficking,” the story reported.

One of the businesses mentioned in the story was Ai Rose Salon, located at 4004 Balboa near 41st Avenue. The evidence was obvious upon their arrival.

“As the group rushed in, a young patron tried to hurry out, holding up his pants with one hand. The police stopped him for questioning – it turned out that he had a previous arrest.”

And as of this morning, it appears the sex trade is not just limited to massage businesses.

The Chronicle reported on the arrest of two sisters in the Richmond District on allegations of operating a sex-trafficking ring here in the neighborhood.

“Qiao “Judy” He, 37, and Gaineng He, 36, both of San Francisco, were booked into County Jail on suspicion of pimping and pandering. Investigators said the women ran two brothels out of residences at 385 7th Ave. and 4719 Geary Blvd., where they charged men up to $200 to have sexual intercourse with young women.”

The two women are being held on $25,000 bail and are also under investigation for potential tax fraud and conspiracy violations.

Sarah B.

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 9:52 am | Posted under Crime | 37 comments