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Aug-16-2014

Neighbor calls Recology for recycling request, gets bomb squad instead


Photo by Jeffrey G.

While cleaning out their garage on Saturday morning, a resident on 40th Avenue between Anza and Geary came across a suspicious device.

The resident initially called Recology for recycling of the device but after describing it in detail, was instructed to call SFPD.

SFPD arrived on the scene with the bomb squad, who cleared the device without incident. Officers spent 2 to 3 hours on the scene and the street was blocked off to traffic.

We did not receive word on what the suspicious device was. UPDATE: A reader, Valerie V. told us “My husband spoke with an officer there. Old Army Corps of Engineers guy had some old fuses.”

Thanks for reader Jeffrey G. for the report and photos.

Sarah B.


Photo by Jeffrey G.


Photo by Jeffrey G.

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 12:45 pm | Posted under News | 4 comments
Aug-15-2014

Police Blotter – August 15, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of August 15, 2014. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]

CAPTAIN SIMON SILVERMAN’S MESSAGE
This week, I want to let you know about 2 scams that I have talked before, but that have resurfaced.

The first is a fundraising scam where people pose as youth or staff of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF). The imposters ask for donations in public locations in the Richmond District and other parts of the City. They use the logo of BGCSF and carry official-looking documents. However, the BGCSF does not endorse or participate in street canvassing, so this is a scam. If you are approached on the street by people collecting money who pretend to be from BGCSF, please call the SFPD at 415-553-0123. If you would like to safely make a donation to BGCSF please visit their website at www.kidsclub.org.

The second scam involves a phony phone call from a person claiming to be from the IRS. Usually they say that you owe back taxes and that local police are coming to arrest you right now unless you send them money. They will often demand that the money be sent through a wire transfer, money cards or some other non-refundable method. The SFPD does not arrest people for tax violations and the IRS does not demand payment through untraceable sources. The best thing to do is hang up on the scammers and refuse to answer if they call back. Although they may have your name and address they are probably nowhere near you and may not even be in the US. There have been no reports of someone actually showing up in person as part of this scam. If you are concerned that you actually do owe the IRS money, contact the IRS yourself (not through the call back number that the scammers provide).

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NOTEWORTHY ARRESTS
On 08/12/2014, at 4:44 pm, Richmond Station Officers Responded to the 500 block of El Camino Del Mar regarding a report of a suspicious person in a residence. Police dispatch was able to provide responding police units with a description of the vehicle and the person. One of the witnesses contacted at the scene stated that he was painting the interior of a residence when he saw an unknown subject enter through the back door. The witness confronted the male and asked what the he was doing in the premise. The subject said he was working for the property manager as he then continued to remove items from the premise. Officers later contacted the suspect who had left the general area in a black “Mini” while exiting from the side exit of another address a short distance away. When the male was asked what he was doing, he told officers he worked for “Zillow Real Estate” and was the company owner. Officers determined that the vehicle being driven was in fact stolen from Mini of San Francisco earlier in the day. Items from earlier burglaries were recovered from the vehicle and a representative of “Mini” responded to the area and recovered the vehicle. The suspect in this incident was booked for multiple felony violations

On 08/09/2014, at 2:02 am, Officers on regular patrol in the area of Baker and California were dispatched to check on the well-being of driver “sleeping at the wheel” of a black BMW. The initial call was made by a concerned citizen who said that the vehicle was creating a hazard. The officers contacted the occupant was displaying the objective signs of alcohol intoxication. The female driver was later booked at County Jail for DUI and other violations.

On 08/08/2014, at 10:35 pm, Officers on patrol in the area of Baker and Post St. observed a vehicle double parked in the street, which was causing an issue for other road users in the area. The officers contacted the occupant who was in the driver’s seat to advise him regarding the safety issue which he was creating. A computer query revealed that the driver was never issued a license in the State of California. The driver was cited for both violations.

On 08/10/2014, at 5:45 pm, Officers working the Outside Lands Event were directed to contact a troublesome male outside the event. The male was being troublesome to event staff and trying to repeatedly “jump the fence.” While interviewing the subject it was discovered that he was in possession of a quantity of hallucinogenic narcotics. The male was booked at Park Station on felony possession charges.

On 08/10/2014, at 4:30 pm, Officers working the Outside Lands Event were flagged down by an individual regarding a person selling narcotics. The witness directed officers to the suspect who was immediately detained. While conducting their investigation, Officers discovered quantities of various narcotics which were seized and later booked into evidence. The male was arrested and booked at the Northern Station for multiple felony violations.

On 08/12/2014, at 9:00 pm, Officers at Richmond Station were reviewing information regarding active arrest warrants within the district. During this review the officers discovered an active warrant for an individual on Post St. The officers responded to the wanted felon’s home address and made contact. They made this felony arrest without incident.

NOTEWORTHY INCIDENTS
On 08/12/2014, at about 7:43 pm, Officers responded to the area of 2400 Geary blvd regarding a robbery which had just occurred. The victim stated that she had just used the ATM at the Bank of America when she was approached by a male with a “black semi-automatic handgun.” The male demanded the victims Iphone and purse and then fled the scene in a vehicle. While walking home the victim in this incident contacted a female who stated that she had also been robbed.

On 08/12/2014, at about 7:40 pm, Officers responded to the 400 block of 38th Ave and spoke to the husband of a female who was robbed in the area of 38th Ave. and Anza. The victim saw a vehicle approaching her and a suspect jumped from the vehicle. The suspect had a “silver revolver” and engaged in a brief struggle for the victim’s purse. After the victim fell to the ground, she saw the suspect run to his waiting car and flee north on 38th Ave. The victim refused medical attention at the time of this incident. The investigation continues into both these incidents…

On 08/12/2014, at 11:00 am, Officers responded to the 500 block of 47th Ave. regarding a burglary of a residence under construction. At the scene they contacted the contractor who stated that he had locked and secured the premise the night before. When workers arrived at the house the following morning they discovered that the locks had been forced and entry made by unknown subjects. A number of tools were taken in this incident and the investigation continues.

On 08/10/2014, Richmond District Officers were contacted by a female who stated that her son was missing and at risk. The mother was able to provide a digital picture which was transmitted via department issued cell phone to officers working the Outside Lands Event. Due to this, the missing at risk person was located in the area of 36th and Fulton St.

On 08/10/2014, at about 3:30 am, Officers responded to the area of Post and Scott regarding a reported robbery. Officers contacted the female victim and her friend who said that while sitting on a park bench they were approached by an unknown male. The victim who was talking on her Iphone 5 was grabbed from behind. The suspect said to the victim, “you be quiet now or I will shoot you.” Fearing that the suspect may indeed have a gun, the victim released hold on her iphone. The victim’s friend approached and started kicking and screaming at the suspect who then fled on foot towards Geary. The victim in this incident declined medical treatment at the scene. The investigation continues…

We are still suffering from vehicle break-ins along Fulton St. and around the Sutro Baths – Point Lobos Areas. We are actively addressing the vehicle break-ins that occur but we also need the assistance of the general public in this endeavor. We would ask you to follow these general guidelines.

  • You should lock doors and windows, even if the car’s in front of your home.
  • Remove valuables from your automobile.
  • Remove ‘pull-out’ style radio face plates (if equipped).
  • Park in well lit areas when possible.
  • Park where your car will be easily & frequently viewed (natural surveillance).
  • Park in your garage if you have one.
  • Use a car alarm, it will alert anyone nearby.
  • Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you’re away from it, even for a short time.
  • Use anti-theft devices like “The Club” or an alarm system. You may get a discount on your auto insurance.
  • You should never leave portable electronic devices such as smart phones and GPS navigation systems in a vehicle.
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 2:05 pm | Posted under Crime | 11 comments
Aug-15-2014

After 30 years, medieval archery event leaves Golden Gate Park due to fees

Anyone who lives in the city occasionally has those “only in SF” moments where you come across something that is odd and unusual but at the same time, seems perfectly at home here.

That was my reaction the first time I learned about Debardchery, the Medieval Archery & Bardic event that takes place at the archery range in Golden Gate Park near Fulton and 47th Avenue, and is hosted by the the San Francisco Chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

They describe it as their “annual celebration of mirth, merriment, archery and the bardic arts” and the free event includes an archery competition, a Bardic tournament (poetry, song, music, skit), and a potluck lunch. Attendees are encouraged to dress in medieval or Renaissance fare garb, which they do, in spades (loaner tunics are also on hand for the wardrobe challenged). Typically they have 50 to 100 attendees, and the free event is open to the public.

Only in SF, right?

So I was saddened to hear that after 30 years of holding Debardchery in Golden Gate Park, organizers had decided to move the venue to an archery range in Pacifica.

The reason? Increased fees for their Rec & Park event permit.

Last year’s fees were $350 ($250 plus a $50 application fee and a $50 insurance waiver fee) but when they inquired about their fee for 2014, they were told there would be an additional $200 “park impact fee”. When they asked what that was for, they got no explanation from Rec & Park.

Lucien Canton, one of the event’s organizers, said they also received push back on some of the things their event has always included.

“[Rec & Park] was also requiring food handler certificates for the potluck lunch our members bring or we could not serve food. They would also not allow us to erect sunshades using stakes as we have always done in the past with the head gardener’s blessing,” Canton told us.

Canton says they did not even apply for their permit after getting the fee estimate, and instead sought another location for their event. The San Francisco Archers Range in Pacifica welcomed Debardchery with open arms, charging them $200 to host their event.

While an event fee of $550 (or more depending on the additional requirements) doesn’t sound cost prohibitive, it can be just that for small, local groups that use the park for events.

“The sums involved aren’t enormous in the great scheme of things,” Canton said. “However, our event only raises between $500-$600, mostly through donations. We use the money to purchase things like loaner equipment for our martial arts program and craft materials for our classes and to subsidize smaller events throughout the year.”

He says they’ve considered charging admission and have even tried it in the past, but it only limited attendance and hurt the spirit of Debardchery.

Canton says there are no hard feelings, just disappointment at having to leave the Golden Gate Park Archery Range after 30 years.

“We’re not looking to pick a fight with Rec & Park. It’s just unfortunate that they seem to have a “one-size-fits-all” mentality and don’t seem to make any concessions to small, local groups.”

Or ones that have been using Golden Gate Park for 30 years.

If you are interested in attending Debardchery at its new location, it takes place this Saturday (tomorrow!) at 10am at the San Francisco Archery Range in Pacifica, CA. As always, admission is free and dressing up is highly encouraged!

While we’re on this topic, I wonder if the SF Archery range has room for a few hundred vintage cars that are looking for a new home

The SF Recreation & Parks Department was contacted for comment but did not get back to us in time for publication.

Sarah B.

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 4:35 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park | 32 comments
Aug-14-2014

Photos: The parrots of… the Richmond District?


Photo by Tom Freeman

San Francisco is well known for its parrots of Telegraph Hill. They’re a regular stop for tourists visiting the city.

But the flock has gotten larger over the years – and let’s face it, savvier. They cover a lot of territory across the city, and it’s not unusual to hear a screeching pack fly overhead in a myriad of neighborhoods.

Reader (and Richmond District historian) John Freeman was delighted to encounter some of the parrots on the 600 block of 11th Avenue last week.

“I was shocked to see them in our neighborhood. There is a bush in front of a neighbor’s house that attracted them. We came home to see the bush covered with about 12 green parrots, plucking berries off the branches,” John told us. “I’ve lived over 70 years in the Richmond District and this is the FIRST time I have ever seen parrots on our turf.”

John’s grandson was able to snap a couple of pictures before they all flew on to their next feeding spot.

We had another parrot flock spotting at Balboa and 27th a couple of years ago. Do you run into the parrots in the Richmond? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.


Photo by Tom Freeman

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 11:09 am | Posted under Photos, Wildlife | 20 comments
Aug-13-2014

Photos: A dying relic – Sutro Baths just before demolition (and fire) in 1966


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill

Our neighborhood historians at the Western Neighborhoods Project shared a link to some interesting old photos of Sutro Baths, just before it was demolished in 1966. The plan was to build high-rise apartments on the land.

The demolition never took place because a large fire broke out at Sutro Baths on June 26, 1966 (video). All the structures on the property burned to the ground.

See the full collection of Sutro Baths photos here (plus a few of Playland)

The photos were taken by late photographer Suki Hill, who passed away in June. According to her website, she “photographed subjects ranging from the streets of Paris to portraits of rock stars, authors, painters, musicians and the rich and famous, but her favorite subjects were the people of her community – their celebrations, events, gatherings, work – in short, their lives.”

Sarah B.


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill


Sutro Baths, 1966. Photo by Suki Hill

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 9:58 am | Posted under History, Photos | Add comments
Aug-12-2014

Police arrest Richmond Distict church pastor for alleged lewd acts on a minor


The building at 378 18th Avenue where Indonesian Pentecostal Foursquare Church holds its services

KTVU reports that Daly City police arrested 69-year-old Ventje Cornelis Singkoh this morning for alleged lewd acts on a minor.

Singkobh is the pastor at the Indonesian Pentecostal Foursquare Church, located at 378 18th Avenue near Geary Boulevard.

Authorities said he has also held services at other locations in San Francisco, Concord and his home in Daly City.

Anyone with information related to the investigation is urged to call Daly City Police at 650-991-8175.

Sarah B.

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 5:39 pm | Posted under Crime | Add comments
Aug-12-2014

Richmond Republic Draught House to open soon on Clement in old Haig’s space

The proprietors of Chomp N’ Swig, the beer and sandwich spot on Clement near 17th Avenue, posted this sneak peek photo of their new venture on Facebook.

It will be called the Richmond Republic Draught House and will open soon in the old Haig’s Delicatessen space at 642 Clement Street.

The space has been under brown window wrap for many months. This is the second business for the owners who opened Chomp N’ Swig, their first eatery, in February 2012.

Thank to Ben L. for the tip.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Business | 14 comments
Aug-11-2014

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams – beloved comedian and longtime resident

We’re so saddened by the news of Robin Williamspassing today. There are too many remarkable moments from his career and life to try and list here, but we thought we’d highlight some of our personal and historic memories of him related to his time in the Richmond District.

Williams was well known for getting his start in San Francisco, most notably at the Holy City Zoo at 408 Clement Street (now Side Bar). Williams was known for using “the club as his neighborhood rehearsal space”. When the club shuttered in 1984 (for the first time, it lived on until 1994 in a few different forms), the Chronicle wrote about its importance to Robin:

ROBIN WILLIAMS was there, of course, but didn’t much want to talk about it. It was a highly personal moment. He did his earliest stand-up here, met his oldest friends here, met his wife here. This is where he learned his craft, and it was a sad, melancholy night on June 19, 1984. The Holy City Zoo, a legend among America’s comedy clubs, the ultimate “comedian’s hangout,” folded after 13 years.

“I’m sad,” said Robin. “We had wonderful times here, strange times here; this wasn’t a haven, it was a game preserve. I remember a big black guy who’d come in with a baseball bat and say ‘I’d like to audition.’ But a lot of that is in the past. So many changes.”

Robin was also known to perform consistently early in his career (and to pop by occasionally after becoming a star) at the annual Comedy in the Park event in Golden Gate Park. I’m sure they’ll take time at this year’s event on September 14 to remember him well.

He lived in Sea Cliff for many years in a pink, Mediterranean-style house on a corner that was a popular stop on Halloween. One year I noticed a huge line outside Robin’s house as kids lined up to get their “treat” – a glow necklace. He was always generous on Halloween.

He was often seen around the neighborhood, usually on a bike. I spotted him once waiting outside Angelina’s Cafe for his order, barely recognizable under a hat. Even after he moved to Marin, he was seen occasionally in the ‘hood.

Another former resident, Cate Z., remembers her encounters with him fondly. “I used to see him walking his white Boxer in Seacliff. He always stopped and pet our big scary Rottweiler. Such a nice man and such a huge talent. He was a gentle soul.”

Feel free to share your memories of Robin Williams in the comments. His vivacious spirit will be missed.

Sarah B.

P.S. – Some local comedians gathered at the former Holy City Zoo on Clement Street after the announcement of Robin’s death.


At Comedy in the Park, 1987. Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice, The Chronicle


The Holy City Zoo just before its closing. Photo: Chris Stewart, The Chronicle




Ocean Beach, 8/11/14. Photo by Katie L.


A chalk message outside Angelina’s Cafe. Photo by Mike F.


Mourners leave bouquets of flowers at Robin Williams’ former home in Sea Cliff on Monday, August 11, 2014.
Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle.

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 4:52 pm | Posted under News | 30 comments
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