Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Notes on Middle Polk Negiborhood Association Meeting

Michael and Netta Fedor of Its A Grind hosted about 60 neighbors at the August 20 Middle Polk Neighborhood Association Meeting.

Dawn Trennert opened the meeting with an announcement about dialing 911 from cell phones. The highway communications towers often intercept 911 calls dialed from cell phones, resulting in a delay as the call is routed to the CHP emergency center in Sacramento, which often has busy lines , and then re-routed to the local 911 dispatch. The local police emergency number, 553-8090 should be programmed into your cell phone so that you don't have to guess whether 911 is going to get you the most direct connection.

Trash Pick Up on Polk Street turned out 75 residents from the entire length of Polk Street.

Dawn introduced Judge McBride and several Misdemeanor Court Judges who wanted to meet with the neighbors to hear the concerns.

The Misdemeanor court was recently reviewing upcoming cases, and only 2 of 103 cases set for trial was for prostitution. One hypothesis offered for the lack of prostitution cases was DA diversion programs that send 1st or 2nd time offenders to education and treatment programs.

The civic discussion on why more prostitution cases are not brought posits that juries in San Francisco will not bring a guilty verdict on a prostitution case. One judge said that in her 6 months with the Misdemeanor Court she has seen one prostitution case and there was a conviction.

Misdemeanor Court judges see 20-30 cases per week per judge. The City is hiring more police and DAs, but not judges. The case backlog can only worsen in these conditions.

Judge McBride asked what kinds of crimes we would like to see the Community Justice Center handle when it becomes operational. Neighbors suggested the following: red light violations, prostitution related crimes (prostitutes, johns and pimps), car break ins, public intoxication (with any substance), public drug use, public urination and graffiti.

Next we had updates on various proposed neighborhood developments.

All of the Cala Bell stores in San Francisco are slated to be sold or closed. A search is on for a new grocery store to buy the local Cala Bell location.

Kimberly Bryant reported that discussions have begun on the use of the Pacific Terrace Development at Pacific and Polk (the former Brown Jug location). The current proposal calls for a 65 unit condominium complex between 65 and 75 feet tall. You can reach Kimberly Bryant, neighborhood coordinator, at and you can find more information about the project at

Michael Schoolnick reported that administrators from St. John's Methodist on 1601 Larkin at Clay entered into contract with a developer to build a 27 unit condo project on the site. Supervisor Peskin objected, saying that the building is a landmark and we are losing City landmarks at an alarming rate. It has been recommended that the building be designated a landmark. The church has filed suit based on city law that the church retains control over the use of its property.

Additionally, 2 of 5 mature trees in front of the church have been marked for removal, purportedly because of disease. Co-incidentally, these two trees are in the spot of the driveway of the proposed development.

Frank Cannata is working with The Livable Streets Program on their Traffic Calming initiative. They work with neighborhoods on projects defined with the neighborhood to address traffic issues.

Neighborhood Coordinator Jon Faust is leading weekly neighborhood meetings about the progress on the 1645 Pacific Development on Tuesday at 6:30. E-mail Jon at You can find plans for the development at

Frank Cannata reported that the Old Royal Theater Commercial Space is now available for lease. The community would like to see a business with a positive community presence go in and suggested that if anyone knows of such a business looking for a space to contact the leasing company. Here is a link to an earlier posting about the Royal Theater lease opportunity -, complete with a photo.

Dawn introduced the new Police Captain of Northern Station, Captain Al Casciato. Captain Casciato has been making the rounds with his introduction, so I will direct you to an earlier post about this message delivered at the Northern Station Community Meeting earlier this month -

Captain Casciato made some additional points. There are 6 gangs operating in Northern Station. Police arrested a gang of coyotes at Van Ness and Clay who were ransoming immigrants to their relatives. Guns and a significant amount of cash were recovered.

Northern is working with other district stations to make sure that boundary lines are permeable and that the actual district boundaries themselves are covered.

For details about why Captain Dillon was reassigned, see the Chron story and my post

Communication for the Association is expanding with a Yahoo User Group named 94109.

Monday, Sept 17, 7pm will be the next Association meeting at It's a Grind.

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