The Chron had an article today about the gentrification of Polk Street. Many may not know this area too well, but there are essentially two parts. There’s the upper part which I feel starts somewhere around Sacramento and I like quite a lot and then there’s the lower part which kicks in around California and literally goes downhill from there until it hits Market. Since I live on Sutter, I live only a few blocks from the seriously lower part which they are talking about.
This article is hilarious. From the context, it seems like they’re really trying to balance it out and show that gentrifying, or let’s just say “cleaning up” the area would be bad to some people. While that’s always true to a certain degree, here’s the quote they have from a group that opposed it:
Gay Shame, an activist group that champions the rights of “radical queers,” says gentrification is pushing out “hookers, hustlers, drug addicts, homeless people, trannies, needle exchange services, working-class queers and other social deviants.” full article
Now, I’ve got nothing against needle exchange service unless it’s two guys sitting on the street swapping a syringe back and forth. I’ve also nothing against the homeless as they’re everywhere in the city. And as for “working-class” queers, I don’t really know who they are, but sure, okay, they’re fine too. The laughable thing is the comment that hookers, hustlers, drug addicts, trannies, and other social deviants are being pushed out. The reason I lump trannies in there because the person who is saying this doesn’t mention that these are tranny hookers, not just guys who are bopping about in women’s clothes because that’s their thing. How is getting this out of an area a bad thing?!! It’s like everyone’s taking crazy pills!
I totally agree that over developing areas like the Richmond, Sunset, and Mission where there is the last bastion of housing for working people to afford is a mistake. But, come on. You’re hopped up on goofballs or spun out on crack to think that losing criminal activities in an area is bad. Of course, there will be groups that fight this and I find it funny that most of the time, these people who come in on the side of “No, leave it a dump.” often don’t live anywhere near said dump. I do and I have to tell you that despite what they say, it is not a safe area at night. Polk is pretty visible, but there are a lot of alleyways off of it and bad stuff goes down. From those in my building who have lived here for ten years, they say it’s much better, but still it’s a sketchy place sometimes and of course I can hear it at night. Anyone who says differently is just turning a blind eye to it all.
Suffice to say, I welcome all of this. Naturally some annoying crap like Starbucks and BTP (Bridge Tube Peninsula) crowds will come down there, but I’ll take that any day over having to step over puke and walked around screaming people who are harassing me. The girlfriend won’t even walk through the are closest to where we live and she can handle a lot of urbanosity. It’s skanky there. Oh great, I just put the T word in an article that mentions Polk Street. Here come the disappointed Googlers…