July 3, 2006

"The city is saturated with pot clubs."

"Fisherman's Wharf is a tourism attraction, and this is not the kind of tourism we're trying to attract."


Pogo said...

From the article:
"...though philosophically we don't have a problem with medicinal marijuana being available, we all voted for it — we think customers are going to be better served in another location," he said. "We just think it's the wrong time, wrong place"

I wonder, when reading this, why people voting for this measure didn't envision that a reasonable scenario would be for a business to open providing exactly this service, opening in a neighborhood nearby?

Maybe cities need to start zoning a 10 or 12 square block walled-in video surveillanced section where all of the Okay-but-NIMBY activities can be located.

HaloJonesFan said...

I love the way that these people don't even pretend that that they're filling some vital medical need. It's cool, brah, you just need a doctor's note, it's like the "four-twenty prescription" maaaan!

Tibore said...

Damn, Pogo beat me to the NIMBY comment.

Like him, I find it odd that there's a disconnect between the "Yes, this is a good idea" phase, and the "What? Here?? No way!" phase that San Fran residents have gone through. But in their defense, I think most of them imagined a tightly controlled, hospital or doctor only method of distribution, not Pot Clubs, the then current existence of those nonwithstanding. My point is that many folks love thinking ideas and ideals and often don't think of practical effects and real world outcomes. I know I do it all the damn time myself.

Palladian said...

But Halo, isn't your doctor's office painted maroon with two tvs and a green flashing tube light formed into a crude Greek cross stapled to the wall, staffed by a guy with a greasy pony tail and a woman who looks like she does the alcohol swabbing in a piercing parlor? Hell, I wouldn't even by a cappuccino from these people.

PatCA said...

It's still possible to have a good time as a tourist in SF, but it gets tougher all the time. The last time I went the hotel was charming, but outside the town smelled of urine and the substance abusers filled the sidewalks. Maybe the pot clubs will keep them all in one place.

Pogo said...

The Dutch have long ago proved that decriminalization of drugs doesn't have the desired effects (presumably, less crime, with a slight uptick in use). It's the usual economic problem of progressive decay at the margins.

Instead, it ushers in an era of legitimized public intoxication. I agree about San Francisco; it's becoming increasingly dangerous, with the "safe" areas a narrower and narrower band. Don't wander far off the "good" shopping district. But much of this activity seems blithely ignored by some of its citizens.

Maybe we should wall off SF and put all of the nation's NIMBY activiites there. Oh, there and Vegas.

Tim said...

Streets of San Francisco. That feces you just stepped in?

It ain't dog.

And cannabis clubs attracting crime?

Who'da thunk?

Apparently not the ever-so-smart and sophisticated deep blue voters of San Francisco, "the City that Knows How," (or did, before everything started going to hell back in '67).

tcd said...

Pogo, why Vegas? I think Cape Cod would be better. Imagine pot clubs and wind turbines in Ted Kennedy's backyard.

chuck b. said...

I voted for medical marijuana and the pot clubs don't bother me (I don't have one in my neighborhood), and I don't know what people are talking about w/ increases in crime (and I stay well away from the tourist zones). It's the same old, same old here.

If I could take back one of my votes, it would be for Indian gaming.

chuck b. said...

(Just remembered i blogged about eating a pot brownie on Saturday. Heh. Not trying to generate blog traffic...it's not interesting. And, hey, it was in the privacy of my own home.)

Theo Boehm said...

My wife is from Oakland and has family in the Bay Area. We go there a couple of times a year. We don't go to San Francisco any more, however, and it's not because of pot clubs. At least they're behind closed doors.

Have you tried walking around the city lately and not been acosted by scenes of degradation and filth? "What kind of a place is this?" my then 9-year-old son asked a few years ago as we watched a couple of bums share a joint while one of them peed in a doorway.

"It's your world, son. It's your America."

PatCA said...

But I thought Gavin Newsome was going to clean up the streets? Hah.

I watched The Birds recently. The contrast between the elegant SF of the film and the filthy SF of today was stunning.

jeff nolan said...

I live on the Peninsula and used to frequent SF for business or personal entertainment at least a couple times a month. In the last 2 years my wife and I have noticed that we rarely go into SF at all. Part of the reason is that the good restaurants, blah, blah, blah can be found all throughout the Bay Area, the idea that SF has a monopoly on good eating is just preposterous. The reason we don't go is the hassle of it, aside from being accosted by street people and coming face-to-face with the filth of it, there is the parking hassle, the traffic, the congestion, and so on. Why bother.

Re the pot clubs, if you think SF is bad just hop across the Bay to Oakland where they out number SF by 3:1. It's somewhat ironic that the one thing that the crazy Democrats that run this town don't want to regulate is pot clubs.

Theo Boehm said...


Yes, it’s a serious hassle. Also, "End Bothersome Commerce" may have replaced "Eureka" as the state motto of California, but not as far as pot clubs are concerned.

My wife's family has been in the Bay Area for over 100 years--since before the Earthquake--and my mother-in-law, who is 75 and still quite active, won't go into the city any more. She was a businesswoman who worked in SF or Oakland her whole life, and was active in the civic affairs, the Opera, etc. She can't believe what's happened to her city. Of course, being the tough-minded sort she is, she's ready to move on. Downtown Oakland has improved quite a bit in recent years, so if SF is screwed, who needs it?

The tipping point came for us three years ago at Christmas. We went into SF to visit FAO Schwarz and do some window shopping and tourist stuff with the kids. That's when the incident described above--and others--occurred.

Maybe Mayor Newsome can do something, but I doubt it. He's no Rudy Giuliani. There are many, like my mother-in-law, who are perfectly willing to abandon SF. Who needs it, as jeff says, when the rest of the Bay Area has plenty of things going on? The East Coast elites were unwilling to abandon Manhattan, so Mayor Giuliani was allowed to take tough measures. San Francisco, despite all its nice new buildings, just isn’t as important as Manhattan. Retailers and restaurant owners may grumble, but there isn't a working consensus about what can or should be done. People can still get to the office buildings, so who cares what they have to step over?

As someone who has regularly visited both places over the past 20-odd years, I would say that Manhattan used to be worse than San Francisco in every respect, but the situation has reversed post-Giuliani. Earlier in the same year of our last family visit to San Francisco, I spent a day walking around Manhattan, looking at Ground Zero, visiting an old friend in Soho, paying a short visit to the MOMA, etc. The city was relatively clean, Battery Park was nicer than I've ever seen it, and I didn't encounter one street person or see one ugly incident. Manhattan was humming with its usual energy, and we had a great time. Maybe it was just a good day, but the contrast to San Francisco a few months later was dramatic.

San Francisco has been a wonderful and unique place. The lack of will to preserve its good qualities for the vast majority of its residents and visitors is sad beyond belief.

There is a lesson in this for those who like to strike political poses and not get "bogged down in the minutiae of specific policies." San Francisco was set on its course by specific policy decision after specific policy decision. New York was cleaned up by the same process. Now you can say that liberals were responsible for one and a tough-minded conservative for the other, but that doesn't absolve citizens of their responsibility. Yes, the elites of New York were willing to let Giuliani do the dirty work, but things couldn't have happened without the support and involvement of plenty of New Yorkers.

Can effective leadership and civic will emerge to solve San Francisco's problems? I don't know. But I do know that congratulating yourself on being such a good person because you oppose/support the war and George Bush will not get the crap scraped off the sidewalks.

Happy 4th everyone. It’s still a democracy.