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Richmond real estate story

The Bay Area is one of the fastest developing regions in the United States. The beautiful weather, safe neighborhoods, and abundance of jobs has made living in the Bay Area a hot commodity over the past decade or so especially with the rise of the “tech boom”.

As one could probably imagine, landlords are taking advantage by skyrocketing rent and mortgages everywhere in the Bay Area, making the cost of living too high for some long time Bay Area residents. This practice, commonly referred to as gentrification, has especially affected the city of San Francisco.

“My family has lived in San Francisco since the 1950’s,” said lifelong San Francisco resident Bhavjeet Bains. “But recently, my aunt and uncle got kicked out of the city and had to move to the east bay.”

The gentrification epidemic has hit districts like the Mission and SOMA the hardest. The change in demographic doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon, but for some reason, one district has managed to relatively dodge the gentrification issue. The Richmond, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, has managed to side stepped the epidemic for the most part.

“I grew up here [the Richmond District] and for the most part the majority of the people around me have stayed the same,” Richmond resident Nicole Aguirre said. “I think it’s because many of the homes here are passed down from generation to generation.”

The Richmond is a quiet, safe neighborhood with close proximity to downtown San Francisco and Golden Gate Park. On the surface, it seems as if the Richmond should be one of the more gentrified neighborhoods in the city, up there with the Mission district and Noe Valley. The schools are top notch and there’s little to no crime. Part of the Richmond’s saving grace has to be the success of local businesses. Many of the residents in the district have a store and/or work in the district, making housing a priority in the area.

“There’s so many locally owned shops here,” Skyline college student Marijane Asuncion said. “We kind of thrive off of that over here.”

The Richmond is filled with family owned businesses such as Elegant Restaurant on Clement street and Little Street Boba shop on Geary boulevard. There’s liquor stores and random shops on every corner, further pushing the small business identity of the Richmond.

 Let’s look at some of the reasons other parts of San Francisco are going through massive gentrification. The Castro district, historically Latino and one of the most LGBT friendly communities in the country, is now basically unaffordable for the people that shaped the identity of the neighborhood. The tech boom in the Silicon Valley has forced the district to create housing opportunities for “techies’.

Noe Valley, historically known as a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood has also undergone mass gentrification. The main culprit again is the tech boom, with techies taking advantage of the I-280 corridor.

The SOMA/finical district has also undergone a huge make over in the recent past. With the success and growth of businesses in the Financial district, housing prices skyrocketed, kicking long time residents out of the area for wealthier employees of thriving businesses.

The Richmond is one of the few neighborhoods in San Francisco fighting off the gentrification invasion. The Richmond district and its people have a rich history, and it would be a shame if gentrification destroyed the fabric of the neighborhood. The Richmond probably won’t be able to fight off the gentrification issue for much longer, but if they do go down, they’ll go down swinging.

               

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SF Meeting Report 9/27

 

Meeting Story

Last Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, a plethora of topics pertaining to residents of the city of San Francisco were discussed. Arguably the biggest issue, however, was an issue spreading like wildfire throughout the nation. The problem that is police brutality.

A notion was up for being passed that would hold SFPD accountable for years and years of unfair policing to people of color. This was obviously a topic of high importance, as men and women of Black and Latino ethnicity listened with close ears as members of the audience stressed the frustration they had with the police department.

“The cops beat me up at a traffic light in 1991” one visibly upset Latino man said. “It happened again recently and I demand somebody pay for this.”

The notion passed unanimously, with members of the audience broke out into a loud clap, unable to restrain their excitement.

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The Richmond district’s homeless population isn’t as high as it is in other districts, but there are still some here and there.

Sutro Baths

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The View of the Pacific Ocean from Sutro Baths

Cliffhouse Couple

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A couple from Hong Kong poses for a picture by the Pacific Ocean.

Prop 57 Divides the Richmond

Marijuana use has been one of the most controversial topics in society over the past decade. Marijuana was legalized for medical purposes in California twenty years ago, which helped contribute to the negative stigma attached to marijuana all but vanishing. It used to be that only certain groups of people were connected with marijuana use; athletes, musicians, “thugs”, hippies, and mischievous young adults. With the recent passing of proposition 64, marijuana is now legal for recreational use for those aged 21 and older. Before you rush to smoke that celebratory joint, The Hemp Center in the Richmond district of San Francisco wants us to know a few things.

The state of California has a huge marijuana market. For one, the state has the sixth best economy in the world. It is the most populous state in the country and some of the best marijuana is grown in the state, thanks to the climate. The beautiful sunshine and the geography of the state add to the narrative connecting marijuana and California.

“There’s a reason why everybody makes the connection between California and weed,” Assistant Manager at the Hemp Center Karan Rai said. “We have the best weed on Earth.”

With the rapidly growing popularity of the plant along with the coming of age of the millennial generation, it was only a matter of time before marijuana became legal. To the average person, this is a good measure for those who consume marijuana. But cannabis clubs aren’t so sure. With the passing of this proposition, marijuana will fall under the magnifying glass of the Department of Food & Agriculture and the Department of Public Health. The department will now have their hand in every process of the marijuana game. This makes the clubs very nervous. The departments may place restrictive measures on the process of garnering the marijuana, killing mom and pop growing operations that clubs have purchased marijuana products from for years. Many suspect that the government will raise the price of marijuana as well.

“The government is going to make our weed more expensive for their own agenda,” employee of the Hemp Center Matthew Jimenez said. “They mask their agenda by telling the public it will help the economy.”

Marijuana businesses are also worried because the government may decrease the potency of their pot. Since marijuana use will be more widespread, businesses are worried that government will make growers reduce potency as a safety measure.

“I know that there will be a breathalyzer equivalent for weed when the measure takes place,” Jimenez said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the weed being sold would be weaker.”

Marijuana dispensaries aren’t the only ones nervously waiting for prop 64 to come affect. A measure like this has an impact on multiple facets of life. Parents in the Richmond district are nervous to see how this measure will impact their kids. Marijuana will be more accessible, and it won’t surprise some parents if the plat is around their child more often.

“I’m a little bit worried about the exposure to weed my son my get”, mother of Washington High School student and resident of the Richmond district Lindsey Naeyart said. “I don’t want my kid around that.”

Prop 64 makes marijuana for recreational use legal for those 21 and up. A fear some parents in the district have is older kids will purchase marijuana from the dispensaries and sell it to their kids for more than what they bought it for. This is very illegal, but if kids want their pot they will find a way. Soon, marijuana could become as mainstream as cigarettes. Federal data states that marijuana use jumped 12 percent in ages 12-17 since marijuana has been legalized in the state of Colorado. Just because it is only legal for adults doesn’t mean kids won’t be able to get their hands on it.

Opposition to the measure also worry about edible marijuana. Nowadays, you can consume pot in all kinds of ways. Besides smoking, you can eat marijuana in the form of a brownie, cookie, lollipop, donut, and even in Cheetos. The worry is that kids could accidentally consume and edible thinking it is a regular snack.

“I don’t want some kid in my son’s school offering him some Cheetos as if they were actually Cheetos,” Naeyart said.

No matter what side you take in this debate, there is no doubt that proposition 64 will have positive and negative repercussions. The government controlling the weed game will put more money into California’s growing economy. It will likely end extended imprisonment for misdemeanor drug charges as too many people are sent away to prison for 20+ years because of marijuana possession. Another positive is that marijuana will be recommended more often to patients instead of addictive pain killers. This is a big issue in pro sports leagues as many prominent players have spoken out on the dangers of prescription pain pills. The negatives hold equal weight. Marijuana will be more accessible to underage kids. With the versatility of weed consumption, you could take a bite out of your friend’s rice krispy treat and two hours later be high as a kite. Lastly, many families who’ve made a career selling the marijuana they have grown may have to find new ways to make money.

It remains to be seen how the passing of prop 57 will influence everyday lives of smokers and nonsmokers.

 

 

Weed in California Timeline

·         1972 – Prop 19 fails in Califronia, which would have decriminalized marijuana. Opposition to the prop said that this bill would have encouraged marijuana abuse.

·         1975 – Bill 95 is introduced, making possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a citation instead of a felony. Was put into place by senator George Moscone after the California Senate Select Committee on the control of Marijuana discovered that marijuana arrest for simple possession was costing California $100 million per year.

·         1996 – Prop 215 passes legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. This was the first-time marijuana was legal in California in 60 years.

·         2010 – Prop 19, which would have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, barely fails. (46.5-53.5).

·         2016 – Prop 64 is approved, legalizing marijuana for recreational use in California.

 

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alexandra-theatre

Props 62 and 66 mean tough decisions for residents of San Francisco

The death penalty is one of the most controversial topics in modern society. In a liberal state like California, the issue is even more pressing. There are two upcoming measures that could drastically change the death penalty in the state of California. Proposition 62 is a notion that would repeal the death penalty, making life without parole the capital punishment in California if passed. Proposition 66 is a measure that would shorten the time that legal challenges to death sentences take to a maximum of five years. These ballot measures are opposites in a sense, with one trying to abolish the death penalty and the other trying to speed up/keep the process of reviews and challenges.

                While I was doing research on this, a very important question popped into my head. Since San Francisco, and specifically the Richmond district, is heavily diverse, how would that affect the way people in San Francisco vote on this.

                “I don’t think they should take away the death penalty,” San Francisco native Bhavjeet Bains said. “When you commit a crime, the punishment should fit said crime.”

                This is one of the of the biggest problems that the anti-death penalty crowd has, however. Too many innocent people have been killed by the death penalty over the years. According to a study conducted by the LA times and journal PNAS, more than 4% of people on death row from 1973 to 2004 were innocent. In order for the court to be 100% sure someone is to be executed, they have to process all challenges that might complicate the proceedings of the execution. Often times it takes 20-25 years for the execution to actually happen, but by that time millions of tax payer money has already went down the drain. Replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment would save tax payers $150 million per year.

                Prop 66 is a measure that would fix the problem of the gap in between sentencing and execution. It would speed up the lengthy appeals process by making the trial courts in charge of initial petitions challenging the trial. Of course the main difference in this measure and prop 66 is that this measure would keep the death penalty intact. Speeding up the process will benefit California taxpayers the most. Supporters of the measure say that this is the right way to fix a broken system. “Mend don’t end the death penalty.” Opposition of this measure call it a reckless experiment. They say that speeding up the process leading up to the execution will only make it more likely that innocent people get killed. The court is less likely to find evidence to exonerate the defendant because the process is aimed to be fast.

                So what gives? Which of these measures will be passed? Whichever prop is passed, the other won’t. Polls say the population is of California is split on the idea of the death penalty, and the decision in November will be a close one.

 

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