News, events, and resources around the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood

Even though Stannous Flouride never completed high school, he can tell you about anything you’d like to know. Whether you want to know the history of Haight-Ashbury’s development or the origin of the Caribe goddess Yara (who is tattooed on his leg), Stan’s the man. He was on the game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which paid for his vacation to Italy, where he translated Italian to sign language for deaf athletes. He is learning his sixth language and already knows English, German, Italian, sign language, and Spanish. “I love learning for the sake of learning,” said Flouride.

Flouride was born in November 1956 in Rockford Illinois. When he was still young, his parents split and he moved with his mother to Toms River, New Jersey. He dropped out of high school and moved to Washington D.C. where he wrote for the Quicksilver Times, an underground, counterculture publication.

He was drafted to the armed forces in 1970 and sent to Texas for medic training. He graduated at the top of his class and was given the choice to either stay in the U.S., or go overseas. Flouride remained in Texas for six years where he treated burn victims from all over the U.S. and wounded returning from the war. He then moved to the Tenderloin District in San Francisco in May 1976.

Flouride was hired as a dishwasher at the Acme Cafe, where he moved up the ranks until he became the best chef at the restaurant. While working there, Flouride was introduced to the punk scene by a friend. On January 14, 1978, Flouride attended his first punk show, at the age of 25, at the Winterland Ballroom. The band he saw was the Sex Pistols, in what turned out to be their last performance.

The punk scene drew Flouride into using hard drugs such as speed. In the mid ’80s he met UC Berkeley chemistry students who learned how to make high quality methadone. “This stuff was so fresh that I had to dry it with a hairdryer before I could sell it,” said Flouride. Flouride became their distributor in San Francisco. He dealt in large quantities, nothing less than and eighth of an ounce at a time. Most deals were done by the ounce.

Flouride used his medical training from Texas to teach people how to shoot up and properly handle needles. He ran into a girl on the bus whom he taught. She was on her way to rehab. She pointed out that because of Flouride, people knew how to clean needles and never got AIDS.

Flouride was hired by Target Video, a punk video studio that also put out Damage Magazine, the third largest punk magazine in the world. He wrote articles for the magazine and became a doorman for the studio’s warehouse, which acted as a venue for various bands and events.

In 1982, Flouride moved to his current residence on Masonic Avenue after being evicted. He holds numerous positions as customer service clerk at Robert’s Hardware, apartment manager and handyman for neighbors, and tour guide for Haight Ashbury Flower Power Tours. “I don’t work many hours, but I work, like, six days a week,” said Flouride.

Flouride has earned himself a free pint of beer every day, for the rest of his life from the Trax Bar. He entered into a bidding war on eBay for a collectable ash tray from the ’60s with a question mark logo on it. Flouride recognized the logo from Question Mark Bar on Haight Street, and knew where it belonged. After winning the auction, Flouride worked on making a case for the ashtray. He mounted it to a plaque and donated it to the bar. The owner asked Flouride to name his price. “I want a note signed by you guaranteeing one free beer for the rest of my life.”

Flouride’s current goal is to learn Tagalog. He is enrolled at Community College San Francisco in a Tagalog class. Once he learns the language, he plans to take a vacation to the Philippines.

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City officials are working together to ensure a safe environment as well as minimize damage for this year’s “4/20” celebration in Golden Gate Park, an unsanctioned event where 15,000 people openly smoke marijuana.

Supervisor London Breed is working with Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Police to send a message that the city does not condone illegal drug use but will create a safe environment for freedom of expression. She issued a statement on Wednesday outlining plans to keep the park safe.

“I am not comfortable with an event that encourages such rampant drug use by adults and minors alike. Non-medical marijuana use and smoking of any kind on park property, is still illegal,” said Breed in last year’s 4/20 statement.

Her four-point plan includes increased law enforcement (uniform and plainclothes), Parking Control Officers ticketing and/or towing illegally parked vehicles, closing of unpermitted booths and concessions, and MUNI buses rerouted off of Haight Street between Stanyan and Masonic to avoid delays.

The celebration strained city resources last year. Crowds caused traffic jams, overwhelmed MUNI buses and damaged public and private properties. Trash cans overflowed and the Department of Public Works collected 10,000 pounds of litter, according to Breed.

“Clearly, there was a need for porta-potties, garbage cans, fencing, more MUNI buses, parking control officer to keep traffic moving, and more police officers to protect property and maintain the peace,” said Supervisor Breed. “These things cost money and should not come at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Traffic is going to be a big issue this year as “4/20” falls on Easter Sunday. Sgt. Ron Meyer from Park Station expects about 20 officers to direct vehicle traffic near Golden Gate Park. The city may implement shuttles to move people out of the park once the event ends.

The event, which has no official organizer, leaves the city to pick up the tab. “Last year it cost rec and park approximately $20,000 to clean up Sharon Meadow afterward,” said Sgt. Meyer.

Police aren’t seeking to make arrests, so long as the event remains peaceful. “There’s no active enforcement planned at this particular point, so it’s more of a containment of people,” said Sgt. Meyer. SFPD’s primary duty is to protect life and property. There were no arrests for violent crime last year, according to Sgt. Meyer.

Stats

 

Bicycling in San Francisco is growing at a steady pace. Since 2000, the city has seen a 75 percent increase in cycling transportation according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. City officials are working with a number of cycling activist groups and police stations to create a safer commute for its residents. For example, “The Wiggle” is a project that has created wider, more visible bike lanes to help riders get from Golden Gate Park, through the panhandle, onto Market Street, and continue to the Embarcadero.
But vehicle traffic isn’t the only thing that cyclists need to look out for. In 2012, the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst Office estimated that 335 bikes were stolen from District 5 alone, a fraction of the 4,309 total. “I think the issue that really people need to be concerned with is bike theft from your garage, burglary,” said Park Station’s Officer Matt Friedman. “I think the numbers for street level theft have declined. I’d like to think it’s in part because of our educational campaign on how to lock your bike.”
Bikes start at around $200, and can cost more than $10,000 for the enthusiast, which certainly catch the eyes of thieves. An average of 11 bikes are stolen every day in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analysis Office, which is a 70 percent increase in theft since 2006.
Numerous efforts are being made to combat bike theft, such as the SAFEBikes Registry, SFPD’s Bait Bike Operation, and the Twitter account @SFPDBikeTheft which is monitored by Friedman. He provided some insight on how to prevent bikes from being stolen by using proper locking methods, how chop shops operate, and how to report and recover a stolen bike.
Officer Friedman recommends the New York Fahgettaboudit Mini U-Lock for a few reasons. “I could cut any cable lock probably within ten seconds,” said Friedman. He says that smaller U-locks are better than the larger ones. “You walk around, you see guys and gals that use these big huge U-locks because its easy to lock. Well if its easy to lock, then you better believe that a thief can get a jack, a tire jack inside the U-lock and if there’s leverage, he can open that jack and explode the lock and defeat it pretty quickly.” Cyclists should place the lock as low as possible. This will make a potential thief have to work harder to break the lock and steal the bike.

Sheldon Brown Locking Method

The Sheldon Brown locking method, taught at bicycle education workshops, does not include locking the frame to the fixed object.

The most effective locking technique is the rear triangle locking method, which is taught at the workshops. “You literally have to saw through the tire to get at the frame to get it out. Thus rendering the second most expensive part of the bike useless and you have to walk away with the bike at that point,” said Friedman.
Wheels made of carbon fiber can cost more than $300, and can be quickly removed from the front fork of the bike. For this reason, Friedman recommends locking skewers that secure the wheel to the fork at the hub. These locks have a unique key that is made specifically for that lock.
Only 20 percent of bike thefts are reported according to the Budget and Legislative Analysis Report, because most people assume that little can be done to recover a stolen bicycle. SFPD takes bike theft seriously and is working to solve the problem. Friedman uses social media such as Twitter as a public forum so that citizens can communicate with each other and police about stolen bikes.
SFPD has recently publicized its bait bike operation in an effort to deter criminals from stealing bikes by distributing stickers that read, “Is this a bait bike?” to bike shops, educational workshops, and to every police station. The bait bike operation is nothing new to police work. GPS trackers are placed inside the frames of bicycles which are then locked up around the city. If the bike is stolen, police can track its location and arrest the person who took it. Some of the bikes are worth over $1000, which constitutes a felony charge of grand theft.
“This isn’t about arresting people. this isn’t about making mass arrests. This is about getting people to think about if we have a tracker and that’s one of our bikes and stopping that behavior,” said Friedman.
The Safe Bike Registry Program, founded by Morgan St. Claire, created a database of bicycle serial numbers for police to search. “We need evidence that that’s their bike, so it’s really important that they register,” said St. Claire. Friedman urges all cyclists to register their bike. It’s free and easy to do. Between 50 and 60 bikes have been returned to their rightful owners this year alone because they were registered.
Friedman investigates suspected chop shops, shady businesses that disassemble bikes and then reassemble them into “frankenbikes”. He takes the serial numbers found on frames of bicycles and runs them through the registry database. If the serial number is registered, Friedman checks to see if the bike was reported as stolen. Only if the bike has been reported as stolen can he begin working to get it back to the owner. He noticed that most of the chop shops don’t have a lot of high value bicycles, and that most of them are reconstructed with recycled old parts.
In the case that one’s bike is stolen but not registered, Friedman has some tips on how to search Craigslist effectively. Websites such as www.ifttt.com, or Google Alert can be programmed to search through postings for keywords, such as the make and model of the stolen bike, and send a notifying e-mail or text if it finds anything. This eliminates the need to endlessly comb through countless listings.
It’s very important to report a stolen bike to the police so that it will be in their records. Friedman recommends filing a report in person with an officer rather than going online. This way a case number is issued on the spot, rather than waiting for the report to go through the computer system.
Spread the word about a stolen bike by posting on Twitter @SFPDBikeTheft. Include a picture, details about the make and model, when and where it was taken, and other identifying characteristics about the bike.

Link to this page

Click the image to view an interactive map, taking you on a tour of notable locations in history of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

Black-Sand-Header 

Owners of the Black Sands brew pub expect to open before the end of summer, occupying the space that was vacant for more than four years. The new business will feature a restaurant, nano-brewery, cafe and home brewing supply retail space.

Two of the four partners, Robert Patterson, 32, and Andy Gilliland, 31, hosted an open house on Sunday, Feb. 9. They shared their plans with more than 35 neighbors of the Lower Haight community to open a brewpub at 701 Haight Street. The 2,400-square-foot space, which used to be a laundromat, will be remodeled into a versatile space with an open floor plan.

Patterson, who owns Revolver on Fillmore Street, showed the floor plan to curious attendees. The pub will have a 289-square-foot retail space, where customers will be able to purchase all of the equipment and ingredients to start crafting beer right in their own kitchen. “Home brewing is very easy to do,” said Gilliland. “It’s definitely something that we can teach any average person in a small kitchen. I brew in my apartment here in San Francisco.” He estimates that a starter kit will retail for between $100 and $300. Gilliland added that the retail space is where they plan to host lessons to help customers get started in setting up their kitchen breweries. Black Sands will provide the recipes for their house-crafted beer to any customer who wants to try to brew it themselves.  The first batch of Black Sands signature beers can be seen here.

The pub will feature a 330-square-foot dining area where customers can enjoy “very California-inspired small plates that go with beer,” said Patterson, “Highway 1 food.” The menu hasn’t been finalized, but Patterson named salads, poutine and grilled cheese as strong candidates.

The cafe area will be quite small. There will be a service window that faces the sidewalk of Pierce Street, where cyclists and pedestrians can purchase their morning coffee and toast or bagel on their commute to work.

Steven Schultz, a neighbor, asked if Black Sands would become a sports bar, similar to Danny Coyle’s across the street, which can draw a noisy crowd. “We’re much more upscale,” said Patterson. “We don’t have televisions in our bar, there’s no sports element, there’s no stage for bands, there’s no mega dance floor and we’re putting soundproofing in.” Black Sands is not seeking an amplified sound permit.

The nano-brewery will be closing at midnight, rather than at  2 a.m.

“It’s nice to get a real establishment rather than a vacant building,” said Jane Ginsburg, who lives across the street. Because the space has been vacant for more than four years, homeless people occasionally camp on the front stoop.

“The police recommended that we file the paperwork for the no trespassing order so we could work more closely with them to stop that from happening,” said Aimee Ellis, a community outreach liaison.

You can contact Black Sands at blacksandsbeer@gmail.com

C2P

People spend most of their lives at two places, work and home.  But where do they go on their days off?  What do they do when they want to get out of the house? They go to a “third place”, a home away from home.  They are welcoming, sociable environments that develop a community of regulars who feel just as comfortable in their third place as they do at home.

With cafes on every block of San Francisco, customer’s have plenty of options on where to get their morning pick-me-up.  Some places might be better than others as far as quality goes, but atmosphere and service are more important if you want to stick around to enjoy your drink. Coffee To The People is a great place to settle down for a few hours to focus on work, or relax with a book and a meal.  There’s plenty of tables, couches and power outlets for customers to spread out.  You can even access the wifi without a password.

“If I’m going to spend $4 on a cup of coffee, I’m gonna go somewhere I’m treated right,” said Andrew Rivera who works at Wasteland a few blocks to the West.  He usually goes to the cafe if he has time before his shift.

You’ll feel the good vibes when you walk in and notice the sticker wall and peace-sign dreamcatchers.  Employees approve and post stickers with positive messages. Co-existst, peace signs, green-earth stickers are most common.

Everyone is welcome to hangout in the cafe.  A few homeless people came inside to stay dry on a rainy day. So long as they didn’t fly off the handle or disturb customers, the employees left them alone.

Toward the back are two couch pits with coffee tables in the middle.  I was sitting across from a man concentrating on his laptop screen when a father and his two boys sat down.  The children began smashing their toy trucks together (as boys do) and instead of asking them to calm down, the man across from me moved the coffee table to give them more room to play!

A third place is a shared space.

The menu is composed of standard coffees; espresso, late, cappuccino, french press, etc.  Nothing fancy happening here.  They serve tea and hot chocolate, if you aren’t in the mood for a caffeine rush.  As for food, they have a breakfast and lunch menu.  Breakfast burritos, egg and cheese croissants and bagels are examples of morning meals.  BLT, ham and turkey sandwiches are some items they serve in the afternoon.

Bitta Christianson from San Diego said that she makes a point to stop by Coffee To The People whenever she’s in San Francisco. “They have really good coffee,” said Christianson.

There’s a bookcase in the back, near the couches, that holds a couple hundred books of a wide variety.  The selection ranges from reference books like a Chinese-English dictionary to bestselling novels such as The Da Vinci Code.  There’s a handful of board games too, like Cranium, Clue and Backgammon, though I’m not sure if all the pieces are still there.

This place has nearly everything you could ask for.  It’s very easy to spend four hours reading, or surfing the web in such a cozy environment. Bring your work to the cafe. Take a lunch break and find someone who wants to play a board game.  If you wanted to, you could pick a book off the shelf and read cover to cover. All are available options, but you can’t do any of them if you don’t go.

Third Places

Coffee to the People is located on Masonic Avenue just south of Haight Street. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Coffee to the People is located on Masonic Avenue just south of Haight Street. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Customers work on their laptops over the cafe's free wifi. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Customers work on their laptops over the cafe’s free wifi. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Amoeba is located on Haight Street near Stanyan Street. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Amoeba is located on Haight Street near Stanyan Street. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Amoeba has a huge selection of vinyl LPs and CDs. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk

Amoeba has a huge selection of vinyl LPs and CDs. Feb. 17, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk

Magnolia Brew Pub is located at the corner of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue. Feb. 19, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

Magnolia Brew Pub is located at the corner of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue. Feb. 19, 2014. Photo by Drake Newkirk.

David Jayne pours caramel over his coffee cake, washed down with strong beer month's Rye Rye Rocco. Feb. 19, 2014. Photo by Drake

David Jayne pours caramel over his coffee cake, washed down with strong beer month’s Rye Rye Rocco. Feb. 19, 2014. Photo by Drake

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