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  • I was sweeping the front steps today and noticed a burned glass pipe amidst the junk food wrappers, cigarette casings and alcohol flight bottles – so easily concealed and simple to drop on the front walkway of someone else’s home by someone shuffling past. Amidst the detritus was a half-eaten lollipop. It struck me oddly, like maybe the same person who dropped the crack pipe also left that behind. Perhaps it was someone very young, or, even more horrific, someone with a child.

    I tell everyone how much I love my neighborhood, with its cultural charms, good food, and endless “character.” I don’t park my car here anymore, because of the break-ins and vandalism it has endured. I am wary of walking here at night and in the stillness of the dark mornings where, on my way to work, I creep past countless huddled bodies curled up on sidewalks, slumbering away last night’s vices. Still, I “love,” my neighborhood – the Mission – which bustles in the heart of San Francisco, just a stone’s throw from downtown and a 15 minute bike ride from the best ballpark in all of Baseball.

    If I had to explain why I love it, I’d easily admit: It has great coffee, fantastic people, politics that I can live with, and because in no other place do I feel so at home. There are no sore thumbs in streets as colorful as these. And every morning we wash and sweep away the scourge that belies our dark side. Colorful murals dazzle and detract from the vagrants milling about, lost in a drunken or drug-induced haze. And we go on -gritty, stubborn, determined.
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