Somehow, as a child of suburbs and small towns I had failed to connect the idea of children, schools and cities.
I know that it should be obvious to everyone that there are schools (elementary and secondary) inside cities. Hello? Cities, people, children = schools. Then let me describe the area around UCHastings. The Law School sits in the middle of the Tenderloin, an area much more likely known for street people, drug dealing and homelessness than for families with small children. Rather than recite most of the facts, the Wiki article at the link is worth reading. Bottom line? The area around Hastings has a plethora of homeless persons, police, and drug dealing. It is not an area I would wander around in after dark.
The local BART stop is Civic Center. The area is also home to a few theaters, museums, and a number of court houses.
Reading the historical information that a portion of the area was at one time referred to as Little Saigon, I don’t know why I didn’t connect that bit of information along with the city not allowing a lot of gentrification in the area implies both poverty and families.
On my way back from Peet’s on Monday (Corner of Turk and Van Ness) I walked past a building that was obviously a school. Given the mosaics, I could safely assume elementary school. Next corner I hit another major clue. School Crossing Guards complete with Stop Signs working with the traffic lights, walk signals and pedestrians. It was then that the thought of schools in the area finally sunk into my head. Like the average non-inner city dweller, I don’t really think about the upper stories of most of the buildings I am walking past. Certainly, I guess I was oblivious to the fact that, since there are any where from three to numerous stories, someone must be occupying the floors above street level. Like perhaps people live there?
The crossing guards had cell phones in one hand, their red Stop Sign in the other along with a smile for just about everyone. Smiling back, they form an excellent cross-section of the people who live in the area. San Francisco is about as population diverse as any community in the US. It is a city which ranges from the inner bay to the Pacific Breakers with hills. It is a city with tech leaking out the seams, a busy financial district, and tourists. It is also home to more than 400,000. Of course there are schools….