A piece published last night in The Bay Citizen points out an ongoing barrage of press swirling around the Haight-Ashbury and the recently passed sit/lie ordinance was "a public relations debacle" that "painted the neighborhood as a war zone where gangs of young street thugs preyed on innocent pedestrians." In a Domino effect, negative reports have infiltrated online review cites like Yelp and Virtual Tourist. All of it has (not-shockingly) been bad for business.
The article avoids mentioning C.W. Nevius, Chron writer behind the bulk of the media that paints the Haight as a mecca for "thugs" and the poster child for getting the City-wide sit/lie ordinance passed. See this, this and this. So fervent is Nevius that he recently jumped the gun on announcing the eviction of the Haight's 30-year-old nonprofit Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center (HANC). The Center wasn't ousted on March 4th as Nevius reported, though days later The City overruled the Supes opposition and moved forward with plans to build a community garden on the site.
But Haight residents "agree that over all the neighborhood is on an upswing." In January, 70 or so business formed The Haight Ashbury Merchants Association to promote the real "real" Haight (or at least a Haight different from the one Nevius writes about). Group member and Alembic/Magnolia owner David McLean says, “If I check all these news stories with my day-to-day reality, they don’t add up."
· Haight, Painted as War Zone in Sit/Lie Coverage, Sees Business Falter [BC]
· Haight recycling center: End of line for nuisance [Chron]
· Sorry, Chuck, it's not over yet [SFBG]
· How The Haight Voted In November 2010 Elections [HANC]
· Chronic drunks' treatment costs S.F. big bucks [Chron]