Last Thursday, the New York Times published a piece about the trials and travails of a bunch of old ladies living in a San Francisco Housing Authority building in the Castro that was overrun by crystal meth fiends. Apparently, the old ladies repeatedly complained to the Housing Authority about the addicts in their midst and were, unsurprisingly, pooh-poohed for their troubles. The neighborhood had to collapse into the gutter followed by a police raid on the building to shut down the resident meth lab before the Housing Authority was willing to take steps to evict the meth addicts.
A year and a half later, with about half a million American dollars spent on legal bills and building security, they were finally able to get the meth heads out. Alas, like the proverbial cucaracha, meth addicts tend to multiply and where one once ground his teeth like a frenzied moron, a million more show up snorting around, looking to party with tina.
All this aside, the true revelation in this article was the following quote:
"I don't know what crystal meth is, sir," said Henry A. Alvarez III, the agency's executive director.
Come again? Wait a minute. Let's get this straight. The Executive Director of the SFHA, the agency responsible for putting roofs over the heads of the San Francisco's poors and downtroddens, has never heard of a drug that has been the scourge of the city for over a decade? Hasn't he seen the public health campaigns against meth that feature bad neo-constructivist art/sexy cartoon characters/meth-addled porn stars who keep falling off the wagon? Didn't he get an orientation pep talk on the city's woes when he landed this gig? You know, something with a sassy, gum-smacking, street-smart social worker who talks the hep jive of today's youth and says things like "Meth is (insert snappy negative rhyming word here)," like in an episode of "The White Shadow."