Here's an update in the story about the elderly guys who got evicted from their sidewalk chess-playing area on Market between 5th and 6th: District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim's office had been unaware of the police action to remove the chess tables and players, and they stepped in shortly thereafter and helped move the games, and the co-founders, to a spot in Yerba Buena Gardens where they're apparently much happier. And, Kim says, there were in fact drug dealings involved, but it was no fault of the players themselves, who were basically being used as cover.
SFist reader Mark F. writes in after going back and forth with Kim, and this is what she had to say on the matter:
While we were not aware of this action prior to its occurrence, our office had heard from TL residents that drug dealing was now occurring alongside the chess players (to no fault of the chess players). The [police] captain confirmed that he got 120 calls of complaints in the last month prior to the removal... The Captain got a lot of blow back for his action, even within SFPD. ... Just so you know, I was initially very upset when I heard the news but when I heard that the players and founders themselves were worried about their safety and were given cover by this police action to move, my concerns diminished.
Co-founders of the outdoor games, Hector and Marvin, can now be found over by Yerba Buena, where they probably are right now.
Now, a fundraising effort has been launched to install permanent chess tables in Civic Center, and you can donate here. So far, only $750 has been pledged of the $10,000 goal.
And whether or not all this stems from the overall efforts to clean up mid-Market remains unclear, but at least, according to Jane Kim, the drug stuff was legitimate.
Previously: SFPD Shuts Down Sidewalk Chess Games