Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Is Wiener Doing a Damn
Thing Over Castro Sobriety Club?

(At the emergency April meeting at the neighborhood sobriety center, Wiener is second from left. Credit: BAR.)

The very large clean and sober crowd of the Castro, which encompasses stakeholders who live in the district and those who don't, has been busy over the holidays debating the fate of the Castro Country Club and its cafe and meeting rooms helping many people kick their addictions.

Matthew Bajko of the Bay Area Reporter last week wrote that the CCC's current fiscal sponsor Baker Places, will be exiting its agreement and that a new fiscal sponsor is needed, while a deal to sell the property that houses the CCC collapsed. The comments there, and at the CCC's Facebook page, not to mention another Facebook page created by lots of folks upset with the management team headed by Terry Beswick, have been barbed and dishy.

This is one Castro community controversy where I don't have a stake because I'm not in AA or a related sobriety program, but I am friends with Beswick and part of the Occupy the Castro crew that showed up at the CCC in early December to protest the then-pending sale of the building.

And as all this public drama played out, with much more kvetching and criticism taking place off-line or in private emails some of which I'm privy to, one name never comes up as a stakeholder working to find a solution unless I ask about him: Supervisor Scott Wiener.

He got his mugshot in the BAR in the spring because he was somewhat engaged at that point in the CCC's troubles, and it would be good to learn what he's done since and lately. His policy of not responding to my emails and not engaging with me is why I didn't bother to contact about this.

However, I asked Bajko why Wiener's name was omitted from his story and he replied:

City officials and the CCC is a different angle to the first story I wrote. This is an ongoing story and just can't get everything into one article. Will be doing follow up pieces in the weeks to come.

Still, an integral and embattled district institution is on rocky shores, and I would expect a hands-on politicians with deep community roots to be included in all big BAR pieces such as what they ran on Thursday. Looking forward to future BAR articles and seeing what Wiener has to offer at that point. I also asked Beswick about his knowledge of what the supervisor has done about the club. Here's his reply:

Scott has attended a number of community meetings and events to lend moral support for the CCC. He also has met with me and other constituents in his office about the CCC. He has recently offered to meet a group of CCC reps again. A number of ideas were discussed concerning how Scott's office could be of assistance, but I cannot say that anything has come of these ideas to date.

Obviously, Scott cannot direct city funds on his own. This would require cooperation from the entire board and/or the mayor. Scott has repeatedly cautioned us that the City budget is in the red and it would be an uphill battle to get funds to help the CCC. We have not asked for city funds for operating expenses, but have only discussed securing city assistance with financing of the building purchase for the CCC. So far, these conversations have not been fruitful, but we are hopeful that something will come of it.

Right now, we have raised enough funds for a downpayment and we are bringing in enough to make mortgage payments. What we don't have and what we need help with is the financing or someone to co-sign a mortgage.

More power to the CCC that their supervisor is not totally missing in action on their behalf. I'd like to be surprised and see Wiener more fully develop a public engagement role in the club, and the enormous community who depend on it for sobriety, starting with addressing the many issues about saving the club on the two Facebook pages.

1 comment:

Mark D. Snyder said...

Remember how Scott also had his photo taken at the occupy camps even though sit/lie is totes his law? Mm hmm.