Just as an emotional community meeting over a Tenderloin homeless shelter was set to start at City Hall today, reporters were booted out -- and those are the facts.
Ron Case, the president of Lower Polk Neighbors, reportedly walked outside with an aide from Supervisor Jane Kim's office and conferred for a few minutes before coming back into the meeting room and telling reporters they had to leave.
Why would the press be kicked out of a community meeting, which was presumably open to the public? Supervisor David Chiu told SF Weekly that he got there late, so he hadn't witnessed reporters being asked to leave, and he wasn't entirely sure if it was a public meeting.
Case told us "it wasn't my call."
Then we got our answer.
"Having a bunch of reporters there is not conducive to speaking your mind freely, you know?" a Kim aide told SF Weekly today.
Yes, we know exactly what you mean, unnamed source.
The community discussion was about the growing frustrations and concerns over Next Door homeless shelter. Attendees, it seems, wanted to speak callously about homeless people -- without the fear of being quoted and coming off as callous.
Kim's office claims the "community meeting" was private, although some Lower Polk residents say otherwise. A press release had been sent out earlier Monday by the Community Leadership Alliance, inviting media to the "public meeting."
We aren't sure exactly how many reporters were asked to leave, and what's even more unclear is why any of them left at all. Aren't they part of the community?
"Well, we didn't want anyone to make more of it than it was, and if we got misquoted somehow," Case told us after the community meeting ended. "There was nothing really to write about."
Looks like we'll have to take his word on that.
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