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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meet Your Neighborhood Blogger: Sarah Bacon of the Richmond District Blog of San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this series, we learn about San Francisco neighborhoods from local experts: bloggers. Sarah Bacon, founder of the The Richmond District Blog of San Francisco and a Richmond District native, explains why her neighborhood offers more than Golden Gate Park, museums, and a whole lot of fog.


When and why did you start the blog?

I started it in May of 2009. I grew up in this ZIP Code, then later I moved back into the neighborhood and felt like I never knew what was going on. I'd hear about an event after the fact. I started digging around and thought, "I should do a blog." I guess I fantasize that I'm a journalist, which I'm not. I went for it, and people seemed to respond, and it took off from there.

Has the blog drawn the community together? After a recent round of violence, for example, it seemed from some of the comments that people were going to your blog to learn and share feelings about it.

I definitely have some passionate readers. I've gotten comments like, "I really feel like I live somewhere now." I think it was something the neighborhood needed. It's not my full-time job, so sometimes when I don't go to something, people will say, "Why didn't you cover this?"

Literally, I was getting ready for work that morning and I heard the helicopter and I thought, "That's not good." I turned on the TV and saw it was an officer-involved shooting and thought, "Well, I have to post about this."

We don't have a lot of violent crime. We have only a few violent incidents a year, so we're lucky that way. In the comments, one woman said, "They live two doors from me." If you give people a place to discuss it, that's a healthy thing.

You feel a responsibility to cover that kind of thing?

Absolutely, to the extent that I can. I'm not out on the scene, so I rely on other papers to get facts. But people have come to expect that they can come to the blog to find out what's going on. If they see a business has closed down or one is opening, people e-mail me to ask what's going on. It's definitely a responsibility, but I see it as my community service.

Sarah Bacon
  • Sarah Bacon

What has been your favorite experience?

Getting to know people in the neighborhood. I go to more events, meet more people. You definitely look at your neighborhood differently. It's great to help a new business, or a volunteer event.

What's been the most challenging aspect?

Trying to keep up with everything. The Richmond has a reputation as kind of a sleepy community. It's not. The park is technically included, and you could actually do a blog on the park alone. But as the blog has grown in readership, I get tips coming in. One of the things I like about the blog is that it's gotten people more involved in the neighborhood.

Has the neighborhood changed since you started the blog?

The recession has been the biggest effect. A lot of businesses have closed. But things don't change that fast here.

You have these huge influxes of people in the neighborhood with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Bay to Breakers, other events. Do you see your blog as banding the community together to deal with that?

I try to report things as they are. Sometimes in the comments people will go a little crazy. There are things in the neighborhood that cause debate, but I try not to take a stand. My job is to give them the facts and a place to discuss it.

What are some common misconceptions about the Richmond district?

People think we're out here in the middle of nowhere, sitting in the fog, and no one is doing anything. We have a lot of good restaurants, a lot of diversity. We have two independent theaters, a lot of small businesses. A lot of people don't make it out this far. They come out to the park, a museum, that's it. It's a great place to live because of the diversity of what's around you. While the Mission may be buzzing all the time, if you don't want to be in that every day, if you want something mellow, the fog is not that bad.

Is it strange run a blog about the neighborhood you grew up in?

It feels kind of right, actually. When I was a kid they were trying to call it the "Park Presidio District." It was probably around the time I was starting the blog that our supervisor, Eric Mar, got the name officially changed back to the Richmond District, so it seemed fitting that I was starting it at that time. It feels like home, it's comfortable. I have a good appreciation of the history, of what used to be here, and hopefully what will be in the future.

Sarah's Richmond Favorites

Favorite breakfast:

Eats (2nd and Clement)

Louis' (at Lands End)

Bob's Diner (California and 5th Ave.)

Favorite lunch:

There's a new sandwich place I love called Jersey's on 6th Ave. (at Cornwall), run by a cute couple; they're enthusiastic, and it's their first business.

Good Luck Dim Sum (Clement between 8th and 9th Aves.)

Angelina's Café (22nd Ave. and California)

Favorite dinner:

My favorite pizza is Giorgio's (Clement and 3rd Ave.). I've been going there since I was a kid.

La Vie Vietnamese Restaurant (Geary and 22nd Ave).

Favorite dessert:

Toy Boat Dessert Café (Clement and 5th Ave.)

Favorite spot in the park:

I like Stow Lake a lot. A new vendor is taking over the boat house, so I'm excited to see it get an upgrade.

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Beth Hillman


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