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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tenderloin Community Demands Apology from Hisashi Sugaya for Drug Remark

Posted By on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 5:19 PM

click to enlarge Sorry sense of humor
  • Sorry sense of humor

Tenderloin residents are going after Planning Commissioner Hisashi Sugaya, demanding that the famously offensive planner apologize publicly for his recent "insensitive" comments about the neighborhood.

Last week, Sugaya, with his trademark racy humor, suggested that a Tenderloin market sell drugs. The planning commission was debating whether to grant permits so that a local corner store owner could sell wine and beer on a limited basis. It's a sensitive topic, in part because community activists have opposed the idea of more liquor stores in a neighborhood notorious for drugs, alcohol, and crime.

After public comment, Sugaya said of the store owner, "I guess he could just sell drugs or something."

Huh? Not only did Sugaya's statement make no sense, audience members started hissing, saying it was an unnecessary attack on a neighborhood that is desperate to escape its seedy image.

Jeff Buckley, executive director for the Central City SRO Collaborative, said his group would attend the next commission meeting on Thursday and "demand a

public apology from him about his goofy and insensitive comments."

Former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier was able to get a public apology from Sugaya after she blasted him for his comments stereotyping Sicilians as a group known for low-class bribery. During a public hearing over a North Beach Italian restaurant, Sugaya had, in jest, said: "I'm supportive, but I was kind of waiting for my brown paper envelopes

to come from the Sicilians. But I never got anything so, you know, I may

vote against it."

Buckley said that if Sugaya says he is sorry, then "the matter is done."

And if not?

"If he doesn't [apologize], well, then we won't go away -- we will take it further."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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