San Francisco attorney demands McDonald’s take action on rampant drug dealing
Want some Meth McNuggets with that? San Francisco attorney demands McDonald’s take action on rampant drug dealing at city restaurant
Saturday, May 23, 2015 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Described as “a magnet for homeless youth,” a McDonald’s franchise located in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district made national news after City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced plans to sue the McDonald’s corporation if it fails to address excessive drug and gang-related activity at the derelict location.
The closest McDonald’s restaurant to S.F.’s famous Golden Gate Park, the franchise at Haight and Stanyan streets is a hot spot of both drug use and drug dealing, claims the city. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has responded to nearly 1,100 calls to the location since January 2012, 641 of which occurred between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 22, 2015.
Reports indicate that drug users and dealers alike prefer this particular McDonald’s location because of its close proximity to the park. And even the drug issue wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it weren’t for the accompanying spikes in violence and other crimes that local authorities claim is endemic at this location.
According to SFGate.com, the various complaints lodged against the Haight Street McDonald’s include reports of auto burglaries, dog attacks, fights, assaults and rampant drug dealing. Authorities have tried to contact the franchise owner, “Yin McDonald’s,” numerous times, but haven’t yet been able to get anyone at the company to take solid action.
“No other business in the area has generated nearly the same number of calls for service to SFPD,” reads a letter sent by Herrera’s office to McDonald’s. “We firmly believe that, in its current condition, your Property threatens the health and safety of the surrounding neighborhood.”
Visitor to Haight Street McDonald’s says location is “like a reality show” starring the “craziest wing-nut people”
Right across the street from this particular McDonald’s location is a Whole Foods Market that apparently hires its own private security guards to prevent such activities from taking place on its property. Herrera is urging McDonald’s to do the same thing for the betterment of the neighborhood, and to increase public safety.
“If the demand letter changes nothing, the lawsuit we’d file would be no joke,” stated Herrera’s spokesman Matt Dorsey, as quoted by SFGate.com.
Since the letter was sent, franchise owner Betty Lin did issue a response through the parent company that claims she has been in “regular communication” with police to “discuss the safety of the restaurant.” But she insists she had no idea about the drug issues, having only become the franchise owner about two years ago.
“That McDonald’s inside is like a reality show,” stated Justin Walker, a 23-year-old from Atlanta who spoke to SFGate.com about his experience at the restaurant during a recent visit to the city. “It’s just the craziest wing-nut people.”
Haight Street McDonald’s neighborhood has attracted all sorts of crazy activity since as far back as the 1960s
For many decades, the area in which the Haight Street McDonald’s is located has been an epicenter of homelessness, aggressive panhandling and open use of drugs. Despite verbalizing in 1997 that he planned to get tough on crime, drug abuse and illegal encampment around the area, then-Mayor Willie Brown never actually got the job done. And the area, claim authorities, is still suffering.
“It’s just a ballet every day,” stated Ronnie Morrisette Jr., a 29-year-old San Francisco native, to SFGate.com. “Every day it’s the same dance. The drugs, the hanging out , it’s been going on since the ’60s and all of a sudden they start tripping.”
Sources for this article include: