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Old Posted Apr 18, 2014, 8:54 PM
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tech12 tech12 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oakland
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The geneva towers public housing complex in SF:

Video Link

They were not a nice place to live:

In just 15 seconds, the troubled 30-year-history of Geneva Towers, two San Francisco highrises once racked by drugs, shootings and mismanagement, will end today in an explosive cloud of dust...

...Geneva Towers was built in 1967 as private housing. But when the buildings failed to attract middle-income renters the owners sought low-income Section 8 tenants whose rents were subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For years, the owners pocketed $200,000 a month in federal rent subsidies while the towers fall apart.

By the time HUD took over in 1991, Geneva Towers was a den of dope-dealing and violence. The takeover marked the first time the agency ever foreclosed on a property because of unsafe living conditions.

Indeed, rival gangs used to battle for tower turf and for a time whole floors of the buildings were controlled by drug dealers.

"The post office would not deliver on site. Pizza parlors would not deliver. The phone company ripped out all the public phones because workers refused to service them," said former Mayor Art Agnos, HUD's acting assistant secretary for housing. "The Police Department wouldn't go into the building unless there were two or three cars for backup."

In the towers' heyday, more than 1,000 people lived in the 585 units in the scary-looking mountains of concrete that soared above the neighborhood. As a result of poor management and lax security, criminals operated freely, frightening all those who came near.

"It's been hell for many, many years," said June Jackson, a retired teacher who lives in the neighborhood. "We're very glad to say goodbye."

One year alone, police reported seven homicides on the towers' grounds -- three in the buildings.

It was so bad that even police, often summoned to the place, approached with care, bracing for a dangerous onslaught of missiles from upper balconies -- rocks, televisions and once even a bowling ball.

But nothing compared to the chilling reception Deputy Chief Richard Holder got while still a patrolman in the 1970s.

"One of my first calls to that address, as we pulled up in front of the building I recall stepping out of my car and taking a step back . . . and a body landed right next to my car," said Holder, now head of Field Operations.

"Patroling the towers was a nightmare," said Holder. "I was shot at several times. We were routinely sniped at."

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