Mission Station Captain Caltagirone hosts monthly community meeting. Photo by Gaby Arvizu

Mission Station Captain Gaetano Caltagirone this week said he would deploy several “cadets” — trainees who have not yet been sworn in as police officers — to patrol areas of the Mission rife with prostitution activity.

Caltagirone did not respond to messages seeking more specifics on his statements.

The captain began Tuesday night’s community meeting with what he thought would be welcome news: His prostitution-abatement team had arrested two pimps, multiple people soliciting prostitution and reached out to the affected sex workers and offered help to get out of the business.

But that didn’t cut it for those residents who live on Shotwell and Capp between 17th and 20th streets, where sex work has become concentrated.

“I’ve been there 20 years and I make calls every night. At what point can I expect an improvement in the situation?” said one resident, who asked not to be named.

He described police drive-throughs as “slovenly” and pressed the Caltagirone to “fix it. You have set up a prostitution zone.”

Another woman said she has lived at the corner of Shotwell and 20th for 50 years and the prostitution activity has never been more disruptive to the residents who live there. “It’s very unpleasant. It’s always the same women.”

Caltagirone attributed a recent uptick in street prostitution to Craigslist’s decision to curtail its personals section, and to the federal shutdown of Backpage.com.

Caltagirone and Lt. Chris Canning of the station’s investigation unit said they had increased police presence in the area, but tried to explain to the fed-up group that there is no simple fix to the problem. Canning said it takes time for police to collect enough evidence to establish probable cause for an arrest.

“That’s how the Constitution works,” Canning said.

In May, Caltagirone and Supervisor Hillary Ronen held a meeting to discuss this issue and hear residents’ concerns. Both vowed to increase their efforts to abate sex work in the area. But they also said they needed time to address a complex issue.

“These aren’t simple things to solve if the first person you’re thinking of is the sex worker herself,” Ronen said in May. —Charlotte Silver

St. Luke’s Block Party

The California Pacific Medical Center’s St. Luke’s Campus will hold a block party on Sunday, August 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. at 3555 Cesar Chavez St.  The hospital is inviting community members to celebrate the opening of the Mission Bernal Campus Hospital. Tours will be offered. Fun will be had. —Lydia Chavez

Bethany Center Mural

Artist Dan Fontes is back on the scaffolding at the Bethany Senior Center on Capp Street to touch up the mural on its 21st Street wall that he first created in 1997. The mural depicts some of the residents who lived in the center in 1997, and a few are still alive. There will be a formal unveiling later this summer. —Lydia Chavez

Dance Mission Theater D.I.R.T.

Dance Brigade’s Dance Mission Theater is accepting choreography applications for its Fourth annual Dance in Revolt(ing) Times — a social-political dance festival in which artists address local and global issues. This year’s theme is “Storm Surge.”

Pieces that explore global warming and displacement will be given greater consideration. Artists from island nations are encouraged to apply. Applications are due Friday, August 31. The festival runs March 15 to 24, 2019. —Julian Mark

MAPP’s “Break Down Borders into Rubble”

The Mission Arts Performance Project is putting on an art procession on Saturday, August 4, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. It begins at Garfield Park and ends at the 24th Street BART plaza. Artists Melissa San Miguel, Gisela Insuaste, Steve Piasecki, Keegan Roberson, and Jason Wyman will help participants make posters, butterflies and noisemakers for the procession. —Julian Mark

Artist Henry Sultan Celebrates His 80th Birthday

The Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center will host a silent auction on Saturday, August 4, from 7 to 10 p.m. for Henry Sultan, a longtime muralist and member of Precita Eyes, who is turning 80. —Julian Mark

Mission Pie’s Pie Contest

Mission Pie will be having is looking for contestants for its 12th annual pie-baking contest on Sunday, September 9, 2018, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Contestants will be the first 20 people to enter. Sweet and savory pies are being accepted. To register, sign up by email to eatpie@missionpie.com with your name, email address and phone number. On the day of the contest, participants must bring one whole pie and a list of ingredients to Mission Pie between 1:30 and 2 p.m. Submissions without ingredient lists (for food allergies) will not be accepted.

Our executive editor, Lydia Chavez, will be a judge. —Julian Mark

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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