The Castro Upper Market Community Benefit District, a collective of residents and business owners, held a meeting Tuesday night to gather input on a proposed camera program.
If enacted, the program would install dozens of cameras throughout the Castro using a $695,000 donation from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Chris Larsen.
Though the meeting’s panel was composed entirely of proponents for the program, most participants who called or wrote into the Zoom meeting expressed concerns that the system could possibly be abused, and questioned Larsen and the benefit district’s motives for the program.
“He’s just a philanthropist,” said Andrea Aiello, the benefit district’s executive director and sole employee, to explain Larsen’s intent.
Footage would only be held for 30 days, would only be handed over to police in instances of a reported crime, and live viewing would be allowed, Aiello said.
A representative of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural Advisory Board was initially going to speak on the panel in opposition to the cameras, but they backed out, according to Aiello.
Stephen Torres, the secretary of the cultural advisory board, wrote in the meeting chat that his organization only backed out of the event after “our requests to include others on this panel and not be the only voice of opposition were denied.”
Aiello said she will hold closed meetings with multiple community groups to gather more input, and the decision on whether to implement the program may be decided at the June 10 meeting of the benefit district’s board of directors.
Silver Sprocket spot for sale
An 8,630 square foot mixed-use building on the corner of Valencia and Hill streets recently went up for sale for $3.25 million, according to Compass Commercial.
The building is being sold by the relatives of Thomas Harvey, a realtor who owned and worked in the building before he died in August, 2020.
Harvey occupied the corner commercial space, where he ran his real estate business. He first began working there as a teenager for his father, Thomas Harvey, Sr., according to an obituary of Harvey.
The building holds seven residential units and one other commercial space, previously occupied by 1-2-3-4 Go! Records until it moved out during the pandemic. The current operator of the space, Silver Sprocket, is moving out in anticipation of the sale.
The comic store will soon be a few doors down at 1018 Valencia St.