City attorney’s ‘crackdown’ amounts to cheap political ploy


By Kwame Opoku-Duku
The Guardsman

I almost choked on my cereal when I read the headlines about San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera “cracking down on crack pipes” — or at least the stores that sell them.

Surely, I thought, a man of Herrera’s competence (the man has a law degree, after all) must realize that such an empty gesture would do nothing to curb the crack epidemic in this city. There had to be some other reason he was choosing to sue smoke shops even though he knew that, ultimately, such a meaningless action would not stop a single person from smoking crack.

And then I remembered: Herrera wants to be elected mayor this November. It suddenly became so clear. We’ve hit a new season of political grandstanding. And I was finally starting to wash the stink off myself from last November.

I have a vision of Herrera sitting around a table in his political war room with his cronies, trying to think of various feathers he could place in his hat to show off this election season. I must say, I’m a little disappointed he and his cronies couldn’t do better.

After reading about the “crackdown,” I decided to type “how to smoke crack without a crack pipe” into a popular search engine. And just like many other substances one could smoke, the paraphernalia possibilities are almost limitless.

There’s smoking out of an aluminum can or plastic bottle, using a light bulb, making your own pipe out of tin foil, using a tire gauge. Basically, you can smoke crack out of anything if you’re industrious enough. All of these methods cost pretty much same — about a dollar, and one could find these at any gas station mini market.

But something tells me the crack users of San Francisco already know this.

And, on top of that, if you really don’t feel like smoking it, you can just cook it up and inject it. It’s a good thing they’re thinking about opening that safe injection center site (Feb. 23 issue,

After reading about how to smoke crack, I typed “educating kids in San Francisco about crack” into that same search engine. The most relevant article was about San Francisco’s Happy Meal ban.

It gets me to thinking all kinds of radical thoughts. Forgive me if I seem far out but:

Dennis, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), why don’t you use some of that moxie to do something that could actually help crack users, and not just help keep them out of your neighborhood?


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