San Francisco — As kooky as the Occupy Wall Street protesters may seem, the movement is gaining momentum, nationally and here in the city. Some of the participants may be professional protesters, but some are like Deirdre Anglin, who I met last week.
Anglin seemed as surprised as anyone to have taken to the streets. She’s 40, clean-cut, married, and had a job as an executive assistant.
“I didn’t know I was angry,” she said. “I went to a rally and I found inspiration.”
When I checked in with her Monday, she was even more committed.
“I gave notice at work,” she said. “I worked there five years. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’ve never felt this kind of pressure and insult from the system.”
Meanwhile, Mike Clift, who has been camping with the group since Sept. 17, is sporting an impressive shiner under his left eye.
“Some hippie in a tie-dye shirt with a peace symbol punched me,” he said.
That was the result of attempting to bring a little order to the camp.
Clift says the guy told him, “Hey man, it’s not cool that you are telling people where they can smoke and sleep.”
To which Clift replied, “Dude, I was taking bean bags to the chest when you were a baby. And he punched me.”
The puncher ran away and hasn’t been seen since.
Castro residents have gotten used to the idea of a country club in the neighborhood. But now they are learning that the Castro Country Club may be closing.
The sober social center has been housed in its stately Edwardian on 18th Street since 1983, hosting over 30 12-step meetings a week for over 650 people. It also puts on weekly social events ranging from comedy shows to drag queen beauty pageants.
Unfortunately, the long-time owner of the building died, leaving the future of the club in doubt. That’s unfortunate, because it is a model of civic responsibility, raising its $135,000 yearly budget with no contributions from the city. Now they hope to put together a down payment to buy the building.
“I can’t imagine losing a space like this that has served so many people on such a small budget,” said Crispin Hollings, chairman of the advisory board.
A fundraising dinner will be held Saturday at Patio Cafe to add to the $150,000 collected so far.
“We try to be rational and say we might have to go somewhere else,” manager Terry Beswick said. “But the fact is we are totally irrational. We are tied to this place.”
There does seem to be a karmic connection. Members like to point out that to enter the building you walk up a flight of concrete stairs – exactly 12 steps.
This article appeared on page C – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle