Hustlers and peace treaties: This week’s cover

Pub date June 19, 2008
WriterG.W. Schulz
SectionPolitics Blog

“It’s something bout a block boy that push that line, ride for the peace treaty and hustle at the same time, looking out for my brah brahs cause life’s too short, especially when the suckas telling and got homies in court.”

-JT the Bigga Figga on the Fillmore neighborhood

For this week’s cover story on the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, the Guardian did a few things we thought might strengthen the reporting for the piece. We read hundreds of pages of law-enforcement records filed by the city attorney in last year’s gang injunction cases. We also collected extraordinary historical details about Ella Hill Hutch herself, the first black woman elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

During the time we worked on the story, journalist Alex Kotlowitz, who’s mostly been missing in action since publishing his ground-breaking 1991 book on public housing in Chicago, There Are No Children Here, happened to write an extensive story on gang intervention efforts for the New York Times Magazine, which is well worth the read.

In the meantime, a little about Ella Hill the supervisor. In 1980, she endured a grueling reelection campaign that drove her literally to the point of exhaustion. She was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia weeks after placing a surprising fourth in a citywide race. Three months later she uncharacteristically missed a Finance Committee meeting on Feb. 25, 1981, and police eventually found her dead of heart failure at her small Scott Street apartment.