City Attorney Seeks Injunction Against the Marina's Crime-Ridden Bridge Motel

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As detailed in our recent cover story, "Motel Hell," the Bridge Motel in the Marina had been a dilapidated, stinking monument to neglect for more than a decade.

The down-and-out and oftentimes disabled folks who live in the residential motel have been subjected to repeated infestations of cockroaches, rats and bed bugs, power failures, leaks, and a panoply of other domestic nightmares. Only last year, after a brave group of residents led by Anita Fritz filed and won a class action lawsuit against the Bridge ownership and management, did anything really begin to change.

Interestingly, after years of inaction (between January of 2007 and April of 2009, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department was even placing felons at the motel to start new lives) the city has finally jumped on the Bridge-bashing bandwagon. Today City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued a press release touting his effort to "immediately address squalor [and] crime" at the Bridge with a preliminary injunction, and that's a follow-up to his October announcement that the city was suing the Bridge for its crime and safety violations.

But according to the people who live there, the Bridge of today is already about as good as they could hope for. Sure, the tilted motel still reeks like a charnel house, as resident Michael Kassel (A.K.A. Vampyre Mike) pointed out in a deposition soon before he died. And the backdoor is still unlocked. And some people who live and hang out there have recently thrown drug needles over the fence, produced counterfeit money, and swung golf clubs hapazardly. But for the most part, according to resident Fritz, the management has become more attentive.

Apparently, the city attorney's office doesn't share that opinion. "All efforts to obtain defendants' compliance have failed," states the city attorney's motion for a preliminary injunction. Deputy City Attorney Curtis Christy-Cirillo cited ongoing housing code violations, including water damage, a lack of fire proofing, and accumulation of refuse in the basement as evidence of non-compliance from the owners and managers.

But the greater concern, he said, is problem tenants. Since the city filed its complalint on October 26, police have continued receiving complaints from the motel, Christy-Cirillo said. On October 28, a resident of the Bridge was arrested for attempting to hijack a car from a nearby gas station. Others have recently been arrested at the Bridge for possession of meth, violating probation, and being a danger to themselves and others. Neighbors in the Marina remain disgusted by the motel.

When asked why the injunction has only been filed now, city attorney's office spokesman Matt Dorsey said it was a result of inaction on the part of the owners and managers. "The issue is that nothing has happened," he said.


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