Kevin Johnson learned the hard way what happens when you leave the bucolic, tree-lined streets of Sacramento and head into the bustling, hard-edged metropolis that is San Francisco. You stop to help an elderly man get into a cab, and BOOM! (John Madden goes to telestrator): You’re suddenly a robbery victim.
Johnson of course is a former NBA guard who is now the mayor of Sacramento (which has its own share of crime. But it’s also quite shady and laid back, with more squirrels per capita than any city in America). Recently he blogged about being a crime victim while visiting SF. See the shocking details:
In short, Johnson was the victim of a drive-by looting. The take: 1 garment bag, a “nice” suit, a pair of shoes, overnight toiletries. “Not the end of the world,” wrote Johnson on his blog. “But frustrating.”
At the Richmond station, I noticed an elderly man, well into his 70s, struggling with two bags and holding a book. He asked a BART employee for directions to Sutter Street in San Francisco. I told the gentleman I was headed the same way, so we could ride BART together. I found him a seat on the train, and helped him with his bags. At the Powell Street Station, we began to walk.
I noticed he was slowing down. I offered to take his bags and his book, plus my own stuff. We walked further. It was obvious he couldn’t walk to Sutter Street, about four blocks away.
“I can’t make it,” he said.
I suggested we find a taxi. I found a cab and put the gentleman’s bags in the trunk. I gave the driver $20 to cover the four blocks and a tip.
When I turned around, my bag was gone.
Angry now, I ran up and down the street. A woman asked if I was OK. Nobody saw anything. My bag vanished into the crowd.
There are lessons here. Pay better attention. Don’t let anything out of sight. Always be on guard.
It’s a shame we have to live that way.
Next time I see San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, I’ll tell him the story and give him my word nothing like that will happen to him in Sacramento.
And I’ll hope I can make good on the promise.
Whoa, a guarantee of a crime-free experience in Sacramento? After reading that I immediately called my friend Jim, who lives there. His response: “You’d think that Johnson would jump at the chance of getting rid of at least one suit.”
The Kevin Johnson file:
- In July of 1995, a 16-year-old girl alleged that Johnson fondled her. Johnson apologized to the girl during a phone conversation recorded by Phoenix police, although he didn’t actually admit doing it. Prosecutors declined to bring the case to trial, but the girl filed a lawsuit against Johnson, who reportedly paid her a $230,000 settlement.
- On April 16, 2008, rival mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla distributed a 2007 report of similar allegations made by a 17-year-old girl against Johnson at St. HOPE Sacramento High School (part of the Kevin Johnson Corporation, of which Johnson is CEO). It was investigated by local police, but no charges were filed. Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said on May 30, 2008, that Johnson’s actions, though ill-advised, were not illegal.
- In April of this year, St. HOPE Academy agreed to pay $423,836.50 to settle allegations that St. HOPE did not appropriately spend AmeriCorps grant awards and education awards in accordance with the terms of grant requirements.