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The Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco is bursting with exciting ethnic eateries — some new and some tried and true favorites. But sometimes, all you really want is a homey, comforting, all-American meal, and Park Chow, nestled on busy Ninth Street right by an entrance to Golden Gate Park, provides just that. During San Francisco’s summer months (read: September and October), the sidewalk is filled with tables and chairs and the patio bustles with diners enjoying a meal alfresco. And when the weather gets chilly, thick drapes are drawn across the patio, creating a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
Inside, a roaring fireplace beckons diners into the rustic dining room. The space is deceptively large, with extra seating in the back and upstairs on the second level. The best seats are on a raised platform near the back of the restaurant, near enough to the crackling fire to keep you warm and toasty but just far enough away from the flames to ensure you don’t sweat through your meal.
Park Chow is part of the Chow restaurant group, which has four locations throughout the Bay Area. All boast menus filled with American classics created from local, seasonal ingredients, as well as a sprinkling of surprising dishes thrown in to keep things interesting. Lunch and dinner feature excellent pork chops, a delicious grilled prawn Louis salad, and one of the best artichokes in the city — simply wood-baked and topped with a little fresh lemon juice. The menu also includes several seasonal pizzettes, including the light Bianco, topped with sunchokes, leeks, and cauliflower. All salads and pasta dishes, like the Smiling Noodles with chicken and homemade curry, come in a variety of sizes, so you can order depending on the size of your appetite.
And the meal shouldn’t end when the entrée plates are cleared. Park Chow’s desserts are all baked fresh daily, and although the menu is always changing, you can’t go wrong with any choice. Some favorites include a ginger spice cake with pumpkin ice cream and a very decadent chocolate cake, not to mention the delicious cookies.
Though Park Chow is part of a larger group, the restaurant feels like a neighborhood gem – unassuming and always packed with locals looking to treat themselves to a classic and comforting meal.
Where to Eat Near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco
I've lived in San Francisco for a while, but am still blown away by Golden Gate Park. Lush with greenery, peppered with killer museums and gardens, and completely gorgeous, the park stretches several miles from the top of the Haight all the way out to the ocean. And no matter how many times you may visit it, there's something new to discover—an art exhibit at the De Young Museum, Nightlife at the Academy of Sciences, elaborate miniature boat races on Spreckels Lake, destination-worthy music festivals, or, if you're so inclined, epic 420 celebrations on Hippie Hill.
No matter your park day preferences, there are some things you can be certain of: one, you should definitely bring a jacket. The rare unicorn of a heatwave day aside, the fog will usually come rolling in each afternoon, and it will get cold. Two, you're going to want sustenance, and you're going to want it to be delicious.
Fortunately, the park is flanked by two of the city's best eating neighborhoods—the Sunset and the Richmond. Known for delicious dim sum, steaming bowls of pho and ramen, and sizzling Korean barbecue, these are neighborhoods that are so worth exploring, whether you're a first time visitor or a lifetime resident.
But the last thing you want is to find yourself wandering too far afield say, accidentally hiking 40 minutes through freezing cold fog in pursuit of Korean fried chicken (been there, done that). So, we've compiled a handy guide to some of the best spots to eat that are just a 10 minute walk from some of the park's more destination-worthy sites. You'll find delicious grab and go items for picnicking purposes, and sit-down destinations to unwind (and warm up).
The Sunset Side, Stanyan to 18th
Headed to the Botanical Garden, Academy of Sciences, Shakespeare Garden, Kezar Stadium, Koret Children's Playground, or the Carousel? These spots are all within two blocks of the park on the Sunset side—no further south than Judah Street.
For a Fun Diner Breakfast: Art's Cafe
There are the diner breakfasts that simply fill you up, and then there are those that have you dreaming about them for weeks to come. Art's Cafe offers one of the latter type, with an evil genius creation: the hash brown sandwich. It's a reverse-engineered omelet, with a crispy, flaky pancake of hash brown housing cheese and meats, with your eggs served on the side.
This dish has the potential to be a terrible, greasy failure. But at Art's, the potatoes are shredded fresh and crisped up into a lacy delicacy. We love the Beef Teriyaki Hash Brown Sandwich ($7). It's actually stuffed with Korean-style beef bulgogi, and the meat is tender, with a wonderfully savory, slightly sweet flavor from the marinade. Prepared on the same flat top as the potatoes, it picks up crisp bits of char. It's sandwiched with meat-fat-coated sauteed onions and shredded cheddar cheese—the bottom layer of the hash brown absorbs the dripping meat juices, but the top remains crispy. A side of fried eggs were nicely runny, adding even more richness to each bite.
Art's has a charming, old school ambiance to go along with your breakfast. The space is tiny, so don't be surprised if you've got to wait a little—the restaurant is made up of one counter facing the open kitchen (all the better to watch your hash brown sandwich come together). The counter itself is covered with postcards mailed from devotees as far away as Bali, and as close as Sausalito.
747 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
For a Snazzy Mexican Brunch or Dinner: Nopalito
An offshoot of Divisadero's ever-popular Nopa, Nopalito has become our go-to for leisurely brunches, mezcal cocktails, and multi-course dinners that play like a dream trip through Mexico. Each dish showcases sparkling-fresh ingredients and careful technique: it's the kind of place you can take your parents or other out-of-town guests that you want to impress.
Don't miss the refreshing Ceviche ($13): ample use of a vibrant salsa verde gives it a flavor profile similar to aguachile, and buttery slices of ripe avocado complement the dish's bright acidity well. The Carnitas ($17) is shareable and hauntingly good, with delicate flavors of citrus and cinnamon lacing each rich fall-apart bite. Start with an order of Totopos con Chile ($6)—freshly fried tortilla chips are coated with a sweet, smoky, salsa de arbol, sprinkles of cotija cheese, and a liberal pour of crema. But really, there's no bad order here. At brunch or lunch, you'll find excellent versions of Chilaquiles ($10) dinner finds a deeply flavored Mole Coloradito con Pollo ($16). Be sure to sample the mezcal cocktails (all $9), too—we love the Killer Bee, which blends Del Maguey Vida mezcal with honey and lemon.
Nopalito has been known to fill up, and fast. But you can call and get your name on the wait list while you hang out in the park to ensure you get a table quickly.
224 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122
For a Hot Bowl of Pho: Yummy Yummy
Foggy San Francisco days are best treated with a steaming bowl of pho, and Yummy Yummy is a good place to grab one near the park. The family-friendly restaurant feels very much a part of the neighborhood you'll see old friends catching up over noodles and families tucking into an order of spring rolls.
Go for the #3, classic Pho Tai ($8.25 for a medium). The beef itself is fine—it arrives nicely rare and is thinly sliced, but has some overly fatty parts. Yummy Yummy's broth, though, is the star—rich with a substantial amount of body and a clean, clear flavor. The rich, savory beefiness is well balanced with anise. Fresh basil and jalapeño are welcome additions, but oyster sauce and sriracha are both unnecessary.
1015 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
For a Sandwich: Yellow Submarine
This spot is a long-standing San Francisco establishment—the no-frills shop, with a playfully painted cartoon menu, has been around for 40 years. And their well-balanced, flavorful 'Boston-style' sandwiches are a testament to their longevity.
We like the pepper steak ($6.99 for a medium, which is plenty big), a griddle-cooked steak and cheese sandwich with grilled green peppers. "Everything" includes pickles, tomato, lettuce, onion, oil and vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, and cheese, served on a soft, just-toasted roll. From the pliant roll to the juicy, salty steak, the sandwich is a study in flavor and texture contrasts, the cold crunch from the vegetables nicely balancing the the melting cheese and tender meat. Don't skip the pickles the vinegary punch of flavor is excellent, and is even more accentuated by Yellow Submarine's tasty house made hot sauce.
There are is a decent-sized seating area should you want to eat your sandwich right away, or take it to go and eat it in the park.
503 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
For Wings: San Tung
If you've been drinking or. other things. in the park, a craving for fried chicken is more likely than not. And San Tung's Original Dry Fried Chicken ($10.50 for 12 pieces) is so loved that the sizable Chinese restaurant has become known for long lines and long waits (they even opened a sister restaurant next door to fit in even more chicken lovers).
Back to those wings. Despite being "dry fried" they are a decidedly saucy dish—the sticky-sweet sauce has a subtle kick, thanks to a blend of garlic, ginger, and roasted red peppers. Chicken pieces are meaty and tender, and coated with a nicely textured, freshly fried crust. They're particularly good with a dollop of vinegary chile sauce, that nicely balances the wings sweet and salty flavors.
We suggest stopping by during off hours. Keep in mind that San Tung has a $7 minimum per person, so you'll want to consider ordering an extra plate of wings for the table.
SFRPD supports and manages 42 (and growing!) Community Gardens located across the City where garden volunteers can grow produce and ornamental plants for personal use. There are several ways to participate in one of our Community Gardens.
Individual plots allotted via a wait-list system: Some community gardens are composed entirely of plots allotted to individuals with some common areas for shared perennial herbs, native plants and fruit trees. These gardens may have regularly scheduled workdays, self-imposed annual dues to purchase shared garden tools and equipment, and either an individual volunteer garden coordinator or a steering committee that manages membership, workday plans, and plot assignments. This is the most common type of community garden experience. Individuals can request to be placed on the wait list for a specific garden.
Due to high interest in community gardening, limited garden availability, and interest in serving as many residents as possible,
1) You must be a resident of San Francisco to be allocated a plot and,
2) Each household/address may have one plot assignment only, which is shared among the members of that household.
Please contact [email protected] with any questions or exemption requests.
Once a plot is available, the volunteer garden coordinator will contact the next name on the wait list to offer a plot. Some gardens have very little turnover and the wait can be considerable. You are welcome to add your name to several garden wait lists but please consider travel time, parking, and access to public transportation.
When a plot becomes available, the garden coordinator will conduct a new member orientation that will include garden access, member agreements, collection of dues (when indicated), and garden practices around composting, invasive plants, water use, and waste removal. Orientation will also include introductions to current garden volunteers who can serve as mentors while you learn to garden in your new space.
Communal Gardens: These gardens, including Alemany Farm , In Chan Kaajal , and Corwin Street , invite volunteers to participate in a shared garden experience and harvesting system. Drop-in workdays are regularly scheduled and allow individuals, families and groups to participate in garden activities including planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. The harvest collected at each workday is then shared fairly among the day&rsquos participants. In some cases, produce is shared within the larger community to combat food insecurity. These gardens also have special events throughout the year that bring people together to share traditions, recipes, and a love of gardening. There is no wait list for these gardens.
Educational Gardens: Community gardens including Adam Rogers and Jackson Playground offer unique programming for youth, run by our non-profit partners. In some cases, just a few plots are set aside for this use, while the rest of the garden offers individual plots for personal use. However, a few of our gardens are fully dedicated to youth but may welcome occasional or ongoing volunteer support.
Volunteer Opportunities and Community Service: Do you work for a company that schedules volunteer opportunities? Or are you involved in an organization that provides community service? We can help you find one-time group volunteer placements in our Community Gardens. Contact our Volunteer Division at [email protected]
If you&rsquore already actively gardening in one of our Community Gardens or at home but would like to learn more, find resources and supplies, or attend a class or workshop, visit our Urban Ag Resource page here.
San Francisco County
Lower Fort Mason (near Fort Mason Center for the Arts)
Crissy Field - East Beach parking
Crissy Field - West Bluff parking
Long Avenue and Fort Point parking
Merrie Way parking (Sutro Baths area)
Ocean Beach parking (City and County of San Francisco owned lots).
Presidio Visitor Center. Visit Presidio Trust website for more details.
Golden Gate Park Parking
If you drive to Golden Gate Park, you have a few options for parking.
- During the week when it is not a big event, you can park along some of the main drives inside the park.
- During weekends, you can park for free in the parking lot at Ocean Beach and take the Golden Gate shuttle to major attractions within the park. The free shuttle runs every 15 to 20 minutes from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays.
- Directly underneath the de Young Museum, there is a pay-per-hour parking facility.
- You can also park at the Kezar Stadium parking lot which is located near the Stanyan St. entrance for an hourly fee.
This past Summer I met a friend named Jung Fitzpatrick http://www.jungfitzpatrick.com/blog/2017/12/1/mad-men-picnic on Facebook through SF Image Makers. She posted that she was a Photographer and looking for a Food Stylist to collaborate with in hopes that we could both build our portfolios and share a collaborative experience with her Photography and my Food Styling. I was so excited as I too want to broaden my knowledge and experience in the industry as I start out on my new career. We met at Tartine Manufactory for a delicious Brunch and planned and executed our vision. We planned our next meeting and picked a theme we both wanted to work on. Since we both love anything Vintage, we decided to do an elegant Romantic Vintage Picnic for 2 in the Park. Our inspiration was the TV show Mad Men, the 1960’s, romance and an elegant setting.
We scheduled our shoot for the end of August and our location was determined, Golden Gate Park at Golden Hour. Golden Hour is a term relating to the time of day shortly after sunrise and before sunset when the daylight has a red or golden softer hue. It is a beautiful time of day as the day begins to fade into the promise of a beautiful early evening.
We gave ourselves about a month to prep for our Picnic Shoot and to do our research. I had a project which I was so excited about, researching the food that was to be used. I watched Mad Men, looked through old vintage photos, used Pinterest that Jung and I shared in collaboration and I also studied the fashion as I was also going to be the model. I wanted to use China and luckily, the Thrift Stores in my area had beautiful vintage and 60’s period China which was perfect for the shoot and also extremely affordable. I even recollect my Mother having a set of the Plates I found.
The menu to be featured in our shoot was as follows
Pimento Cheese & Celery Sticks
Tomato Cheese Sandwiches w/ Iceberg Lettuce & condiments on White Wonder Bread
Ruffles Potato Chips
Fresh Peach Lattice Pie
I loved doing this research and we even had a test run Picnic as we scouted at our location. I did my own photo shoots at home with the China Plates, Glassware, Props etc. to make sure everything was spot on. To capture the 60’s feel I wrapped the Sandwiches in Brown Baking Paper and tied with string later to be plated on the China I purchased. I tested all the recipes at least twice before Shoot day to get it perfect.
Other props I had and purchased were Vintage Champagne Coupes, a Vintage Picnic Basket, Japanese Vintage Umbrella and a Cart to safely transport our elements for our busy day.
The day of the shoot had arrived and our crew was David my husband my assistant, Peter, the Digitech and Male Model, Keith the Lighting Tech, Jung of course was the Photographer and I did the Food Styling and was the female Model. It was a freezing brisk San Francisco day but we were so excited to share our artistic vision we didn’t let it hinder our ambitions. We took a lunch break in between and I made sandwiches for the crew and also brought a 1960’s cookie bar called Scotcharoos made with Butterscotch, Rice Krispies and Chocolate. We worked tirelessly from about 10:00 am to about 5:00 at which time we were losing the light. We wrapped our shoot and had a toast with bubbly that Jung brought to share to toast to an outstanding and collaborative day!
What I’ve loved the most about this is I’ve met some new friends throughout this process. Friends that are creative and that I’ll keep working with. I am already planning 2 of my next projects. A Cocktail Party Shoot with a few appetizers, and a Christmas Cookie Shoot, I can’t wait to start testing all the food and beverages for these endeavours!!
Hindus celebrate with Festival of Chariots in San Francisco
1 of 18 Buy Photo Anushka Srivastava, middle, dances and sings during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
2 of 18 Buy Photo People participate in the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
4 of 18 Buy Photo Santosh Singh carries his daughter Ambeka on his shoulders during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
5 of 18 Buy Photo People push a chariot carrying the deity Nityananda Prabhu and his devotee Nitai Gauranga during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
7 of 18 Buy Photo A woman caries her child during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
8 of 18 Buy Photo People push a chariot carrying the deity Nityananda Prabhu and his devotee Nitai Gauranga during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
10 of 18 Buy Photo A spiritual man burns incense on a chariot pulled by ropes during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
11 of 18 Buy Photo People participate in the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
13 of 18 Buy Photo People participate in the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
14 of 18 Buy Photo People participate in the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
16 of 18 Buy Photo Women and girls dance inferno of chariots pulled by ropes during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
17 of 18 Buy Photo Women and girls dance inferno of chariots pulled by ropes during the 51st Annual Festival of the Chariots, or the Ratha Festival as it is known throughout India, in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 30, 2017. Nicole Boliaux/The Chronicle Show More Show Less
Troupes of neon-vested Segway riders and strolling tourist families exploring Golden Gate Park on Sunday made way for an especially vibrant interruption: the Festival of Chariots, an annual Hindu parade and celebration with roots going back millennia in India.
Held since 1967 in San Francisco, the festival drew hundreds of smiling worshipers who helped pull three large chariots along John F. Kennedy Drive that carried likenesses of Lord Jagannath &mdash who to many Hindus is known as Lord of the Universe or Krishna &mdash his brother, Lord Baladeva, and his sister, Subhadra.
Men knelt to touch their forehead to the ground and women in jewel-toned saris danced with the procession. The large wooden carts were painted with elephants and swans, draped with garlands of carnations, and capped by tall red tents meant to resemble temples.
&ldquoThis is a way to bring the lord outside and into the park,&rdquo said Haladhara Rupa of Dublin, who wore a traditional purple-blue kurta, or long shirt, and billowing white dhoti pants over bright green running shoes. &ldquoYou can bring the lord in a joyous way.&rdquo
Celebrants encouraged bystanders to help pull the chariots, which they said would give them blessings. Different groups sang and chanted &ldquoHare krishna, hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare,&rdquo while others played drums and blew on conch shells.
With roots in Puri, India, where it is known as Ratha Yatra, the chariot festival is meant to bestow the blessings of Lord Jagannath. The San Francisco version was started by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement in the United States, and is still organized by local Hare Krishna chapters.
Vani Devi Das of Sacramento, whose parents brought her up in the Hare Krishna movement on a farm in Pennsylvania, brought her three children to the festival. &ldquoI&rsquove been going to this for 30 years,&rdquo she said.
San Jose software engineer Malini Devi Dasi and her 9-year-old daughter were giving out pamphlets explaining their religious beliefs to cyclists and joggers. &ldquoThis festival reminds me I can invite the lord in my heart,&rdquo she said. &ldquoI&rsquom so confused in this world. I need some direction. I need to open my heart and clean it out a little bit.&rdquo
As the parade passed Lindy in the Park, a free swing dance class held every Sunday near the de Young Museum, it overwhelmed the class&rsquo sound system for a few minutes. The parade ended with a festival in Sharon Meadow, where there was a free vegetarian feast as well as a stand selling &ldquospiritual fashions&rdquo and exhibitions on Hare Krishna beliefs, including vegetarianism and reincarnation.
The untold story of how the Golden State Killer was found: A covert operation and private DNA
The dramatic arrest in 2018 of Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. was all the more astounding because of how detectives said they caught the elusive Golden State Killer — by harnessing genetic technology already in use by millions of consumers to trace their family trees.
But the DNA-matching effort that caught one of America’s most notorious serial killers was more extensive than previously disclosed and involved covert searches of private DNA housed by two for-profit companies despite privacy policies, according to interviews and court discovery records accessed by The Times.
The revelations are likely to heighten debate about genetic privacy and the self-policing models of testing companies, as well as law enforcement access.
The original version of events omitted not only the involvement of private databases but also the access to sensitive information the companies had told users law enforcement could see only if “required” or presented with a “lawful request.”
One prosecutor described the public understanding of DeAngelo’s arrest as a “false impression,” according to a letter the prosecutor wrote to the FBI.
Listen to the latest episode to find out what really happened in the interrogation room.
When DeAngelo was arrested, prosecutors would say only that they had used family tree searches to find relatives of the killer and, from there, identified DeAngelo. Shortly after, a detective confirmed the investigative team had uploaded semen from a rape kit to develop a fresh DNA profile that was then uploaded to GEDmatch, an open-source platform frequently used by members of the public to trace their heritage.
What prosecutors did not disclose is that genetic material from the rape kit was first sent to FamilyTreeDNA, which created a DNA profile and allowed law enforcement to set up a fake account to search for matching customers. When that produced only distant leads, a civilian geneticist working with investigators uploaded the forensic profile to MyHeritage. It was the MyHeritage search that identified the close relative who helped break the case.
Both companies denied involvement at the time.
But in late 2019, FamilyTreeDNA’s chief executive acknowledged giving the FBI access in 2017 without knowing the case being investigated. He said he did not believe it violated the company’s terms of service, which warned that it “may be required” to release personal information in response to a “lawful request by public authorities.”
Those terms were later changed to alert customers that law enforcement had access to the database.
Nevertheless, the search was not sanctioned, and MyHeritage has since revised its policies to make it clear that “such investigations are prohibited,” Godfrey said.
Not disclosing that private consumer data were used in the investigation “perpetuates a fraudulent impression of all the methods implemented to identify Joseph DeAngelo,” Cheryl Temple, chief assistant district attorney for Ventura County, wrote in a January 2019 letter to the FBI. Even DeAngelo’s defense lawyers stood to be kept in the dark about how he was identified, she wrote.
In an interview last week, Temple said she was confident that the case against DeAngelo — who pleaded guilty to 26 counts of murder and kidnapping and admitted to violent crimes against 61 other people — was handled ethically and properly. The issue she raised with the FBI dealt instead with the need for transparency heading into trial.
“I have no concern whatsoever about the legality of anything that was done in the case,” Temple said. “I don’t think anybody has any question whatsoever about how the case was solved.”
Even before these new revelations, the use of consumer databases to catch this serial killer sparked ethical debates as it unleashed a wave of efforts by other cold-case teams across the U.S. to use similar means to identify violent criminals. As a result, most major consumer genealogical database companies created barriers against law enforcement access, the U.S. Justice Department adopted interim restrictions for the use of such databases, and Maryland considered legislation to limit law enforcement’s use of them.
DeAngelo, 75, pleaded guilty before going to trial. He is serving 26 life sentences in a California prison. And the legality of investigative genealogy, still relatively new, has not faced serious legal challenges. It is perceived in law enforcement circles as a vital tool for solving even current crimes, but regulations and legislation have not yet caught up.
In most DNA-derived cases going to trial, prosecutors contend that the databases police use are like street informants whose identity can remain hidden. Meanwhile, some companies, such as Ancestry.com, say they have successfully fought efforts by law enforcement to obtain court orders to access their databases.
But FamilyTreeDNA says it will work with law enforcement if an investigation involves a violent crime, denying access to data only if a private subscriber to its database has specifically opted out.
Some legal and privacy experts are concerned that the race to use genealogical databases will have serious consequences, including eroding privacy protections and broadening police power. There have also been instances of the wrong people being arrested and taken to jail — including a twin in California. In Texas, police met GEDmatch’s new search guidelines by classifying a case as a sexual assault but filed only burglary charges after an arrest.
The technology has also led to the conviction of other violent criminals, including the NorCal Rapist, who sexually assaulted more than 10 women in the 1990s.
Those involved in the DeAngelo investigation said the use of the databases was invaluable. They argued against the need for oversight, such as a warrant or subpoena.
The use of family genes in the DeAngelo case was begun by an investigator working with DNA fragments left from a subset of his crimes, the rapes in Northern California.
Paul Holes was chief of forensics for the district attorney’s office in Contra Costa County, one of half a dozen Northern California counties where the East Area Rapist struck from 1976 to 1979, assaulting nearly 50 women and girls. In 2017, Holes used DNA from one of the few surviving rape kits to develop a Y-chromosome profile, found a partial match on a free website called Ysearch.org, and with the FBI obtained a federal grand jury subpoena to require Ysearch’s parent company, Gene by Gene, which also owns FamilyTreeDNA, to release information on that account holder.
The search led Holes and agents from Orange County to an elderly man in a nursing home in Oregon, but he turned out to be an exceedingly distant relation — with no shared ancestor for 900 years. After that, Holes said, federal agents in Northern California lost interest, and funding for more DNA ventures dried up. But an FBI lawyer in Los Angeles was “all in.”
“He said, ‘Paul, I believe in the DNA, and that the DNA is going to solve this case,’” Holes said.
After the 1906 earthquake City Hall smelled an opportunity to banish Chinatown to the fringes, planning to relocate the community to what is now Bayview. But the Chinese Family Associations and the Chinese Consulate refused to budge.
Chinatown merchant Look Tin Eli seized on the idea of hiring non-Chinese architects and contractors to rebuild the neighborhood in homage/pastiche styles of classical Chinese architecture, a bid to increase its appeal as a tourist destination and cultural redoubt.
The Sing Chong Building was one of the first of the “new Chinatown” structures to open, along with the Sing Fat building on the other side of the street.
Photo via SF Historical Society
Who You Help
When you work with Meals of Hope, you are helping to feed the thousands of families throughout Southwest Florida and the United States who face food insecurity every day.
In Southwest Florida, the percentage of students in Lee and Charlotte Counties receiving Free and Reduced Price Lunch exceeds 68% in each county. In Collier County Public Schools, 62% of children are on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Knowing this sobering statistic, Meals of Hope continually provides our meals to the guidance counselors or front office staff at every school so that a hungry family has immediate access to food.
In Collier County we provide Meals of Hope at every Summer Feeding site each year. Additionally, our meals are at each of our 9 Drive Up Mobile Food Pantries: Golden Gate Senior Center, Lely Presbyterian Church, The Greater Naples YMA, East Naples Community Park, River Park Recreation Center, Max A. Hasse Jr. Community Park and Immokalee Farm Workers Village in Collier County and The Bonita Springs Elementary School and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lee County. Meals of Hope is pleased and humbled to be serving nearly 1,600 families each week.
We also donate our meals to both the Harry Chapin Food Bank and Midwest Food Bank which give the food to local food pantries throughout Southwest Florida.