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Reports From The Road Less Covered: SF's Mission District



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(San Francisco, CA)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

San Francisco can be a pricey town and if you want get an inexpensive meal, you can't beat the Mission District. That's why I stopped by this past Saturday evening just as the street jewelry vendors began packing up their goods for the night.

(SOUND OF STREET)

The Mission District is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in California according to the U.S. Census. And on this corner, you can find everything from Chinese donuts to Pakistani pizzas to jade pipes to Mexican jewelry. And it was here, this past Saturday, I met a slight woman with shiny black hair wearing a plum purple petticoat, stacking flowers on the ground.

(SOUND OF HER PACKING, PUTTING AWAY TABLES, ETC)

Valdez: My name is Virginia Valdez and I sell flowers on 24th and Mission. Mostly I am here every day during that week.

Virginia says she can't take a day off because she has to pay her rent. Even in this less expensive neighborhood, that can run up to 1,200 dollars for a studio apartment. Her biggest concern is that she'll overwork herself and get sick and have to go the doctor. So she tries to take care of herself.

Valdez: I eat better. I take vitamins and do whatever so I don't get sick…so I can feel stronger and do whatever I need to do so I can pay my bills.

That's not a permanent plan. With that in mind, Virginia says she wants to hear Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown explain their plans for health care. She says she's been following the race on TV. Virginia's other major issue for the candidates---crime. She wants to hear a plan that will cut crime in her neighborhood.

Valdez: I have a business like four businesses down from here…and they stole me [SIC] things from the store. And sometimes I can't do nothing about it. And if you call police, they don't get to the store and they don't do anything to help you with that.  Sepulvado: A lot of people are concerned about that---they say the police are non responsive if it's not a homicide or a rape or just something very ugly…and most of the time they won't investigate…is that the way you feel?  Valdez: Yes definitely…

(SOUND OF VIRGINIA VALDEZ BACK AT WORK)

Virginia Valdez, a flower vendor from San Francisco's Mission District. As she looks towards this year's election, the two issues she cares about are health care and crime.  

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