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Parking lot crack mart in Lincoln Park

I drive home thinking, How is this remotely legal?

As I pull into my neighborhood market near the corner of Euclid and Imperial, I’m flagged down by a homeless gentleman who asks if I have money to spare. I reply, “Fresh out,” hopefully discouraging further inquiry. Doesn't work. He leans back a bit and cocks his neck to the side and says, "Dang, not even a dollar?” with a look of disgust.

Intersection of Imperial and Euclid avenues

I roll my window up and look away from him hoping he gets the gist. Another man is stooped beside a concrete trash can, smoking crack — yes, crack. I think, Do I really need an energy drink that much? then tell myself, Well, it'll be quick. I open my door and bump the man asking for money. He's still here? He looks at me, smirks, and walks away. Awkwarrrd.

I lock my door, triple-check the handle. Glance over the lot and see 20 individuals in small groups. Some hunched in a circle in front of a defunct 99-cent store, playing craps, money thrown about on the ground. Others are standing backs to the wall that connects the market to a legal-aid office next door. They're sharing cans of beer, cigarettes, liquor. Others are sitting on the ground in the lot. They're pooling money and one of them walks toward a car in my direction. I walk in the store.

I grab my drink and cigarettes. Glance at the monitors above the counter and see a guy from the group standing next to a car. Leaned over, his head in the window, talking with hand out showing the driver something. Money is passed and the salesman walks away happy.

I leave out seeing three more cars, people smoking even more crack. Lighters spark, clouds of smoke billow out the window. I drive home thinking, How is this remotely legal? It's almost "the Carter" from New Jack City, only it's a store, not subsidized housing.

I’ve experienced the same situation numerous times. I’ve left out the profound smell of urine coming from every corner of the lot, torn sleeping bags, and dingy clothing on the sidewalk. I live in an area some call “disenfranchised,” but this place could give the Bronx 1970s a run for their money. Police pass by numerous times daily. They rarely turn an eye toward the crowds of people.

You can go to that same market and see the same thing as me on any day.

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As I pull into my neighborhood market near the corner of Euclid and Imperial, I’m flagged down by a homeless gentleman who asks if I have money to spare. I reply, “Fresh out,” hopefully discouraging further inquiry. Doesn't work. He leans back a bit and cocks his neck to the side and says, "Dang, not even a dollar?” with a look of disgust.

Intersection of Imperial and Euclid avenues

I roll my window up and look away from him hoping he gets the gist. Another man is stooped beside a concrete trash can, smoking crack — yes, crack. I think, Do I really need an energy drink that much? then tell myself, Well, it'll be quick. I open my door and bump the man asking for money. He's still here? He looks at me, smirks, and walks away. Awkwarrrd.

I lock my door, triple-check the handle. Glance over the lot and see 20 individuals in small groups. Some hunched in a circle in front of a defunct 99-cent store, playing craps, money thrown about on the ground. Others are standing backs to the wall that connects the market to a legal-aid office next door. They're sharing cans of beer, cigarettes, liquor. Others are sitting on the ground in the lot. They're pooling money and one of them walks toward a car in my direction. I walk in the store.

I grab my drink and cigarettes. Glance at the monitors above the counter and see a guy from the group standing next to a car. Leaned over, his head in the window, talking with hand out showing the driver something. Money is passed and the salesman walks away happy.

I leave out seeing three more cars, people smoking even more crack. Lighters spark, clouds of smoke billow out the window. I drive home thinking, How is this remotely legal? It's almost "the Carter" from New Jack City, only it's a store, not subsidized housing.

I’ve experienced the same situation numerous times. I’ve left out the profound smell of urine coming from every corner of the lot, torn sleeping bags, and dingy clothing on the sidewalk. I live in an area some call “disenfranchised,” but this place could give the Bronx 1970s a run for their money. Police pass by numerous times daily. They rarely turn an eye toward the crowds of people.

You can go to that same market and see the same thing as me on any day.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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