Tenderloin Can't Catch a Break

By Jean Elle
|  Monday, May 10, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Tenderloin Can't Catch a Break

Joe Rosato Jr.

NBC Bay Area photographer Robert Wellington catches the attention of a group of people on a Tenderloin street corner.

A San Francisco neighborhood plagued by trouble just can't catch a break.

Police started focusing on arresting drug dealers and users in the tenderloin this year.

Now we have learned over 100 of those drug cases have been dropped because of SFPD's drug lab scandal. Police say they won't back off their effort to clean up the neighborhood.

While they walk the beat 30-year-old Veasna Chea is providing back up.

A refugee from Cambodia he grew up in the Tenderloin. Now he teaches at the San Francisco City Academy in the heart of the rough neighborhood.

He's helping kids there make sense of the drug dealing, prostitution, and violence they see on the streets.

He could move his wife and three year old daughter to a safer place. But Chea says he knows growing up in the Tenderloin isn't easy and he wants to make sure kids here have a chance to succeed.

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