The Agenda: March 2-9

In which we explore two housing protests, new ways to vote — and the question of whether San Francisco is a better (or more welcoming) city than it was 15 years ago

This is what 16th and Mission will look like with a fancy new housing development

This is what 16th and Mission will look like with a fancy new housing development

By Tim Redmond

MARCH 2, 2014 – The Maximus housing development at 16th and Mission has come to symbolize the devastation of the community.  Put 345 mostly market-rate housing units right next to the BART station and prices for everything will rise – commercial rents will go up, forcing out local businesses. Residential prices will go up, putting more pressure on landlords to evict tenants.

But of course, the build-forever folks are saying that it’s housing, and we need more housing in the city.

We have had this discussion here at some length. The idea that more luxury apartments or condos will help low-income or working-class people find a place to live in the Mission defies logic.

The proposed project is big, and expensive, and will sit right next to an area where poor people hang out during the day. If you don’t think the rich residents will be pushing to clean up the BART plaza (by moving poor people out) then you haven’t paid much attention to how gentrification works.

So I suspect the March 4 meeting at which Maximus representatives will present their package of community benefits will be a bit … lively. A large community coalition plans to “March on Maximus,” starting at 5:45 pm. Meet at the Laborers Local 261 union hall, 3271 18th Street at Shotwell. Continue reading

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Tom’s Town: Why we need late-night transit

By Tom Temprano

FEBRUARY 27, 2015 — I took a trip to New York for Valentines Day and much of my time there was spent hiding from record-low temperatures below ground on the subway. Riding the trains is one of my favorite things to do when I visit. The ability to get anywhere at any time without waiting is what makes New York New York.

48hillstemprano2I’ve visited New York half a dozen times and each time I return and get on BART at SFO I can’t help but wish that Bay Area transit planners had taken more of a cue from New York’s urban planners of yore.

I’m not saying that San Francisco’s public transportation is awful – I’d put us at a solid OK. Muni does a good job when it isn’t delayed, and if you’re going to and from somewhere that’s on a BART line you can count on doing so quickly and comfortably. We’re also trying hard to get better with major improvements coming including proposed Bus Rapid Transit lines on Geary and Van Ness.

Unfortunately OK turns to awful right around midnight. While New York’s trains keep humming along at all hours, trains (and busses) across the Bay Area literally stop in their tracks at the stroke of twelve. Continue reading

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The Tom and Tim Show: Live, unedited …

We talk about City College, the Mission — and how Tom escaped the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, on New Year’s Day 1968


old microphone isolated


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Mission nonprofit saved after community outcry

Victory for anti-displacement movement as tech company agrees to keep cancer center in building

Cancer survivor and Circulo de Vida beneficiary Guadalupe Dumas with Double Dutch CEO Lawrence Coburn and Circulo de Vida executive director Carmen Ortiz

Cancer survivor and Circulo de Vida beneficiary Guadalupe Dumas with Double Dutch CEO Lawrence Coburn and Circulo de Vida executive director Carmen Ortiz

By Christopher D. Cook

FEBRUARY 26, 2015 — Circulo de Vida, the nonprofit Latino cancer support center recently threatened with displacement, will stay in the Mission District, moving to a new office space in the Bayview Bank building after weeks of community outcry and extensive negotiations with Supervisor David Campos and Double Dutch, the mobile apps firm that will occupy Circulo’s old space.

At a press conference today, Campos highlighted the ongoing challenge of “how we as a community address the very real problem of nonprofit groups being pushed out,” while praising the Circulo resolution for “setting an example for how companies and community based organizations can work together” to protect neighborhoods undergoing gentrification.

Circulo will move from its current 7th floor suite to a space on the building’s 5th floor, which it will sublease from Double Dutch at least through the end of 2016. Carmen Ortiz, executive director of Circulo, said she and the group’s many clients—Spanish-speaking individuals and families battling cancer—are “very relieved and happy” to remain in the neighborhood, which offers them familiarity, convenience, safety, and cultural connection. Continue reading

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Here’s what the private housing market creates

Turn 12 high-end units into two billionaire penthouses? Sure — that’s what the “market” wants. 

The future of housing in SF. And this is suppose to help?

The future of housing in SF. And this is suppose to help?

While we continue to fight over whether there ought to be more “market-rate” (read: luxury) housing in the Mission, and whether there is any rational supply-and-demand element in the equation, Tishman-Speyer is giving us an excellent answer.

The developer building the Lumina towers at 201 Folsom Street now wants to turn the top floors into the kind of massive penthouse apartments that are being sold to international billionaires who never really spend much time living there. Continue reading

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Tonight: How we win in 2015 and beyond

A forum looks at electoral strategy for progressives in San Francisco


By Tim Redmond

FEBRUARY 26, 2015 — The left has to start winning more elections, or there won’t be any of us left in this town. That, of course, is part of the strategy of some downtown types; the Committee on JOBS has said outright that driving the renters and the lower-income people out of San Francisco and replacing them with more conservative homeowners would change the politics of the city.

That’s not crazy paranoia; that’s part of what’s happening here.

And while we talk about policy and resistance, we also need to talk about strategy – what works, how we learn from past mistakes, and how we can organize better. That’s why Urban IDEA is holding a forum tonight on “How we win: Strategies for 2015 and beyond.” We’ll hear about voting patterns, voting by mail, community-based electoral strategies and the way to reach voters all over the city.

It’s free, it’s at the Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission, and it starts at 6pm. See you there.

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The culture of deletion

A native San Franciscan talks about the loss of the city he knew


Editor’s note: We’ve been writing a lot about the tech invasion lately, from David Talbot’s speech to Stanford students to my discussion about whether technology is the enemy. Last night, the Chron had a forum on the “Changing Mission.”

And now we present the perspective of a San Francisco native, someone who has seen the transformation of the city, and his community, first-hand.

By Tony Robles

FEBRUARY 26, 2015 — I recently read the text of author David Talbot’s speech, “Don’t be a Stanford Asshole,” in which he connects the dots between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. He spoke of the incestuous relationship between tech and politics and how the tandem workings of both have caused both positive and insidious consequences to the city of my birth and across the globe.

As impassioned as Talbot’s speech was, I was in somewhat of a quandary. Was he speaking to me, or was he speaking to those who arrived in San Francisco in the last 15 or so years, survivors of the first dot-com boom?

Mind you, as a native born San Franciscan, I have become accustomed to being talked over, looked over and unconsidered. I don’t suggest that Talbot was ignoring born-and-raised San Franciscans like myself, but being someone born and raised in the city, we often occupy a gray area in which we ask ourselves—when a narrative about the city is explored or expounded—is this narrative reflective of my experience, my history, my skin, my roots?

Or is it a reflection of those who have arrived in recent years, who have benefited from my culture—that is, my San Francisco and or/ethnic culture—and the beauty that goes with it, while I—and other native-borns– have not benefited to the same degree? Continue reading

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