Tuesday, September 22, 2020
News + Politics Modest controls for 24th Street pass -- with Wiener...

Modest controls for 24th Street pass — with Wiener saying No

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Supervisor who opposed Mission Moratorium won’t go along with limited zoning rules that even the mayor supports

Is 24th Street a vibrant Latino community -- or a scary place?
24th Street merchants and residents say they are fighting to save the neighborhood

By Tim Redmond

JULY 14, 2015 – The Board of Supes Land Use and Transportation Committee approved a modest plan to cut down on the displacement of small businesses on 24th Street yesterday, with a predictable dissent by Sup. Scott Wiener.

Wiener was the strongest voice on the board against the Mission Moratorium, and he seems to be against any measure that even temporarily halts any kind of development.

The three-member panel heard more than an hour of testimony, most of it from supporters of the plan, which would put a 45-day hold on any consolidation of multiple storefronts. It would, in effect, end the practice of landlords taking small retail spaces and combining them into large places for higher-end restaurants.

The delay would last 45 days. The Mayor’s Office supports it. The City Planning Department supports it. Sup. David Campos, who introduced the bill, even noted that the Golden Gate Restaurant Association supports it.

And yet, Wiener voted No, saying that he would have preferred a less-restrictive plan allowing the mergers but requiring a conditional-use permit for them.

The public testimony presented a fascinating look at what’s happening on 24th Street. A string of Latino community leaders, business owners, and activists argued in favor of the measure, saying that the section of 24th between Mission and Potrero should be turned into a Special Use District, like Chinatown, to preserve the remaining Latino culture and history.

Sup. Jane Kim, who used to work in the neighborhood, said that “there are very few micro-neighborhoods seeing the rapid changes that this area is facing.”

Several speakers, all of whom were white and most of them young, talked of how 24th Street was a scary place with vacant storefronts, violence, and drug use. A man who identified himself as part of the group Open 24 said that he’s seen “vagrancy” in front of vacant storefronts, that are host to “dangerous” activity.

I haven’t hear the term “vagrancy” in years.

Another opponent of the measure, who said she lived in Potrero Hill, talked about how nice it was to be able, finally, to buy sushi on 24th Street.

Nothing against sushi, but you get the point: There were people who thought that the gentrification of that neighborhood was a good thing, because it made the streets cleaner and “safer” and allowed for more high-end retail and food establishments.

That’s kind of a classic pattern – and it’s the reason that even the mayor, who is not a foe of development, agrees that this little section of the city needs a planning timeout.

Toward the end, a white woman who said she is a disabled senior testified that she often walks down 24th Street late at night “and I don’t ever feel unsafe.” She has also lived in the area for many years.

Another person noted: If you want high-end restaurants, you can hope on the bus (or even walk) up to Valencia Street and fine whatever you want.

Wiener talked about how strict controls could create problems down the road, like the rules against new liquor licenses in the Mission could have prevented the Roxie Theater from selling beer. But as Kim pointed out, at the time those rules were put in place, they made sense; later, they were changed.

And the whole idea of interim controls is to allow planners and the community to discuss what the best options are for the future. That might include allowing mergers, but only after the landlord gets a conditional-use permit. It might include a lot of other rules.

As land-use lawyer Sue Hestor noted, “when CUs are set up it usually AFTER standards have been set. … The Planning Department doesn’t do well with CUs that are done without standards. I don’t see where there’s a problem here at all.”

The measure passed out on a 2-1 vote, with Sup. Malia Cohen joining Kim in support. Wiener voted no.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

78 COMMENTS

  1. You really want to hear how I characterize myself? Or did you just need an excuse to hurl insults?

  2. Let’s get this history re-twisted to everyone’s liking: First the Noble Natives of the original settlement that today is known as San Francisco, were enslaved and infected by rapacious Spanish Catholic Sadists who dubbed the ‘hood in honor of the seat of their evil empire, i.e. The Mission. Then Anglos, Manifesting their Destiny to become the most belligerent, binary-thinking beings that ever trod the Earth – until Donald Trump – re-stole the stolen land from Spain/Mexico. Some time later, the Irish, so disgusted by an exploitive economic system and, oh yes, with too many people victimized by it, fled to parts west where they built a thriving culture of motor-mindedness and NIMBY-ism. And that’s the way it will remain in perpetuity because I say so.

  3. The problems and inequities are deeply embedded in the structure of the US economy. This, like the Mission Moratorium, is mannered theater. Grandstanding, applying bandaids to hemorrhages, grabbing low hanging fruit…take your pick of metaphors to describe ineffectiveness in action’s clothing

  4. Would love to hear how you characterize yourself. Righteous, libertine, insider propagandist for pseudo progress? Or is that too un-nuanced for you?

  5. No, I said that there have always been upheavals where one group was displaced by another. The only constant is change.

  6. First you says things never change and its just the way it is historically. Then you says things change, people need to adapt. What your really saying is anything could happen as long as i benefit…

  7. I disagree. You can see things through a moral lens if you want to, but it’s only going to distort your vision.

  8. so, that anecdotal piece of history makes everything about today’s housing crisis acceptable?

  9. are you really serious with your narrative about the long-suffering white people – I always thought it was too funny to be taken literally

  10. When you take peoples homes, jobs , businesses, culture and community support networks as we see now those numbers are dropping fast. We see the trend. Its happening fast. Remember the Fillmore, we can’t deny what happen there.

  11. We need to learn from the past and not do the same today. I hope we had evolved as a city and make sure we have social and economic justice and not have money be the end all. People need to learn the good and the bad of this city. We are a city not a suburb. That’s why people come here. Learn about the neighborhoods you move in. It’s history its problems it’s people. Be part of it, don’t try to make it something its not. If you do then you destroy what brought you here. The realtors only talk about the up scale restaurants and the trendy boutiques and how its all going to change for the better. They are trying to get your money and they did. I find many new folks didn’t realize that there is a long standing community here and its beauty, rich history and culture. Crime and social problems are in every city and town. Most new folks coming in are very young and don’t have much life experience in a big city or how to deal with these problem.
    Learn form the natives, don’t make us the problems.

  12. yeah and it doesn’t make it right today because they did this before. We had slavery does it make it ok today?

  13. There is literally only one solution to San Francisco’s problems, and that is for San Franciscans to HELP developers develop along all income lines as quickly as possible. This is the exact opposite, will lead to increased rents, increased evictions, and, fundamentally, it is racist.

  14. Not true. If you compared the sleepy village of Yerba Buena in 1848 when gold was discovered to the City of San Francisco in 1854 you would notice a vast change. From 1848 to 1850 the city’s population increased from 1,000 to over 20,000.

  15. Over 40% of the people in the Mission are Hispanic. They are the biggest single ethnicity. What annihilation?

  16. yes but it usually happens over generations, not five or six years. This is gentrification on steroids. Rental property prices are higher now in SF than anywhere else in the country and the rate of change is unprecedented.

  17. God you broken record… just because your spout your mouth like diarrhea and say it 100,000 time does not make it true. Renters have to move, just like hookers get screwed, it’s all part of the divine plan from mother earth.

  18. Oh, I’m a “racist” for calling you out on your bigoted remarks? Seriously? And who cares if your gay? Do you believe only black people can use the “N-word”? What a sorry, pathetic attempt to cover your own ass.

  19. The biggest battle in that section of 24th st. (after the residents themselves) is ultimately going to be for the community services. Our community services are what have always made SF Great!! From the H/A Free Clinic, through Shanti. Now it’s time to protect the 503c services from displacement. Mission Girls, Mission Education Projects, Accion Latino, Precita Eyes, are just some of the vital programs that make SF and the Mission a COMMUNITY.

  20. Yes, the annihilation of previous cultures is a good metaphor to how people are being displaced by gentrification in The Mission.

  21. Pagani is contemplating opening up a store to sell their clothes only, it’s showroom is still on Van Ness.

  22. When you’re reading in the news that an Italian sports car maker wants to open a “boutique” showroom on Valencia Street to showcase its $1.4-million cars, you start to think mega restrictions are exactly what 24th Street needs. I love 24th Street the way it is now, especially since the bookstores that lost their leases on 16th Street and Valencia are now closer to me, and I’m not bothered that a couple of fancy places I can’t afford have opened up, but we definitely don’t need more fine dining. We need prices to stay low, so that working families can continue to afford to shop there.

  23. Gee, no one has ever said any of those things about the Irish before. I say this as a descendent of Irish bookies and bootleggers.

  24. Kinda strange response from Tim. Unless you are living in willful ignorance, how do you live longterm in SF without hearing the term “vagrancy” bandied about? Unfortunately it is part of the fabric of the city. Maybe because these measures are kinda strange and pointless — as far as I can tell they serve only to divide the community further. Probably won’t do a lot to actually help keep current merchants in place.

    I’m not wishing for a huge cultural change along the 24th St corridor, but it’s baffling that a social norm exists where we accept constant littering and drunkenness to the point of passing out in neighborhoods with schools, etc. While probably not presented with a lot of humanity or tact, the complaints of the “young white” terribles may have *some* merit.

  25. I’m not going to argue with anecdotes, particularly those that assign negative characteristics to a particular ethnicity. I do know that urban scholars have associated “white flight” with higher incomes and the transportation and space factors I mentioned earlier.

  26. It’ll disappear the moment one taqueria (or one friend of Campos) wants to expand their business. Though they’ll probably still try to tailor the repeal to shut every newer business out when they do.

  27. How many storefronts in the neighborhood have been merged in the last several years? The only one I can think of is Sous Beurre Kitchen. This seems like a weirdly-specific measure, and I’m skeptical that it will do much to prevent the displacement of existing small businesses.

  28. People he’s not helping beyond giving them some warm fuzzy feelings in the short term. Funny how he had no problem with “luuuuuuuuxury” condo developments in his district when the developers in question sent campaign cash his way.

  29. Seems to me it was Tim being racist, against whites. His clear implication was that white opinions expressed at the meeting could be discounted on racial grounds. Else why even bother to cite their race?

    As others have said, different races come and go. There is no magic racial quota that we should freeze in time.

  30. An oversimplification from Fishchum? Say it ain’t so!

    You hit the nail on the head, White Flight was subsidized by land-use policies that created so-called blight and impoverished urbanites, while creating a generation or two of suburbanites who will swear they “earned” their lifestyle and prosperity right up until the day you take the steering wheel from their cold, dead, hands. And now their children have “earned” the gentrifying of the results.

  31. Hope? Hop? I thought this was a trying to be a legit news column. PROOF READ YOUR WORK BEFORE PUBLISHING.

  32. Well, the Ohlone people were displaced by the Spanish, and the Californios were displaced by the 49ers who came to San Francisco during the Gold Rush. You can’t freeze a place in amber the way it was when you got there . People come and go, and neighborhoods go from being wealthy to being poor to being wealthy once again.

  33. Mostly the kids of a lot of Irish families who live west of Twin Peaks and the Sunset especially. Whenever I’ve chatted with any of them and found that their families relocated from the Mission, I’ve asked why, and the answer is invariably the same: The Latino immigrants were dirty, crammed relatives into their homes, and brought with them a shit ton of crime.

  34. Hey, that was prude-shaming too, and the history of the word ‘boy’ as derisive insult speaks for itself. Equal opportunity!

  35. That’s an oversimplification. Multiple factors led to urban flight throughout America. They included freeways, cheap suburban housing, open space, lawns (yes lawns!) and a car-based lifestyle.

  36. So, does this mean a business must pass a political correctness test before it’s allowed to operate on lower 24th?

  37. We won. Who cares how Wiener voted? We already know that he is a scumbag prude outsider butt-boy for venture capitalists.

    Move on.

  38. The Irish were not ‘displaced’ by wealthy people forcing them from their homes.

    And I see a lot in common with a reservation and the near-gated-community that The Mission is becoming.

  39. So you want to turn the Mission into a reservation? The Mission wasn’t always Hispanic. Time was when it was Irish. Things change.

  40. OK, fine. Because the mostly low income hispanic neighborhood of the Mission district is being taken over by wealthy, privileged white people who are driving the previous inhabitants out. (I am white myself, but I get it.)

  41. It’s nothing like an amusement park ride. hat metaphor makes no sense. It is the real lives of real people who are in danger of losing their homes.

  42. Freud Is My Copy Editor. “Another person noted: If you want high-end restaurants, you can HOPE on the bus (or even walk) up to Valencia Street and FINE whatever you want.”

  43. Dude, are you serious? Do you live in a cave? What an inane question.

    But of course you’re only pretending to be that stupid. No one is actually as stupid as you’re pretending to be.

  44. And where the heck does Campos think he is going. He did nothing with his tenure on the board and now all of a sudden he is all over what is essentially the functional equivalent of a new Latino town log flume ride in the amusement park known as SF.

  45. Tim, why do you think it is important to keep telling us that this speaker and that speaker was white?

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