Evictions and gentrification fuel widespread concern in the Mission

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Erick Arguello of Calle 24 said lower 24th Street has witnessed an onslaught of real-estate speculators.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

A mix of neighborhood merchants, community activists and a couple City Hall staffers met for a community forum Sept. 23 on Mission gentrification, voicing anger and frustration about rising displacement in the face of soaring rents.

Arranged by organizer Andy Blue, the forum was hosted by Rose Aguilar of Your Call Radio and held at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics on Valencia Street.

The recent controversy stemming from a bid by high-end retailer Jack Spade to move into a 16th Street storefront catalyzed the discussion, but many addressed the overarching transformation of a neighborhood that has been flooded with high-salaried residents who can afford to pay top dollar.

Gabriel Medina, policy manager of the Mission Economic Development Agency, said he’s troubled by the displacement of Latino-owned businesses. About 80 percent of Latino-owned businesses are passed onto proprietors’ children, he said, representing critical assets in a pricey city like San Francisco. “It’s getting cheaper to be able to start a business than to buy a house,” he pointed out.

Erick Arguello of Calle 24 (formerly the Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association) said he’d seen a similar trend along his strip of the Mission, where some Latino-owned businesses have managed to hold strong since they bought their properties years ago.

Nevertheless, Arguello said, the pressure is on. “There’s been an onslaught of realtors and prospectors on 24th Street,” he said. “They ask about the neighbor next door: Do you know when their lease goes to?”

Nor are businesses the only ones impacted. “We’re seeing a lot of evictions of residents along the corridor,” he noted. “The majority of them are Latino families.”

Laura Guzman, executive director of the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, decried a lack of funding for affordable housing and dedicated units for the homeless and impoverished.

She said many individuals living on the streets in the Mission lack options, leading them to pass the time in the BART plaza. “Support the people in the plaza. They’re human beings,” Guzman said.

Nick Pagoulatos, a legislative aid to Sup. Eric Mar who was previously involved with mid-90s anti-gentrification campaigns in the Mission, said he himself wasn’t sure if he would be able to remain in the city.

“I’m a partner to a woman who was born in the Mission,” he said, acknowledging the deep ties her family has to the neighborhood. “We know that when we lose our housing” – it is likely a question of when, not if, Pagoulatos said – “we’re not going to be able to stay in the Mission. And we’re probably not going to be able to stay in San Francisco.”

Some activist efforts have emerged. A direct action group called Eviction Free San Francisco has staged protests outside the doors of real-estate speculators. At the upcoming Dia de los Muertos 2013 celebration, curator Martina Ayala said at the meeting, “We are building altars to remember the life that we once enjoyed.” La Llorona, a Dia de los Muertos exhibit that will be held at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, is subtitled “weeping for the life and death of the Mission District.”

A similar transformation happened 10 years ago when the first dot-com boom flooded the Mission with deep-pocketed residents, Pagoulatos noted. Back then, “there was an organized reaction,” he said. “To be honest with you, we fought the good fight, we were at it for a long time and we didn’t win.”

This time around, “Our level of disgust for what’s been going on has been numbed,” he said. But he called for reaching out to engage unlikely allies, and for tapping into collective anger about displacement to bring about change.

“Get pissed, folks," Pagoulatos said. "Anger is a good thing, especially in the face of injustice.”

Comments

everyday observation that sometimes screens give more clarity and contrast when the shades are drawn.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 9:24 am

"Go back to the Midwest where you came from.. get out! " No different that saying … Go back to Mexico where you came from.. get out!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 3:14 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 9:02 am

These efforts are too late to save the Mission district I remember, before the influx of newer residents drove out the Irish and Italians....Oh yeah, way long ago. The point is, the Mission, as other districts, are constantly changing.

Posted by Richmondman on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

which drove out the Irish and Italians? Why not? Don't they oppose all change just because it is change.

Anyway, the Mission is a huge area and generalizations about it are not helpful. So while the western heights of the Mission are as affluent and gorgeous as anywhere in SF, the blocks east of Valencia between 21st and Cesar Chavez are solidly hispanic to the point of feeling uncomfortable at night.

Then there's the achingly hip corridors of Valencia and Bryant, and the super new blocks of lofts and condo that are attracting higher-value residents.

There is room for everyone in the Mission but this drive to ensure it stays as Hispanic as it can be is undesirable and borderline racist.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

Irrational fears are a drag and so are you.

Income does not equal value except to superficial unthinking people.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

feels uncomfortable. You could say the same about parts of Bayview and the Western Addition. nobody feels uncomfortable in Cole Valley or Presidio Heights.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

them difficult to see at night? What the fuck do you or your sock puppet friend mean then? You are scared of hispanics but only at night, not during the day when you hire them on the cheap to do your illegal renovations of rental properties in preparation for TIC or condo conversions.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

He just said that the neighborhood feels uncomfortable. I'm willing to take that at face value because, if you feel uneasy, then you feel uneasy.

If I had to guess I'd say that he prefers a diverse neighborhood to one that is overwhelmingly of one race. Seems reasonable to me.

Why are you suggesting that all illegals are hispanics?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

lily white neighborhoods such as his preferred Cole Valley or Presidio Heights.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

So I guess you're just wrong. Again.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

in a poor and heavily black or hispanic neighborhood than in an affluent white neighborhood.

Maybe your white guilt makes it impossible for you to admit the truth. But a lie is still a lie even when you can rationalize it with political correctness.

Posted by anon on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters---with no credibility on this site at all---on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

just one more little bump..

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

"the blocks east of Valencia between 21st and César Chávez are solidly hispanic to the point of feeling uncomfortable at night."

oh jesus fucking christ. How do you know it's Hispanic, versus Latino? I suspect you don't know the difference based on your other comments. And there is a difference. You are aware that there are many "white" Latinos? Do they also make you feel "uncomfortable at night?" Or is it just the darker skin orientation that freaks you out? Loco/a. Y your willful-ignorance and your not-so-covert anti-ethnic comment is disgusting.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

just bumping a troll past the jump

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

This is why people turn to SFBG comments for, I feel sure.

What do you tell your parents you spend your spare time doing? Tilting at windmills?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

just one.. more.. little.. bump.. :)

Posted by troll bumper on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 5:37 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 6:13 am

What a specious remark.

Actually, the influx of Hispanics to the Mission didn't :"drive out" Irish and Italian residents: rents didn't skyrocket, and Mexican landlords didn't evict Irish and Italian families.

The Hispanic immigrants moved to the Mission because it was cheaper and the weather was better.

The Irish and Italians moved out quite simply because they were ignorant, frightened, and not a little racist.

By the way, Hispanics were in the Mission long before the Irish and Italians arrived. Why do you think it's called "the Mission," anyway?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

exact same thing, then it's bad?

That's the real racism - the idea that we should have a double standard that is discriminatory towards whites.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

civilized the natives here through a European religion and through colonialism.

You might not want to pursue that argument too much dude.

Posted by anon on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

It's called the Mission because of the Mission which was founded by the Spanish in California, which was not then part of Mexico. When Mexico took control of the territory of California, it dismantled the Missions. Mexico had control of the territory of California for a couple decades and in that couple decades had 42 different presidents. Mexico was in such a sad state that even the Mexican Governor of California (Vallejo) hoped the Americans would take over California. The spanish speaking residents of California did not consider themselves Mexican, they considered themselves Californios. Mexicans citizens had little use for, and even less interest in California. There was no work in California for an average citizen, compared to the homeland of Mexico. The Californios, who were mostly from Spain, used Indian labor, the Indians were basically slaves and were indentured to their rancho's masters for life.

Mexicans that much later moved into California, were as foreign to the state as Europeans, Asians and Africans. The only true residents of these once-great state have been almost completely wiped out through intentional and systematic genocide, from the Spanish, the Californios, the Mexicans, then the Americans. So the real reason it is called the Mission is because of the Native Californians, those buildings symbolize the beginning of their demise.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 7:33 am

And of course SF was never a Hispanic community at any time. It was native American community originally, but in no sense could it have been regarded as a city then anyway. So for all practical purposes, SF has always been a European city, and remains more than 50% white to this day.

The only quibble is whether the city has more of an Iberian influence or an Anglo-Saxon one. For the most part, the Spanish influence is limited to tacos and some historic names.

Whether one neighborhood in SF remains predominantly hispanic will be seen in the future as little more than a historical footnote.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 8:06 am

It is clear that you've never read The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo huh?

Posted by marcos on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 8:10 am

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is something this liberal first learned about back when they taught California history in grade school. It ended the Mexican-American War. The war is perfect example of what a mess Mexico was in. The Americans marched into Mexico City and could have easily taken the whole country of Mexico had they any interest. The defenders of the capitol were mostly cadets from a military academy, and Irish expats who had fled the Protestant US. Mexico was a basket case, it had been raped and pillaged by Spain and it was in no shape to protect itself and was in no shape to hold onto the additional Spanish territories that it gained control over from Spain.

Just as, to name a few, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Peru or even the Falkland Islands had once been under the control of the Spanish Crown, so was California, but that does not make those places any more Mexican than California was. Baja California had a sizable Mexican population but Alta California, did not. The population was about equal parts Californios, who were originally from Spain, Native Californians and Yankees. Mexico and California were two different places except for a very brief time in the mid 1800's. How many Mexicans have you ever met that trace their ancestors back to California? None, because their virtually are none at all. The Mexican migration to California took place decades later, after the Americans had controlled the state for much longer than the Mexicans ever did.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 8:52 am

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is something this liberal first learned about back when they taught California history in grade school. It ended the Mexican-American War. The war is perfect example of what a mess Mexico was in. The Americans marched into Mexico City and could have easily taken the whole country of Mexico had they any interest. The defenders of the capitol were mostly cadets from a military academy, and Irish expats who had fled the Protestant US. Mexico was a basket case, it had been raped and pillaged by Spain and it was in no shape to protect itself and was in no shape to hold onto the additional Spanish territories that it gained control over from Spain.

Just as, to name a few, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Peru or even the Falkland Islands had once been under the control of the Spanish Crown, so was California, but that does not make those places any more Mexican than California was. Baja California had a sizable Mexican population but Alta California, did not. The population was about equal parts Californios, who were originally from Spain, Native Californians and Yankees. Mexico and California were two different places except for a very brief time in the mid 1800's. How many Mexicans have you ever met that trace their ancestors back to California? None, because their virtually are none at all. The Mexican migration to California took place decades later, after the Americans had controlled the state for much longer than the Mexicans ever did.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 8:53 am

His attempt at trying to appear to have empathy for Hispanics is hilarious given that he probably avoids them in real life. His claims support for them but it's a matter only of mawkish convenience.

Posted by anon on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 9:16 am

That comment is as inane as the stupidity that I am trying to dispel. This isn't Jerry Springer, this is a conversation about the gentrification of the Mission District. Love it or hate it ( I hate it, and I am a Mission resident since 1981) there is no reason to launch into personal attacks, unless that is all you have to contribute. I don't know Marcos, I have never heard of him before. But I have heard this myth of the ancient Mexican Mission too many times, and please don't think that this is an attack on hispanics, because it is not. I would much rather have a Spanish speaking family of immigrants live next door to me, than a soulless realtor who would view the family as standing in the way of progress, standing in the way of yet another hideous new development of brown and beige boxes of steel and glass. This is a battle of good versus evil, of big money versus families, of people who enrich neighborhoods and the rich that steal their homes.

The left became complacent, and didn't pay attention to the likes of Weiner, Lee or Conway. But the right has become smug and I believe that they believe we are not in the middle of a bubble. Their sense of entitlement and their shit eating grins are clearly more temporary than they could ever admit. They are infatuated with the dot com industry and have lost any sense of reality when it comes to these companies. Google might last, but Twitter, Yelp, Zynga? Please. The plutocrat's days are numbered, and the pendulum always swings back.

Now bring on the trolls! Troll barrier?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 5:05 am

Like you, I've lived there for a long time and it's very much a block-by-block transition. Once more than a certain number of whites move into a block, it rapidly swings white, nice restaurants replace the grimy bodegas, and the crime rate goes down, while the houses are better maintained.

Can't see a problem with that and even the Hispanics like less crime.

Marcos is just a pen name here, and doesn't really exist, but he is dead wrong here anyway.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 6:18 am

The Irish and Italians left voluntarily as outer neighborhoods and suburbs developed, a completely different dynamic from gentrification which involuntarily displaces working class residents and replaces them with wealthy newcomers.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

according to their economic circumstances.

For instance, many blacks in cities like SF are moving back to the south. But they are not being forced to go there; they choose to.

If a hispanic finds it more economically viable to live in Fruitvale rather than the Mission, then why are you upset that he makes that choice?

It's not like there aren't still tens of thousands of hispanics in the Mission. Why is it that only hispanics matter? What about the white folks who would like to live there? What's wrong with them?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

People are being evicted or pressured into chump change buyouts under threat of Ellis Act evictions.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

But given that there is no defense to an Ellis anyway, why wouldn't you get at least some cash in your pockets if that is what is happening?

I have no problem with buyouts although I'd prefer that we didn't have a housing policy that encouraged extorting money from property owners.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

I encourage evictees to do what I did. Leave behind a dose of injectable termites.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:48 am

out themselves, which is a small minority. most tenants just leave when evicted.

A betetr source is the SF REnt Board but they do not have complete figures either because an eviction can proceed without being noticed to SFRB.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:57 am

Just more proof of how evil renters are and why they must to be driven OUT

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 3:19 am

In fact, renters in many cities are treated like customers.

But give renters too many rights and they get all entitled. A guy who would be a great renter in Pheonix will turn into a whiney dick in SF.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 5:19 am

Across the street from me is a a beautiful Spanish style apartment building, split with a courtyard in the middle. In the back are two units each inhabited by little old ladies, their husbands are dead. god knows where the kids are. They are in their 70's and have been good tenants for over 30 years. They paid their rent on time and helped the landlord pay off his mortgage early. They were given 3 months and $10,000 to move. The landlord is going to convert their building into condos and make over a million dollars. He must be evil is all I can think. how could someone do that to two little old ladies all alone in the world, at least they have each other.

The neighbors on the other side of the courtyard held out for more, they had lived there for 20 and 25 years, they were younger and more savvy than the elderly ladies.
I asked them how much they were getting paid (bribed) by the landlord to move, We are getting $15,000. What? Really? That's it? OMG! That's chump change to this guy now. He won't even notice the $50, and god knows he feels entitled to all of it dammit. Screw his tenants, he is completely overcome by greed, like everyone else in his peer group, they are right, they've got the money to prove it, and the politicians are on their side (once they were bought and paid for) and screeew the little guy. Asking for money to help these people is extortion, you say, you would rather just kick them when they are down. Why are they down? Because you are up! You are cashing in, it's you god-given right to throw the peasants out into the street. That's how you see it.

From where I am sitting what you did is barely a step away from embezzlement. You are not the kind of person who makes wherever he is a better place, You are an energy suck, a thief, and barely human.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 10:41 am

acceptable to both sides. I'd say $15,000 is a reasonable payoff, and that doesn't count the hundreds of thousands of dollars those "little old ladies" saved in rent through having it held artificially low.

I'd say the grannies had a good run but all good things must come to an end, and they will probably be happier somewhere quieter, maybe closer to their families or where home care is easier.

The best way to avoid Ellis evictions is to have rents that give a landlord a decent rate of return so that he is happy to stay in the rental business. I view Ellis evictions as a barometer of how excessive a city's rent control rules are.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 10:53 am

New arrivals from new countries invariably choose to live with others of their nationality. That's why although SF looks statistically diverse, it really isn't because each neighborhood has it's own race preferences.

ChinaTown, obviously. But also the Russians and Irish in Richmond, the blacks in Bayview, the hispanics in the Mission and the whites in Pacific Heights.

SF'ers claim they are tolerant but when it comes to choosing a home, they want to be with people who look and sound like them. That's natural and not a problem, until they start claiming how tolerant they are. They're not.

Posted by anon on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

There's only one race: The Human Race, with many ethnicities.

"SF'ers claim they are tolerant but when it comes to choosing a home, they want to be with people who look and sound like them."

Perhaps you do, but I don't. I don't fit your anti-ethnic definition of "they" at all. I suspect that applies to you based on other willfully-ignorant bigoted and prejudiced statements you've made on this site, and you can only speak for smug and arrogant self. Again and as usual, you're talking out of your ass. Don't you ever tire of that? It sounds like you spend way too much time obsessing about what SF'ers claim rather than yourself and trying to figure out what you think that's not wrapped in your hate, anti-ethnic thinking and your prejudice and bigotry while pretending to "affluent." Ugh. "They" can claim what they want and you can claim what you want. That's the way that works.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

a misplaced troll barrier

please disregard

it was likely misplaced here by one
of the resident trolls

Posted by a misplaced troll barrier on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:05 am

You're going to sit here and honestly think people don't prefer living around their own RACE? Spare me the politically correct " we are one race" talk as well.S.F residents aren't nearly as tolerable as they'd love to present themselves to the rest of the country. They're just forced to co exist more with people outside their own race by living and working in such a compact area.

Posted by The Voice on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:04 am

Hilarious. Wow.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:28 am

"S.F residents aren't nearly as tolerable as they'd love to present themselves to the rest of the country."

Oh please, you're not going to sit here and honestly think people are going to blindly and naively believe such a glaring generalization that you make about "SF residents." Spare me such ignorant nonsense. A more accurate statement would be "SOME SF residents..." Do you know the word, "some?" Or is the word "some" too politically correct for you?

But how would you know about "SF residents" when you don't live here? In another comment elsewhere in this thread as "The Voice" you wrote: "I'll stay....in San Diego..." You clearly imply you live there. So why do you care what's going on up here? Maybe you need a hobby. I don't have any interest in what's going on in San Diego. You sort of remind me of that top-poster hateful troll who resides on this site but who lives in Los Ángeles, yet pretends to live in the Castro district of San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:54 am

And I don't live in San Diego or even like it there.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 8:09 am

often the most bigoted of all, often against republicans, Christians, the wealthy, the succesful, big business and so on.

In fact the left is generally much less tolerant of diversity than the right.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:38 am

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