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

LOL. You don't think the Irish and Italians in the Mission were working-class?

Posted by LOL Barrier on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

entered a cycle of disinvestment, the complete opposite dynamic from today's changes.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

replace whites but it's not OK for whites to replace non-whites.

It's essentially a form of racism.

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

But an area that is 50% white and 50% hispanic is not diverse.

And the former is desirable while the latter is not. So Pacific Heights is "elitist" while BayView is a vibrant neighborhood for people of color".

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 10:35 am

Laughs,all this well intentioned advice about moving to Oakland that has one of the highest robberies statistics per cities in America, OH I forgot the murder rate also is one of the highest.too.
San Francisco is not changing it has change !! Look around at all the highrises going up, condos or apartments most of them, 20,000 are on line.
A couple of years back there were millions of square ft. of commercial space empty in San Francisco, today there is a major shortage of commercial space. Tech companies are willing to pay top dollar for their new locations.

Posted by David Sloane on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

That's all part of why we Americans like to have money. So we can live somewhere better, safer, nicer, with better schools and so on.

It's why we strive and work and study hard.

But you have answered the real question here. How do we make housing more affordable. Building 20,000 new units is a great start. If affluent folks buy those new units then they won't be doing Ellis/TIC/Condo evictions and conversions in the Mission. Everyone wins.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

Hilarious. Wow.

The new 18 unit "Luxury Designer Homes" condo dump near me that was built and opened awhile back is still empty, except for 3 units. The building is dark at night. No one home except for those 3 units where lights are on on the odd occasion. They got 3 pretentious suckers to buy one. And the retail space is still empty with "For Lease" signs. It's just sitting there and the retail space is so small I don't know what would possibly move in there. So the "affluent" as you call them (I call them what they are: pretentious, snooty, wealthy white trash) aren't pouring in here as it was thought they would...fortunately.

Bubble anyone?

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

The ones around me have sold almost immediately.

Where are the new condos located?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

Wow. Hilarious.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

Yes I'm sure they have to hear you tell it. Yeah rIght. And I would suspect you to tell me that condos that won't be built for another 10 years have already sold too and are all full with no vacancies.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

block then it seems very likely that you just made it up. Many blocks have been pre-sold before construction is complete. Demand for homes to buy is very high at the moment, with DOM low and multiple bids over asking the norm.

Otherwise the article would have no point!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:40 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

Rockridge is in the Oakland Hills and it has one of the highest rates of armed robbery in the Bay Area.

Same with Piedmont.

Compared to almost anywhere in Oakland crime is almost non-existent in the Mission.

Posted by pete moss on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 6:41 am

And Piedmont isn't in Oakland at all - it's a separate city.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:40 am

Most of that is incorrect but then corporate-owned trolls never allow facts to get in their way.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

credibility. A one-line "he's wrong" post just doesn't do it.

Posted by anon on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:37 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---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 @ 5:59 pm

Muchísimas gracias for the article.

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

¡Sí, claro!. But unfortunately I suspect many people are too busy with their texting addiction to get pissed.

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

getting angry and pissed, blaming others for their problems, instead of making an effort to improve their own situation through study, hard work and risk taking?

Don't get angry. Take personal responsibility for how your life goes.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

Adding to that.

Not just the texting addiction but also the partying addiction. It has to be about partying. I look at videos on YouTube and the ones about partying and being silly, immature, childish and stupid get thousands of views. If it's not about any of that, the video gets about 5-6 views. The maturity level of most people in the US especially is about that of a toddler. In the US, it has to be about partying (i.e. "how was the last party?" and "when is the next party?") and how wasted and drunk someone got (that's important? Yes, and they brag about it!...not realizing that any fool can drink alcohol!) and how they passed out at someone's place after the party and woke up with the perfunctory dick in their mouth. It has to be "silly, stupid and fun" and almost brain-dead for there to be any interest in it in the US.

Sad but true (for many people).

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

how other people spend their time. Why care? They can do what they want and you can do what you want. That's what America is all about. That and succeeding.

Posted by anon on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 5:36 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 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 @ 5:57 pm

Let's suppose that tech workers and their employers don't actually WANT to destroy the character of San Francisco, make rents high for everyone, gut the city of its middle class, artists, immigrants, etc. But, they also want to live here. If you had the thought that tech workers are people, who like anyone else, want to do good and be liked by their neighbors, what would you ask them to do? How would you want them to give back to San Francisco? Some of my ideas: Sponsor low-rent housing for homeless people (homelessness is up 20% since 2011) and low-rent housing for artists who can demonstrate a commitment to their art, give generously to community art and social justice organizations, voice public support for strong tenants rights legislation and state their opposition to the eviction rate (which is at a 12 year high), limit the number of buses used to bus employees to Silicon Valley, reward employees who live within 20 miles of their home office, pay their city taxes (I'm looking at you AirBnB and Lyft)...other ideas???

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

Thanks for your comment. Want to help me organize a community forum to get tenant activists and residents facing displacement into the room with tech people to discuss some of these ideas?

Posted by rebecca on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

is how to fiund them. The voters probably all want "something to be done" but they do not necessarily want to pay higher taxes to do achieve that.

That's why we have a strict rent control, because it doesn't cost most voters anything (it just costs a few voters a lot). But building subsidized homes is very expensive, which is why SF doesn't do much of it, and new developments pay for much of that.

The problem is never the idea but how to pay for it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:47 am

Here is a radical idea, people pay for their own housing….NO ONE OWES YOU A HOUSE!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 2:59 am

that you cannot afford. Nobody pays for me to live in Aspen so why should we pay someone to live in SF when they can afford Oakland on their own?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 5:16 am

Regarding your ideas: I would wonder how many of the tech people would even know what you're talking about because they isolate, insulate and separate themselves entirely from the real world whenever possible it seems, even to the point of having their groceries delivered to them. I can picture some of them reading what you wrote and asking: "Where is all this happening? I haven't seen any of it. Homeless? Where are there homeless people? Evictions? Where are they happening?"

The myopic way most of the tech people seem to approach life and San Francisco, most of them could live anywhere in this country and wouldn't know the difference other than the area code being 415. I have read on tech publications that the tech people in general are apolitical.

This is from an article I was reading earlier tonight:

"Facebook’s buildings, in Menlo Park, between 101 and the salt marshes along the Bay, surround a simulated town square whose concrete surface is decorated with the word “HACK,” in letters so large that they can be seen from the air. At Facebook, employees can eat sushi or burritos, lift weights, get a haircut, have their clothes dry-cleaned, and see a dentist, all without leaving work. Apple, meanwhile, plans to spend nearly five billion dollars to build a giant, impenetrable ringed headquarters in the middle of a park that is technically part of Cupertino. These inward-looking places keep tech workers from having even accidental contact with the surrounding community."

Please read that last sentence again. That's why I don't think they (or most of them) would have any interest in your suggestions, unfortunately, or have any idea of what you're even talking about. Most of them live in another world.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 2:31 am

the plight of the under-housed, then your efforts are doomed to fail.

The recent SFBG town meeting discussed how SFBG needs to "reach out" to tech people. Evidently many here do not want to do that because they would rather blame tech people for everything that is wrong with their life.

There will always be people here with whom you have nothing in common. It's called diversity and SF values tell you not only to tolerate that, but to cherish it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:43 am

cause people to be "underhoused." Are you scared to write homeless?

You real estate boosters try to deflect the topic to a personality struggle between long time residents and tech newcomers to put on the defensive lower income residents who are trying to stay in their homes.

No doubt, some or many of the techies exhibit selfish anti-social behaviors and a disregard for the historical cultures of the Mission. But that is a side issue from the main economic one--they make a lot more money than most existing residents and that disparity is driving up rents.

We can hang out together and even hug each other, but it won't have any impact on the current hyperinflation of the housing market. That will have to wait for the next economic bust, which is inevitable but the timing difficult to predict.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:58 am

I cannot afford to live in Aspen or La Jolla. So I have a choice. Do I demand that Aspen and La Jolla build lots of subsidized homes so that I can live in a place I obviously cannot afford? Or do I take responsibility for myself and move somewhere I can afford.

Oakland has near unlimited space, much cheaper homes and is closer to SF downtown than most of SF. Problem solves, with no need to blame others based on their choice of career.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 8:07 am

with your facile Aspen and La Jolla analogy. Those places were always expensive. The traditionally working class districts of San Francisco are transforming.

Big difference. Problem understanding?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 8:31 am

The first people to buy land there bought it very cheap, before they became world-class ski resorts or beach resorts.

But San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara are also very expensive, as is Beverly Hills etc.

The point remains - not everyone can afford to live in the most desirable places.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 8:44 am

Please, no place was always expensive! things change. tTme does not stand still for anyone , even people as SPECIAL as you...

Posted by Guest on Sep. 27, 2013 @ 3:03 am

I do not believe that is the case.

Also, you need to differentiate between no-fault evictions initiated by the landlord (OMI, Ellis etc.) with at-fault evictions such as non-payment of rent and illegal subletting. The latter really aren't indicative of gentrification at all.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:49 am

I can see the little tech troll trying to impose his "superior" way of thought by saying things like" just embrace the chance" yet saying the ghetto taco shops should go. That's fine, also, people would be willing to commute to S.F of they lived outside the city, to be your waiters, baristas, toilet cleaners, etc, but they can also set up shop elsewhere in a decent economy around the bay and leave you nerds to fend for yourselves. Frankly, the thought of raising kids in S.F, maybe even the bay, makes me throw up a little. Why raise my kids around a weak, robotic, autistic, way of life? I'll stay and set up shop in San Diego, where it still means something to work hard, and make good money, yet give back to the community around you, and embrace it. You Midwest "special kids" who moved out to the Bay Area thinking your zany way of thought and lifestyle would be accepted, can continue to pollute the city. In the mean time, I'll continue to visit my city and observe you autist nerds make complete fools of yourselves, acting like the children you are.

Posted by The Voice on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

You just need to tailor your products and services to the people who have the money to spend. If you can make a living selling cheap Mexican food, like the Tamale Lady, then good luck to you. If it's selling $20 gourmet burrito's, that's good too.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:44 am

(aside from crime, expense and the usual reasons cited in any city) is the SF school district which doesn't allow parents to choose their own school near their home, and busses kids across town for ideological reasons.

That means that when people have kids they either have to pay the huge expense of private school, or move out. That's displacement as well but you never hear SFBG whine about it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 7:51 am

The more I read about the changes in the Mission, the more it reminds me of the changes in the Castro in the '70s. The Mission has become popular with a demographic - young tech workers seeking cheap housing. There's a kind of "network effect" going on - as more and more techies move to the Mission, it makes the Mission more attractive to them. So more move in - to be near other techies. This upsets the people who were living there before (Mexican American families).

Sounds a lot like the '70s in the Castro. Gays begin to move into a neighborhood in the early 70s for the first time, finding cheap housing. The trend begins to feed on itself, as gays move to the Castro because it's become the center of the gay community. This upsets the people who were there before (Irish Catholic families).

I'm sure someone will flame me, saying that everything is different between these two examples, but I'm struck by the similarities.

Posted by Mickey on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

Whether SFBG approves of displacement crucially depends on which demographic they favor.

So if gays replace more conservative working-class types then that is OK, even though the Castro is the whitest neighborhood in SF - something they would normally ridicule.

If Hispanics crowd out the Italians and the Irish, that's cool too. As is blacks making a ghetto out of a formerly upscale area.

But if white professionals displace "people of color" (pick your own PC cliche) then that's an outrage, an injustice, a form of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and of course their favorite word - gentrification.

Change is good or bad, opportunistically.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 25, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

It was not like the Castro was the last affordable proximate neighborhood in San Francisco and the gays were displacing people who had nowhere to go but outside of the City or region. There were no Ellis Act evictions of Irish Catholic families in the Castro and Eureka Valley. Your analogy is not appropriate to what is happening in the Mission today.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 5:09 am

both the Castro (by affluent white gays moving in) and the Mission (by less affluent hispanics). Once the interlopers achieve a critical mass, the rest of the original occupants give up and leave.

You want to draw a distinction between the two because it suits your ideology but there is no rational basis either way.

SF neighborhoods have always changed their mix and they always will. Trying to fit a right-wing conspiracy theory onto that is never going to appear credible.

Oh, and anyone displaced has plenty of other places to go because most other places are cheaper. Hispanics can move to Oakland, Daly City, Bayview, Richmond or further away. And probably should if it fits their budget better.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 6:12 am

Moving away to avoid newcomers based on irrational fears such as homophobia and racism is not displacement.

Being forced out due to rising rents is displacement.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 7:41 am

always feel uncomfortable when a new majority arrive, whether the difference be race, sexual orientation or economic class.

If you're going to define "displacement" as someone moving because they prefer to pay less in rent, then almost everyone who moves is "displaced" because we all move for economic reasons.

Better to use the term "replacement" unless you're talking about moves due to eminent domain, for which the city pays relo expenses anyway.

Demographics change over time - there's no conspiracy.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 7:50 am

"and the gays were displacing people who had nowhere to go but outside of the City or region."

Hispanics have nowhere else to move in the Bay Area?

Been to Redwood City lately?

Posted by LOL Barrier on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 6:25 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 7:42 am

places in the East Bay. The point remains - there are affordable options for anyone who finds that their fiscal power doesn't match their ambient surroundings.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 7:51 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 8:34 am

that there are much cheaper places in the Bay Area than SF, so nobody really needs to feel "displaced" at all. Moving ten miles isn't being "displaced".

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 9:15 am

Weird that Redwood City is so unaffordable when it is more than half Latino.

Posted by LOL Barrier on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 8:13 am

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