A resentment festival sponsored by the Plaza 16 Coalition was conducted last Saturday at the corner of Mission and 16th Street. Free food was provided and speeches were delivered for approximately one hour in the glorious February sunshine. There was a decent turn out.
What was the occasion?
Good question.There is a development in the planning stages proposed for the corner diagonal to where the rally was held. If this plan goes forward, the plot of land housing Walgreens, Burger King and a number of other businesses will be completely transformed. The proposal offered by Maximus Real Estate Partners includes the building of two 10-story towers at 1979 Mission Street that will house 351 market rate apartments.
Depending on your source, market rate apartments in San Francisco can range from $3k - $5k per month. At this time there is no mention on-site affordable housing included.
Most of the people in attendance on Saturday were neighborhood activists and concerned community members that couldn’t possibly afford to live in the proposed twin towers. Every speech given was spoken in English and Spanish. The event couldn’t have been more of a grassroots effort. The crowd senses the development will completely change the character of the neighborhood.
So why weren’t there more action items on the agenda?
The speeches given were fierce and heartfelt and inspiring, but don’t we already know what is happening all around us? Sure, it’s been a few months since there were boisterous gatherings in the Mission surrounding the Jack Spade push back and the subsequent march down 24th Street. Maybe we needed a moment in the new year to remind us all of where we left off and introduce the latest egregious encroachment upon the not-quite-middle-class citizens of Mission District.
If that’s the case, mission accomplished! But I have the feeling that many of us continue to pay close attention even if we haven’t had a moment to gather and chant a response to the question “Whose city?” in the past two months.
People need to know what they can do now, next week, or next month about the changes happening around them. Those opportunities (if any) comprised a fraction of the time spent reigniting the resentments.
There was a passing mention of the San Francisco Citywide Tenant Convention scheduled for noon on Saturday, February 8 at the Tenderloin Elementary School at Turk and Van Ness. Although that doesn’t directly address the gentrification of the Mission District, it does serve to build coalitions and affordable housing is very much part of the agenda at the convention.
What are the next steps in the approval process of the Maximus Partners proposal? What is the time frame? Where can we get more information? How can we be connected to the Plaza 16 Coalition to be kept abreast? Are there any scheduled hearings at City Hall?
There was great awareness and sympathy expressed for the struggles of working class neighbors. Maybe there should also be awareness of the difficulty some working class families might have in remaining informed and connected to movements that are the ONLY opportunity to have a say in how our neighborhoods are being stolen. Give us something to walk away with next time, please. We all need to know there is something we can do besides squint into the sun and shout out “OUR CITY” while it’s being taken away from us.