Ahead of this evening's Board of Appeals meeting to re-hear Jack Spade's building permit application that is currently suspended (more on that meeting below), a team of Jack Spade representatives have been going door-to-door, allegedly pressuring businesses to sign the above petition supporting the business.
The petition claims Jack Spade will do a lot of incredible things--reduce homelessness, vandalism, and violence; they even imply the store's opening could help drop the notoriously high murder rate along 16th. However, the petition casts Jack Spade's hopeful location as a long-blighted empty storefront, neglecting to mention that Jack Spade had a 25-year-old vibrant community bookstore evicted to obtain the space.
One 16th Street businessman, who was visited by a salaried Mission District Jack Spade store manager and Mission Merchant's Association President Phil Lesser, who is also a paid consultant of Jack Spade, said when he refused to sign the petition, Lesser became "agitated" and demanded the business at least remain neutral.
Another business that is actively campaigning to stop Jack Spade had a much more jarring interaction:
I got a visit from Dan Lakhman [Director of Marketing and Creative for Jack Spade]. He along with the [Jack Spade's store manager] and [Phil Lesser], and said "you can do this the easy way or the hard way."
Phil explained that he will turn out support for Jack Spade in droves at the hearing and that he's never lost a case. He then went on to list them, counting on his fingers.Dan went on to explain that they were going to pursue this, that they would win, and how the community felt about them was not a consideration.
Dan actually called Jack Spade a "small business." Ugh. It was maddening.
(Jack Spade still refuses to talk to Uptown Almanac, so we couldn't get their side of this.)
These sort of tactics cast the results of Mission Local's survey of 16th Street business's opinions on the matters in a telling light. With so many businesses refusing to state their opinion, perhaps Jack Spade's goon squad is having an impact?
If you are interested in going to tonight's Board of Appeals meeting, it begins at 5pm in Room 416 in City Hall. Kyle Smeallie, one of the organizers of the campaign to stop Jack Spade, had this to say of the importance of tonight's hearing:
The hearing is important because Jack Spade has done everything in its power to avoid it. Simply put, Jack Spade doesn't want to hear from the community. By misrepresenting its corporate structure, Jack Spade convinced the City last year to not consider it formula retail, denying the public the right, granted by City regulations, to have a say in the approval process. The VCMA believes this was an error, and they're concerned about the precedent it will set: If Jack Spade is allowed to sidestep the rules, other chain stores will follow suit, gaming the system to effectively eliminate the public approval process. That's why the VCMA, in its appeal, is supported by organizations like Causa Justa :: Just Cause, PODER, and La Raza Community Resource Center, as well as Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos. They're less concerned about the business implications, but they all recognize the importance of making sure the surrounding community is heard when big business wants in. For those who agree, speaking out at the hearing on Wednesday is essential to making sure the appeal moves forward.
Previously on Uptown Almanac
"Ollie," the local hero who takes to Craigslist to shame breastfeeding Google Glass owners about doing "bad, dumb things," opened up to SFist in a wide-ranging interview about his thoughts on SF, tech gentrification, the San Bruno Mountains, and, of course, Google Glass:
SFist: Why have you taken to Craigslist to voice your displeasure about all this? What does that platform afford you? It's a pretty old-school approach.
Ollie: I don’t know if I’ve ever thought about any of that. It's a place you can write things. It is a medium designed for anonymity, public access, and hyper-temporality. It is low-commitment, non-self-aggrandizing, and lends itself well to writing shit while throwed. All of these things are good.
SFist: What do you think of the current tech/gentrification conversation that's going on in S.F. right now? Where are we headed with that?
Ollie: At Valencia and 15th there's a complex opening up that costs $2000/head. Two fucking thousand dollars a head. Kitty-corner away at Mission and 16th you've got the city capitol for stabcrimes. The rate of violent crime in the Mission has only increased over the past six years—I think that's how long SFPD has put crime reports online—and that's when rents have really started to take off.
I don't have an answer. I'm a smart person, kind of, but I understand I lack the context and foresight to offer an answer of any actionable value. In a certain meaning of the word, though, I am content to say "here is a tower where wealthy-ass boring motherfuckers eat $50 pizzas and here is a corner where folks get stabbed, and this optical contrast is fucked up." We should feel bad about this. There's a certain virulent strain of Aspiring Rich Person who treats this process as acceptable, or as some kind of necessary tradeoff for "development"—which has taken on a role in the vernacular as a widely misused bullshit-word for when you need to run coverage on some real heinous shit—and that's some borderline sociopathy.
SFist: What do you love and hate about this city?
Ollie: I love the important things. Dore Alley was a couple weeks ago. I was biking through the Mission and I saw a guy walking his kid on a leash. The guy's shirt said "WHORE FUCKER." Three blocks away I threw a thumbs-up at a guy casually stroking off in a crosswalk.
Previously on Uptown Almanac
Excuse the grainy picture, but right there is a Mini Cooper parked outside of Good Vibes Dong Shop, slathered in stickers reading "No Baby On Board" and propping an app that is effectively Task Rabbit for people you entrust not to throw your crying monster down the stairs.
Not sure if this is targeted advertising or pure coincidence, but I love it either way.
(Side note: has anyone else been noticing the drastic uptick in startups parking billboards in the Mission's bike racks, parking spots, and in front of fire hydrants? I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before the city looks to ban those too.)
Because Outside Lands is our favorite "meh, I'm not really feeling the line-up this year" festival, we're saving ourselves the money and instead partying all Saturday afternoon at Free Gold Watch--our favorite place not in the Mission.
We know there's a lot going on in the flier, so here are the details:
- Custom tees printed by Free Gold Watch & PBR
- Giveaways and beers provided by Pabst Blue Ribbon (while supplies last, of course)
- Hella eats courtesy of Wing Wings
- Full contact Pinball Tournament hosted by Uptown Almanac
- Music by DJ Design and Iron Mike
This will be epic. Why? Well, since we first wrote about Free Gold Watch a little over a month ago, they've installed another 10 pinball and arcade games, making FGW even better than it already was. Also, did we mention there will be free beer and food and DJs? Yes, there will be a lot of that going around.
So swing by on your way to the festival, or scalp your ticket and stay all day. Things kick-off at noon and go until 5pm, with the Uptown Almanac pinball tournament starting at 1:30. See you there!
Previously on Uptown Almanac
Look, we get it: trashing Google Glass is played out. Ever since a glass-eyed Joe Shuttlebus strolled into Shotwell's, San Francisco came together and decided that emaciated nerds who motion like Cyclops to read text messages are the epitome of Valley hubris. We had our laughs, scoffed at the price point, quickly conceded we'd like to try them on someday, and started to move on.
Then someone had to do this:
Yeeeee-ikes. Someone would eat at West of Pecos and still feel responsible breastfeeding their baby while that sludge is passing through their body?
Previously on Uptown Almanac
A friend noticed a bunch of these flyers hung up around the Financial District this week.
So calling on all of my professional experience as a member of the Cyber Police, I successfully backtraced it to one Steve Dukes (via Googling the phone number.) Steve's list off accomplishments don't end with local legends Third Eye Blind. On one of his many personal websites, Steve first and foremost wants to make it absolutely clear that he "was John Cage's last student." The brilliance continues over at SteveDukes.us, which boasts that he's "THE BEST GUITAR TEACHER, OR YOUR MONEY BACK", and has a fantastic list of super official out-of-context endorsements and quotes, such as gems like:
- “I like your rhythm.” Frank Zappa.
- “You are THE MAN.” Barry Zito, Oakland A’s starting pitcher and Cy Young award winner.
- “Nice... nice.” Jazz virtuoso Joe Pass regarding Steve’s playing, after performing with Steve live at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco.