Mission District

Retail Therapy

Betabrand Hires Doctors, Postgrads to Model Spring Line

Last time Betabrand made headlines it was for selling sweatpants cut like dress slacks (with or without pinstripes), because if you haven’t figured it out already, we’re witnessing the decline of Western civilization. But rather than cater to lazy men this time, the San Francisco-based clothier selected Ph.D.s and doctoral candidates to model its new spring line of women’s fashions.  Hopefully this can become a new line of work for postgraduates, who are facing declining job prospects even as they face mounting school loan debt, and some of those jobs - like adjunct professorships - are pretty terrible!  So go buy some clothes for the hungry, hard-working academic in your life.

Other local entrepreneurs that are making the news include beloved local chain Philz Coffee, which will be opening its first outpost outside of the Bay Area in sunny Santa Monica. The Atlantic sat down with artist Wendy McNaughton to talk about the changing city as she promotes her new book, “Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words.” And because an incredibly long line means it must be worth it, pop up Eastside Bagels will be back at Dear Mom with exactly 180 bagels from New York’s Russ & Daughters. Hopefully it won’t rain.

[h/t Leah Reich]

Turf Battles

"The Quad," For Bros Who've Graduated from Frat Mason

Bordering the Castro, Noe Valley, the Inner Mission and even Mid-Market, realtor Jennifer Rosdail has defined a hot new neighborhood — The Quad! What makes The Quad unique?  Housing costs are rising there even faster than the aforementioned Noe Valley and Inner Mission! How do you know if you’re cut out to be a “Quadster?”

Quadsters are young – under 40 anyway.  They like to hang in the sun with their friends.  They work very hard  - mostly in high tech – and make a lot of money.  They value time greatly and want to be in a place where they can get to work quickly, meet up with their friends easily, and walk or bike instead of sitting in traffic.  They take the Google Bus, the Apple Bus, or another of the reputedly less well equip shuttles like the eBay Bus.  They also like to eat really good food, but don’t often have time to cook it.  And since they work on “campuses,” and are the millennial version of the Cow Hollow “Triangle” dwellers of the 70s and 80s, the name “The Quad” seems a good fit.

So basically The Quad is Frat Mason for Ivy Leaguers? Would explain the upturned nose directed at eBay employees. Also, did anyone ask the Sureños if they were cool with this? “A bit of an edge does not detract too much – it may in fact be desirable,” writes Rosdail. After all, from your $6,000 two bedroom, two bath apartment over the new Whole Foods at Market and Dolores it’s only a few blocks to 16th and Mission to cop some black tar (while you still can), currently running around $80 a gram. Qué sabroso!

For more on The Quad, Rosdail prepared presentation slides complete with recent sales figures.

Everybody Take a Deep Breath

Elbo Room Landlord Assures Venue's Lease on Life

According to Susan Ring, co-owner of the building that houses Elbo Room with husband Dennis Ring, plans to redevelop the site into condos are just that—plans. “If we do anything, it’s not going to be for years,” she assured Uptown Almanac when reached by phone.

That echoes further assurances of the venue’s continued tenure by Matt Shapiro, booking agent and co-owner of the club with Erik Cantu. After contacting the club last week, Shapiro wrote in an email this morning that “Our lease is long and will be honored.”

Ring, who seemed entirely sincere, offered that “we had to submit something to the city” because “they won’t even have a discussion with you without submitting plans.”

“That’s all we’ve done. We haven’t made any decisions,” she added.  So relax, Afrolicious will still be holding their Thursday services through 2014 at the very least.

The proposal was submitted for assesment in September of 2013, and the Planning Department response gave the owners until May of 2015 to complete the work necessary for consideration, which includes required meetings with neighborhood stakeholders. News of the plans were first reported by SocketSite at the end of January, which later suggested that the expense of the plans, including drawings by Kerwin Morris Architects and the $5,000 application fee, were signs that the project would continue moving forward. However, Ring shrugged that off, saying “it costs a lot of money, but that’s how it goes.”

[Photo: Tim Lucas]

Smashy-smashy

Bricks and Invective Hurled at Vanguard Properties, Windows Broken

This morning, contractors were busy repairing two windows broken some time after close of business last week at the Mission Street headquarters of realtor and property manager Vanguard Properties.  A person in Vanguard’s office told us two halves of a brick were found inside, but no other information was left to suggest who threw the brick or why.

A message signed “Venceremos” was posted to Indybay the following morning taking credit, citing the new condos 3133 24th Street put up for sale last year and the trade of foreclosed homes in Oakland (like a home at 2678 75th Street that’s listed on the realtor’s website) as reasons for targeting Vanguard:

Last night, on February 28th, the windows of Vanguard Properties in the Mission District were smashed out. Vanguard thought it was pretty funny to build some luxury condos on 24th, but we thought it was more funny for their property to get smashed. Vanguard thought it was pretty funny to buy foreclosed houses in Oakland and flip them at a profit. We think its more funny to bring the fight to the developers themselves. Greetings to everyone fighting the good fight. 

LA LUCHA SIGUE / Brigada Anti-Gentrification

As you can see from photos of the scene, security cameras may have captured footage of the incident. We’ve left voicemail for Vanguard founder James Nunemacher and a comment for the Indybay thread seeking further information, but have yet to hear back.

Update: Reached by phone, a terse Nunemacher directed further inquiries about details of the incident to the SFPD, saying that “we gave them everything they need to investigate.” He continued, “It’s a shame that people resort to vandalism…I mean, it’s kinda random. You throw bricks through someone’s windows because they build condos? Honestly, I feel sorry for these people.”

The Wrecking Ball Tolls for Thee

Plans to Demolish Elbo Room Proceed Apace

It looks like plans to replace Elbo Room with condos are moving along after all, if slowly, according to SocketSite:

While it has yet to be assigned within the Planning Department, the application for Environmental Evaluation has been submitted for the development, a geotechnical report has been completed for the site, and a Historic Resource Evaluation form has been signed with planning for a full Historic Resource Evaluation Report underway.

We’ve reached out to the Elbo Room via Facebook, where a response to earlier reports assured patrons that the live music venue will be around for a while.  It’s true that it could take years before any bulldozers decend on the site even if it sails through planning.

And it just might, as the proposed development looks a lot like the plans for 1050 Valencia—five stories with ground-floor retail—which is going to move forward at the originally proposed height after an effort to downsize it by neighbors afraid of losing their taxpayer-subsidized street parking was overturned by the San Francisco Board of Appeals.

So you might start looking for public comment opportunities available during the permitting and approval process so you can voice your vocal opposition (or support, if that’s your thing).

[Photo: total13]

The Glasstudent Becomes The Glassmaster

How to Know When You Can Call the Cops on a Glasshole

Michele Bachmann: Glasshole

Google Glass is ugly, expensive and, at best, semi-useful, but it’s also new, rare and exclusive, which makes it catnip to the inordinately entitled. Unfortunately, saying “no” to the inordinately entitled triggers their equally over-developed persecution complex. So after yet another Glasshole was kicked out of a local business because it made the otherwise warm, friendly folks at Grand Coffee uncomfortable, he suggested that Google start running television commercials to show how awesome Glass is so he won’t have to face “fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

Yes, Google customer Steven Mautone is asking the company to mount a major media campaign to educate the proles so that a handful of wealthy people with terrible taste won’t occasionally be excluded from social settings. Instead, what Google has done is create an etiquette guide which “Explorers” like Mautone may have read but which he seems to have trouble understanding.

For example? One of the tips is “respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy.” Mautone originally wrote on his blog, Living Thru Glass, that “the first thing I asked [Grand Coffee’s] manager was: ‘Have you ever worn Glass? Do you know what it’s all about?’” But later, in a Google+ thread (naturally), he admitted to fellow Glassholes that “I honestly didn’t know what to say at first. My response was ‘are you serious?’” Certainly not the first time that a Glasshole has desperately tried to make themselves seem more sympathetic.

What Google’s guide doesn’t do is clarify anyone’s rights under the law. For instance, while it’s true that you are allowed to take photographs of anything that’s in plain view from a public space, including people, “When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which continues, “If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).”

So the fine folks at Grand Coffee are completely within their rights to refuse service to Glassholes, and to call the cops if the Glasshole throws a temper tantrum.

Google also helpfully suggests that Explorers “ask for permission” before “standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass.” The fact Google has to write that down for users a year after the product was released says more about what Glassholes must be like as a class more succinctly than I ever could.

What the company doesn’t mention is that in California, standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass could land you in jail. As the Digital Media Law Project explains, “California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation.” They continue:

If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you’re recording may or may not have “an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation,” and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances. Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.

Over at Slow News Day, Beth Spotswood asks “is there a line when it’s cool and when it’s not?” Well, recording people at a business with a stated policy banning photography, such as at the Zeitgeist, could provide such “an objectively reasonable expectation” that they won’t be subject to electronic eavesdropping. Or maybe not! So no, there is no bright line as my lawyer friend would say. It’s decided on a case-by-case basis, so pushing the issue could take you from creepy to court proceedings faster than you can say “Glass, search for criminal defense attorneys.”

In the aforementioned Google+ thread, Mautone’s fellow Glasshole Stephen Cerutti has already suggested that someone create an app to track businesses that don’t allow patrons wearing devices on their face capable of secretly recording employees and customers. And by “someone,” I have to presume he means “someone else,” because did I mention inordinately entitled?

ML Joins UA in the No Money Club

UC Berkeley Cuts Off Support for Mission Local

Since Mission Local launched five years ago, it’s been chiefly funded by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and served as platform for students to hone their reporting chops.  But that’s no more.

In a memo sent out by Edward Wasserman, Dean of the Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, (and published on Mission Local), he announced that the department would be pulling funding, faculty support and student participation from the site.  Excerpted below:

The Mission Local hyperlocal site has been a vibrant and valuable part of the School of Journalism since it was created five years ago. It has developed well beyond its initial scope as an incubator for J200 students, and under [Prof. and Mission Local Editor Lydia Chavez]’s imaginative, impeccably professional and tireless leadership has become the premier place for the community it serves to learn about itself and talk about its future.

It’s now time for Mission Local to take the next step and re-launch itself as an independent, stand-alone media operation. That means ending its role in the J-School’s curriculum. While Prof Chavez would have liked to see the school keep the site, she is ready to assume responsibility for the site, and we expect that it will continue under her ownership.

To paraphrase: “She wanted us to keep the site, and we were like, nah.”  Ouch.

My reasons for spinning off ML are several.

First, it’s an expensive undertaking, which obliges us to operate a remote site on a year-round basis, even when the curricular value to our students is limited or even, at times, non-existent (as when we pay non-students to keep the site from going dark.)

This alone will provide a challenge for the site.  While it’s unknown how much UC Berkeley was spending on the site, Mission Local has disclosed in fundraising pitches that site extras, including “money for rent, a translator [for the Spanish edition], extra reporters over the summer and holiday breaks, and the print edition,” cost the site between $50,000 and $75,000 annually.  Removing the steady stream of low-wage student contributions while school is in session will prove costly (unless Mission Local decides to go down the shady unpaid intern route), and likely means the site will have to cut back features and coverage.

Third, the natural evolution of the site itself is toward being an integrated media operation, and that requires sustained attention to marketing, audience-building, ad sales, miscellaneous revenue-generation, community outreach, special events, partnerships, and 1,001 other publishing activities that are essential to any site’s commercial success.

That’s not really what we do. Those are specialized areas, and the J-School doesn’t have the instructional capacity to teach them to a Berkeley standard of excellence. What’s more, our students wouldn’t have the curricular bandwidth to learn them—not unless we pared back other areas, and redefined our core mission as something other than journalism education.

It’s worth noting that UC Berkeley is continuing their support of Oakland North and Richmond Confidential, the school’s other two ‘news lab’ websites.  All this suggests that Mission Local has grown too big for its own good, with stunts like a misguided Tech Shuttle bedazzling contest and paying to win a Webby Award throughout the years.  It departed from its original mission of providing a platform for meandering, over-reported stories on neighborhood minutae, and now its parents are kicking them out of the house.

Taking 'Shot and a Beer' to a Whole New Level

Pop's Bar Used to Have a Gun Range

This month’s episode of Dirty Old Bar took a look at Pop’s, the 24th Street stalwart that was recently purchased by the owner of Madrone. And oh the things we learned.

“This bar has been around since God was a baby,” patron “John” told the folks behind DOB. “I’m talking the ’80s and ’90s.”

Sarcasm aside, he went on to detail how Pop’s used to be a Folsom Prison bar where cops and ex-cons used to hang out—and how they setup bales of hay in the back to practice their shot.

Give the whole episode a watch: it’s a great look back at one of the neighborhood’s most choice holes before renovations hit.

At Least Lust Wasn't Dragged Into It

Greed Takes On Sloth

I was walking down Valencia the other morning, wondering why no one has called for a ban on Planned Parenthood and ACLU and Greenpeace from shaking down people for money on the street, when I happened to notice this sad (and slightly dated) sign pinned up to the doorway of McSweeney’s Slothshop.  Allegedly a thief pried open the door and raided the pop-up of sloth shirts and children’s books.  Is there even a market for those?  Guess so…

Something Kewl 4 Nest

Google Is Not Moving to the Mission (Not That It Matters)

The internet has been ablaze with grievances over the news that Google is opening a 200-person office at 16th and Harrison (or, as one tipster pointed out, “look on the bright side, they’ll be right next to Dear Mom”).  The new building was reportedly purchased as “something cool” for Google’s new acquisitions, prompting SFist to declare “The Mission is over.”

But fortunately for the Mission’s alt relevance, SocketSite has confirmed that “Google has not signed a lease nor purchased the building.”

In fact, the building at 298 Alabama is currently undergoing renovations with plans to subdivide the space for multiple tenants. And while numerous parties have expressed interest, not a single lease has been signed nor negotiated, not by Google nor by any of their acquisitions.

However, does any of this really matter? While having The Face of Everything Wrong With Silicon Valley out of the neighborhood ostensibly seems like a good thing, it doesn’t change the fact tech firms are creeping beyond SOMA.  HTC was found to be expanding onto York St. two weeks ago, a sales CRM startup moved into the space that Million Fishes Arts Collective was evicted from last fall, and well-funded startups move into warehouse spaces all the time.

If people are concerned about the corporate homogenization of the Mission, they have to realize Google is just riding a trend.

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