In what has to be the most literal analogy possible for gentrification in the Mission, a video from two weeks ago depicts a conflict over who has the right to play on the soccer field at Mission Playground (located off Valencia between 19th and 20th). In the video, a group of adults attempt to kick a bunch of young people playing a pick-up game off the field because said adults had previously paid for the time slot via “an experiment with new mobile app technology” (or something).
The following exchange seems to sum up the disagreement best:
Guy Already Playing on Field: You don’t understand— this field has never been booked. How long have you been in the neighborhood?
Bro: Over a year!
GAPOF: Oh, over a year?
Off Camera Guy in Dropbox Tee-Shirt: Who gives a shit? Who cares about the neighborhood?
Update: It has come to our attention that the field was not rented via the SF Pickup Soccer mobile app. Instead, the group of adults seem to have rented the field directly with the Rec & Park Department (and paid $27 to do so).
There has been quite a bit of debate as to whether the adults’ actions were justified because they legally rented the field. It’s clear the Rec & Park’s relatively recent policy of allowing Mission Playground to be rented out is deeply controversial, and might not have been made in the best interest of the community. Making public spaces quasi-private by charging usage fees is always going to restrict lower income resident’s access to parks—especially children’s. People should question the Parks Department judgment in making this policy.
But the policy is besides the point. Having the proper paperwork does not excuse shitty behavior. Once a group adults threatened to call the police on youths playing soccer, they’ve lost.