|MISSION LONG -TERM PLANNING|
Sonia Melara, Executive Director of Arriba Juntos, called for new leaders to speak for the Latin Community at SBC meeting held to air grievances by small business just prior to the Mission Long Range Plan going to the Planning Commission for initial approval in January. Sonia also recently emerged as a key figure in moving the long stalled Mission Community College Campus forward as she hosted the meeting on December 18th where Carlotta del Portillo and Chancellor Phillip Day (ccsf.edu/ ) announced plans to lobby the SFUSD (sfusd.edu ) board to sell the existing site to and expand the campus on this much larger site.
Also in December MAC (Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition) which below is identified as primarily Mission Housing and MEDA (Mission Economic Development Association) met with Supervisors Chris Daly (District 6) and Tom Ammiano (9) to shore up support as the Mission plan moves to scrutiny by City-wide bodies. Tom Ammiano began his uphill race for mayor by taking bows for negotiating a landmark agreement between tenants and landlords regarding rent increases for landlord improvements.
Progressives, whose base is the Mission District and nearby neighborhoods were weighing their options as both former Supervisor Angela Alioto (progressive with heart angela4mayor.com ) and Treasurer Susan Leal ("the practical progressive") were not slow to point out weaknesses in Ammiano's candidacy. The two newest supervisors Bevan Duffy and Fiona Ma are both strong allies of Susan Leal. Much of Bevan's district considers itself a part of the Mission which Bevan spent many year's serving as Supervisor Leal's chief of staff.
|Follow this story at http://planning.missionmerchants.org/|
|Curtis Eisenberger (Founder
and chief organizer of the opposition. Mission Coalition for Jobs &
Justice) MEDA has redefined itself in terms of
discouraging business and actively rigging the planning process
Fred Snyder ( small business incubator as landlord to 40 business) Mission Housing and MEDA have said this is all about them getting the profit from any Mission development
Joe O’Donahue ( Residential Builders Association main builder of the popular new housing know as "indigenous warehouse style" or lofts) Mission Housing is opposed to home ownership opportunities and standing behind claims that the Mission belongs to poor Latin immigrants which is offensive to the American immigrant experience and long great history of the Mission District
Sonia Melara (Arriba Juntos ) Long-term families in the Mission want home ownership which they cannot now afford and this opportunity to provide it is being lost by an unnecessary fight brought about by politicians giving too much power to self proclaimed Latin representatives with narrow agendas. || TOP ||
|Adopted from the posted minutes of the Small Business Commission Hearing held on December 9, 2002 Full TEXT ci.sf.ca.us/sbc/|
|FOLLOWING THE BELOW
Commission President Steven Cornell: Has asked the Planning department to present some alternatives to their announced plans which address the below concerns at the January meeting of the SBC, scheduled for January 13, 2003, prior to the tentatively scheduled January 16, 2003 Planning Commission meeting at which they will vote on the preferred alternatives.
|Curtis Eisenberger: A member of
the public representing the Mission Coalition for Economic Justice and
Jobs. He stated that the Mission Coalition is an Ad hoc group composed
of residents, small business owners, artists, property owners and other
interested parties in the Mission. He commended the Planning
Department’s efforts at taking a comprehensive look at zooming issues in
the eastern part of San Francisco, however he stated that he is highly
critical of their process, stating that their outreach has been nothing
short of a disaster.
For instance, he stated that in the Mission District, which he
represents, there were very few people who knew about the first workshop.
He said he did not know anybody who knew about the first workshop
beforehand, be they residents, property owners or small business owners.
He stated that they heard about the second workshop a day before it took
place, adding that they heard about it only by a flyer posted on a
telephone pole. He stated that the only reason that there was small
business interest represented at the next two workshops was because they
sounded the alarms in the neighborhood for the hundreds of people that had
not heard about it. He stated that the Planning Departments process has
been flawed, stating that their data has also been flawed. Unfortunately
they were laxed and reluctant to release information and or to meet with
him and his group, in fact he stated that they never did get a meeting
with long range planning director Amit Gosh. For example, he said that
they received GIS data two months after requesting it, which is something
that should be available from the Freedom of Information/Public Record. He
said that this is the data on which their maps are based, stating that all
they asked for was an electronic download, adding that it took them two
months to give them the data, which they found a 70% error rate in.
Finally he stated that the analysis of the zoning ordinances and the
rezoning in the Mission calls for a rezoning of the Northeast Mission,
which is now an industrial area to something that is called PDR, which is
Production Distribution and Repair. He stated that this ignores everything
else, ignoring the possibility of high tech, ignores office, it ignores
8000 of the 19000 jobs in the Mission. He called this push planning,
stating that it would make 30% of the property in the Northeast Mission
nonconforming against the wishes of many small businesses, adding that the
Mission is also saddled with a set of interim controls which expire next
July, stating that somebody in this interim planning controls set up a
citizen review panel controlled by the Mission Economic Development
Association (MEDA), which is funded by the city. He stated that MEDA had
been discouraging small businesses not encouraging small businesses. He
stated that the Mission had been the subject of four workshops; Showplace
Square had been the subject of seven workshops, suggesting that the
process ought to be slowed down. He said that they need to slow the
process down, look at it much more closely, and that they are not ready to
go to Commission because they can not make the appropriate public comments
and have the appropriate people at the table in a forum like this were
everyone is limited to two minutes. || TOP
He stated that even MEDA does not disagree with them on this point, however he stated that MEDA does feel that such support is condescending and irrelevant to Mission residents, stating MEDA’s mission of expanding opportunities to low and moderate income residents, help low income residents own and operate businesses, help these residents gain managerial skills, raise economic and social levels of residents in the Mission.
He asked, what better way to support this mission than to
help those in the poorest of situations gain the self-esteem they need to
tackle jobs and move on. He stated that he finds MEDA’s position
condescending to the Hispanic population, adding that representatives of
MEDA have gone so far as stating, “we don’t rock climb”, the global
we being Hispanics. He talked about his experience, stating that in late
2000 they started plans to become a tenant of an abandoned theater on
Mission Street, further investing in the Mission community. He stated that
their plan was to put well over a million dollars into a fitness facility
that would cater to the Mission. He stated that the only active opposition
was MEDA, stating that supporters included local business owners and those
non-profits which they help etc. He stated that they naturally tried to
work with MEDA to alleviate their concerns. He stated that Touchstone was
very open to many ideas to support the community and stated that he
expressed this to MEDA in November 2000. He stated that MEDA let them know
immediately that their form of support was irrelevant and not appreciated.
In subsequent meetings, he stated that MEDA made it clear that the only
way to gain their support was for them to dictate their final product
pricing, adding that even his request for a system to provide reduced
rates was responded to with quotes such as “we won’t take your
welfare”. In his opinion, a group with MEDA’s mission will serve this
community well, however MEDA does not serve their mission thus doing a
disservice to Mission residents, especially the poor and disadvantaged. He
stated that perhaps most importantly for this Commission, he believes that
MEDA actively discourages new business development that it can’t
control, and that it does not understand business enough to engage in
constructive dialogue || TOP ||
She stated that they have been there for 30 years and she personally has been involved in the land use controversies and rezoning for the neighborhoods for the past 10-12 years, stating that she is really disturbed with the hostile posture that some organizations including Mission Housing and MEDA are taking. She stated that these are the organizations that they have been told they have to deal with in order to get their ideas through. For example she stated that project Arto was invited by MEDA to a forum were a representative of MEDA stated that they had already determined that art and entertainment venues were not rent sensitive and could afford to operate anywhere, and as such should be prohibited from the Northeast Mission Industrial zone. She said that this is serious, stating that their main theater went bankrupt this year, adding that if they become a non-conforming use she understands that new tenants would not be able to move into that space and continue operating as a theater. She stated that MEDA has flat out stated that they do not want the neighborhood to be destination neighborhood; they want it to be dead and cheap. She stated that they are doing everything they can to prevent businesses form locating here, adding that they should not be in anyway coordinating any of the rezoning stuff. She recommended for the Small Business Commission to help them prepare a task force to study some of the implications on the business, stating that the workshops are projected out to the public as if they are rezoning the whole Mission, but they are not, they are only rezoning the commercial areas, stating that the residential areas are not being discussed, yet hundreds of residents of Mission Housing’s projects and SRO hotels are coming to the workshops, trying to sort out what the priorities are for rezoning the commercial areas. She stated that it is totally ridiculous, adding that there is no dialogue and that they must get back to some kind of a forum where people could talk about the issues, stating that it is not happening at the planning forums, with 400 hundred people there. She stated that they did the rezoning effort in 1992 and 1994 in which all stakeholders sat around the table and worked out a pretty consensus plan, stating that 17 competing interests cannot go to the Board of Supervisors and pick a plan. She said that is not going to work. || TOP ||
· Fred Snyder: A member of the public and a member of the NEMIZ as property owner and small business incubator for over 30 years. He stated that it is truly disturbing what is going on there, adding that the community is very divided. He stated that they really need help bringing the community together. He stated that a wedge has been driven into the community, to the point that they don’t even communicate any more, stating that having to come here to talk about what is going on is ridiculous. He stated his concern with the Planning Departments presentation, stating that he has not
been present to any of that, on the contrary he feel s that they
(the NEMIZ) have been overlooked. He stated that if you divide the Mission
into four parts, they are about a quarter of it. He stated that there was
no notification of those meeting, stating his belief that they were
excluded from those meeting for a purpose, yet it is their neighborhood
that will be rezoned. He stated that he represents about 40 small
businesses, of which none were notified. He said he saw a notice for the
second meeting, which went out to a non-profit, adding that they are
stakeholders but have not been involved in the process. His big concern
was that in 1992 they all did get together, in what he described as a
wonderful process, but when it was all done, people were advocating for
each others position. He feels that they have been totally excluded form
the process, stating that the Planning Department has not been the
representative in the neighborhood. He said that he went to Amit Gosh
after the second meeting and asked him if he would pull the community
together for them to meet, to which he said he responded no, stating that
they would only meet in the big forums. He explained his concern over a
meeting which took place two years ago at Horace Mann Middle School where
the MAC (Mission Antidisplacement Coalition, made up of a lot of Mission
Housing and MEDA people, stated that there would be no development in the
Mission unless we get all the profit. He said that this was restated again
when the Supervisors passed the second wave of the moratorium. So he
questioned this, and said that they need help from the SBC to understand
it. He questioned the relationship between Mission Housing and MEDA and
the City. He asked the SBC to bring all the stakeholders to the table;
otherwise small business will suffer greatly. || TOP
He stated that their experience in engaging in the
process was one of feeling marginalized. For example, at a recent last planning
meeting where the adoption of Plan B happened, he explained that at his
table there was Hans Art that runs a small car repair place and himself, a
resident. He stated that everyone else was a political activist, a planner
in training, but for the most part exclusively MAC and MEDA activists.
However at the MCEJJ sponsored Planning session, the ratio was much
better, in that only two people at my table were outsider activists versus
only 2 being actual community members at the Planning Department
He stated that they
applied to the Planning Department and were immediately asked if they had
talked to MEDA. He said they did not know who MEDA was. Today, two years
later they are finally scheduled for a hearing, however he said that they
received a phone call stating that MEDA requests that you delay your
hearing until they have approved the planning, adding that there should be
no development until MEDA has approved the planning. He stated that he did
not understand the politics behind it and said that if this is the
city’s position, who will invest in the Mission?
Joe O’Donahue: A member of the public and of the Residential Builders Association. He stated that in 1978 the City undertook a massive rezoning of the city, and we are feeling the in effects if it today. He said that it was an economic disaster that created a housing crisis, which is still being experienced, and the forces behind that proposal are similar forces behind the moratoriums, which now exist in the Mission and in the South of Market today, with the same negative impact, a fiscal crisis, a housing crisis that is expanding and mounting deficits with disastrous consequences for small businesses. He stated that the reality is that the forces today, many of whom existed in 1978, come as immigrants like I did to this country, but when I came from Ireland, I left the socialism of Ireland, which forced me to immigrate behind in Ireland, and I left the war in the North of Ireland behind in the North of Ireland, and I came here for the free enterprise alternative opportunities. He stated that the people in the Mission of the MEDA and Mission Housing need to leave their revolutionary principals and their socialism in the borders form the countries which they had to flee like we fled in order to get economic justice and economic opportunity. He stated that like many immigrants, he came penniless, stating that he had to pay back his fair, adding that in the Irish community they had a structure, one in which their
leaders left that socialism behind and showed them that when you get
your money you buy your home, economic homeownership. He stated that when
leaders like Carlos Ramirez could stand up representing an organization
and say that homeownership is bad and should be banned, and then of course
we have the disaster, which is happening in the Mission today. He stated
that this is the problem that is going on today, stating that planning
takes it’s direction form the Board of Supervisors who took it form
people who feed to the public truff. He stated that what needs to be done
is to pull the tax returns and see how MEDA and Mission Housing being
financed, and look at if they are serving their people as well as the
leaders in the Irish community served their people, which is showing them
the way to prosperity through homeownership. He stated that when he looked
at the tax returns of Mission Housing two years ago, they had
approximately 22 hundred units under their control, all of which had no
equity homeownership. He stated that having come from poverty in Ireland,
where they were born in pubic housing, but they ended up owning that
public housing and from that they moved into prosperity as soon as they
got their actions together. He said that the leadership in the Hispanic community, in the Mission, which is now dictating to the rest of the city,
who say to you unless you are Hispanic you have no right in the Mission,
unless you speak Spanish you have no say in the Mission and we don’t
want gentrification, stating that when he lived in the Mission in the
60’s, it was an immigrant Irish neighborhood. He stated that in fact
there were only three Mexican restaurants on Mission Street. He stated
that one really needs to look at the effect of the moratorium, stating
that it has been an economic disaster, stating that businesses are moving
out they are not moving in, adding that zero businesses have moved in
since the moratorium and hundreds have been lost. He stated that Dr.
Gosh’s figures are pipe dreams, making them up as he goes along. Finally
he said that the Planning Department is divided, but when you have people
like Dr. Gosh, with an agenda that will conk up the figures wherever he
speak a different tune. She said that part of what is happening is that there is no dialogue, adding that there are people who speak on one side and those that speak on the other side. She said that long-term families in the Mission want homeownership, but many cannot afford to buy it. She said that it would be great to develop a dialogue between the two sides, because all that they are looking for is a great quality of life, which she feels has gone down hill in the Mission in the last 15-20 years. She stated her awareness of the political game, adding that one of the members of the Board of Supervisors actually founded MAC and said that this is something that needs to be looked into, stating that politics should be kept out of what needs to happen in the neighborhoods for the good of the communities, including businesses, non-profits, and residents. || TOP ||
|SF PLANNING DEPARTMENT RESPONSE|
· Jean-Paul Samaha: Stated that they are listening to the comments. Regarding the comments on interim controls he stated that current interim zoning controls were passed at the Board of Supervisors, stating that the Planning Department simply implements them, adding that as public employees they have to follow the law of the policy makers. He reiterated that this process has been and will continue to be a public process.
· Miriam Cheung: Stated that she wished to address some of the issues as they relate to small business. First of all she stated that the job of the Planning department is to draft three alternatives with different emphasis that reflect the diversity of opinions and desires within each community. She stated that at this point they have a set of alternatives that address minimal change, that plays more emphasis on the preservation of existing conditions and more support to some of the production, distribution and repair businesses. On the other extreme she said that they have an alternative that promotes the most change, stating that is where they encourage a large proportion of housing development, higher heights, mixed use and commercial uses. In the middle she said that they tried to address some of the needs of small businesses, some of the needs of production distribution and repair businesses and some of the needs for additional housing development. She said that at this point their task is to have a set of alternatives that is reflective of the diversity of the communities. She said that the main challenge in terms of small businesses was to deal with some of the land use conflicts that they have experienced over the last 5-6 years. She said that they have experienced strong growth, strong development and have seen some housing development next to industrial businesses, which was causing some issues. She explained that the rules for housing development were not clear and the process was getting complicated. She said that the task was to come up with zoning districts where developers, residents, businesses know exactly what they could do. || TOP ||
· Commissioner Murphy-Reed: Request to get a packet of information detailing the rezoning plans and any other relevant information for her to make an informed decision and before taking any action.
· Commissioner Gwen Kaplan: Gave an example of what the interim zoning controls mean, explaining that across the street form her business is a business called Spiral Binding, which is a book binding business who bought their business in 1995. She stated that the book binding business is a dying business and what the zoning controls mean is that if Spiral Binding and the McNeil’s want to close their business, the zoning controls state that they have to find a business just like that to occupy the space. She said that they are very concerned and said that people want to be part of the process.
· Commissioner Kaplan: Stated that MEDA had come to the Northeast Mission Business Association (NEMBA) last year and stated that they were authorized by the Planning Department to plan the process that was going to happen in all of these meetings. She asked if MEDA got paid for this out of that $700,000?
· Miriam Cheung: Stated that they cannot authorized anyone to do the work for them unless it’s through some consultant services, which in this case there has been none.
· Commissioner Steven Cornell: Summarized that small businesses feel as thought they have been left out of the process and their concerns are not being heard and nor addressed by Planning. He suggested that the Small Business Commission direct staff to work with the Planning Department to come up with an alternative that suits the small business community. He said that there may be another alternative besides the three that Planning has already come up with. He said that the Small Business Commission is here to represent all the small businesses that cannot always attend and participate in meetings.
· Jean-Paul Samaha: Said that he would be happy to work with the SBC staff and come back to the Commission in the near future for a hearing at which an action would be taken and possibly a recommendation to the Planning Department regarding this process. He also encouraged the Commissioners and the public to attend the Planning Commission meeting on the 19th to voice their concerns during public comment. He stated that the Planning Commission will not vote until January 16th on the preferred alternatives for zoning in the 5 areas.
· Miriam Cheung: Stated that at this point they need a spectrum of alternatives that will go through the EIR process. She said that there might be some expression from the Planning Commission regarding what their preferred alternative may be, but the three alternatives will be analyzed and the decision will not be made until the EIR process is completed, which means that there is still plenty of time for the public to provide input. She stated that the important task is to make sure that the needs of the small businesses are contained within the spectrum of alternatives that are analyzed.
· Commissioner Reed: Requested to receive maps and the overall plans.
· Miriam Cheung: Stated that they have packets of each community planning area summarizing the proposals with some description of the zoning districts and the uses that are allowed, but additional information can be provided. She stated that the rezoning workbook, which is more comprehensive, is not ready at this time.
· Commissioner Cornell: Stated that the SBC would like the Planning department to come back at the January meeting of the SBC, scheduled for January 13, 2003, prior to the tentatively scheduled January 16, 2003 Planning Commission meeting at which they will vote on the preferred alternatives.
|| TOP ||
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