Vanishing city - Page 3

Up against intense market pressure, longtime residents and community projects fade from SF

Esperanza gardeners (left to right): Gabriel Fraley, Maria Fernanda Valecillos, Alana Corpuz, Veronica Ramirez, Jonathan Youtt

The landlord, Lloyd Klein, had granted rent-free use of the space to the underfunded farmers with the stipulation that they'd have to clear out when the time came. He's since secured entitlements for an ultra-green, four-unit building for that lot and told the Guardian he hopes to break ground by July, if he can secure building permits in time. "We're trying to accomplish a net-zero energy usage building," Klein told the Guardian in a telephone interview. "It will create its own energy from solar."

None of the gardeners seemed to harbor bitter feelings toward Klein, who sanctioned their all-volunteer effort, but all those interviewed expressed concern that the loss of Esperanza coincides with the loss of two other urban farming plots in San Francisco. This was a space where they'd raised bees, harvested produce together, and led workshops with groups of at-risk youth from the surrounding area.

"The loss of space to teach farming is what the issue is," Youtt says. "Without that, we're going to have a void. It's tragic in light of what's happening simultaneously."

The Hayes Valley Farm, at Fell and Octavia streets, is also on its way to being cleared to make way for housing, an outcome that was anticipated from the start of the project. Another urban agriculture project on Gough and Eddy, called the Free Farm, also has to vacate by the end of the year, when a development project goes up on that lot.

For years, the produce grown at Esperanza and Free Farm has supplied the nutritious bounty that is freely distributed every Sunday at a Mission intersection via the Free Farm Stand. An urban farmer, who goes simply by Tree, spearheaded the all-volunteer project in 2008. "We wanted to make sure that low-income people have access to fresh, locally grown produce," Tree explained when reached by phone. "Everywhere I look in the Mission, there's new restaurants. But wherever there's affluence, there's always people thrown in the cracks."

The loss of a sliver of urban farms is just one change that could dramatically transform that Mission District parcel, located on Bryant between 18th and 19th streets. The Esperanza garden plot is sandwiched up against an arts venue called Inner Mission, which has been hosting events like circus and burlesque shows and aerial arts performances in its recently renovated space since January. Inner Mission is located in the same building that previously housed CELLspace ("CELL" stood for Collective Exploratory Learning Lab), a famed underground San Francisco arts collective launched in the 1990s.

An online "obituary" penned for CELLspace by caretaker Devin Holt offered a glimpse into what it was like in the early days: "It was 1996 in San Francisco. A time when you could still find a room in the Mission for $300, and the dotcom boom hadn't turned empty warehouses into prime real estate. When the screen printing business moved out, the dreamers moved in. ... The early years at Cell were marked by chaos and construction. Dave X was known to test his flamethrowers behind the building on Florida St., Jojo La Plume created an open craft loft in the homemade mezzanine, and the Sisterz of the Underground offered free break dancing lessons for aspiring b-girls on the main space floor."

On March 14, the Nick Podell Company, a development firm, submitted a project review application to the San Francisco Planning Department, city records show. The developer has initiated talks about a proposal to raze the warehouse where Inner Mission operates and erect a six-story, 166-unit apartment complex in its place, with parking for 141 vehicles. The company is under contract to purchase the property, according to company representative Linsey Perlov, but it has not yet changed hands. Klein declined to discuss the sale or development proposal at this stage, saying, "I'm not at liberty to speak about it."


Adapt or go to Oakland.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 21, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

How are you supposed to adapt to an illegal eviction? Your rent doubling?

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

adapt is very simple - you move to somewhere that you can afford, rather than clinging on in a place that is above your pay grade.

Oakland is only a few miles away, as Lucretia suggested.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

Why should one particular (and disproved) school of economics be the final determinant? Why is the almighty bogus "free market" (which is neither free nor fair; it exists simply to allow the already rich to accrue more wealth) allowed to run rampant through the land -- raping, pillaging, and killing along the way?

Considering the harm it has done to tens of millions of people, if the "free market" were as person, it would be given the death penalty.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

I am asking you this: On what rationale basis is it reasonable for your ability to live in SF to depend on subsidies that are imposed on your landlord?

What do I (who am neutral on the issue) gain, as a resident of SF, gain from having you here over, say, a IT manager, lawyer or hedge fund manager?

Convince me that you're worth a subsidy and a hand-out so you can stay here.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

defines himself as the omnipotent judge. No wonder he thinks he wins all his debates as he types from his rich uncle's basement.

But fear not, reasonable readers, he is neutral on the issue.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

His "convince me" is meant as "convince the citizenry", doofus

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

A familiar feeling for him, no doubt.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

A reliable blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading
create a marketing plan

Posted by parishay899 on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 2:38 am

Creative people improve communities. They come into a neighborhood that has seen better days and do what they can to beautify it and make it more livable. Because of their efforts, property value is increased and rent prices go up and the same people who took painstaking measures to make a rotten neighborhood a desirable place to live, so people like your blessed hedge fund managers can move in.

By the way, what do IT people, lawyers, or bankers do to make a community more vibrant?

Posted by Alexandra on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

add value to my community. I am. And you don't.

Professionals contribute to the taxbase. You just consume subsidies and welfare.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

And you don't what the fuck I do or what kind of taxes I pay, so kindly piss off as to what I consume. I pay my fair share of taxes and receive no subsidies.

Posted by Alexandra on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

"fuck" and "piss" on me?

Real nice.

You were the one claiming that marginal artists and other aspects of "diversity" were beneficial to me. And I simply told you that they are not. My call.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

...judge? I didn't vote for you!

Posted by Hortencia on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

that the detritus of SF was somehow contributing to the "community" here and, as a tax-paying member of that community, I was informing here that I see no value there.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

low incom e but not co

Posted by Guest on Aug. 09, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

Despite the many problems with capitalism, price setting is not a solution to any of the problems you're talking about

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

So people like Jon here mold San Francisco into what it is today and attract people from all over the world to share its creativity and free spiritedness and you repay them by telling them to leave town. Mighty white of you.

Posted by Toasted Alvarez on May. 26, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

I merely advised it if they cannot afford it

Posted by Guest on May. 26, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

You are saying they are better than someone else who can pay the rent? Hell they were not smart enough to buy and now whine like babies I say they are LOSERS,.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

You are saying they are better than someone else who can pay the rent? Hell they were not smart enough to buy and now whine like babies I say they are LOSERS,.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

Lucretia, you make it sound as though communities aren't capable of directing change. "Love it or leave it" was reactionary in the '50s and '60s, and it's just as reactionary now.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 23, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

looking at your fiscal power and seriously asking yourself whether you are stretched vis-à-vis your pay grade.

I cannot afford Aspen so I don't whine about it or expect people in Aspen to subsidize my sorry ass so I can live in a place that is clearly beyond me.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

the sorry ass part right, great oracle of the internet.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

the point I made, and so resorted to insults.

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

you remain undefeated in your own mind.

How's the heat in your rich uncle's basement? Any natural light?

Posted by Guest on May. 23, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

The thread of this article is a perfect example of why, while I love San Francisco and cannot afford to live there, would never live there now as the scuppies from hell have invaded. I'm 5th gen Bay area, 3rd gen SF and remember the days of the 60's and 70's, and a friendly and proud blue collar town.

The scuppie comments here reflect the ignorance and arrogance that runs our planet today. An Earth run by selfish, lazy, stupid, childishly naive postmodern nitwits. Hording wealth, as hording anything, creates systemic imbalance that's hard to undo. Marx foresaw the condition, which is in process now, that as capitalism hordes wealth, failure to redistribute it through the economy brings failure and collapse. These people believe they are above others and deserve to horde ... "let the masses sleep on a grate".

This failure to understand egalitarian sharing, and systemically designed economic equality, will be their undoing. If the pyramid scheme of capitalism, as it culls it's chaff, doesn't chuck them out the window to join the unemployment and food stamp line, the ending bankruptcy will. The trajectory of this dysfunctional enabling capitalist religion does have it's Book of Revelations Chapter and it will not be pretty.

As Europeans came to the Americas, they stole the land and slaughtered, enslaved or imprisoned the indigenous, believing themselves superior. They enslaved, tortured, and systemically destroyed the lives of foreigners as free labor. They made rules excluding everyone but the privileged or corrupt from rule and benefit. They tore up and stole land and resources. They dumped their waste, polluting and poisoning the land as they pleased. When opposition arose to these abominable acts, they pulled out the police and the military to incarcerate, imprison and terrify. When other nations failed to submit to their corporations demands they invaded, occupied or coup d'etat-ed as needed.

And thus is born the scum yuppie, ignorant and blissfully dismissing every egalitarian thought as fantasy, ignoring every immoral act made on his privileged behalf that keeps his arse floating in a cloud. They think everyone not so privileged is just jealous. And the entire City, the State, the Country and the World are drifting off the cliff to...

Posted by sandy sanders on May. 24, 2013 @ 10:15 am

invoke Marx (unless it's Groucho) and call anyone who disagrees with you "scum".

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 10:34 am

...and capitalists, are capitalists, are capitalists, ARE scum because all they only care about themselves, their ability to produce profit through any means possible, and their tribe of 1%ers and their wannabes. And you can't disagree with capitalists because their is no argument. There is capitalism and it is corrupt or there is no capitalism. Wealth must be redistributed to make a fair society while capitalists cling to their pyramid-scheme-ivory-tower-soon-to-become-hideout from the guillotine. Bon appetite!

Posted by sandy sanders on May. 30, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

Let's get ready to tumbril.

Those that refer to people as "human stock" will find themselves in the stockade as evictors, speculators and profiteers will be found guilty of their crimes.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

Real credible.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

This was awesome dude, thank you. Marx was a rationalist and realist... Common sense just doesn't matter anymore as most of this thread has proven.

Posted by Cuhsandra on Jun. 11, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

Right with all the other non-WASPS with the Blacks and Latinos, right Lucretia? Sheesh, what if he were YOUR relative who was living on a fixed income?

Posted by Toasted Alvarez on May. 26, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

Sad Mrs. Snapples that you still believe housing is just money, and nothing else.

If that is your stance, perhaps you can move to another city, allowing others to rent or subdivide your pad

Posted by goodmaab50 on May. 27, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

The cultural aspect of what makes San Francisco, well, San Francisco is what's being destroyed - the thing that draws people to the city.

If you want to live around McMansion millionaire types with zero culture - go take a look at Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas. A perfect example of strip malls and Mc Mansion "upper middle class" mentality where culture goes to die.

Just wait... people getting replaced is just the beginning. Street art/vendors/free market boutiques - those will all get replaced by strip malls. The beautiful architecture will get demolished and replaced with cheap buildings.

Hidden cafe's, boutiques, street market vendors - all the fun ethnic places to go - it will eventually all die out.

Anyone who doesn't agree with this article is just promoting this abhorrent process. Shame on you.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

They're also taking a sledge hammer to San Francisco's built environment in a way that has it snuffing out the natural topography and sense of place.

Posted by Anony on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

San Francisco's loss, Oakland's gain.

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

Oakland's gain is Oakland's loss. I doubt the long term residents are excited about the wave of rent increases, evictions, and 'improvements' hitting their end of town.

Posted by Guest Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

It's still gangbanger central, with 100-120 murders a year and a stunning about of muggings and breakin's. OPD is screwed up because the city pol's won't support them and they are down to 600 cops now, plus 4 chiefs in the last 3 years.

But the good news is that it is still cheap, with lots of spare land and empty buildings. So anyone priced out of SF can move there and still be close to everything.

Non issue.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

Mission of the Commons has the right idea. People have to find ways to own the property.

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

Regarding "People have to find ways to own the property" -- I think you might find geolibertarian ideas about sharing land as a non-human-produced resource interesting:

Geolibertarianism, or geoism, or georgism (after Henry George) in a nutshell is the idea that since land is naturally occurring and isn't produced by humans, every person on earth has an equal right to use it.

The mechanism I would suggest to realize this ideal is for people owning more than their proportionate share of land in a jurisdiction would pay proportionally into a fund to be divided among people owning less than their proportionate share of land (or not owning land at all).

Payment into this fund should be voluntary (personally I don't even want government *touching* the money, let alone enforcing collection or spending the funds as fast as they come in like they do with Social Security). Landowners owning land worth more than the average per person "fair share" who declined to pay would simply give up their legal right to police/government protection against squatters or others seeking to use their land without permission.

A major advantage of this system would be to guarantee poor people either a piece of land, on which they would be free to live in a house, tent, car, etc. to live in, or a regular payment from the land fund, which could serve as a safety net. And as described, this could be done *without* the coercive, violence-based tax system in place now.

Posted by Starchild on May. 22, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

"Colen and other panelists posited that the solution is to build as the city has never built before, aiming for the construction of 100,000 units in the next two decades."

100,000 new units in the next 20 years in San Francisco? Phew! What delusion-inducing 500mg./4 times a day drugs are these people on? I take it that some people pay zero attention to economic news of any kind as well as what's happening elsewhere in the world. For example:

For your Search Engine:

China building mega cities but they remain empty ghost towns
(April 03, 2013)

From the article:

"CHINA is building new cities at an estimated rate of up to 12 to 24 a year - but while they are full of brand new homes and facilities, nobody wants to live there. A recent CBS 60 Minutes report in the US exposed dozens of new cities in China sitting empty - with the apartments snapped up as investments by the nation's wealthy middle class, then sitting empty as the owners fail to find tenants who can meet the rent. Financial experts fear the ghost town explosion will lead to a housing bubble burst, following China's real estate boom which came after the government changed its policy 15 years ago and allowed people to buy their homes. The middle class saw real estate as a solid investment, more stable than the sharemarket and offering better returns than the banks"....Read the article.

You think that can't happen here as the U.S. economy continues to die? There are only so many wealthy people in the world.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 3:32 am

Wow - you couldn't be more wrong here. China is building just to create jobs - there is no demand for that housing. In SF there is way more demand than supply. You could easily add 100,000 housing units and they'd get used up right away - and rents might ease a bit - a good result.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 7:47 am

And continue to F up the entire city. Better idea, guest - move back to NY!

Posted by Richmondman on May. 22, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

No more Manhattanization of San Fran. Back to New York with your big pig self. San Francisco is becoming as boring as NY now is. There are gated communities all over the place for you people who love bringing the homogenized suburbs to our City. Go to them! Quit pushing people out of their homes... especially people who have consistently given cultural texture to San Fran. Orrrrrr okay... the adaptable will adapt. That's what artists always do and what they did when they made SF such an appealing place for all you money grubbing douchebags. If you work in San Jose then LIVE in San Jose and support the community there. Take your gas guzzling limo lifestyles and go back to your wannabe life in NY or Bel Air. Ughhh. (I know I know... how do I really feel about it.)

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

Cultural Texture?

What about the cultural texture of Oakland? Or Detroit? Or Baltimore? I think gentrification is a good thing. Civilization needs to return to America's cities. SF was nice when I visited.

If gated communities are necessary to protect hard-working, productive people who want to feel safe while sleeping at night then let the market supply that demand.

No one is pushing anyone out of their homes. Stop crying and pretending you're always a victim of outside forces. Take control of your own life, we all have to pay for the things we want and if you want to live in SF you're going to have to pay for it.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

"No one is pushing anyone out of their homes. Wow. REALLY? Did you READ the article? Jon IS getting pushed out of his home so D-bags can come and make SF completely generic like the south bay.
I've lived in the city for 20 years and I DESPISE what the city is becoming. I sucked it up during the first .com, did a dance during the .bom and now sit with my mouth open at the shit I hear from my clients every day, about how ridiculously expensive it is to just survive here.
And before you recommend Oakland to me, I BOUGHT in Oakland last year, fortunately, because I am a *hard working, productive person*, but I also don't THROW PEOPLE TO THE WOLVES when they're handicapped or otherwise unable to support themselves.
I bet you're the kind of person that says *get a job* to homeless people, or even more accurately, walks by without even a glance. Because you're *better than that*, because that *will NEVER be you*.
Karma's a bitch. Reflect upon your words some day when nobody is there for you.

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

New York City may not be as interesting as it was a few years ago, but it's still one of the most interesting and culturally vibrant cities in the world. And it didn't get that way by artificially *limiting* development. The "Manhattanization" that gave Manhattan tons of high-rises actually contributed to giving it the population density that helped it become a cultural hot spot.

To the extent NYC has gone downhill, other factors are to blame -- such as mayor Giuliani, NIMBYism, and the general growth and expansion of government, which means more restrictions on what can happen where, more burdensome red tape and expenses for small, independent businesses, etc.

If the politicians allow more housing to be built in San Francisco, even if it's expensive market-rate housing it will increase the overall supply and that will mean more places for low income residents as other people trade up. Nobody wants to let their rental housing sit empty, so someone will be living there, and there are only so many wealthy people who can afford to pay top dollar -- unless a city's rules make it so difficult to raise rents that landlords are incentivized to let units sit empty rather than renting them at a lower price and risk getting stuck renting at that rate in perpetuity or with only small annual increases allowed (i.e. the way SF is now, which is one reason there isn't enough affordable housing).

Posted by Starchild on May. 22, 2013 @ 11:38 pm

Wow. Hilarious. "google is your friend." Use it sometime then you won't look like a "wow" fool, as usual:


China services growth slows sharply, adds to recovery risk | Reuter
May 6, 2013 – BEIJING (Reuters)

BBC News - Getting used to a slower pace of growth in China
May 1, 2013 –

BBC News - China manufacturing growth slows in April -
May 1, 2013 –

China urban average wage growth slows
South China Morning Post ‎- 5 days ago

China manufacturing growth slows - Telegraph
May 1, 2013 –

Chinese growth slows to 7.7% - - Financial Times
Apr 15, 2013 –

China GDP Growth Slows to 7.7% -
Apr 14, 2013 –

China's Recovery Falters as Manufacturing Growth Cools - Bloomberg
Apr 23, 2013 –

Slower China Growth Signals Days of Miracles Are Waning
Apr 15, 2013 –

NOW, the only problem with all of this building in SF is that our infrastructure is already crumbling, in part, because of the corporate giveaways from that conservative piece of work in City Hall. There is no $$ to expand the infrastructure to support and handle that many more people in SF. Of course, we could get rid of Proposition 13 and that would certainly help. Let the wealthy pay their fair share rather than exiting on bailouts to the wealthy. What we need are more affordable rental units since renting will be the way of the future, not home ownership (I previously provided credible links to those articles). Home ownership is a fading luxury, especially in the US and the UK.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

And it's not clear that it is ageing activists no matter how much this journal likes that. We need people here who can economcially contribute and, sadly, many of those clinging onto an existence in Sf do not contribute much, and would be happier somewhere else.

If you cannot afford SF, then Oakland is ten minutes away and half the price. It's a no brainer.

Not everyone can afford Aruba, Aspen, Andorra or San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2013 @ 6:36 am