Mission Eviction Protesters Clash With Tacolicious

44 Comments

  1. helen

    Their anger seems misplaced. Shouldn’t they be targeting the landlord and the very law that allows these evictions to take place and not a small business that only helps the neighborhood?

  2. Maslov

    Don’t blame Tacolicious for this. They are a tenant in a commercial storefront. They leased the space just like the upstairs tenants . They made improvements to the building for their use. Go after the landlord if there is an issue here. The tenants should be able to stay in the upstairs flat but don’t pick on a local business that has invested in San Francisco, pays taxes and employs lots of people. Mis- directed anger.

  3. Liz Berliant

    This is a serious issue in the Mission. Thanks so much for putting together this video to share the experience!

  4. Shoop da Woop

    Sí se puede!

  5. sfmissionman

    Who organized this march? Certainly it was not spontaneous. Why is Tacolicious involved at all? (Hint: It’s not a latino-owned taco place. There’s one in the – horrors! – Marina District. It’s anglos.) Dig a little, and everything in the Mission is always about “gentrification,” which is code for “de-latino-ization.” Even picking up trash is considered “gentrification,” and “class warfare.” I used to think it was more nuanced, but it isn’t. Street trees get destroyed because they make the neighborhood hostile to the oppressed. Don’t believe it? Stick around. It’s pretty disheartening.

  6. Don’t blame the housing provider. Blame the “progressives” who have controlled City Hall for a couple of decades who have made it impossible to maintain, upgrade buildings or sell buildings because of their socialist inspired rent control.

  7. marco

    I don’t understand what this has to do with Tacolicious. They’re a new business in the area and created dozens of jobs in the neighborhood, and so far seem to be very successful. Tacolicious is not the landlord, they’re a rent-paying tenant and have nothing to do with any evictions in the building. What exactly are these protestors protesting? And I don’t think an ellised building can even be turned into condos as the lady on the megaphone is saying.

  8. hmmm sounds like Maria Zamudio was sound bit… strange. Also, as someone who is there the sound editing of this piece makes it look like this was a fight between Tacolicious and tenents… it is so much more than that. Tacolicious is an example an addendum to the problem of gentrification, the problem of people being pushed out of their homes for profit. Landlords who put profit before people. This march was meant to bring attention to that problem. Unfortunately, Tacolicious is part of that problem. They are already there but understand the need for this movement and the need to stop businesses like Tacolicious from taking over the Mission. This issue is much bigger than Tacolicious…challenge yourself to think about that, and to think about how media cannot help but twist a story, time and time again which is a shame particularly in this case because Mission Local is supposed to present the facts and usually do?

    • randolph mortimer

      So what is it about Tacolicious that causes you to see their business as ‘taking over the Mission’ ? Can you elaborate please ? How do you feel about Burger King and McDonalds being in the neighborhood ? Do you want them to leave too ?

    • beartrash

      “…Tacolicious is part of the problem”

      You’re against this particular business because of the general gentrification in the Mission, (although the irony of protesting a Taqueria in the Mission as a sign of gentrification is lost upon you.)

      So then, which businesses do you approve of in the Mission, are there any?

    • Ryan

      I have thought about it. Tacolicious provides jobs. End of story!

    • marco

      How is Tacolicious an example of “the problem of people being pushed out of their homes for profit.” There were no residential tenants living in the space that Tacolicous occupies– it was New College before wasn’t it? From what I understand, the residents upstairs have been paying something like $300 for 18 years… sounds like they’re the ones who have been profiting here and I imagine 99% of people who have paid such low rent for so long would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by now. But seriously, what are you trying to say about Tacolicious being part of the problem, since they moved into a VACANT COMMERCIAL SPACE and have nothing to do with evicting any tenants.

  9. badreporting

    Mission Local, please change the headline of this story to something more accurate. I saw this march, and your report mischaracterizes the event entirely. The protesters were not blaming Tacolicious.

    The target of the protest was not Tacolicious at all – the speeches and actions were primarily focused on the landlord of the building. The two quotes you selected to give prominence to in this report were almost the ONLY times Tacolicious was even mentioned. It’s true that the presence of a new restaurant below their apartment is causing a lot of problems for the tenants, and that is the context in which Tacolicious was mentioned. But your report misleadingly suggests that Tacolicious was the target of the protest, and your headline is ridiculously sensationalistic.

    It was hardly a clash — anyone who was there can tell you the protest was aimed at the landlord who is kicking these long-term tenants out just to turn a profit. You should do better reporting.

    • The protesters are specifically (and erroneously) blaming Tacolicious. Listen to the audio.

    • j

      How is it that you know why the landlord is doing what he’s doing? Are you absolutely positive he’s trying to turn a profit? Maybe he’s trying to break even, or perhaps offset a loss? Fact of the matter is you have no idea why he’s Ellising, and it’s really none of your business anyway. I don’t feel sorry for these displaced tenants: they are going to get rent reparations and it’s not like there aren’t other places to live.

      • Turff And Furth

        There is nowhere else to live for these people in San Francisco. They’ve been paying $300 a month. And the 5k Ellis Act payoff will only cover rent for 3-5 months.

        Their entire lives, and the community, are being disrupted for money. You may find this entirely reasonable. In doing so you are implicitly accepting the idea that money is more important than anything else in life. If you can live with yourself believing that, fine. It’s your life and your soul.

        Those who are opposed to this eviction and the destruction of this community do not believe money is more important than our collective humanity. You’ll just have to deal with us as we try to remind you of your own soul.

  10. Ray

    Clearly the current system needs to be re-evaluated, because these situations hurt everyone.

    Maybe there is a way to help long term tenants – particularly seniors – who have a demonstrated need for assistance, while also respecting the right of the owner to make decisions about the use of their property.

    Perhaps we need a city-based system similar to Section 8.

  11. Profile photo of Hadley Robinson Hadley Robinson Post author

    Dear Readers,

    I want to acknowledge your frustrations that the piece did not address everything that happened Saturday. Partially, that’s the medium – I went in thinking this would be a nice audio slideshow, but it became something that’s much more complicated to explain in just two minutes. There’s so much I couldn’t include. I would have loved to report more on the speeches from evictees at 24th Street. And I acknowledge maybe it should have been a written piece.

    That being said, with this medium I had to narrow it to just what was the most interesting and that was the conflict in front of the building on Valencia, because it crystallized the frustration of those left behind in the changing Mission. This piece does spend the first minute talking about the Ellis Act, and about the group effort to call the landlord and the lawyer from the beginning. But it also goes into the Tacolicious conflict, because the new restaurant was repeatedly mentioned. And when he came out, I wanted him to have a chance to make his point. Is it Tacolicious in particular that’s directly evicting people? No. But are restaurants like this contributing to the overall issues of displacement in the neighborhood? Yes.

    These are some of the issues that I hope all readers think about. In terms of more information about the people being evicted upstairs, we are working on a more detailed, written story about what’s going on in that building. Thanks for your feedback, it helps me continue to get better at doing each story right.

    • randolph mortimer

      Can you explain what you mean by ‘restaurants like this’ please ? I’d like to know what’s different or special about Tacolicious, compared to other places in our neighborhood.

    • Jay

      Yeah, uh, I actually don’t see how restaurants are contributing to “the overall issue of displacement.” If what you’re getting is some kind of anti-gentrification screed in re: Valencia Street, that ship sailed about fifteen years ago. The landlord in this case has allegedly not served an eviction paper to anyone, and these are not the most model tenants to begin with from what I hear. They appear to have used the Occupy movement for their own benefit, but under false pretenses. Also, since when did Occupy have to do with landlords and tenants, vs. banks and foreclosure-related evictions?

    • Ryan

      So Arizmedi or the new place in Heart will get a pass but not Tacolicious?

    • marco

      Didn’t Tacolicious move into a commercial space that had been vacant for years, since New College went bankrupt? How does this contribute to displacement? According to the owner in another article I read, Tacolicious brought 80 new jobs to the neighborhood.

    • David

      How are restaurants like Tacolicious adding to displacement? I am the owner of a restaurant/building on 19th St. My commercial space was a boarded up, graffiti ridden port-a-potty that had been vacant and boarded up for nearly three years before I bought the building and renovated. The Tacolicious space was vacant for years as well. Both were totally neglected eyesores and blights on the neighborhood that attracted graffiti, vagrants, and crime. How can successful small businesses that are moving into spaces like these be bad or blamed for displacing anyone?

    • j

      Can you explain what horrible transgression the landlord is committing by using Ellis Act on his tenants? Is it so hard for you to believe that may, just maybe, he doesn’t want to have tenants (at least, as many) any longer? And even if he is doing this to make some money, do you have any idea how much he’s already spent? Maybe his this is where most of his money is now and he’s looking to get out. There’s nothing that suggests to me, from anything you’ve written, or in your video, that the landlord is doing anything illegal. FYI, SF requires compensation for displace tenant of no less than $5000, and it can be more if they are elderly or disabled. It’s not like this is the only apartment building in the city let alone the whole bay area.

      • Turff And Furth

        Okay let me break it down for you blog readers why Tacolicious is a representative for the “overall issue of displacement”, because I have seen this happen in like 5 different neighborhoods in 3 different cities.

        All the white people fled the city in the 50s and 60s when people of color started showing up in their neighborhood. Time passed. The white people’s kids grew up bored and depressed because the suburbs suck. They move back to the rich parts of the city. The more artistic/gay/poor/risktaking types can’t afford the white neighborhoods so they start to pile into the ethnic enclave. They turn the dive dive bars into cool dive bars. They become foodies for soul/asian/latino cuisine. The whole thing is very special and cool and everyone is very excited about it. Galleries spring up. Music fills the air. People are excited! Word spreads. All the white* people that could afford to move to the rich part of town start showing up at the galleries and dive bars and start thinking, “hey, real estate is cheap here. I could actually buy! And there’s so much local color and history” (re: brown people and their culture). So the developers knock down old buildings and put up douche nests, er, I mean those yuppie apartment buildings of steel and glass. Evictions run rampant, because rents are skyrocketing, and then chain restaurants like Tacolicious** come in to capitalize on the trendy, chic neighborhood. Only problem is, it’s no longer trendy, or chic, because you live here, and all the poor/artistic/ethnic types have had to move out because they can’t afford it*** or they can’t stand to be around you.

        That’s why Brooklyn sucks, and that’s why Washington DC for the first time in 50 years is not a majority black city. And that’s why the Mission will be just another Marina in a few years.

        In DC this happened in about 7 years, in Brooklyn about the same. It may take longer here because of the good tenant protections we have in our older buildings.

        One comment was right. The ship has sailed. There is no stopping it. It’s the cycle of life. And yes, Tacolicious provides jobs to people while serving mediocre tacos for twice to four times what you would pay at the mom and pop place down the street that it will probably put out of business. But hey, that’s the price of monoculture right?

        *White is a state of mind, not a skin color in this writing.
        **You do realize there’s one of these in the Marina don’t you?
        ***Right now, it’s more expensive to rent in the Mission than in the Marina.

        • David

          Tacolicious the chain? LOL…a second location = chain?

          Good tenant protections? Rent control does not help the public at large. Do your research. Rent control is the reason a one bedroom in the Mission is pushing 3k.

          So your argument is let’s keep these vacant buildings vacant to avoid the wave of gentrification?

          • Turff And Furth

            No I wasn’t making an argument. I was explaining why the chain restaurant Tacolicious is being protested, because it is emblematic of the whole cycle I explained above.

            However, I guess your free market ideology would suggest that we clearcut all the historic buildings and homes and build high rise towers to lower rents. One, it’s antiseptic and terrible living – have you jogged down the Mission Bay community? There are a ton more vacants than here. Two, the rents in those places are just as expensive because build costs are expensive. How many people are paying 1000 bucks a month in a new high rise apartment building in SF? Three, the people who move into those things are free market conservatives who vote and further pollute/taint the city.

            And don’t talk to me about economics research. I’m a realist. That means I don’t just blindly follow Milton Friedman and the Chicago school. I actually look at what the erosion of our socialist/ trade protectionist safety net over the last 30 years has done to the majority of Americans. And it is terrible. That free market BS your pushing don’t cut any weight around here.

        • maria

          Okie got it. No white business allowed in the Mission.

          • Adri

            Historic preservation is not served by letting buildings deteriorate as they have in the least “gentrified” parts of the Mission. When roof and masonry repairs are deferred for decades like they are in those buildings, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix them later.

            I grew up in an integrated, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood on the east coast and that is what I hope the Mission can maintain. Anti-white, anti “elitist” racism is not the way to get there.

          • Turff And Furth

            Adri, which neighborhood in what city is that? Is it still the neighborhood you grew up in? If so, what worked? I’m curious.

        • Hi, I’ve read a lot of sad, funny and interesting comments on these sites the last few days and have decided to refrain from casting my response, but yours evokes a pretty unique emotion in me. The Mission is a special neighborhood to a lot of people as it is to me and my family.

          The facts are that Sara – my wife – and our three kids live here, in this neighborhood. Our kids were born and go to public schools here. My grandfather was a Longshoreman at China Basin during the 2nd World War and my dad was born at the now defunct, Mary’s Help hospital, which was on 14th street at Guerrero. And though I was personally not born in the city (my mom wanted to raise her four kids in a more manageable place while my dad—a merchant marine who shipped out of china basin—was out of the country for sometimes 6 months at a time), I have been here for more than 20 years and proudly consider it to be my home.

          We have worked tremendously hard to create a restaurant in a neighborhood that means a lot to us. We went through an excruciatingly difficult process of changing the use of the abandoned building at 741 Valencia, which included months of wading through red tape while paying rent, countless neighborhood outreach meetings, planning commission hearings and city permitting hurdles. It was a long and sometimes obnoxious process, but we were committed to our project.

          Regardless of my restaurants success or failure, I can assure you that I am not a wealthy man. This is not to say that I don’t hope to be some day, but I will not become so at the expense of others. We run an honest business and treat our customers, vendors and most importantly, our staff with the highest amount of respect.

          The tenants at 739 Valencia, our upstairs neighbors, have not been proactive about talking with us. We have been open for one week and had one conversation with them about noise. As a result of that conversation, I personally have been here to turn off the music a and hoods and lights at midnight, the time that we collectively agreed upon as our closing time back in April at our community outreach meeting which I sponsored at the Mission Police Station in the presence of Commissioner Antonini of the SF Planning dept.

          I’d like to call to your attention that we have hired 70 new employees and that though it shouldn’t matter what their ethnicity or skin color might be, 80% of them are actually Mexican and most of them live within a few blocks of here.

          Finally, you’re right; we do have a second location, in the Marina. The last time I checked, it was another neighborhood in our city that thankfully is one of the most diverse and exciting on the planet. For the record, we employ 52 people there, again 80% of them being Mexican (and as fate has it, mostly from the Mission). Our Tacos are 3.95 each. They’re made with organic vegetables and hormone-free meats that have been humanely raised and killed. They are served by a well-trained waitstaff in a restaurant setting. We try very hard to provide our guests with the best prices we can, but the products we’ve decided to use cost us a lot more money. They might not be for everyone, but they are what we feel is responsible to serve. Fortunately for all of us, there is no shortage of great taco alternatives in the neighborhood.

          I hope this answers some of your questions. If not, you can always contact me directly: joe@tacolicioussf.com, or better yet, pop in for a taco.

          Best,

          Joe

          • Turff And Furth

            First, Joe, I think it’s beyond awesome that you are engaging with your community like this. I can’t imagine the horrors of getting your business through the SF permitting process. Paying a parking ticket is bad enough.

            Two, there is a certain element of bad luck here. I think most people understand this is a dispute between the tenants and landlords. You just happen to have the sign out front. Which means that you are the poster child, of the very rapid and destructive transformations taking place in the neighborhood. It’s not fair to you, but neither are the other changes in the neighborhood fair to the residents affected. Judging by the crowds and the lines outside I’d say you all will survive this fine.

            That said:
            If you opened this restaurant in the Castro or Chinatown you would have raised the exact same issues although without the eviction perhaps not so publicly. This isn’t a white/nonwhite thing; it’s a subculture/dominant culture thing.

            Your restaurant, at which I have eaten in the Marina while visiting family, caters to the Largest Common Denominator of folks with incomes high enough to eat and desire all natural tacos. This is good business sense. One need only stand on the corner of Chestnut and Fillmore and count the number and ratio of identically dressed women in yoga pants and Lululemon jackets and young men in jeans and BR collared shirts to understand what I’m getting at. They are comfortable in their sameness; they are avatars of monoculture. This is not the case in the Mission, which has for good or ill been populated for the last few decades by people who define themselves or were defined by that monoculture as being deviant. Small wonder then that protests happen – this community of deviants, this subculture, is being consumed by the dominant one.

            Most of us who have moved into the Mission in the last two decades were specifically trying to avoid the Marina and the people who live there for the cultural reasons outlined above. Given the bias against those people, it was not good business to directly transport that same restaurant name across town.

            Finally, and this is admittedly nitpicking, I don’t think anyone would look at the Marina as an ethnically or culturally diverse neighborhood, not by the standards of the other urban neighborhoods in the Bay Area.

            That being said, again, I applaud you for engaging in this dialogue. I wish there were a more constructive forum, something more proactive, where the sides of this dialogue could come together and be proactive about solutions or imagining the new Mission, rather than reactive.

          • Adri

            We are looking forward to becoming regulars. Please don’t be disheartened by some of the posters on here.

        • chalkman

          in the bar part, tacos are $1.50….where can I get 2-4 tacos for that?

  12. uh..

    People who say don’t blame tacolecious.. are white people with money..

  13. Adri

    I want to point out that Tacolicious is the only taco place in the Mission that doesn’t use factory farmed meat. You may call it an “elite” or “white” concern, but for me it’s just about minimizing the abuse of animals and the environment for food. That is why their tacos are more.

  14. mission bred

    Some people will never get it.

  15. mission bred

    I’d like to see who Tacolicious is going to hire. I’ve heard the argument about jobs and then no people of color are hired.

    • marco

      Read above — the owner has indicated that 80% of the 70 people hired (56 people) are people of color. These are 70 jobs that did not exist before this business was here. These are 70 jobs for people who live in the community.

  16. randolph mortimer

    it doesn’t take much to get the racists to show their true colors, does it ?

    (see what I did there ?)

    • tina

      No it doesn’t take much. “Turff And Furth” talking about all white people look the same in their BR clothing, while not bothering to mention all the homies who look the same in their hoodies and sagging jeans, or the “deviant” people who all look the same as all the other “deviant” people with their tats and piercings. Or the hipsters who all look the same as eachother with their plaid shirts and facial hair and fixies. And then there’s “Mission Bred” talking about how people should be hired based on their “color”. If you stop to think about it — the most exclusionary people seem to be those who complain about exclusionary people.

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