Businesses Band Together After Vandalism

En Español.

Although many businesses targeted by vandals on Monday night were still making repairs on Tuesday, most opened for business. Many of the employees Mission Loc@l interviewed said the violence had brought neighborhood businesses closer.

“I think that many of the small businesses are in better dialogue with each other now,” said Bar Tartine’s general manager, Vinny Eng, adding that this gives neighboring businesses an opportunity to talk about how they could be more supportive of each other.

On Tuesday, neighbors began a fundraising campaign to help local businesses with repair costs, with a goal of raising $10,000. As of Tuesday evening, $1,800 had been raised on the website WePay.

Following a peaceful assembly at Dolores Park at about 8 p.m. on Monday, a group of 50 to 75 protesters took to the streets of the Mission. Some picked up tables and chairs and threw them Farina restaurant’s windows.

Others tried to set cars on fire along 18th Street, according to J.H. Kolsteni, Farina’s chief financial officer. Car windows were smashed and tires slashed.

Police received approximately 500 calls with reports of damage and arrested one person.

On Tuesday, Mission Police Captain Robert Moser and Supervisor David Campos talked to all of the businesses that were targeted.

“My understanding is that it was a small group of people that infiltrated the demonstration,” Campos said. “Most of the people were peaceful but a small number of people infiltrated. They were the ones who caused the vandalism.”

Most businesses were open at the time of the attack and had customers. They saw and heard the protesters coming.

Employees said that protesters were wearing black, their faces covered in masks or bandanas.

“The people were in black, they were hooded,” said Kolsteni. “It was like they were terrorists. If it was Halloween, I would have called them ninjas.”

“It’s unfortunate that we had vandalism that took place,” Campos said. “I support the right of expression, but we don’t want to see that turn to violence. I am very disappointed that it happened and you know my heart goes out to the businesses that were vandalized and to the residents whose property was also vandalized.”

At Therapy, a clothing store on Valencia Street, General Manager Cat Mayfield said that it all happened very quickly.

“It sounded like gunshots were hitting our windows,” she said of the noise as protesters hit the windows with crowbars and threw paintballs.

“It was almost like a tornado went through on our side of the street and destroyed everything in its path. It was scary,” Mayfield said.

After protesters left, Therapy’s security guard and a customer spoke to a man who they said may have been affiliated with the protesters. He told them he was part of “Black Ops.”

Customers and employees called business owners who weren’t at the scene and turned to social media networks to let people know what was happening.

“We had 15 different calls from our neighbors and people posted on our Facebook page: ‘Hey, you guys, your windows have gotten broken,’” said Jason Perkins, owner of the event venue Brick and Mortar.

“I thankfully had my fellow merchants calling my cellphone over and over again. I was at a concert and they finally got hold of me,” said Bridget Moore, Weston Wear’s general manager.

“A couple of the guys from West of Pecos stayed in front until I came,” Moore said. “They stayed and kept an eye out and helped clean up. It was great that fellow merchants just kind of banded together.”

Along Valencia Street, other restaurants, including Locanda, Bar Tartine and Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, were busy cleaning up so they could open for business Tuesday evening.

“Ironically, they used water-soluble paint,” Bar Tartine’s Eng said, adding that employees of Locanda helped them wash off the paint thrown at their storefront.

At Weston Wear, the damage was too great to open for business. Three floor-to-ceiling windows were smashed and Moore had to board up the business for a few days. She hopes the store will reopen by the weekend, she said.

Although it’s too early for most to know exactly how much the acts of vandalism have cost them, many are getting estimates from repair crews.

At Weston Wear, repairs will cost approximately $7,000. That doesn’t include the loss of business due to closure, Moore said.

At Brick and Mortar, Perkins, the owner, said the cost to replace six broken windows was roughly $12,000. The windows were replaced Tuesday morning, and the venue is open for business.

“We are up and running,” Perkins said. “We determined in the morning that no matter what, we are going to be open.”

Many employees of the affected small businesses didn’t understand why they were targeted, as most businesses in the area are independently owned.

“We are totally invested in this community and it’s shaking to have something that is yours be demolished,” Moore said, adding that the clothing she sells is manufactured in San Francisco.

“We are a San Francisco small business employing people that work in the Mission,” Perkins said. “We had events with Occupy, we employ musicians that live and work in the neighborhood, you can’t be any more [of a] small business than us. Why we are being targeted is beyond me.”

“I guarantee you none of those people live in the Mission; you wouldn’t attack the place you live in, unless you’re an idiot,” Perkins said.

Most restaurants were able to open for dinner Tuesday night, but some, such as Farina on 18th Street, said they were taking steps to prepare for possible future incidents.

“We’re taking precautions in the event something like this would happen again,” Kostelni said.

“We’re not taking our tables and chairs out front, and we’re positioning our security gate just in case.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly misspelled Jason Perkins’ last name. We regret the error.

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36 Comments

  1. heather

    Is anyone going to acknowledge that over 500 calls were placed to 911, there is a police station two blocks away, and yet none of this was stopped? Cops were seen laughing and joking, walking behind the “protesters”, yet none of this was stopped? I find it shocking (or you know, maybe not so much) that almost everyone is quick to point at Occupy as the problem, but suggestions that the cops stood by and let it happen sound like a crazy conspiracy theory. It’s just troubling.

    • John

      I think most of the business vandalized were the ones that cater to the hispsters and moneyed people who come to the mission to spend their riches. The ‘latino area’ of the mission (24th) was left untouched. Ask any Mission longtime latino resident if they eat at Locunda or get coffee at the Barrel?
      the whitization of Valencia has become a reality.

      • Julie

        I agree and hope that there are open discussions about class, race, and redevelopment in San Francisco on the heels of this event, that people work together to turn it into something productive for the community. The deep-seated resentment needs to be aired and faced head on. The shrugging of shoulders, “why me?” response is not helpful. Business owners need to be proactive in their responses, not self-protective (see my comment below).

        • roe

          “…something productive for the community.” = businesses give a bunch of stuff/services for free to all of the Latino approved charities/causes in the Mission. In return the recipients sneer at the business and use all of their favorite buzz words in their description (racist, gentrify, whitey, hipster (MUST be used), etc). See John’s post for more ideas.

        • jth

          You mean they should be defensive? What are they doing that causes deep-seated [sic] resentment? Employing people? Paying taxes? Why don’t the people with resentments question themselves as to why they want to hurt their neighbors?

          Of course they have the right to ask “Why me?” They haven’t done anything wrong aside from causing some unexplained “resentment.”

      • heather

        I do agree with what you’re saying (I live near 24th and Potrero), and I think it speaks even further to my point. Go to any Occupy event and you will find people of color, you will find the homeless, the disenfranchised, the poor….these are not people who have any interest in attacking the Mission, regardless of whom the businesses attacked cater to.

      • Pamela

        It seems that the businesses that were vandalized are the ones that do everything to improve the neighbhorhood. Ten years ago who would have thought you’d be able to walk down Valencia St without getting mugged or worse.

      • jlaix

        hey john… …..you

      • roe

        The Occupy protest/gathering/whatever took place at Dolores Park. Location: Dolores and 18th. Since these bastards were part of Occupy and/or used the cover of the Occupy march to hide in, how exactly could they get to 24th and Cesar Chavez unnoticed if they wanted to? They couldn’t. Although it was a nice plus (in their minds) to hit some high end businesses, this was a crime of opportunity. You do get points though for being the first to play the oh-so-typical blame evil whitey race card. Congrats!

      • seriously?

        Who do you think these morons where? I was on Valencia when this happened. Despite the silly facemasks, it was pretty clear this was nearly exclusively a young, white, male crowd.

        Frankly, had it been anything else, I don’t think the cops would have stood by and let the whole thing happen. Can you imagine the crackdown if 100 young black guys were breaking car windows on Valencia?

      • randolph mortimer

        so, how long have you been a racist ?

    • roe

      I agree that the cops standing by and not stopping the criminals IS hard to understand.

      One thing is for certain though: if a few cops tried to stop this VIOLENT group of *UNKNOWN SIZE*, became outnumbered (which could have easily happened), been physically attacked (you know damn well that would have happened), used any type of force to defend themselves (club, tazer or yes, gun), people like yourself would be shrieking about police brutality, that the poor oppressed protesters just wanted to express themselves, etc.

      • Sigmarlin

        “if a few cops tried to stop this VIOLENT group” …you mean doing their job? An armed trained policeman cannot take down a skinny 18 year old hooligan? Then what are we paying them for?

        Even the business owners said it looked like the cops were “escorting” the pack. This has agent provocateur written all over it. Including the targets. Why would a anti-capitalist go after a Latin airline but leave the banks alone? Someone wanted to plant derision in the minds of SFers and you are buying into it to because your mind was made up from the start.

    • jth

      The cops won’t do anything in a riot situation unless they’ve called a mobilization and put on riot gear. Apart from that, they’re not going to risk fomenting a street battle where they’re clearly outnumbered. Seriously, what are they going to do, try to arrest a few anarchists as they get swarmed? Shoot them?

  2. Julie

    Although most restaurants were able to open for dinner Tuesday night, some such as Farina on 18th Street remained cautious.

    “We’re taking precautions in the event something like this would happen again,” Kostelni said.

    “We’re not taking our tables and chairs out front and we’re positioning our security gate just in case,” he said.

    That is a poor response and it sounds like the broadly Americanist response after terrorism. Butressing yourself is not a deep solution, as we know from TSA and the refusal of a global conversation. How about hosting a meeting with your neighbors on that same patio about what is happening and the community?

    • roe

      If at Farina (for example) these thugs threw a chair and seriously injured a local Latino employee, you’d be demanding that Farina pay him and his family millions for not anticipating possible problems and adequately providing a safe work environment. I don’t blame Farina or any other business one bit for doing what they need to do to protect their employees, patrons, and yes, their business.

    • Christophe

      I think you are operating under the charitable, but false assumption that the people throwing chairs had a legitimate grievance against these businesses that they were expressing in a direct (and perhaps excessive) way.

      If someone’s position is, “I feel like fucking shit up,” it’s a bit hard to “dialogue” with them.

  3. roe

    Julie points out an important, ongoing and probably unresolveable issue: the foaming at the mouth, seeing red, spike your blood pressure hatred of anyone who lives in this neighborhood who is not Latino and poor (or relatively). How DARE they! IMO the Latino community will not budge 1 mm from their hatred or their continuing claims of victimization in practically EVERY situation. Don’t see a solution when 1 side is that deeply entrenched.

    DH and I moved here ~15 yrs ago. We are both white and have college degrees (GASP!). I can only admit this under the anonymity of the internet. We tried to fit in to the community. Shop the local businesses, be courteous and kind, talk to people, etc. Our kids are grown so we didn’t meet anyone through school functions, etc.

    What we have found is that the “community” is happy to take your $$$ and volunteer time BUT don’t you dare complain or try to change anything. Don’t like gang violence? RACIST! Think that an empty store front would be better used as a restaurant or store? SNOB! Think that people should get their facts straight before they launch a media smear attack? ELITIST!

    Got sick of walking on eggshells and being a “whipping boy”. So now we just live here. Don’t bother anyone and (hope) no one bothers us. Still shop/dine locally and are nice to people. Other than that, forget it.

    • Where in the world is the love, sheesh!

      As a Hispanic human being with multiple degrees get off this. Pointing the blame on Latinos to all of this really? What I witness most of the protesters were a diverse group of thugs causing trouble. Reagrdless of race or ethnic groups: those people were trouble makers. Do not lump all Hispanic people, I embrace diversity in my hood. You are not the spokesperson to the Hispanic groups, who is not budging? who, what and where is my question? The Mission has welcomed everyone, I cannot say those who have come in have the done the same thing. Think critically, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and think. Have you ever been lumped to a group and said” hey that is not who I am”.

    • Sigmarlin

      I agree with the above poster. Perhaps you have not been met with open arms because you ooze contempt. I too am white and have lived in the Mission longer than you. Yes, we resent the affluent (i’ll include myself in that) who treat the Mission like their playground. But mostly I resent the politicians (Esp. willie brown) who sold SFs soul to the highest bidder. SF has a critical shortness of affordable housing that affects us all. Instead of fighting with the Latinos (who also want cheap rent) why not work on lobbying the city to follow it’s plan to build the affordable units they are required to build. Perhaps that would take some of the resentment out of the neighborhood?

  4. Aunt Lola

    Was this the Tea Party that did this? I remember the news media telling us how terrible the Tea Party was but they could never offer any proof.

  5. Sylvia

    We must always tell the truth no matter how much it hurts. The people that did this are liberals. They vote democrat. They are narrow minded and mean spirited. They are violent and full of hatred. Why is this important? Because liberal democrats try to portray themselves as just the opposite. They lie about themselves and it is important to constantly point this out so the younger people will know which side is the one to stay away from.

    • randolph mortimer

      This sort of bipartisan bullshit has no business in a comment on this sad event, in my opinion. Go troll a political blog somewhere instead.

      • heather

        @Sylvia: Go away. This isn’t that kind of blog. Go comment on Fox News or something.

    • marco

      This is not a liberal/conservative issue. I agree with the other commentors… this is not FOX where everything is about the evil liberals and the wonderful conservatives. Both sides have their lunatic idiots (Anarchists/TeaParty). That’s not the issue here.

  6. blingbling

    It’s upsetting to see these vandals do their thing, but can anyone else see the irony in neighbors and other businesses raising money for Tartine!

    I’d love to see these folks mobilize a fundraiser when a kid gets killed or a local school can’t afford to pay for art. And you don’t get to pat yourself on the back for giving away a gift certificate to a local nonprofit who is trying to raise funds. This is the price of doing business in any community that you enter. Very few businesses step up in serious ways. Sam and BiRite do, the folks at Commonwealth do, even Foreign Cinema to name a few, but the vast majority do very little to give back.

    • Sigmarlin

      Yeah, its like those kickstarter campaigns asking for donations to start someone’s personal pet project of an upscale bakery. If I were to give money to a for-profit business, I’d expect something in return…like a cupcake! Since when did capitalism become a charity cause?

  7. Herman

    If anyone has an issue with gentrification take it up at the ballot box and with your Supervisor. Attacking local Mom and Pops is just stupid.

  8. Susan

    On Monday night a group of young guys and a girl who live next door played death metal at full volume, drank beer and whipped themselves into a frenzy for two hours and then went out around 8PM, probably to Dolores Park where they would contribute to the “ruckus” and maybe do something rad like smash shit up. I have a hard time believing this was a coincidence.
    I don’t understand the police reaction at all – but my impression of SFPD has always been that they are window dressing and fairly inept.

    • randolph mortimer

      I’m sure the SFPD would love to speak to your neighbors.

      • Susan

        I’ve been meaning to check to see if there was a metal concert in town that night – I don’t want people to get called out for the wrong reasons.

    • marco

      The “problem” with SFPD is that most of “progressive” San Francisco would be up in arms had the police done anything to these poor, oppressed anarchists to stop them. Imagine, God forbid, if one of them had been bruised by a non-lethal projectile, or wrestled to the ground and arrested. SFPD gets no support from progressive SF, so of course won’t go out of their way to protect the community that doesn’t support them.

      • Susan

        I think part of the problem is that these vandals discard their black clothes and blend in with the crowd, making arrests difficult. But I have heard that SFPD didn’t take the threat seriously, and they should have been more vigilant,

  9. Margo

    I wonder why we have gone soft on self defense? What kind of sick political ideology disallows the legitimate use of firearms for protection of life and property? Ironically it is the same political ideology that these violent occupiers adhere to. Of course many of you dislike the term occupiers and instead call them anarchists. This is because you were sympathetic to the occupiers and now that they have shown their true colors in your own neighborhood your ego won’t allow you to admit you were wrong all along. You are unable to disavow them so instead you change their name to make yourself feel better. Something else that should make you feel better if you are mature is to admit you were wrong about the occupiers in the first place.

    • heather

      Except….you’re spouting off a bunch of opinions that have no basis in fact. Occupy has not “shown their true colors”. Occupy has never aligned themselves with the black bloc anarchists, even thought the anarchists have had a presence at a number of Occupy events. They are known to be a small group of violent and aggressive people who never show their faces; that is not a group that I, as someone who supports the efforts if not always the tactics, of the Occupy movement cares to support. So how ’bout you take your falsely authoritative tone and hop over to some conservative site where you’ll be more welcome, mkay?

  10. Margo

    The article said it was a “peaceful assembly at Dolores Park.” How many of those progressive occupying peaceful people had head coverings tucked away in their backpacks or pockets? They didn’t find them while strolling down the street on their way to destruction. At some point you democrats are going to have to shun the occupiers, just out of principal, if you have any.

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