Plans For Latino ‘Cultural Corridor’ on 24th Street

Photo by Courtney Quirin

Photo by Courtney Quirin

Go social – share this article with your friendsFacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditLinkedInEmail

Change is coming to Lower 24th Street in 2014, and, this time, it’s not gentrification.

Rather, the stretch of 24th Street between Mission Street and Potrero Avenue is about to dig in and formalize its Latino roots. A community-led effort to turn Lower 24th Street into a protected cultural corridor will rev up this month.

“The cultural corridor is to preserve the culture along 24th Street around the Latino community — in order to preserve it for the future, especially now with gentrification, and also to recognize the community,” says Erick Arguello of Calle 24, the Mission-based merchants and residents association leading the campaign. The proposed Latino cultural corridor would also be called Calle 24, Spanish for “24th Street.”

Lower 24th Street has been on the route for Carnaval, Day of the Dead and Cesar Chavez holiday processions for decades, and is home to the highest concentration of Latino-owned businesses and murals in the city. “So, it’s about packaging all of these and marketing it that way,” Arguello says.

Similar movements to retain neighborhood cultural identity during a boom of change and displacement are proliferating across San Francisco. This fall Japantown released its community-led Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy, which documents its social heritage and the economic and regulatory tools necessary to maintain it. The LGBTQ community has been working with the Planning Department to memorialize and provide neighborhood resources for the LGBTQ community in SoMa, and the Filipino community has proposed a similar Filipino Social-Heritage Special Use District, also in SoMa.

In the same vein, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development recently awarded an $88,000 grant to San Francisco Heritage, a historical preservation nonprofit, to carry out a citywide Latino historical research project. Launching this month and expected to take two years, the project will identify cultural and physical resources — like buildings, murals or parks — important to the city’s Latino history to help the city better preserve them. The Mayor’s Office has also recently funded the nonprofit to map LGBT and African American history across the city.

“Pretty much everybody’s concern is that the culture of San Francisco is being changed and the diversity and the contributions of a lot of immigrants are being lost,” Arguello says.

So, what exactly would a “Latino Cultural Corridor” mean?

“We’re still working out the details,” Arguello says. The process of becoming a cultural district is a muddled one, with many layers that Arguello hopes will each add a little more regulatory bite.

“We don’t have an exact formula, so there’s not a Step 1, Step 2, Step 3,” Arguello says. “There are different models, so we’ll be taking a look at them down the line.”

What is in the Works

Already, Calle 24 is working with Supervisor David Campos’ office to develop a resolution to gain recognition of Lower 24th Street as a cultural district, a symbolic proclamation with no legal implications, says the supervisor’s legislative aide Nate Allbee. The resolution will outline the historical and cultural importance of Lower 24th Street and then be voted upon by the Board of Supervisors.

Although the cultural district designation lacks regulatory teeth, it would aid the process of gaining other protections, like city zoning as a Special Use District similar to Japantown, Chinatown and North Beach.

A Special Use District designation — awarded by the Planning Department — would allow residents and merchants to define important cultural and historical components of the street in the city planning code. Planners could then use that criteria while weighing building uses and future development.

What’s for sure is that over the next six months Calle 24 will survey the street’s stakeholders to create a strategy to pinpoint the cultural, historical and physical aspects of  24th Street’s heritage — and then determine which legal designations would best preserve them. Those efforts could be restricting building or street appearance, supporting mom-and-pop businesses, or creating mural protection zones, Arguello says.

“In the end it will probably be a Special Use District because it has more teeth,” Arguello says.

However Arguello and Calle 24 will also consider other avenues of garnering protections, such as becoming a Business Improvement District. That designation allows business and property owners to levy taxes and regulations on themselves for community improvements.

Culture is Hard to Define

Louie Gutierrez, manager of Panaderia La Reyna on 24th Street, welcomes the idea of increased restrictions based on Lower 24th Street’s cultural heritage. Gutierrez is concerned that Lower 24th Street is transforming into an “elite corridor” as expensive condos and $15 sandwiches creep onto the block.

“It will help keep it safe for small business owners,” says Gutierrez, whose mother has owned the bakery since 1977. “For one thing, it will stop [big-]box stores like Walgreens and Safeway from coming in.”

Yet Kate Rosenberger, owner of Alley Cat Books on 24th Street, says “culture” is not easy to define. Rosenberger has owned businesses in the Mission and Bernal Heights for 28 years, opening her fourth bookstore — Alley Cat Books — on 24th Street two years ago. While Rosenberger is elated to hear that Arguello is concocting a solution to maintain the street’s identity, she is curious to hear what Calle 24 counts as “culture.”

“I think some very specific goals need to be stated in order for them to be met. It can’t be this nebulous idea of what we’re losing,” she says, adding that she’s saddened by how quickly the area is losing its diversity. “Every day, I have people come to me with tears in their eyes saying that they can’t afford to live here anymore.”

Alley Cat Books isn’t a Latino-owned store, but it caters to Latino customers with a large Spanish-language inventory. Still, Arguello says Rosenberger and other non-Latino merchants will wield equal voting power in Calle 24’s efforts. He asserted that the designation as a cultural corridor will benefit all businesses in the long run — no matter the owner’s heritage.

“There will be a lot of enhancements to the area, there will be a lot of marketing to the area, more funding will come into the area, which will bring in a lot of business,” Arguello says.

Once the six-month survey is complete, Calle 24 will present its strategy to the Planning Department and Board of Supervisors. If approved, the proposal would reap not just protections,  but leverage to apply for grants.

Currently, Calle 24 is waiting to hear whether it will secure one grant for $20,000 from the mayor’s office for outreach over the next six months. Still, if the grant falls through, Arguello says Calle 24 will show its usual pluck: launching its own fundraising campaign.

Sure, protesting a tech bus gets a lot of attention. But there’s actually wonkier ways that 24th Street can protect its character:

A “cultural district” designation from the Board of Supervisors: A symbolic proclamation with no legal teeth, a cultural district would still help broadcast the corridor’s Latino history, like landing “Calle 24” on a map of San Francisco or having signs posted along the street.

A “Special Use District” designation from the Planning Department: A special use district would allow residents and merchants to define important cultural and historical components of the street in the city’s planning code. Planners could then use that criteria while weighing future building uses and development.

A Business Improvement District, formed by the business owners themselves: A BID designation allows merchants and property owners to levy taxes and regulations on themselves for community improvements.

96 Comments

  1. John

    Race-based categorizations of a neighborhood are not conducive to community harmony. While I enjoy a trip to Chinatown or Japantown as much as anyone, I think that a city that claims to love diversity should not be stamping neighborhoods with non-diverse classifications.

    This sends the wrong message i.e. that race is important. It isn’t. In fact, scientifically, it does not exist.

    Shall we declare the Marina a white district?

    • K

      This is a beautiful and exciting idea. I hope an African American community opens.

      As a city that claims to love diversity, we should applaud this.

      I don’t know if the “white” analogy applies though. What is “white”? How about Irish, Italian, etc.?

      • John

        Why would “black” have an identity but “white” does not?

        • HoofHearted

          It’s NOT about race. It’s about money. Specifically, it’s about sandwiches. $15 is ridiculous!

          • John

            A $15 sandwich typically will be healthier, have better ingredients, be served more lavishly. The ambience, decor and people-watching will be better, with a better choice of drinks, and so on.

            $15 for a mean really isn’t a lot any more. Many Vanecia St. restaurants are charging $20 to $30 or more for an entree, and dinner for two can easily bust $100 with wine.

            It’s not like there aren’t cheap places as well so I see no problem either way.

      • reymundo armendariz

        There already are districts for White ethnicities such as North Beach for Italian Americans. There are also ethnic enclaves across the USA and always have been historically. To acknowledge an appreciate a ethnic community is a celebration of diversity. Assimilation into one ethnicity-free community is the opposite of diversity. Also, the parameters and norms of mainstream culture in our country have always racist and biased towards European customs and attitudes. Both inherently racist and divisive.

    • SAMIAM

      Your the reason why they are creating this.

    • You’re wrong, race does exist scientifically. And it’s important medically because different ethnic heritages often have predispositions for different diseases.

      Stop quoting science in the name of racism. Are you a scientist or just a landlord collecting rent from the less fortunate?

      Also they’re not stamping a neighborhood but a few blocks in an existing ethnic commercial district.

      You should openly say that an SF property owner you will not allow ethnic classication of city areas to limit property appreciation.

      • John

        Different predispositions to diseases can be explained by different historic environments. The genetic difference between races is trivial.

        But racists like to emphasize race to suit their ideological ends, whether KKK or the PC mob.

      • confused

        I am a scientist. Race has no scientific basis. I doubt you know much of anything about population genetics and the underlying genetic causes and contributors of disease.

        • landline

          In the context of present day society, race is a social and political concept, notwithstanding genetics. People see the color of someone’s skin, not the DNA in his or her cells.

          To claim that racism is non-existent because there is no strict genetic definition of race is laughable at best.

          Regardless, race-baiter “John” injected race into the comments with his opening comment. Unsurprisingly, his statement is even more ridiculous because few human beings define Latinos or Hispanics as a “race” even under non-genetic based standards.

          But now I know that community organizations like Calle 24 are just like the KKK because of his thoughtful wisdom.

          • John

            LOL, Race was “injected” into this topic in the article when it cited a special designation for Hispanics.

            “confused” is correct about race having no valid scientific basis, which makes a mockery both of racism and of race-based policies.

          • landline

            The word “race” does not appear in the article. You speak a lot about things you know little.

            A modern day “Know Nothing”, anti-humanitarian rather than anti-Catholic.

            Seriously, do you have any idea how people who participated in yesterday’s march spend their time or money? Are you personally acquainted with any of them? I bet the answers are “no” and “no”, but yet you know for certain that they don’t contribute to community betterment or help out people in need.

          • John

            landline, did you miss the word “Latino2 in the article headline?

            That’s a race, although “Hispanic” is more accurate.

            And what does any of that have to do with “yesterday’s march”? Or did you get your threads mixed up again?

          • Ed

            Stop feeding the troll. It only makes him stronger.

          • John

            Thanks, Ed, I’m not sure landline is a troll or just that he can only engage a debate by making it personal.

            I prefer to focus on the facts, logic and argument.

        • Well, you are a poor scientist in that case or maybe overstepping your expertise?

          Racial/ethnic determinants of disease have been known for many years. Here is a high profile review paper from 2004, even before the mass of new sequencing data. And even before that there was plenty of epidemiological data.

          http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v36/n12/abs/ng1204-1243.html

          And how do you think ancestry.com and 23andme can provide data based on your genome sequence about your racial/ethnic heritage? That even works for highly diverse, mixed populations as in this country.

          • backtotheburbs

            And as with any science, it can be used for good or evil. Evil tends to prevail these days …

            What is wrong with acknowledging that people with different racial/ethnic backgrounds (which is synonymous) have different genetic predispositions to disease? By not acknowledging this you are preventing people from getting the personalized health care they require. And that is pure evil …

          • John

            There are other factors that explain why different races have different propensities to different diseases.

            That doesn’t prove that race exists as a biological concept any more than the obvious physical differenvces in appearance do.

            The differences in DNA between different races is trivial.

          • backtotheburbs

            The genetic differences between ethnicities may be ‘small’ but they are not trivial. A single nucleotide difference can have a profound functional impact (skin color is one example). In the same vein, the amount of genetic differences between humans and chimps could be considered ‘trivial’, but clearly the functional implications are huge. Part of this ‘small’ argument is that not all regions of the genomes are equal, certain regions have larger functional impacts than others.

            Are you saying Ashkenaze women shouldn’t get tested for breast cancer predisposition?

            Are you saying all people are the same? Except for well to do white property owners who don’t contribute to society in a meaningful way and spend their time responding to every mission local article?

            Of course you are allowed to disagree with scientific literature and evidence (without quoting any alternative data). But that will not make your argument correct …

            Also, not only are you advocating for the city to get rid of all ‘low-value’ individuals but now you turn to ethnicity too. I can’t imagine how many want to live in your ‘diverse’ world. You are free to move to the thousands of non-diverse places in this country instead of hating on community efforts that are more than one voice of an outlier individual.

          • John

            B2B, interesting that you argue for a biological basis for race because typically it is right-wing racists who make that argument, while liberals disagree believing (falsely) that the lack of true biological differences between races somehow undermines racism.

            But again, I did not introduce race here. The article did by mentioning that 24th Street be somehow categorized as a Hispanic neighborhood when the reality of course is that it is a mixture of all races, and all races should feel equally at home there.

            Attempts to introduce race into politics are nothing more than another variation on the old theme of racism. The funny thing is – it’s usually whites that do that in that particularly condescending attitude they have towards minorities.

    • confused

      Race != culture. But anyway, It’s common for cities to give some kind of formal recognition to areas that were historically, or at one point, immigrant communities. So, this could be innocuous. Although I doubt it’ll achieve any goals of reducing speculation, property values, or rents.

      • John

        Yes, as I said before, I have no issue with ChinaTown.

        However ChinaTown doesn’t get politicized like this. A few signs are fine. Race-based policy initiatives are not.

        • David

          From WikiPedia:
          “The area was the one geographical region deeded by the city government and private property owners which allowed Chinese persons to inherit and inhabit dwellings within the city…

          “1906 to the 1960s

          During the city’s rebuilding process, certain city planners and real-estate developers had hatched plans to move Chinatown to the Hunters Point neighborhood at the southern edge of the city, even further south in Daly City. Their plans failed as the Chinese, particularly with the efforts of Consolidated Chinese Six companies, the Chinese government, and American commercial interests reclaimed would then be absorbed into the financial district the neighborhood and convinced the city government to relent. Part of their efforts in doing so was to plan and rebuild the neighborhood as a western friendly tourist attraction. The rebuilt area that is seen today, resembles such plans.”

          This is politics.

    • You know what distinguishes neighborhoods? Money. The Latinos that settled in the Mission ( like my parents in the 60′s) did so because they could not afford to live elsewhere in S.F. The Marina is very expensive, thus very White, that’s real talk. So Yes, the Marina could be designated a White neighborhood…and it is.

    • C. Russo

      I’m not Hispanic but I love the idea. Diversity and culture should be nurtured. Why do angry white trolls always try to turn these concerns into a race war?

      • John

        I suspect that only white liberals like this idea.

        Emphasizing one race over others isn’t celebrating diversity. It is encouraging the exact opposite of diversity.

        It’s like the Marina celebrating it’s whiteness and calling that diversity.

  2. Ben

    I’d like to see this community direct their focus on cleaning up the streets of the lower 24th area. They’re disgusting – heaps of abandoned rubbish, lotto tickets and empty $1 gin bottles, human urine, dumb graffiti. If Arguello spent half as much effort on this as he does on attempting to retain Latino cultural presence, he could make the neighborhood proud. Otherwise, what message is being sent about what this “cultural heritage” is?

    • ThatGuy

      Stop bringing up things that matter, asshole.

      NO POLICE PRESENCE! GRAFFITI EVERYWHERE! CRIME!

      YAY!

      • two beers

        Dude, watch that blood pressure. All that energy put into hatred and anger against people who happen to be poor, working class, and/or non-white could be put to better, more productive use.

    • John

      Agree, Ben. It’s funny how these people that claim to care for the neighborhood never actually do anything tangible to make it better, like volunteer or give to charities.

      Instead they just act out like petulant children.

  3. nutrisystem

    1) Tourists from all over the world come to experience the Latino character of lower 24th street. And since tourism is a major industry for this city, it makes economic sense to preserve this ethnic character.

    2) SF is often called “a city of neighborhoods”, and lower 24th is one of the best. It’s like visiting another country without leaving the city, a fascinating all-senses experience. It’s just plain fun to go there.

    3) Lower 24th is a physical manifestation of the foundation of America: immigration. Immigrants have always created ethnicity-based support communities to ease the transformation into their new country, and here we have a beautiful living example of one.

    4) Lower 24th, as a distinctive neighborhood, is at EXTREME risk. Without protections, unrestricted market forces will wipe out the Latino character within a few years.

    There are many things that we, as a society, consider beautiful and valuable and therefore worthy of protection. Like cable cars and redwood forests, lower 24th is such a thing.

    • John

      I am yet to see a bus full of Japanese tourists on 24th Street.

      • nutrisystem

        Fortunately, the international visitors to Lower 24th are walking (wouldn’t be much fun driving through on a bus). More Germans than Japanese so far.

        • John

          Maybe Germans, because I recall in NY it was the Germans who were fascinated with the black churches in Harlam. The other tourists never went north of 96th Street.

          I don’t see many obvious tourists on 24th Street. I see a lot more on Valencia Street which has largely lost it’s hispanic nature, but does have lot of cute stores and restaurants.

          • nutrisystem

            So, in other words, real estate sleazebags could make more money if Lower 24th was turned into “lots of cute stores and restaurants”? Is that your point?

          • John

            I do not begrudge the Hispanic property and business owners in the Mission a little success and prosperity, and I am surprised that you see that as a negative thing.

            But the point was more that weaving race into this narrative is prejudicial.

    • Ben

      When the tourists come here, not only do they see the wonderful Latino elements, they see passed out drunks, abandoned mattresses, tagged murals, arguing junkies, etc. Recently, Cruisin’ Coyote’s ocean mural, which has been a tourist snapshot background ever since it went up a number of years back, was graffitied over with a big, hideous and pointless tag. This is what tourists experience about lower 24th – and the impression they take with them on the neighborhood’s “cultural heritage”. Arguello’s Lower 24th should be working on cleaning up this hood more effectively.

      • John

        Yeah, maybe tourists go to 24th Street to experience a little skid row before hitting a cocktail bar on Valencia for high-end people watching.

        • nutrisystem

          Believe it or not, many people find reality (warts and all) interesting, as opposed to going to the nice clean strip mall.

          • John

            So now you’re claiming that Valencia Street is a strip mall?

            And criticizing it because it is clean and safe?

          • nutrisystem

            No, strip malls are strip malls.

            Strip malls are what happens when unimaginative corporate and real estate types have their way. They now constitute the vast majority of the American commercial landscape and they suck.

            Lower 24th is the opposite of a strip mall – and for that reason alone it should be allowed to live.

          • Ben

            Nutrisystem, there is nothing vaguely interesting about cleaning human shit out of the tree well; there’s nothing interesting about regularly scrubbing and painting over dumb, pointless and ugly graffiti; there is nothing vaguely interesting about daily having to pick up all sorts of random garbage all over the street. There is something really sad about how our neighborhood treats it’s own home turf.

          • John

            When I said Valencia St. before you claimed it had some kind of analogy with a strip mall. I’m glad you now see that is not the case.

            Strip malls have their place as do big box stores, huge indoor malls and so on. Part of traveling is to see different things without passing judgment on them. I highly recommend that you do that rather than seeing everything as a pawn in some vast political battleground.

          • nutrisystem

            Ben, as someone who’s put in many years doing the tasks you describe, I appreciate the frustration.

            What’s interesting is the bigger picture: how society works and often doesn’t work when individuals have some agency (as opposed to a top-down carefully controlled environment like a mall).

            Europeans are routinely fascinated with American homelessness – stunned that a rich country would let mentally ill people fend for themselves on the streets (and not even give them a place to shit).

            And they are also fascinated by the creativity that comes from such a society.

  4. poor.ass.millionaire

    I actually think that this could be a good idea, but proceed with caution, like the alley cat bookstore owner said. I think it’s common, and beneficial, to highlight and promote the unique cultural aspects of specific districts- especially their commercial zones. But we must be careful not to make it too restrictive, or overly political (a real challenge in this city.)

    Already loads of tourists come down 24th st to see the murals, sample the food, etc. Formalizing this with historic/cultural designation signs, protecting the murals, and perhaps designating certain buildings and institutions (precita eyes, galerie la raza, etc.) could all make sense. What we don’t want is to make it “Latino only”, and I doubt Eric Arguello wants that either. Done right this could be a great thing for the neighborhood, and also address the crime, garbage and negative elements on the street.

    But for the record, I believe that this effort will make the mission more desirable, and you gentrification haters will not be satisfied. Giving pride, confidence, clean and safe streets to the mission will: raise the respect of its unique culture and simultaneously make the area more desirable to live in. A win-win in my book.

    • John

      The problem seems clear enough. Interesting neighborhoods and cities happen organically, naturally and spontaneously. They are not centrally planned by a bunch of bureaucrats and, when they are (like Ottawa and Canberra) they are totally dull.

      Put a committee of the usual suspect meddlers in charge of the neighborhood and you’ll probably end up eventually with a Hispanic theme park. Colonial Williamsburg with a Spanish accent and lobster burritos.

      • oiseaux

        They are indeed planned. Often times those older heritage communities were planned out of racism or xenophobia (“put the Italians there”). Even Chinatown, North Beach, and Japantown were planned – have specific governmental designations/protections. Only within the last 40-50 years did these type of districts become attractions. The difference with 24th is that we are seeing (and probably contributing to) a vanishing community. Now a group of people that are actually very involved in the Mission wants to preserve some of the heritage of the neighborhood, and why do you care? Yes, this is unlike older “recognized” neighborhoods. It is being pursued in the name of preservation and not segregation. This was a community that was formed organically over generations, and now this piece of San Francisco cultural heritage is being threatened. I don’t understand your objections. You are seeing this as a race issue, but to be Latino is not looking a certain way (there is much diversity in Central America). It is about being part of a rich and longstanding culture – one that contributed to the culture and popularity of our city. You need to look beyond race and look at heritage. This is a win for a community that has never not been marginalized.

        • John

          That was nicely argued and I think you would have a good argument IF hispanic culture was under the threat that you cite.

          But (at least as a white guy) I find it impossible to walk down, say, Mission Street or 24th Street without thinking that there is no threat. Those streets could be in South America with very little imagination.

          I also happen to believe that cities work best and cultures thrive most effectively when there is little emphasis placed on ethnic differences.

  5. missionnite

    To check out the work this group has done in the past. Go to http://www.calle24sf.org
    They do address many of the issues that are brought up here. They did advocate for lights and paving of 24th St. neighborhood clean-ups, park improvements and such…..

  6. Bob

    This sounds racist. Hopefully it really is “a symbolic proclamation with no legal implications.”

    • John

      There’s a massive paradox at the heart of all race-based politics and identity politics, regardless of how supposedly well-intentioned they might be.

      And that is that the very act of classifying people is inherently prejudicial and, when done in terms of race, racist. It’s just that modern-day racism in the US targets whites while non-whites are seen as precious and above criticism.

      I do not see anything useful being served by designating neighborhoods by race, except where history has imposed that on us, like with Chinatown. But if all this does is stick a few signs up and some more colorful paint jobs, then I think we can all stomach it.

      But the nauseous and sanctimonious elevating of any one race onto a pedestal leaves a nasty taste in the mouth of anyone who truly cherishes diversity over race-specific emphasis.

      • Kaliman

        Not a big deal – it’s a cultural designation to highlight the Latino roots and culture that has existed in the corridor. San Francisco has Chinatown, Japantown, Little Russia on Greary Blvd, Italian North Beach. Other larger cities are filled with cultural neighborhoods as well – LA, Chicago, New York, Miami, etc.

        • John

          Actually the Mission odes not have Hispanic roots unless you want to argue that El Camine Real was a Hispanic colonization, which not many would.

          If anything the roots of the Mission are in the Irish, Italian and German families who moved here and developed it.

          I’d prefer a designation honoring that diversity than singling out just one ethnic group.

          But if it is all just symbolic then it hardly matters anyway.

          • nutrisystem

            Translation:
            I’m scared that if cultural protections gain traction in San Francisco, it will interfere with real estate profiteering.

          • Kaliman

            Ha ha – you’re a funny troll with denial issues. No Hispanic roots in the Mission? There still are and some remnants go way back – some names are a hint – Mission Dolores, Dolores Park, Bernal, Guerrero, Valencia, Potrero, Noe and so on.

            You’re a humorous troll!!

          • Kaliman

            as in John the troll.

          • John

            Disingenuous, Kaliman, since I already acknowledged Mission Dolores. But of course that was Spanish not Hispanic. And that influence pervades all of California and so is moot here.

            The point is that the roots of the modern Mission are white. Hispanics only arrived 50 or so years ago in any numbers.

          • Kaliman

            I know your history is totally biased from your troll posts. Your attempts to be diverse come at the expense of the working poor and Latino immigrants.

            I would say that 70 years is a good enough time to establish a rich cultural history – starting from the 1940′s.

            The experience for non-white immigrants in California (and the Southwest) has been a bit harsh. Chinese Exclusion Act, Bracero program, Japanese interment camps, etc. but you’ll just minimize that as minor errors by politics of the time.

            http://www.sanfrancisco.travel/neighborhood/mission-district/san-franciscos-history-is-rooted-in-latino-culture.html

          • John

            OK, Kaliman, so you admit the Hispanic influence here is more recent.

            QED.

    • backtotheburbs

      What is racist exactly? That this ethnic group has been living in the neighborhood and runs most of the businesses on lower 24th?

      Or maybe its racist that these people tend to have lower standards of living? Weaker political representation? Lack of legal status or protections?

      Its already historical, they have been here for a while … and obviously are directly and brutally impacted by the current wealthification of SF. This was the less desireably neighborhood that they were able to move into. The fear that lower 24th could become another Valencia, with no utility to the community in terms of businesses (e.g. groceries, bookstores) is a very serious concern. Not everyone eats and drinks out every night …

      • John

        Of course Valencia has utility for the mission. It brings in huge amounts of money that pays wages to locals and benefits the neighborhood.

        If we built a “Museum of the Mission” and told only the story of the Hispanics, that would be racist.

        • missionnite

          Why are you so afraid?

        • Kaliman

          It’s is a cultural corridor highlighting the Latino influence and roots. Just noting how you reference “the Hispanics” or Hispanics in your posts is almost with some disdain. Unless they are prosperous business people.

          You, John, sounds like you would like to be rid of working poor (of any ethnicity) and specifically Latinos in the Mission.

          24th Street and it’s small businesses catering to it’s current residents (Latinos and Non-Latinos) should be preserved. The cultural district is good start.

          • John

            Wrong, Kaliman, the word “Hispanic” is a perfectly apt and fair word to use here, and no different from the “latino” word that you seem to hold as more PC.

            And as i already demonstrated, the roots of the Mission are not hispanic at all, but white.

          • backtotheburbs

            ‘Hispanic’ refers to the conquerors.

          • John

            B2B, you could say the same thing for the word “Latino” because that derives from the word “Latin” used generally for those from the Mediterranean countries.

            It’s impossible to consider the culture of central and south America without considering the influence of the Europeans who went there.

        • backtotheburbs

          Valencia street has ‘utility’ only for businesses and only after major city investments were made — bike lanes, a new police station, traffic calming, sidewalk widening. The current slew of high end business (which do not serve any day to day purpose for residents in general) are reaping huge benefits from taxpayer improvements.

          Any improvements on lower 24th st.? Nope.

          And how many Valencia businesses pay wages that allow someone to rent or buy locally? None of them … so either those employees are independently wealthy, rent-controlled, or commute from far away. Also SF has no special programs were taxes or income from local business go back to the local community — they all end up in city-wide funds.

          • John

            Lots of local residents spend their money on Valencia Street. I have no idea why you’d think otherwise.

  7. Kaliman

    This is exciting!!
    I think it’s a great idea and there are numerous examples of cultural districts in San Francisco and across many US cities. Very timely.

  8. E L Fowlie

    I am curious, does anyone remember the earlier cultural corridor being mostly Irish?
    Yes, including 24th St.
    Would love some sentiment, to acknowledge both cultures, not just Latino.
    Thank you.

    • John

      Fowlie, yes, I made the exact same point above, not realizing that you had already written this.

      My guess is that special designations of whiteness are not politically correct enough for this town. A move to have Marina declared as a special white area would not attract $80,000 in civic funding.

      • nutrisystem

        Translation:
        Real estate interests should be allowed to maximize their profits, even if that means destroying Lower 24th Street as a unique cultural asset.

        • John

          This has nothing to do with money. It is a symbolic classification only. Did you even read the article? It says the initiative has no legal standing.

          Not that i have anything against Hispanics running successful businesses or making a buck on RE.

          • Kaliman

            Your anti-Hispanic rants in your million+ posts make you a hypocrite. Oh, make that a hypocrite troll.

          • C. Russo

            Out of 69 comments at the time of this writing, 25 come from John. STOP TROLLING AND GET A BLOG!

          • John

            Kaliman, it’s not anti-Hispanic to suggest that putting undue emphasis on one race over others does not signify diversity but rather the opposite of that.

            I’m sorry but I think political correctness is a crock.

  9. Ana and Joe Sanchez

    No “cultural corridor” please!
    Thank you!

    Ana and Joe Sanchez

    • John

      It’s good to see Hispanics opposing this idea.

      It’s a perfect example of white liberals patronizing non-whites.

      • oiseaux

        Both Eric Arguello and Supervisor Campos are Latino. Google is an interesting resource.

        • John

          If you’re asking me about the difference between the words “Hispanic” and “Latino” then I am aware of the difference.

          For most practical matters, however, the words mean the same thing and people routinely use them interchangeably.

          Personally I think the term Hispanic is more precise but I don’t think it matters. I’ve noticed that eyes roll when people get all politically correct on such semantic trivialities.

  10. Ana and Joe Sanchez

    No “cultural corridor” please!
    Thank you!

    Ana and Joe Sanchez

  11. Bob

    This is a patronizing, racist proposal. The only thing it will accomplish is to enhance the Disney-fication of the Mission as a tourist destination to see “Latino Culture” in a zoo-like setting. By all means, put a mural of Cesar Chavez and Aztecs on every blank wall. Does anybody really want that?

    • John

      Agreed, Bob, creating a hispanic theme park is the worst form of identity politics.

      • nutrisystem

        So in your warped mind preserving a neighborhood from devastating real estate speculation is “creating a hispanic theme park” ?

        • John

          Nothing in this mooted plan “saves” anyone from what you are calling real estate speculation. Putting a few signs and murals up does not impact RE either way.

          But if you are asking me whether it is good for investors to find the Mission an attractive opportunity then, yes, I’d say it is good for anyone who wishes to have a home here or frequent a business here.

          Go to Detroit to see the opposite effect.

          • landline

            Why go to Detroit? I see the devastating effects of the economic system you shamelessly advocate for every day steps from my front door.

            And your answer to solve the problems you create is to pass laws against your victims. May your efforts force a homeless person without access to proper toilet facilities to defecate on your front step.

            In economic terms, that is called internalizing an externality.

          • John

            No, Detroit’s problems stem from the exact opposite situation to SF – a terrible local economy.

            What you are claiming to be “problems” here in SF are simply the manifestations of success and prosperity e.g. increasing cashflows and higher-paying jobs.

            Be careful what you wish for.

          • landline

            Same culprits. Different victims.

          • John

            On the planet landline, Detroit and SF are exactly the same.

            If that is what you believe, why don’t you move there?

          • landline

            That is not what I wrote. You are better at misinterpreting comments than reading comprehension. It is good for you that you live off the wages of your tenants. If you had to depend on your own mind for economic sustenance, you’d be in big trouble.

            It’s not the planet landline, it is planet capitalism and it is killing itself.

          • John

            landline, you were the one who used the word “same”.

            My only crime was refuting you.

            Capitalism seems to be doing very well for something that you claim is failing.

  12. A.T. Lupian

    Um, sorry to burst your bubble (both sides), but there is no mention of race in the entire article. I think culture needs to be qualified. That is, in accordance with City and County policies and code, “a ‘cultural district’ designation from the Board of Supervisors: a cultural district would…help BROADCAST the corridor’s Latino HISTORY, or “a ‘Special Use District’ designation from the Planning Department: A special use district would allow residents (i.e. of the rainbow phenotype) and merchants (Postmodern bookstores and panaderias) to define important CULTURAL (relative to San Francisco Mission District history) and HISTORICAL components of the street in the city’s planning code.” The uppercase bolded words are solely meant to offend the article skimmers. Further, these tantalizing micro-aggressions tend to stifle the gentrification discourse, which is the issue at hand. What is needed, in my opinion, is affordable housing and less Google buses. I am a creative professional and educator, but I must admit that it is quite expensive to live in this beautiful district.

Comments are closed.