The proposed Occupy SF lot on Mission Street is the site of a former school between 15th and 16th streets.

Some business owners around the current Occupy SF location on the Embarcadero are none too happy about the encampment. Now, a proposed relocation could bring the protesters, tents and all, to the Mission District. Local business owners held mixed opinions about the move, and most were skeptical.

“I don’t like the idea,” said Sharon Drummond, owner of Hotel Mirabelle at Mission and 15th streets. “We have enough problems around here already.” She added that the encampment’s proposed location is too obscure to make the group’s point, and would only serve to deter business in the community.

Representatives of Occupy SF are in talks with Mayor Ed Lee’s office about relocating the tent encampment from Justin Herman Plaza to a lot on the site of a former high school on Mission Street between 15th and 16th streets, the Chronicle reported on Wednesday.

The proposed site takes up one-third of the block and is separated from the sidewalk by a chain-link fence. The area around the 16th Street BART station also has a high concentration of single-room occupancy hotels and a high crime rate, according to police reports.

An employee at a nearby store who wished to remain anonymous noted: “It will kill business for us because customers will get harassed. The last thing we need is 400 people talking about things that no one here agrees with.”

Other store owners said they sympathize with the Occupy movement, but worry that the proposed encampment will exacerbate the community’s problems.

“This is a bad place already, but it’ll get worse,” said Najib Omar, who works at 777 Tarjedas Mart on the corner of 16th and Mission streets. Omar doesn’t think the encampment will deter customers, but he expects violence to break out between the protesters and local troublemakers.

“People will use it,” said Nesih Erkut, manager of the Dollar Only store on 16th Street between Mission and Valencia. He explained that some locals would take advantage of the chaos to commit crime and foment violence in the area.

Gregory Wood, owner of Forest Books on 16th Street between Mission and Valencia, disagreed. Wood isn’t worried about violence, and welcomes the encampment because he sees a link between his own independent bookstore and the Occupy movement’s grievances.

The point is not whether this will help or hurt business, according to Wood; the bigger issue is how the Occupy movement encourages non-corporate business models like his own.

Mojahed Abbas, who works at City Smoke and Gift at 18th and Mission streets, said he too supports the movement, but doesn’t think the Mission is the proper place for the encampment.

“Overseas they didn’t choose a neighborhood, they went to Tahrir Square,” he said, referring to the Egyptian uprising that led to the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. The Occupiers need a space that will be seen all over the world, Abbas said, adding that it’s the mayor’s office that wants them out of downtown.

Jason Lo, who owns Stagi Liquors on 16th Street between Mission and Valencia, says he is “OK” with the movement and doesn’t think it will hurt business, but can’t understand a Mission location. “[They] probably won’t get any coverage from it,” he said. “It won’t help them.”

Politics aside, a few local proprietors support the Occupy SF relocation for business reasons.

“Occupy or no, we’re looking for business,” said the owner of a local cafe who wished to keep his name and store anonymous, “and of course it will help business.”

For now, the proposed move is only in the discussion stage. It is not clear whether Occupy SF will agree to the new site or the mayor’s office and Board of Education would sign off on such an encampment.

Follow Us

Join the Conversation

10 Comments

  1. Ed Lee is continuing the city government’s policy of dumping problems in our neighborhood and then turning a blind eye to them.

  2. The Occupy movement is located downtown, along the Embarcadero to draw awareness to the banks and financial district on that block. The movement is about corporate greed and the problems with big banking. That is why the movement needs to be exactly where it is- posted up in front of those establishments the movement is protesting- not some arbitrary block in the Mission. This is an attempt to hide the protestors, literally behind a fence on a controlled lot, taking away from its true purpose. I agree with most statements by business owners in the neighborhood. Mission and 16th is one of the ugliest blocks in the city, this idea would only make it worse. The political agenda here is clear- hide the movement out of downtown where it’s making sense, and turn it into a government sanctioned homeless park out of the public eye, and concentrating the problems of 16th Mission with those of the movement.

  3. The occupy people should stay downtown where thebulk of the banks and corporations are located, the mission is full of small businesses.

    I wish The City would do something long term and community minded with that space, not create a temporary camp. Maybe open it as a playground and community garden? Something to bring people from the neighborhood out of their homes to help make the area around BART less drug laden and violent.

  4. Isn’t the whole point of the Occupy movement about the 1%? They should move it to Presidio Heights, not the Mission.

  5. The Mission has enough crime and trouble already and the last thing we need is 400 homeless people in tents moving into the neighborhood — and yes, I said homeless. If you go to the Occupy location downtown you will see that this is not a bunch of 99% ers group… it’s the 1% — the 1% at the bottom. As far as I could tell, everyone there was just sitting around smoking “medical” marijuana and cigarettes and hanging out. What’s incredible to me is, if you wanted to start a productive business in the Mission, you would have to go through months of neighborhood meetings and outreach, permit processes, all kinds of various fees and regulations, but if you want to bring in 400 campers, there’s no neighborhood meetings or permits, etc? That’s crazy.

  6. If this move is about providing a space where the homeless folks can camp safely without be harassed, then I support it for the sake of homeless folks having a space. As for what it means for the Occupy Movement: I think the occupy camp is about protesting the government and the corporations. I don’t think you can do that well by letting Mayor Lee decide where it is convenient to take that stand, especially in a space with little visibility and plenty of poor folks and drug addicts. Take it to Pacific Heights or the Marina. Take it to the front of the Federal Building. It should be used to make the 1% uncomfortable! Historical fact of interest: this was the Real Alternative Program High School campus for many years; a school founded by the community to serve kids kicked out of the SFUSD, until it was killed by the SFUSD’s Mickey Dantine several years ago.

  7. this just pisses me off and is the dumbest thing/idea ever! if you’re going to be involved in a revolution, you can not let government dictate how and where you revolt! the occupyers/campers/homeless/protesters would be completely forgotten in the mission which is why this has been proposed and the last thing we need in the mission is more ppl sleeping on the street. seriously? jesus-

  8. what do activists, students, techies, latina grnadmothers think about the idea? what do others in the mission think about it? small biz owners are actually a very small and unrepresentative segment. of the population, almost guaranteed to be cool toward anything that might keep shoppers away (altho caged up as they will be under this scheme, the occupiers may be a tourist attraction guys, like the zoo).

    1. I live here and I don’t care…. The OWS crowd is a minor annoyance. Let them be annoying down on the Embarcadero….. If they want to be annoying on 15th and Mission, I think they will find it very frustrating given the conditions (I’ve lived on that block before). They will have stuff constantly stolen, they will have people using the cover of the tents to shoot heroine, they will have pimp fights and they will generally be swarmed by crackheads….If they’re lucky, they might even witness some sex-for-crack action (which I’ve witness on my doorsteps more than once!) and the occasional human excrement in front of their tents.

      If I were them I wouldn’t agree to it. The embarcadero is much prettier… But personally I could care less. For all their bluster, OWS seems to be an impotent summer camp. I mean if it weren’t for the media I wouldn’t even know they exist as they have zero impact on my day to day life.

  9. Are these protester stupid? Occupy SF is about Occupying the big banks in the finacial district? What the hell is the point of occupying the Mission district?
    As a Mission local, im against all these stupid ass hipsters and anarchist trying to set up shop in our hood. These fools are gonna have Hella problems if they move out here. Im all ready telling all the homies whats up. Worst mistake you ever made Occupy SF. And of course Ed Lee would approve it. Bastards, hijo de la gran puta!

Leave a comment
Please keep your comments short and civil. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published.