A small group of activists in support of the Mission moratorium ballot initiative went to the offices of Maximus Real Estate Partners, the developers planning 345 units at 16th and Mission streets, and challenged its leadership to a debate “about the future of the Mission District.”
Robert Rosania, the developer of the large market-rate project and the principal owner of Maximus Real Estate, wasn’t in the offices at the time of the rally, activists said. The rally was mostly organized to bring attention to Rosania’s financial contributions to defeat Proposition I, the ballot initiative that would pause the construction of market-rate housing in the Mission District for 18 months.
Rosania contributed $180,000 to the “No on I” campaign and Seth Mallen of Maximus contributed another $20,000, according to activists and Open Data SF.
“We know at least $200,000 is essentially coming from Maximus to defeat Proposition I,” Blue said. “If Robert Rosania has $180,000 to laying around to defeat a proposition that’s come from the community, it sounds like he plans to make a huge profit from the Monster in the Mission.”
Asked whether he believes a debate would actually take place with Rosania, Blue said, “I’m not holding my breath.”
Bearing signs reading “Wanted: Robert Rosania for Mission Displacement,” protesters walked into Maximus’ gated office complex and crowded outside a closed office door. “Maximus, open up! We have a letter for you,” said Gabriel Medina of the Mission Economic Development Agency. “We hear you in there — why do you wanna hide behind closed doors?”
“We’re your neighbors, gardeners, and teachers,” Medina continued. “Mr. Rosania, you’ve heard the people — come out and have this debate!”
After receiving no response, Medina slipped a letter under the door, and the group walked out of the complex, chanting: “We’ll be back!”
Police Officer D. Sands, who watched as the protesters delivered the letter said, “I don’t even know if they’re allowed on the property, but they’re peaceful, so that’s good.”
“I really would have loved if we were able to engage more, and if they had opened their doors to us,” said Lia Salaverry, who works with the Proposition I campaign. “But I think we came out strong and were able to get our message forward, and that’s successful in and of itself.”
The door had been open roughly an hour before, according to some of the protesters.
“They obviously saw us, pulled all their shades and battened down the hatches,” said John Eller of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, a statewide grassroots community organization. “I bet you could come here an hour later and all their shades will be up and doors open. I walked in the office [earlier], and there were plenty of people in there.”
A Maximus spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
We will update this post if a statement from Maximus becomes available.