A piece by Nani Chacon from Albuquerque, New Mexico and part of the new show at the Mission Cultural Center

“Baby Beast” tamed again

A 60-unit housing project proposed at 19th and Bryant streets has stalled yet again in the face of fierce community opposition.

During a Planning Commission hearing Thursday, community activists, fired up from an anti-gentrification march down Mission Street earlier that day, gave testimony on why the project will ultimately push longtime residents out of the neighborhood.  

“It would put me on the streets,” said Rafael Picazo. “I can’t live here no more — it’s getting too expensive. A lot of my people are becoming homeless.”

At an earlier hearing in November, commissioners decided not to approve the project, asking the project’s sponsors to do more sound community outreach. But it appears that did not happen.

“They got 30 days to sit down with us,” said Roberto Hernandez, a community activist. “I didn’t get a call. Nobody in this room got a call.”

The sponsors — the property owners of 2750 19th St., along with the owners of the business currently in the building, the Fitzgerald Furniture Company — did make one change: instead of dedicating ground floor space to La Cocina, a culinary workshop, 2,500 square feet will be dedicated to production, distribution and repair space.

The project is 20 percent affordable, with 11 of the 60 units being below-market-rate.  

Nevertheless, the commissioners believed the project sponsors did not do enough to engage the community in good faith.

“We’re just not here on this project,” said Commission President Rich Hillis.

45 units coming to Valencia — maybe

A new five-story mixed-use building could replace a vacant auto-repair shop at 235 Valencia St. The proposal includes 45 dwelling units — 18 studios, two one-bedrooms, 18 two-bedroom units, and two three-bedroom units — as well as 5,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. At this point, it’s unclear how many of the units will be affordable. The proposal also includes 52 bike parking spots but no off-street parking for cars.

A new exhibition at the Mission Cultural Center

The Mission Cultural Center launches a new exhibition on Friday that includes 20 artists in “Crossing Paths,” highlighting “important stories, cultures dreams, resilience and yearnings.”  It will be paired with “Stenciled Visions” in memory of Michael Roman, a beloved local artist who died in 2016.  The reception will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. More information is here.

Son Jarocho Festival at Brava

A week-long festival exploring the folkloric music of Veracruz begins Tuesday at the Brava Theater on Jan. 30, with the 6th Annual San Francisco Son Jarocho Festival. It includes community fandango, workshops with master artists, and youth activities. This year’s festival features Caña Dulce Caña Brava — appearing for the first time in the United States. You can find a full schedule of events here.

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I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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