Accusations fly as Mission High meeting regarding 1979 Mission project, the so-called “Monster in the Mission,” is controversially canceled

A Planning Commission hearing regarding the 331-unit development proposed for the 16th and Mission BART Plaza was supposed to take place this afternoon at Mission High School. But according to Mission High’s principal, the hearing was canceled after he purportedly received a series of bizarre phone calls from a representatives of the project’s developer, Maximus Real Estate partners.

Those phone calls, according to a statement from Mission High principal Eric Guthertz included in a press release sent out by the Plaza 16 Coalition, came from people who initially misidentified themselves. “When I asked these phone callers where they were from,” reads Guthertz’s statement, “they first claimed to be from the Planning Commision but then admitted they were from Maximus.” The callers allegedly warned the principal that the scheduled meeting would be marred by “potential disruptions and protests.”

Guthertz canceled the meeting, claiming it might disrupt an open house scheduled for later in the same night. “I would be honored to host the Planning Commission hearing at Mission High on another date, so that the Mission community can participate in democracy on this important issue,” Guthertz said in his statement.

Guthertz independently confirmed to Mission Local that the statements attributed to him in the press release are accurate. He claims to have received a call from, among others, Gene Royale, a co-founder of the Maximus-funded nonprofit Mission for All, which has canvassed the neighborhood, stumping for the development opponents have labeled “The Monster in the Mission” and proponents call “1979 Mission.”   

Joe Arellano, a spokesman for Maximus Real Estate partners, said “I can categorically deny we had anything to do communications with the principal of this nature.” Messages for Royale, who is affiliated with an organization an arm’s reach from Maximus, have not yet been returned.

Arellano was adamant that Maximus wanted the meeting to take place, as it is in the company’s interest to hold a hearing to move the project forward. He then claimed that the cancelation of the meeting was the work of the opposition, stating he “wouldn’t be surprised” if this was some manner of false flag operation from Plaza 16.

Mission High School, viewed from Dolores Park.

“I can say with 100-percent certainty that no member of the Plaza 16 steering committee made that phone call,” said Chirag Bhakta of the Plaza 16 Coalition. “To accuse us of making this phone call and to question the validity of the Mission High School principal is low — yet reminiscent of how this developer wants to work in San Francisco.”  

Dueling rallies are now scheduled for this afternoon, following the release of dueling press releases this morning. Supporters of the project, including members of Mission For All, will hold a demonstration to express dissatisfaction over the meeting’s cancellation. That takes place at 4:30 p.m. on the steps of City Hall.

A press conference by the Plaza 16 Coalition, likewise, is scheduled for 3 p.m. at 18th and Dolores.