La Victoria Bakery's heyday is a long-receding memory. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Erick Arguello, the president of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, has one overarching demand for Mike Fishman, the proprietor of Cinderella Bakery, slated to move into the old La Victoria digs: Bring La Victoria back.

A Russian bakery, per Arguello, has no place here in the former La Victoria site in the heart of the Latino Cultural District. He intends to lead a boycott of it.

It’s not clear if chutzpah has a place in the Latino Cultural District. But it’s here. Arguello’s got it.

This burgeoning conflict, reported by Mission Local’s Julian Mark last week, has been simmering for some time. More than a decade, one could argue.

Here’s a Mission Local story from 2008, in which Jaime Maldonado, son of the founder of the 1951-vintage 24th-and-Alabama institution, flatly says “I’m broke.” Here’s a 2010 story in which Maldonado has staved off the axe by renting out his kitchen to artisanal hipster hawkers of fare such as “Oaxacan mole, sushi, gumbo, vegan dishes, African American-style barbecue, Jewish and Jamaican food, and … innovative creations like duck confit chilaquiles with a quail egg.”

Here’s a 2011 story about how business was still dicey enough that La Victoria resorted to offering Danny Gabriner’s free bagels —  good bagels, and as many of them as you could cart off — as a loss leader to draw customers within its doors. Once within, they could buy French pastries.

And here’s a 2014 story about how, in an ongoing effort to keep his head above water, Maldonado was hoping to transition his panaderia into a “Latin bistro.”

So when Arguello demands Fishman “bring La Victoria back,” it prompts the question “which La Victoria?”

If running a Truman-era panaderia was the route to wealth and prosperity — and, critically, community support — Maldonado wouldn’t have had to jump through so many hoops. He wouldn’t have had to co-opt the quail eggs and vegan fare (and goddamn cupcakes) desired by the Mission’s gentrifying newcomers. He wouldn’t have had to rent out his kitchen to a cavalcade of food cart–type operations and he wouldn’t have had to give away bagels (also not a traditional staple of this or any panaderia). He wouldn’t have had to bring in pâtissiers to make Tartine-style delicacies.

And he wouldn’t have had to lease La Victoria out to tenant bakers, provoking the question of whether La Victoria was even La Victoria anymore.

So it’s asking a lot of Fishman — who has a legacy business of his own with a tenuous lease situation, and who just sank some $3 million into this building — to abnegate his successful bakery and “bring back” a bakery that struggled mightily for years and then failed.

It’s an even more audacious ask because it wasn’t Fishman who took La Victoria away.

All bread half-off: La Victoria closes from Mission Local on Vimeo.

Separate and apart from the withering assault of the invisible hand, La Victoria was throttled from within. Earlier this year, Maldonado himself served an eviction on his own bakery — by then operated by tenants — and other retail establishments housed on site.

Maldonado did not return messages left for this column. But, at the time, he told Mission Local that evicting his own bakery was something he was mandated to do by the arbitrated terms of the family trust that controlled this deteriorating building — and which was, in turn, controlled by his stepmother. With whom Jaime has an overt and ongoing family feud.

So, this is not your typical Mission Latino displacement and gentrification story. Rather, a Latino family’s internecine struggle led to Latino owners evicting their Latino bakery — which had struggled, for years, and was forced to adopt more and more untraditional and faddish foods and practices.

This isn’t Mike Fishman’s problem. But Arguello and Calle 24 — and, now, the consortium of groups known as United to Save the Mission — are making it his problem.

It remains to be seen whether Cinderella Bakery’s entrée into the Mission is a Cinderella story.

Mike Fishman doesn’t consider himself a gentrifier. He’s an immigrant. A refugee even. His Jewish family was forced to relocate to Siberia during the last three of his father’s nine years of imprisonment in the Soviet Union. He arrived in San Francisco in 1987 as a teenager.  

“I get up at 5 in the morning. I am a working person. How can I be a gentrifier?”

He and Arguello disagree here. And elsewhere.

Fishman recalls his phone conversation last week with Arguello as being distinctly unpleasant. “He said, basically, you don’t know what you got yourself into. We don’t let anybody in except Latinos around here; it doesn’t matter who’s going to come in because you are displacing a Latino business. You stay in your Russian district in the Richmond; we don’t come to you, you don’t come to us.”

Arguello denies making the more racially charged statements attributed above. Clearly we have a Rashomon situation (evidently Japanese analogies have a place in the Latino Cultural District, too).

“I did not tell him that,” Arguello says. “I told him a lot of businesses are being displaced in the area. I guess what’s being missed in the history of La Victoria is their signage, the legacy of the business and what it means to the Latino community. To immigrant families.”

Arguello, on this and other occasions, has argued that ostensibly small or incremental Mission stories need to be viewed through a larger lens: The lens of 8,000-odd displaced Latinos, evicted or economically banished from this district since 2000; the lens of starved or cannibalized family businesses; the lens of gentrification and homogenization.

He’s not wrong, and his work checking the amoral entity we call “market forces” is not without value. And yet, a one-size-fits-all approach in which all of the many aforementioned distinguishing and unique factors leading to the demise of La Victoria are cast aside as inconvenient to the preferred narrative is simplistic — if not disingenuous.

And, worse yet, it’s potentially counterproductive. It gives that much more ammunition to callous people who don’t seem to understand why Latinos in the Mission would object to merely letting the market dictate their fates. (“Hey, neighborhoods change. Deal with it.“)

Peter Papadopoulos, the land-use policy analyst for the Mission Economic Development Agency, said support for the boycott is widespread: “United to Save the Mission, a coalition of 14 community groups that includes MEDA, voted to join the Calle 24 boycott of any business that opens at this eviction site until La Victoria is given the opportunity to return.

He emphasized that his is not a boycott of Cinderella, but any non–La Victoria business: “Mr. Fishman was working to arrange the purchase of the building with the prior owners before they displaced La Victoria, and bought the building with full knowledge of the controversial eviction that would need to take place in order to pave the way for his purchase.

MEDA put in a bid on the building — and Jaime Maldonado purportedly would have preferred they purchase it — but the family trust opted for Fishman.

A boycott of the winning bidder is an interesting Plan B.

And no eviction would have been necessary if the Maldonado family had still been operating its own business. One feels for the evicted bakers. But, by the time the “family” bakery is being operated by tenants and the business model and fare is changing every few years, the question arises of what, exactly, you’re fighting to preserve — over the wishes, no less, of the actual business owners.  

A decade ago, Jaime Maldonado told Mission Local that to close his family business would be a little bit like shuttering Disneyland. “People say, ‘No, don’t close Disneyland!’ Well you open Disneyland, and you’ll see how it really is.”

La Victoria is gone. One could argue it’s been gone for quite some time. The thriving family bakery of the 1950s and ’60s has given way to a place called La Victoria, with La Victoria’s signage, serving as a for-rent catering kitchen and offering trendy menu items to an increasingly trendy community.

The mission of Calle 24, MEDA et al. — of advocating for the neighborhood’s put-upon population and preserving its dwindling culture — is a good and worthy one. But there’s a difference between preservation and municipally enforced nostalgia.

You open Disneyland and see how it really is.

The clash between Mission groups in the Latino Cultural District and a legacy business hawking Russian Jewish fare is a collision of many elements of Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s personal and professional life.

All of which is to say, Supervisor Hillary Ronen has been placed into a difficult position. Two of her signature legislative accomplishments as an aide and, now, a supervisor, have been the creation of the Latino Cultural District and the legacy business ordinance. They are now colliding with one another. What’s more, like Fishman, she is an Ashkenazi Jew whose lineage traces back to the former Soviet Union.

Ronen refused to condemn the proposed boycott, which she said was not something an elected official should weigh in on. She was noncommittal on whether she would shop at Cinderella if it comes to pass, but noted she’s not one to cross a picket line. At the same time, she emphasized that this was a business that failed because of intractable internal disputes and that she’d have battled the evictions if they weren’t born out of this toxic familial situation. Ronen says that she and other members of the government did everything they could possibly do to keep this singular business afloat. And its ownership opted to scuttle it.

Clearly, she hopes it won’t come to a boycott. “As an elected official, I welcome an opportunity to facilitate dialog and mutual understanding. It’s a role I’m not only willing to play but would be enthusiastic to play.”

But, then, so would others. And they may be less concerned with dialog.

“After the news broke,” Fishman says, “I was flooded with support from all over the community. Even the Latino community. Even from City Hall.

“And,” he continues, “even from attorneys, offering their services.”

Joe Eskenazi

Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. “Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior...

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48 Comments

    1. My family owned a bakery on 24th street Golden Crust Pies ,we purchased it in 1921.I was the third generation baker who operated the business and owed the property ,I realized in the mid 90es that business was changing ,I tried different products and business strategies, I realised that working 7 days a week 12 to 16 hrs a day for 15 years as a Baker was not enough ,I used to see Mr. Maldonado standing in front of his family business drinking coffee and bs-ing ,its one thing to own a business and live off your family and another to roll up your sleaves and tie on your apron and actually work, get politicians and community organizations involved to keep a neighborhood repressed and poor for a single group or your own special interest ,Research San Francisco it has always had a diverse and changing neighborhood even in the mission .
      I Love the mission I have been offered millions for my property and have said no thank you ,the Mission is getting better ,cleaner less violance ,
      When will the politicians be interested in safety and clean streets not repressing progress.

      As the mission gets better it will change that doesn’t mean it has to lose its harritage.

      Steve

      1. I agree a owner is a person who works for the community because those are the ones who feed all the bills and control your income. I was on 17th and Folsom I saw the changes because I was one of the changes!!!

    2. Mission Local doesn’t GET THE DESPERATION as our neighborhood fades in front of our eyes! To defend the new owner (Fishman) as not being part of the problem because “I get up at 5 in the morning. I am a working person. How can I be a gentrifier?” is RIDICLOUS!!! WTF does that even mean? That people who “gentrify” don’t work hard or sleep late?!!!! A boycott may seem extreme if you don’t live here, but I do and I would say any move short of violence that will get our point across and #SAVETHEMISSION is worth considering. And if you proport to represent this district Hillary Ronen and you don’t get that, you are out of touch. Naming 24th St. “Calle 24 Latino Cultural District” doesn’t solve the problem, it simply serves to define it. Here is to hoping that there won’t come a day when all we have left of Latinx culture in the Mission are these street signs!!!!!

      1. I get it; Change is hard! But this neighborhood is made up of and has ALWAYS been host to a multitude of different ethnic groups. Do you lament when other long-time Mission businesses that aren’t owned by Latinx fall victim to changing times and close? If not, your concerns might be less about the actual history of the Mission, and more about ethnocentrism. Please try to understand that many of us who have lived in the Mission a long time don’t necessarily view this neighborhood the way you do, or think that any new business that isn’t Latinx-owned is evil or must be somehow stopped. And please take heart in the fact that this neighborhood will continue to embrace its Latinx culture…many of us who live here and are NOT part of the Latinx community value the culture here and will continue to support it. So why not try to open your heart, your mind, and your arms to this new-to-the-Mission-but-not-the-city-overall legacy business? Fighting any and all change is usually a losing battle.

        1. With respect to Frankie Katz statement dated December 13: Bravo!
          Mission Local should send copies to Arguello and Supervisor Rohnin. Good job Frankie.

  1. Outside of San Francisco, to be progressive means to support a social safety net, a clean environment, education, healthcare etc. In San Francisco it means declaring certain cultures superior to others. This is Racism and Erick Arguello is a racist.

    Of course, every community has racists, and I hope latinos don’t take attacks on him as an attack on them. Its sort of interesting having Ronen, who like me is Jewish, be at the head of this racist movement. She represents a specific kind of idealistic demagogue that we have always had in our ranks. No community is perfect, lets all try to get along!!!

  2. Why not keep the sign (like Discolandia)? Maybe even keep the name. Clearly this seems to be the issue since no one wants to preserve the traditional baked goods and food (in the 70s I was a big fan of their burritos). Should not be so hard to figure out.

    1. I agree. The corner sign is iconic – it would be great to preserve it somehow (ie Discolandia, Pops, Roosevelt).

      The most important thing imo, is we’re not here arguing over whether it should be a 3 or 5 story condo.

      La Victoria, Russian Bakery. People would come for miles.

  3. “MEDA put in a bid on the building — and Jaime Maldonado purportedly would have preferred they purchase it — but the family trust opted for Fishman.”

    Anyone know what MEDA offered for the building? They obviously low balled the offer if the owner preferred to sell to them and took another offer.

  4. Not to sure where these quotes are coming from. Especially the first paragraph. The individuals that ran La Victoria for the past 12 years are at a temporary location and have been working with the mayors office of economic and workforce development. I just had a conversation with one of them two days ago and have been in constant contact. Many legacy businesses change owners over the decades but keep the same legacy of the original, which include, products, signage and such. Roosevelt Tamale Parlor is one example. Its in the Legacy legislation.

    1. Hi Erick —

      While Danny and Laura worked out of the La Victoria space for years with their own projects, it was only January of this year that they assumed management of La Victoria.

      Thanks,

      JE

    2. It sounds like the original products were a money-losing proposition for years. And ironically, the only way La Victoria has survived this long at all was to sell products you’re working so hard to keep out of the neighborhood to people you’re trying to keep out. The scenario you’re asking for is to re-establish a failing business that will either fail again, or require city subsidies to “succeed.”

      All the Calle 24 / MEDA spokespeole refer to “The Community” in a way that includes only a fraction of the actual Mission community, and treats the rest of the existing Mission community (i.e., the people who live here) with such racism and disdain that these organizations are destined for failure.

      1. Maldonado is acting like a racist bully. Doubt he would try to sabotage a black bakery moving in. But okay to pick on white folks. The Latinos running his treasured La Victoria failed badly. The only legacy La Victoria leaves behind is a Latino owned business that couldn’t succeed.

    1. Yes. That’s what happens when you put something in writing and sign your name to it.

      I speak for myself. Always will. I’m an editor at Mission Local but do not control its editorial voice. Or the facts.

      Glad you understand,

      JE

        1. With all due respect, this is my column. It is a reported column, a concept that I did not invent. It’s only when people take issue with the subject matter that they conjure up the scenario of legions of ridiculous people who cannot grok the existence of a reported column.

          Thanks for your concern, but people get it. It is *resplendently* clear.

          Best,

          JE

          1. I agree as well.

            The unaddressed message is whether there should be some mechanism for “the community” to have some input into family disputes involving private property. Clearly there was a problem here that has been public since 2008.

            Family privacy is a fiercely defended ethic in every culture. Can (should) the Latino community compromise family privacy in the interests of community integrity? Is the Mission Latino community sufficiently unified to even have the authority to ask that question?

  5. I’m a resident of the mission and have been for the past 8+ years. Been to la Victoria many times and enjoyed some of their goods, but on this issue i have to say Erick Arguello is so misguided and comes across as nothing but a bully.

    As someone that shops at casa lucas for my groceries and goes to la gallinita every weekend for either cecina or birria, someone that NEVER goes to the st. francis but always to torta gorda; I feel like I am giving a good amount of my money to local latino owned businessed. A Russian mom and pop store wont take any business away from the aforementioned places.

  6. So let’s back a gentrifying business in a cultural district that is losing assets left and right. Let’s kick a 70 year old legacy business when it’s down. Such gutsy reporting. Totally neutral, of course.

    1. While Supervisor Hillary Ronen nominated La Victoria for Legacy status, its ownership did not follow through. Cinderella Bakery, however, is a Legacy business.

      Best,

      JE

      1. Joe, La Victoria is a “legacy business” irrespective of whether it was nominated and won “Legacy Status'”. La Victoria, like Casa Sanchez La Palma, La Gallinita (and many others) have enjoyed prominent cultural standing in the SF Latino Community for at least 40 years. This concept may be hard to grasp for those who have not actually lived the cultural history of these places. La Victoria represents more than some random place selling pan dulce.

        What I find interesting in the article is the suggestion (not fully explored) that Mr. Fishman was willing to court controversy to land the business deal he wanted. It seems that Mr. Fishman is also using the ML vehicle to rally support to quell the very controversy he knew would be sparked.

        1. Ms. Rosales — 

          Semantics matter and legal status matters. Nobody is suggesting that La Victoria isn’t a longstanding and revered business, but its owners never obtained legacy status.

          Your suggestion that Mr. Fishman “is using the ML vehicle” is absurd; any newspaper would cover a development like this in the midst of the community without being prodded into it by some agreement struck with one of the principals — and if the facts have been reported incorrectly in either our news stories or reported columns, that has not been pointed out by anyone.

          It shows a lack of critical thinking for Trump supporters to claim any reports they disagree with are “fake news” bought and paid for by unseen malefactors in some manner of conspiracy. I do hope we aren’t stooping to that level here in the Mission.

          Best,

          JE

    2. J. Scott Weaver the one who sabotaged the Mission residential Moratorium by including PDR in the moratorium initiative language, a provision for which there was no basis in polling to support. There was no effort made to bring that language to “the community” that came out in meetings to discuss the proposed initiative. The “community based” nonprofits do not have a good record of winning contested elections, especially those for which there is no evidence of popular support. There was evidence of popular support for a housing moratorium.

      The neighborhood and resident serving businesses would be in less worse shape if that measure had passed.

      1. How was including PDR sabotage? MEDA wanted a moratorium on PDR demolition too. For example, the MEDA petition (https://medasf.org/get-involved/affordable-house-petition/) directly calls for it: “But the moratorium doesn’t stop there. It also protects blue collar jobs and arts and cultural uses, which are so important for the Mission! How? By putting a temporary stop to all the demolition and conversion of light industrial (PDR) spaces.”

        1. The issue was not what any of us want or what is good policy. I support preserving low value added working class job providing non-residential uses.

          The issue was what did polling indicate had popular support going into a campaign. Given the weak campaigns that the nonprofits always run, it was political malpractice to lard an already controversial and contended measure up with their even more controversial wish list items for which there was no polling data to justify. The CCHO and HSN can’t win elections without the support of the moderate/conservatives. Prop C just broke 60% with, what, ten million $ of billionaire money spent for it. Since Gullicksen died, the last one to not believe his own bullshit, they’ve not won a single contested measure of significance without big money support.

          The TODCO scientific public opinion poll asked about a moratorium on market rate housing in the Mission, not PDR. Once “the community” went out from under the security of that poll’s penumbra, they risked losing and lose they did. Well, they did not lose, the measure failed yet they still get paid. The burden of failure was borne by those residents displaced, and by businesses they’d patronized such as La Victoria.

          For people who wear their “other-centeredness” on their sleeves, they sure don’t get the fact that electoral campaigns are not about performing the ratification of your desires based on good intentions at the ballot box. Campaigns are about “other-centering” political appeals in ways that will resonate with the electorate.

          Why not just put ending capitalism into the next measure?

  7. “”Mission Economic Development Agency, said support for the boycott is widespread: “United to Save the Mission, a coalition of 14 community groups that includes MEDA, voted to join the Calle 24 boycott of any business that opens at this eviction site until La Victoria is given the opportunity to return.”””

    MEDA’s charge for the past 40 years was to get paid city money to empower and strengthen community serving businesses in the Mission District. They’ve failed dismally at this largely because they’ve operated air campaigns and declined to organize residents and businesses to defend their community. That is not a condition of their grants and a charge of their contracts.

    Now MEDA is getting into the affordable housing business as an air campaign as well, top-down authoritarianism. MEDA had a member on the SF Community Trust Task Force 15 years ago and did nothing to advance land trusts to stabilize communities. To the contrary, they’ve staked claims on small site acquisition dollars for their non-land trust affordable housing operation that disempowers residents in their own housing self determination.

    As far as United to Save the Mission goes, they’re a rehash of the same organizations of community based but not community rooted organizations strategy that has failed us time and again, similar to the Plaza 16 Coalition. They’re the ones who sabotaged the moratorium ballot initiative by including PDR which engendered enough opposition to tank the measure. This is an inauthentic opposition.

    The CCHO likewise dominated the political space on the progressive side and east side of the City. But when it came to any sense of urgency in stabilizing Mission residents, they could be counted onto occupy space and mark time.

    These city funded agencies get their city funding under the premise that their job is to use their paid community organizers to inhibit any manner of community organizing of residents towards self determination. Neighborhoods that have organized residents don’t get the shaft on housing and business as the Mission has. Neighborhoods where residents are unorganized are vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.

    The fact is that these organizations and their affordable housing adjuncts who have been granted status at the policymaking table on behalf of residents have failed to defend lower income Mission residents from displacement. This has diminished the customer base for existing Latino businesses, leaving them vulnerable to market and speculative forces. All it takes is a family fued to tip the balance.

    Yet these agencies still get paid. Just like Trump is a symptom of the failure of the neo liberal Democrat Party, displacement of residents and gentrification and loss of Latino businesses and the predominantly Latino lower income residents who patronized them are a symptom of the hoarding of political power in neoliberal private nonprofit corporations and refusal to organize to win.

  8. “But there’s a difference between preservation and municipally enforced nostalgia.”

    That really sums it up. Replacing a sadly defunct bakery with another locally owned small business bakery with 65 years of history is an incredible moment of preservation. This isn’t preserving a beloved mural to plaster it on the wall of new luxury condos or keeping the facade of the community center as it’s turned into office space. I get why, amid the background of thousands of displaced Latinos, some might want to freeze time, but that’s impossible.

    And when activists go in 100% blazing over this, over refusing bike and transit improvements, it reduces the number of people who will be positioned to listen to them when there are actually threats to the neighborhood. Nobody can take Arguello seriously when he acts like this, which only means the community he purports to represent has less of a voice.

  9. I wish Calle 24 would quit grandstanding and do something useful.

    Here’s a suggestion: Why not go to the other end of 24th Street and unionize the (mostly Latina) nannies at the park across from Philz?

  10. I welcome the continued media onslaught that a boycott of Cinderella would bring to hasten the downfall of these self serving orgs called Calle 24 and MEDA

  11. First of all, I’d like to say to Steve above that I miss your family pie shop. Our family shopped at Golden Crust for two generations. You should be proud.
    But on that note, things do change. There is no more Chat and Chew, (now Reds Cafe) California Creamery, (BART), or Pat’s, (now Chase Bank). Time waits for no one. Is this good or bad? I can’t say for sure, but I do think of places, and at times I miss them and I smile nostalgically. All I can do is tell people about them. I do think that Comrade Eric, and all of you that are discussing that the new owners should be required to retain the signage are ill informed. Just like the former businesses I mentioned that are now longer in business, their signs are long gone with them. Golden Crust here for 61 years, became a bbq joint, and now a ramen spot. More importantly, Eric and the rest of you must consider that the new OWNERS of La Victoria have their own legacy and successful business to promote. I think that it’s unfair to demand someone to spend several million dollars to purchase a building, and then remember people, that place is not in the best shape, God knows how much will be spent to clean up, and make it the way they need it to be, and they can’t advertise their own name on their building? Totally unfair.
    As for MEDA offering a price, that’s the practice that was done to the owner of the Popeyes building on Mission Street. He refused their offer,and the owner decided to not see, (which I believe is his right), that’s when Heir Eric and his boy Roberto threatened to protest the owners legitimate business (here in The Mission), and his home, and his neighbors. Who does that? Like it was stated a few days ago in the original article: maybe with the right donation to Arguellos corrupt organization, all this lamenting could go away.

  12. MEDA tries to buy this property, but when they aren’t allowed to, they threaten to boycott the new owner’s business?? Something about that doesn’t pass the smell test!

    And to the folks who keep saying Mission Local is super-biased against Erick Arguello, Calle 24, MEDA, et.al., you clearly are so personally biased that you are unable to detect even remotely more even-handed reporting. If you think the story presented here sounds bad, maybe it’s time for you to realize that it’s because IT IS BAD. Boycotting a San Francisco legacy business because they are the wrong ethnicity is mired in bigotry.

    I’ll be supporting this new business, and not supporting Erick Arguello, Calle 24, MEDA, or any other racist organization that boycotts this business.

  13. I see little consideration being given to issues like rents (both residential and commercial), wages, costs, etc. Rents are up for everyone, but of course, hit hardest for anyone who didn’t buy Google stock at a prime time. Working stiffs like me see a bigger chunk of our stagnant/declining wages go to rent, utilities, food basics and other ‘must-pays’ (bills bills bills!) So there’s less to spend on things like books, newspapers, entertainment, or whatever cream-filled Mexican pastries are on sale down at the local panaderia. So local merchants make less money, their rents/costs increase as well; soon they fold or move away, and the customers are left with choices (?) of overpriced hipster chow or chain-store snacks.

    A bit oversimplified, perhaps, but we need to keep our eyes on real issues (wages, role in the economy, etc.), not ethnicity, skin color, religion or whatever is the daily guilt-trip. We’ll be pitted against each other; someone will always play the I’m-more-oppressed-than-you game; no good will come of it, and in the end, Big Money will still call the shots.

    For those of you who for some reason think that unfettered capitalism will naturally create the best and most durable urban environment: Ever heard of Detroit? I grew up in Michigan. Saw Detroit in the 1970’s. Total boomtown gone bust, and not pretty to look at (but hard to take your eyes off of it). Trust me, the tech industry will one day meet their “detroit” moment, and it’s probably coming sooner than they think. What will we do then to re-shape SF and the Bay Area? How can we do it together if we’re always being told to keep in our own lane?

    Sidebar: Convoluted real-estate stuff has happened before; anyone here old enough to remember what wiped out the old Goodman Lumber business? And La Taqueria only just dodged a bullet, similar kind of mess.

    Meantime: Folks maybe need to talk about commercial rent control (again).

    # # #

  14. I am frankly disappointed with the headline, you should have went for the full pun.

    “La Victoria bakery is toast. And the attempts to resurrect it are half-baked.”

  15. Joe, it feels misleading to state that Cinderella hawks “Russian Jewish fare.” Their menu http://cinderellabakery.com/cafe highlights essentially Russian food: Blinchiki, Pirogi, Piroshki. They also carry, well, Bacon. If they wanted to hawk “Russian Jewish fare” they would likely feature blintzes, kugel, and knishes.

  16. Why is it so damn wrong for trying to keep Latino culture alive in the neighborhood?

    Didn’t the city’s government designate this neighborhood a Latino community to be called ‘Calle 24th’.

    After call, you can proudly see this stamped – in all the signs lining up its main corridor on 24th.

    We think it’s obvious that many Latinos WON’T be happy with a non-Latino business? Smh…

  17. La Victoria could not pass a health code inspection. They consistently received a “D” at the 24th Street location. Stories abound on the internet regarding “mice parties” that happened on the pastries in the window of the 24th st store when it was still open. I’ve witnessed the current La Victoria’s bakers lack of concern for food safety and even general cleanliness. Just let this go! Eat somewhere where you know the people making your food actually wash their hands. For the love of SF!

    1. SF does not give graded scores and is not particularly transparent on the scores restaurants do get.https://www.sfdph.org/dph/EH/Food/Score/default.asp
      We wrote a whole series about this, called SF Rats have it easy. https://missionlocal-newspack.newspackstaging.com/2010/08/sf-eateries-find-rat-problems-can-be-hidden/
      La Victoria did score poorly in the last two inspections, getting a 69 in 2018 and a 78 in 2016. You can read the details here. https://101g-xnet.sfdph.org:8443/ords/eeopn/f?p=132:2:::NO::P2_LOCATIONID:4917

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