Milk SF Glama-rama coffee valencia
Milk SF cafe on 302 Valencia St. is getting ready to make a splash. Photo taken by Lydia Chavez on June 9, 2021.

Milking it 

If you heard someone seriously say, “building an empire,” you’d probably assume it was an ancient military leader. Nope. That prophetic declaration came from your neighborhood queer hairstylists.

That’s right: Glama-Rama!, the Mission-based, queer-owned salon posted the phrase on Instagram in cheeky allusion to owner Kathryn McKee’s new business enterprise. McKee was seen at 302 Valencia St., right next door to Glama-Rama!’s bright pink flagship salon, painting the facade a sapphire blue. In the windows, passersby can see a string of rainbow pleated fans and the name “Milk SF.” “Here’s a hint,” McKee told me. She’s also Milk SF’s owner. 

I wasn’t born yesterday, so I’m assuming that “Milk” is a subtle reference to Harvey, though the white lettering of the logo does recall ads for the eponymous beverage. An inspection of social media implies that it will be a cafe. The page further shows a rainbow staircase and announces: “we are a brick&mortar movement, specializing in coffee,” also “queer-owned and operated.” When this reporter asked for more information, McKee deferred to public records and social media. 

There’s not much, but I dug around and found out that Milk SF officially had its permit greenlit last winter. When I inquired again, McKee said her publicist doesn’t want any more information divulged about the venture quite yet. I understand; you can’t have your publicist crying over spilt Milk. Besides, as a self-proclaimed “huge fan” of Mission Local, McKee promised I’d be the first one to know about her latest commercial conquest. 

In the meanwhile, she’s overseeing Glama-Rama! If you’re in the mood for dyeing your hair a wild, vibrant mix of colors, make sure to stop by at its flagship or its salon in Oakland. Glama-Rama! also has a “hair lab” on 116 Taylor St., but Covid-19 kept it closed. G-R also seeks to establish an empire, ambitiously aiming “to become a nationally recognized brand.”

Want more Milk? Check back here. We’ll deliver. 

What’s the plan, Stan? You know, with race and equity?

When it comes to equality in the Planning Department, the community says it’s a whole bunch of lip service. And considering this comes from groups that the Planning Department specifically recruited to ensure they met their social and racial equity goals, it isn’t exactly a good look. 

Last summer, the city’s Office of Racial Equity tasked all departments to come up with more equitable practices. The Planning Department submitted theirs in December, and hopes to finalize it this summer after a  review. Among the introductory actions of Phase 1 is changing “internal” culture, such as altering language and diversifying hires in internship programs. 

While some members found this commendable, it does little to address the real issues these groups care about, they said: “Planning practices and policies in the Mission have resulted in negative impacts such as displacement, speculation and gentrification,” said  Michelle Rolon from the Mission SRO Collaborative. “Changes in bureaucratic culture is not enough.” 

The Mission SRO is a member of the department’s Race and Equity in all Planning Coalition (REP). The coalition also includes United to Save the Mission, the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, the SoMa Pilipinas Filipino Cultural District and tens of others, all who called in on Thursday’s meeting to criticize how some groups within the coalition weren’t being included in decisions, despite the department’s claim it was seeking more community engagement. 

David Woo from SoMa Pilipinas Filipino Cultural District pointed out that only two informational meetings had been given to his organization. “There was some initial outreach done to SoMa before shelter in place, but there has been no follow up since then, and we don’t really know what was even done with that initial input,” Woo said. 

Added Hernan from the Mission SRO Collaborative: “If BIPOC in low-income communities aren’t in the decision-making process, if their needs are not considered, then inclusion is just tokenism.”

Flores acknowledged the complaints, and blamed the pandemic. Flores said the plan’s Phase 2 will focus more on community engagement, but won’t be developed until the Office of Racial Equity gives its blessing. In the meanwhile, she added, the department can grab “low-hanging fruit” like improving the cultural district and community notification process on developments. Other goals include completing an audit to “see how the code is hindering equity and how we can better advance racial and social equality” and making data more transparent. Yes, perhaps a tad vague.

Constructive feedback for a Slow Shotwell Street. (That means YOU!)

We get it. Judging by your impassioned Instagram comments and self-deposited planter boxes, we know you actually care a lot about whether Shotwell becomes a permanent Slow Street. Nevertheless, Shotwell was one of those that garnered way less community input than its sister Slow Streets, Lake and Page.

While you may think it’s futile, the SFMTA actually uses survey responses to inform its design and to argue whether Slow Streets is working or even liked by the community. A smaller sample size may’ve skewed Shotwell’s results. 

So take a break from dragging signs into intersections, and step to the mic. The SFMTA is holding a virtual open house for the Shotwell Slow Street until June 16. Drop your thoughts via an online card, leave a message at (628) 245-4574, or send an email with the subject line “Shotwell Slow Street design feedback” to slowstreets@sfmta.com

Maybe instead of telling me that you want speed bumps (though I really don’t mind listening) you can direct the suggestion to an, I don’t know, official city department. 

Housekeeping: What you missed and what I’m reading

From us, to you, with love:

Our amazing and formidable Joe Eskenazi has exposed the dangerous pattern of a city department approving gas line safety practices in spite of the department’s own doubts. On Monday, the Supervisors held a hearing to learn more, and ripped into said department so intensely, I shivered while watching. Most likely to the department’s chagrin, Joe struck again today with a wild tale about how one San Bruno Ave. building had almost “‘everything done wrong.’” Yikes. 

From me: How does the Mission take its coffee, with or without the Creamery? The java joint where suits schmoozed and tech business dealings were born is attempting to move into 1801 Mission St. Community groups deployed an environmental law in opposition. Learn the latest

As was much expected, Supervisor Dean Preston’s emergency ordinance that bars pandemic-driven nonpayment eviction moratoriums for 60 days unanimously passed. Legislation aimed to last through the year is also in the works, he said. 

Care to share? Clearly, a lot of you did. The Shared Spaces program, which expedited permits for outdoor dining and parklets for restaurants and bars, is seeking to become permanent. A bunch of questions were addressed: who has access to the public spaces during or after business hours? How are disability requirements followed? Check it out

What I’m reading:

It’s a showdown, if you will. Vox wrote an extensive article, “Wall Street isn’t to blame for the chaotic housing market,” with the subhead “the boogeyman isn’t who you want it to be” in response to a Wall Street Journal article published in April. The Wall Street Journal, along with numerous other outlets, warned that investors like Blackstone were “snapping up” single-family housing, essentially scooping up stock in a competitive market that already proved difficult for Americans to break into. 

Vox hits back, acknowledging the real fears and concerns, but that investors aren’t holding a large share of single-family homes right now. But, “even though they aren’t to blame for the current housing market calamities,” Vox’s article states, “it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen in the future.” Overall, it’s a great read to brush up on housing history and why buying a house is so gosh-darn expensive. 

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Annika Hom

Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused...

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1 Comment

  1. This is really the problem, itinerant nonprofit employees carry with them no community memory and make simple plaintive cases for what they want.

    Meanwhile, the EDs of the agencies that pay them agree to support whatever Planning throws over the transom so that Breed does not punish them at budget time.

    They can talk about BIPOC this and trans that all they want, but at the end of the day the game is rigged and these city funded agencies are in on the rigging as junior partners.

    People in the demographics they represent are largely left to fend for themselves against this vacuum in effective advocacy.

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