Asociación Mayab's executive director Lydia Candila and accountant Dina Rosales at the new office. Photo by Annika Hom, taken Sept. 24, 2021.

Bogeyman, or bogus?

Beware! According to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, “monster homes” are encroaching Dolores Heights. Hide the kids! 

So, months ago, Mandelman proposed a solution. The ordinance states that if you want to build a single-family home larger than 2,500 square feet — which would appear to be the gateway to monstrosity — you need special permission. Same goes if you want to expand a single unit by more than 2,500 square feet, or if you want to expand a unit by more than half of the original floor area.

On Thursday, the Planning Commission unanimously voted 6 to 0 against Mandelman’s proposal. The set limit at 2,500 square feet didn’t make sense for every neighborhood, and a new determination measure should be used, they decided. 

However, they saw merit in the ordinance’s intent, inducing the planning commissioners to undergo an unusual move: They’ll send the Board of Supervisors a list of concerns about the ordinance, and suggest possible amendments. They reasoned a new version could achieve the same goal of limiting huge houses in a more rational way.

The original legislation, meanwhile, was viewed as a monstrosity by many, specifically by a group of local architects and families seeking multigenerational housing. After its first hearing at the Planning Commission was met with metaphorical torches and pitchforks, the commission demanded the proposal be revised and heard again — but, as shown Thursday, to no avail.

A bakery for the man with the van

Do you know the hojaldra man? He sells the piping hot Mexican puff pastry on 2907 16th St., where his new bakery, El Yucateco, launched Monday. 

The hojaldra man, Policarpio Nah, runs El Yucateco with his family. The shop sells numerous baked goods of the sort you’d find in Yucatán, Mexico, where the family emigrated from more than 10 years ago. 

There are a variety of panaderias in the Mission, but Nah felt the neighborhood lacked Mayan pastries. As a former baker in Yucatán, he decided to fill the void. 

About four years ago, Nah began to drive around the city and sell hojaldras out of his minivan to friends and other homesick Mayans. Eventually, customers sought out Nah’s van. To keep up with demand, his family created a Facebook page.

Given the popularity, the family opened a shop on 16th Street, located in the Mission’s informal Mayan hub. When JMB Bakery closed during the pandemic, Nah and his family took the oven. Brick and mortar beats the minivan, hands down. 

“It’s way better, because people were always trying to follow us around the city and look for us,” said son and cashier Atan. 

New digs for the Mayan community

The hanging sun decoration smiled. Smoking sage filled the room. The sharply-dressed band poised their trumpets and saxophones midair. 

“This is for the opening of the office of the Asociación Mayab,” one member declared in Spanish, before the celebration commenced. 

On Friday, the Maya-focused nonprofit Asociación Mayab launched its office at the affordable housing development Avanza 490 on 494 South Van Ness Ave. near 16th Street. Finishing touches still need to be made, like adding labels to the carefully arranged Mexican statues of Mayan gods. Still, the nonprofit’s executive director, Lydia Candila, is thrilled. 

Asociación Mayab is one of the few nonprofits in the neighborhood solely dedicated to the Mayan population, and Candila imagines the space as another hub for that community. The office will be used to host workshops, like yoga or zumba, and possibly even adult-learning classes at night, she said. 

“It’s good for them to do workshops, instead of other things, like alcohol,” Candila said, referring to some clients’ struggles with substance abuse. 

The new ground floor office allows more visibility too, said Candila. As if to make the point, an interested Latinx couple stopped in and asked about upcoming events this weekend. 

She beamed at the space, which proudly displayed the baseball trophies a group of her clients won. 

Friday’s event was attended by the nonprofit’s accountant, Dina Rosales, and Ramona Mora, who was representing Assemblyman David Chiu. 

Though the celebration was supposed to start at 10, it actually started around 11. “It’s Latino time,” Rosales quipped. Yet, when it did begin, Rosales quickly whipped out her phone. The local band, Orquesta Jaranera del Mayab, performed the traditional Mayan folk music jarana while a dance group from Los Angeles twirled their skirts and tapped their toes. 

I was mesmerized by the brilliance of the band’s traditional white uniforms. “It gets dirty really fast,” one band member laughed in response.

Housekeeping: What you missed and what I’m reading

From us, to you, with love:

From me: The eviction moratorium ends Sept. 30, and thousands of applicants need to apply all over again. Ai-ya! And, the strange tale of the half-finished demolition on Florida Street got a second chance. 

From the big bosses, how it all went Wong. Joe Eskenazi details how the Board of Supes gave Walter Wong a $387,000 credit for parts for the crappy garbage cans he sold the city. And, this week, Lydia Chávez’s account of the city’s quest for pricy trash cans resurfaces in a San Francisco Examiner editorial. 

What I’m reading:

Get schooled. Frances Dinkelspiel’s Berkeleyside article documents the delectable drama between University of California, Berkeley, and rent-controlled tenants, the latter of whom finally caved and left their homes. 


Kevin Fagan of The Chronicle reported on how the city is launching a year-and-a-half pilot program of “tiny cabins” for the homeless, and is notable for its reflection on other Bay Area cities that already do so.

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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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