You Won! (UPDATED)


San Francisco’s Planning Commission turned down American Apparel’s bid to open at 988 Valencia Street by a 7-0 tally.

The outpouring of community spirit was inspiring. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who wrote letters and everyone who made it to City Hall today (they had to open up two overflow rooms). A very special thanks to the oh-so-patient members of the planning board: Ron Miguel, Christina Olague, Michael J. Antonini, Gwyneth Borden, William L. Lee, Kathrin Moore, and Hisashi Sugaya.

But, like Christina Olague and others on the board noted, we shouldn’t let this stop here. MEDA, whose Dairo Romero worked on this campaign, is one community group that was mentioned tonight … and they are just one out of many community organizations in the Mission.

Be proud of what you did today. Show it by going out and getting even more involved in your community.

Also, check back here for more updates about upcoming community activism.

Lastly, of course, thank you again. You did it!


If you feel that you haven’t written enough letters yet, or even if you feel like you have, how about sending one last round to thank the folks on the Planning Board (who, again, are all volunteers). They hung out for a long time yesterday, and gave everyone who wanted it two minutes to speak (they could have shortened everyone’s time to one minute). So let the folks on the Planning Board know how much you care that they care, show them some love:

Christina Olague

1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA  94103

(415) 558-6615 x 3
Ron Miguel
600 De Haro Street
San Francisco, CA  94107
Phone:  (415) 601-0708
Fax:  (415) 641-8621

Michael J. Antonini

2827 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA  94123-3107

Phone:  (415) 558-6615 x 6
Fax:  (415) 558-6409

Gwyneth Borden 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 367-3801

William L. Lee

Director of International Economic
& Tourism Development
San Francisco International Airport
P.O. Box 8097
San Francisco, CA  94128

Phone:  (415) 558-6615 x 8
Fax:  (650) 821-3953

Kathrin Moore San Francisco, Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 558-6615 x 4
Hisashi Sugaya

San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA  94103-2414

(415) 558-6615 x 2
(415) 558-6409 fax

3 Responses to “You Won! (UPDATED)”

  1. Emily and Kendra Says:

    We also attended the hearing today as Mission residents and are happy that the commission voted to disapprove American Apparel opening a shop on Valencia St. Unfortunately, some of the public comments about the project and characterizations of the Mission upset us enough to speak up about some racism and classism that we witnessed.

    Specifically, we found references to crime and the evolution of the Mission from an unsafe and undesirable place to a thriving business corridor as particularly offensive. Some comments, mostly from young white residents and business owners, referenced the idea that “we” made the neighborhood good, implicitly distinguishing themselves from other residents and businesses in the neighborhood, including the large Latino community.

    Actually, long term residents HAVE been and continue to organize for a safe, clean, and thriving neighborhood, long before these newer boutiques moved in. The Mission Economic Development Association, the Mission Anti Displacement Coalition, and other concerned residents have been engaged in struggles against displacement and for economic justice for years.

    Additionally, many of the small businesses argued that if formula retail enters Valencia Street, it would change the flavor, culture, and vibe of the neighborhood. However, this stance fails to acknowledge the neighborhood change that has already occurred. Boutique owners share responsibility for displacing family businesses and replacing them with businesses that sell specialty products that are not affordable for neighborhood residents.

    Some comments referenced that our neighborhood can and should be divided into Valencia St. and the other Mission streets. In our excitement to keep out American Apparel, we must work together to fight against these sentiments and the splicing of our community. We hope to keep seeing small business owners call out what’s right, not just on Valencia but in important battles to come on Mission St. and other places in the neighborhood.

    We are writing this as newer residents in the Mission, who are working to be responsible allies to long-term residents by forming relationships with our neighbors and people who have been in this fight for decades. It is our responsibility to listen and learn the histories of the neighborhood in order to join the movement for safe communities. Let us not forget that the safety of which many people spoke of today was won at the hands of long-term residents who have fought to increase safety in the neighborhood for their families and children.

    For those of you who weren’t able to stay until the end, we would highly recommend listening to the Commissioners comments, specifically Commissioners Borden and Olague, who called out some of these contradictions and spoke passionately against displacement and for the neighborhood.

    The community turnout for this issue was unprecedented and we hope to continue to harness this energy for the struggles to come. In the meantime, let us reach out to business owners and residents in the Mission. The Wal-Marts and the American Apparels of the world don’t want us talking to each other. Our struggle for our neighborhood will be stronger if we know each other and our stories.

    -Emily Noll and Kendra Froshman

  2. Monkey Says:

    Hope is now reality and change to the norm is what we have accomplished…

    American Apparel wont be opening on Valencia street. Because of our (that means yours’ too) massive community effort, we have all accomplished the task of letting the city know what we do and don’t want in the Mission!

    Thank you to everyone for writing letters, protesting, putting signs in your windows and coming to city hall!


  3. Pirate Cat Radio 87.9fm » You Won! (UPDATED) Says:

    […] Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments » […]

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