Save the Redstone Building!

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt


Low-cost space for grassroots groups at risk as gentrification fuels speculative deal for historic labor temple. And this is why so many people don’t want the Monster in the Mission.

My first job in San Francisco was in the Redstone Building, at 2940 16thStreet, near the 16thand Mission BART plaza. I worked as a canvasser for the Abalone Alliance, the antinuclear group fighting PG&E’s Diablo Canyon plant. And every low-budget, grassroots nonprofit in town seemed to have offices in the building.Theater Rhinoceros, an early LGBT theater company, did shows in the basement. I think we paid something like $100 a month for our office…

Now it’s a community center, with unions (the United Taxicab Workers), community groups (the Western Regional Advocacy Project) and media (POOR magazine) occupying some of the last affordable space in the Mission…

And the history and the community is facing an existential threat.

The owner of the building wants to sell, and is asking for $25 million

On Wednesday/27, organizers are holding a rally and community event to honor 104 years of economic and social justice at the Redstone and to work for a community solution. 6pm to 9pm, free.

This matters, a lot. It’s a key statement about whether there’s still a future for a Mission District that has room for the community-based organizations that have served and defined the neighborhood for decades – and whether history and public service matters more than cold cash.

It’s also a sign of what is to come if the Monster in the Mission moves forward. Already, investors are eying property in the area: “It took the Valencia Street gentrifiers a while to get the claws in this part of the Mission, but it’s starting to happen,” Boden said…

One of the big problems with projects like the Monster is that they drive up property values in the surrounding areas. Even the prospect of the area gentrifying is making it possible for the owner to ask for such a stunning amount of money for a building with only 33,000 square feet of rentable space. Just to cover the mortgage on a $20 million note, the rent would have to go up to almost $40 a square foot – at least ten times what current tenants are paying. Nothing in the North Mission now rents for that much; any buyer would clearly be expecting massive demographic changes in the area.

So there’s a lot at stake. See you on the 27th(more)

Galería de la Raza has moved, but its former home may be landmarked anyway

By Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt


This photo was shot a few days before Dia de los Muertos 2018, on the corner of the 24th and Bryant site by zrants.

The process has been initiated to designate Galería de la Raza’s former building at 24th and Bryant as a city landmark, despite objections from the building’s owner.

The Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to set this process in motion following testimony from a long procession of speakers in support of making the building a landmark and honoring the gallery’s nearly five-decade history there.

It would be the first building in the Mission to be landmarked in association with 20th Century Latino history…

But the building’s owners are fiercely against the designation, arguing that it would constrain their ability to freely manage the property. “There’s no disputing the significance of the Galería,” said Steven McDonald, an attorney for Ng, during public comment. “The Galería is now gone, though.”

Family members claimed that the designation would decrease the building’s value. “She doesn’t want any restrictions on her private property,” said Rose Chen, one of Ng’s relatives… (more)

This is a new designation and a new program that is evolving into a potential process that could be used to preserve what is a huge part of San Francisco heritage. If this designation is approved, it would set the stage for future protections of other long term businesses and culturally significant buildings. Stay tuned as we watch the future unfold.


The Elbo Room calls it quits, and musicians lament

By Abraham Rodriguez : missionlocal – excerpt

As of Jan. 1, 2019, the Mission’s Elbo Room will be no more. It will slip into the realm of memory and legend, another venue undone by the high-value real estate game decimating San Francisco’s cultural nerve centers.

The musicians that played there will remember it fondly… (more)

One of the more eclectic clubs on Valencia. The upstairs was full of surprises and the downstairs was a welcoming respite for the weird and trendy. From Rock and Roll to poetry readings and theatrical adventure that came close to burlesque, The Elbo Room managed to make it all work for decades, until the price of living in SF got too much for the small, neighborhood club.

After four decades in the Mission, Ocean Sash and Door factory on 17th and Shotwell to give way to ‘creative’ offices or restaurants

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

The longtime home of Open Sash and Door, Inc. has given way to “creative” office space or even restaurants. But this door business hasn’t closed yet. Photo by Lydia Chavez.

In a sign of the times, one of the dwindling actual “production, distribution and repair” (PDR) spots in the Mission has decamped, and will give way to something far more upscale that doesn’t involve vast amounts of sawdust and the constant din of saws… (more)

This is sad news. Last year it took a year to get a new window installed. Next time I guess I will have to deal with one of the big chains for windows. Or maybe Theisen Glass on Potrero. They are all leaving the city. Too much work to work here.

Nicole Sawaya memorial Tuesday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Z Space

The public is invited to a memorial for Nicole Sawaya on Tuesday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m.  Friends and family will gather at Z Space, (the theatre at Project Artaud) 499 Alabama Street in San Francisco.

The KALW community lost one of its own on Thursday, October 11th. Nicole Sawaya, champion of public service media, innovative programmer, and beloved leader died from complications due to cancer. Nicole served as KALW’s General Manager from 2001 to 2006.

During that time, she was instrumental in shaping the station’s sound, helping transition KALW to its current focus on locally produced programming with a national impact. Nicole’s respect for listeners was foundational in her work first as a reporter and later as a manager, where her natural ability to inspire and greenlight original and impactful programs became evident. She described KALW’s audience as a “questioning, curious people who don’t take mass media at its word.”

We strive to honor Nicole’s spirit every day on our airwaves and extend our deepest condolences to her family. For more on her legacy in life and in radio, see here(more)


San Jose Man Uses Old Pictures to Create New Views of Early San Francisco

For a guy surrounded by technology, Nick Wright lives in the past.

His address is in Silicon Valley — but he spends much of his time in 1850s San Francisco — diving into the city’s past through the pictures of photographers like Eadweard Muybridge and William Henry Jackson. Yet Wright has figured out how to bridge his technological vantage point with the history he loves so much.

Using Photoshop, the amateur historian discovered he could virtually assemble together vintage pictures of streets or views taken at different times but from the same vantage point during San Francisco’s infancy. Stitched together, the results create stunning panoramas showing city vistas that haven’t been seen with the human eye for 150 years.

“That’s why I tell people I’ve got pictures you’ve never seen before,” Wright said. “Because they never existed before.”… (more)


Press Democrat Editorial: Public input as performance art in Petaluma

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day and night views of Brian Goggin’s artistic vision for the waterfront that is creating all the controversy.

By the editorial board : – pressdemocrat – excerpt

In Petaluma, artistic expression seemingly trumps public dialogue.

If there’s going to be public input about a controversial public art project, public officials ought to wait until after they hear it to make a decision. The whole point of letting people weigh in is to allow for the possibility that additional perspective might influence the outcome.

Apparently that’s not how it works with the Petaluma Public Arts Committee, which has decided to move forward with a controversial art installation, at least according to committee member Katherine Plank. All of the upcoming public process, then, is just so much performance art…

But some Petaluma residents vehemently disagree. They say it doesn’t fit the character of the community nor the waterfront site. There’s even fundraising underway for a legal challenge.

Other Petaluma residents love the project and think it will be a whimsical draw. It’s telling that in written comments on the proposal in the spring, the vast majority of people scored it either 1, 2, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale…. (more)

Controversy hits the Petaluma waterfront. If all publicity is good publicity, this project has turned the artist into a big success in Sonoma County.