tv [untitled] September 10, 2010 9:00pm-9:30pm PST
the tenderloin. and so there's an extremely vibrant southeast community in the tenderloin. it was great to get to know more people down here and realize that there were so many artists and musicians and really creative people live in this area and that there are families. i like the semi-industrial character and because it's convenient and also i dj around here and i like the clubs and bars and that sort of thing. we hope that all three areas complement each other and that mid-market is not the dividing line between north and south. jennifer low: welcome back to district sf on sfgtv. this month we're at the asian art museum in the center of san francisco and the center of district 6. it's a wide area in the city, one that many people just drive
through, with locked doors. but when we go inside mid-market, the tenderloin, and south of market, you'll see the reality is different from the reputation. we met district 6's supervisor, chris daly, while he was visiting residents of an sro hotel now managed by the city. the success at the mission hotel is one example, of halting decades of decline, in the very heart of san francisco. the story of what is now district 6, is just the most current chapter of center city's long history. charles fracchia: districts began in the gold rush and were pretty much a part of all the 19th century. with a few exceptions, you've cobbled together e bunch of neighborhoods, and so districts are largely pretty much disparate areas. they take in a whole variety of different kinds of neighborhoods. in district 6, you've got part of the embarcadero, art of the old wharf area, which was always a very distinctive part of san francisco.
and then you've got the rincon hill, which is pretty much gone. and then you've got that corridor all the way down to the mission, which is what we call mixed use place. so you've got that. you go down into the inner mission, which is one of the old historic areas of san francisco as well, centered around mission dolores. which was historically, in the 1930, 20th century, a tremendously ethnically mixed area. you had scandinavians, you had lots of germans in that area. people forget about that. then you go into the tenderloin area. when i was growing up in the city, one of the features of the tenderloin was it held mainly couples or single individuals who worked downtown or in the union square area. that's obviously now changed. chris daly: the tenderloin has a bad rap you know in terms of, some people think it's dirty and it's intersection of a lot of
social ills. but i see the tenderloin as one of the vibrant neighborhoods in san francisco. in terms of the activity in the tenderloin, the diversity in the tenderloin, the community initiatives and efforts that happen in the tenderloin. and a rich history the neighborhood and it's identity against a backdrop of an encroaching hospitality district and financial district. jerry jai: those stereotypes were in my mind when i first started, when my experience with the tenderloin started. there were other aspects that attracted me to the neighborhood and that over time i've grown to understand better and appreciate. those are the sort of more hidden aspects of the neighborhood that i think are really interesting and important that people don't hear about as
much. jerry: the 2004 census found that there are 30,000 people in the tenderloin. that's 5% almost, almost 5% of the city population. it's an extremely dense neighborhood. there are a lot of people living in the tenderloin. and it's primarily a residential neighborhood. that's one of the things that a lot of people may not see. the neighborhood is almost entirely ground floor retail, so as you're walking through or driving through the neighborhood, you see a lot of businesses and storefronts, a lot of which are empty. although that's been improving a lot over the last 10 years. you see kind of a commercial neighborhood and what really isn't seen is that there are 30,000 people living in these about 35 square blocks. chris: one neat thing that's happened in the tenderloin in the past couple of decades is little saigon. the development of the
vietnamese community in the tenderloin's western part, mainly along larkin st. there's an increasing number of vietnamese families and businesses. one of the strengths of the tenderloin is the tenderloin community school, developed 6 or 7 years ago. it's a great school. and there's a lot of kids that go there and that's not something that's thought about. jerry: i think the neighborhood is improving but at the same time we're still facing the same issues as 10 or 15 years ago or longer. there was a neighborhood planning study, the tenderloin 2000 plan published in the early 1990's that identified 5 basic goals for the neighborhood. and 15 years later, those goals... i think a lot of people would regard them as the primary
goals for the neighborhood. they include: public safety, affordable housing or housing in general, economic development, the public general environment and social services. and 15 years later a lot of those concerns are the same ones that people have now. chris: new social issues do come up in this country, like the rise of crack cocaine in the early 1980s. but really, other than those sorts of things, there aren't a lot of new issues in the tenderloin. it's a very old neighborhood that's been dealing with a lot of issues for a lot of years. st. anthony's, st. boniface go back many years. glide is now an older institution. there are long term institutions in the tenderloin trying to meet the needs of it's residents. jerry: over the history of the tenderloin it's been a place where service providers come and
provide human services for people who need them. so people with hiv and aids- there are resources here for those people. substance abuse, mental illness- there are a lot of resources in the tenderloin for those people. and it's a place where people who have special needs such as those can live their lives. you know there was a time, not so long ago, there was a time where there was discrimination against people with hiv and aids, so the tenderloin was a place where people could find housing instead of other parts of the city. chris: the tenderloin development corporation a community development corporation, is i think one of the biggest in san francisco.
they have retrofitted a large number of buildings in the tenderloin. their mission is to provide housing to tenderloin residents. the model of community development has been popular for decades in san francisco. this is largely in response in this city and many other cities across the country to the failed plans of the 1960's and 1970's and top-down approach where cities said we know better than the residents. and you see examples in 4th street and the clear cutting of the western addition. and one the community responses was, "hey, we can do community redevelopment. and if we come out of the community, we're going to know what the community issues are better than your top-down bureaucracy." so there was this rise of the community development corporations.
and tndc, the tenderloin neighborhood development corporation was one of the most successful, in terms of providing affordable housing and usually better housing conditions to literally thousands of tenderloin residents. jerry: behind us, you can see these high-rise hotels that were developed in the early 1980's. the early 80's were a period of intense development pressure on the neighborhood. due to the efforts of a lot of community activists, a lot of non-profits in the neighborhood, those development pressures were lessened somewhat for a period of time. and we... i feel that we may be looking at a period where we are seeing pressure from development. carolyn diamond: it's probably an area that's known for being unsafe, a little unsavory... high crime rate at 6th and market st.
and it's a place where you don't see a lot of activity in the night-time, because people feel insecure and unsafe. and even though we have the warfield theater, we got the golden gate theater, and the orpheum theater in this area. people come out here at night, but because of the area itself, you don't see those theater patrons out on the street. you see them basically disappear. chris: mid-market roughly is, say a block south and a jagged block north of market st, from about 5th to 9th. it's an area that's seen underinvestment. kind of a... little bit different area of market st. than the area more to the east or further west. so the idea of looking at redevelopment in that area is to see if you stimulate or can enhance investment in that part of the city. carolyn: there's been lots and lots of different plans over the years over how to redevelop
mid-market, and what to do and stuff, but none of them have ever come into reality. so hopefully this is the plan that will make mid-market, and therefore make all of market street, the street that it should be. chris: there's a disagreement between a group largely backed by the property owners and the developers themselves, who want to minimize the amount of concessions being asked for by the city in exchange for this enhanced local investment, and a group more supported by the residents of the area, who are looking for enhanced benefits given to them by developers which include higher affordable housing in the area of developments along mid-market. charles: they oughta take redevelopment plans and sit on them for about 10 years until they've really worked them out. because most of the time they turn out to be terrible. market street is the death of dreams.
in the 1890's, you have a situation where the hibernia bank, which was one of the biggest banks, if not the biggest bank in the west at that time, moves it's headquarters to jones, mcallister and market. that presence never... that direction never happened. and so all those dreams of market st. becoming the champs d'elysee of san francisco all died. in the tearing down of the fox, a developer wanted to tear down this building that no longer had, no longer had much economic justification- big movie palaces were a thing of the past. but in areas where they were kept, you actually created economic value there. and in it's place is this totally banal structure that's there today- the fox plaza. so that was a huge mistake and many of these things have been huge mistakes. they've torn down part of the important physical fabric of the city and replaced it with something terrible.
carolyn: how to get improvement... sometimes has different ideas. there's been a lot of negotiation and a lot of speaking together and now everyone agrees what needs to happen in this area. chris: trinity plaza, in the mid-market at 8th and market, there was a proposal to tear down 360 rent-controlled units. and the existing community that lived there, mostly filipino residents, in a long struggle... i worked with the residents to convince the developer to agree to replace each rent-controlled unit that is torn down, as well as include affordable housing units in a big market-rate development that they're going to do on that site. it's pushing a 37 to 38% affordability, which is unprecedented in any development deal. carolyn: it's like a zone plan, a whole plan that designates money for all sorts of things including housing, affordable housing.
$40 million for arts and entertainment, which historically this area was the entertainment theater district of market st. of the city. we have all these great theaters that are underused, underutilized and actually some of them are now closed. we want to revitalize that to be an arts and cultural district and with the redevelopment plan there is set aside money to help spark that interest, and spark that rejuvenation of an arts and cultural district here. chris: when you talk about redevelopment, you're generally talking decades, in terms of focusing government energy in reinvestment in an area in order to revitalize it. the magic for me is: redevelopment is a tool that's got to work for the existing residents when you begin the redevelopment project. it can't be for other purposes. we've been through for purposes other than the existing
residents. dj party ben: south of market has changed more than almost any other neighborhood in san francisco in the past 10 years. lisa block: a lot of people, not just specifically the artists, are being pushed out. san francisco across the board, the rent is incredibly high. this area has seen a lot of development recently. a lot more interest to create market rate housing and above and even luxury housing. chris: there's been a lot of friction, most of that friction has to do with certain assumptions that are made on the part of the new residents. and rightfully so, they've moved into a neighborhood, they've just spent a pretty sizable chunk of change and they have expectations about what their quality of life should be. but unfortunately those expectations are trumped by the realities of inner-city living.
lisa: i work with the recreation center advisory board here and there are a few of the neighbors that live in the lofts that come out do have some of the loft people come out and volunteer at the center and they're very much involved. and some others that just see anything outside their window as a problem, and... i think that's just typical of people in general. ben: i think there's probably a stereotype that south of market is just... just the freaks and the super-yuppies. and kind of there's no in-between, and perhaps there is some truth to that more than, say the mission, where there might be a greater middle ground of people who live there. but i don't have a car and, i only have a motorcycle and it would be great if there were better public transportation. lisa: people are concerned with the lack of services, and the lack of houses, and there's others who have businesses who are concerned with the concerns of... having homeless in front of their business.
and we're at the youth center, and another thing is youth programming. youth are exposed to a lot here in this part of town. bobbi washington: no it's not a walk through the park, in fact when they walk here, it's almost like a walk through the jungle. we do embrace them and let them know they are safe when they get in the bessie carmichael grounds. and we let know also that the things that they see- it's not like this all over the world, but we have to deal with what we have at the point that we're at right now. i attended this school, i started when i was in the third grade. my mom knew so-and-so's mom and the storekeeper could discipline me and say "you need to go home." as time passed, they grew up and they had families and they moved on. the construction was one of the big reasons, because the area started to get bought up. during the time of the construction, we thought really they were building more homes down here, they were building more houses. but that wasn't the truth. it was more the big large global
companies that was moving in and our family moved out due to the fact that the rent became very high and the landlords were doing what they needed to do in order to survive. chris: the concept of having developers pay their fair share or pay for greater community benefits is not a new concept. i think the first one of these that i probably worked on was at 4th and freelon, in the south of market not far from the ballpark. i worked with that developer to convert that from a live-work loft to be a housing development and in the process bring on 56 units of affordable housing. and the good news is san francisco has an enormous housing shortage. and there's a significant housing issue that we're struggling with in san francisco. so the fact that the market is pushing development is good news. so what we're able to do is basically allow these south of
market community groups to share the wealth that developers are going to bring to the eastern part of south of market, through basically payments to the city-established community stabilization fund. in the end, between affordable housing dollars, and dollars for eviction prevention, for job development, community artistic purposes, etc. etc., we're looking at almost $120 million in community benefits paid to the city. ben: the huge projects- i sometimes worry. i've read jane jacobs and "life and death of great american cities" and it seems to me that even the most well-intentioned large-scale projects can go awry. maybe the lots could be divvied up just a little bit smaller? you could have more of a real neighborhood, like you see in certain parts of new york city, where clearly there are tall residential buildings, but
they're smaller and next to each other. and it creates more of this vibrant neighborhood with different interests, where you have museums and residences and commercial interests and all different things are right there. that's what keeps a community vibrant. my worry is... what if it doesn't work? what if one of them doesn't work so well? what if it doesn't sell out? what if they end up being kind of empty? what if they're just totally filled up with yuppies? you end up with a very one dimensional neighborhood and that's kind of my great worry. chris: well, i think we're going to get two things. we're going to get new market rate housing in densities that are actually going to impact supply and demand in terms of market-rate housing. and then we're going to get community benefits for an existing neighborhood that hopefully last years and years and make a significant impact on the ground in terms of issues that existing neighborhoods have to address. damian samuel: growth in anything is important- in yourself, in the community,
whatever- even the giants. but it all comes at a price. when the dot-com came in, we saw them come in in limousines and leave in u-hauls. they... decimated this area kinda like crack. it was horrible. they threw all the musicians out, people that had warehouse space or anything were moved. we had neighbors that moved in the back alley and they voted some gentleman in that was gonna be the spokesperson for their bunch of lofts and the gentleman came around and decided that he wanted to talk to one of the owners and managers and he told us we had to repaint our building so that the value of his building wouldn't go down. we told him "you've been here for six months. you can go get stuffed." it's been a corner bar here, probably since 1910 at least. it's been used from the irish immigrants building the ships to the music people from kqed. it's been al's trans-bay tavern since the 40's, which clint
eastwood said in one of his films, "see you at al's." there's a lot of people that have been living here for 20 years and they know about the loud music and they're not... they're kind of in with it. south of market has a community with the meetings and everything, and that's starting, at least what i've seen, to become quite more prominent. i think as these things do slip and start to gain momentum that it's up to san franciscans and people that are doing it to take the time and get involved with these community meetings and see what really is going on. san francisco is a major european and world-wide attraction for people to come to, and if everybody just shuts it down then there is going to be no nightlife or arts community and it's going to be a terrible terrible waste in this city. ben: over the last 10 years, i think that live entertainment south of market... i'd say
there's less of it, as far as clubs or as far as live bands. but i think that the clubs and venues, the spaces that remain are stronger. yeah, there's not quite the diversity of spaces that are available in south of market, but i still think there's enough to keep it a vibrant place for nightlife. but yeah there is some nostalgia for... the wild days of 1995. chris: i'm a friend to late night interests and the late-night community and it's political arm- the san francisco late night coalition, but not at any cost. even most folks at the late night coalition, are in a mindset that they need to try and work with neighbors in a reasonable way try to accommodate and mitigate concerns. lisa: certainly residents of 6th st. are concerned with the level
of noise that comes from the clubs at night and the level of drug sales. one of the meetings specifically around the clubs we were able to get a lot of the club owners to come to the meeting. we had someone from the entertainment commission come and speak with a lot of the neighbors. and that was a small success to meet with the club owners because i think a lot of the people don't feel they have an avenue for complaining or when it comes to their concern. ben: i think that's calmed down to a certain extent. i think that people have learned to live with what's there. some of the clubs that caused a lot of the noise complaints are just gone, shut down because of either economics or a combination of noise problems or neighborhood problems. and you know... i'm sure there are people who would say it would be great if it was still 1975 and there were bathhouses and whatever, but obviously
things change. if we want to aim south of market in a direction that maybe contained both some nightclubs and some good times and a wide range of housing options and transit to get there, then i think that would be really cool. so, it's not perfect, but that's something that i really do like about south of market. it's a little bit different. lisa: i spent some time around 6th st. because there are some nightclubs here, and now that i've been working here i know the community on a whole other level. carolyn: i'm an optimist. i think that the area has tremendous potential. but there's this section, this middle fifth to tenth that we're really determined to see developed. jerry: i wish everybody was able to see the real tenderloin and experience this neighborhood as a community which i think it really is. chris: my spiritual home is probably16th and mission, the
corner right out here. i worked there for seven years. on that corner with the people who hang out there, with the small businesses, the non-profits and the arts groups. i think probably the main reason i ended up moving to the mission district is... the ability to find a rental unit and the relative affordability at the time, back in 1993. and then because of the history of activism in this neighborhood. the mission is known for many things, but one of things i've always loved about the mission district was the history of social movements that have bubbled up here. you know, it's an interesting mix of higher end places with some more neighborhood types of places. you get a cross-section, even on a friday and saturday night when you get a bunch of people from
out of the neighborhood here- you still have a bunch of neighborhood folks in the mix as well, so that's good. i'm down here a good bit, whether visiting one of the taquerias or getting pakwan at the pakistani-indian place. i probably eat out in this corridor more than anywhere eels in the city. for younger san franciscans that are more progressive politically and looking for more of a hip social setting, this is the place to be in san francisco. this is it. . >> my name