Dear D9 Neighbor,
In celebration of Black History Month, the Lunar New Year, and Women’s History Month (March), my colleagues and I have been honoring amazing leaders and community builders at the Board of Supervisors’ meetings. These honorees share a deep love for San Francisco and an extraordinary resolve to strengthen our local communities.
As Angela Davis, the Bay Area’s leading anti-racist activist and scholar, said, “It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.”
Indeed, the collective community work we see carried out daily by District 9 residents is awe inspiring. From non-profit leaders and small business entrepreneurs to City workers and volunteers, there is no shortage of creativity and s/heroism.
Please read on for updates from our office and the feature stories of people and organizations that represent hope, optimism and lasting, positive change in District 9 and citywide. In my final year in office, I am going to honor exemplary District 9 residents to feature the amazing work that is happening to better our communities. If you have recommendations on people who make a difference to you in your neighborhood, please feel free to share, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
include a little bit of background and the reason you believe they should be honored by the Board of Supervisors.
Mission Street Vending Moratorium Extended Six Months
Earlier this month, Mayor Breed and I announced plans for a six-month extension of the street vending moratorium along Mission Street. The City issued a 90-day moratorium on Mission Street on November 27, 2023, because of unprecedented safety concerns stemming from unauthorized vending and illegal activities (fencing, the sale of stolen items, inaccessible sidewalks, and other hazards). These activities negatively impacted small business owners, permitted vendors, Mission residents and visitors along one of the City’s busiest transit corridors.
Conditions along Mission Street have significantly improved since implementing the moratorium, but our work is far from done. The additional pause on street vending will allow the City to develop safeguards that ensure conditions on sidewalks and around BART plazas do not deteriorate again. It also allows the City to adapt its enforcement strategies as remaining illegal activities shift. Enforcement operations will continue within a 300-foot radius of the Mission Street Corridor between 14th and Cesar Chavez streets, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The City has also dedicated resources to support previously permitted street vendors through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to ensure they have access to wraparound support services, including workforce training and placement, marketing support, and emergency relief funds for low-income households. Vendors also are matched to existing resources based on their individual needs. You can also support these vendors directly by shopping at La Placita and El Tiangue, two City-supported marketplaces.
3300 & 3333 Mission Street Slated for 100% Affordable Housing in Bernal Heights
We are happy to share that Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (BHNC) has acquired the property formerly owned by Big Lots at 3333 Mission Street and has plans to develop the lot for 70 units of 100% affordable housing for seniors. Additionally, the plans for this development include an accessible community space for the neighborhood, commercial space in the storefront on Mission Street, and a revamped community park and playground. Read more on these plans
BHNC has been a champion of affordable housing in District 9, and these new developments promise to significantly increase the availability of options for housing for low income seniors, and contribute to the revitalization of the Bernal/Mission Street corridor. The announcement of this new development comes on the heels of the news last fall that BHNC purchased 3300 Mission with plans to build a total of 35 100% affordable studio apartments, while preserving the Victorian-style design of the original 3 story building that was destroyed in a fire that displaced 58 people. BHNC is working with the City to first offer these spots to those who were displaced. More on the 3300 Mission property
Congratulations and deep gratitude to Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center for their continuous work to improve conditions in the neighborhood and build our District’s stock of affordable housing!
Credit: Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Rendering of the new 100% affordable housing studio apartments at 3300 Mission Street.
Regional Affordable Housing Bond
As a representative to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, I sit on the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) Oversight Committee. At BAHFA, we have been working hard on moving forward enabling legislation to put a one-of-a-kind regional housing bond on the November 2024 ballot. Successfully moving this bond measure forward at BAHFA will be a major milestone towards ending our region’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis. You can watch my latest remarks on this effort here.
Photos: (Left) Joint Metropolitan Transportation Commission & Association of Bay Area Governments Housing Committee discussion on Regional Housing Bond. (Right) Supervisor Ronen speaking to the joint session on the importance of passing a Regional Housing Bond.
First Year Free Extended
This month we introduced legislation that extends the First Year Free program for small businesses In 2021, I authored the First Year Free ordinance, which waives the costs of many first-year permit and registration fees for small businesses throughout the city. We were just coming out of the pandemic, and it was critical that we removed barriers to opening and expanding small businesses and filling vacant storefronts, businesses which are indispensable to our city’s culture and economy. Since 2021, over 6,200 small businesses have enrolled and over $2M in fees have been waived. Right here in the Mission,
El Mil Amores, a delicious and wonderful Mexican restaurant was able to utilize the program to open last year, and they are now a neighborhood gem at 21st and Florida! Make sure to check them out for breakfast or lunch.
Thank you to Mayor Breed, the Treasurer’s office, and the Office of Small Business for all of your work and support to keep FYF going another year!
|Photo Credit: Jennifer Ferrigno. Speaking with the Mayor on our joint efforts to extend First Year Free in front of D9 small business El Mil Amores restaurant who benefited from the program last year. (February 15, 2024)
Profile of a D9 Small Business
This month, we gave a special Board of Supervisors Commendation to small business entrepreneur, Dee, owner of Hey Neighbor Cafe
and all around community-builder in the Portola. Dee had the vision and courage to open a community facing small business during the pandemic. Realizing that the prior cafe was not going to reopen, she took a leap and turned Hey Neighbor into a center of gravity for the neighborhood, and today the cafe is a regular gathering space for neighbors from all backgrounds, a place where you will hear enthusiastic chatter in multiple languages, and see patrons from elders to young toddlers with parents enjoying drinks and warm toast with jam. Identifying as black, queer and non-binary, Dee has created a space that is comfortable and welcoming to everyone. It is a space that celebrates local unsung talents in the arts, coffee and food culture, sponsoring rotating art exhibitions, and
featuring ingredients from local farmers in their signature homemade marmalade and jams, and partner with local Rize Up Bakery to provide bread for toast and jam. They also rotate coffee roasters, and Dee finds every and all opportunities to promote local women, black and queer coffee masters.
Hey Neighbor has also been a central partner in the Portola Greenway, recruiting and supporting volunteers, and hosting pop ups with local chefs to feed people who come out for garden work days. Dee is always happy to talk about and set up tours, and delights in the art and native landscaping that has beautified a formerly blighted alleyway. Best of all, the Greenway hot compost gets its daily boost of Hey Neighbor’s coffee grinds, and when ready enriches the soil that nurtures native plants.
Dee at Hey Neighbor plays a pivotal role in our community by offering a vibrant space that fosters art, culture, music, and supports emerging entrepreneurs. They consistently engage in community events, contribute to greening initiatives and are an active part of what makes the Portola special.
Valerie Luu, Director of the Portola Neighborhood Association (PNA)
Stop in for a good, strong cup of coffee and toast with house-made jam. Believe me, it’s a wonderful experience!
|Photo credit: Jennifer Ferrigno. Supervisor Ronen and Dee, owner of Hey Neighbor Cafe honored at the Board of Supervisors on February 13, 2024.
SFPUC News for D9
The Folsom Area Stormwater Improvement Project is in Construction
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) operates a combined sewer system that collects and treats San Francisco’s wastewater (sewage and stormwater). They are upgrading and modernizing our aging sewer system to ensure it can continue to protect public health and the environment. One key area of investment includes enhancing flood resilience across the City through operational improvements, capital projects and resources to help the public prepare for and recover from intense but inevitable storm events.
In late 2023, the SFPUC began construction on the Folsom Area Stormwater Improvement Project, which is being constructed in several overlapping phases. The first phase of work upsizing and upgrading sewers around the 17th and Folsom area is nearing completion. Upcoming future phases of work are planned to begin in late-2024 and 2025. Construction completion is anticipated in mid-2027.
NOTE: Even after this work is complete, this low-lying area will still be at risk of flooding during heavy rains. No sewer system, including San Francisco's, can be designed to manage all stormwater in ALL storms, and the SFPUC has additional resources available at sfpuc.org/RainReadySF
GREEN SPACES AND BEAUTIFICATION PROJECTS IN D9
Virgina Garden Walk Landscaping and Mural Project is Done!
We are happy to share that the Virginia Garden Walk and mural project is finished. Bernal Heights neighbors from Virginia Street and the surrounding streets have been working on this community-wide effort for the last 2 years in an effort to revitalize and beautify the garden pathway that is so central to the northwest side of Bernal Heights. The Friends of Virginia Garden Walk have been working with expert volunteers and Bernal-based
Rock and Rose Landscapes to bring in garden features and native plants and pollinators, and have completed a mural on the retaining City wall with a concept piece from local muralist Amos Goldbaum
, whose iconic sketches capture the simplicity of the cityscapes of the neighborhood. The Friends of Virginia Garden Walk received a Community Challenge Grant in 2022 from the City to carry out these ambitious plans, and have been able to pull it all off with the support of dozens of volunteers and supporters.
This unique pathway is a connector from the interior of Bernal Heights to Mission Street, and many residents, including myself, take this route from our homes to shops and restaurants, or get on the 49 Mission bus. The Virginia Garden Walk is a regenerative garden with solar lighting for safety and features with natural stones and logs for erosion control and water conservation. This beautiful spot is the result of hard work and love for the neighborhood, and shows once again the power of community and volunteerism for the greater good.
Photos: (Above) Completed Virginia Garden Walkway Mural. (Left) Amos Goldbaum painting the mural. (Center) Supervisor Ronen walks by on her way to work at City Hall. (Right) Beautiful sitting area overlooking the garden.
Revitalizing Alioto Mini Park
Join neighbors, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, members of the Alioto family, and our office at a volunteer gardening event:
Alioto Mini Park Gardening Day!
Saturday, March 23 from 10am-1pm
Alioto Mini Park at 20th & Capp
We will refresh plant beds while building community, enjoying music and food, and raising funds for park enhancements. Park staff will also offer children’s gardening activities. This event is the first of several improvements spearheaded by neighbors, in partnership with the City, to make Alioto Mini Park a welcoming and safe recreational space for all neighbors.
Photo credit: Anton Ritzu. Welcome sign at Alioto Park, located at 20th and Capp.
• Some Upcoming Merchant Events in D9 •
Bernal Business and Arts Alliance
The Bernal Business and Arts Alliance sponsored two "Welcome to Bernal" signs along Cortland Avenue at the Good Prospect Community Garden wall from artwork by Marco Razo, and above Bare Bottle Brewery from artwork by Nicole Dixon, both designed and painted by David Benzler @litterbug.
If you haven’t yet, please show your support for the festival string lights along Cortland by contributing to the Lights Along Cortland Go Fund Me, as one last push is needed to reach the fundraising goal, many thanks!
The Portola Neighborhood Association
Join us for arts and crafts, plant displays and gardening workshops, beer and wine, food from local restaurants, live music performances from DJ KG and Rev DNA, games and kids’ activities, and so much more! Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on the 2024 Bloom Shaboom lineup.
1 Burrows Street, San Francisco
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Spotlight on a D9 Community Organization
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To lift up the amazing work that is happening every day in Bernal, the Mission and the Portola, we are featuring the work of one D9 organization in each newsletter. This month features…
I also honored CLECHA
at a Board of Supervisors meeting this month, in particular for their partnership and creativity in working with us to support alternatives for street vendors. CLECHA exists to ensure Latinas and Latinos understand, navigate, and conquer the oppressive systems that exist in order to achieve financial equity. Their programs include small business services ranging from permit support to accessing grants; reentry support to entrepreneurs that have formerly been incarcerated; and youth entrepreneurship that provides youth with the financial education and tools to start their own businesses.
We want to recognize CLECHA for always being a partner to lift up Mission small businesses. When the call went out to our community partners for ideas last fall to help address street conditions on Mission Street, while creating proactive options for street vendors, CLECHA helped to conceive, plan and organize El Tiangue, Spanish for indoor flea market, an alternative place for permitted vendors to continue to do business. They found a storefront, negotiated a lease, got the permits and staffed the market in record time. They learned there was a need to establish a fully functional marketplace quickly, and this would have been an impressive feat under any circumstances. However, the speed, professionalism and deep care with which this team set up El Tiangue were truly exceptional.
CLECHA continues to be an integral partner as our response to the needs of street vendors while maintaining our efforts for safe and clean conditions at the Bart Stations and along Mission Street that continue to evolve.
|Photo credit: Jackie Prager.
I honored Alma Castellanos, Cristal Carabez, Olga Carabez, Amelivar LLC, and the organization CLECHA, founded by small Business Commissioner William Ortiz-Cartagena at the Board of Supervisors meeting for their work to conceive, plan and organize El Tiangue. This indoor market provides an alternative place for permitted vendors to continue to do business. This group found a storefront, negotiated a lease, got the permits and staffed the market. We are so grateful for their commitment to our Mission neighborhood! (February 6, 2024)