Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition Weighs in on American Apparel

MAC enters the fray, with a post titled Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Irony:

[W]e cannot overlook the irony and contradictions that the “locally owned businesses on Valencia “Your Mission” campaign present. Many of the displacements have been at the hands of non-neighborhood serving boutique shops, or destination restaurants or just plain expensive shops that many Mission residents can not shop at. I noticed a comment on the No American Apparel site that stated that it was these shops that had saved the Mission from 99 cent stores and, I assume, other lower-end businesses. It is this short sighted analysis from the group that makes us pause.

Lots more here.

20 Responses to “Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition Weighs in on American Apparel”

  1. tremendo says:

    Thanks for the link. This opens up the discussion and hopefully will induce reflection and encourage action.

  2. zinzin says:

    i’m no fan of MACs politics overall, but it’s a surprisingly thoughtful and considered position statement.

    oh, and…um…yeah. like we said…

  3. zinzin says:

    my opinion, this paragraph best describes the irony / sham of the anti-AA “struggle”:

    “It also bears mentioning that AA hires workers of color from within the community their production plant is located within and pays them a fair wage, a practice that our local businesses should but often don’t follow. The knee-jerk “no” to chain stores would make a lot more sense if our existing Valencia St. shop owners committed to hiring young people from the neighborhood and providing price points that we all could afford. It would also sense if local businesses coming to the Mission partnered with community-based organizations to train and recruit a diverse work force that had opportunities to work in all aspects of their businesses and not just as janitors, or dish washers.”

  4. WantRealEconomicDevelopment says:

    Never thought I would agree with MAC, but…yes!

  5. zinzin says:

    btw, they’ll still likely come out against AA. it;s their nature.

  6. ct says:

    @zinzin Yes, they said as much.

    I like this statement, though. Although I wonder how much the “inevitable gentrification/rise in rents” argument holds given that the entire point here is that Prop G exists and the community has veto power. But I don’t actually understand the mechanics of Prop G, so it may be that “veto-power” is not an appropriate description.

  7. tremendo says:

    the end of their statement :
    “The precedent setting impact of allowing new formula retail on our NC corridors is something that we should be very worried about and is another critical reason why are saying no to American Apparel.”

  8. Will says:

    “Mission Man” from MAC writes “In the end we oppose formula retail on Valencia, but not because we want to protect the businesses that displaced the community-serving businesses in the hood.” Although they rhetorically hesitate, they do oppose American Apparel’s opening in the hood, and that is to be expected. Their reasons for opposing American Apparel’s opening are different from the Valencia Street merchants, but that is to be expected as well. They are against gentrification while the Valencia Street merchants are for a certain kind of it.

    I support MAC, and anti-gentrification and for that reason I hope that these two groups can make common cause as unlikely allies in this case. It may seem petty, but formula retail is a very important question for MAC and for anti-gentrification efforts. Stopping formula retail and big box retail in the Mission is a large part of what MAC does. It is already an important part of their history. That said, it is important to note that they share the same specific goal as the merchants in this question – getting the Planning Commission to rule against another formula retail store in the Mission, in this case American Apparel. I keep hearing the hipster vs. hipster line that many bloggers think is so funny. But really it’s the boutiques and the anti-gentrification people in an unlikely temporary alliance against a sweatshop free clothing store.

    Here’s an idea to move us beyond thinking just about what happens in one small store front: Why can’t San Francisco build it’s own version of American Apparel’s manufacturing plant right here in the Mission? That would be much cooler than an American Apparel retail outlet or a new boutique anyway, and it would create hundreds of jobs instead of just a handful. And they’d be better jobs. Maybe Bill Gates wants to do this. Now there would be a daily dose of irony.

    Or better yet – the city should do this as part of their program for the economic development of the Mission. Some people might initially think it would be unfair because no clothing manufacturer could compete with the government aided business, but tell me – what clothing manufactures are there in SF anyway? One would be a lot better than none. And the people of San Francisco or a democratically elected Mission representative could control it. I wonder if MAC and the Valencia Street merchants would get behind that!

  9. Glenparker says:

    In a year or two they’ll be begging McDonalds to move into one of the many shuttered business that will line Valencia. AND MAC will only be happy when every illegal alien is given a free apartment, free health care and a high paying job. San Francisco build it’s own manufacturing plant here? This city cannot run a lemonade stand let alone set up a viable manufacturing operation. The city is going down the tubes in a sea of red ink and we’re crying cause some rinky-dink clothing store wants to open in our sacred cow of a district.

  10. zinzin says:

    yeah. MAC will never be moderate or even reasonable in their views overall. i think their intent is good, but their consistently reactionary anti-development actions are really only good for keeping themselves in business. same as any other poverty pimp org, they’re not actively CREATING any opportunities for the Latino community far as i can tell….they’re just striving for status quo, which in most cases upon which they focus – poverty, displacement, homelessness, addiction, blight – blows.

    credit where it’s due, they have influenced some lower-income housing units. fighting walgreens on army, though? crazy. fighting home depot on bayshore?? totally fucking nuts. that one i will never understand. it’s the same as the theaters on mission…mom & pop will NEVER be able to use that size of a space (20K sft on mission – and there’s 5 of them…and 100K sft on bayshore, and there’s 2 of them).

    i just thought it was interesting that they took a less-than-reactionary viewpoint regarding this AA crap…and looked through Stephen Elliott’s sham of a “movement”

    - now i guess Elliott and PCR’s sham of a “movement” -

    they’re excellent bedfellows, recall the totally bullshit slanted coverage PCR did of the D9 election.

  11. zinzin says:

    @Will…i think your last two paragraphs might be the most truly progressive ideas in this whole landscape. notice i didnt put “quotes” around it. but that’s just one idiot’s opinion (mine).

    while i think “fighting gentrification” is tantamount to swimming up stream – the cat is pretty much out of the bag on that one and in my opinion the next economic pendulum swing will finish the job – your points are really great and it would be super to see any of that happening.

    unfortunately, SF is so mired in “progressive” politics (this time i did use the “quotes”, again, one idiot talking), that the current level of battle…all reactionary and untethered to real issues, unable to see bigger picture, bogged down by selfish one-cause interest groups and career-focused politicians … is all there really is.

    it would take a herculean effort and a bunch of pre-prep to make any of those ideas work. one would need to have it 80% baked, and funded, and cut all the baksheesh deals up front….to push it through.

    and even then, because of economics….you’d want your factory in SSF or san bruno.

    that said, if you’re serious, let me know. i’d love to work on something like that. something truly PROGRESSIVE.

  12. Juan says:

    I rarely agree with MAC’s rhetoric or arguments, but I heartily agree with the paragraph quoted above. Precious and overpriced boutiques don’t reflect the Mission any more than Skechers or McDonalds.

  13. Juan says:

    Oh, and just because I don’t usually agree with MAC doesn’t mean I want to ally myself with the sort of person who still calls it “Army Street.”

  14. Glenparker says:

    Ha Ha it will always be Army Street.

  15. mark says:

    will has it right. also i like what the MAC wrote.

    why was fighting that walgreens/condo development on cesar chavez street crazy? there’s four walgreens within a 10 minute walk of that location. i don’t know what they were thinking, but the last thing the mission needs is another walgreens and some more condos.

    also this gets my vote for the number 1 most absurd thing said so far about this controversy (which in this debate is quite an honor): In a year or two they’ll be begging McDonalds to move into one of the many shuttered business that will line Valencia. seriously, that’s golden!

  16. Zinzin says:

    Actually I have vast respect for Cesar Chavez – a true activist and the very definition of progressive – and meant nothing by it.

    But whatever. Judge away. Be my guest.

    Far as walgeeens, another 20k sft derelict store with an empty parking lot attracting crime and blight is the last thing the mission needs. Folks around the place apparantly fought FOR it and won.

    Like it or not walgeeens brings jobs and revs.

  17. wondering says:

    @ mark Re: i don’t know what they were thinking, but the last thing the mission needs is another walgreens and some more condos.

    The Walgreen’s and condos are on Chavez – which desperately needs both- already having ~400 units of low and very-low income non-profit built affordable housing, little foot traffic and almost no neighborhood services.

  18. tami says:


    I made an exchange on a purchase at your Little Tokyo Store in November 2008. My exchange was a little more than the original purchase. The Store manager “Ann” who would not give me her last name, keyed in my exchange and made repeated errors, and the “gift card” that she used from the counter to make the transaction had additional money on it , according to her, so she had to ring it in at least 2 more times. She said I should just be charged x amount (around 16.00) on my credit card for the additional that I owed on the exchange. When I got my visa bill, I was charged twice, and it much more than what I was supposed to be charged (around $68). I went back to the Ann with my visa bill, she took a week to get back to me, and claimed she was on the phone with the “IT” department for an hour, as though it was an inconvenience for her. Instead of properly getting my money back on my credit card, all that either “Ann” or the “IT” department could do was give me a gift card, therefore forcing me to purchase more at American Apparel than I originally intended.
    When I finally got around to using that store credit at the Citadel, the clerk said there was nothing on that card!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. I was robbed. I gave you a chance one too many. I think you have something shady going on at the Little Tokyo Store, and quite possibly all of the American Apparel stores.

    The guy at the Citadel outlet was good enough to follow up on this for me and made a phone call, and gave me my $68 credit, and I had to spend more in addition to that to cover the items I purchased that day. I ended up spending WAY more money on clothes that fall apart way too soon for the money spent on them. The only reason I bought something at American Apparel was because I had to make an exchange on a gift, and they don’t give refunds. If refunds were allowed, I think there would be ALOT.

    I will tell everyone I know never to shop at American Apparel EVER!!

  19. NC says:

    I like how at the bottom of this article there is an ad for “Boden”, a clothing company.

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