American Apparel Stopped


Got that? Ping pong AND foosball. Go to work!

Thanks, Andy!

12 Responses to “American Apparel Stopped”

  1. zinzin says:

    i’m thinking taxidermy mice.

  2. RH says:

    Open Letter to American Apparel: Ignore Valencia street. There are lots of storefronts available on 24th between Mission and Bryant that are just as close to BART and actually becoming much hipper than Valencia. Not to mention you won’t get any of the crazy friction you get from the Valencia corridor peeps.

  3. fiskestang says:

    Am I the only one that wants a Hooters to move in?

    titties + chain = winning formula?

  4. codesmith says:

    Titties + chain? That’s what AA was all about and look where it got em…

  5. SimonSays says:

    I want to know what we’re afraid of! This is just basic anti-business bullshit. Mom and shops can and will live next to big box stores. Its inevitable! We must adapt, embrace and move on.

  6. Charles Nibbly says:

    Hooray for the unanimous decision to protect people from themselves!

    Thank our lucky stars… because for a second there, I actually thought that we’d all be buying stuff we don’t want. Thanks!

    Oh and please be on the look out for anything else I don’t know better than to do without someone helping me think. Decisions hurt my brain…


  7. Well, let this be a lesson to every business owner in California: if you manage to run a successful business, gathering enough customers to support multiple storefronts and an online operation, San Francisco wants none of you.

  8. C. says:

    I think this is a case of supervisors isolating toxic political assets (now can they show Washington how to do it?), and also a case of a vocal minority advancing a cause and recruiting support based on false and misleading information (such as the “beachhead” effect, which is the opposite of how Prop G, the relevant law, works) – and no one in a position of authority being willing to call them on it! With testimonials from long-time shopowners and an apparent “community movement”" – and with the most organized opposition to the opposition being the comments on this blog – what’s a politician to do? The will of the people, and all that…
    That’s all right – after the economy has continued to tank for a few years, and all the independent shops have gone out of business, and no monied d-bags come on shopping sprees to the neighborhood to buy American Apparel t-shirts, espresso drinks and complementary clothing items and accessories from the independents to portray themselves as fashionable hipsters (just to use Stephen Elliot’s inclusive vision of diverse community), the Mission District economy will just go back to the way it was in the late 80s and early 90s, when you didn’t have to wear anything in particular to be “alternative”. There will be plenty of parking (even on the sidewalks!), seats (I guess they’re still filthy now) on the bus, bad coffee (except for the Arabic coffee places), mostly burritos and low-priced Asian food. Since, as johnny0 mentioned, there’s never been a notion of a government-funded boutique shop, there’ll be plenty of vacant space, so the Intersection for the Arts can sell its furniture to move back to its former big space near 19th (since no one will any longer want hipster children’s toys) and ATA can leverage the rampant popularity of Irony Boy to increase its broad-based community appeal as well as its list of major patrons of independent arts organizations to expand into 988 and continue to destroy the venerable history of experimental film and video in the Bay Area with images of dirt and garbage or people wearing animal heads, and socially-relevant artistic inquiry such as a documentary on Gogol Bordello. Since there’ll be no evil foreign enemy bent on the total destruction of our wholesome alternative Mission way of life (funny how Stephen Elliot’s images mirror George Bush’s) around which to rally support to do anything positive, there will have been no real development to uplift the culture or the community, and MAC’s vision of a world without economic advancement and eternal Depression-era politically-engaged proletarianism foisted upon third-world cultures in its place, you will be able to buy a really cheap burrito, and take it back to your decaying, mildewy, low-rent park-side through-flat, just like in the Fall of 1989.
    Wow. That sounds like I’m bitter! I didn’t know I was bitter. I didn’t think I had it in me!!
    I’m going to Four Barrel, to have a double cappuccino and eat five Dynamo donuts. Really!
    Thanks to all you Mission-Mission commenters for your examples of intellectual and moral honesty – and especially wicked humor – in the face of politicized reactionary negative B.S. It actually got me to think about the issues. Not that I’m gonna do anything besides go to Four Barrel… ;( (they display a S.A.A. poster, btw…)

  9. aidan says:

    what fucking bullshit

  10. C. says:

    I think I must agree with aidan about my previous, apparently bitter, post, at least or especially so far as its prognostications for the future of The Mission. Also, a friend told me tonight that her best friend’s film debuted at ATA.

    I am still against Stop American Apparel, regardless of whatever outcome of the hearing. It was censoring zinzin’s comments that revealed the true character of Stephen Elliot’s campaign tactics, and really pissed me off – and then all the false and misleading claims about “beachheads”, precedents and legal openings for unconstrained and uncontrolled formula retail.
    Since I’ve already consumed way more than my share of comment-space, I figure I will just keep rollin’ with the following.

    I wrote to all the supervisors to express my dismay about the tactics and claims of Stop American Apparel.
    I received a reply from only one, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who seemed to have presumed that I was for Stop American Apparel. While this presumption was not correct, and while the ingratiating language of his email was difficult for me to ingest, Supervisor Dufty does seem to be up to very good things in his positive initiatives to support local business, culture and community. This seems to be what we need, instead of the negative approach of Stop American Apparel.

    The ingratiating parts read as follows; I am posting it to elicit wicked humor from other commenters:
    “Congratulations on the incredible 6-0 rejection by the Planning Commission
    of the proposed American Apparel store on Valencia.
    This is a wonderful validation that the voice of the neighborhood has been

    The interesting parts about the positive initiatives read:
    “I am proud to have established an economic development program at our
    LGBT Center. It is the first of its kind helping both to build new small
    businesses and to attract new businesses to the Castro.

    Over 350 people have e-mailed me, written or called to oppose American
    apparel. Next week I will forward a survey monkey, revised from the one we
    used in the Castro, to help identify ideas for the types of small
    businesses you’d like to see on Valencia. Hopefully this will give me some
    foundation to speak with property owners about filling commercial vacancies
    and bringing even more vibrancy to Valencia. Part of our work in the
    Castro has involved building trust with property owners so that it’s
    possible to convince them of the need to make rents more reasonable, in
    some cases.”

    Sounds good and reasonable, and like someone is at least trying to do something positive!
    Can we get the survey posted on M-M?

    Now for more of my raving against Stop American Apparel in reply to the poor Supervisor, with a few new points for how to do this kind of thing in the future:

    Dear Supervisor Dufty,

    While I appreciate your replying to my email, I must inform you that I was against the Stop American Apparel campaign, as were many Mission residents and fans, including many with liberal or radical political views and strong support for local business, culture and community.

    The points in my email were that Stop American Apparel had waged a negative campaign full of false and misleading information, had recruited most of its support based on this false and misleading information, had misrepresented and exaggerated its representation of the Mission as any kind of unified community, and had even gone so far as to censor and delete dissenting voices – or even just clarifications and corrections – from its own blogsite.

    The Stop American Apparel campaign was waged by a vocal and active but relatively tiny minority, holding a polarized and divisive view of the community, with no real vision or plan for sharing benefits of any form of economic success in an inclusive, diverse community. In its word-of-mouth communications, in many of its ad-hoc posters, and also in comments deleted from its own blogsite, the leaders of Stop American Apparel portrayed their opposition as best grounded best in an intention to keep “d-bags” [my abbreviation] and “hipsters” (fairly ironically) out of The Mission.

    The points based on which support (including letter-writing) was recruited ranged from earlier points that American Apparel is a “big box” store (when it does not have the economic model, the market, the business practices or the impacts of a big box store), to later points that allowing American Apparel into The Mission would set a precedent and create a legal opening (described in its posters as a “beachhead”) for more formula retail in The Mission, citing The Gap and other “bad” retailers as examples of stores that would be allowed as a consequence.

    The Stop American Apparel campaign itself stated several times that it is not against American Apparel per se, but against such bad consequences. But instead, by falsely projecting and generalizing as though there definitely would be such precedents or openings and their bad consequences, the Stop American Apparel campaign created a spectre of an evil foreign enemy bent on the total destruction of the Mission way of life as they see it, and recruited support for an aggressive, negative campaign on that basis (can you think of any other leaders who have used such an approach recently, with much worse means toward much worse ends?)

    Yourself and all the Supervisors must know that this is not how Proposition G, the relevant law, works.
    Instead, it requires individual review for all “formula retail” conditional use applications, and indicates specific considerations including the number of existing formula retail stores, the balance of formula retail stores with local business and the available space remaining for any business.
    This review and these considerations amount to the opposite of a beachhead, and are specifically designed to prevent setting precedents and creating legal openings for unconstrained or uncontrolled growth of formula retail. Quite to the contrary, having American Apparel, a “good” formula retailer in terms of its practices, and a manufacturer with a “niche” market (in style, brand and price) perhaps complementary to the other clothing shops on the street, would set a precedent that would actually make it more difficult for “bad” formula retailers to take over. To me, the decision is quite sad, because I feel that, more than any other formula retailer I could think of, American Apparel would be more inclined to participate in and contribute to positive initiatives such as those you have undertaken.

    Unfortunately, the hearings and other aspects of the process involved by Proposition G are not ones that support rational adjudication of claims for and against something like the American Apparel store, as would be supported in a court case. They are also not democratic processes in which all residents or concerned or interested parties can express themselves by a vote, distinguishing the ambitions of a vocal, active minority from the wishes of the community. Further, there are no investigative processes by which the real variety of opinion and support in the neighborhood can be discerned by decision-makers. There are also no community forums in which information can be shared, matters can be discussed and debated, and issues resolved. I feel especially that such forums would have been helpful, as I believe most of the shopowners, petition-signers, poster-displayers and others had been recruited on the basis of false and misleading claims about setting a precedent that they did not really know were false and misleading. There would need as part of this to be education for the community about realities of the law, the review process and participation in hearings that could provide a basis for sound and independent decision-making, rather than merely wishful trust in someone who appears to be an activist with expertise on the matter and the support of the community.
    There were many dissenting voices who, even if they were not disposed outright to support American Apparel as a business, were against the Stop American Apparel campaign and its tactics. Perhaps because there was no organized opposition to the opposition – and also because the hearings were held mid-day when many working people could not attend, the campaign seemed more representative than it actually was.

    I must say that it seems to me that the Supervisors made a decision to “spin” this outcome into a symbol of their support for San Francisco neighborhoods, to avoid using political chips in support of only American Apparel (who could not provide any political benefit) and also to avoid difficulties and delays in sorting out claims and issues.

    Basically, I think that the campaign was really bad, that many people got suckered by its bad approach, and that the Supervisors either got suckered too or just went along with it to move on without damage.

    Supervisor Dufty, I am very encouraged to read that you are taking the necessary and important steps toward developing positive initiatives to support local business, culture and community. This seems to be the best approach – and a necessary one – to protect and cultivate vibrant, diverse and healthy communities. If I came away from the controversy around American Apparel with any positive lesson, this is it.

    However, I feel that the negativity and deception of the Stop American Apparel campaign, the polarized, divisive and undemocratic views of its leaders, and its inherent confusion about how to create and to sustain healthy societies and economies, must be somehow be cleared or radically transformed in order to move forward in the positive ways that you intend.

    I hope you and the other Supervisors will consider these points in your future efforts to support the local businesses, cultures and communities of San Francisco.

    Thank you for all your good work on behalf of our City and its people.

  11. zinzin says:

    thanks C for all the energy & time. absolutely the longest post ever!

  12. ct says:

    I had the same experience — I wrote to Dufty in support of AA as well (he is my sup), and got the “Congratulations on your victory” response.