District 9 Supervisor David Campos, born in Guatemala and now representing the Mission District, was at the vanguard of pushing this resolution, which was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday. The idea is to preserve the rapidly changing Mission District, much the way the city’s Japantown was created near Geary Boulevard in the 1960’s.
Spanning fourteen city blocks, Calle 24 comprises the stretch of 24th Street bounded by Mission to the west, Potrero to the east, 22nd to the north and 25th to the south. A walk down this street today reveals a bustling scene, with mostly Latino shoppers filling the aisles of small businesses that cater to this community. Many of these consumers are the 5,000+ clients of MEDA, with 24th Street the main commercial hub for families of the quartet of Mission Promise Neighborhood schools.
“This is a chance to preserve the flavor of the Mission. Now, when an item comes before the Planning Commission, there will be an extra conditional-use process to specifically benefit businesses, cultural institutions and events that market to the Latino community,” explains MEDA’s Policy Manager Gabriel Medina.
One microbusiness in the corridor that will benefit will be Mystical Collections, at the northeast corner of 24th and South Van Ness and owned by Mexican immigrant Patricia Torres. One of the first entrepreneurs to start her business at El Mercadito, the microbusiness incubator at MEDA’s Plaza Adelante, Patricia’s business idea was to sell holistic products–an idea that came about after her son’s adverse reaction to medication. Able to move her business to nearby 24th Street after only 18 months, Patricia then doubled her store size by using the business acumen garnered from MEDA’s free Business Development program. Patricia has since created a strong customer base and has hired employees. The creation of Calle 24 will ensure Patricia’s business remains strong and where she wants it to be, serving the Latino community she loves.
Concludes MEDA’s Medina, “The creation of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District is a proactive approach to addressing the needs of Latinos in the Mission. It challenges the notion that the Mission only opposes projects and that groups in the Mission are unable to collaborate with consensus.”
A celebratory press conference to announce the district is planned for Friday, May 23rd, starting at 2pm. Mayor Lee and Supervisor Campos will be at the corner of Harrison and 24th streets to cut the liston rojo (red ribbon).