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April 5th, 2007 - short bus to gay school [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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April 5th, 2007

Bay Times Article [Apr. 5th, 2007|06:07 am]
Bay Times: Are We Losing The Eagle and The Hole in the Wall?

If you would like to voice your opinion or concern on this matter letters can be sent to: President Dwight Alexander, San Francisco Planning Department, 1600 Mission St. Fifth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Letters should be short and to the point, and I urge you to send them soon.

The hearing on this matter is on May 10, beginning at 1:30 pm in Room 400 at City Hall.
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....and also [Apr. 5th, 2007|10:52 am]
Money talks, how much money does the Folsom Street Fair bring into the city? .....or Bear Rendezvous? Both of the bars play big parts in those events. If they go away, I wonder how many people would turn their "Leather Week" into "Leather Day and a Half"

The presidents of BOSF, Folsom Street Fair and Pride would be good people to convey the asset of having those places be destinations for tourists and preservation of SF's gay history and culture.

can anyone help with contacts?
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Jim Meko - responds [Apr. 5th, 2007|07:22 pm]
I have been talking with Jeremy Paul, who represents the Hole, for quite a while and about two weeks ago we arrived at a compromise that I was hoping the neighbors would accept. But then the folks from the Hole started spreading all this crap about me. I didn't write the DR, didn't organize the neighbors, haven't talked to the Planning Department and am certainly not out to close the Hole (or the Eagle). I'm not the enemy of fun that they make me out to be. I do hold a seat on the Entertainment Commission, one that has been set aside to represent the interests of the neighbors. Now that this article has come out, with all these lies, I'm not so sure how interested in compromise these particular neighbors will be.

John's account of meeting me is delusional, I don't know this guy at the Bay Times and he didn't even bother to contact me. If he had, this is what I would have told him:

I think both the Hole and the Eagle are great bars and I hope they go on forever. One of the things that makes them so much fun is the outlaw factor. Joe Banks and John Gardiner operate right at the edge of what's legal and acceptable but they've been established in this community for so long that I'd fight to defend their right to continue that tradition. My complaint is that they didn't give any thought to this new neighborhood they decided to move into. Huge difference. Nearly a hundred neighbors in close proximity. 98 units of affordable housing at Folsom/Dore. 140 units of SRO supportive housing with drug rehab programs going in directly across the street. Joe and John got bad advice about that location. I wrote a letter to their real estate agent last July outlining the challenges they would face but they decided to bully their way through all of this. It's turned into a nasty and divisive fight and I deeply regret it.

Jim Meko
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as does Jeff Matt, Contractor: Builtwell [Apr. 5th, 2007|07:24 pm]
I don't often send out gang emails but this one is important to me and our city. Some of you know that I have been working on what has become an extremely contentious project South of Market. The attached letter describes the situation that my clients are facing. What it doesn't describe is the time and investment that they have poured into moving the Hole In The Wall Saloon to keep it alive as a casual, welcoming locus for its patrons- SF residents and travelers from around the world, all are welcome at the Hole In The Wall. That establishments like this remain open if their owners wish them to is an important component of our city's livability.

The owners are facing one of the great failings of our city planning process- that which allows an individual undue power over small property owners and business people by using the complaint process to enter a war of attrition designed to financially cripple the applicant's project. This process costs the complainant little; in fact it causes the time spent by the Planning Department resolving the complaint to be billed to the applicant who has filed for a building permit. This cost is in addition to the costs of holding a property, stalled construction, legal and other consultants' fees. Even my time as designer and project manager on a contested project increases to address the complaint. Savvy complainants know that most small businesses can't sustain the time and expense it takes for hearings, appeals to those hearings, mailings and public notifications. Consequently the planning process is used to extort and even kill projects outright.

I am not suggesting that the ability for public input regarding development in the city be constrained, I am suggesting that the process has a weak link and in this case that weakness is being exploited to effect against two of the best, most honorable clients that I have had. (Full disclosure- I have known John and Joe through their ownership of the Eagle Tavern and the friends that I have who work there and I thought highly of them before this project started. Working for myself allows me to pick the people with whom I work and as much as is possible I try to choose the good ones.)

It should not be forgotten that the project is a principally permitted use by the text and spirit of the Planning Code and that the Department of City Planning's recommendation to the Planning Commission is that the project be approved without hearing the Discretionary Review petitions of the complainants. John and Joe have acted in good faith, selected a location that allows their use and are working to keep a San Francisco institution (that they happen to have started) alive.

So if you haven't been to either of John & Joe's establishments get out to the Eagle to see a band, enjoy the beer bust or relax on the patio. Stop by the Hole In The Wall for a drink and to see what all the fuss is about. Read their letter, read the press that will be out in the next two weeks about the situation and come out to support us at the upcoming hearing. This is how we ensure that San Francisco remains a place for everyone, not just those who feel that their view of the city's future is the only way forward. Please spread the word to all whom you think might be interested.


Apologies to those who might see this twice- as I said, I don't send these big emails out often!

227 Shipley St.
SF, CA 94107
tele: 415.512.1910
fax: 415.541.5319
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