9/27 Community Meeting Regarding Food Vendors in the Park

Note: We love Blue Bottle Coffee and La Cocina! This is not about them specifically, but rather RPD’s lack of outreach.

As a result of discussion at the community meeting on Monday regarding food vendors in the park and the complete lack of outreach to park patrons from RPD, I and some other community members went before the Rec and Park Commission to ask for a hold on all food vendor permits for Dolores Park until the community has a chance to weigh in. I found out last night, that our request was approved. Here is some background info.

Our position is not: No food carts in Dolores Park. Our position is: The community-at-large has a right to have a say in what happens in their park and should be involved in the decision making process regarding significant changes.  What solution this results in is TBD.

For those that think this is a complete waste of time, I ask, “Would you be happy if RPD went ahead with the park renovation without consulting you?” This is no different. The potential impact for Dolores Park is big. For example, do you really want the cops called on the Tamale Lady? As the guidelines for vendors are written now – this should happen.

I have been in contact with La Cocina staff regarding all of this. I have promised to be forthright and to do everything I can to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. I have made the same commitment to RPD. My next call is to Blue Bottle.

We have organized a community meeting with RPD to discuss this in greater detail. It will be held on 9/27 at 7:00 at Dolores Park Church. EVERYONE is invited to attend. I hope this later meeting time will make it easier for people to attend.

About Crystal Vann Wallstrom

Dolores Park Works Co-founder
15 comments
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B34NS
B34NS

I think it's kind of a cheap shot to local business, comparing blue bottle to american apparel is unrealistic. look how many peets and starbucks coffees there are in sf neighborhoods, (not so much the mission granted, but they exist). Its silly to even call it a detriment to "18th street merchants" if by this group you mean the liquor stores, the one restaurant, and ice creamery, i think there's been a total bore of the food scene and would welcome some new and innovative things.

A better way to look at it is giving a temporary lease of up to 6 months at a time for a vendor, and allow the market and OTHER residents of the city determine the value. This also gives opportunity for more change, allowing new food vendors to have a chance to prove their worth to the community.

Let's not be obtuse.

Mikel
Mikel

Blue Bottle is venture backed and is touted to be the new age of Starbucks. By Blue Bottle going in it is promised that all other local vendors, the current vendors that bring "charm" to Dolores Park will be illegally enforced when entering the park. There is room for everyone, Blue Bottle has a 6000 sq. ft. space on Valencia, 2 blocks from our beautiful. Please keep our park green and free of generators and large vendor trailers. Gross

Ex-hipster
Ex-hipster

Not everyone is a fan of coffee or Blue Bottle, or an opinionated or "rude" commentary as seen on this blog. Dolores Park is full of children and families too. If the park does get commercialized has anyone thought of utilizing it with Smoothies, lemonade, camps for kids, art programs instead of coffee. My neighborhood is saturated with coffee places. I would rather make the park more kid and family friendly if vendors come in rather than more "coffee friendly." I will be showing up at the meeting and I do think that it is important to have a voice. The younger generation seem to be the majority on this board and very entitled when it is matters that only concern them. This is a long term commitment that directly affect those us that live by the park. For over a year my weekly chores have been dealing with cleaning urine up in our stairwell with playing children around (It's unsanitary and disusting), cleaning up gobs of trash every weekend, no parking whatsoever, helping cover graffiti, influx of rodents, and dealing with obnoxious very loud park attendees late at night. Shouldn't this be addressed before making decisions that only Park and Rec's cottage industry. Also, how much of the money goes directly back into the neighborhood?

Shaggymanatee
Shaggymanatee

I support your efforts Crystal. As a mission restaurant owner, resident, and taco bike rider, everyone who is following city food and sellers codes should be aloud to sell there products in the very FREE Dolores park. I believe permits given to "selected" business takes away from our small casual park, and allows people from outside the mission (ex. blue bottle) the opportunity to compete with businesses who have been around for years and has served and given back the community where it conducts business. I am all about food carts, all about working with the city to figure out what is fair for everyone, but letting the city “take care” of this permit situation sounds like a bad idea. The city does have many resources, but they do not understand the individuals needs in Dolores Park.

MORE Toilets, new playground, proper drainage, updated trash collecting systems (I vote for solar powered recycling compacting containers), secure and visible dog area, all these things are more important for the long-term use of the park. The city’s policy on food vending will be an ongoing struggle, and will change frequently. So lets put a hold on the permits for food, and concentrate on the parks overall design, purpose and longevity. When the city itself has proper and effective policy for the many unpermitted food venders that currently exist, then the people who use Dolores Park can decide what they want. As of now, the city is far behind, and seems to be a few years away from places like Austin and Portland whose street food scene is a beautiful thing.

Take it slow.

Alex Chaffee
Alex Chaffee

sorry for the change in topic, but when you say "secure and visible dog area", what are you concerned about, specifically? "secure" sounds a lot like "fence" to me and that's a big change to the spirit of the park IMHO

(I ditto everything else you said tho :-))

mm
mm

@Pissed off- I didn't see any of the residents who definitely want the "carts" in the park representing themselves at the hearing? And to be honest, its not about having or not having the carts in the park- its about having the required legal dialogue with the community. The park is already over saturated and operating with 3 toilets, and a urinal, additional port-o-potties are there until November. The additional waste and consumerism is not going to help.
@ Hipster- show up and speak your mind. Its not about agreeing but exercising your right to freedom of speech.

A hipster
A hipster

Hey, I like neighborhood democracy. I'm exercising my speech right now, asking you not to block something that most people want. If the city is legally required to hold a public meeting about this, then that's a legal requirement that should be changed. Let's vote for our representatives and let them make a few decisions on their own. Public notice via neighborhood newspapers and public comment via letter and email if you're really stirred up about it is fine.

Pissed Off Neighbor
Pissed Off Neighbor

Wow, what a horrible waste of time, holding back something that Mission residents definitely want. Weak.

Pisssy
Pisssy

I don't want coffee. Okay. I am a mission resident. I want smoothies, I want lemonade, I want fresh squeezed juices, I want hot dogs, I want hamburgers, french fries. Hey Pissed off Neighbor, I don't want coffee and I go to the park every weekend. Hey, are you listening?

A hipster
A hipster

"Consulting" with y'all costs the city extraordinary amount of time and money. Let me make a prediction: the meeting will happen, the community members attending the meeting will not be representative of the broader community, the community members attending the meeting will not even agree amongst themselves, and we'll be right back in the same place, with a hazily defined community consensus pushed by fifty backseat drivers. Let the city drive, folks. You're killing us out here.

Hips
Hips

The real consensus is on the street? You must live a very sheltered life and not be a part of the mission my friend. The majority of my friends are not into Blue Bottle at all. Coffee? Okay. You mention people of color? Poor people? Really, are you seriously concerned aboutus? Yup. That would be me and my friends and we don't buy $3.50 cup of specialized overpriced coffee. We can't afford it. Keep the local vendors in business instead of white, priviliged coffee company Blue Bottle. How many poor hispanic and black people do you notice working at Blue Bottle?

Alex Chaffee
Alex Chaffee

hey not a hipster, if you had actually read this blog post or the many comments and quotes by Crystal, you'd never accuse her of wanting to "spend a bunch of energy banning carts from the park", since that's not what she has ever said and it's not what this kerfuffle is about.

Anyone who's not as dense as this commenter, please come to the meeting and say how much you love coffee and hate trash and love diversity and we might figure out we have a consensus after all.

A hipster
A hipster

I'm not going to show up. First (and this is probably enough to get you to discount my opinion), I don't care enough. If you want to spend a bunch of energy banning carts from the park, have at it. Second, I find this kind of public meeting extremely frustrating because it's an attempt to form consensus from people who have different agendas and will never really see eye to eye. There is no consensus, and when you try to force one, you end up excluding marginalized voices from the consensus first (young people poor people, people of color). The real consensus is on the street. That's how a city works. People will vote with their feet. You can be better for advocates for this "hipster" -- I'm not really a hipster and I don't speak for any of the others -- by having different ideas about how park rules should be enforced, but I don't really expect you to change your mind, and I won't change my mind, so the whole exercise seems a bit theatrical and pointless.

Crystal Vann Wallstrom
Crystal Vann Wallstrom

Another thought. Let's meet or at least chat via technology. I'd love to talk to you about how we can be better advocates for hipsters. Seriously. crystal@

Crystal Vann Wallstrom
Crystal Vann Wallstrom

We want it representative of the entire park patrons but that only happens if everyone shows up. Are you going to show up?