Your Superhyperlocal Analysis of 2014 Primary Election Results from Bernal Heights

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We voted on Tuesday! (You did vote, didn’t you???)

As you might have heard, in the closely watched primarily battle to succeed [Bernal resident] Tom Ammiano for the District 17 State Assembly seat, D3 Supervisor David Chiu prevailed over D9 Supervisor [and Bernal resident] David Campos by five points citywide. (The two will face-off again in the general election in November.) Meanwhile, Prop B, which limits waterfront development, passed citywide in a 59% to 41% vote.

All politics is superhyperlocal, however, so what was the tally like for voters from Bernal Heights? And for different parts of Bernal Heights? For this, we turn to Neighbor Adam K., who just scored a truckload of Awesome Points by preparing this tidy package of Bernal Heights election data and analysis. Over to you, Adam:

I looked at just two votes: the Campos/Chiu race and the Prop B ballot initiative (concerning waterfront development).  I was interested in the Campos/Chiu totals mainly because of chatter in other posts about how representative of Bernal Heights Campos is or isn’t, and I was interested in the Prop B results because of chatter in other posts regarding development and growth issues.

The results might surprise some readers (or maybe just commenters) of Bernalwood, where the comments appear to skewer against Campos and against Prop B (or pro-development). But as I understand it, these results are pretty indicative of historical Bernal Heights voting patterns.  Interesting to me, considering its hot status as the “it” neighborhood, North Bernal skewers more left than South Bernal.

The quick take-away is that in this election, with about 25% of registered Bernalites voting, Campos beat Chiu 55% to 35%.  And Prop B won by a bigger margin, 60% to 35%.  The vote numbers are very close, with one deviation: it appears that some number of folks who voted for Prop B did not vote for either Campos or Chiu (Campos got less total votes than Prop B did, while Chiu got about the same number of votes as no votes on Prop B).

Here are the details:

Assembly:

Campos                         Chiu

North Bernal:              1330    (59.5%)           722      (32.3%)
Ballots cast: 2234, or 27.55% of registered voters

South Bernal:              1109    (50.1%)           864      (39%)
Ballots cast: 2212, or 25.31% of registered voters

Bernal Heights total:    2439   (54.85%)        1586    (35.7%)


Prop B:

Yes                        No

North Bernal:              1359    (60.8%)           772      (34.6%)
Ballots cast: 2234, or 27.55% of registered voters

South Bernal:              1284    (58%)              783      (35.4%)
Ballots cast: 2212, or 25.31% of registered voters

Bernal Heights total:    2643    (59.45%)        1555    (34.9%)

(Numbers in parenthesis are percent of total votes)

PHOTO: 2014 Primary Election Day in Bernal Heights, by Sarah Rogers

Secured: Precita Park to be Removed from Calle 24 District

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The campaign was brief, and it was intense, but we are pleased to report that it was successful. Precitagate has come to a conclusion. With the support of the 24th Street merchants group, D9 Supervisor David Campos has announced plans to remove Precita Park from the Calle 24 district and restore it to the Citizens of Bernal Heights.

As you recall (because it happened just yesterday), Bernal Heights residents were surprised to learn — belatedly, and for the first time — that Precita Park had been included  as part of the new Calle 24 Latino Cultural District created by merchants from 24th Street in the Mission. The resolution creating Calle 24 was sponsored by Supervisor Campos, and in a process that’s still not fully understood, Precita Park was included as part of the Calle 24 district — and thus may have been subject to various special use restrictions that a Calle 24 district designation may one day entail. Only, no one remembered to tell the residents and merchants of Precita Park that Precita Park was part of the Calle 24 district. Oops.

In any event, the inappropriateness of this has now been acknowledged, and Supervisor Campos’s office released a statement late yesterday to announce that Precita Park will be removed from Calle 24:

Recognizing Calle 24 Latino Cultural District is important to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood and promote its unique spirit. It was the intent of the community leaders and organizers working on this project to demonstrate the historical significance of 24th Street and the surrounding places that have impacted the neighborhood. Precita Park and La Raza Park were two of many significant landmarks included in the resolution. However, because of concerns related to future steps regarding the formal recognition of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, on Tuesday, I will submit a clarifying resolution that will amend the resolution and remove Precita Park and La Raza Park from the Latino Cultural District.

This is welcome news, and we are thrilled to see this matter resolved unambiguously. Bernalwood will continue to monitor the Calle 24 resolution to ensure that Precita Park is removed as promised.

Some outstanding issues remain, however. Like, how did Precita Park become part of Calle 24 in the first place? And why didn’t anyone tell us about it along the way?

Finding definitive answers to these questions has been challenging. Thankfully, we also heard from Erick Arguello, president of the Calle 24 Merchants and Neighbors Association, who writes:

Calle 24 SF is a community organization that lead the planning efforts for the [Calle 24] resolution with the Latino Historical Society and SF Historical Society. The Latino Cultural District is the resolution that covers the area. Precita Park, Potrero del Sol were added when the historical context statement was created. It brought together areas that had historical significance in the Latino community, its history and contributions for the area. Precita Park is were the first Carnaval events were held over 35 years ago and continues today. Many rallies and protest by the Latino community were held there when Los Siete were incarcerated. 24th and Mission BART Plaza also holds historical significance for the Latino Community, called Plaza Sandino by the community. This occured when many rallies and protest were centered on the plaza during the Central American war in Nicaragua.

Its a symbolic resolution that has no teeth to land use, the park, businesses or the surrounding Precita Valley. Many other areas or sites of San Francisco will be added when the SF Latino Historical context statement is completed. (Which is a separate project)

Its not a historic district, but a cultural district. The name itself may bring confusion. Its basically saying that Precita Park holds historical significance in the history of the Latino community of San Francisco. Calle 24 and the surrounding area holds many many points of history and culture and events.

If we offended anyone it was not the intention and a mistake on our part for not reaching out.

We are moving to remove Precita Park from the resolution.

Bernal Heights is grateful to Mr. Arguello for clarifying this, and for his understanding in removing Precita Park from the Calle 24 district. Soon, we hope to return to the pre-Calle 24 status quo.

24th Street will be part of the Mission.

Precita Park will be part of Bernal Heights.

Bernal Heights remains extremely proud of its Latino history and culture, and the borders that distinguish Precita Park from 24th Street will remain invisible and permeable, in an arrangement that provides rich benefits to both neighborhoods — as has been the case for decades and generations before, and (we hope) many more to come.

PHOTO: Precita Park on May 25, 2014, by Telstar Logistics

Supervisor Campos Annexes Precita Park, Cedes It to Mission District Merchants and Power-Brokers

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Bernalwood has been monitoring developments in the Mission District, where our D9 Supervisor David Campos has spearheaded an effort to formally recognize the Latino character of the Mission’s lower 24th Street corridor. Last week, this effort culminated in the unanimous passage by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors of a Campos-sponsored resolution establishing a “Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.”

Bernalwood did not regard Calle 24 as a matter of immediate concern to the Citizens of Bernal Heights, because the effort was championed by the 24th Street merchant’s association. Publicly, Calle 24 was always described as a measure focused on the lower 24th Street corridor. Plus, it’s called “Calle 24″ — which sure seemed like a good indication that Calle 24 was not about Bernal Heights. Because 24th Street is not part of Bernal Heights. Because for the last 175 years the Mission District has ended just north of Precita Creek/Army/Cesar Chavez. Because the area south of Precita Creek/Army/Cesar Chavez has always been, legally and unambiguously, Bernal territory. Because, in the 1850s, there was even a stone wall in place to emphasize that point:

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Since basically forever, 24th Street and Precita Park have been adjacent neighborhoods but wholly different urban ecosystems and entities. Which is why Bernalwood viewed Calle 24 as a matter to be decided exclusively by our esteemed neighbors from the Mission District.

Which, unfortunately, is precisely what happened.

Bernalwood has learned that, for reasons not yet known, Precita Park in Bernal Heights was included as part of the Calle 24 district that was legally established in the resolution sponsored by Supervisor David Campos. Bernalwood also discovered that neighbors, merchants, and neighborhood groups in and around Precita Park were not consulted or informed about the inclusion of Precita Park in Calle 24 before the resolution was voted on by the full Board of Supervisors. Nor did Precita Park neighbors know about it after the resolution passed and went into effect. In fact, most Precita Park neighbors are probably learning that Precita Park is part of Calle 24 for the first time, right now, as they read this.

Hi Precita Park neighbors! According to this new legislation, you’re now part of Calle 24. Surprise!!

Here’s the text from the resolution adopted last week by the Board of Supervisors:

WHEREAS, the boundary of the Calle 24 (“Veienticuarto”) Latino Cultural District shall be the area bound by Mission Street to the West, Potrero Street to the East, 22nd Street to the North and Cesar Chavez Street to the South, including the 24th Street commercial corridor from Bartlett to Potrero Avenue.

All well and good so far, right? Those are appropriate boundaries for a special district focused on lower 24th Street. But then comes the weird, Crimea-style redrawing of the map:

Additionally, the Calle 24 (“Veienticuarto”) Latino Cultural District shall include La Raza Park (aldo known as Potrero Del Sol Park), Precita Park, and the Mission Cultural Center because of the community and cultural significance associated with these places.

Emphasis added. Because otherwise you might have missed it. Which may (or may not) have been the goal all along.

And so, with a stroke of the pen, Precita Park was annexed to become part of the Mission’s Calle 24 cultural district.

Is the Calle 24 designation good for Precita Park? Is Calle 24 bad for Precita Park?

We don’t have any idea, because the legislation sponsored by Supervisor Campos hands Precita Park over to a group of 24th Street merchants and Mission District power-brokers, but the Bernal Heights community was not given any opportunity whatsoever to evaluate the proposal beforehand. Now, it’s already a done deal.

Bernalwood has confirmed that Precita Valley Neighbors was not consulted about the Calle 24 designation. This is extremely odd, because Precita Valley Neighbors is a City-recognized nonprofit neighborhood group that has done outstanding work organizing and beautifying Precita Park. They hold monthly meetings at Charlie’s Cafe. They are in regular contact with various City authorities. They are awesome, and totally on top of everything, and if that’s not enough Precita Park street cred, PVN even orchestrated the restoration of the historic, beloved “penultimate satellite spinner” in Precita Playground. (Amen!!!) Yet Precita Valley Neighbors had no knowledge Precita Park was included in Calle 24.

Bernalwood also contacted the owners of three prominent Precita Park businesses: Precita Park Cafe, Harvest Hills Market, and Hillside Supper Club. None had been informed of any effort to include Precita Park in Calle 24, and none had been contacted about it by 24th Street merchants or Calle 24 organizers. All were surprised to learn that Precita Park had been designated as part of the Calle 24 district. (Bernalwood was unable to reach Charlie from Charlie’s Cafe over the weekend.)

We stopped by the Precita Center, just off Precita Park, to see if they had any insight. Bernalwood spoke to the manager on duty at the Precita Center to ask if he knew anything about Calle 24. “That’s the 24th Street thing,” he said. He too did not know that Calle 24 includes Precita Park.

Precita Eyes is headquartered on 24th Street, although the group also maintains a studio on Precita Park. With storefronts in both neighborhoods, perhaps Precita Eyes had requested the Calle 24 designation? Bernalwood visited Precita Eyes on 24th Street last Saturday, to inquire. The gentleman behind the counter at Precita Eyes on 24th Street said, “Why would Precita Park be in Calle 24? That’s in Bernal Heights!” He recommended we speak with Precita Eyes founder Susan Cervantes. Cervantes told Bernalwood that Precita Eyes had not requested to make Precita Park part of Calle 24, although she added that she thought Precita Park “was included at the last minute.”

All this would be kind of amusing in a Putinesque sort of way, except it’s not. The inclusion of Precita Park in the Calle 24 District designation may have very real legal, zoning, and planning implications in the years and decades to come — impacts that may create new use restrictions for Bernal homeowners, residents, and merchants. Supervisor Campos himself emphasized this last month in the San Francisco Chronicle, in an article that framed the creation of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District as the first step on a path to create a Japantown-style enclave in the Mission:

Eventually, Campos said, ideas generated by the community as well as information from the historic context statement could help inform new city laws such as zoning restrictions and other protections to ensure the area’s murals, businesses and community groups stay put.

“It’s really about preserving something that is very fragile that could be lost,” Campos said. “Calle 24 has become the focal point of Latino identity and culture in the Mission. … This resolution puts it on the record, recognizing this as a cultural corridor, recognizing the cultural heritage and history with the understanding there has to be a much longer community process where (people) can talk about what that means, what we want to preserve, emphasize and protect.”

Here’s how the objectives of Calle 24 are explained in the resolution approved by the Board of Supervisors:

[The purpose of the Calle 24 designation is] to stabilize the displacement of Latino businesses and residents, preserve Calle 24 as the center of Latino culture and commerce, enhance the unique nature of Calle 24 as a special place for San Francisco’s residents and tourists, and ensure that the City of San Francisco and interested stakeholders have an opportunity to work collaboratively on a community planning process, which may result in the Designation of a Special Use District or other amendment to Planning Code.

These are important goals. It just seems really really really inappropriate that if Calle 24 is all about engaging “interested stakeholders” in a “community planning process,” how come no one ever bothered to engage North Bernal the Communities of Precitaville and Santana Rancho to find out if Precita Park should be included in Calle 24 at all?

Precita Park is neither geographically nor culturally synonymous with the Mission or lower 24th Street. Never has been. Ever. In fact, Precita Park is so integral to Bernal Heights and so distinct from 24th Street that it was originally called Bernal Park. Here’s a map from 1905 (Bonus Fun Fact: The zig-zagging Serpentine Ave. traces the route of the Bernal family’s original stone wall):

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Bernal Park was established in 1894 and named in honor of the Bernal  family. The park’s name wasn’t formally changed to Precita Park until 1973.

This also points to a fact that is rather obvious to everyone except the people who drafted the Calle 24 resolution: Bernal Heights has its own proud, but distinct history of Latino culture and influence. Our history begins with Jose Cornelio Bernal. Our legacy includes Carlos Santana, who lived on Mullen Street and, as one neighbor reminds Bernalwood, “began his career playing for all of us and our families every Sunday [in Precita Park] during the summers, before he was discovered at Woodstock.” Latino culture is a cherished part of life in Bernal Heights, and its influence is enthusiastically celebrated to the present day, in ways public and private.

Yet there none of that in the Calle 24 resolution. In fact, there’s not one mention of Bernal Heights in the entire document. Not a peep. It’s all Mission District, Mission District, Mission District…. from the start of the Calle 24 resolution to the end. Supervisor Campos sponsored legislation that gives Precita Park to Calle 24, but he never bothered to inform the community that lives and works in Precita Park before he overturned more than 150 years of tradition and precedent and sold-out a chunk of Bernal Heights to the merchants of 24th Street.

The appropriate remedy for this failure is straightforward: Bring together representatives of the Precita Park neighborhood, its residents, and its merchants. For the first time, give Bernal Heights the opportunity to evaluate the present and future ramifications of Calle 24 designation. Allow these representatives to publicly decide whether or not Precita Park should be included in the Calle 24 district and subject to whatever legal implications that might entail, at present or in the future.

Until such participation and public consent from the Bernal Heights community exists, Bernalwood puts Supervisor David Campos and Mayor Ed Lee on notice: The inclusion of Precita Park in Calle 24 is fundamentally illegitimate. It an act of underhanded appropriation, a fraudulent misrepresentation, an involuntary annexation, and an intolerable intrusion upon the self-determination of the Bernal Heights community, which is independent of any district or planning entity constituted, controlled, and dominated by lower 24th Street.

UPDATE 29 May: Precita Park will be removed from the Called 24 District

This Afternoon: Listen In as Uptown Almanac Interviews D9 Supe David Campos

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Well, this should be… different. And perhaps maybe possibly even in a good way!

This afternoon at 4:30, our bloggy drinky younger friends at Uptown Almanac will interview our D9 Supervisor David Campos, and you can eavesdrop on the whole thing:

We’ve written about the race to fill Tom Ammiano’s seat in the California State Assembly in the past, in which San Francisco Supervisors David Campos and David Chiu are facing off the the Democratic nomination on June 3rd.  Now we’re bringing the candidates to our weekly radio show on BFF.fm.

This week we’ll be talking to David Campos, a two-term member of the Board of Supervisors representing the Mission, Bernal Heights, and Portola in District 9.  We’ll be discussing city and district issues, his initiatives addressing housing and poverty, the race against Supervisor Chiu for the State Assembly, and what he hopes to accomplish as a member of the Assembly.

The show starts this afternoon at 4:30.  You can stream the interview live directly on BFF.fm, or on Soundtap.

PHOTO: via Uptown Almanac

Weekend Reading: Savvy Perspectives on a Changing San Francisco

Spiral Sunset

Let’s take a moment took to survey the City of San Francisco, which we can see so clearly from our elevated perch in Bernal Heights.

As you know, San Francisco is a place that was, in no small part, created by great economic booms. (We even named our NFL team after one.) We are now in the midst of the latest boom, fueled largely — but not entirely — by the growth of our local technology industry.

Fun Fact: Did you know that since 2007, the City of San Francisco has generated more new private sector jobs than 47 out of 50 states? Only Texas, New York, and North Dakota created more jobs than San Francisco. Wow. That’s kind of nuts.

Yet as every true student of San Francisco history knows, prosperity is an awkward thing. Prosperity brings new problems in San Francisco — most of all in the domains of housing and urban culture. Our current boom is no exception, and there has been ample grousing about the perils of gentrification, evictions, displacement, cultural homogenization, and the goddamn kids these days. Bernal Heights often appears as a backdrop in these teeth-gnashing pieces about the changes taking place in San Francisco, and some of the most cranky grumbling has even come from our very own Bernal neighbors.

So what is to be done? How did we get here? Who is to blame? What are we becoming?

Thankfully, a few thoughtful essays have been written recently that transcend the ideological hysteria and self-absorbed nostalgia that have dominated the conversation thus far. If you’re in the mood, they make for good weekend reading.

The first is a must-read piece of analysis by Kim-Mai Cutler, entitled “How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF’s Housing Crisis Explained).” It’s a longread that masterfully combines quantitative data with historical perspective, economics, and policy analysis to clearly explain how and why San Francisco ended up being so darn expensive right now:

Everyone who lives in the Bay Area today needs to accept responsibility for making changes where they live so that everyone who wants to be here, can.

The alternative — inaction and self-absorption — very well could create the cynical elite paradise and middle-class dystopia that many fear. I’ve spent time looking into the city’s historical housing and development policies. With the protests escalating again, I am pretty tired of seeing the city’s young and disenfranchised fight each other amid an extreme housing shortage created by 30 to 40 years of NIMBYism (or “Not-In-My-Backyard-ism”) from the old wealth of the city and down from the peninsula suburbs.

Here is a very long explainer. Sorry, this isn’t a shorter post or that I didn’t break it into 20 pieces. If you’re wondering why people are protesting you, how we got to this housing crisis, why rent control exists or why tech is even shifting to San Francisco in the first place, this is meant to provide some common points of understanding.

This is a complex problem, and I’m not going to distill it into young, rich tech douchebags-versus-helpless old ladies facing eviction. There are many other places where you can read that story.

It does us all no justice.

If you read nothing else on this topic in 2014, Kim-Mai Cutler’s essay is the one to curl up with. The smartness will make your brain so much bigger you may need to buy new hats.

On the cultural side of the ledger, left-leaning San Francisco journalist (and former Bernal neighbor) Gary Kamiya just published a refreshing perspective on San Francisco’s current circumstances, and the phenomenon he calls The Change:

The Change is an unconquerable force of nature, like death. And much of the reaction to it recalls the first three stages of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grieving: a combination of denial, anger, and bargaining. If we yell and rage loudly enough, if we find someone to blame, if we replace reason with hyperbole— [Leftist writer Rebecca] Solnit memorably compared newly arrived techies to ivory collectors in China—then somehow the city we know will come back. This reaction is not surprising. Cities are always dying—their phenomenology is harsh, irrevocable, tragic. The building or business that you saw yesterday, that was an old friend for decades, today is gone forever. Enormous changes are never easy to deal with, and it’s human nature to want to fight back, to assert control. So it’s understandable that many progressive San Franciscans, people whose values and vision I share, are kicking and screaming and spray-stenciling sidewalks as they watch their city turning into something they don’t recognize.

But cities are also always being reborn. And as I wander through our new city, I find myself open to it. I’m not convinced that it is really going to become a soulless simulacrum of Manhattan (or worse, Atherton). I’m curious to know what San Francisco in 2025 or 2050 will look and feel like. I’m interested in the young people who are pouring in. When I wander through Dolores Park on a hot Saturday afternoon and watch the throngs hanging out, talking, drinking wine, smoking weed, and listening to music, I don’t examine them suspiciously, trying to figure out which ones are the bad techies and which ones are the good baristas (except for the people playing that inane toss-the-beanbag game—they gotta go). As I walk through Nob Hill or the Mission or mid-Market and see the fancy single-family homes or the sleek high-rise apartments that are sprouting up here and there, I don’t inwardly groan (except with real estate envy). Mostly, I view them with equanimity, as if they’re seedlings growing in the forest.

For even if it were possible to keep San Francisco exactly the way it is—and it isn’t—why would anyone want to? Any such attempt would be antithetical to the very things that I value most about the city: its youth, its vigor, its ability to reinvent itself. Responding to the Change by calling for a culture war—as several leading voices of the left have done—is a recipe for personal bitterness and public divisiveness. Ultimately, it transforms tragedy, which is painful yet fruitful, into politics, which is painful and fruitless.

The intelligence and perspective Kamiya provides will have you thinking for days.

Happy reading, and have a great weekend.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Star Sighting: Mayor Lee Visits New “Mission Bernal Merchants Association”

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Star Sighting!  Earlier this month San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was seen hobnobbing in the Bernal flatlands to show his support for the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, the new group that appears to have deftly navigated their recent naming challenges.

Here’s the mission statement:

The purpose of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) is to facilitate unity of action among the merchants and nonprofits in the MBMA, San Francisco, in order to protect, promote and preserve the business conditions within the Mission Bernal Commercial District. The Mission Bernal Merchants Association is defined as that area inside the following boundaries: Mission Street from Cesar Chavez to Randall Street, 29th Street from San Jose Avenue to Mission Street in San Francisco.

Mayor Lee dropped in as part of his regular Small Business Friday tours to speak with with La Lengua Mission-Bernal merchants about business concerns and neighborhood issues. Neighbor Erin Archuleta (of Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar fame) shares these notes about the MBMA’s most recent meeting, along with details about the next one:

This past meeting resulted in drafting agenda items pertaining to merchants in the neighborhood, such as a visit with our Police Captain; a chance to host a Networking Mixer; and opportunities to participate in planning events that would benefit our community. The group is open to all business owners in our corridor along Mission (and just off Mission) between Cesar Chavez and Randall Streets.

Our next meeting is:
Monday, May 12th
10 AM
at PizzaHacker (3299 Mission Street at 29th Street)

PHOTOS: Mayor Lee at Ichi Sushi and Secession Design, courtesy of MBMA

Dialog Between Housing Rights Activists and Tech Workers Yields Little Dialog

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There was a community discussion of sorts in Bernal Heights on Tuesday night.

The topic was gentrification, evictions, and technology workers — and the interrelationship between the three — and the discussion took place at Virgil’s, the tasty new(isn) bar on Mission at Precita. Our D9 Supervisor, David Campos, was there, along with several housing rights activists and some people who work in tech.

Bernalwood doesn’t recall receiving an invite (grrrrrrrr) , but thankfully Ellen Huet from the SF Chronicle was there, and she described the scene:

The Tech Workers Against Displacement Happy Hour, led by a union organizer and a tech worker, had advertised itself as a place where tech workers “sick of being blamed for S.F.’s housing crisis” could come together to find solutions. As representatives from neighborhood groups took turns at the mike in Virgil’s Sea Room, some solutions emerged: volunteer at an advocacy group, or help Supervisor David Campos, who was there gathering support for his proposed tax on landlords who evict using the Ellis Act.

When it came time for the tech workers to say their piece, hands shot up. The man who interrupted earlier said he didn’t know, beyond suggestions to build a website for nonprofits, what he could to do to help. (“You could listen!” another man shouted.)

Brian Hanlon, a 31-year-old Forest Service employee, told tech workers to leverage their companies’ resources and encourage employers to “do the right thing.”

“If your firm is having trouble finding a great new acquisition target and they have tons of money sitting around, maybe you can encourage them to donate some of that to these (housing) nonprofits as well,” he said.

Wait. What?? Mr. Hanlon’s idea is nonsensical, so maybe it was just a flight of fancy. Still, rhetorical logic aside, a shakedown proposal seems like a counter-productive way to begin a constructive dialog.

Apparently, things never really got much better:

Several tech workers said they were encouraged by the night but still weren’t quite sure how to help such a complex problem right away without measurable goals or problems to solve.

And others were discouraged by the us-versus-them attitude. Brett Welch, a 30-year-old Australian transplant who founded a video startup, said he was heckled by a woman in the crowd who accused him of not having lived in San Francisco long enough.

“I said, ‘How do you even know that?’ She goes, ‘I just do,’ ” said Welch, who has lived in San Francisco for five years. “And I’m like, ‘No, you don’t. You have no idea how long someone’s been here.’ It’s just very polarized.”

The first meeting wasn’t very productive, he said, but it could accomplish one thing.

“I really want people to see that I have a face, and I have feelings, and I love the neighborhood that I live in,” he said. “And I don’t want to see people kicked out.”

Ah well. It would appear that what the evening lacked in neighborly warmth or problem-solving substance, it no doubt made up for in tribal solidarity, high-decibel “awareness-building,” and emotional catharsis.  Knowing Virgil’s, the cocktails were probably damn good too.

On the bright side, the Chronicle says David Campos helped organize the meeting, and he used it to make a campaign stop, so at least one attendee had a productive evening.

UPDATE: San Francisco mag also did a thorough write up on the event:

There’s one thing you need to know about last night’s “Tech Against Displacement” event in the Mission: It was not organized by tech. It was, to put it politely, a clever bit of wordplay to call it “Tech Against Displacement.” For instead of members of the tech community reaching out to solve San Francisco’s affordability and eviction problems, the people who showed up were largely the standard array of activists who’ve been hectoring techies about the woes that they’ve visited on the city.

It was only when the activists ceded the mic to actual techies in the later half of the event that some progress was made: Instead of talking at your tech neighbors, how about, you know, talking to them?

PHOTOS: Brant Ward for The Chronicle