Letters to the Editor
Shortcomings with MUMC, CBD
While unable to support Michael Komar's position relative to dissolving both the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro and the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District [Mailstrom, January 31] , I do agree with the frustration that generates the premise expressed in his letter.
Of late, MUMC seems more concerned with adding members – no matter who they represent – rather than developing a vision for the clearly changing and maturing neighborhood. Attend any of its bloated monthly meetings and you'll quickly see there is little time to adequately discuss projects brought before the membership let alone a true discussion on the vision and direction needed for the neighborhood in general. Meanwhile we are buffeted by the waves of ever increasing business closures and related vacancies presently gripping the Upper Market and Castro business districts and the not unrelated fall off in business and foot traffic that is its result.
How many vacancies will it take for MUMC leadership to begin to display just that – leadership – on the future of this historic, overly expensive, and soon to be more dense neighborhood? Or will it continue to cede its well-earned leadership position to other groups?
The CBD, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. One no less troubling in its reach.
Having decided they were constrained by their mission statement: "The mission of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District is to provide services that improve the quality of live in the neighborhood, emphasizing clean, safe, beautiful streets," the board decided at some point to involve themselves in voting on land use issues. At the same time they also voted to limit public comment on that which the board discusses or votes to six minutes total. That means if six people show up each is limited to one minute of comment. If more than six people show up; well, you do the math. This is in effect at the same time the CBD implores the public to come to one of their meetings to be "involved."
Apparently, the selfish absurdity of this rule is lost only on the CBD board since someone from the public has derided it at each of the last three meetings I've attended. How can one respect a group that on the one hand wants to be an arbiter of public policy yet, at the same time, clamps down on public discussion? It's time for the CBD to get out of the business of voting on land use issues.
I believe both these groups have, over the years, served the Castro and Upper Market business districts well and to their benefit. But, I also believe it's now time for some reassessment of the direction these groups have chosen before they, like the historic neighborhood they choose to represent, both become any more irrelevant.
Much work still to do
Four years ago I ventured into the Bay Area motorcycle club community. I decided to forgo the usual: "Hey I'm gay, are you okay with that?" and just get to know people first. After a lengthy period of thought I decided to join one of the local clubs. I joined the Bay Area Delinquents. I was immediately made an officer and even started a San Francisco charter of the club. I didn't talk about my sexuality and nobody ever asked. Right before Christmas I decided it was time to tell them. I announced I was leaving the club first. I was wished well and the officers of the club let everyone in the community know that they thought highly of me. Then I sent out an email to the club's members and came out to them. I was threatened, told they didn't want a homosexual associated with their club, and told they wanted me to disappear from the club scene and never come back. Same attitude as San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver had. I was patient and respectful, I try and give people time, but things don't change until someone makes change.
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