Categories: Letters

Letters: ‘Personal character’ goes much deeper than the height of a building

Haight neighbors claim 100 percent affordable housing project at McDonald’s is too tall,” On Guard, Jan. 2

‘Personal character’ goes much deeper than the height of a building

Today, I read about the proposal to build all affordable housing at the McDonald’s at Stanyan and Haight. I have lived in the Fillmore for the past 20 years and have seen what one person from the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council described as a neighborhood’s “personal character” erode. We have lost historic bookshops, jazz restaurants, coffee shops, Fillmore Hardware, that kooky stationary store to countless dress shops and makeup stores. I understand the desire to hold on to that certain character that makes one’s neighborhood home.

I feel like I won the lottery. I actually entered the below-market-rate lottery six years ago, and my family did “win.” My husband works for the Boys and Girls Club, I am a teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District and we have three sons. We were living in a one bedroom on Webster and Eddy and won the lottery by getting one of the BMR homes around the block on Turk and Webster.

We have lived in the 100 percent affordable housing condo complex for five years and have loved every minute. We have wonderful neighbors in the condo. We know our neighbors, there are get-togethers, the kids all play, we run into each other at the library and the farmers markets. We are teachers, nurses, HR managers, Muni drivers, small business owners, nonprofit managers. Almost every one of the almost 30 children go to public school. We go to Brunos, to Miyakos, to the Fillmore Cafe, play at Hamilton, do karate at the AAACC. We have gotten to know our neighbors in our community. I feel like I won the big lottery by having this wonderful community and being able to raise my boys here.

My neighbors and I have often talked about the idea of “affordable housing” and that many people think of it as public housing. This lack of understanding is not only disturbing for ignorance but for its prejudice. It takes all people to make a community “personal” and special. Anything else starts to sound like Blue Areas back in the day.

“Personal character” goes much deeper than the height of a building. San Francisco is ever-evolving, and many communities are feeling the growing pains. It is vital to keep as many families and middle-class ones as possible. We make that community.  We keep the schools going, the small businesses thriving (such as Booksmith on Haight), the churches singing and the libraries and rec centers joyous. Our condo has grandmas and babies and people from more than 13 countries, college grads and middle-schoolers, single folks and retired — and it is beautiful.

I hope that District 5 Supervisor London Breed, who helped oversee this transfer, will keep fighting for 100 percent affordable housing. It will only deepen and expand the thriving sense of community of the Haight.

Callen Taylor
San Francisco

Montse Reyes

Published by
Montse Reyes

Recent Posts

US imposes more sanctions on Venezuela but no oil ban

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration imposed fresh economic sanctions on the leftist government of Venezuela on Monday in a move…

21 mins ago

Defense claims prosecution is political for Alameda County deputies charged in beating case

As a preliminary hearing began Monday for two sheriff’s deputies accused of beating a man in San Francisco, a defense…

2 hours ago

California’s fire-scarred communities brace for biggest storm of the season

LOS ANGELES — An atmospheric river that forecasters are billing as the biggest storm of the season is expected to…

2 hours ago

Raiders continue to shake up roster, send Cordarrelle Patterson to New England

Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the best returners in the NFL and played a key part in the Oakland Raiders'…

3 hours ago

Bill seeks millions in state funds for SF seawall improvments

An aging seawall along San Francisco's iconic waterfront could leave the city defenseless in the event of sea level rise…

3 hours ago

USF baseball rallies to sweep Pacific in first WCC series of season

For a moment on Sunday, things were not looking good for the Dons. University of the Pacific (7-13, 0-3) had…

3 hours ago