It’s Been a Long Ride

I can’t believe the semester has come to the end. Reporting by far has been one of the most challenging classes I have ever taken but I must say that my neighborhood blog did help me get out of my shell. I have never spent so much time in the Mission before taking this class but I must say that it was really helpful in developing my reporting skills. Actually going out there, investigating and interviewing have given me the hands on experience that I need. I still have a long way to go but it’s a great start. The best thing is that I was able to do it in a neighborhood that I love spending time in. What I love is that the Mission District is full of so much energy, great food and shops. Like other neighborhoods, it has its downsides but the best overshadows it.

Reporting turned out to be tougher than I expected.  I have always been the timid type but this class has pushed me to do things that I never imagined doing especially interviews. In no way am I an assertive person but after this class, I will take some good tips with me. Some of the pieces where a bit more challenging than other but that’s what journalism is all about. The skills that I am taking away from this class will surely come in handy throughout my career and I am very much looking forward to it. It has been a fun and great experience.

To the Mission, it’s been a pleasure. Until next time.

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Sunday Mission Streets

The weather lately has been super duper hot so why not go out for an adventure. I attended Mission’s Sunday Street and it sure was an experience. It was tons of fun and I cannot wait till the next one.

Sunday Streets is a community event where the city of San Francisco encourages healthy choices. It closes neighborhood streets to creates a space for bicyclists, pedestrians and organizations. It offers free activities such as renting bicycles, yoga and dance. The main purpose of this is to provide healthy and environmentally friendly activities.

Valencia Street from 14th to 24th and 24th Street from Valencia to Hampshire (route)was full of skaters, bicyclists, dancers, organizations , puppies, live music and food. As I was walking around with a salted dark chocolate homemade popsicle, I learned about new ways to make the earth greener while listening to one of the best live entertainment by San Francisco Rock Project, a non-profit organization that provides children musical education through rock music.

“It’s great to be around people that care about similar causes as you,” says attendee, Alex Rivera.

Mission Sunday Streets Dates:

June 3, July 1, August 5

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Cinco de Mayo

Well it’s that time of year again where lots of people use Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to party. I am not saying that is a bad thing, if people wants to why not do it on this day that is special to the Mexican community.

How I spent my Cinco de Mayo? I headed down to Dolores Park for San Francisco’s own Cinco de Mayo Festival. The atmosphere was great. The crowd was dancing to live artists such as Ms. Berta OlivaCumbia Tokeson and Conjunto Picante . Other sat and enjoyed the views as they ate mango con chile (mango with chili), tacos, burritos, elotes(corn on a cob) and other Mexican goodies.

I was enjoying a bit of everything but what really caught my attention was the Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco who incorporate dance, costume, and music of different regions of Mexico to create a form of art like no other.

It was a great day to be out and much fun. If you missed it, make sure to go next year!

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Bienvenido Fresh and Easy? Not So Much

What happens when a new market in the neighborhood is planning on opening? Many would be excited for the news. A new Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market location has been approved to open in the Mission District on South Van Ness at the old DeLano Market site but not many are delighted with the news.

This new Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market location has attracted many residents but there are various concerns that have others wondering if it’s a good idea.

” We want to offer residents great alternatives to fast food, and give a solution to people who are looking for solutions to a healthy living,” says Fresh and Easy Market’s Communications Director Brendan Wonnacott.

“We promise that we will do whatever it takes to make everybody happy.”

This new project has been in talks since 2011 and has been approved by the Planning Commission. The number one reason for approval of the new location; because it will provide a general grocery store that is accessible to a dense and growing population that has had no such service for over a year, according to Brittany Bendix, city planner from the Southeast Neighborhood Planning Team of San Francisco.

DeLano’s Market close in February of 2011 and since then the Mission has had a vacant property.  This South Van Ness location will be the first store in the Mission District owned by a corporation, Tesco, which is the third largest grocery retail in the world.

“It is definitely a good idea to open a Fresh and Easy Market,” says Mission Merchant Association Government and Media Vice President Phil Lesser.  “This space has been vacant for some time, so why not use it on a well lit, legitimate secure purpose to the Mission.”

Many Mission residents love the idea of a Fresh and Easy Market in the their district especially because of safety. ” I will feel safer walking these streets with this store being here. Every time I walk by there are homeless people sleeping in the vicinity,” says Lizeth Flores

At many community meetings, residents raised concerns that this new Fresh and Easy Market will take away clientele from small businesses. Lesser states that there will be competition but that is what America is all about.

Julio, who wished to keep his last name anonymous, manager from Casa Madre grocery business, thinks otherwise. “I am not concerned about the business going down; I care that they won’t be creating jobs for the people in the Mission.”

Julio is not alone; other residents think the same.” I don’t think it will affect business,” says Margarita Valle, employee of La Cocina in the Mission District. ” I honestly think that it will not attract minorities. They will continue sticking to their small grocery store that they have been always going to and  whom they trust.”

Noel de Anda, a Whole Foods Market supporter,is very excited about the new project. ” I support this project 110 percent. The Mission District needs a go-to market that provides healthy living.”

” I have been a Whole Foods customer all my life but it is a bit far for me. This new Fresh and Easy will be super convenient but I won’t stop being a loyal customer to Whole Foods.”

A Whole Foods declined to comment on the news store’s opening.

Wonnacott says that instead of affecting business it will contribute to the economic climate in the Mission.

Moira Bulloch, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) communications specialist, said their biggest concern is that Fresh and Easy is non-union. They have described their working environment as “anti-labor.”  “For example, there will be less employment because of their self-checkout; employees will not be able to have a say in their benefits and will be paid lower wages,” Bulloch says.

The UFCW has launched a new website, Fix Fresh and Easy, which focuses  on what the union believes to be wrong with how Fresh and Easy is operated and solutions on how it can be fixed.

UFCW is not the only one who believes Fresh and Easy is “anti-labor” and unfair. Residents of the Mission District such as Valle support the UFCW’s stance. “The purpose of a business is to bring employment to those in need, not take it away, I see that as anti-labor, “she says.

Wonnacott says that it is not Fresh and Easy Market’s decision to unionize or not. It is the employee’s decision through a vote done by the National Labor Relations Board.

This new location plans on hiring 20 to 30 new employees and offer those who work more than 20 hours benefits. Arriba Juntos, a program in the Mission District that helps find employment to those in need, plans a partnership with Fresh and Easy.

“We are a neighborhood market, so it only makes sense to hire from within the  neighborhood,” says Wonnacott.

Up to this date Fresh and Easy Market has had 18 meetings with Mission community members and residents and has been working closely with them to provide the services that they are looking for.

“The process of opening a new store is different,” says Wonnacott. These projects can take up to nine months, even years, to complete. It all depends on location, permits and the process of construction. Once in a while we hit big bumps on the road.”

Bendix is now reviewing the building permit application for the project. Once she goes through the plans she will present them to the Department of Building and Inspection where structural, electrical and plumbing issues are reviewed. When that process is complete they issue the permit, which allows the project to begin construction.

There is no set date for the opening of this new Fresh and Easy location.

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Mission Community Market

As I was walking down Valencia, I could smell the sweet, toasty-ness of kettle popcorn and because I am a sucker for it, I had to go on the mission to find it. I came upon the Mission Community Market, curious, I decided to check it out.

If you are looking for  healthy, homemade food and entertainment while shopping, this is the place to go. The Mission Community Market is the Mission’s own mini farmers market that occurs every Thursday on Bartlett and 22nd.

The Mission Community Market Collaborative is a volunteer collaboration of community merchants and non-profit associations. “This market is a place where residents and up and coming businesses come together and provide the Mission a safe, healthy environment,” says volunteer Jocelyn Diaz.

The atmosphere was great and best of all, it smelled delicious. What impressed me the most was the variety of homemade food such as marinara sauce, cheese, humus and bread. The entertainment was very enjoyable also.

The Mission Community Market is definitely somewhere to be. If you visit or live in the area, give it a go.

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Mission’s Hidden Gem

The Mission District is full of many hidden gems. Once that I recently bumped into is 24th Street/York Mini Park.  As I was walking down 24th, I came upon a very large gate. In no way does it look like a park but don’t be frightened. On the other side something beautiful is awaiting. I opened the gate and there it was, a wonderland for children and adults.

This park located on 24th St. between York St. and Bryant, has to be one of the most creative, artistic colorful park I have ever been to. It features a mosaic snake sculpture,“Quetzalcoatl,” created by local artists Mark Roller and Colette Crutcher and Susan Cervantes, founder of Precita Eyes Muralist. It is also surrounded by many colorful murals done by Michael Rios.

Though this park is very small, it does provide and array of playground equipment. The best part is the water fountains! Yes you heard right. Fountains that shoot out from the ground.

“The atmosphere is great here especially with this sunny weather”, says Vanessa Bermudez,  who visits the park about three times a week. “The murals and mosaic patterns make this park such a standout.”

If you are ever in the area, make sure to give it a go.

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Top Eats Inspection Scores

Have you ever wondered how clean your favorite restaurant in the Mission is? Wonder no more.

In this map I have chosen some of the top restaurants in the Mission District and have included their health inspection score along with their yelp page in order to see any correlation between score and what visitors have said.

Surprisingly, the top eats I chose performed well on their inspections. The lowest was Tartine Bakery located on Guerrero St. with an 82 out of possible 100. The highest is Blue plate located on Mission St. with a score of 100 and its neighbor right next door, Lotus Garden, also received 100.

According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health anything above 90 is good; 86-90 is adequate; 71-85 needs improvement; 70 or less is poor.

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