Dolores Park NIMBY Vows to Strike Again, This Time Against Chaac Mool

Categories: Buzz Machine

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The past 24 hours in gossip, innuendo, and cold hard facts about the San Francisco food scene.

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Alexx C./Yelp
Quality of life destroyer: Chaac Mool's Luis Vazquez.
The Examiner's Ken Garcia catches word that La Cocina incubator business Chaac Mool will take over the nonprofit Dolores Park vending permit ― you know, the one La Cocina got under the same Rec and Park initiative that granted one to Blue Bottle, which turned out real, real ugly. But guess what? One of the NIMBY crusaders who painted Blue Bottle as a sort of Starbucks clone intent on destroying everything good and decent about San Francisco is at it again, this time suggesting that letting in the trailer run by Chaac Mool (a mom-and-pop business owned by Maria de la Luz and Luis Vazquez) will open Dolores up to some hyper-commercial food court. Garcia quotes "Chicken John" John Rinaldi, who writes a column for SFoodie's sister blog, the Exhibitionist: "It's like opening an auto parts store or a Walmart or a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet." Seriously?

Grub Street makes the call to La Cocina's Caleb Zigas, who doesn't reveal when Chaac Mool will roll out in the park, though they'll be doing a sort of soft opening of the trailer at other spots around the city in coming weeks.

Oh, and Chicken John's Exhibitionist column? It's called Shut Up, Chicken. SFoodie rests there ― except to suggest that anybody who might want to boost, say, immigrant start-up food entrepreneurs of small means trying to get a foothold in this city, should consider launching a We Heart Chaac group on Facebook to rally support for the trailer's roll-out in Dolores. Just a thought. [Update: Somebody did.]

In other news: The kitchen at Mission lounge Bruno's has been dark since Ryan Ostler and Kat Zacher packed up their stuff and turned off the lights last year, but, reports Inside Scoop, things are about to get busy on weekends. Ryan Scott, proprietor of the 3-Sum Eats truck, is renting the Bruno's kitchen as commissary, and he'll serve weekend brunch there starting in June, a weekly thing called Brunch Drunk Love.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com
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24 comments
phoenixsf
phoenixsf

I am amazed at how so many commenters are confused on this issue. Admitedly CJ is a polarizing figure but lets not damn the message because of the messenger. What I want is for our parks to remain public spaces where we can get away from the pressures of urban life, a refuge for people to ejoy the sun, the trees and the grass. This is not about parks raising money either, because if it was, the Dept. of Park and Rec. would be charging market rates, not a measly 1 grand a month. I doubt that little money would even cover the increased cost of cleaning up all the litter that vending is sure to creat. No, this is about privatization of public space with little or no compensation to the public. That the park and rec. are using a much beloved charity like Cocina is just a convenient ploy to devide opposition. I have no problem with a taco truck parked at the curb outside the park, that would be fine but leave the park itself alone. Park and Rec director Phil Ginsberg has a plan to sell off our public spaces to make them for profit and private. He has closed park clubhouses all over the city and laid off playground directors while hiring new administrators at $ 100,000 a pop. If you want our parks to remain free public spaces and you enjoy the escape these places provide from urban life then you should oppose the give away of public resources to private interest and you should oppose Phil Ginsberg's plan to allow vending in Dolores Park

doloresneighbor
doloresneighbor

Chicken Hypocrite?A government agency collecting fees from a private entity for use of parkland which then uses this concession to profit off sales to the public... This ought to sound familiar to you Chicken. This is exactly what the BLM your beloved Burning Man have been doing for years and years. So, where is your petition to fight the Burning Man "privatization" of public land?

Chickenjohn
Chickenjohn

So you agree with me? I'll stop Burning Man next week. But now that you're on our side, can you kick in some money to help pay for all this puke I bought?

been around as long as you
been around as long as you

Chicken, you'd have a lot more "likes" if you weren't such a mean SOB, yourself.

Chickenjohn Rinaldi
Chickenjohn Rinaldi

I don't host $100 a plate dinners, but people have them at my house. I lend my house to the arts for many things. Culinary arts are just one of them. And although $100 is more then I can ever spend on a dinner, I have to report that it is including wine pairings and gratuity. So it's more like $50 a plate. STill too much for me. I just let then use my space, I don't actually cook or do anything. So no hypocrite here. I can't eat any of that fancy food anyway, it's always too saucy or spicy.

abolish
abolish

I think you meant to reply to my comment where I called you a hypocrite.

I see. So when Chaac Mool serves $3 tacos, it's a "precious food craze fad for rich white people." When you host (sorry, allow to conduct business in your living room) a $105/plate dinner featuring foie gras and wine pairings, it's "culinary art."

Not hypocritical at all.

John Hell
John Hell

Yes, someone did start a Facebook page for "We Heart Chaac", and at this hour only 351 people "like" it. What does that tell you? The idea of allowing any merchant, small or large to sell anything in the park is enough to make me puke! Is nothing sacred? Leave the parks alone.

taximan
taximan

whoa, this is elevating to quite the hot pissing contest.

LOCAL LOVER
LOCAL LOVER

Its been a pissing contest for a while. The piss is room temperature at this point.People just don't care about parks, green space, non-commercialism.Its just 'gimme something yummy to eat' no matter what.I like steak, so can I set up a grill on top of your Prius?Thank you

abolish
abolish

"this whole precious food craze is a fad for rich white people"

Um, Chickenjohn, don't you HOST one of those $105/plate precious food craze underground dinners for rich white people at your mission lair?

I guess you can add hypocrite to the list of names people call you.

Chickenjohn
Chickenjohn

The fuckers keep forever trying to make it seem like we are mean awful people who are racist, reactionary, hysterical and NIMBY. It's quite the opposite... the people who are privatizing the parks are being used by RPD and Phil "somebody fire me" Ginsburg. Used like a dishrag. While we are arguing about a stupid taco trailer, they are doing whatever they want. What we are doing is simple activism, we are trying to give people information that RPD doesn't want you to have. There is an inside track here, and the people on the inside track are selling SF out. So yea, it's slightly funny the whole puke thing or whatever, but the larger conversation isn't' funny. It's quite dire, actually. And if it is a contest between puke and yummy yuppie feel good fake philanthropy, puke will decimate you every time. Because puke is real, and this whole precious food craze is a fad for rich white people. This is what activism looks like. Shocking, you've never seen it before. These are the actions that stopped the Vietnam war. Actions like this stopped Victoria's Secret from using virgin timber in the 3 billion freebie catalogues they send out. Mountain top removal, nuclear reactors, woman's' rights, gay rights... on and on. It gets harder and harder to be an activist, I admit it. You fuckers are winning. But when you turn your tap and water doesn't come out, the playing field will be leveled. Until then, keep yammering on about "yummy tacos". I'll be puking on you and your food craze and your short sighted trailer that 80% of the neighbors of DP DO NOT WANT and your half assed, un researched arguments. Don't get any on ya...

Chickenjohn
Chickenjohn

I started a page for puking in the park and it's got 67 likes in less then a day. There are 125 sigs on my petiton to not go into the park. In a day. The FB page for people who like Chaac (351) have been there over a week. It's not just me. We will have 1,000 sigs by next weekend. We will have far more likes. Why? Because no one wants stores in parks. Why? Because trucks, trailers and cars belong on the street. Thats why it's called street food, genius.

taximan
taximan

does fake puke taste good? i'd imagine its made of nontoxic ingredients like cuts of carrots, bits of corn and a slathering of cream.

Chickenjohn
Chickenjohn

Well I guess there is no dialog here. Which means that I'm talking only to Birsall now. Dude, what is happening here if you haven't noticed is dialog. Simply, adult dialog. There is nothing we can do but talk. Write a letter, get a petition going. You and all your snob pals are just so attached to being right you lose sight of the idea that all we are doing is talking. Is talking really so bad? What if I'm right, and our parks get more privitized? What if it's gets as bad as I say it can? Did ya ever think about that? The whole more more faster now idea just got our country into a whole lot of trouble. The fact is that Caleb was trying to very quietly put the trailer in the park. And I made it now that people know. Can we stop it? Of course not. Will be buy tacos? Sure, why not? I'm sure they are yummy, and they are reasonably priced (I can't ever figger out how they can make a living). Am I gonna go yelling at the Yucatan couple who are getting their dreams to come true? Never. But people are spitting mad. Puking mad. Whatever. These are just words that I use to create dialog. Which we now have. Soon, we will have a photo of Dolores Park covered in puke, which will be funny. And we will have made a stand, so that it's too anoyying for RPD to consider the food court they were talking about 18 months ago. But 1 little trailer run by a non-profit is probably OK. Although I'm agianst it in principle, this is just how lobbying works. As a journalist, you are supposed to report facts and stay neutral. Which is very out of fashion right now. Maybe you don't see yourself as a journalist. And that's fine. But know that dialog is good, and most people love the idea of a food cart. like 99%. But most people do not like the idea of a taco truck. Like 80% against, as far as what I've seen. But if that taco truck is run by an incubator bla bla bla, obvioiusly it becomes more complex. and people are willing to compromise.

But this is only one small part of a much bigger puzzle that you probably dont' really know about. 23 acres of parkland from Candlestick Point sold to a developer. State parkland. First time ever. Afterschool programs, eliminated. Clubhouses got 4 million dollar renovations, then were rented out for 20% of market rate. There is some super scetchy shit going on. But what do you care, your a food writer. Wronger. Whatever. As far as I see it, your an arts writer. Culinary arts, right? right. So this is an arts issue, because Dolores Park is a collaberative artwork. Collaberations are messy. And the art activist and the food writer are supposed to be on the same side, the art side. But you didn't see the bigger picture. But that's fine, you all took the bait and wrote the articles that I wanted you to. I got Caleb to do all the work just by writing him an aggressive letter, he's probably spent the better part of 2 weeeks pounding the pavement so I didn't have to. You wrote your little thing, there are a few others, Ken Garcia from the Examiner and now with the PUKE IN, I'll get some more press and we will have the dialog I wanted. I'm into this now for like 3 hours, tops. Easy gig for me.

I spend $750 on fake vomit last week. That shit is expensive.

see ya on the 23rd. dont' get any on ya.....

putting on my clown nose, chicken

PowerSalute
PowerSalute

We want public parks, but we will resist any attempt to help fund their operation!

*RAISED FIST*

LOCAL LOVER
LOCAL LOVER

There have been several ideas/attempts for local merchants and neighbors do donate/raise funds for the park. Dept of parks and recs has turned them all down.

Chickenjohn
Chickenjohn

Here is a petition that people who are concerned about privitization can sign, although I don't know how much good it will do here in San FranSanDiego. If nothing else we commiserate the death of our public land and journalism together.

http://www.petitiononline.com/...

To: SF Rec and Park Commission, SF Board of Supervisors, and Mayor Ed Lee

We the undersigned members of the community that uses and enjoys Dolores Park on a daily basis strongly oppose The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department permits for business operations within our park.

We believe that these permits were granted with insufficient planning and disregard for the negative community impacts inevitable with the current program.

Gestures at community outreach were incomplete and insincere and the project was presented as a �done deal�; rather than as part of a vetting and active development process, which would have resulted in a more fully developed and well-conceived program that could better serve our community.

The current permits do not sufficiently address the negative environmental impacts on our park inevitable with the manner of food-service business operation authorized. The impacts of concern include but are not limited to: garbage collection and removal, generator noise and exhaust, patron eating locations, and the likely impacts of increased traffic and the presence of long lines during busy weekend hours in the heart of Dolores Park.

The few acres of Dolores Park are some of the most heavily used recreational acres in the State of California. The need for quality open space in the densely populated, and modest income residential Mission District is critical.

It is incumbent upon The Recreation and Parks Department to keep this vital resource functioning effectively to serve the needs of the surrounding Mission District, Dolores Heights, and Eureka Valley community.

When inadequate project planning threatens the functioning of such a vital resource it is incumbent upon the City Administration to intervene.

THEREFORE: The undersigned respectfully demand that all necessary measures be taken to rescind the currently issued permits, and a new process be undertaken to fully mitigate all possible environmental consequences, and all resource use and development potential prior to permitting any further commercial activity in Dolores Park.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Chickenjohn
Chickenjohn

Great blog post here. You use someone else' shitty reporting to make a point that you don't understand. The privatization of our parks is a HUGE issue. Do the people at Chaac Mool have to take responsibility for that? Well, no. Not really. But they are going to have to endure great hardship. It's called democracy. You have rights to petition and lobby. Do you think that I am some idiot who is filled with hate? Do you think that I am just looking to get my name in the paper? If that is true, then why would so many agree with me? Oh, what's that you say? You don't believe that anyone agrees with me? You think that I am alone in my musings and that I'm a misguided NIMBY? Your not aware of how privatization works?

thats because your a food writer, genius.

http://www.grist.org/article/2...

John, it's your turn to shut up. Write about overpriced trendy food. Leave the politics to people who have time to do research. I have been an outspoken critic on this issue for 2 decades. Public space is eroding. There is commerce everywhere. You can spend money everywhere. DP was one of the few places left that existed outside of commerce. It doesn't matter if it's an auto parts store or a dry cleaner run by midgets with hepatitis or taco truck run by the sweetest people that ever lived... it's not the point. The point is it's a store, in a place were there weren't stores. Do yo see my point? Maybe you don't agree with it, but you must see it. Your point I don't see. You are calling me a NIMBY. That's not what that word is used for. NIMBYism is when someone likes something, but NOT IN MY BACKYARD. I don't agree with privatization of our park land anywhere. So that's something else. (Renting out parkland is commonly called privatization. I know you don't read much, your in the kitchen making local, organic, durable, sustainable, ethnically sensitive, vegan, gluten free, grass fed, deep fried in bio-diesal and served in a bread bowl catchprazes. Try this one: "Math is hard!!!"

Our parks system is in grave danger. The rampant mis-management of our most precious holdings is nothing short of treason. There is no room for privatization in our system of 227 parks. It's not going to work here. Charging a fee at the arboretum over here, closing a recycling center over there, opening a store in Dolores Park over here, firing ALL the staff for the after school programs over there, hiring more $100,000+ staff over here.... this is all part of an organization gone out of control. They are calling Dolores Park a "Profit Center". You know what I'm saying is true, you know it is complicated and you know, in the end, that I'm right. That the privatization of our parks is bad. Bad bad bad.

So yea, anyone one of those little things isn't a big deal. Stack them all up and it's a disaster. So you can defend your little corner of the world. And you can let other people shove words in my mouth (last year I told a blog that people were spitting mad and that if they opend a store in the park there would be people spitting on them, implying that the heated conversations would be of people "spitting mad"which is a figure of speech regarding when people are speaking and they are angry they spit a little. At no point in time does any intelligent person think that I threatened anyone with actual, disgusting spitting nor would I ever spit on anyone or hurt anyone at any time for any reason). But you are not going to find 1 out of 2 people who agree with me. That if it was a little push cart, yea whatever. But it's not. It's the size of a taco truck. Loud, stinky generator. More garbage. More people. More impact. An unsightly lump with a line in our little park. What's next? Maybe you'll say that you'd love to see nothing BUT food trucks in the park. In all parks. That's how fiefdom works.

This is dialog. You have to create dialog or your not doing your job. That's for the shitty, thrown together blog post. You made me look great.

yer pal, chicken

forfuturereference
forfuturereference

Dear Chicken John -

you're = you areyour = belonging to you

Joh Birdsall may "only" be a food writer, but at least he knows how to write.

Sf_guy1977
Sf_guy1977

Stick to food not politics. Always the worst "journalism" happening these days. Who is preventing Chaac Mool from having a business... they have a successful spot down at the Ferry Building, no?And I agree with below... food carts are for cement, not parks.

MisterSister
MisterSister

For such an environmentally conscious place SF scores a D on maintaining and upholding beautiful parks from commercial entities. Mention non-profit or Jesus and everyone becomes blindsided. The potential affects on the land is insurmoutable. Cement spaces are for food trucks. I supposed there are not enough cement spaces to set up food trucks in San Francisco and also help the little guy! La Cocina are by the far do gooders of our community doing a complete no gooder on our parks. Again, La Cocina, you score a D.

Mitchy
Mitchy

Thank Gawd for Chicken John and those who actually have the where-with-all to those who only care about profit and ruining perfectly beautiful parks for monetary gain and businesses who basically own biased media. Typical crappy SF reporting as usual. Expect nothing less from Birdsall and his small town foodie reports

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