The following notification was sent to City Agencies on behalf of HVSafe and the HVSBA.
Many residents and merchants in the Hayes Valley community are increasingly frustrated with the way the City relates to our community entirely through the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA). The HVNA is NOT a democratically run organization nor is it officially sanctioned in any way as representing this community. The leadership is entirely self-appointed, does not seek neighborhood input, and marginalizes and even excludes residents who do not share their views. The “candidates” for elections are a slate of one person per office chosen by the outgoing board. We have stated this fact repeatedly to Kyle Smeallie, Dean Preston and all city agencies. This issue has been acknowledged yet city agencies continue to meet solely with the HVNA to make decisions that affect all of us.
HVNA initiated the permit process for the Shared Street program in late summer of 2020. The program was initially slated for 7 days a week because HVNA claimed there was broad support among merchants when in fact many merchants opposed it. HVNA told SFMTA there was a general consensus and they just accepted it as fact. The street closure was presented as a done deal, to be implemented in two weeks, by Supervisor Preston at the very first community Zoom meeting. It was only because of neighborhood push back that it was scaled back to one evening and two days. Once the program rolled out an entire merchant block was forced to circulate a petition to demonstrate the negative financial impacts the closure had on their business; residents who sought to expand outdoor space with street closures were pitted against businesses struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic on the merchant corridor. All of this was avoidable had there been proper outreach, vetting, and input from impacted merchants. The HVNA did not deliver on collecting adequate community input.
Worth noting: there has not been an active merchants association in this time but rather an extended “merchants” sub committee of the HVNA. Just as HVNA doesn’t speak for the majority of residents, this committee does not represent the views of many merchants.
Another recent example involves SFMTA announcing that there are plans to alter parking in our neighborhood. The SFMTA website cites that the plan is being formulated with the HVNA. While the changes do appear positive it’s extremely frustrating to the community at large to hear about these efforts so late in the process with the false claim that they represent the majority.
Moving forward, we demand the following:
We do NOT want any more meetings with the HVNA and City representatives that do not include other neighborhood voices. Specifically we want a representative from Hayes Valley Safe (HVS), which was formed last summer and the newly formed Hayes Valley Small Business Association (HVSBA), and preferably one community member at large to be present at ANY meetings conducted with City officials and agencies regarding any proposed changes or policies which impact our community.