I wrote the following on Facebook a few hours ago after seeing blog posts about riots and “actions” along Valencia St and 18th St in the Mission this evening here in SF.
Ugh. Sometimes I’m depressed by the idiots. Tonight is one of those nights.
see http://www.missionmission.org/2012/05/01/how-exactly-did-paint-bombs-and-anarchy-signs-escalate-to-smashed-windows/ as well as many related posts
for coverage of the depressing actions in the Mission this evening – storefronts of some of the best businesses in SF were smashed & paint bombed, many people’s cars were smashed and general stupidity reigned.
Thankfully I wasn’t in the Mission this evening – but I plan on spending money at some of my favorite Mission businesses in the coming weeks to show my support for them in the simplest way possible – and I encourage you as well to not let stupidity win.
I suspect that tomorrow will be an ugly day in SF alas (okay technically today will be an ugly day) *sigh*
What I will be doing this week and what I encourage you to do as well is simple – support local small businesses affected by tonight’s actions by voting with your dollars – and if you can’t go spend money (and show support) for local businesses in San Francisco at least help promote them to folks who can in turn send business to them.
I have been planning an event where I would take visitors interested in learning about Innovation and how to build successful, sustainable businesses on a tour of innovative businesses here in the Bay Area. While this tour would include many well known technology and Internet firms, it will also include a tour of the many neighborhoods throughout San Francisco where small, locally owned and run businesses are building amazing businesses the “right” way. These are businesses that respect their employees (and pay them well), that source responsibly (and frequently from other local merchants) and which are building focused and successful businesses in tune with their local communities. Frequently these are businesses that are highly focused – offering fewer items for sale than many businesses throughout the country and frequently not seeking to compete for business via a race to the lowest price.
Instead these are businesses that seek to sell non-commodity goods and services are fair prices that inspire repeat business. Retailers throughout the Mission (and indeed all of San Francisco) face challenges few other cities place upon their local businesses – high minimum wages, high regulatory burdens, high CA state business minimum taxes and fees and that’s just the beginning. Often retailers face months (or even years) of struggles to get their stores approved and opened in the form they desire (frequently battling complex licensing and zoning requirements) all the while trying to build a retail business in a down economy in one of the most expensive cities in the country. And yet the past five plus years I’ve lived in San Francisco I’ve seen (and had the pleasure of frequenting as a customer) some amazingly creative and great businesses open up throughout San Francisco. Businesses that get back to the basics of what makes a great business – selling what the customers want (and often didn’t know they wanted before they entered the store) and doing so in a manner that encourages repeat business and customer referrals.
As a resident of San Francisco I’m saddened by today’s actions and I can only hope that the communities of San Francisco come together to support local businesses and individuals who were impacted by today’s actions.
If this was associated with the Occupy movement it is yet another in a long string of black marks on that movement (there seems to be a lot of debate but it appears that there is some connection with the Occupy Oakland movement – though defining who is/isn’t affiliated is rather impossible. I’ve mostly stayed out of the Occupy movement debates – last year I was preparing for my wedding, this year I’m focused on building a business and helping many other startups across the country build their businesses. I also plan on being as involved as I can be in getting President Obama re-elected. The businesses that were targeted tonight in SF are about the farthest possible thing from the big “evil” corporations that the Occupy movement claims to be against. These are local businesses that are owned locally, that employ dozens of local residents, that buy from many other local businesses and which are building businesses that are succeeding while also behaving in responsible manners (paying more than fair wages, offering benefits, paying attention to environmental issues, etc. All while competing with both large corporations sourcing globally and Internet distribution channels in many cases.
note – if the comments on this post take an ugly turn I will simply turn off comments. This is my personal blog, if you want to rant do so on your own blog. If you want to add to the conversation and can do so without ranting or being vulgar please do so but I will be approving all comments from new commentators