tv Government Access Programming SFGTV April 5, 2019 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
us together is energy. we're connect it is our fusion of energy that is very specific and unique. specifically at this place, it holds our energetic legacy. taking that out, it decimates it. openness to this is really important to preserve. thank you. >> thank you. is there anybody else who would like to make public comment? >> hi. my name is jordan davis, j-o-r-d-a-n d-a-v-i-s. i'm just very much in support of this. i always appreciate galeria de la raza. it's where i've gone for a lost of reasons. i've -- a lot of reasons.
i enjoyed the exhibits, but we've got to preserve the neighborhood. i don't want people like me to determine the future of the neighborhood. there's always been a latinx neighborhood, and we should do everything to keep it that way. thank you. >> thank you. >> hello. my name's anthony moore, and i don't have a fancy speech or anything written, but i wanted to give just my own testimony as a private citizen. my whole life, i've worked in culture, international relations, and very simply, without culture, we are nothing. and you know, coming from a really small town in southern california, from mexican american parents, coming to this city, living here for 14 years and raising funds for big corporations and foundations, it can take a lot out of you, and i remember one day going
into galeria, and it was the most healing experience i can -- i can't even describe it. i connected so much with the art pieces, with the people, and it makes me emotional right now jucht thinkist thinking ab. i have to vouch for them because there's such a huge mental healing capacity that comes from this experience that gives me the energy to continue my work. knowing that the city is very expensive, and knowing that i play a huge role. since that experience, i've gone onto continue my work in culture, continue my work in raising funds not only for corporations but mostly for my latinx community, especially the queer community. and now, i work in one of the most amazing offices, which is that in the protocol office here at city hall. now i play a major role in
terms of being a latino neo-san franciscan, and for me, it's really important to know that i can come here from a different place, and i can feel a connection to my community. i know there's no culture that's better than any of them. it's all, it's culture, it's history. knowing that, i've always wondered how do we get into history where we have to fight and save something? and i guess i have the privilege of being here today and finding the courage to speak to all of you. it's just my own small testimony, but i hope you will consider them, and i thank you for your time. >> thank you. is there anybody else in the public that wishes to speak? >> christian sanders, reuben,
junius and rose, on behalf of the owners, the ying family. you'll be hearing from them in a second. i'm here with a very specific mission. i want to convince you to reconsider the interior designation. this is an extraordinarily practical question that's before you today on this one piece. unfortunately, the galeria is not there anymore. it's an empty space, and an interior designation would mean that any partition, any wall, any demising structure that a tenant would need as part of a typical tenant improvement to take this space and use it in some way would require a certificate of appropriateness. now i think we're reading in the papers about how difficult corridors and retail spaces are having difficulty getting
tenants. this will not help. if the community would like to see a use here, if the planning department would like to see a use here, this is an issue. and then, there's a real simple legal point. there was some testimony -- new testimony about these spaces in community centers, but there's nothing in the report, i mean nothing. the bullet on page 23 of the designation report simply says a character defining feature is the volume of the interior defining storefront. you'll read the report, there's nothing about that volume being in any way special to this building or any other cultural issue. and again, the space is vacant, so i really, really encourage you to discuss that, consider it. we kind of see the direction this is going. we know we're probably not going to be able to stop the
landmark, notwithstanding the fact that the owners are going to need to release the property, but we need to reverse this in terms of renovating the interior. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. rose wen, r-o-s-e w-e-n. i echo the comments by mr. junius. i respectfully ask the commissions to limit the restrictions on the interior space of the building. it was unfortunate that negotiations broke down which propelled the galeria to exit the storefronts. the storefronts have remained vacant since the end of last year. new renters are needed to bring vibrancy and life to the current storefronts and
neighborhoods. the current vacant storefronts has invited almost daily graffiti. not just any prospective business can be in the storefront as this is in the calle 24 corridor. the next renter will have to be special to the community. until that renter is find, the city impose does fines on the own -- imposes fines on the owner for vacant storefront, and there will be additional fines for additional penalty for any vacant storefront. again, the mills act is not beneficial to the owner because the property has been owned since the 1960's. the storefronts need to be occupied so the owners can keep an eye on any graffiti on the
property. the unnecessary vandalism has been very costly. the owner has very constrained financial resources. the empty storefronts generate no income. the owner has had to pay many graffiti fines. acid etchings cannot be removed or at least easily removed. today, the acid etched windows make the corner property look like blight and decline. continued vacant storefronts will be a detriment to not only the owner but to the entire neighborhood. i ask the commission to not impose restrictions on the interior space should you move forward with the landmark decision. thank you. >> thank you. >> now for the next presentation, i will need your help to turn it on.
>> good afternoon, commissioners. >> can you speak into the microphone? thank you. >> oh, i'm debbie fong, d-e-b-b-i-e f-o-n-g. [inaudible] >> it may take years before another similar organization comes forward to rent the space. as a result, besides loss of potential income, the owner will have to pay the new city annual fee on vacant storefront. in addition, if supervisor peskin's proposed empty vacancy ordinance passes, the owner will have to pay a vacant
storefront fee of $500 a day. since the galeria departure, the storefronts remain empty and have been attacked nearly every day by graffiti and acid etching. it reached such a stage that neighboring businesses launched formal complaints. acid etchings are not removal, and the costs are really, really high, and no sooner is it cleaned up than the vandals return. the owner does not have the financial resources to continue the cleanup. the storefronts may have to be boarded up to protect the windows and tiles from further damage. constant graffiti declines a neighborhood in fighting crime and harm to the public safety. graffiti brings down property value.
it makes a neighborhood depressing to look at. businesses in the neighborhood suffer and graffiti may repel new customers from going into the neighborhood. if businesses see less revenues, those businesses may close up, depressing the neighborhood further. jobs will be lost, less taxes will be collected. i kindly ask that the restrictions on the landmark decisions be limited, especially to the interior spaces. what is needed are active tenants who would create a physical presence in the storefronts to mitigate the constant graffiti attacks. tenants need flexibility in
case modifications were required. this would be the best solution for the community, the owner, and the city. thank you for your consideration. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, president and commissioners. the owner, and i, mary wong impose any restrictions or limitations to the interior spaces for our two stores at 2851 to 2861 24th street. we recognize the contributions of the galeria de la raza to
the latino community in san francisco but the landmark designation as proposed will require preservation of all claimed interior features which would prevent the owner's ability to accommodate future lessee's ability to make future changes or improvements. in other words, the stores will remain vacant. a vacant storefront invites graffiti and vandalism as we have experienced after the galeria's departure. it made front page news in the february 14, 2019 edition of the locate the newsletter. there was public -- the local newsletter. there was public outcry. we called the city for cleanup service and spent enormous amounts of money which the
owner cannot afford to pay. he was fined by the city for blight over and over again. secondly, there is a recently passed ordinary nance that requires the owner to -- ordinance that requires the owner to pay an annual registration fee of $711 annually for vacant properties. secondly, supervisor aaron peskin is pushing for a tax on vacant property which imposes a $250 a day penalty fee until the property is rented. the city owners want the empty storefronts rented and to attract more businesses so there is less blight and decline. if the owner cannot find suitable tenants to lease both storefronts, it would mean a $500 a day penalty which is impossible for her to pay. in addition, it's impossible to
get permits which would meet a.d.a. requirements. these restrictions placed on the interiors are a horrible limitation on the owner. she would not purposely keep her property vacant. she wants the storefront rented by viable businesses. [inaudible] >> the owner cannot pay the $250 a day fee if imposed. third, the mills act offers no tax penalties to the owner. we urge the commission to not place restrictions on the interior spaces. thank you. >> thank you. >> hi. my name is billy coldwell.
i just wanted to make a comment regarding the ability to get a tenant in this space? there are significant demands for an open space in san francisco. the corner space open space has a cultural and historical significance -- [inaudible] >> there is an ability to stop the graffiti, the community will definitely stop if the -- if the culture is kept within it. thank you. >> thank you. >> my name is thomas riley. i am the newly appointed executive director of the calle 24 latino cultural district. i'll be brief. i would only underscore and
reinforce everything that has been stated in favor of the designation as a historic site. i would add two items to the discussion that would be touched on or have not yet been touched on. one, from a purely territorial standpoint, the site exists as an outdoor gallery, and the artist that instigated that gallery, many of them had their first showing at 24th and bryant. when we consider the historical significance of the site, that's one thing to take into consideration. to use an absurd example, if vincent van gogh had grownup at 24th and bryant, we might have a statue of a small boy smelling a sunflower. this gets to my second point, which is my role is to engage in the act of preservation. in this community, that has meant first the elephant in the room of acknowledgement must
first be addressed. that is until the site is designated historic, can i and my organization work to protect and preserve its historic relevance within the neighborhood. this speaks particularly to a community sensibility in which the historically ignored cultural contributions of the residents in the mission neighborhood have been validated by the presence of the gallery space at 24th and bryant, and i think the designation of its history felt its wishes expressed on the walls of the building and even on the outside of the building. so please take that into consideration as you make your further deliberations, and i'll yield the rest of my time to any other speakers. thank you. >> thank you. is there any other member of the public that wishes to make public comment? going to close public comment and bring it back to the
commission. commissioners? commissioner johnck? >> i'd be interested in having the staff respond to two points of interest made by the public to me. one was the recommendations that we not use the word sign or sign structure, that we use community mural and just mural. >> community mural and rotating mural. >> mural and mural structure? >> mural frame. >> mural frame. >> mural frame. okay. i was interested in that. and the other point made by mr. junius was about the only reference in the staff report on the significance of the interior space was volume, and i'd be interested in hearing about whether that space was
enough. >> commissioners, tim frye, planning department staff. i'll start and we'll allow desiree to fill in the gaps if necessary. one is i don't think we have any issue with, and is it sounds like it will help clarify some of the concerns raised by commissioners to described the old bill board or the liberated bill board as a mural site, so we'll work with the commission. >> i like that amendment. >> okay. and second is -- and again, i'll let miss smith fill in the details of the report, but it is not inconsistent with -- it is not consistent with our
report, just some other reports where they had a definition of the interior space. it's not saying or prohibiting change within those interior spaces, but looking at the volume and how that space functioned as an important part of that history that, you know, we would need to be mindful of those character defining features when approving a new tenant. miss smith, do you have anything to add? >> yeah. just a discussion is also included on page 21, where i reference the latinos in 21st century california, which we used as guidance in addition to precedent for including publicly accessible spaces and
other landmarks. and of course, the significance of it is the gallery itself, which it was described in detail throughout the document and the history of the galeria's described on page five and six in terms of its exhibitions and the artists who exhibited there. that's really the nexus of the significance and the volume of that gallery space. >> so i'm -- can i just ask miss smith, the report done by the office of historic preservation, can you explain a little bit about that and its relationship to the interior comment that was made? >> sure. the context was a history of 21st century latino arts and
culture in san francisco. cultural center is a very important property type. we saw cultural centers on the rise in san francisco, but also los angeles, san diego, san jose. so it provides guidance on how to evaluate the significance of those properties, and in its discussion of integrity is when the report indicates that primary interior space, especially exhibition and performance spaces, should remain intact. >> thank you. commissioner pearlman? >> thank you. i've been troubled by this since i read this and we talked about it last time because i agree with the -- with mr. junius and the owners that if galeria de la raza was still there, i would absolutely support that.
but i think this puts an incredible burden on the owner of the building for the sake of memories. i mean, galeria de la raza still exists, so they have a new location where they take the spirit of that organization to and create some kind of events and gallery showings and things in their new space. but the idea that this whole space has to be preserved as such -- it's not like a movie threater, a performance -- theater, a performance space with lots of ornaments. there is a project very similar, the names project building, which is on 2662 -- 2362 market street, near castro, was where the aids
memorial quilt put together and gained its notoriety. it's now a city landmark, and we didn't preserve the shells and the sewing stations. what is there is 12 panels -- or eight panels in a 12-by-12 that's in the catch restaurant that's there and has been in there since the restaurant opened. [please stand by]
their program and alter their gallery space, there wouldn't be a question. that would be this organization. they would say we want to make changes to those spaces and no one would raise an eyebrow, but now if we put this burden on them for the interior, someone else comes in, despite what someone said about there are other cultural institutions that want to be there, maybe, but there's not a lot of them, but there certainly a lot more commercial -- commercial tenants who could go there and help pay the bills and clean up that corner. so i can't devote -- i mean the exterior of the building is great, the mural is a great thing, and i think that should be preserved, but i can't vote for this if it has the interior portion in there. >> so this is a question for staff, if we were to require the volume to be retained and a
tenant came in, with obviously at some partition walls or are nonstructural and are removable at any time, how would that be reviewed, is the intent of this to keep the space is completely free of any partition walls? so how would this get looked at? >> say if an architecture firm or sort of -- some form of retail where they have certain racks and displays that would invade in the space. >> that is a great question, commissioner. tim fry, department staff. we would use the same criteria that we used for all other interior spaces and that we would be looking for reversibility. we will be looking at how the new alterations effect -- effect
or intersect with character defining features. we would review, i would say, primarily in this case, would be for reversibility. without a thorough evaluation of the interior interior, you know, certainly it like a theatre or a church or a gallery space, that open floor plan that is desirable, so working with the tenants to figure out if they need full height partitions versus half height partitions, or maybe there are certain areas in the rear that are more suitable for enclosed spaces. that would be the approach, but i would say overall, based on the significance of the interior and what's outlined in the report, it is primarily reversibility and giving an opportunity to evaluate those changes, that that space retains that character over time. that would be our primary goal. and certainly whether or not it
is approvable at the staff level or provable before the commission, this meant -- this commission may look at it slightly differently, but that would be at your discretion. >> thank you, i appreciate that. i share commissioner permanent ' concerns about i don't want to place the property owner in a catch-22. i'm so sorry that the gallery has moved to a location -- a new location, and i fully support the recognition of the importance of this structure, and what occurred for many, many years, but i don't want to place a property owner in a catch-22 where it is so onerous or complicated to attract new tenants that the space becomes virtually on leasable, and now, of course, setting forth in motion the continuing problem of
having to maintain a naked structure. that's all for now, but i share that concern. >> yeah, i think, first of all, i think it is a really, really important structure, and i thank you can thank staff for bringing it forward, but i do share some of the concerns about the interior, and mostly from a process point of view, i disagree with commissioner perlman that the interior is just not as important as a space or they have moved on, i do think that somebody could come by and see into it and say these things happened here, and that it is important to that, but knowing how the process works with the retail tenants, he would have a tenant who maybe interested in the space, and that's great, but they will have to get a certificate of appropriateness which might take nine months, and we can't say for sure whether the program
they have will actually be improved -- approved or not. just wait, we have to spend thousands of dollars planning for this certificate and going through this whole process and hiring a consultant to prepare the materials for the events, and i think the process is drawn out, and i think most tenants would walk away and find another space. my concern is that in the length of time it takes to get the approvals, you will have lost the tenant. i agree with commissioner perlman. i would not be supportive of the designation of the interior as part of this. >> thank you. with the changes, i anticipate mr. gang will produce to make sure that we are not attempting to regulate the content of what goes up in that mural space.
i am very happy to support this. i do agree with the comments made by commissioner perlman and commissioner black and with the heart of the comments that were made by commissioner will from. i would not support a restriction on the interior of the space. >> commissioner perlman? >> i wanted to make a quick response. but i thank you make a point that is a problem with how we landmark buildings, is that let's say the space is retained, and a retail store, a clothing store goes in there. so they put their racks out with all the clothing, someone could look in and they would have no idea what that space was, just because it is a tall and open space, they would not have any idea that that space had the
characteristics that miss castro had talked about because even if you just put things out in that space, it would not carry the spirit of the gallery. unless there was a big plaque there that told the story, the space itself doesn't tell the story, so i wanted to ask then, what do we do now? it seems like there is reasonable consensus, at least there's four of us who have voiced this issue, can we amend to this to say, you know, or make an amendment that removes -- if there is number 3 on page 7. >> i don't think that we are all in consensus about that. >> okay. >> maybe we can -- >> i'm just saying, can we make a motion that that would be an amendment? >> the ordinance here is up for your adoption for recommendation for approval, so the motion or
resolution that would be forwarded on to the board of supervisors which then include your recommended amendments to the ordinance. >> okay. okay. >> we can change this however, we like in terms of the motion that goes forward. >> that is what i am asking. >> you could add language or take language out. >> that is what i am asking. so it would be, you know, i would ask that part to be stricken, but obviously not everyone has spoken, so we would have to vote on that. >> right. >> i'm coming at this from a couple of different angles. i have to say that the most immediate concern that i have, and i am influenced by the temple of the times of what is happening in san francisco with the storefronts and the issue of
the tax, it is very disturbing, and i have to say that i think the argument about him not to land marking the interior space is legitimate, and i would be in favor of removing the interior land marking from it, just from -- more of a practical standpoint process, and i think that is the right thing to do. the other idea that i have, i do think the land marking that we are about to embark on for the exterior, that is sufficient to cover what i think is a very innovative, historical, and cultural expression of what has happened in the neighborhood, and the building reflects that, and i would also recommend that we do add mural frames rather than signs. i think it enhances our designation. as i say, it is not just
practical, but i do think the exterior land marking is sufficient to recognize the significance of what has happened there, i would be in favor of removing the interior and designation and adding the word mural substituting for sign to the resolution. >> i guess i am the lone person who would be in support of the designation as it stands now to look at both the exterior and to the interior i did briefly read the office of historic preservation try to report and rationale for looking at this and i think that is a compelling arguments that they have made and just as mr. frye had mentioned earlier, there is precedence to look at the volume , and i strongly believe in that. this is, as was mentioned in public comment, this was the first landmark designation that will happen in this neighborhood , and i feel it is
important to preserve both both. stories happen inside, and to me , that is just as important as what we are preserving outside. suggest for the record, i believe that both interior and exterior should be preserved and should remain, and the language, except for the areas that we talked about earlier, you should go through, but i guess we need to take a vote. is that correct? >> we need a motion first. >> i want to make a motion to -- are we recommending or adopting? >> we are adopting a recommendation. >> commissioner black? >> i just wanted to say, i'm very torn about this. i think we all are. i'm very concerned also about the mural. i think that is so important to the neighborhood, and i would be very concerned to see a geico ad
go up. >> we can't. >> if we can't regulate the content -- >> as a business sign, it does not meet the general advertising >> i'm very torn, but i do think that i fall more on the side of giving the property owner opportunities to make this viable both for the neighborhood , as well as the property owner. it doesn't do the neighborhood any good to have a property that is vacant for any time. i fall more on that side of the line it is a difficult decision. >> i would like to make a motion to rip adopt a recommendation for approval, changing the word sign, to mural, and utilizing the term mural frame, as well as
>> i think we talked about it being a community mural or a rotating mural. >> it is on page five, where it says sign measuring, if we say mural frame measuring, ten by ten. >> with the corrected dimensions , whatever those are. if we say that, i think that will address the issue. >> but then also, on page 5, on page 8, instead of saying sign, permit covering of the mural frame. >> i would suggest mural frame and canvas because it is a mural frame but the canvas -- >> that is fine. i think we just want to define it. >> yeah, and earlier in the same
paragraph, it says within the sign. i think it would say it within brain street mural frame. >> with respect to a mural or artwork. >> in that same one, the next to the last line, line four, and other change there. >> the word sign, you mean? >> a mural frame. >> and then the other change i would ask for -- >> wait a minute. if we say mural frame they're, we should eliminate the last line containing the mural or artwork because we don't want to get ourselves in a position where we are regulating the mural. >> so that would end with only for the proposed removal demolition or permanent covering of the mural frame.
>> you lost me. >> i'm sorry. this is the last paragraph on the last page. >> page 8. >> right. >> the last page. >> right. >> so it is the last. >> it is eliminating containing a mural or artwork. >> and covering of the mural frame. >> right. >> i know this is getting very messy. >> no, it isn't. we are cleaning it up. >> we are inserting canvas there as well. >> and then the second thing would be to remove number 3 on page 7, the following interior features. >> to be keep the window display area? >> it is fine. it is a typical detail within any retail. >> so then removing three a.
>> i think the window displays -- >> that is a typical feature of any retail or historic retail storefront. >> can i ask a procedural question, jonas? if you are in support of one change, but not in support of the other, how does that work in terms of a vote? >> we have multiple amendments to any kind of an ordinance or modification if you so choose. you can take them up one at a time, and then the staff could then transcribe what the vote was on each of the amendments. i also recall the commission having a conversation about clarifying for content of the mural. is that part -- >> i think we have resolved that with the terms. i think we resolved that issue. >> very good, there are 20 oh, amendments that you are proposing.
>> when would be for the mural frame -- >> one is for the wording in one is eliminating the term on page 8. >> can we take that separately? >> sure. >> do i hear a second? >> second. >> thank you, commissioners. we will be calling two questions on the same matter regarding the two separate amendments. there is a motion that has been seconded to adopt the recommendation for approval with two amendments. the first being modifying or replacing the term sign with mural in a mural frame and/or canvas, on that amendment... [roll call] -- >> a report voting on the amendment or the whole motion? >> we are voting on the motion to adopt a recommendation for approval with amendments, and the first amendment being the
one i just read into the record regarding the language replacing the word sign with a mural and providing mural frames as well as canvas and the first amendment. >> no, i don't think we replace the word sign with the word mural. i think we replaced it with the word mural and frame. >> mural frame. >> on that motion... [roll call] >> so moved. that motion passes unanimously so adopting -- again, the second question will be, on the motion that has been seconded to adopt a recommendation for approval with the second amendment to remove the interior space space from landmarks status specifically, item three a... [roll call]
>> so moved. that motion passes 5-1. is that clear? we will be sending one motion with two separate votes on the amendments. very good, that will place us in item nine. 2031 bush street. this is also a landmark designation. >> we need a motion to recuse -- >> we need a motion to recuse me , and it is my understanding from the sunshine law that for the record -- >> let me explain. the ethics commission has made changes to legislation that requires you, when you need to recruit suggest recuse yourself
from certain items, they need to explain, state wide, and they are developing a form that you must then submit within 15 days. that form must be submitted even if you are not present at the hearing, for any item that you could recuse yourself from. so please keep that in mind, and i will try to remind you when the form is generated to submit. >> bring the forms. >> the form does not exist yet. >> but the law does, so doesn't preclude you from it. >> commissioners, i wish to recuse myself from this agenda item because of the fact that my residence falls within the 500 feet to rule. >> i make a motion to recuse the commissioner because her residence falls within the 500 feet law. >> thank you. on that motion to recuse her... [roll call] >> i would like to appoint
commissioner will from to be the chair. >> wonderful. >> i can stay here -- >> you actually need to leave. >> get out. >> good afternoon, desiree smith , plenty department staff. the item before you as a recommendation to the board of supervisors to designate 2031 bush street, known as -- as an article ten landmark. the building was added to the h.b.c. work program in 2016 as part of the san francisco civil rights project funded by an underrepresented community grant in the national park service. the h.p.c. initiative designation of a property at the 2019 hearing. the department has received six letters in support of landmark designation. there is no known public or neighborhood opposition. staff has shared the landmark designation with the property
owner who supported designation as did the district five supervisor, vallie brown. since then, the draft landmark designation report has been revised to include more photos and significant diagrams as well as more context related to the japanese language schools in the united states, california and san francisco san francisco, as well as more history relating to [speaking foreign language] post war. i will discuss this additional content in my presentation today i would first like to thank the commissioner who was a student his there herself. she conducted a number of oral history interviews with fellow graduates of the school and those were included in the appendix of that report as well as in the text. i would like to thank our department in turn. a history of the building was
presented during your initiation hearing. i will provide a brief overview today. the earliest japanese language school began to appear in the mainland united states in 1902, including at least two here in san francisco and one in seattle the schools which operated out of private residences or churches were destroyed and disrupted during the 1906 earthquake and fire. in 1911, the japanese american association formed new japanese language school which he named -- [speaking foreign language] -- which means in english, golden gate institute. they began operating out of a rented space at 2031 bush street in 1926, after years of fundraising from within the community, they purchased the property and constructed a new purpose built school on the site today, the property represents one of only four purpose built community facilities in japan town whose construction was funded by and for the local japanese-american community.
the japanese language schools, including that school operated within an environment of intense discrimination. san francisco, in particular, was a hotbed of anti- asian sentiment for much of the 19th and early 20th century. the city attracted national attention in 1906 when the san francisco school board band students of japanese descent descent from attending public schools, causing a diplomatic emergency between the united states and japan that resulted in an intervention by the u.s. president, theodore roosevelt. numerous additional laws are passed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that aim to curb japanese and asian immigration to the united states the building is also associated with the evacuation and relocation and incarceration of u.s. citizens and residents of japanese descent during world war ii. following the signing of the executive order numbered 1966 by president franklin roosevelt,
they were seized -- they are forced to cease operation and to the building was seized by the government for used -- use as eight used as a process centre where citizens were required to report before they were incarcerated and relocated to concentration camps around the united states. the building is also associated with community organizing and activism, among african-americans in san francisco during the mid-20th century, as home as the booker t. washington community centre were from 1942 to 1952, which provided neighborhood african-american youth with a space or social educational and recreational opportunities. during world war ii, and the african-american population grew exponentially as many relocated from the south here to san francisco to take up work in the shipyard. a severe housing shortage meant many newcomers ended up in residence and the had been vacated by japanese americans who have been relocated to the
camp. in addition to safeguarding the building during this period, the booker t. washington community services centre also supported japanese americans upon their return to japan town, establishing hostels for those in need of housing. they reoccupied the building in 1952 when booker t. washington moved into its new permanent location at 800 presidio avenue. for over a century, they served as an important community anchor and gathering place. it had a popular movie night held in its auditorium in the fifties and sixties provided opportunities for multiple generations of japanese americans to socialize and view asians on the big screen. other events such as speech contests, talent shows, yearly summer camps, camping trips to russian river, enriched the lives of san francisco japanese-american youth. it was also consistently the first destination for japanese royalty during visits to san
francisco. a clear demonstration of its significance. today, they continue to offer classes in japanese language, martial arts and culture, and in the process of planning doing upgrades to ensure his long-term preservation and use. yesterday, commissioners conducted a visit with staff. we discussed adding two additional interior character defining features which would include the existing window openings on the interior at the second floor, and that includes windows. staff proposes amending the ordinance to include those features. if designated, the building would become the first landmark in the city associated with san francisco's japanese-american community and the history or -- of japan in the western addition , which itself is only one of three remaining japan towns in the country. the department determined the building meets established eligibility requirements and that landmark designation is warranted. the department recommends the h.b.c. recommends landmark
designation with the amended character defining features to the board of supervisors. this concludes my presentation and i'm happy to answer any questions. >> thank you. any questions for staff? at this time, we will take public comment on this item. does any member of the public wish to speak? if so, please come forward. >> good afternoon. richard hashimoto, i am one of the board members. i have with me today the board president, and a board member at large, and unanimously we did approve to go ahead and move forward with the landmark designation. i also want to thank all of you and thank commissioner johns and
president hyland for attempting yesterday's site visit. to see the school and what impact it has in our community, and simply we are asking for your support in the approval so we can move on and further protect and preserve this historic building for our community. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> good afternoon, commissioners , mr. frye. my name is sandy and they chair the board of directors for the japan town task force which is a a nonprofit community-based organization based in japan town whose mission and purpose is to preserve one of the japanese towns that we have left in america. at every report -- at our board meeting, we recommend to this particular commission to move forward with this landmark
designation. the role of the building of the japanese school is a important. it is a very important value in our community. one of our board members, it was his grandmother that ran the school. site was used as a processing center when our community was sent away to the concentration camps back in world war ii, and most of the people from san francisco were sent to topaz, utah, and as you saw in the presentation, this site was also a center for the booker, tee washington centre for a period of ten years during the war and after the war. the japanese-american community has a close relationship with the african-american community, and to this day, we still do. thank you for your consideration i urge you to move forward with this landmark designation. thank you. >> thank you.
>> good afternoon. my name is grace, i am the executive director of the japan town community benefit district. i'm here to share my support for the landmark designation. i too was a student of the school. i remember as a child, going to school monday through friday, each day every day until high school. and when i was young i would complain about going, but as i grew as an adult, i really am grateful for my parents for letting me go, and also for the teachers that gave me a great education, because what i have learned there is what i am using today to be able to communicate with our japanese and japanese-american community to be that bridge. my mom was a former principal. i do encourage you, and i have nothing but support for this school.
>> are there any other speakers who wish to speak to this matter we are closing public comments. commissioners? >> i did go through the building yesterday, and in certain respects, it is remarkably ordinary, however in other respects, it is unbelievable because of what happened there. it has at least three really important aspects to its. one is the fact of how culture is transmitted from generation to generation, and foreign land, and that is just part of it.
then there was the other part, becoming the booker t. washington centre, but part of that, which is perhaps of greater significance is the way the african-american community that took it over protected it and was a steward and later returned into its original owners, and that is important in san francisco because unlike in other communities, we have had a tradition here, ethnic groups working together to help one another. but it has been