Lydia ChÃ¡vez and Daniel Hirsch
The local branch of a statewide activist group has posted fliers around the Mission District asking residents to boycott the restaurants and stores operated by the Local Mission Group.
The boycott is the latest development in a long-brewing conflict between the Mission/Bernal Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, known as ACCE, and the owners of the Local Mission Group. It is one that erupted more than a year ago when Sandy Cuadra, a long-term local resident who has since died, said she was denied service at Local’s Corner.
So far, it’s not clear how widely the boycott is being supported.
ACCE, a five-year-old statewide organization with chapters in the Bay Area and Southern California that has been active in protests against gentrification and housing issues, alleges the upscale establishments have discriminated against local residents. The group wants Yaron Milgrom, co-owner of the Local establishments, to sign an agreement that includes demands for sensitivity training and a local hiring program. (See the full list of demands below.)
“I have agreed to these items, which they know,” Milgrom wrote in an email, referring to the demands for local hiring and sensitivity training. “They are persisting, because I will not sign their document, with their language, on their terms, without any commitment on their end…”
Milgrom said business at Local’s Corner is down by 20 percent compared to last year and that business at the Local Mission Market, which opened in the fall, is “below its potential and has grown slower than it should have, which is partially due to ACCE’s efforts.”
ACCE member Anna Slavicek said that Milgrom’s recent initiatives to remedy their complaints against him are insufficient.
“It’s not enough at all,” said Slavicek. “I’m glad he’s doing it, but as far as I’m concerned, we don’t know anything about it.”
That appears to be true as the standoff has been complicated by a decided lack of communication. The two sides are not talking to one another. Instead, they are negotiating through a third party, a group of community leaders that includes Jim Salinas, a longtime labor leader, and Erick Arguello, the head of the business association.