Welcome to Mission Local’s “Meet the Candidates” series, in which District 9 supervisorial hopefuls respond to a question in 100 words or fewer. The aim of this series is to give voters as much information as possible.

You can see all previous questions here.

Week 11 question: We’re going back to the vending ban.

Earlier in this series, some of you wrote about favoring the ban and helping vendors in other ways. Some of you opposed the ban and want to see vending return under different terms. 

For those who support the ban, can you be more specific as to how you would help small businesses that perhaps are too small to rent their own space? The designated spaces on Mission Street and on 24th Street have not worked well for the vendors. What might you do differently? 

For those of you who oppose the ban, can you be more explicit about how vending can be regulated and monitored, knowing that an earlier effort to issue permits to legitimate vendors failed to prevent illegal vending? Many of the permitted vendors, for example, did not want to be at the plazas because of the chaotic atmosphere created by illegal vending.  

Trevor Chandler

Former director of government and public policy at Citizen, a public safety app. Substitute teacher at SFUSD.

Chandler has lived in D9 since July 2021.

“We will create permanent night markets at our BART Plazas, providing a guaranteed income to approved local vendors who sell food, handmade crafts, and perform until 9 p.m., allowing them to keep the profits from their sales on top of that.

By bringing safety and vibrancy back to our plazas, along with common-sense measures like increased lighting and consistent security, we can ensure local artisans and vendors can make a living as well as increase foot traffic for the small businesses on our commercial corridors.

This and all my plans are at www.trevor4sf.com.”

Jackie Fielder

Former educator at San Francisco State University, co-founder of the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition. Democratic Socialist.

Fielder lived in District 9 Sept. 2017 to June 2018, Oct. 2019 to Aug. 2020 and April 2021 to present.

“I’m against a citywide vendor ban. Vending is a cultural and economic backbone of Latin America and the Mission. It’s great seeing taco stands serving people of all walks of life along Mission Street at night, kids blowing bubbles to music; it’s a refreshing vibrancy.

Permitted vendors can vend in an organized fashion in high foot-traffic areas; but vendors, non-profits, small businesses, city workers, and police need a coordinated safety strategy. Public workers shouldn’t do police-officer enforcement. Equilibrium keeps the ban in place at the expense of permitted vendors. We can have vendors in high-foot traffic areas through a coordinated strategy.

Jaime Gutierrez

Transit supervisor for SFMTA/MUNI.

Gutierrez has lived in D9 since 1967.

“I supported the ban on street vendors from the position of safety. Street vending, legal and illegal, was blocking the walking pathways of the elderly and young. Boarding and alighting public transit was not only treacherous, but was a trash-filled eyesore. 

My solution to the problem would be to take advantage of the streets next to the 24th Street BART Station. Lilac and Osage alleyways could be cleaned, regulated and monitored by police, ambassadors, and DPW. This would promote community by establishing pride in El Tiangue, because it would be an ongoing place of business on alternating days.”

Roberto Hernandez

CEO, Cultura y Arte Nativa de Las Americas (CANA).

Hernandez was born in the Mission in June 1956 and has not left.

“As a lifelong resident, I know first-hand the importance of street vending to our district’s culture, from the iconic Mission Dog to the delicious tacos. However, illegal vending has spiraled out of control, impacting both merchants and our collective sense of safety.

My community-based task force will include input and collaboration from the SFPD, neighborhood ambassadors and legal vendors to ensure a proper permitting process is enforced across the district.

Together we will implement a plan that results in appropriate consequences for illegal actors, and provides the support and resources for permitted vendors to operate safely.

Together we will implement a plan that results in appropriate consequences for illegal actors, and provides the support and resources for permitted vendors to operate safely.”

Michael Petrelis

AIDS and LGBTQ activist.

Petrelis has lived on Clinton Park since May 1996, which became part of District 9 in April 2022.

“Mission Local asks more than a single question about an intractable concern to many, using over 100 words to do so, same count for our replies, and the change in this series, moving away from one short question, must be noted.

Communication in writing and in-person meetings is needed from the street vendors, the surrounding small businesses, BART leaders, San Francisco officials from Sup. Ronen to the SFPD.

I support some regulations for sidewalk vendors and oppose an outright ban, taking into account the vast differences at the BART plaza during the daytime and evenings.”

Stephen Torres

LGBTQ activist, producer and journalist.

Torres lived in District 9 Summer 2001 to Fall 2003 and returned in the Summer 2010.

“Earlier efforts to regulate vending were plagued by a failure of administration. City employees tasked with monitoring vendors lacked training and permitted vendors lacked support, creating a vacuum filled by illegal vending.

I believe conflating crime with legitimate businesses that have long existed in District 9 and furthering blanket bans will be devastatingly destabilizing for the community. Why must it be chaos or nothing? 

BART after nightfall shows that empty space also brings problems. With coordination, training and communication, we can reactivate vending (through protected “tianguis” and activations) while maintaining free and safe access to businesses and rights-of-way.”

Julian Bermudez

Works in and directs his family business, Rancho Grande Appliance.

Bermudez moved to the Mission in 2011, left for college, back in 2019, left for Army and returned in late 2022.

“First, I stand with the newly formed Mission Street Vendors Association and their proposed solutions: Phased reintegration, resource allocation, respectful dialogue, and temporary relocation, if necessary. As a leader, I know the best approach to this is to include the options of who this ban affects the most. 

I will propose to make it into an official daily “farmers market” style with a permanent stage for performances and events. First, I want to build an area for a bungalow, where city officials can expedite permits for vendors on Mission Street. Then, add more trash cans, seating areas and portajohns, water fountains and shaded areas. Next, adding paint and infrastructure to designate where vendors can sell. Lastly, to build a stage-like area, on the 24th street BART area, where community organizations can plan events and performances. This will make the area bring in a different crowd via its cleanliness and the organization of the streets.”

h brown

Retired special education teacher.

Brown has lived in his current address for nine years, redistricted into District 9 in April 2022

“Tourism and nightlife are the lifeblood of the Mission.

To be successful, both depend upon a properly deployed police presence. Six cops and DPW workers standing in a circle are not a proper use of labor.

SFPD Kobans at the BART stops and Dolores Park staffed 24/7/365 will work. (Editor’s Note: a Koban is a small police kiosk or station.)

That’s a force of 27 Patrol cops and 3 Supervisors.

Cops rotate one at a point in Koban.

Two others walk single Officer Foot Patrols and meet some new friends.

Kobans need adjoining platforms for first-come, first-serve performances.

Invite vetted permit holders back home and legalize prostitution.”

Candidates are rotated alphabetically. Answers may be lightly edited for formatting, spelling, and grammar. If you have questions for the candidates, please let Mission Local know at lydia.chavez@missionlocal.com.

Read the rest of the series here. Illustrations for the series by Neil Ballard.

You can register to vote via the sf.gov website.

Mission Local Newsroom

Since 2008, Mission Local, an independent news site based in the Mission District, has been focused on high-impact, enterprise reporting on everything from police reform to corruption at City Hall, housing,...