SF queer community unites to save Grubstake

Eeven though New York narrowly beat San Francisco in the most expensive rental market in the country last month, the City by the Bay is still pretty darn expensive. (If this is news to you, please let us know the address of the rock you lived under; we would love Airbnb for future digital detoxes.) In fact: rents for one bedroom apartments and studios have all but returned to normal after seeing record rates boosted by the pandemic.

Alas, SF’s SEO friendYes inaccessibility is back. But a handful of affordable units that could overtake Grubstake Diner – a major bastion of queer activism, where community leaders and artists have historically come together to defend gay rights – will help ease the financial burden by nearly two. dozens of San Franciscans. But the Grubstake itself is likely to follow the path of the dodo bird.

For over six years, the SF LGBTQI + community has been organizing with the Grubstake Diner team to help preserve this popular gathering place, which now must be completely rebuilt to exist in the future. But the inhabitants of Austin – a luxury condominium complex adjacent to this beloved restaurant – have other plans. And I want Grubstake Diner to be effectively reduced to rubble.

A rally was held Monday afternoon at 1525 Polk Street to ask the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to dismiss the “baseless appeal” filed by some Austin residents, which, if heeded, further delay plans to rebuild the Grubstake Diner. The restoration also aims to add at least 21 middle-income housing units to The Insufficient Stock of Affordable Housing in San Francisco.

“A small group of Austin residents tried in every way they could to delay and block the project, and it became clear that their reservations cannot be corrected,” said Betty Sullivan, co-editor of the San Francisco Bay weather, in a press release. “On October 5, it’s time for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to finally end long-standing opposition from Austin and pave the way for the Grubstake to continue to survive and thrive.”

Local queer community notables Juanita MORE !, Gary Virginia and Donna Sache were also in attendance at Monday’s rally, each addressing the crowd below and allowing everyone to ‘speak out loud’ about why the Grubstake Diner should continue to exist. A banner hung for the event rightly read “Save Grubstake”. This, too, is basically a shortcut to “saving queer spaces,” without the nod to well-made BLTs.

“I stayed at [Grubstake Diner] many nights long after they close, hanging out, talking and having fun, “MORE! told the crowd on Monday, holding a megaphone firmly in one hand, while using the other to gesticulate wildly – her iconic wave of the finger on the screen when she deplored the behavior of the well-to-do neighbors of the restaurant.

“Unlike the building next to us, we want to build a space that people can afford to live in,” continued MORE !, who became Empress of the Imperial Court of San Francisco last year. “The project strives to preserve a critical chapter in LGBTQ + history while providing 21 affordable housing that people can actually afford.”

City overseers have been, more or less, silent on the matter lately. Corn District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who is the only LGBTQI + member of the board, shared a statement with the Bay Area Journalist On Monday, this added context to the said silence: “It is my policy not to take a position on the appeals that will be heard by the supervisory board, because if I do, I will not be able to vote.”

San Francisco is the gay capital of the world; the Grubstake Diner has undoubtedly existed in tandem with that moniker since it began serving late night customers in the 1960s. San Francisco needs more affordable housing; it is simply a fact. Neither Austin nor its narrow-minded residents should influence any of these truths.

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The Save the Grubstake petition on Action Network has been signed by prominent supporters over 76 times, helping organizers collect over 300 individual signatures and letters of support from community members. The San Francisco board of directors is expected to vote on whether or not to accept the appeal made by Austin residents on October 5, so make your voice heard – “loudly” – before those votes are cast.

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