Do you make a tasty non-perishable food product that is good enough to sell? Do you want to become a vendor at the Excelsior Community Market to sell this product once a month to the public? Now you can with a Cottage Law Certification and a vendor application for the Excelsior Community Market! EAG will be hosting a free training on the City of San Francisco’s new Cottage Law Certification, which allows people to produce non-perishable food products from their own homes for sale to the public. The process is easy and costs around $250! We will walk through every step of the certification process and help with completing the forms. Join us to learn about this great way to start your own local food business!
Cottage Law Workshop
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
35 San Juan Avenue
Free dinner, childcare, & translation
Excelsior Action Group Makes Neighborhood Commercial District More Accessible to Customers with DisabilitiesRead Now
Neighborhood Nonprofit Responds to Accessibility Litigation Targeting Small Businesses
(San Francisco – June 18, 2013) Since January 2013, the Excelsior Action Group has assisted local small businesses with outreach, education, and free inspections for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and regulations. One goal of this work is to increase accessibility to businesses in the Excelsior commercial corridor for the entire community, including the large population of seniors living in District 11. EAG’s ADA Program also seeks to protect local small businesses from a rash of costly ADA lawsuits which have targeted vulnerable merchants across the City who are not fully compliant with ADA standards.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires “public accommodations to provide goods and services to people with disabilities on an equal basis with the rest of the general public.” Noncompliance with ADA standards constitutes a violation of the civil rights of persons with disabilities; plaintiffs who feel their civil rights have been violated can file private lawsuits against noncompliant businesses. In the past few years, there has been a tremendous proliferation of ADA lawsuits, with more than 14,000 lawsuits being filed against vulnerable California small businesses by only a handful of lawyers. In San Francisco, these lawsuits are prevalent among neighborhoods with older building stock and large concentrations of immigrant-owned businesses. Beginning in December of last year, several small businesses in the Excelsior were targeted by a string of ADA lawsuits which affected both property owners and their commercial tenants with extremely costly fees and settlements. These lawsuits raised concerns among neighboring businesses and spurred EAG into action.
A community-based nonprofit organization working to revitalize the commercial corridor in the Excelsior, EAG has worked to support neighborhood small businesses since 2002. EAG’s ADA Program has been a multi-tiered response to educate Excelsior merchants about the requirements of the ADA law and guide them on a pathway to accessibility. EAG has worked with local volunteers to conduct trilingual ADA outreach door to door on Mission Street. In March, EAG organized a free Cantonese-language workshop for Chinese business and property owners because the Chinese population has been singled out by a disproportionate number of these lawsuits. Finally, EAG recruited a group of the most vulnerable businesses to participate in its ADA Compliance Inspection Program, which provided inspections and individual consultations from Certified Access Specialists of Sally Swanson Architects. Funded by the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, this program provided inspections which can cost up to $5,000 to nine Excelsior businesses for free.
“Education has been the most important component of this work,” explained EAG Corridor Manager Nicole Agbayani, “Many Excelsior merchants believe that ADA regulations do not apply to them because their businesses predate the law. We are spreading the message that ADA applies to every business and our organization is here to help get them on the right track.”
On Monday, May 6, EAG held is quarterly community wide meeting at our office on 35 San Juan Avenue. We were joined by over 40 community members who came to hear updates about our projects and offer their feedback on our work, particularly surrounding the Persia Triangle Project. If you missed the meeting, here's a snapshot of the updates that were presented that evening. Click here to view photos from the meeting.
EAG Beautification: Ever Upward
The Ever Upward Project is progressing rapidly. The project was designed in a community design workshop at the May Quarterly meeting in 2012. One year later, the Excelsior's first piece of civic art is getting ready for construction. The designs are complete and all necessary approvals and permits have been received. We are working with the support of dozens of community volunteers to create the mosaics for the column piece by piece. We need all the help we can get on that! If you're interested in participating, please email email@example.com. The sculpture is slated for installation at the northwest corner of Geneva and Mission this Fall 2013.
EAG Beautification: Library Art & Greening
EAG is working with the Excelsior Branch Library, Architecture for Humanity, and 5 local artists to install seating and greening, as well as art panels at our local library, 4400 Mission Street. The project has been in development since February 2012. It is currently in the permitting and approvals process. We aim to begin construction in Summer of 2013 and have it open for community use by Fall of 2013. During the summer, the project will be constructed during Community Build Days with the help of local volunteers. We need your help to bring this project to fruition! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in helping out or contributing to the Build Day efforts.
EAG Beautification: Community Kiosk Revitalization
In January 2012, the Excelsior Action Group was approached by Supervisor Avalos to retrofit and activate a blighted news kiosk at the corner of Geneva & Mission. EAG has taken on this project and is investigating the feasibility of relocating the kiosk to a more beneficial and centrally-located site at the Persia Triangle. After the kiosk is retrofitted, EAG hopes to activate it on a more regular basis with local vendors, a community map, information postings from community-based organizations, and artwork.
EAG Safety: Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior
On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the Excelsior Action Group (EAG) executed a grassroots safety program with the help of over a dozen local youth in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood. Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior is a pedestrian level lighting campaign that enlists youth as safety liaisons to distribute free energy efficient lighting to small businesses to brighten their storefront windows at night. Generously funded by PG&E, the program addresses the neighborhood’s dire need for pedestrian level lighting to increase safety and foot traffic on Mission Street after dark. EAG continues to advocate for a permanent solution to this issue.
EAG Business Support: ADA Compliance Assistance
Since December 2012, several businesses on the Excelsior Commercial Corridor have been sued by plaintiffs with disabilities because they are not up to ADA standards and do not provide equal access to patrons with disabilities. EAG has spearheaded a robust outreach and education campaign to both improve the accessibility of businesses in the Excelsior neighborhood and also help protect these businesses from ADA litigation. Outreach for this campaign has been conducted door-to-door in English, Spanish, and Cantonese. In addition, EAG hosted an ADA workshop for Cantonese-speaking business owners in March, which was very well-attended and informative. Finally, EAG is managing an ADA Compliance Inspection program, funded by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which provide free inspections of local businesses.
EAG Festival: Save the Date for the 11th Annual
The 11th Annual Excelsior Art & Music Festival will be held this September 29, 2013 in conjunction with Sunday Streets. The Excelsior Action Group's Festival Committee is currently planning the event and can always use extra support and ideas. This year's theme is "Forever Upward" and all proceeds raised from the event will go toward a maintenance endowment for the Ever Upward sculpture. If you want to get involved with festival planning, join us at the Festival Committee's next meeting, Thursday June 6, 6:00 PM at EAG's office, 35 San Juan Avenue. We are also happy to announce that Sunday Streets will be returning to the Excelsior in tandem with the Festival and will be shutting down Mission Street again this year for their event. The quarterly meeting in August will have many more updates and information about how to get involved with the Festival.
Persia Triangle Project
EAG was joined by representatives from the SF Planning Department, MTA, DPW, and Out of Site to present updates on all of the short-term improvements occurring at the Persia Triangle. EAG's project at this site include the Persia Triangle Community Market pilot project (funded), the potential installation of the Community Kiosk at Ocean and Mission (pending), and a collaboration with Out of Site to install street furniture and sidewalk artwork (pending). Planning Department is spearheading the creation of plazas to allow additional space for pedestrian safety and community gathering. MTA is managing proposed changes to bus routes through the site and the additional of bus bulbs. DPW will be repaving the street surfaces in the early part of next year.
There’s no need to leave Mission Street to get gifts for everyone on your list. This holiday season get all your shopping done in the Excelsior! “Like” EAG on facebook in order to see our past posts and upcoming tips on where you can find great gifts at low prices right here in our neighborhood.
"Like" EAG on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Excelsior-Action-Group-EAG/115807331784477
BACR CEO Marty Weinstein says, “Both BACR and EAG are committed to engaging parents and families more in their schools and communities. Our partnership with EAG will leverage the individual and collective presence of both parties and open new doors for community building in the Excelsior neighborhood.”
The Excelsior Action Group has transitioned to a new fiscal sponsor, Bay Area Community Resources. EAG is eager to embark on our new relationship with BACR, which currently runs after school programs in 5 Excelsior schools. We have been highlighted on BACR's website in a great news article. Please visit the following link to read the full story and learn more about BACR.
The Excelsior Action Group would like to invite anyone who wants to participate in our Sunday Streets Festival Art Contest! We are opening up the contest to participants of all ages and skill levels. If chosen, the winner's artwork will be featured in this year's Sunday Street poster- which is hung all over the City! Submissions are due August 24th, and will be reviewed by the Festival Committee September 6th.
More details are attached in the following links in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
If you want some ideas for your design and what Sunday Streets is about, it is a series of events put on by the City of San Francisco to encourage health, community, and fun, inspired by similar events in cities throughout the world. A Sunday Streets event creates a large, temporary, public space by closing off stretches of a neighborhood’s streets to automobile traffic, and opening them to pedestrians, bicyclists, and activities for several hours on a predetermined Sunday.
Sunday Streets events are free to all participants. Some will enjoy the route by strolling, skating, cycling, or just
people-watching. Others will participate in free group events such as tai chi, yoga, aerobics, swing
dance, cultural performances and other activities. The most important part is that everything is free.
For more information of Sunday Streets, click here.
From 2005-2007, the Excelsior Action Group worked with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to develop a community-based transportation plan. The Mission-Geneva Neighborhood Transportation Plan identifies transportation improvements that can be implemented in the near- to mid-term to address key neighborhood transportation-related concerns. Although some of the recommendations outlined in the plan have come to fruition since it was authored in 2007, EAG is advocating for funding to implement the comprehensive improvements outlined in this plan through the Road Repavement and Street Safety Bond. Show your support for the Mission-Geneva Neighborhood Transportation Plan by signing our online petition to Mayor Ed Lee and spreading the word among your friends and neighbors in the Excelsior.