Mission District business owner blamed for gentrification

A businessman in San Francisco's Mission District is the target of hate speech. It was spray painted on several of the properties he owns and this isn't the first time protesters have focused their anger on him, saying he is partly responsible for the gentrification of their neighborhood.

Police are investigating the graffiti, but no one knows who is responsible for it. One of the man's upscale restaurants at Bryant and 23rd Street is right in the middle of a neighborhood that is changing rapidly.

The words "Get Lost!!!" are just some of the graffiti, covering the front window of new upscale grocery, Local Mission Market. The word "Die" was also painted outside Local's Corner eatery. Two other businesses were also tagged with hate speech -- all of them owned by Yaron Milgrom.

He told ABC7 News, "To have to start their day by cleaning off hateful speech off their windows is a tough way to start the day."

Milgrom doesn't know who's responsible, but one community group has protested the businesses before.

Julian Ball from the Alliance For Community Empowerment said, "When a fancy restaurants like his comes to the neighborhood, it means that, not only does it drive up rents, people get displaced."

But the Alliance of Californian's For Community Empowerment says the graffiti is not theirs.

"That kind of violent graffiti does not help the situation," Mary Magee from Alliance For Community Empowerment said.

But the group does accuse Milgrom of discrimination, turning away large groups of people of color twice in the past.

"Last week, I was part of a group six white people who were very easily accommodated in the restaurant," Magee said.

Milgrom denies the claim. He says he lives in the mission and employs a diverse staff. He said, "We don't discriminate. Every day we open the doors for everybody."

The community group demands Milgrom and his staff take sensitivity training or face more protests.
Related Topics:
societyreal estatebusinesshate crimegraffitiSan FranciscoMission District
(Copyright ©2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)