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Sunday, November 23, 2008

UPDATE - Japantown's Festivals: David Zisser (President Homeowners Association 1600 Webster) Abuses Powers

If you recall my past posting in late August about Japantown's festivals being threatened by a homeowners owners association and the building's developer, I learned about a month ago that the letter that was written by the 1600 Webster's Homeowners Association's president (David Zisser) was not a letter that was agreed upon by the by the tenants.

In fact... the association's president ACTED ALONE.

As the letter states:

To Nihonmachi Street Fair Committee

As you are aware, this Association (along with other members of this neighborhood) must tolerate what seems to be an endless use of Post and Webster Streets for a series of look-alike street fairs with the same purveyors of schlocky souvenirs, mediocre food stands and exhibitors who have absolutely no relationship to the community. There is no other neighborhood which is asked to put up with these sorts of disruptions, and that, of course, doesn't include the disruption presented by the Fillmore Street Fair which is only one block away.

Thus, we find it astonishing that the Fair organizers would propose an event that would leave the neighborhood in worse condition than you found it and then impose your clean-up costs on this Association and other property owners. The streets and sidewalks of this neighborhood are usually filthy, especially those that surround that appalling mall, and 1600 Webster already devotes part of its yearly budget to the maintenance of its sidewalks and street trees from which this neighborhood receives a direct benefit.

We want to make it very clear to you that if the neighborhood sidewalks are not cleaned in an adequate fashion this year, this Association will file a protest with the City when you seek a permit for next year's street fair.

David H. Zisser

President, 1600 Webster Street Homeowners' Association


So the guy literally abused his powers as "president" of the association by MISREPRESENTING HIS ASSOCIATION. Or I think that the guy abused his powers as president. See the RED and BOLD highlights in the letter? These are my supporting arguments of his abuse of powers.


And you may be asking: What is your supporting evidence?

I learned about this through a discussion on SFist, talking about the Mervyn's closure and what will be used for that building. I posted a comment insulting the 1600 Webster building that it's a bunch of NIMBYs (Not in my back yard) for writing those hurtful letters to the Japantown community. One of the tenants wrote back and said:
  • "Akit, please don't characterize the whole Webster building as NIMBYs...most of us are regular people who worked hard to buy housing, and had no idea about the letters that were sent."
I wrote back and asked:
  • "I have to know, you never had any idea that the letters were sent to the J-town community about the street fair in August? That's really screwed up, then the building owner and board president was acting alone."
The commenter wrote back and said:
  • "No, we had no idea. I found out when I read it here or on curbed, I can't remember which. The neighbors to whom I spoke also had no idea. (and these are condos, so there is no one building owner)"

I also provide the following supporting evidence during a brief e-mail discussion with Paul Osaki, Executive Director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC):
  • Hey Paul,

    This is going to sound really screwed up, but I was having a discussion with users of one of the city's popular blog news sites known as "SFist" and someone from the 1600 Webster site noted that the condo tenants didn't even know that the developer and the board president sent out the letter. If this is right, those two acted alone in pissing-off the community, and the board president abused his powers as president by misrepresentation.

    See here: http://sfist.com/2008/10/21/_with_the_mervyns_heights.php
He wrote back:
  • Hi Akit,

    That’s correct, the other owners did not know about the letter as far as I can tell.


So there's my evidence. The owners did not know anything about the president writing such a hurtful, hateful, and disgraceful letter to the Nihonmachi Street Fair and insulting the Japantown community. Many non-profit organizations depends on these festivals so they can provide services such as elderly care, childcare, after school groups, church groups, etc.

Plus, NEVER call our food mediocre. It's good stuff, for good causes, and done by hard working individuals, who in some cases have been doing it for OVER 40 YEARS.

I learned through the Nichi Bei Times that Zisser insulted the community even more, by stating he stands by his letter to the community "100 percent." So... there's no real apology. Thanks for the insults.

Now when a business wants to think about occupying that vacant space at your facility, they'll know that the Homeowners Association and Developer hates Japantown, and will not occupy the space.

Maybe it's time for those condo owners to fight back. Recall (kick) the jackass out of his presidency seat for abuse of powers as president of the association.


Other resources:
A letter I wrote to Nichi Bei Times
AsianWeek: Palate Pleasing Philanthropy at the Nihonmachi Street Fair
Hokubei Mainichi: Street Fair Starts Off With a Bang
Hokubei Mainichi: City Agency Says Festival Permits Can't Be Blocked
Photo credit: Hokubei Mainichi

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