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Alemany Market Giving Controversial Boot to Vendors

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Bernal Heights: The big news from the weekend's market circuit is that some of the most popular vendors from the Alemany Farmers Market—including All Star Tamales, El Huarache Loco, Estrellita' and Sabores del Sur—have been given notice that they will be booted at the end of the month. As noted by a Yelper, three of the aforementioned vendors are from La Cocina, and the decision was made sans explanation.

The reason for the changes—or rather, evictions—is that the market recently undertook a controversial process called a Request for Proposal (RFP). In short, this means that the market sought out proposals from new and old vendors, then scored and ranked all the applicants. The crucial note, of course, is that even existing vendors had to participate. But see, the scoring system is where it gets dicey and where eyebrows start to get raised:

The Scoring System: According to the market, the 100-point scoring system for the RFPs is based on three factors: business/marketing plan (50 points), experience (25 points) and the rent proposal (25 points). There is no preference given to existing vendors, but more importantly, note that the rent proposal constitutes 25 points. In other words, a vendor willing to pay a higher rent will score higher. Obviously, the aforementioned quartet of vendors did not score well enough (though Loco has been approved for Sundays only). You can read more about the process at the city website.

The reason for the RFP: Follow us on this one. According to the same source, the reason the RFP was undertaken is because the vendor contingent (not the farmers) is being downsized from 23 to 14-16. This downsizing is necessary because the layout of the market is being altered to accommodate more parking spots. Last year, new farmers took up space that previously housed 60-100 parking spots, and now the city is saying that the market needs to bring back those spots in order to decrease the congestion.

How You Can Get Involved: There are petitions circulating, both at the actual market and also now online. You can also reach out to the Department of Real Estate at (415) 503-2053 or may.jaber@sfgov.org or to District 11 Supervisor John Avalos at (415) 554-6975 or john.avalos@sfgov.org. Folks on both sides of the argument are pretty willing to discuss the matter, and we'd encourage further information, rumors and/or opinions down in the comments or straight to us.

[Photo: Flickr]

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