The Twitter Shitstorm

A note about the shitstorm that occurred in August

Our petition was sent out on July 22, 2020 which originally included the support of *50+ Hayes Valley Businesses. We want to emphasize that our campaign from the get go involved volunteer efforts of 12+ people. This petition was and remains a collaborative effort by concerned citizens and businesses. 9 days after our petition was sent to the office of the Mayor the city addressed the longstanding camps on Octavia Boulevard. Hoodline reported that of the 11 who were offered shelter only 4 accepted. While this was not the best outcome, many in the neighborhood were grateful that the city took some action. On August 10, 2020 the business district of Hayes Valley was caught in the crossfire of a Twitter shitstorm which was ignited by a party that is reportedly “pro” homeless industrial complex. This in of itself was disturbing not only because of the timing but more importantly because of how poor the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) responded to the situation; which literally waged a war against neighbors and businesses who took a stand as supporters of our petition. To say that we were disheartened is an understatement. Why didn’t the HVNA speak up against the party who ignited the Twitter shitstorm with the same velocity they did against our petition? Why didn’t they take a stand against the boycott? Why didn’t they reach out to us in an effort to stand united against this attack against our business community? Fact: some volunteers of our petition were members of the HVNA; they were accused by board members of undermining and sabotaging their petition when they inquired about the HVNA petition’s origins and whether outreach to members had been conducted. Instead they sought out the press and concocted a narrative that we had tricked our community by claiming our petition was theirs. How ludicrous is that? A board member of the HVNA claimed that this occurred because a founding member of the HVNA had requested to put his title as such on his signature. Considering that our outreach for support was literally conducted door to door with a printout of the petition language which did not include that title (it was only included with the petition copy the day it was sent to the Mayor and posted online), makes that reasoning 100% asinine. Other board members took to Twitter and called us assholes. And who was the worst offender in the response to the Twitter shitstorm? Answer: LLoyd Silverstein, HVNA’s Merchant Committee Chair person. What was his defense on behalf of the HVNA? Rather than stand up against the boycott, he took to the press a pretty ridiculously concocted narrative about being bamboozled.

We’re breaking our silence about this matter because the footprint of the Twitter shitstorm remains. It’s unfortunate that our petition efforts were met with such revulsion by the HVNA. It is critical that our voice is heard in terms of our perception of what we viewed as a missed opportunity by the HVNA to try to unite the community rather than divide. Quite ironic considering that the HVNA had accused its own members who were supporters of this petition as being divisive and having caused the backlash of the Twitter shitstorm when in fact that was not the case. Moreover when we embarked on this petition we thought it was critical to bring a voice to the many struggling businesses in our neighborhood who were challenged with the homelessness crisis; having them bear the brunt of public opinion on homelessness is wrong and why we view boycotts as a dangerous game. Since the Twitter shitstorm occurred we’ve continued to garner petition support not only in Hayes Valley but citywide.

*10 active businesses requested to have their names retracted from our petition due to the Twitter shitstorm.