There has been a bit of a to-do about the fact that the Academy of Art has done any number of illegal conversions of buildings in the city of San Francisco and not paid up on permits. You can read a bit more here as well as the fact that they’re going to be “monitored” now, more here. To all of this, I say to file it up the tag of “no-fucking-shit”. On the one hand, I’m thoroughly happy that the academy is being called out on it’s transgressions against all that is good and neighborhoodly in San Francisco. On the other hand, it pisses me off to no end that it took a massive budget crunch to get whomever needed to be pushed to actually look at what the Academy has been doing. For anyone with two eyes and the ability to walk through the Loin (specifically, the TenderNob area of it) it’s about as obvious as the fact that those hookers who work at Sutter & Larkin are most certainly not the ladies they claim to be.
Look at that map of Academy buildings. Nearly half of their buildings are in the TenderNob area and as viewed by me, the Academy of Art has single-handedly destroyed the TenderNob from growing as a neighborhood. When I moved to the area in 2003, it was great. There were small cafes opening. Trendy restaurants were poking up here and there and it all smacked of gentrification without actually being gentrification. It worked as a really great balance of being a real neighborhood that stood at the edge of posh Nob Hill and rumbling Tenderloin.
This has all since crashed and burned seven years later. The rents are extremely high, not due to yuppies and gay couples moving in the neighborhood, but because landlords see a ready and wealthy market in the parents of the arts students who feel their little special princes and princesses need to have a one bedroom apartment all to themselves at the age of 18. At 18, I was living with my parents, going to junior college, and was lucky to have that. But the issue is that these kids who move in to the area to be close to the Academy buildings, that have spread far and wide like a black and tan herpes across the city, don’t give a shit about the neighborhood they’re living in. They come for a year or two, party, trash the places they live, and then move out. The transience and disregard is wearing down the neighborhood.
Thankfully, the couple who manage my building are very on the ball. But, this means scraping off tagging and other graffiti that skater art students or their friends leave in the area. This may seem like a large jump of logic to make but a) the tagging was nowhere near as bad seven years ago and b) I chased off one little asshole tagging my building only to see him the next week coming out of a dorm down the street. Then of course there’s living next door to people who really don’t care how loud their music/parties are and start to sniffle and cry if you yell at them about it. I moved out of Berkeley because students are squalid neighbors. I just didn’t realize my new neighborhood in the city would become a student ghetto as well.
This will easily turn in to an endless rant if I keep going, but suffice to say the fix that the city is going to probably put in to place is just to fine the Academy as with each student paying $25,000 a year to attend, Elisa Stephens probably has $100 bill enemas daily with all the cash she’s swimming in. It’s a money opportunity for the city, when what should really happen is to shut down, dismantle, and sell off the Academy. It is a poor education from a school that only received accreditation five years ago. It is not a benefit to San Francisco, just a detriment with its part time residents, underpaid staff, and
princess limos buses clogging the arteries of downtime, which I might add also should be investigated.