I’m a small-business owner in San Francisco and currently building a new restaurant. I dealt with all the challenges mentioned in your Feb. 12 cover story, and our opening has been delayed as a result.
Instead of just complaining, I contacted the Office of Small Business. Not only did I receive personal attention, but the executive director saw to it within a matter of hours that I met with the right people, got the information I needed and got my permits approved.
It was clear that they are doing their best to help alleviate the challenges small-business owners face. The office is a fairly new city department trying to change a tenacious political bureaucracy in multiple city departments with competing interests. This doesn’t happen overnight.
But based on my positive experience, I have confidence that it will happen — as it needs to.
Nathan Pollak, San Francisco
If Muni top brass and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board really want to recapture lost revenue from all the fare cheats, they need to rethink the current fare inspection strategy.
I take the Muni underground to and from work everyday. It is very difficult to get through a turnstile without either paying or using a pass during rush hour. So why then am I consistently detained, by over five fare inspectors, several times a week?
I’m either in a hurry to get to work or get home. Surely these paid employees would be much better off deployed trying to catch fare cheats on the aboveground buses, where they are rarely seen. Wake up, Muni and SFMTA board! Stop hassling the wrong people and get busy going after the real culprits.
Stuart Henderson, San Francisco
Your Feb. 12 story “Engine of city economy stalls” was one-sided in its critique of The City’s Small Business Office. It is precisely because the permitting process is difficult to navigate that San Francisco created the Small Business Assistance Center.
The SBAC has helped hundreds of business owners from different linguistic backgrounds and has also steered them to small-business support organizations. The entrepreneur quoted in your story, Fanael Alemayehu, had tremendous difficulty with the permitting process with several different city departments, but told us that the folks at the SBAC were especially helpful.
I was very pleased when the SBAC was created because it responds to small business needs that our Urban Solutions staff sees on a daily basis.
Jenny McNulty, executive director of Urban Solutions, San Francisco