The permit warriors are at it again, this time in San Francisco. There's been a trend lately of primarily white people calling the cops on people of color peaceably selling their wares on the street. In most cases, the complaint ostensibly centers around their lack of a business permit.
The most recent case unfolded in a video posted by San Francisco resident Derrick Perryman, who spotted a white woman on the phone standing next to an Asian street vendor. When Perryman realized the white woman was calling the police on the vendor, he decided to take action.
“We have another Permit Betty here,” Perryman says as he videos the woman who, by the time the footage starts, is already on the phone.
Though the woman tries to make it seem like an official permit check, stating, “Sorry guys, I have to ask for permits,” she never reveals exactly why she has to or who she’s doing it for.
While there are official agencies that could be in the position of having to ask, the likelihood that “Permit Betty” belongs to one of them is incredibly slim.
Especially since, when Perryman says, “Let’s figure out what company she’s with,” she walks away rather than explain further.
When the video was first released on Perryman’s Facebook, the woman was unidentified, but as the internet has proven when it comes to cases of racism — or even suggested racism — anonymity is a thing of the past.
According to Twitter’s unofficial investigative team, the woman has been identified as Renee Baker Felina, which puts an interesting spin on this story. Felina allegedly works for Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, a business that touts “Improving the Quality of Life in the Cultural Heart of San Francisco.”
Looks like Market St. There’s literally hundreds of people always selling stuff on the sidewalk. It’s been going on for decades. Suddenly all these people care whether they have permits? Christ— David “The Infester” Jewberg (@opiateofblame) July 12, 2018
Among the YBCBD’s services is “Streetscape Beautification,” which is intended to “elevate the quality of life in the neighborhood to even greater heights.” The YBCBD touts “creating a cleaner, safer and more enjoyable district. YBCBD services are in addition to City cleaning, safety and marketing services.”
Sounds like Felina may have missed the mark on the YBCBD’s message, which is likely why the official Twitter page of the YBCBD announced it had released an employee of a service provider that “misrepresented the YBCBD.”
An employee of a service provider misrepresented the YBCBD. That individual no longer works on behalf of the district. This individual was not a direct employee of the YBCBD and we take responsibility for anyone who works on our behalf. Our full statement: https://t.co/F2xwknG9Gv— Yerba Buena CBD (@YBCBD) July 13, 2018
Not everyone agrees with the outrage against Felina and the YBCBD’s decision, however.
But, as they say, it’s all about “location, location, location,” and as Twitter user Ryan (@Austin_RyanB) points out, she may have been too far west.
This is market street. She works for the Yerba bueno area. 4 blocks east. She has no jurisdiction to stand over this vendor. Call the hotline and walk away. Don’t corner this person.— Ryan (@Austin_RyanB) July 13, 2018
Street vendors are certainly not a new concept, but the concept of reporting them to the police certainly seems to be. Slowly dwindling are the days where the underprivileged can make a harmless living, but maybe with people like Perryman, we can return to some semblance of tolerance and acceptance.