Del Carlo, Larry: Urban Redevelopment resistance


Larry Del Carlo: Fortunately for us and unfortunately for the folks in the Fillmore, we got to see what was gonna to happen in the next phase which was our community in the Mission. So some of us decided to do something about it, and it was going to require the approval of the Board of Supervisors to make the Mission community a redevelopment area. So we needed to figure out how we were gonna focus on the politics, and at that point in time we really hadn’t had much experience with working with folks of the Board of Supervisors or the Mayor or any of these folks. Jon Rubin: What year are we talking about? Larry Del Carlo: We’re talking about 1968. Actually an organization was formed that was called MCOR, and it was the Mission Coalition Organization against Redevelopment, and our purpose was to stop the bulldozers from coming into our community as they had in the Fillmore. We began to organize. There was a guy by the name of Mike Miller who was a professional organizer, and another guy by the name of Ben Martinez, and they had both received training in community organizing from the Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago. The Saul Alinsky organization. During the time of community based organizing in the 60s, the Alinsky method of organizing was very popular with communities. Not very popular with governments, but we had that advantage now that we had a professional organizer and another one in Ben Martinez who became president of MCOR which later became the Mission Coalition Organization. I was just coming into the organization about the time the organizing was starting, and my parents were very involved in a very active Catholic church, Saint Peter’s in the inner Mission on 24th Street, and it was an organization that was working on the farm worker’s movement and supporting a lot of grassroots organizing itself. We were sort of introduce to MCOR because of our active organizing within our own parish. At the time we called it the Saint Peter parish. We were brought in by Mike Miller and Ben Martinez to MCOR as one of the members, and we learned that MCOR was made up of unions, churches, other civic groups, some local business organizations. What was fascinating to me as a young guy then was the ability for people to come together and support that issue of urban renewal when they probably didn’t agree on anything else. Jon Rubin: Now when you say support that issue of urban renewal, I think what you mean was opposed. Larry Del Carlo: Opposed. Support the organizing against urban renewal. Jon Rubin: If you could just sort of restate that. Larry Del Carlo: Sure. As a young guy then it was fascinating to me to see that a very diverse group of people were coming together to oppose this redevelopment plan, and we commonly called it the bulldozer plan. As we organized we had pictures of bulldozers on picket signs and so on. What was very interesting was that all of these groups, not just the Catholic Church, but other churches that weren’t Catholic, other groups that were not Christian groups and so on. You can’t say it was a movement by any one particular kind of organization. It was truly a coalition of very diverse people, very diverse organizations. We had folks who were republican improvement association members that were very conservative that were home-owners. We had folks that were trying to close San Francisco State who were part of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and all these other organizations and SDS [Students for a Democratic Society]. These folks came together in this coalition, MCOR, and were able to raise enough hell with the city – and this was all kinda new to us, we hadn’t done this kinda thing before – and we were able to win the vote at the Board of Supervisors, finally, to stop the redevelopment in the Mission.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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