Commentary – Paul Kozakiewicz

Happy birthday Review

by Paul Kozakiewicz

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Richmond Review, a scrappy neighborhood newspaper that isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, and that is committed to serving the community.

I am proud to have been at the helm during the past three decades, working with community activists, local merchants and residents to get as much information as possible to the public so they can be well-informed.

Our philosophy is simple here. We are participating in the marketplace of ideas, and everyone’s ideas and opinions should be reflected in our stories and on our opinion pages. We always try to be fair to all parties involved.

But this endeavor could not happen without all of the dedicated men and women who also shared a dream, to serve their neighborhood and to build a sense of community among the people who live in the District.

Our stories have been written by professional writers, students from local universities and people exploring a new career.

We’ve had excellent copy editors and have been blessed with fantastic photographers, who document the shifting sands of the Richmond District every month.

We also have some great columnists, including John M. Lee, whose real estate column has been keeping locals informed since the beginning of the Review. Our local supervisor writes a monthly update column and guest columns are written by politicians and a host of community leaders, many from neighborhood organizations.

Many of our freelancers have spread around the country and gone on to successful careers in various fields.

And there’s the door-to-door delivery crew, out there every month schlepping across our streets delivering the paper. For the better part of 30 years, Peter Tangermann handled the job. He passed away last year, but his delivery men Aaron, Eric, Jorge and Don still pound the pavement.

This newspaper would not be possible without the support of the local business community. While we are increasing our online presence, print ads still pay the bills. We have had great supporters, including some who have supported us from the beginning like the Cliff House Restaurant and Kawika’s Deli (formerly Fredy’s Deli) on La Playa.

Other supporters include the Beach Chalet, Cournale & Co., Standard Ace-Hardware, Cal’s, 25th and Clement Produce, Cinderella Bakery, Beauty Network and Angelina’s, as well as numerous merchant organizations, local hospitals and universities and dozens of mom and pop stores.

Merchants are the lifeblood of our community, not only supporting local media but also our local schools and non-profit organizations.

I’ve been involved with dozens of fundraisers and we can always count on the local merchants to support our neighborhood. Please support them in return.

I was also lucky that my wife Sue took the plunge and partnered with me to start the Review when I was a student at SF State University and driving a taxi cab late nights. Eight months later we were married and started a family. (Our children attended the Rosenberg Center, Jewish Community Center, Alamo Elementary School, Presidio Middle School and George Washington and Sacred Heart high schools.)

Sue has handled all of the financial obligations of running a business the whole time. Sometimes divine providence blows your way.

Future holds challenges

The changes we’ve documented in the Richmond over the past 30 years are numerous, but pale in comparison to what’s coming in terms of density and quality of life issues. Our job is now more important than ever, with the decline of the working press.

We cover the SF Public Utilities Commission’s plans to blend our drinking water and its plan to provide water for firefighting and emergency use after a disaster; the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s “Frankenstein” #38-Geary bus rapid transit line; SF Recreation and Park’s efforts to limit small events at Golden Gate Park, and to allow private entities to exclusively use public resources; politicians for using the housing crisis as a canard for a rapid densification of the district, without providing, or even considering, the needs of the infrastructure that will have to carry the burden – water, sewer, electricity, transportation, commercial deliveries and more.

We will continue to be vigilant on behalf of Richmond District residents to continue monitoring these and other important issues.

Paul Kozakiewicz is the editor of the Richmond Review.

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