San Francisco's Travelodge on Market Street accused of racism

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80 Responses to “San Francisco's Travelodge on Market Street accused of racism”

  1. acerplatanoides says:

    same as it ever was

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      No, it’s not. Not so long ago those older guys in the band would have been right. These things just happen and there is nothing you can do about it.

      But that’s not how it is. The very fact that you even heard about it happening shows times have changed. Public racism is shocking enough to rate a news story. When the police got involved, it was to stand up to the racist. And as soon as the bum realized the targeys of his racism were not going to let it slide he knew he was in trouble. People are going to lose their jobs over this.

      Things are not perfect by a long shot. But they are better than they have ever been.

      • millie fink says:

        Things are not perfect by a long shot. But they are better than they have ever been.

        Quite a common white thing to say. Lots of people of color, OTOH, see racism as a “changing same.” 

        Try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of black and Latino people in jail on inflated drug charges, thanks to the so-called War on Drugs (which is really a War on People of Color). Try telling that to the disproportionate numbers of non-white homeowners who got suckered into bad mortgages and lost their homes as a result. Try telling it to residents of predominantly black and Latino areas, where there’s always been a “recession” (funny how “America” only has one when middle-class white people start hurting). Try telling it to people who know that their non-white sounding name makes it that much tougher to get a decent job. Try telling it to the parents of children who suffer stunted life chances because of de facto segregation in public schools.  And so on.

        • Mary says:

          Preface, yes I’m white. But in any endevor or movement, I think it’s essential to recognize progress. Otherwise it is too easy to become complacent, or stilted, or cynical. Cynicism doesn’t help make change. And a lot has changed since when our grandparents were our age. There’s a litany of crap out there everyday- real structural problesm, as you’ve noted, but there have been good things too. If you say there has been NO progress- well, it’s just not realistic or fair to those who have fought for what progress has been made.

          • acerplatanoides says:

            yeah, give whitey more credit, man.

          • millie fink says:

            Why, in discussions like this one, are white people usually so much more interested in making sure it be acknowledged that “progress HAS been made!” than they are in acknowledging and dealing with the many ways it has not been made? In the many ways, that is, that racism still severely contorts the lives of people of color?
            I mean really, how the hell do you think that sounds to most people of color? 

            Talking as if POC don’t know already about all the glorious progress that’s been made.

            SMDH

          • elix says:

            The topic is racism against non-whites. If you ask (non-racist) white people about it, the white guilt is strong. “It’s not as bad as it used to be,” is an attempt to soothe the stomach-churning knowledge of the past that’s still lingering around us today, hurting millions.

            (I’m white for the record.)

          • millie fink says:

            Thanks elix, I think you’re right. I knew it had something to do, in a kind of narcissistic way, with them and their own feelings.

          • snagglepuss says:

            Am I ashamed of being white for what that cowardly racist asshole at the TraveLodge did ?

            No.

            Would I like to throw him down a flight of stairs, just for being a cowardly racist asshole ?

            Yes.

            Where do you get the idea that only YOU get to define “progress” ?

          • salsaman says:

            The real progress is that OBJECTIFYING racism like this gets us nowhere.  Progress has been made because most of us have friends and colleagues from many backgrounds and everybody gets along well and shows each other respect.  The progress is that we can now talk about INCIDENTS of racism and NAME NAMES: let’s not fear some fantom “thing” of racism, let’s all behave well and publicly shame those who will not.
            People grumble that granting equal rights to people of all colors didn’t really change things, that it doesn’t make people not racist.  That’s true, but shouldn’t be justification for inaction, rather it’s a call to action: we have to change things, and the things in question here are the attitudes in the minds of people and how they act on them and teach them to the next generation.  Now let’s get to it.

        • Mister44 says:

           Yeah… he said things weren’t perfect by a long shot. But things ARE better than they were 60 years ago, even with all of the problems you point out. If they weren’t no one here would be shocked and it wouldn’t be news.

        • bcsizemo says:

          Try telling that to the disproportionate numbers of non-white homeowners who got suckered into bad mortgages and lost their homes as a result.

          That’s bullshit.  I don’t care if every single person who ended up underwater and lost their home is a minority it’s not whiteys fault that they can’t ask questions, read the fine print, understand how a loan works (or find/bring along a friend that does).

          -obviously everyone’s situation is different, if said people lost their home due to other circumstances like job loss then I understand.  But if they simply lost it because their monthly payment jumped then that’s on them.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            That’s bullshit. I don’t care if every single person who ended up underwater and lost their home is a minority it’s not whiteys fault that they can’t ask questions, read the fine print, understand how a loan works (or find/bring along a friend that does).

            No, sir. That is bullshit. Loan officers are fiduciaries. If they use deceptive practices, and that has been shown to be widespread, they committed a crime. What you’re doing is no different than blaming Bernie Madoff’s victims, except that they could more easily afford the loss than people on the edge who were suckered into loans that they couldn’t afford by people who are bound by law to use the highest standard of integrity in dealing with them.

          • bcsizemo says:

            And what law says you have to buy what a sales person presents to you?  Were the mortgage officers committing fraud?  Did they have people sign documents stating they were receiving a fixed rate mortgage when they were really issuing them a variable rate one?

            The difference between me putting my signature on a sub-prime balloon mortgage and then not being able to pay the new higher amount and loosing an investment to Mr. Madoff is very clear.  I caused the first thing to happen by knowingly entering into that contract, where as Bernie was lying to his investors and committing fraud.

            Lots of people you deal with in life are suppose to have your best interest at heart, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what the hell is going on.  Like why did the doctor prescribe this medication over another, or what are my payments going to be every month for this loan.  I’m not disagreeing with you that people got pushed toward these loans and that claims were exaggerated, but the fine print on those mortgage documents states exactly what they were getting into.  (And yes I have and do read every single page of any document I sign.)

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            And what law says you have to buy what a sales person presents to you? Were the mortgage officers committing fraud? Did they have people sign documents stating they were receiving a fixed rate mortgage when they were really issuing them a variable rate one?

            Yes and yes. The fixed/variable rate switch was (and is) quite common. A loan officer is a specialist in determining whether or not you can afford a loan and also a fiduciary (look it up if you don’t understand the legal implications of that). Loan officers have been widely caught fudging the numbers in calculations in order to sell a bigger loan. Legally, that’s equivalent to having your lawyer lie in court to your detriment.

          • millie fink says:

            bcsizemo, your class and race privilege is showing. For one thing, not everyone can spot shenanigans as readily as your upbringing and education have prepared you to do.

            Also, at least one of the mega-lenders was caught charging higher fees and rates to  minority borrowers. If you believe that they’re the only  ones, I’ve got a bridge etc. Eviction rates for minorities are probably higher too, though I don’t have a link at hand on that one.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/business/wells-fargo-to-settle-mortgage-discrimination-charges.html?_r=0

          • blueelm says:

            Actually in many cases they really were committing fraud (as in forging signatures) and doing such things as loading people up with false documents to keep them distracted and reduce the chance that they would *read* the documents. The flip side of this is the “brown people only pay cash” discrimination. That’s right, you get it from both sides.

      • acerplatanoides says:

         Okay, well, this travelodge owner sounds about exactly as enlightened as the tow driver who towed me from that area 20 years ago.

        So, if it’s improved, it’s not since then.

  2. Funk Daddy says:

    See, I’ve always drawn a mental line between the west coast cities in southern California and the rest of the southern US, a line that indicated that southern US racism was probably not present, instead just general racism… Christ what an Asshole, that guy erased my line. San Francisco? “Those people”?

    edit PS David the link to facebok links back to this article

    • Not that it has anything to do with your point, but you just called San Francisco part of southern California. “Those people” (Bay Area residents) generally don’t like that.

    • novium says:

      Them’s fighting words. San Francisco is the crown jewel of Northern California, and is in no way associated with those damned water thieves known as Southern Californians. All silliness aside, there is a big difference culturally between the two and if you wanted to draw connections to the South, southern California would be where you would draw them. During the civil war, there was a lot of support for the Confederacy in Southern California. In the rest of california? Not so much.

      • cdh1971 says:

        Man, fighting words? You should talk!  Stockton is considered to be the crown jewel of NoCal. Sometime’s is affectionately called by SoCal folks ‘Northern Bakersfield’ LOL.

        Just simply being an intolerant, closed-minded city should disqualify San Francisco. As if that’s not bad enough, have you ever tried quickly finding a parking space on the street there?

    • cdh1971 says:

      Not only in the South, Oregon was officially Jim Crow from 1905 to 1953, and the laws remained, and were enforced in Portland for a decade after that. 

      http://www.centralcityconcern.org/goldenwest/colorlines.html

      One of my instructors at the U of O in Eugene Or, an African American described how he and his parents were travelling through Oregon in 1950s down HW 99 before I-5 was built. The HW 99 they were travelling on did not pass through Eugene, but instead through a nasty, nasty, to this day, nasty little town about 8 miles from Eugene named Junction City. 

      Their (new) car was acting up so they tried to get it repaired at the dealership as it was still under warranty. The general manager came out with a shotgun and said ‘you nxxxrs better leave town now’, pumped the gun, stepped forward and put the barrel inches from his father’s face. 

      When they were about 30 feet down the road, they heard a blast and the sound of shot hitting the back of the car. At the next light they were boxed in by two police cars – escorted out of  town, the occasional rock hitting their car. The town was founded by Scandinavians and even today I hear reports of living-room KKK meetings there. Oh, forgot to add – the dealership was Guaranty, it’s still owned by the same family.So, yeah, not only the south. Oh, BTW, the Eugene Country Club, until 1975 banned Jews from membership. 

      But having written this, I would be very shocked if this incident happened even in Junction City. That this happened in San Francisco, is well, like the band members stepped out of their normal continuum and into the Twilight Zone, or perhaps into someone’s YouTube version of Candid Camera. 

      San Francisco WTF?!

      • Funk Daddy says:

        It could be, it’s possible I suppose, that the crappy establishment in question hired a complete rube from Vidor, Tx or the place you mention, and the rube remained a rube despite moving to the big city.

        big cities have plenty of racists but for the most part, exceptions like this incident notwithstanding i guess, even someone dumb enough to be hate racist or just stupid racist has the wherewithal to keep their stupid opinions hidden.

        • cdh1971 says:

          Heh…I hadn’t thought of that for some reason. 

          Well, as the saying goes, you can take the clown out of the circus, but ya’ can’t take the circus out of the clown.

    • bcsizemo says:

      Don’t worry as someone from NC I don’t view any state past Texas as part of the South.

  3. Graham says:

    I posted this on my facebook, and stated that I couldn’t believe this would happen in a city known for it’s tolerance and pride! I’m also writing this from the most backwards place on the planet… Alberta, Canada. 

  4. Felton / Moderator says:

    Didn’t he get the memo that you’re supposed to encode your racism nowadays?

  5. darladoon says:

    good grief

    somebody tell ann coulter

  6. Besides being utterly ridiculous- isn’t it illegal for a hotel/motel to discriminate based on race (or anything else)?! I’d get Travelodge Corporate and as many civil rights organizations as possible involved. I don’t care how old the guy is- there is no excuse for it. I can’t believe someone like that is in San Francisco to begin with.

  7. Really? The manager of that particular Travelodge is worried about blacks? I live near this motel and my parents made the mistake of staying there once. What about the meth freaks who make their speed in the motel’s notorious orange-stained coffee-pots? And, the stream of vermin and prostitutes creeping and crawling through the rooms? These are the customers they’re trying to attract?

    At least your band’s equipment wasn’t stolen from their vehicle (which is common there), nor did they spend the night acquiring bedbugs, or worse.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      Just read the Yelp reviews and there are a ton of posts saying it’s infested with bed bugs, junkies and prostitutes.

      Also, my curiosity got the best of me and on streetview you can see that there’s a ‘rub and tug’ and liquor store next to each other right across the street…lol.

      • rattypilgrim says:

         Tripadvisor reviews scream: don’t stay here. Same stories, too, cockroaches, drug dealing, etc. Kind of hard to believe people don’t go online and check things out before hand. That said, the owner should be held responsible and dealt with accordingly.

      • Marc Mielke says:

        ‘rub and tug’ and a liquor store: one stop shopping! Meth cooks need a break now and then. They’re not all soulless machines like Walter White!

    • blueelm says:

      Maybe the meth was getting to his head.

  8. anonymity86 says:

    Unbelievable, I knew there was racism in America nowadays. But, I assumed it was a few crazy people mostly in the South, and that most of what was left of racism was the unconscious bias variety.

    • Ian Wood says:

      In parts of the US racism is just a specialized subset of general xenophobia. I cycled across great swatches of the country in 2006, starting in Virginia. The cashier in the general store at the foot of a mountain in eastern Kentucky warned me, “Be careful up there. People drink, and there’s meth…and if you see an American flag on a pole in a circle of stones, you keep right on ridin’. That’s Klan.” I said, “But I’m white.” She shook her head and said, “That don’t matter. You ain’t from around here.”

      I rode up and over the mountain without incident, and saw no such flags on my route, but it was a bit of an eye-opener about the nature of that stereotypical craziness.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        In parts of the US racism is just a specialized subset of general xenophobia.

        Listening to some English people go on about the Scots, you’d think that there were five million Ripley’s aliens north of the border. But as with orcs in Mordor, they’ll rapidly side with them the moment that someone more ‘alien’ shows up.

        • Dimmer says:

          True, and also applicable in reverse (but worse): while the English dislike the Scots, the Scots hate hate hate the English — up until it’s a UK versus Anyone Else thing, when we are all together.

          Also applicable in a more focussed sense: within Scotland the Proddys hate the Fenians and the Catholics hate the Proddys. But when Scotland plays England at fitba, we are united.

          We’d probably hate the Jews too, but we are too similar to Ireland in that respect, per Joyce.

    • noah django says:

      Just gonna chime in that the North is just as racist as the South, and always has been.  Recall that the first time Dr. King was fired upon (though not the last, unfortunately) was not Macon or Montgomery, but Cicero, i.e. Chicagoland.  The only time the Klan phoned *my* house was in small-town Michigan.  Y’all need to chill with the Southern stereotypes.

      Also, SF ain’t all that great.  It was a lot snobbier than anywhere else I’d ever been.

  9. Antinous / Moderator says:

    This is the one in the Castro, yes?

  10. alfanovember says:

    As I was reading, I was thinking to myself  “Isn’t that the place that inspired the creation of BedbugRegistry.com?”

    Yes.  Yes it is.    http://idlewords.com/2008/01/sleeping_is_giving_in.htm

  11. Hegelian says:

    “Rob Myers from Wyndham’s media relations department just called me back. He said he is aware of the story and that “all of our hotels are franchised, meaning they are independently owned and operated, so certainly this is not our policy, these allegations that exist here, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on it. It would be more appropriate for the hotel owners to comment on it.””

    I get pretty tired of this kind of thing with hotels, where they advertise as if the brand means something uniform that consumers can count on, but when bad things happen, corporate says we aren’t responsible, it is an independent franchise. I call BS. Either you have a consistent brand or your don’t. If you don’t want to be called on it then don’t market like you are a consistent brand.

  12. ChickieD says:

    Leo Noncentelli rocks so hard it ain’t funny. All I can do is shake my head in wonder at the idiot manager.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRyJ9xGW5uQ

  13. The Travelodge is the LOW end of ‘franchise’ hotels.  Shudder.  

  14. Marty L says:

    The San Francisco Human Rights Commission may want to hear about this: http://www.sf-hrc.org/index.aspx?page=85

  15. kansas says:

    Sounds like this Travelodge is well known locally to be abysmal; why was Jason Perkins (“who has an impeccable reputation”) booking the band rooms there in the first place?  

    • Adam B. says:

      That’s what I was thinking. It’s THE FUCKING METERS! Those guys are legendary in classic funk circles. #2 behind James Brown. They deserve better accommodations that this shit hole of a model.

    • charleshm says:

      The Travelodge is only a couple of blocks from the Bricks and Mortar club.

    • SFNY says:

      besides the proximity of the TLodge to the club, the vast majority of musicians and small local promoters don’t have the luxury of “upgrade” cash floating around. 

      Jason & Michael are great guys with a solid business, but they’re not Live Nation.

      The band and promoter in this story all do what they do out of a deep and abiding love of music, not necessarily the (surprisingly small) monetary rewards.

  16. Thomas Zaraat says:

    A while back I trained for the night auditor job at a local hotel.

    The person who instructed me said I should tell blacks that the there were “no rooms” if they came in without reservations at night. He said that was the hotel manager’s policy. Furthermore, discount rates were routinely given only to white patrons. Not surprisingly that manager was a complete douchebag in other ways as well, so I chose not to take the job.

  17. Kelly M says:

    Not shocked to hear that this might happen in Alabama or, heck, say, Fresno.  But SF?  And I don’t mean that in a naive ignorance that SF doesn’t have its share of neanderthals, rather, that as a business that has 1000s, of customers annually that this just popped up now?  I can’t imagine that this clerk just initiated this policy today.

    Anyhooo…

  18. Boundegar says:

    I wonder if the manager in this story was born in the US.  Racism takes different shapes in other countries.  Not that that excuses anything, but it might be a dimension of the story.

    I also wonder if there are civil rights laws that apply.  Have the musicians talked to their attorney?

    • rattypilgrim says:

       My first thought, too. Does that make me a racist?

      • ocker3 says:

        Naive perhaps, but not racist per se. Some people come to Western Countries looking for opportunity for all, others move for economic opportunity and bring their prejudices with them. And some people are just arseholes.

        I’m glad the cops who showed up knew what the law was, stood up for the customer (citizen) against the corporation and generally acted like we require them too. +1 for some evidence of a better tomorrow.

        • cdh1971 says:

          The hotel itself is owned by someone with the surname Patel, which is Indian. IIRC people surnamed Patel traditionally have made their living running hotels. 

          Anyway, I have never known East Indians or Pakistanis to discriminate against paying customers because of colour. Discriminate amongst themselves, you bet, the caste system comes to mind, but not due to race. With few exceptions they’re great business-people (in business families) – and are people-people. 

          I can easily imagine however, certain nationalities (other than rednicks) doing this.

  19. pt68 says:

    I agree that it still happens, but that it’s great that a stink can get raised when it does.
    And to Leo Nocentelli!
    This reminds me of the stories I heard growing up in Louisiana of black artists who had to slip away in the night after a gig; no hotel wold take them, and the cops would bust them for “loitering” if they stayed around the club.
    And thank you BB for putting this out there. I take back (some of) my grousing about post topics . . .

    • In Nevada, Sammy Davis, Jr. would play on the casino stage, but had to enter the building through the kitchen. He also wasn’t allowed to spend the night on property. No black performer was. And, what’s more, black people weren’t allowed in most casinos. That’s why Nevada used to be called the Mississippi of the West.

  20. Mark Kleiman says:

    Civil rights laws DO apply.  The Unruh Act (California Civil Code Sec. 51) and Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act both prohibit this conduct.  If the band sues, their attorney will swiftly find that (at least back in the day) there were many, many complaints of racial discrimination against Travelode Motels in the Western Region.  I know because I sued them for pretty much the same thing in the 90s when a Travelodge on Moonstone Beach (near Cambria) rented a primo, beach (or wetlands) front unit to the white dude, and then moved them to the back of the property abutting the 101 when they discovered that his wife was African American. 

    Travelodge tried the same sh*t with me, denying responsibility for their branded and very heavily controlled franchisee.  They resisted giving up the registry of complaints and then settled quickly to avoid have to comply with the judge’s order to turn them over.

    GO GET ‘EM!!

    p.s. As a footnote, Paul Ryan booster John Stossel, former ABC news commentator (and now on Faux News) supports flat out REPEAL of the antidiscrimination laws. http://mediamatters.org/video/2010/05/20/stossel-calls-for-repeal-of-public-accommodatio/165049

  21. faceword says:

    That specific Travelodge is complete shithole. I lived for four years in an apartment with a rear deck beneath some guest room windows of that motel.  The detritus that wound up on my deck often included broken beer bottles, crack vials and used condoms, and once, a used tampon. At one point, we saw what looked like a dead body in the little sealed alley between my deck and the hotel. Fortunately it turned out to be a wig and some clothes partially covered in leaves.

    I always felt sorry for the unsuspecting tourists that wound up there – I’m sure they saw the hotel on the map and thought “Perfect! Cheap! Centrally located! On public transit!”.  Little did they know…

    If these vile actions by the desk clerk / manager lead to something new at this location, it will be a boon for the neighborhood. This is real estate at the intersection of two prime streets of SF (Market & Valencia) and on a major mass-transit / cycling artery. There really should be something better there.

    • I seem to think the hotel would be owned by the Patel Clan. It may seem racist but the Patels are known for two seperate rules for anglos and non-whites which I find ironic

      • cdh1971 says:

        Greetings Ser  ApMardda,

        Indians with surname Patel do not necessarilly belong to one clan, it is a surname shared by many families. Patels in the United States have roots in like, at least ten, give or take states in India. It is a very common name in India, crazy-common in London and is in the top 200 names in the United States. Most Patels I’ve made acquaintance were Hindu, but I also had a work-out pal whose parents came from Pakistan, his fam is Muslim. What did his parents do here (in U.S., Oregon)? They bought a small hotel, being CPAs by training I strongly suspect irony was involved, but maybe both irony and family tradition.

        Anyway – Patels who do not even know about one-another own hotels all over the place. Several acquaintances and friends explained to me that the high freq of Patels with hotels is because, even though Patel ‘A’, Patel ‘M’ and Patel ‘Z’ who operate hotels in LA, CA, Deliverance, MS and Hoboken NJ respectively don’t know each-other, and are not even aware either, they have webs of distant and not so distant relatives who do, and over the years have emigrated, sponsored by family, extended family and etcetera. But my reckoning this isn’t really a clan. 

        Now, about the racist thing  and let’s keep in mind individuals vary. All of these Patels though, likely being within, I dunno, I’ll arbitrarily say 2.2 degrees of separation, are nevertheless, individuals, families, and extended networks and there is likely no ‘Patel Central’ – just like there is no ‘Jew Central’ (believe me if there was a ‘Jew Central’ maybe I’d be wandering care-free in my very-own vineyard.)  

        I don’t challenge what you write in your comment – I believe you about the Patels you know are, for whatever reason, are making this policy. It’s just not been my experience with acquaintances and friends surnamed Patel I have here in the US. 

        However, there is the huge, huge, factor of the caste system. 

        Laws of India do not  currently recognize the caste system, Pakistan is Islamic, so the caste system should not be an issue there. The caste system should not be relevant at all among Sikhs, but friends of mine who are Muslim and Sikh have told me how the system continues to be an influential stain, even with Muslims and Sikhs to whom caste should not be relevant. 

        So….Ser  ApMardda, I don’t doubt what you wrote about your personal observation, it just hasn’t been mine, but maybe you’re older and/or more travelled than me.

        Cheers!

  22. acerplatanoides says:

    He’s being harassed?

    Different rules for the bullies and victims, indeed.

  23. akaaudio says:

    I used to work at the Wetlands the semi famous NY hippie club. Leo used to play there every few months. The club would go on high alert because he was a notorious crackhead who used to do lewd things to the young ladies who worked there. When he would come in they would warn all the staff to stay away from him. Any chance that is what’s happening here?

  24. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    “Mr. W. then stated he was being harassed”

    Oh so that’s why he was doing it to others, so he could know it when it happened to him.
    I get it.

  25. traalfaz says:

    Hopefully Travellodge / Wyndham can and will pull this franchise, or at least fire this manager and make sure he does not work in a Wyndham franchise again.

  26. subsilentio says:

    I think the difference between white people and black people hearing about an event like this is white people are often shocked to hear things like this still happen.  Black people KNOW this shit still happens.

    Can’t we at least all agree this shit needs to be shut down?

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