Campos: "Tamale Lady will not go down!" Options proposed

Not a wrap: beloved Tamale Lady Virginia Ramos will have some political help, options

She's been slinging her steamy goodness to famished drunkards out of a trash bag in a cooler strapped to a wagon for years with no problem (other than some grumbles about a recent, tiny price hike). But it looks like the the health department -- or threat of the health department -- may have finally caught up with the beloved Tamale Lady, aka Virginia Ramos.

Today, SF's Internet melted with news that she had been asked to not sell her tamales at Zeitgeist. That bar posted a message to its Facebook:

We are sad to announce that the Tamale Lady may no longer sell her tamales at Zeitgeist. This is forced on us by SF city codes and regulations.

The SF Department of Public Health has been making efforts recently to reign in unlicensed food vendors, which may have sparked the Zeitgeist reaction -- although the origins of the Zeitgeist decision remain hazy.

("Good," many of my homo homies responded re: the Zeitgeist ban. "She'll make it to the Eagle earlier on Sundays now." The Eagle will be celebrating the Tamale Lady's birthday on Fr/21 with bands all evening.)

Luckily for Ms. Hot Tamale -- and us drunk patrons -- political help, and a viable option to continue, may be on the way.

"The Tamale Lady is not going down," vows Mission supe David Campos. "We're working hard right now to find options to make sure she stays in business."

He's been in contact with SFDPH director Barbara Garcia to see what the city can do. 

"There's kind of a dead zone when it comes to smalltime street food vendors and pop-ups, unlike with food trucks and and brick-and-mortar restaurants," Campos rep Nate Allbee, who's helping with the effort to save the Tamale Lady, told me.

"Take, for instance, the bacon-wrapped hot dog vendors outside nightclubs -- obviously people like them, which is why they're there. And they're such small fry that no one really bothers to apply whatever regulations they could to them. The city turns a blind eye. It's the same with the Tamale Lady. We want to craft legislation that will make it clearer how to protect these vendors while assuring the public."

Campos and his people have also been in touch with La Cocina, the Mission food start-up incubator that specializes in helping women launch their own businesses. "They've said they're very willing to fast-track the Tamale Lady into a program that would give her access to their commercial kitchen, which would bring her up to code and allow her to still sell," Allbee told me.

Campos & co. are reaching out to Ramos right now; hopefully a solution will be right around the corner -- and a veggie tamale will be all up in our drunk-ass mouf.

PS: Here is the Save the Tamale Lady! petition


I guess there's always an exception to SFBG's mindless kneejerk support for ever more insane regulations.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

more regulations maybe, sowwy :-|

    @ @ 
Posted by marke on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:05 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

This is a guy who views government as the solution to absolutely EVERY problem (including keeping skanky old gay bars open despite the fact they have no patrons) and now he sees it as being part of the problem!!

SFPH is simply trying to protect the public and we all need to defer to their centuries of collective wisdom in this matter. Until Campos has a degree in public health he really needs to butt out - we don't need a horrific cholera or hepatitis outbreak to clue us in to the fact that these vendors may lead to the extermination of us all!!

Stand with public health! Stand with the hardworking city family as SFPH!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

Lucretia, So maybe it is a skanky old gay bar to you or a skanky old Tamale Lady as the case may be here but I think you are missing an important point. Culture is sometimes skanky and old. Sometimes new establishments that are shiny and new displace members of the community and leave them without havens like Esta Noche. David looks out for all kinds of people and does a really great job at balancing culture and change.
I might want to change you attitude a bit and remember that hispanic gay men have no other alternative as far as culturally relevant places to go. The Tamale Lady is a SF institution. Lets not be too quick to destroy our history and gay culture, or any relevant culture. Solutions are much better results than barbed jabs at someone who is working hard to keep the Mission district a fully functional community space in the face of immediate and totalitarian gentrification.
Just saying.

Posted by Anna Conda on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

Sign the petition and stay engaged to support Tamale Lady staying in business or getting permits if needed:

Posted by Hill on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

DONE. That location was leased by Chipotle more than a year ago. Where were you then?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

The SF government has had to find ways to support it's greed and satiate the ever growing whines of every special interest.

Once upon a time the city government was happy to live and let live, with the growth of this "progressive" greed, and the never ending entitlement attitude has come an ever more invasive government.

Progressives love this invasive government, until one of their pet loves gets burned, then it is an outrage and the government is out of hand.

It cracks me up that our progressives are worked up over this. Does parking queen Steve Jones know about this? Maybe Steve can build Virginia a bicycle to get around on with here wares?

Posted by matlock on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

not everything's a civil war. go get a cocktail, sheesh. or does your "big narrative" only allow you to order entire liquor companies when you want a drink. It must all mean something! 

Posted by marke on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

I've met you - you're not a sassy lady like that in person. Are you acting as a minstrel for some reason, like it helps you carve out a distinctive personae and thus protects your continued employment?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

like an aquarium

Posted by marke on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

that as you progressives gain power the city establishment gets more petty in it's dictates.

I used to be puzzled by Goldwater's complaints about invasive government at every level. Quite reasonably I figured the state could push a little around the edges on some things, while the government wouldn't move in everywhere.

That doesn't seem to be the case does it? Twenty years ago no one in city government would give a shit about Virginia, twenty years of busy body idiocy and city greed.

It's just not working out for you this time and you are upset. I'm right, you are wrong, get used to it.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

They praise Manning and Snowdon for betraying secrets of our deferral government, while praising the city government in (almost) everything they do.

They want full enforcement and zero tolerance for something trivial and dubious like AirBnB's alleged tax liability, and yet want the cops to give a pass to drug use, prostitution, vagrancy, public nudity etc.

They claim they want to save the environment but refuse to even talk about pulling down Hetch Hetchy dam.

And so on. Opportunism, bias and hypocrisy at every turn.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 6:01 am

"He's been in contact with SFDPH director Barbara Garcia to see what the city can do."

Doesn't the City Charter forbid Supervisors from interfering in the management of departments under the Mayor?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

There is a difference between interfering and coordinating city efforts.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 10:00 am

The health dept don't like the tamale lady but pass McDonalds at Haight & Stanyon?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

At that McDonalds you get a side of extra rat!

(Maybe someday they'll figure out how to close their dumpsters.)

Posted by Upper Hater on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

Another shining example of the Guardian's patented "Elected Official We Like Said. Period. End of Story" pieces.

Campos and his people must love receiving uncritical coverage like this.

Posted by MPetrelis on Jun. 12, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

The Tamale Lady is one of the people who makes SF a very special place. Covering her problems with the Health Department and attempts to fix those problems is a nice gesture by Marke B.

Frankly, I'd rather have Supervisor Campos stand up for The Tamale Lady than have Mayor Ed Lee publicly providing cover for AirBnB's (and his buddy Ron Conway's) tax dodging.

Posted by Peter on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 8:01 am

'Tamal' lady?

Posted by George Michael Bluth on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 9:15 am


Posted by guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 10:44 am

With tamales!

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 10:48 am

Doesn’t it make your heart melt when a city can take someone like the Tamale Lady in as one of their own and see to it that she’s still there to tend to their feisty appetites and jaded tortured souls… yes I’ll have two tamales thank you very much.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

Funny, I seem to remember this paper getting all outraged at businesses operating outside the rules.

Posted by Starchild on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 6:22 am

Funny, I seem to remember this paper getting all outraged at businesses operating outside the rules.

Posted by Starchild on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 6:24 am

Funny, I seem to remember this paper getting all outraged at businesses operating outside the rules.

Posted by Starchild on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 6:26 am

The SFBG is for zero tolerance and full enforcement when it is, say, AirBnB's alleged tax obligation.

But then when it is illegal occupations, recreational drug use, prostitution or, in this case, a purveyor of back-street tamale's, then that is somehow completely different.

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