Finding aid to the Charles Bolton Papers on Community Organizing 1968-1988 SFH 579

Compiled by Katherine Ets-Hokin
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Title: Charles Bolton Papers on Community Organizing
Date (inclusive): 1968-1988
Identifier/Call Number: SFH 579
Creator: Bolton, Charles
Physical Description: 3 cartons, 1 pamphlet box (3.25 Cubic Feet)
Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4567
Abstract: Charles Bolton was a community organizer active in the Mission District and Bernal Heights in San Francisco. He worked with the Mission Coalition Organization, a community action group that advocated for the residents of the mission district, and the Model Cities Agency, a component of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and War on Poverty.
Physical Location: The collection is stored off-site.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English with some Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Charles Bolton Papers on Community Organizing (SFH 579), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


Donated to the library by Charles Bolton February, 2016.

Related materials

Researchers are encouraged to see also SFH 81, Communities of the Outer Mission Organization Records [1963]-1986 (bulk 1973-1978) and to check the library catalog.

Conservation Note

During processing, the entire collection was re-foldered and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Some metal staples remain.

Materials Transferred

Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.


Charles Bolton
Charles Bolton was a community organizer active in the Mission District and Bernal Heights in San Francisco. He served as Director of Evaluation and Research with the Model Cities Agency (MCA) and worked for the Mission Coalition Organization (MCO), as a Robert Kennedy Memorial employee, during the early 1970s. Bolton's work brought him into contact with many neighborhood improvement organizations. Significant organizations found in the collection are introduced below.
Mission Coalition Organization (MCO) 1968-1973
The MCO was a broad-based coalition of over 200 neighborhood groups that advocated for the residents of the Mission District and worked with Mayor Joseph Alioto to attain a five-year Model Cities grant for the Inner Mission. The MCO was a federation formed to act on many issues within the community. Although predominantly a Latino organization which included many recent immigrants from South America, Mexico and Central America the Coalition also included Anglos, African Americans, and Asians. Coalition members included merchants, unions, tenants, homeowners, welfare recipients, youth, senior citizens, cultural groups, churches, and neighborhood agencies. Committees organized around issues such as housing, education and health. MCO Presidents included Ben Martinez and Carlos Carrillo.
During their active years the MCO was influential and considered the authoritative voice for the Mission District. Working closely with the Model Cities Agency the MCO accomplished a great deal for the Mission. Key issues included housing, education and health. They made significant contributions in child care (Mission Childcare Consortium was a subsidiary group of MCO), they successfully advocated for the redevelopment of the Regal Pale brewery site, they secured home improvement loans for median and low income families, acquired local jobs for residents (specifically at Pacific Bell, and PG&E), and they sponsored the Victorian Alliance. The MCO also protested erotic movie houses and effectively encouraged said businesses to change their business model to show family friendly movies. The MCO feared the Mission District would be redeveloped in the same pattern they witnessed in the Western Addition where blocks of housing were demolished. To combat this they secured low interest home repair loans for Mission residents from Crocker National Bank.
Mission Planning Council (MPC) 1973-?
The Mission Planning Council (MPC) formed in 1973 from a group split off from the Mission Coalition Organization. Presidents of the MPC included Luisa Ezquervo and Toby Levine. Ramon Barbieri, who served as head of San Francisco's Model Cities Program, also served as chairman of MPC.
The MPC worked to attain renting rights for families with young children, supported turning the National Guard Armory (16th Street) into a community center, and wanted to retain the Sears building (located at Mission and Cesar Chavez) for commercial use and not see it used as a government building. They also supported the development of Mini Parks and wanted to limit pornography store locations in the Mission.
Communities of the Outer Mission Organization (COMO) 1974-1978
Communities of the Outer Mission Organization (COMO) represented Bernal Heights, Portola, North and South Excelsior, and the Crocker Amazon district. COMO Presidents included Rose Sarao, Steve Rabisa and Tom Moore.
COMO wanted more police officers, educational services, more regulations on dogs, and they worked to install traffic signals to calm traffic flow. To save jobs they championed keeping the Sears Department Store at Mission and Cesar Chavez open. When the store eventually closed they campaigned to maintain the space for retail use but the building was turned into government offices. They also advocated for cleaning up McLaren Park and organized block clubs.
All People's Coalition (APC) 1972-1979
The All People's Coalition was a local action group who served as a community watchdog for Visitation Valley and Sunnydale districts. Presidents of the coalition included Ronald C. Morton and Don Horanzy. APC advocated for more stop signs for their neighborhood, and improved living conditions in Geneva Towers. They successfully advocated that a stoplight be installed on a hazardous corner where one child was killed.

Scope and Content

The collection contains papers from the late 1960s and early 1970s that focus on the Mission District, and papers from the 1980s that focus on the Bernal Heights neighborhood. Since there is a large amount of overlap between the two groups they are both found within the series Community Organizing. The collection contains by-laws for several neighborhood associations including the Mission Coalition Organization, the Communities of the Outer Mission Organization and the Mission Planning Council. The series Community Organizing contains documents associated with the running and organizing of neighborhood associations. The collection also contains a small amount of papers created by the Model Cities Agency in the Model City Study Groups series. Further series include Training materials on how to organize community groups, as well as elections and studies and reports. The collection also contains a handful of snapshots, slides and one cassette.


The collection is arranged in 6 series: Series 1: By-laws, Series 2: Community Organizing, Series 3: Model Cities Study Group, Series 4: Training Materials on How to Community Organize, Series 5: Elections, Series 6: Studies and Reports.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Mission Coalition Organization -- San Francisco, Calif.
Mission Model Neighborhood -- San Francisco, Calif.
Mission District (San Francisco, Calif.).
Bernal Heights -- (San Francisco, Calif.)
Community organization -- California -- San Francisco.


Series 1 By-laws

box 1, folder 1

All People's Coalition

box 1, folder 2

Communities of the Outer Mission (COMO) 1973

box 1, folder 3

Mission Coalition Organization (MCO) 1968-1973

box 1, folder 4

Mission Model Neighborhood Corporation (MMNC)

box 1, folder 5

Mission Planning Council (MPC) 1975

box 1, folder 6

Ocean View, Merced, Ingleside (OMI) Community Stabilization and Improvement Association


Series 2 Community Organizing

Scope and Contents

Community Organizing contains meeting minutes, agendas, action plans, and correspondence. Materials relate to the day to day running of community organizations. The bulk of the materials relate to the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods but other neighborhoods are represented as well, specifically Visitacion Valley and Ocean View, Merced Ingleside. These papers were created by the community action groups.
box 3, folder 1

All Peoples Coalition (APC) Platform, Agendas 1975


Bernal Heights


Elsie Street

box 3, folder 2


box 1, folder 7


box 1, folder 8

Bernal Heights Block Club 1982-1984


House Fire, Photographs and Slides Circa 1983

Physical Location: Photo Room cabinet 9A, shelf 2.
box 1, folder 9

Meetings 1984

box 3, folder 3

Northwest Bernal Block Club 1976-1981

box 1, folder 10

Northwest Bernal Block Club 1976-1985

box 1, folder 11

Strategy 1984

box 1, folder 12-13

Northern Bernal Heights Block Club Notes. Agendas, Meeting Flyers, Minutes, Goals/Causes, Correspondence 1974

box 1, folder 14

Northwest Bernal Block Club (NWBBC) 1987-1988

box 3

Northwest Bernal Block Club (NWBBC) Meeting. Elsie Street Widening. Joe Cheung and Department Public Works (DPW) Response. Audio Tape

box 1, folder 15

Northwest Slope Planning Committee. Building Control Survey 1988

box 1, folder 16

Planning and Zoning 1988

box 3, folder 4

Precita Park Coalition: Progress Reports, Correspondence, Meeting Minutes, Fact Sheet 1973-1974

box 3, folder 5

Precita Park Committee: Meeting Minutes, Correspondence, Priority Statement 1974-1975

box 3, folder 6

Rezoning 1974


Block Clubs

box 3, folder 7

Eureka Valley 1975

box 3, folder 8

Flyers, Meeting Agendas, Ballots, Meeting Minutes 1975

box 3, folder 9

Folsom Street, Mission Campaign Against Smut, San Jose Mini Park. Agendas, Fact Sheets, Operation Upgrade 1975-1976

box 3, folder 10

Del Monte: Agribusiness Accountability Project 1973

box 3, folder 11

Juvenile Justice: Master Flow Chart Copies 1974



box 3, folder 12

Block Club Funding Proposal: Revised Structure for the Mission Block Club Organizing Project Draft, Block Club Victories List, Fact Sheet 1974-1976

box 3, folder 13

Block Club Organizing Committee: Block Clubs, Meeting Agendas, Mission Planning Council, Correspondence, Memorandum, Project Summaries 1974-1976


Communities of the Outer Mission Organization (COMO) Organizing Materials

box 1, folder 17

All People's Coalition Background 1973

box 3, folder 14

Fact Sheets, Correspondence 1973-1976

box 1, folder 18

Organizing Materials. Background 1973

box 1, folder 19

Forms and Flyers 1974

box 1, folder 20

Mission Coalition Organization Convention and Background Materials 1973

box 1, folder 21

Readings 1973

box 1, folder 22

Strategy and Tactics 1974


Mission Area Background Materials

box 1, folder 23

Mission Area Background 1972

box 1, folder 24

Impact of BART on the Mission 1972-1973

box 1, folder 25

Mission Coalition 1971


Mission Coalition Organization (MCO)

box 1, folder 26

5th Convention 1970-1972

box 1, folder 27-28

Community Organizing. Reports, Statistics, Schedules, Model Cities Strategy and History 1968-1971

box 2, folder 1

Kennedy Memorial. Correspondence and Monthly Reports 1970-1971

box 2, folder 2

Membership, Annual Convention. Clippings 1971

box 2, folder 3

Model Cities 1970-1971

box 2, folder 4

Organizational Structure and Improvements 1972

box 3, folder 15

Mission Model Cities Corporation Election: Ballot 1971

box 2, folder 5

Mission Model Cities News clippings 1971-1972

box 2, folder 6

Mission Model Neighborhood Area Report Circa 1970

box 3, folder 16

Operation Upgrade: Citizens for a Cleaner Mission. Correspondence, Meeting Agendas, Action Items 1975-1976


Mission Planning Council (MPC)

box 3, folder 17

Community Action Programs, Agendas, Flyers 1975-1976

box 2, folder 7

Mission Block Club Organizing Project. A Proposal to Rejuvinate the Mission and Northern Bernal Heights Through Citizen Involvement and Action 1975

box 3, folder 19

Nanny Goat Hill Neighbors Block Club, Nihonmachi Eviction, Folsom Street Block Club 1973-1975

box 2, folder 8

Report for Park Funds Inner Mission 1975

box 3, folder 18

San Jose Avenue Block Club, Friends of Noe Valley, Elsie Street Concerned Citizens, Precita Park Committee, Citizens for a Cleaner Mission 1973-1976

box 3, folder 20-21

Rezoning. Block Clubs 1974-1975

box 3, folder 22

Questionnaire Forms and Answers. Mental Health, Social Services, Public Schools

box 3, folder 23

Safety Awareness for Everyone Program (SAFE) 1977

box 2

Sunnydale-Visitation Valley Committee 1972


Series 3 Model City Study Groups

Scope and Contents

Model City Study Groups are papers that appear to have been created by the Model Cities Agency.
box 2, folder 10

Memorandums. Task Groups "City Strategy" 1972

box 2, folder 11

Study Groups / Task Groups 1972


Series 4 Training Materials on How To Community Organize

Scope and Contents

Training Materials on how to Community Organize are background materials used to organize community groups such as block clubs.
box 2, folder 12

Community Organizing 1973

box 2, folder 13-14

Community Organization and City Politics A Thesis Presented by John Hull Mollenkopf 1973

box 2, folder 15-16

Neighborhood Beautification 1976-1978

box 2, folder 17

Community Organizing. San Francisco Senior Escort Outreach Program Community Organization Training Material Circa 1973

box 2, folder 18

Community Organizing. Steps How To Circa 1977

box 2, folder 19

Notebook with Instructions on How To Organize Community Groups. Includes Materials on Bernal Heights 1972-1978

box 2, folder 20

Organizing Materials. Published Articles. Background Material 1971-1972

box 2

Why Organize, Volume I Collected and Prepared by Tony Fazio


Series 5 Elections

box 2, folder 22-23

Art Agnos, Mayor 1987-1988

box 2, folder 24

Pat Norman, Supervisor 1988


Series 6 Studies and Reports


Code Books

box 4, folder 1

Code Books 1981

box 4, folder 2

Bureau of Criminal Statistics Data 1981

box 4, folder 3

Oakland Police Department 1981

box 4, folder 4

Survey Crime Circa 1981

box 4, folder 5

Displacement Studies 1977

box 4, folder 6-9

Housing 1977-1978