Former Potrero Hill resident, San Francisco Planning Commission president, and florist Ron Miguel died on June 28 of heart problems. He was 88-years-old.
Miguel, a third-generation San Franciscan, wanted to influence the City’s future, remaining civically engaged until the end of his life. Even in the month before his death he took part via Zoom in interview panels to help the Port of San Francisco select a developer to restore Piers 38 and 40, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ronald Julian Miguel was born in a Richmond District hospital on August 5, 1931, attended Lowell High School and the University of San Francisco. In a 2018 View article Miguel said, “I love the energy of the City, what the City provides. Neither my wife nor I understand, appreciate, or want to deal with suburbia. It’s foreign to us.”
That love of the City underpinned Miguel’s entire life. He married Ruth Israel in 1953. The couple took over her family’s floral business on 25th Avenue and Geary Boulevard. He became involved in neighborhood organizations, such as the Planning Association for the Richmond, where he was president for 16 years. He campaigned for tax increment funding to pay for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.
The couple moved to Potrero Hill in 1975, and ran the floral business until 1991, when Miguel retired. He devoted more time to land use issues, served on the Planning Commission from 2007 to 2012, including as its president. He was a Potrero Boosters Development Committee member and drafted interim controls that spurred the urban design guidelines that now shape mixed-use development citywide. He served on the Hill’s Green Benefit District (GBD) formation committee, helping to establish the GBD’s governance structure. At 86, he chaired a committee on how to bring high-speed rail into the City without disrupting vehicle traffic.
“Obviously, my wife and I love the City, but we are realists,” he was quoted in the View. “Everything will change and be different. You can have a hand or a voice in bringing opinions together, so the changes that are made make sense for the future, or not.”
Even after moving from the Hill in 2017 due to health challenges, Miguel continued his involvement with the neighborhood, volunteering with the GBD, Potrero Boosters, and Dogpatch Neighborhood Association.
“I’d be bored to death if I wasn’t involved in land use,” he said. “I’ve never enjoyed card games or playing bingo. I enjoy museums and movies and things like that, but my busy work has been organizational things and land use.”
Miguel is survived by Ruth, his son Barry, daughters Melanie and Renée, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.