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San Francisco | Health, Housing, and Public Services

SF Tenants protest at Rick Holman's Home as part of 'Eviction Free Summer'
by Bay Waters
Thursday Jul 4th, 2013 12:59 PM
SF Residents from the historic 17 Reasons building brought their fight against eviction to Rick Holman, gentrifying developer and current landlord.
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Tenants facing eviction from the historic 17 Reasons building by developer and landlord Rick Holman protested outside of his home in South Park in San Francisco this Tuesday. Since the start of the eviction process, Holman has used a variety of tactics such as illegal lockouts of tenants, harassment from security guards, as well as a web of surveillance systems against those paying rent at the building that he wants gone. During a recent block party against gentrification in the Mission District, Holman also worked closely with the police to ensure that the building would not be "occupied" by protestors, and also issued an 'unlawful detainer' to residents inside on the day of the event. How many times have we all had landlords come to our homes, walk around, issue demands, and threaten us? Landlords hold great power over our lives and also take massive amounts of money out of our hands that we make by our labors and put it into their pockets. Thus, it's great to see people taking the fight to their doorsteps and raising a ruckus in their bourgie neighborhoods. Often, most people are too afraid to stand up to the cops, the landlords, and the developers, but we need only keep in mind that are all united in our experiences and our desire to live freely. Hopefully, this is just the start! According to the group, Eviction Free Summer:

Our first action was a smashing success!! With a crowd of over fifty, we loudly took over the narrow SOMA street of South Park, where landlord Rick Holman does business. Neighbors and park dwellers looked in curiosity as tenants from Holman’s building on 17th St. at Mission (and their supporters) took to the mic to give Holman a piece of their minds. The street reception was mixed, but many passers by were more than willing to take a flyer asking them to call Holman directly. Holman is a local investor, who recently purchased the 17th Street property. Since the beginning of the eviction process Holman has used intimidation tactics, such as locking out his tenants, hiring private security, and installing hidden security cameras.

The Fog City Journal posted an article on the protest which states:

Packing the upscale South Park neighborhood with protest signs, loud chants of “No more evictions!” and flyers calling for landlord Rick Holman to “stop evicting San Francisco tenants,” more than 50 tenants and supporters launched their “Eviction-Free Summer” campaign Tuesday to put landlords, developers and speculators on notice that they will defend tenants who are being pushed out.

Fed up with the epidemic of evictions plaguing The City, tenants and activists have organized the Eviction-Free Summer campaign to support tenants fighting evictions while pressuring landlords to stop displacing city residents.

Today’s target: landlord Rick Holman, who is evicting a group of tenants at the historical “17 Reasons Why” building at 17th & Mission. The tenants, many of them lifelong Bay Area residents, are part of In The Works, Rincón, and Food Not Bombs collectives—groups that organize a weekly soup kitchen and support community-building projects in the Mission. Holman, a partner at Asher Insights, Inc., a company described as “security brokers and dealers,” owns several properties in The City and across the Bay and has a history of evictions and tenant conflicts.

Holman recently bought the historic Mission District building and immediately began trying to drive out the tenants, both through legal eviction and by changing locks, installing cameras, and hiring uniformed guards to harass them.

A member of one of the collectives, fearing reprisals if he gave his name, said: “It’s time that San Franciscans push back and let landlords know that enough is enough. We’re not selling out, we’re not surrendering, we’re staying right here in San Francisco. We’re going to fight to defend our spaces, our homes and our city from those who only want to make profit.”

Angel, a member of the In The Works Collective, added, “We’re a part of what makes San Francisco a beautiful, flourishing city. Shame on people like Rick Holman who force us out for the sake of profits.”

The tenants from 17 Reasons learned Tuesday that their eviction settlement conference had been delayed until July 24, and their trial date pushed back to July 29—allowing them more time to pressure Holman to end the evictions.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca, longtime housing rights activist, added: “Tenants and homeowners are fed up with the evictions and foreclosures happening all over the city, displacing us and our friends and neighbors and we’re not going to take it anymore. We’ve taken enough.”