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Tenants Facing Ellis Eviction Greeted with Baseball Bat at Landlord's Office
by Michael Steinberg (blackrainpress [at] hotmail.com)
Wednesday Dec 18th, 2013 6:24 PM
Two San Francisco tenants facing eviction under the Ellis Act were greeted with a baseball bat when they tried to peacefully enter their landlord’s office today in the city’s Mission District.
Two San Francisco tenants facing eviction under the Ellis Act were greeted with a baseball bat when they tried to peacefully enter their landlord’s office today in the city’s Mission District.

This threatening action happened towards the end of a rally outside landlord Kaushik Dattani’s office on 22nd Street, near Valencia in San Francisco.

Last August Dattani served Patricia Kerman and Tom Rapp of 3305 20th Street with an Ellis eviction order. Under the Ellis Act, a state law, a landlord can force tenants to move if he avers that he is going out of business. The usual result is that the landlord sells the building for a bundle after throwing the tenants to the four winds.

Such evictions have been soaring in San Francisco, and other places in the Bay Area, over the past year. Typically they take the homes of elders, people of color and the poor. This in turns forces them out of the city, due to a severe lack of affordable housing.

Kerman is a disabled senior, so she is allowed to stay in her home at 20th and Folsom for a year before the legal eviction clock starts ticking. She has lived there for decades.

“I love the people where I live, I’ve seen the trees grow,” she told well over 100 people who filled the sidewalk in front of Dattani’s office and overflowed onto the street.

“When I heard of a 98 year old woman being evicted, that was it for me. It was obscene, it shouldn’t be allowed in San Francisco. We can close the city down when we want to. We’re fighting for San Francisco. We are San Francisco.”

Tom Rapp has been Patricia’s housemate for 15 years. Rapp characterized Dattani as a “serial senior evicter. He buys up buildings with the intention of evicting the tenants.”

Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission, said,“ We’re fighting for the very soul of San Francisco. We say no to speculation. We need to continue to hold City Hall responsible.”

A measure sponsored by Campos to end landlord harassment of tenants passed yesterday. Today he called for reform of the Ellis Act.

“Whose city is it?” he concluded. “It’s our city and we we’re taking it back.

Anna Mendoza told the protesters, in Spanish, “I’ve been fighting foreclosure for four years. It’s not fun for people kicked out to have to move to other cities.

“Together we can make a difference, change laws

“They can’t make us leave. We live here, our children go to school here. We’re not going anywhere.

“Stand with us. Together we can make a difference.”

Soon thereafter Patricia Kerman, Tom Rapp and a few supporters went into the building where Dattani’s business is and up the stairs to his office. They carried a letter asking him to drop the eviction.

But they were back on the sidewalk.

Tom Rapp told us. “Dattani’s son came out of the office with a baseball back. He said they were going to call 911.”

Soon the crowd began to disperse, after singing “We Shall Not Be Moved,” and chanting “Down With Goon Squads.”

Three cops cars showed up to clear the street and sidewalk. They didn’t go up to Dattani’s office to discuss the baseball bat threat.

Today’s action was organized by Eviction Free San Francisco.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Anti-gentrification guy
Wednesday Dec 18th, 2013 7:26 PM
"...Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission, said,“ We’re fighting for the very soul of San Francisco. We say no to speculation. We need to continue to hold City Hall responsible.”
A measure sponsored by Campos to end landlord harassment of tenants passed yesterday. Today he called for reform of the Ellis Act...."

Actions like this lose all their impact when they become a form of aggressive panhandling to elected officials at City Hall. Any orientation towards elected officials in effect turns the entire effort into a harmless minor annex of City Hall. Even the most tangential petitioning of elected officials to be more responsive to our needs renders these efforts harmless; by doing this, even subjectively militant or combative individuals have removed any element of surprise and muscle from what they are doing.

If the people with all the money and the power on their side know you are harmless, then you are no threat to them and their antics, and if you try to get people threatened with eviction and displacement jazzed up about the conventional decision-making apparatus of capitalist society this is exactly what you are doing.

Along with that, a recent canvasing by me of my former neighbors -- neighbors of my home in SF from which I was evicted this past summer -- and of numerous acquaintances in SF who are also renters, and many of whom are under the gun from pig landlords, establishes, and much to my disappointment, that none of these renters or tenants are even aware of the existence of Eviction Free San Francisco.

You should junk the petitioning-elected-officials-to-be-responsive-to-our-needs schtick. It's been going nowhere in the SF Bay Area for at least 40 years. In the face of the prevailing escalating extreme negative conditions it's time to retool -- big time.
by tired of carrying parasite landlords
Thursday Dec 19th, 2013 3:57 AM
Let's eliminate paying rent to keep our homes. A landlord is by definition a social parasite and a bloodsucker. The landlord-tenant relationship is a legacy of feudalism. Housing should not be a commodity.