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Huge Win as Benito Santiago's Ellis Act Eviction Rescinded Due to Direct Action Organizing
by Eviction Free San Francisco
Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2014 11:51 AM
Eviction Free San Francisco is overjoyed to announce the rescinding of Benito Santiago's Ellis Act Eviction, as well as the evictions of other tenants at 149-151 Duboce. The tenants in the four units there - Benito, as well as Eduardo Santana, Rhani Remedes and Scott Evans - received their Ellis Act eviction notice on December 20, 2013, by Pineapple Boy LLC. As Benito says, "When I received the Ellis Act notice, I thought we had to be out immediately. I couldn't fathom it. I've been living there for 37 years, and have nowhere else to go. It was then that I realized, all that I could do, was fight back to stay in my home. This is my life."

Who: Eviction Free San Francisco
What: Huge Win as Benito Santiago's Ellis Act Eviction Rescinded Due to DirecAction Organizing
When: September 3rd, 2014

Huge Win as Benito Santiago's Ellis Act Eviction Rescinded Due to Direct Action Organizing

Eviction Free San Francisco is overjoyed to announce the rescinding of Benito Santiago's Ellis Act Eviction, as well as the evictions of other tenants at 149-151 Duboce. The tenants in the four units there - Benito, as well as Eduardo Santana, Rhani Remedes and Scott Evans - received their Ellis Act eviction notice on December 20, 2013, by Pineapple Boy LLC. As Benito says, "When I received the Ellis Act notice, I thought we had to be out immediately. I couldn't fathom it. I've been living there for 37 years, and have nowhere else to go. It was then that I realized, all that I could do, was fight back to stay in my home. This is my life." Benito, 63-years-old, born and raised in San Francisco, is disabled due to a hit and run incident in the 1980s, and relies upon the accessibility of his unit at 151 Duboce and its proximity to public transportation. He teaches in the Unified School District, and volunteers the rest of his time as a drummer, dancer, and activist.

Research conducted by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project found Pineapple Boy LLC to be the corporate alias of Michael Harrison, co-founder of Vanguard Properties where he specializes in “residential investment properties." Pineapple Boy LLC bought the building in November 2013 and tried to evict Benito and the two other tenants immediately. He is a classic speculator. Vanguard Properties is currently involved in a number of luxury property developments in the Mission District and Duboce Triangle area including the development at 19th and Valencia that in February 2014 set record sale prices for the neighborhood. Harrison has Ellis Acted the following buildings previously: 336 Chestnut Street, 2 units, 2/2/2001; 3101 - 3103 Jackson Street, 7 units, 6/17/2010. He also sold 3030 Franklin Street to James Meigs Rauh, Jr./Joelle Rauh on 9/12/2012, who then Ellis Acted the 2 units. More at https://antievictionmap.squarespace.com/michaelharrison/.

Since receiving his eviction notice, Benito has become an avid tenants rights organizer. He has organized against his eviction, as well as other tenants facing eviction, with Eviction Free San Francisco. He has also volunteered his time and drumming to help fight the Ellis Act in Sacramento with Tenants Together, and to help fight for tenants rights with Senior and Disability Action, amongst other organizations.

Eviction Free San Francisco organized a huge march to Vanguard Properties on April 2, 2014, to issue a demand that Harrison rescind the eviction immediately. Since then, we have organized a series of actions, some at Vanguard and some in the community, continuing to issue our demand.

Then, on August 12th, we organized an occupation of Vanguard, which we wrote about here: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/14/18760053.php. Vanguard responded violently as it forced us out, using physical force, and hurting some of us. A video can be found here: http://vimeo.com/103279167.

It was then that Harrison felt pressured enough to go ahead and rescind the eviction. Benito's lawyer, Matt McFarland of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, has been fearlessly fighting for Benito's right to stay in his home through the legal system. Matt confirms that it was really the direct action of Eviction Free San Francisco that put the icing on the cake in pushing for the eviction to be rescinded. Erin McElroy, of Eviction Free San Francisco, says, "This is a huge win in the tenants movement in San Francisco. This win shows us that direct action has direct effects, and that organizing can and does actually keep people in their homes."

Harrison is now looking to sell 151 Duboce, as he never intended to be a landlord in the first place. We need to make sure that the next owner of 151 Duboce does not issue another eviction. While we are overjoyed at this win, we will continue to organize to make sure that Benito and the other tenants can remain in their home.
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by Eviction Free San Francisco Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2014 11:51 AM

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by Eviction Free San Francisco Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2014 11:51 AM

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by Eviction Free San Francisco Wednesday Sep 3rd, 2014 11:51 AM

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Retired Union WorkerWorkers RevolutionThursday Sep 4th, 2014 3:48 PM