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On August 12, Eviction Free San Francisco occupied the offices of Vanguard Properties — the largest real estate company in the Mission. Not only is Vanguard directly driving up the costs of rents in the Mission and throughout San Francisco, but their co-founder, Michael Harrison, is Ellis Act evicting four units at 151 Duboce, home of Benito Santiago and other residents. Benito, 64, is disabled, Filipino, a teacher with the Unified School District, born and raised in SF, an artist, and has lived at his home for 37 years. He has nowhere else to go should the eviction go through. Speculator Harrison has Ellis Act evicted 9 units in the past, all through his alias Pineapple Boy LLC. Members of Eviction Free SF entered Vanguard at 21st and Mission, and before being harassed and physically dragged out, demanded that the eviction at 151 Duboce stop immediately.
Read More |
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project's page on Michael Harrison
At its board meeting on June 30, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Santa Cruz County adopted a statement of principle in support of a proposed moratorium on camping ban laws and ordinances within the City and County of Santa Cruz. Discussion of the statement was preceded by testimony from several local homeless persons and homeless advocates. Proponents argued that criminalizing homelessness, and particularly the essential right to sleep, is a failed policy and one that must be revisited if the community is ever to move forward and create truly positive outcomes for our resident homeless community.
It was further the position of proponents that a one year moratorium on the enforcement of camping ban laws and ordinances between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. would allow the Santa Cruz City Council and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to conduct a fiscal review of the cost savings of the proposed moratorium as well as provide an opportunity to assess the impact of such a moratorium on both the homeless community and the community at large. It is the intention of the Board that the statement be read publicly before both the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council at their next meetings.
In addition to supporting a moratorium on the camping ban, the Santa Cruz ACLU has made a number of recent public statements in what they call a new era of activism for the chapter. In July, the ACLU issued a resolution in support of the Santa Cruz Eleven
, as well as raising objections to the Cowell Beach curfew
and the acquisition of license plate readers
by the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Read More | Speak-Out Leads to Historic Shift in Local ACLU Avoidance of Homeless Civil Rights Issues | Homeless Take ACLU Sleeping Ban Suspension Resolution to City Council | Santa Cruz ACLU
Seniors, union workers and community supporters stopped tech company buses on August 1 at 24th and Valencia Streets to protest the epidemic of evictions caused by the City of San Francisco, which has allowed tech buses to bring thousands of Silicon Valley workers to the City, pushing up prices and evictions.
After blocking the buses, the protesters spoke about the growing eviction tide and what it means to them and the city. A tech worker from Apple was interviewed.
Photos with Links to Video
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Tech Bus Suit Filed Against San Francisco, City Leaders, Muni, Google, Apple, & Genentech |
Impact of Tech Industry Protested with Apple, Google, & Yahoo Bus Blockades and Home Demo |
Anti-Gentrification Bus Blockades Spread to Both Sides of the Bay
On July 19, the Raging Grannies passed out flyers in front of the Palo Alto Whole Foods store, telling customers why they should boycott Eden Foods, a company that is suing the Obama administration for exemptions to the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods owner Michael Potter wants to stop covering birth control of all kinds, including pregnancy counseling, for his employees. The Grannies sang their message as well, calling out Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has also publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act.
In solidarity with Brazilians protesting the FIFA Would Cup, on June 29 a group of 12 queer radicals blockaded the Google FIFA Float at the San Francisco Pride Parade. "We couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect issues of gentrification and evictions in the Bay Area with the violent displacement of Brazilians who live in the Favelas. The Google/FIFA float was a perfect target for direct action to raise awareness about these issues!"
The World Cup has evicted over 150,000 working class and poor people from their communities, with some being killed in the process. El Sindicato dos Metroviários de São Paulo (or Subway Workers Union of Sao Paulo) was violently attacked by police when they went on strike against the World Cup and for better wages and benefits.
A solidarity demonstration is planned for the Subway Workers on Thursday, July 3
at 4pm at the Brazilian Counsulate in San Francisco.
Protest At San Francisco Brazilian Consulate: Stop Repression And Union Busting
Following the release in May of the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report on jail medical care and conditions, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to five deaths in the facility during the past 11 months. While the "normal" mortality rate is around 125 per 100,000 inmates, Santa Cruz County's rate was 10 times that number during that period.
, "The movement to create healthy communities begins with appreciation. We want to create a day where we not only express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health. Farmworker Appreciation Day will be held on Sunday, June 15
, (Father’s Day) at Closter Park in Salinas, from 11 - 3pm."
On Saturday, May 24, people all around the world united, including in Santa Cruz, California, to March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Marches occurred on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities. In the USA, demonstrations were held in 47 states.
In Solidarity with People whose homes are threatened, In Honor of unpermitted public Art, In Defense of spaces free and wild everywhere, To Keep the Albany Bulb Natural and unlandscaped, To Preserve Habitat for Birds, Insects, and other migratory Animals, including Humans, We Declare the Bulb an Autonomous Zone , a space where Art and Music continue to flourish, where People assemble Freely, where Dogs run unleashed, and where long-term Residents can continue to maintain and improve their Homesteads.
We Declare the Bulb an Autonomous Zone , a space where Art and Music continue to flourish, where People assemble Freely, where Dogs run unleashed, and where long-term Residents can continue to maintain and improve their Homesteads. Come and create this place with us. So many things can happen here, as they have for decades-- concerts, feasts, workshops, classes, theater, art projects, plant walks, treasure hunts, home building, and anything else one can manifest.
This declaration is a direct response to one of the last homes at the Bulb being destroyed by bulldozers. We are committed to defending the remaining homes and keeping the Bulb free and wild forever. We welcome all walks of life to share in the enjoyment of this unique and magical space. We will converge nightly for a potluck at the stone structure by the beach at 7pm and hope you will join us!
May 19: The Last Stand Camp Out and Eviction Defense of the Albany Bulb
Nightly Potlucks: Every night 7pm Pot luck Autonomous Abany Bulb Zone
Read More with Photos | Lockdown Defends the Bulb! More Support Needed | Pot luck at the Bulb Declaration of Autonomous Zone (5/15) | Re-occupation of the Albany Bulb (5/14) | Last Stand for the Albany Bulb?!
Previous Coverage: Eviction of Albany Bulb Begins
On May 5, sign language interpreters who work at Purple Communications in Oakland went on a one-day unfair labor practice strike in Oakland. They were joined in the strike by workers in San Diego; Denver, Colorado; and Tempe, Arizona. The strike focused on the unfair manner in which the company changed the terms of employee health coverage. “This is about safety and health care,” said Carol Day, a veteran ASL interpreter who was picketing and handing out leaflets in downtown Oakland.
Members of ASL Interpreters United, an affiliate of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521, carried picket signs outside unionized Purple work sites, declaring the interpreters were “stronger together.” Only a handful of union-covered workers showed up intending to work at the four sites. In some locations, strike participation was close to 100 percent.
Read More |
FCC to fine Purple Communications $11.9 million, company sought fraudulent reimbursements
On the afternoon of April 30, Eviction Free San Francisco joined the tenants from 741 Ellis Street in the Tenderloin district in an emergency rally in the courtyard of their apartment building. With the help of the Housing Rights Committee
of San Francisco, the tenants called this action to demand that their new landlord, Ty Durekas, Senior Advisor of OnCare, immediately withdraw his eviction notices.
Because 741 Ellis Street was constructed after 1979, its apartments are not rent controlled. Durekas is evicting five low-income families from their homes of the last 12 years, choosing to stop accepting their Section 8 housing vouchers and giving them 90 days to vacate. Ironically, Durekas’ company OnCare is a company providing internet support services to child care providers while he is trying to put children out onto the street.
Read More |
Eviction Free San Francisco
Two communiqués posted to Indybay claimed credit for attacks on three different gentrifying businesses in Oakland and San Francisco on April 28.
Of the San Francisco action, "anarchists
" write: "Last night we attacked the Sales office for the in-construction Vida Condos on Mission St." Of the Oakland action, "vandalists
" write: "Early on Monday morning, locks were glued at Dogtown Development and at a new fancy coffee shop in the lower bottoms."
The private buses that shuttle tech workers to and from offices outside of San Francisco currently pay nothing for the use of Muni bus stops. The private shuttles block public buses from using the bus stops and have come to symbolize the increasing hegemony of San Francisco, complete with unaffordable rents and rampant evictions. In protest, demonstrators have repeatedly blocked the buses. The City's response to protesters' objections has been to propose that the Google buses start paying a fee of $1 per stop in a limited number of bus stops.
On May 1, however, a coalition of environmental, labor, and tenants' rights groups filed suit in San Francisco, declaring that the City's "Commuter Bus Program," aka the "Google Bus Giveaway," is illegal and should be set aside. The suit contends that it is against state law for private buses to use the public bus stops. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are The Coalition for Fair, Legal, and Environmental Transit; Sara Shortt of the tenants rights group Housing Rights Committee
; and Alysabeth Alexander Vice President of Politics for SEIU 1021
. Defendants include the City and County of San Francisco; Mayor Ed Lee; the SF Board of Supervisors; Muni; and Google, Apple and Genentech.
"We know that these buses are having a devastating impact on our neighborhoods," said Sara Shortt," driving up rents and evictions of long-time SF residents. We've protested in the streets and taken our plea to City Hall to no avail. We hope to finally receive justice in a court of law."
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Fighting Back Against the "Tech Takeover": Impact of Tech Industry Protested with Apple, Google, & Yahoo Bus Blockades and Home Demo
Health advocates from the California Brain Tumor Association and Stop Smart Meters! affixed health warning labels on cell phones for sale in Verizon’s Market Street store in San Francisco in defiance of the wireless industry’s legal bullying of cell phone safety ordinances across the nation. Store management removed the labels but did not summon police, possibly out of concern that potential arrests may highlight a health risk the industry would rather keep quiet. Further embarrassing the company, one of its employees stuck one of the labels to his own phone in an apparent act of defiance against his employer’s suppression of health information regarding its products.
In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a “right to know” law requiring cell phone retailers in the city to issue at the point of sale a fact sheet to each consumer including the World Health Organization classification and the manufacturer’s own language hidden in the phone or manual instructing phone users to keep phones 5/8 inch away from the body at all times when turned on. The Wireless Association (CTIA) sued the city (saying such “forced speech” represented a breach of the company’s First Amendment rights) and withdrew its annual conferences from San Francisco. According to then Mayor Newsom, “their behavior makes me even more concerned as to what they are hiding.” The City did not lose the lawsuit but under the leadership of tech friendly Mayor Lee the Board of Supervisors was coerced into repealing the law, leaving customers in the dark about the health effects of routine cell phone radiation exposure.
A series of reports issued by national experts on jail conditions expose in the most graphic detail to date the Monterey County Jail as a place riddled with violence where prisoners are at serious risk of grave injury, where jail officials fail to provide prisoners with adequate medical and mental health care and where prisoners with disabilities are denied access to jail services, programs and activities.
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.
Monterey County had the highest percentage of schoolchildren attending schools located within ¼ mile of the heaviest use of highly hazardous pesticides, according to the California Department of Public Health (DPH) study. More than a quarter (25.1%) of schoolchildren (18,525) in Monterey County attended schools within ¼ mile of the most highly hazardous pesticide use. Over 46% of the county’s schools were located within ¼ mile of the most highly hazardous pesticide use. Monterey County schoolchildren were among the most at risk statewide, with the highest percentage of students (19.5%) near the use of carcinogenic pesticides, the highest percentage of students (22.1%) near the use of reproductive and developmental toxicant pesticides, the highest percentage of students (16.4%) near the use of fumigant pesticides, the highest percentage of students near Toxic Air Contaminants (18%) and the highest percentage of students (24.7%) near the use of pesticides prioritized for assessment and monitoring.
The detailed report Agricultural Pesticide Use Near Public Schools in California
was posted to CDPH’s website on Friday afternoon with little fanfare. The rigorous analysis shows that difficult-to-control pesticides, linked to negative impacts on children’s health and learning, are widely used near schoolchildren in fifteen of the state’s counties. This is the first time an analysis of pesticide use near schools has been conducted in California.
Read More | Californians for Pesticide Reform | Monterey Bay Central Labor Council
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project
has released "Ethel's List: The Dirty Thirty," a list of landlords and speculators who have all evicted at least one senior and/or disabled person through the Ellis Act over the last decade. Ethel, an activist and member of Senior and Disability Action, is extremely concerned about her senior community being forced out of their homes. To be senior and/or disabled and to be evicted can cause dire health effects, and at times death. Not only does one lose ones home, but also one's community, social support, and at times access to particular forms of health care.
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project list has information about tenants being evicted, as well as the companies affiliated with the evictors, including some tech corporations such as Google, BandPage, Adobe Systems Inc., Binnacle Systems, SF REV, Inc., and more. The project has also found that some of these speculators have bought properties at foreclosure auctions, with one currently residing in China.
A group of seniors, people with disabilities, supporters, and co-sponsors — Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
, Senior and Disability Action
, Eviction Free San Francisco
, POOR Magazine
, Gray Panthers of SF
, Anti-Eviction Mapping Project
, Bill Sorro Housing Program
and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
— confronted the San Francisco Association of Realtors on April 22. The group planned to deliver a letter of demands in person, but the Association had posted two SFPD officers in front of their office. A lone representative was sent outside to accept the letter. The activists remained and held a rally and press conference with testimonies from seniors and people with disabilities.
The press release issued by Seniors & Disability Action stated: “Seniors and people with disabilities, hard hit by the eviction crisis, will rally in front of the San Francisco Association of Realtors on Tuesday April 22nd to call for the Association, the city’s real estate lobbying group, to not oppose proposed legislation to the Ellis Act now being proposed in Sacramento as well as putting a moratorium on evictions for seniors and people with disabilities."
"The San Francisco Board of realtors has opposed legislation beneficial to tenants in the past, including any proposals that would expand rent control. San Francisco’s eviction crisis is out of control with a 178% increase in Ellis Act evictions over the last 3 years and the loss of 1000 units of rent controlled units in the last 2 years—10,000 since 1997. Seniors and people with disabilities have had enough.”
See Also: Ethel's List: Anti-Eviction Mapping Project's List of SF Ellis Act Evictors of Seniors and Disabled
Over one hundred San Francisco public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and education staff who are members of United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) rallied on April 22 at the San Francisco Unified School District school board building. UESF workers are demanding a living wage after an 8-year wage freeze. The massive speculative housing bubble is driving workers out of San Francisco and forcing them to commute long distances. Many are unable to afford healthcare.
4PM Saturday Aug 23
SUSTAIN Farm Supper
9AM Saturday Sep 20
Liver Life Walk