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At some point late in the night after the Oakland City Council voted to continue with the Domain Awareness Center on March 5 — albeit a significantly scaled-down Port-only version of the surveillance center — a group calling themselves the Technophobic Women's Action Team (or T.W.A.T.) staged camover actions against stoplight cameras at two intersections in West Oakland. In December, T.W.A.T. targeted a portable private security company surveillance trailer on 36th and Adeline Streets in West Oakland, and now have hit one traffic camera at the intersection of 36th and Market Streets and two more at the intersection of Northgate Avenue and 27th Street.
Technophobic Women's Action Team writes:
When we see the site of the new Domain Awareness Center — a public-sponsored, privately run entity that aims to integrate all surveillance footage in Oakland — we see the machinery of gentrification. Gentrification is not an accident that happens because single moms, queers, and punks rent where they can afford. It is a deliberate process engineered by business interests and city policies. DAC and the gentrification process are both based on control of public space that threatens to destroy the beautiful, vital, and often messy Oakland that we know and love. The first targets and the other squeezes out people of color, the poor, the marginalized, and the subversive.
Read More |
TWAT attack on the DAC
T.W.A.T. Action Report
Brigada Anti-Gentrification writes:
Viva. Last night, on February 28th, the windows of Vanguard Properties in the Mission District were smashed out. Vanguard thought it was pretty funny to build some luxury condos on 24th, but we thought it was more funny for their property to get smashed. Vanguard thought it was pretty funny to buy foreclosed houses in Oakland and flip them at a profit. We think it's more funny to bring the fight to the developers themselves. Greetings to everyone fighting the good fight. LA LUCHA SIGUE.
On February 26, about 150 tenants and community supporters, including Eviction Free San Francisco, rallied at 24th/Mission BART Plaza for a “March On Greed” to the office of serial evictor Kaushik Dattani to support long-time San Francisco tenants and roommates Patricia Kerman’s and Tom Rapp’s campaign to resist their Ellis Act eviction. The BLO then led a march to Patricia’s and Tom’s landlord’s office. The crowd encountered two SFPD officers guarding the shuttered entrance to the office in order to prevent any direct appeals to Dattani personally to rescind the eviction. In December, at an earlier event, people from Dattani’s office brandished baseball bats in order to intimidate the residents’ efforts to make a similar appeal.
The rally, march, and protest was the latest in a growing number of grassroots events responding to the rapid pace of evictions and gentrification during this latest real estate boom. Eviction Free San Francisco is an entirely volunteer organization of tenants and their supporters using mutual aid and direct action to resist evictions and preserve our homes.
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“Reclaiming the Commons: Uniting for Our Shared Future” will take place on Friday, March 7
from 6 – 8:30 PM at UC Santa Cruz. From food and water to media and education, how can we reclaim the commons in our communities? This event will feature a keynote address from City Repair Project
founder Mark Lakeman, a free vegetarian dinner, and World Cafe style conversation about possibilities for public placemaking and reclaiming the commons in Santa Cruz.
City Repair is an organized group action that educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live. City Repair began in Portland, Oregon with the idea that localization - of culture, of economy, of decision-making - is a necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our local culture.
On February 12, SEIU 1021 city workers marched and protested at Twitter corporate headquarters in San Francisco. The theme was “End Twitter Tax Breaks; Improve Healthcare, Housing, Transportation and Education”. One picket sign read, “Affordable Health Care Or Sweetheart Deals for Twitter?” The Service Employees International Union rally started at the corner of Van Ness and Market, and then proceeded down Market Street to continue in front of Twitter headquarters. San Francisco Supervisors Campos and Avalos were main speakers along with several union workers and representatives.
SEIU 1021 workers demanded an end to tax subsidies and the defense of their healthcare benefits. Under previous ballot propositions supported by San Francisco labor leaders, city workers are paying substantially more for their healthcare and pension benefits, cutting their real wages. If Twitter had paid fair taxes, the cuts could have been avoided. Many of SEIU 1021 workers are angry about their declining income while Mayor Ed Lee is giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies to billionaires and their tech corporations and $11.5 million to Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison's Americas Cup.
SEIU Marches on Twitter |
SEIU Protest for Healthcare at Twitter's Headquarters
On February 18, The Great Morgani, aka Frank Lima, announced he will no longer be performing in downtown Santa Cruz "due to the recent strict enforcement of current ordinances" passed by the Santa Cruz City Council. Lima is a longtime street performer and performance artist from Santa Cruz, recognized as one of city's most interesting characters. He plays the accordion and dresses in homemade, seasonally relevant costumes which sometimes take up to 100 hours of work to create.
The California Department of Corrections (CDC), which practices culture jamming by "altering California's most criminal advertising", has unveiled a new campaign of bus shelter ads to confront San Francisco’s eviction crisis. On February 11, 2014, the CDC successfully apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged bus shelter advertisements throughout San Francisco. The ads were released into city districts with historically high rates of tenant displacement, including the Fillmore, the Mission and South of Market. One corrected ad sits at Valencia and 24th Street in the Mission District, a neighborhood with the city’s leading eviction rate from 2009 to 2013.
The corrected ads were placed in response to San Francisco’s growing eviction crisis, which has been triggered by a high-tech economic boom and a surging real estate market. According to a 2013 report from the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst, all types of evictions increased 38% over the past three years with a 170% spike in Ellis Act evictions over the same period. The Ellis Act refers to a California law that gives landlords unchecked power to evict their tenants, remove their properties from the rental market and sell their buildings without occupants.
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People gathered at 16th and Mission streets on the afternoon of February 1 to oppose the development of highrise condos at 1979 Mission Street. The proposed development, by another faceless corporation, Maximus, would construct two 10-story towers of 351 "market rate" condominiums at $3,500 per month each, while displacing low income tenants and small business owners, and further marginalizing homeless people. The bilingual rally was organized by La Playa 16 Coalition/The Plaza 16 Coalition.
An activist from the local community organization Poder reported that the proposed development has already been negatively affecting the 16th and Mission BART plaza, where the rally took place: “About a year ago we started to see signs around the plaza reading ‘Keep It Clean.’ We thought there was something funny about it. They were very expensive looking signs. Then last September the police began occupying the plaza. This caused the displacement of people who’s been hanging out in the plaza for decades. We started seeing a connection between this and these proposed buildings.”
A sign at the rally read: “First, They Evict Us From Our Homes. Then, The Plaza. STOP The Push Out of SF."
Commenters on Indybay write, "market-rate housing means housing that is absolutely only affordable for yuppies and the rich," and "from a perspective of working people and renters, there is no such thing as acceptable market rate housing for San Francisco."
Homeless advocates involved in establishing Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp embarked on a tour of Oregon and Washington State’s “sanctuary type” homeless camps and villages as a research investigation. After touring the northwest interviewing the creators, inhabitants, and neighbors of these camps, a video documentary was produced that chronicles their trip and showcases the new paradigm of citizen organized, community sanctioned homeless communities.
These camps and villages, such as Quixote Village in Olympia and Opportunity Village in Eugene, have been created and shepherded by non-profits that were organized by local citizens and churches to offer a safe space for people to live and begin addressing the situations that were responsible for their homelessness.
Homeless advocates are proposing a Sanctuary Camp for the Santa Cruz area that will be designed in a similar fashion as those found in the northwest. They believe that a citizen organized, community supported, city/county sanctioned camp/village for homeless people would be very helpful in the local community. The video produced by filmmaker Jeremy Leonard and Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp’s Brent Adams showcases how and where this model has been successful in several other areas.
Read More with Photos | Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp
Previous Coverage: First Draft of Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp Proposal Released
According to an article published on Indybay's newswire, at 7am on January 21, a group went to the home of Anthony Levandowski, a Google X developer. After ringing his doorbell to alert him of the protest, a banner was held in front of his house that read "Google's Future Stops Here" and fliers about him were distributed around the neighborhood. The fliers detail his work with the defense industry and his plans to develop luxury condos in Berkeley. After blocking his driveway for approximately 45 minutes, the group blocked a Google bus at Ashby BART.
Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel announced his candidacy for mayor of Oakland on January 9. Siegel spelled out an ambitious agenda focused on social and economic justice which includes a $15 minimum wage, public schools to develop into community centers, neighborhood gardens to flourish throughout the city, Oakland police to stop abusing citizens, and the Domain Awareness Center to be shut down.
On January 9, Tenants Together and their allies filed a class action suit against notorious Central Valley landlord, JD Homes Rentals. The lawsuit seeks immediate court intervention to ensure that substandard conditions in the thousands of units managed by JD Homes Rentals are repaired and the properties made habitable. A press conference announcing the lawsuit was held near the Fresno Water Tower.
Among the allegations, the complaint details JD Homes' business practices of failing to maintain properties, leaving tenants with roaches, leaking plumbing, defective wiring, and a plethora of other unsafe conditions. Requests for repairs are often ignored for months, and sometimes years. When repairs are made, the complaint alleges, they are merely cosmetic and fail to address the health and safety issues, and JD Homes often retaliates against tenants who complain to authorities.
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The City of Richmond, California voted to continue its groundbreaking effort to save resident homeowners from foreclosure on December 17, 2013. The Richmond City Council voted 4 to 2 in favor of moving forward with its plan to use its right of eminent domain to protect homeowners and to "prioritize those neighborhoods that have been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis." More than half of homeowner mortgages in Richmond are said to be underwater.
Opponents of the plan seek to block its implementation by relying on the city's charter, which requires a super-majority to invoke eminent domain. The Council is currently divided, with four members supporting Mayor Gayle McLaughlin's plan and three opposing, which is short of a super-majority. Banks and realtors oppose the concept, saying it is unconstitutional and would drive up lending costs in the city.
Before the December 17 Council meeting began, approximately seventy-five supporters of Richmond's initiative rallied in front of Richmond City Hall. Later, at the City Council meeting, a majority of approximately forty speakers spoke in favor of moving forward.
San Francisco and Oakland residents are being evicted as a result of increasing housing costs caused in part by an influx of tech employees, many of whom are provided private buses by their employers to get to offices in the Silicon Valley. In protest of the rising cost of living and the ongoing displacement of long time residents, anti-gentrification activists first blocked a Google bus in the Mission District of San Francisco on December 9. On December 20, bus blockades spread to both sides of the Bay. Protesters blocked one Google bus at the MacArthur BART station and another on 7th and Adeline in West Oakland. On the same morning in San Francisco, an Apple bus was blocked at 24th and Valencia Streets.
Labor Video Project writes of the December 20 blockade in San Francisco
: people threatened with evictions and community and labor activists stopped an Apple bus on 24th St. and Valencia. The police removed the protesters and they then marched to 24th and Mission. This is the second blockade of tech buses that are bringing thousands of new workers into San Francisco.... San Francisco mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors have given tax subsidies to tech companies such as Twitter and have allowed the use of the MTA Muni bus stops for these tech corporation buses with no enforcement of traffic regulations and fines for illegal use.
Anti-Cyborg Conglomerate writes of the same-day blockades in Oakland
: a small group of people met at 7th and Adeline in West Oakland. Down the street, over 20 employees of Google were queued up, waiting for their giant white bus to take them to their Mountain View headquarters.... While they took their seats, several people unfurled two giant banners reading “TECHIES: Your World Is Not Welcome Here” and “FUCK OFF GOOGLE.” ... [One] person appeared from behind the bus and quickly smashed the whole of the rear window.... The Google bus was an obvious target, but obviously the situation is more complex than one corporation and its specific employees. Gentrification is a dynamic and nuanced problem that is only beginning to be addressed and alleviated. It has many layers, players, and levels which undoubtedly will be exposed and elucidated in the near future by numerous individuals and groups.
Google Bus blocked and disrupted in West Oakland |
Video of West Oakland Google Bus Disruption |
Apple Bus Blockaded In SF Protest Against Tech Owners, Speculators And Evictions
10AM Saturday Mar 8
Walk With A Doc