One week and one day -- that's how long Sen. Mark Leno has to push his Ellis Act reform bill through two committees in order for it to go before to the assembly floor, making its prospects for passage this year look dim.
"I'd say it's challenging," Leno told us yesterday. San Franciscans have been displaced by real estate speculators, a dozen or more of whom are regularly "flipping" homes for profit and using the Ellis Act to clean out longtime renters. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of the Ellis Act to those who've owned their homes for five years or longer, allowing property owners to eventually get out of the rental business, as supporters of the Ellis Act say it was intended for.
When the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave final approval yesterday [Tues/15] to legislation that would substantially increase the payments landlords are required to give tenants they evict using the Ellis Act, the supervisors made a key change designed to counter a recent eviction push by landlords.Read more »
Sen. Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 — which would protect rent-controlled housing in San Francisco by amending the Ellis Act, including making property owners wait at least five years after buying a property to evict tenants under the act — cleared its first legislative hurdle today.
The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed the measure on a 6-4 vote, and it heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The bill has strong support in San Francisco, from progressive constituencies through Mayor Ed Lee to support by leaders in the business community and tech world.Read more »
State lawmakers from San Francisco are launching a two-pronged attack on the Ellis Act, which real estate speculators are increasingly using to evict tenants from rent-controlled apartments and cash in on a housing market that's been heated up by demand from high-paid employees of the booming tech sector.Read more »
Gum Gee Lee recognizes that she’s not the only one.
Dressed in her now signature floral patterned blue jacket, she climbed the white flatbed truck that served as a makeshift stage of the Our Mission: No Eviction rally on Saturday, and with the aid of a translator she spoke to the 300 or so protesters.
“Its not okay to use gentrification to takeover,” she said. “It is disproportionately affecting the elderly and disabled.”Read more »
Tomorrow (Sat/12 at 2pm) advocates and defenders of working class San Francisco will march to protest a rash of recent Mission evictions, including the potential ouster of artists and activists Rene Yañez and Yolanda Lopez from their Mission district home.
The organizers want the mayor to declare a state of emergency in the city as the recent Ellis Act evictions have intensified -- 125 Ellis Act eviction notices have been filed this year, with the most recent numbers going to the end of August, according to the SF Rent Board. But 175 requests for Ellis Act evictions were filed, meaning 70 percent of Ellis evictions were upheld. The march follows recent wins against gentrification, including blocking a Jack Spade store from opening in the Mission.
Organizer Roberto Y. Hernandez said that since he announced the march he’s been getting calls of support from all over the city, but most notably in Chinatown, the Bayview, and the Castro.
“I heard horror stories of what's happening to the gay community in the Castro,” he said. “This doesn’t just affect the Mission, this affects the whole city.”
Each of those evictions represents a person or family whose ouster from their apartments may mean ouster from San Francisco altogether. Ellis evictions gained more notoriety this year, first with the plight of the Lee family and now the ouster of Mission artists Yañez and Lopez.
Yañez is widely credited with bringing the celebration of Day of the Dead to the city. He co-founded the Mission’s Galeria de la Raza and practiced art in his home of the Bay Area since the 60s. Now, while suffering from cancer, the 71 year old is being forced from the neighborhood he helped to shape. Lopez, his former wife, is an artist with deep roots in the Chicano/a movements of the ‘60s, and is facing eviction as well.
A small but enthusiastic crowd marched through the Castro April 20 to bring some attention to the rash of Ellis Act evictions that are forcing seniors and disabled people out of the city. The activists stopped at the home of Jeremy Mykaels, whose plight is symbolic of the state of housing in San Francisco today. Mykaels insists he's not a public speaker, but his remarks were poignant; we've excerpted them here:Read more »
Documentary filmmaker and longtime queer community activist and leader David Weissman is leaving San Francisco -- because he and three other tenants of his place on Oak Street have been evicted under the Ellis Act. These evictions are happening all over town; it's a disaster. Weissman isn't going quietly, though; he's penned a sharp letter to Sup. Scott Weiner that's making the rounds in tenant and LGBT circles and creating enough controversy that Wiener has put out a long response.
Weissman told me the rash of Ellis Act evictions is horrifying, particularly when seniors are involved. "So many people who have lived through the AIDS epidemic are now finding themselves unwanted and adrift," he said. "There have always been two competing visions of San Francisco, and the one that's ascendant now says that people who can own property and make a lot of money will make this a better city. But I've always believed that what makes this city great are the creative types who don't always have a lot of money."
Read his letter to Wiener and the supervisor's response after the jump. (UPDATE: It's worth noting what Weissman posted below, that he is not becoming homeless and spends half his time in Portland, where he will no doubt now live. He won't be a San Franciscan any more. He writes: "Thanks to everyone for your kind words of support. The letter was intended to bring attention to the larger issues at stake, that most renters in SF are in serious and increasing risk of Ellis Act eviction. As most of you know, my own situation is unusual, in that I've been living back and forth between SF and Portland since 2004, with the full knowledge of my benevolent late landlords. I will always be a San Franciscan in my heart, and am trying to find ways to maintain some kind of base there." Read more »