From the Eviction Free Summer campaign
July 3, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO—Packing the upscale South Park neighborhood with protest signs, loud chants of “No more evictions!” and flyers calling for landlord Rick Holman to “stop evicting San Francisco tenants,” more than 50 tenants and supporters launched their “Eviction-Free Summer” campaign Tuesday to put landlords, developers and speculators on notice that they will defend tenants who are being pushed out.
Fed up with the epidemic of evictions plaguing The City, tenants and activists have organized the Eviction-Free Summer campaign to support tenants fighting evictions while pressuring landlords to stop displacing city residents.
Today’s target: landlord Rick Holman, who is evicting a group of tenants at the historical “17 Reasons Why” building at 17th & Mission. The tenants, many of them lifelong Bay Area residents, are part of In The Works, Rincón, and Food Not Bombs collectives—groups that organize a weekly soup kitchen and support community-building projects in the Mission.
The crowd protested in front of Holman’s office at 90 South Park, demanding he withdraw the evictions immediately. Holman, a partner at Asher Insights, Inc., a company described as “security brokers and dealers,” owns several properties in The City and across the Bay and has a history of evictions and tenant conflicts.
Holman recently bought the historic Mission District building and immediately began trying to drive out the tenants, both through legal eviction and by changing locks, installing cameras, and hiring uniformed guards to harass them.
A member of one of the collectives, fearing reprisals if he gave his name, said: “It’s time that San Franciscans push back and let landlords know that enough is enough. We’re not selling out, we’re not surrendering, we’re staying right here in San Francisco. We’re going to fight to defend our spaces, our homes and our city from those who only want to make profit.”
Angel, a member of the In The Works Collective, added, “We’re a part of what makes San Francisco a beautiful, flourishing city. Shame on people like Rick Holman who force us out for the sake of profits.”
The tenants from 17 Reasons learned Tuesday that their eviction settlement conference had been delayed until July 24, and their trial date pushed back to July 29—allowing them more time to pressure Holman to end the evictions.
“These are people who have contributed to the Mission District community for years, helping their neighbors and helping others, and we’re standing with them so they can stay,” said Christopher Cook, an organizer of Eviction-Free Summer. “We are tired of losing our neighbors to gentrification and greed, and it’s time to stop the displacement that’s tearing up our communities.”
Eviction fighter Sarah fred Sherburn-Zimmer explained, “We are taking the fight to these speculators’ homes and workplaces. Do their neighbors know what they are doing, evicting people from their homes and destroying our communities? We are drawing a line in the sand. We will stop these evictions. This is just the beginning.”
Tommi Avicolli Mecca, longtime housing rights activist, added: “Tenants and homeowners are fed up with the evictions and foreclosures happening all over the city, displacing us and our friends and neighbors and we’re not going to take it anymore. We’ve taken enough.”
Joining the protest were activists from numerous community and housing justice groups also fighting displacement, including Causa Justa:Just Cause, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the San Francisco Tenants Union and the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.
The Eviction-Free Summer campaign plans more actions soon pressuring landlords to withdraw their evictions. Visit their website and Facebook page for more info: https://www.facebook.com/EvictionFreeSummer?fref=ts; http://evictionfreesummer.wordpress.com/.