Homeless and Housing Activists Take Over Privately Owned Duplex in San Francisco

Homeless and Housing Activists Take Over Privately Owned Duplex in San Francisco

This is a discussion on Homeless and Housing Activists Take Over Privately Owned Duplex in San Francisco within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; A group of homeless people and housing activists took over a privately owned Mission District duplex on Sunday in what served as the climax of ...

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Thread: Homeless and Housing Activists Take Over Privately Owned Duplex in San Francisco

  1. #1
    Member Array kccad's Avatar
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    Homeless and Housing Activists Take Over Privately Owned Duplex in San Francisco

    A group of homeless people and housing activists took over a privately owned Mission District duplex on Sunday in what served as the climax of a protest designed to promote use of San Francisco's vacant buildings as shelters for the needy.

    But the owner of the property - who was targeted over his eviction of a tenant - said the demonstration was nothing more than breaking and entering.

    "It's not actually vacant. I use it for my own personal uses," Ara Tehlirian of Daly City said in an interview, adding that he was in contact with the San Francisco Police Department. "I know nothing other than my property was apparently broken into."

    The takeover epitomized the tensions between property owners and tenant activists that have flared for decades in the city, and sometimes tip into outright hostilities near the peaks and troughs of the market cycle.

    This time, more than fifty people marched in the rain through the Mission District, hoisting picket signs that read "House keys not handcuffs" and chanting "Whose city? Our city." The action was organized by Homes Not Jails, a 20-year-old group affiliated with the San Francisco Tenants Union.

    By the time the tail of the procession reached the duplex on the 500 block of San Jose Street, at least eight people were inside, holding banners from second-story windows. It wasn't clear how they gained entry, and Ted Gullicksen, leader of the tenant organization, declined to provide details.

    More than a dozen police officers were on hand, most standing on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Asked earlier whether they would take action if protesters occupied the property, officers declined to comment. One said, "We'll see."

    By 3 p.m., all had left but one, who stayed to ensure that "nobody is out of hand," said a police official, Sgt. William Escobar. No arrests had been made.

    Gullicksen said the protest carried important symbolism during a tough time for tenants.

    Because of housing speculation during the real estate boom, "a lot of tenants were evicted," Gullicksen said. "Now a lot of those homes are sitting empty. The city should be doing something to turn vacant buildings into affordable housing."

    Specifically, he said the city should foreclose on buildings where hefty back taxes are owed or use its powers of eminent domain to turn over long-vacant homes to nonprofit developers. The group is not advocating turning over the city's stock of new but unsold properties to the homeless.

    Jose Morales, 80, lived in the San Jose Street building for 43 years before he was forced to leave in 2008 through the Ellis Act, which allows property owners to get out of the rental business.

    Morales said he now lives in a small space in an office building in the Mission District.

    "The city should have protected me," he said. "It's like they don't see me. It's like I'm a ghost to them."

    But attorney Andrew Zacks, who represented Tehlirian, said the landlord resorted to the Ellis Act only after Morales remained on the property illegally, after being given more than a year's notice and relocation fees.

    Zacks said he hopes charges are filed over what he characterized as "people taking the law into their own hands and breaking into property."

    "It's sort of ridiculous to think that a private property owner like Mr. Tehlirian would have any obligation to house the homeless," he said. "It's a problem we should deal with as a community, not something that should be foisted on the back of a small property owner."

    Gullicksen called it an act of civil disobedience.

    "They can characterize it as an illegal act, but that doesn't mask the fact that the building has been sitting unused and that Jose Morales was evicted from there," he said.

    About 5 p.m. Sunday, he said, police knocked on the door of the building and asked protesters how long they planned to stay. According to Gullicksen, they responded that they had no immediate plans to leave.



    Read more: Housing protest leads to takeover of duplex


  2. #2
    Member Array cbp210's Avatar
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    I know this area very well as this area is plagued with drug dealers, gang bangers, and illegal immigrants. Alot of rental property owners have been reluctant to get active with these people due to fear of reprisals.

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    Glad they weren't armed violent right-wing Christian militiamen or their NRA Tea Party Minutemen friends, who'd cause us harm and about whom we should be alarmed.

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    They had no immediate plans to leave??? That's the end of the discussion.

    SF Cop -- what do you intend to do with that money you just stole?

    Homeless -- spend it, then steal some more

    SF cop -- OK, just checking

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    It's illegal entry and taking control of private property.

    Law enforcement doesn't have the "enforcement" element it once did. So long as it doesn't, then "ownership" doesn't mean what it once did.

    In a whole array of areas, we are having to learn an entirely new vocabulary, this past 20yrs.
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    Member Array nlax2011's Avatar
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    Absolutely ridiculous.....

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    It's Cali, worse yet, San Francisco...what'd ya' expect?
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    more people demanding something for free. Now it's not just free stuff from the "government" now it's take stuff from private citizens.

    Pelosi must be having an erotic dream over this... It's her district!

    When the police refuse to stop what's clearly wrong and illegal... It won't be long now!
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    VIP Member Array JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    more people demanding something for free. Now it's not just free stuff from the "government" now it's take stuff from private citizens.

    Pelosi must be having an erotic dream over this... It's her district!

    When the police refuse to stop what's clearly wrong and illegal... It won't be long now!
    Hey, hey, hey....stop that!

    Mentioning Pelosi and erotic in the same sentence should never be done!
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoJoGunn View Post
    Hey, hey, hey....stop that!

    Mentioning Pelosi and erotic in the same sentence should never be done!

    My bad.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    Police not enforcing the law has a political smell to it. Do any of these snippets sound familiar?
    "...The city should be doing something..."
    "...the city should foreclose on buildings where hefty back taxes are owed or use its powers of eminent domain to turn over long-vacant homes to nonprofit developers..."
    "...The city should have protected me,..."
    They are in the same vein as comments made by victims of crime who never thought it would happen to them. It's always someone else's responsibility. At the same time, people who mouth these comments have no respect for the private property rights of others. New York City passed rent control during WWII as a "temporary" measure to control housing costs and, in one form or another, this law is still on the books. It is interesting to note that when the tenants outnumber the landlords at the voting booth, there is little incentive to change the law. Changes have only come as a result of periodic acute housing shortages because no one would build a new building if they couldn't charge enough for rent pay back the bank loan, cover maintenance and make (gasp!) at least a modest profit.

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    If you don't stand up for what is your, you will lose it.

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    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    Wish they'd try that someone where Castle Doctrine was in play
    "If I was an extremist, our founding fathers would all be extremists," he said. "Without them, we wouldn't have our independence. We'd be a disarmed British system of feudal subjectivity."

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    Read "Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck

    Set in circa 1937 during The Great Depression.

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    re: Gmark

    Quote Originally Posted by gmark340 View Post
    P It's always someone else's responsibility. At the same time, people who mouth these comments have no respect for the private property rights of others. New York City passed rent control during WWII as a "temporary" measure to control housing costs and, in one form or another, this law is still on the books. It is interesting to note that when the tenants outnumber the landlords at the voting booth, there is little incentive to change the law. .
    And it is equally noteworthy that many of those buildings have been refurbished and sold off as high end condo units. Rent control doesn't prevent that. Never did. Never prevented upgrades. There was plenty of profit made from rent controlled buildings.

    I lived in rent controlled buildings for 24 years; my mom lived in one for another 20 years after I left home. Its not like rent was fixed. Just limits on change and requirements that the property be maintained. Big stuff, like painting the place once in awhile; keeping a safe boiler and working heat-hot water.

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