“What do we want? Stop the evictions!”: Anti-Gentrification Protesters Block Facebook, Google Buses Tuesday Morning

12:05 PM: A group of several dozen anti-gentrification protesters briefly blocked two tech buses at Market and Eighth streets in San Francisco before bringing their message to a local Realtors’ office and City Hall this morning.

One of the protesters said the buses blocked were shuttles for employees of Facebook and Google.

The buses were eventually allowed to leave, and the demonstrators then marched to the offices of the San Francisco Association of Realtors at Grove and Franklin streets.

“This is ground zero for the battle of renters in San Francisco,” Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, yelled through a bullhorn while gesturing at the building.

Other protesters played musical instruments including drums, a saxophone, a trombone and a clarinet. The crowd chanted, “What do we want? Stop the evictions!”

The march ended at the front steps of City Hall, where several speakers discussed what they called an “epidemic” of gentrification and evictions in the city.

Rebecca Solnit, a local author and historian who has written extensively about the impact of tech workers moving into San Francisco, said today’s protest is about fighting for the “San Francisco dream.”

“It’s the dream that you can be idealistic, that you can lead a really meaningful life…that you can live in a city that has room for everyone,” she told the crowd gathered at City Hall this morning.

“I think the reason a lot of us were out there blockading this morning is that we’re looking at a city that could become homogenous, that could become a very dense suburb…as it becomes a bedroom community for the Silicon Valley,” Solnit said.

Speakers at the rally also urged protesters to attend today’s San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency meeting at City Hall at 1 p.m.

The meeting will include consideration of a controversial plan that would charge tech industry companies a fee for their shuttles to use Muni stops.

Several protesters this morning said they planned to attend.

Bernal Heights resident Amanda Ream, 38, said she took part in today’s protest because she wants San Francisco to “maintain the diversity and culture that I love about it.”

Protester Barry Hermanson, 62, a homeowner in the Sunset District, said, “The eviction crisis is out of hand…The gentrification in this city is incredible.”

Hermanson said he is running for Congress, in part because he says he is concerned about a lack of affordable housing.

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10:38 AM: A group of several dozen protesters briefly blocked two tech buses at Market and Eighth streets in San Francisco this morning.

As of 10 a.m., the buses had been allowed to leave and the protesters had marched up Market Street to the offices of the San Francisco Association of Realtors at Grove and Franklin streets.

“This is ground zero for the battle of renters in San Francisco,” a woman yelled through a bullhorn while gesturing at the building.
Other protesters played musical instruments including drums, a saxophone, a trombone and a clarinet. The crowd chanted, “What do we want? Stop the evictions!”

Bernal Heights resident Amanda Ream, 38, said she is participating in today’s protest because she wants San Francisco to “maintain the diversity and culture that I love about it.”

Protester Barry Hermanson, 62, a homeowner in the Sunset District, said, “The eviction crisis is out of hand…The gentrification in this city is incredible.”

Hermanson said he is running for Congress, in part because he says he is concerned about a lack of affordable housing.

The group protested outside the Realtors’ office for about 10 minutes before heading back toward Civic Center.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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  • mz

    Again? Because this worked out so well the last time (with the protester pretending to be a Google employee acting like a jerk)? When Ed Lee spoke about these “protests” in his State of the City just last week and made the case that tech has nearly halved unemployment in SF over the past couple years?

    Don’t get me wrong; there are very real issues about affordability, evictions, and housing in this city that we need to address. But protesting buses filled with people who want to get to work does nothing to even begin to address these problems, and frankly just makes everything worse by turning this into an “us versus them” issue.

  • Elias Levy

    If you want to have an educated discussion about the issue, you should probably have an idea what the statistics look like. If you’d like to learn about San Francisco eviction statistics, rental costs, population growth, and lack of rental units, check out this post:http://tmblr.co/Z3YOdo150xC2m