Bus-Blocking Protesters Call Out Google Staffer Who’s Allegedly Trying To Evict Guerrero Street Tenants

Dozens of protesters in San Francisco blocked a bus headed for Google headquarters this morning and dozens more are expected during a march this afternoon to rally against the evictions of local teachers and other longtime city residents.

Protesters from Eviction Free San Francisco and other groups blocked a Google bus at Dolores and 18th streets starting around 8:30 a.m. The protest went on for about 20 minutes before police cleared the scene, according to protest organizer Becca Gourevitch.

Attendees heard from longtime residents of a building at 812 Guerrero St. who are being evicted under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows property owners to take a building off of the rental market and convert it for other uses, such as condominiums or a single-family home.

The building was recently purchased by a Google employee who “proceeded to evict tenants using illegal methods,” according to a statement from Eviction Free San Francisco.

A Google spokesperson did not immediately return requests for comment.

One of the tenants, 39-year-old Evan Wolkenstein, said he and several other tenants in the 7-unit building got eviction notices in February telling them they had 120 days to vacate their homes. Residents in two of the apartments have already been evicted, he said.

Wolkenstein, a teacher at San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay, said he has lived in his apartment for eight years and doesn’t want to leave. He said he had already been active in San Francisco’s anti-eviction movement when he got his own eviction notice.

“This entire house has a community in it of people who look out for each other and it’s being destroyed and I don’t think that’s right,” he said. “More importantly, I’m fighting on behalf of a community who have a less of a voice than I do—people who are disabled, people who are marginalized and don’t have the resources to raise public awareness.”

Among the tenants being evicted are another San Francisco teacher and her toddler, a disabled woman and her dog, a couple with a baby, and a musician, Wolkenstein said.

He said he plans to join some of his fellow tenants and other local educators and anti-eviction groups during this afternoon’s march.

Gourevitch said tonight’s event will focus on San Francisco teachers who are being forced out of their homes.

“We want to keep San Francisco teachers in San Francisco and they’re being evicted with the Ellis Act, which is a main way people are being pushed out,” Gourevitch said.

“These are middle-class, longtime San Franciscans we are trying to keep in their homes,” she said.

Protesters plan to march at 5 p.m. from 20th and Dolores streets.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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  • cedichou

    The article states: The building was recently purchased by a Google employee who “proceeded to evict tenants using illegal methods,” according to a statement from Eviction Free San Francisco.

    I’m curious, what is illegal here? Ellis act is legal and no one can force the owner to be a landlord. He’s an asshole for evicting disabled ladies and toddlers, but he’s a legal asshole, as far as the other facts in the article are presented.

  • cedichou

    Also: “We want to keep San Francisco teachers in San Francisco and they’re being evicted with the Ellis Act, which is a main way people are being pushed out,” Gourevitch said.

    Well, if that’s the main way people are pushed out, then there is no problem, really, because only roughly 100 units are lost to Ellis act every year and Ellis act evictions are not at a particularly high level right now.

    • Forthright

      you could not be more wrong,

      • cedichou

        can you explain to me where I’m wrong?

        Here’s the data on Ellis act:
        http://www.sustainablecommunitiesindex.org/city_indicators/view/79
        Total Ellis act eviction between 2005-2012: 1,200.

        Also, you can look at the census data to see that SF population has increased by 10,000 between 2012 and 2013! 22,000 since 2010!
        http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06075.html

        Which one is the main problem: Loss of 1,200 units in 8 years, or gain of 22,000 new people in three years? Which one will stretch the rental market more? Gourevitch says Ellis act is the main problem. Well, data says otherwise.

        But focusing on a non-problem is a distraction from focusing on the real problem…

        • Forthright

          But focusing on a non-problem is a distraction from focusing on the real problem…yep EXACTLY. Ellis accounts for only ONE of the parameters in the link you shared, by the way. So that is NOT, as you call it, “Ellis Act data..”
          Sounds like you don’t really want an explanation, to be honest.

          • cedichou

            So I provided a link that give you Ellis data AND MORE (all no-fault evictions), what’s the problem with this exactly? Can you figure out which table column and which graph reads Ellis?

            I truly want an honest explanation, but can you give me one?

            The real problem is increasing housing costs in SF. Ban all Ellis acts, and you are left with… exactly the same problem: 10,000 new people vying for housing between 2012 and 2013. Can you calculate that 100 Ellis acts in 2012 = 1% of what is needed to accommodate them 10,000 newcomers?

        • smushmoth

          Furthermore many of those ellis units are occupied as TIC units.

  • sebra leaves

    Chances are good that the next economic cleansing will hit the most recently hired as it has in the past and we shall see how “cool” evictions are.

  • HappyHighwayman

    How awful people continue the American tradition of doing what they want with shit they own.