Gentrification Shakes Up San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — The City by the Bay is rocking and reeling these days and it’s not because of any natural phenomena such as an earthquake, but a human made upheaval of gentrification and skyrocketing property values, fueled by a dynamic Tech industry led by the likes of Google, Yahoo, Apple, and Facebook.
Friday, April 11th, saw the latest skirmish between housing rights activists and tenants against Google specifically when protesters blocked a Google bus at 18th & Dolores Street in the Mission District.
The bus is used to ferry Google employees from San Francisco to company headquarters located in Mountain View, about 15 miles away.
When we say “bus” don’t envision the raggedy-ass, graffiti covered, plastic seat transport used by the general public. These are double-decker luxury liners, equipped with Wi-Fi, upholstered seats, and restrooms.
Google leases a fleet of them, and the city has given them permission to use the municipal bus stops to pick-up, and drop-off, their workers.
The Friday protest concerned Jack Halprin, an attorney employed by Google, who bought a multi-unit apartment building in the Mission and immediately began eviction proceedings against all seven tenants, which included a San Francisco public school teacher.
San Francisco’s Mission District is “the” hottest neighborhood in the city. Most recently a working-class Latino neighborhood, with all the attendant problems of drugs, prostitution and gang violence, it’s being quickly transformed into a very upscale neighborhood of multi-million dollar condos, noted restaurants and night clubs.
The Mission is also home to new Tech arrivals like Twitter, and all of them need housing for their employees who are being drawn to the city from all over the world.
In California a state law known as the Ellis Act allows a building owner who wants to take the property off the rental market, to evict the tenants, and put each apartment up for sale.
This became such a huge issue during the last Tech boom of the ‘90s, when building owners resorted to illegally evicting scores of tenants, just to flip the building for a profit, that condo conversions of existing buildings have been halted by law in San Francisco till 2024.
However, canny building owners have found ways to get around the condo conversion moratorium, such as offering the units as a tenancy-in-common, where a group assumes the one overall mortgage of a building.
“I do not intend to turn this into condos,” Jack Halprin told the Mission News as construction went on in the background. When specifically asked what he planned to do with all the vacant apartments, he declined to say.
Meanwhile, California lawmakers moved forward on April 8th with proposed legislation that would give San Francisco the authority to halt Ellis Act evictions.
The bill would require a new owner to keep a property "as is" for five years before they could use the Ellis Act to evict tenants. It's hoped this will discourage speculators.
However, as expected, the bill is seeing heavy opposition from the real estate lobby and passage is not gauranteed.
Top of page, Activists block the "GBUS TO MTV" - Google Bus to Mountain View - with a poster of 812 Guerrero Street, the property from which tenants were evicted by Jack Halprin. Above, Housing rights activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca holds a special message for Google.
The demonstration attracted a horde of media.
Blocking a "double-decker luxury liner."
Jason Collins Joins Brooklyn Nets
On Sunday, February 23rd, Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets making him the first openly Gay player in the NBA. The 7', 255 lb center will be on the court Sunday evening when the Nets face the L.A. Lakers at the Staples Center. [UPDATE] Jason Collins signed a new contract in March and is now a full time member of the Nets.
NFL Prospect Comes Out
With that statement made to ESPN during an interview on Sunday, February 9, Michael Sam, Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year for the University of Missouri, is poised to make history as the first openly gay NFL player.
FEATURE: "Good Morning America, I'm Gay."
As I imagine was the case for many Black lesbians who’ve watched the ascent of Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, I was not surprised to learn that she is gay. “At last,” I thought to myself.
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Evelyn C. White.
As flags all over San Francisco stood at half-mast to honor Nelson Mandela, per Mayoral decree, the Merchants of Upper Market & Castro (MUMC), a group of White Lesbians and Gay men, refused to lower "their" flag, standing on public property, at the corner of Market and Castro, arguably the very heart of Gay America.
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Pictured above: the Rainbow Flag flying not-so-proudly on Thursday, December 12, 2013.
1918 - 2013
DECEMBER 1st - World AIDS Day
Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-free Generation is the theme for the 2013 World AIDS Day observance.
On June 5, 1981 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) describing cases of a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), in five young, previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles. All the men have other unusual infections as well, indicating that their immune systems are not working; two have already died by the time the report is published.
That edition of the MMWR marked the first official reporting of what would become known as the AIDS epidemic. Since then over 25 million have died of the disease and globally, there are 33 million living with HIV/AIDS.
WHEN A FRIEND DIES
Bobby, Bill and myself were a street-running trio. The Clubhouse in D.C. was our second home where we danced till sunrise. When Bill got a new lover my friendship with Bobby deepened. We had a touchstone relationship, confided in one another whole heartedly, or so I thought.
Read the article by Miles K. Bell
Miles K. Bell
Perhaps this subject is not readily discussed or
BABY, YOU'RE A S.T.A.R.
In the early 1970s a radical group of Drag Queens formed in the aftermath of Stonewall and called themselves STAR: Street Transvestite Action Revolutionary.
Their chant was: Go Left! Go Gay! Go Pick Up The Gun!
The photo by Ron Simmons shows STAR members at one of the first Gay conferences ever held: Gay Pride 1971 - in Albany, New York
STAR members (l-r) unidentified, Miss Pixie and the original Black diva: Marsha Johnson. Marsha was a founding member of STAR:
photo ©Ron Simmons