You can tear a building down,
but you can’t erase a memory.
These buildings may all come down,
but they have a value you can’t see.
Open Letter to a Landlord, LIVING COLOR
SALVATION ARMY UPDATE
As reported last issue, the tenant of 242 Turk Street are continuing to organize for a “Just Relocation” from their soon-to-be-demolished Tenderloin dwellings. So-far things are going smoothly with the majority of the tenants have found decent, affordable places to live. Since an injury to one is still an injury to all, the tenants are staying vigilant until everyone is out of harm’s way. Tentatively, a Planning Commission hearing is slated for June 19th, the tenants are asking for the commish to attach full relocation requirements to the demolition permit. Thanks to their organizing, Supervisors Ammiano, Newsom, Daly, Mc.Goldrick and Gonzalez have signed on in support.
JUST IN CASE YOU THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO GET A VACATION…
Notorious slumlord Angelo Sangiacomo is planning on demolishing the 377-unit Trinity Plaza and the Moonstar Restaurant at 8th and Market. Sangiacomo owns thousands of apartments and his horrible treatment of tenants was instrumental in inciting the campaign that ultimately passed rent control. He has hired a public relations firm, at least three lawyers, and architects from Miami to pitch his demolition plans to community forums as a way to “clean up Market Street.” Sangiacomo is quoted in the SF Business Times about the Trinity Plaza saying “There’s nothing here.”
These low-cost rent controlled apartments are home to over 450 tenants, who are mostly elderly and immigrant workers. They are not buying Sangiacomo’s plan to evict them from their homes. Lead by a prayer circle of Filipinos, long time residents, and elderly tenants living on fixed incomes, they have started to fight back! “I don’t want to be evicted,” said Pascual, 48, who helped start a tenants’ group that recently attracted 50 people to a meeting. “There is no place where we are going to get the same rate or rent control. We want to fight this proposal before it’s too late.” (SF Chronicle)
This assault on rent control is a growing trend. The Civic Center Hotel is home to nearly 200 tenants at 12th and Market and their home is also threatened by demolition. The timing is not by chance, the City is gearing up to pour tens of millions of dollars to gentrify the area through the creation of the Mid-Market Redevelopment Area. This long time dream of the city’s largest land owners and downtown business interests could be a nightmare for the low-income tenants that now call the area home. But not if we can help it!
This isn’t the first time gentrification has threatened the heart of SF as the business community has been pushing to tear down SOMA and the Tenderloin since the 1940s. The community is still here in 2003 because they organized and fought to preserve our neighborhood for working people and those of us living on fixed incomes. If you want to join the fight against eviction and displacement call the Central City SRO Collaborative at 775-7110.
BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN MOVEMENTS
Many thanks to St. Boniface for opening up their beautifully remodeled premises for a Right to a Roof forum called “The War At Home,” on May 17th. Participants were treated to deft analysis of how domestic poverty, war abroad, attacks on immigrants, and the drug war abroad tie together. Thanks are in order to Roger White of the Data Center, Christina Galvez of the Blue Triangle Network, George Tirado of Central City Hospitality House, Ingrid Chapman of Active Solidarity, Rachel Herzig of Critical Resistance, and Moncha Alba Mata of the School of Unity and Liberation.