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UncategorizedTom's Town: A visit to River City (and what's...

Tom’s Town: A visit to River City (and what’s up with the David Chiu landlord-lawyer fundraiser?)

By Tom Temprano

My last visit to Sacramento happened when I was ten years old on a road trip to Gold Country with my dad. The memories I have from that trip include a fleeting glimpse of the Capitol, but are more focused on the viewing of my then-favorite movie, Major Payne, and the bucket of KFC my dad let me eat while watching it in our hotel room.

48hillstomstownThis past Tuesday, I made my first trip to River City (where are the rivers btw?) in nearly two decades to join 500 protestors from around the state for a tenant’s day of action organized by the rabble-rousers at Tenants Together. After getting up at 6:30am, an occurrence that also hasn’t happened in nearly two decades, and driving the two hours to Sacramento, we all somehow mustered up the energy to march around the Capitol Mall.

The Capitol Mall, in case you haven’t been, is really fucking big and marching around it was no small task — but neither is getting our state Legislature out of the pockets of landlords and realtors and into the earshot of tenants who desperately need help so we marched and yelled and made our point.

Given the momentum generated by the Citywide Tenants Convention two weeks ago, it was no surprise to see a number of San Francisco elected officials make the trek as well. After the march we got to hear speeches from Senator Leno and Assemblymember Ammiano as well as hellos from Supervisors Campos, Avalos, Kim and Chiu. Absent was Senator Leland Yee who got called out on stage by Dean Preston of Tenants Together – not the first time that the organization has questioned his record for tenants.  He may or may not have been in the building but, to quote Major Payne, “If he’s still in there, he ain’t happy.”

As mentioned above, it was no surprise to see Assembly candidates Campos and Chiu at the rally. If you’re trying to win your way to Sacramento, you have to prove you can navigate your way there on the map first.

What was a surprise was to learn that David Chiu, who spoke at the rally about the need to fight evictions and keep people in their homes, would be having a campaign fundraiser two days later hosted by Steven MacDonald, a lawyer who represents landlords in Ellis Act eviction cases and infamously represented landlords trying to evict a building full of elderly Chinese tenants from Jasper Alley. (more after the jump)

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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