Protesters make the link between transit shuttles and evictions
By Sara Bloomberg

APRIL 11, 2014 — Another Google bus was blocked temporarily in the Mission today as anti-eviction protestors sought to shed light on the displacement of teachers – and in the case they focused on, a lawyer who works for Google is doing the Ellis Act eviction.

Claudia Tirado, a third-grade teacher, said she thinks her landlord is trying to beat the clock on legislation that the supervisors just passed to increase mandatory relocation payments to tenants evicted under the Ellis Act.

Her landlord, Jack Halprin, is an attorney and head of eDiscovery at Google, according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to a lawsuit filed by another tenant, Halprin bought the building at 812 Guerrero in 2012 with his domestic partner, Daniel Ortiz. He moved into one of the units and said that Ortiz would be moving into the unit right below his.

But Halprin and Ortiz have since split up, according to the complaint. Ortiz never moved into the apartment and currently resides in Venice Beach, the lawsuit alleges, stating that Halprin is trying to convert the two units into one larger two-story apartment.

Meanwhile, Tirado faces an Ellis eviction.

As protesters rallied from the stairs in front of Tirado’s home, construction workers climbed up and down the stairs.

There is construction happening all the time, even on weekends, she said.

It’s not clear what Halprin’s intent is for the building – if he gets rid of all his tenants under the Ellis Act, he would be the only one living in a seven-unit building. “I do not intend to turn this into condos,” he told Mission Local, but he declined to give the hyper-local blog any other more specific information.

Messages left for his attorney seeking comment were not returned.

There’s a moratorium on condo conversions in San Francisco through 2024, but it’s still legal to sell buildings as tenancies in common, which are almost the same as condos.

Claudia Tirado and her son face an Ellis Act eviction

Tirado lives with her boyfriend and their two-year-old son Alexander Valentino Tirado in a two bedroom apartment.

Little Alexander Valentino, 2, sported a blue, patterned onesie as he clung to his mother’s leg at the top of the stairs leading to their home. Shy at first, he quickly warmed up to the presence of strangers.

Tirado still hopes she’ll be able to raise him in San Francisco — but it means she’ll have to qualify for, find and secure a below market rate home to buy, she said.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development has a program to help San Francisco Unified School District teachers buy their first homes in the city. Called the Teacher Next Door Program, it could be one of Tirado’s options. She’s lived at 812 Guerrero since 2006 and has been in the city for 14 years.

“I want what they’re having. A place to grow” and raise my son, Tirado said.

Tech and real estate

Sara Shortt, director of the Housing Rights Committee, said that tech companies weren’t taking responsibility for the impacts the influx of well-paid employees is having on the city. “We’re here to hold the tech companies accountable,” she said.

Encouraging their recruits to live in the city and commute on private shuttle buses has created an incentive for the real estate industry to take advantage of those higher incomes, Shortt said, and low-income residents just can’t compete.

“The city has let it rise to a dire situation,” Shortt said, and has been “bending over backward for tech.”

The Board of Supervisors just rejected a challenge to the tech shuttle pilot program after a grueling six-hour-long hearing on April 1. While the controversial program will bring in $1 a day for each Muni bus stop that a tech shuttle uses, the program won’t mitigate the rising cost of housing in the city.

State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has proposed legislation to give the city the ability to limit Ellis-Act speculation; the measure just cleared its first Legislative committee.

And this November, voters might have the chance to vote on a local anti-speculation measure that’s being drafted by a coalition of tenant advocates, as well as least one measure increasing the minimum wage.

Another protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at 20th and Dolores streets to support another group of teachers who are facing evictions.