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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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UncategorizedTed Gullicksen, tenant organizer, dead at 61

Ted Gullicksen, tenant organizer, dead at 61


By Tim Redmond

OCTOBER 14, 2014 — The day just gets worse.

I spent much of the afternoon taking press calls and talking about the tragedy of the Bay Guardian, and it wasn’t until about 3pm that I got a text telling me Ted Gullicksen was dead.

Damn. Two old friends in one day. I feel as if there’s been some sort of great rend in the fabric of this city.

Ted devoted much of his adult life to helping tenants in San Francisco. He was a kind and gentle person, but had the activist fire – and with his leadership and help over the years we passed legislation, blocked legislation, won battles, and made life better for tens of thousands of renters.

There are a whole lot of people who are still in their apartments today, at a rent they can afford, because of the efforts of Ted Gullicksen.

I don’t know any details except that he was found dead in his bed this morning (and that Sara Shortt is taking care of his beloved dog Falcor). He was only 61. And he was working actively on the Yes on G campaign up until the last day of his life.

Brian Basinger posted a wonderful note on Facebook:

I look around and am thankful for the remarkable leadership that has erupted in the tenants rights world. Our movement has grown tremendously and we are stronger now than ever. Principled, powerful people are emerging to bolster and expand the impact of our collective work.

Look around at all of the growth. We finally have the first statewide tenants organization doing amazing work under the leadership of Dean PrestonSan Francisco Anti-Displacement CoalitionAnti-Eviction Mapping Project, andEviction Free San Francisco are doing amazing work shaping the public dialogue around housing rights, thanks to the great work of Jennifer FieberErin MC EL, and Fred Sherburn-Zimmer. This fresh new energy has at least doubled the capacity of our movement in recent years.

Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco is stronger than ever with more paid staff doing incredible organizing under the capable leadership of Tommi Avicolli Mecca and Sara Shortt. Eviction Defense Collaborative is thriving under the leadership of Tyler MacMillan. The Homeless Emergency Services Providers Association and Coalition on Homelessness are making remarkable gains under the leadership of Jennifer Friedenbach. The Harvey Milk Club is kicking butt and taking names and is once again one of the most trusted and progressive powerhouses in the City, with Tom TempranoLee HepnerPeter Gallotta. Laura Thomas, Stephany Joy Ashley and so many more.

Causa Justa: Just Cause and SF Rising with Mario Yedidia are doing the critical organizing work that we’ve always dreamed of.

When Miguel Wooding passed away a few years ago, I did not know how we were going to carry on without his guidance, intellect, experience, charm and the many wonderful and unique qualities he possessed. But you know what, we did carry on. We continued to fight. We continued to win. And we are stronger than ever.

And that’s the point of investing in movements. Empires crumble, but movements are unstoppable.

We are more powerful than ever. When we fight, we win!

Many of the people he talks about learned about tenant and housing rights from Ted. This is part of his legacy, something we all can celebrate.

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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  1. As I noted above, it’s more a matter of billions of dollars (or tens of millions, realistically) being shifted from younger tenants to the older boomer beneficiaries of rent control.

    Rent control protects the rents of the boomers who never progressed with their lives and who are still squatting in the flea-ridden hovels of their youth. At the expense of the younger folks who wish to emulate them and move to SF, but cannot because all of the rental units are being hoarded by old self-absorbed farts with a sense of entitlement.

  2. “He shifted billions of dollars from the pocket of landlords into those of the tenants of San Francisco.”

    It’s always about the money and tenants are just as capable of “greed” as any landlord….

  3. Here is a perfect example of the problem with you, far, far, leftist types. You are just as big of bigots as the religious nut cases. You are just leftist nut cases. People who are more self enabled and financially competent than you, are just the scum of the earth? YOU REALLY ARE NUT CASES !

  4. I hate anyone who has more than me. Especially if they don’t have a drug or alcohol problem or a criminal record.

  5. You’re a million percent right. Dan. Lobtotomized GreedBots sums it up perfectly! They are truly evil and San Francisco is being decimated by these vermin. They are indeed “corporatist parasites” and the most arrogant unenlightened assholes around. The only ones worse are the Board Of Stoops in City Hall who ran as progressives yet kneel in submission to the Technocracy and its bankster partners in crime.

  6. I counted more than 3 posts from you on the “SFBG is dead” thread.

    And why do you assume that everyone posting as “Sam” is the same person?

    Or even that Tim can “filter” anyone or anything or even wants to?

    Apart from that I am with you 100%, natch. Censoring free speech is a proud and traditional left-wing virtue.

  7. The article is about Gullicksen. New construction for owner-occupier is (or rather, was) well outside his jurisdiction.

    Anyway, why do you care if someone richer than you lives in a new home that you cannot afford?

  8. IF

    “San Francisco’s housing movement is so strong,”


    “why do we find ourselves in this dire predicament, why are luxury condos sprouting like mushrooms across the east side of town?”

  9. Hitler was younger when he died.

    “The good die young” is a cute saying but I’m not sure it is statistically accurate, even assuming that we could agree on the meaning of the word “good”, and I doubt that we can.

  10. CAN THE LADIES GET A RESPONSE HERE: Tina asks “DID HE DIE OF NATURAL CAUSES?” I say -” In today’s San Francisco- THERE SHOULD BE AN AUTOPSY!.” Was he EVEN SICK????????? Its not out of the question there was FOUL PLAY…..

  11. The concept of Sf being “affordable” is meaningless. It never has been cheap and it never will be. Even before the Bay Area became the global center of the knowledge, sharing and social economies, it was pricey. The locale, climate and land constraints make that inevitable.

    All over the planet there are pockets of desirability and affluence. Such places are never cheap. Do they think that Aspen is affordable? La Jolla? Monaco? Of course not – you always have to pay for quality and rarity. It’s the way of the world.

    And I read recently that the most expensive cities to live on the planet were Moscow and Shanghai – both cities in communist nations. So much for the idea that socialism can solve this “problem”

    No, the mantra of affordable housing is simply a slogan used to try and pass punitive and confiscatory land use policies, which are invariably self-defeating. SF is expensive and always will be. If that bothers you, then move elsewhere. Most of the US is dirt cheap in comparison.

  12. It is ridiculous to dismiss an entire class of people as being the same, having no feelings, not caring and so on. All such generalizations are wrong because they are stereotypes and do not allow for the great diversity within members of the same class. You might as well argue that all Asians look alike or that all blacks are criminals.

    I can understand why you might feel envy or resentment when many around you are more successful, and can afford and enjoy things that you cannot. But to turn that into class-based hatred is not an informed or elevated position to take.

    The irony is that it is you who are promoting class war here. You seem obsessed with them but I guarantee you that the successful aren’t hating on you.

    I really think it would be healthy for you to come off the boil some, and look inward at where the real problem might be. We cannot control others; only ourselves.

  13. Not really. If a new development sells in a matter of days (and some do) then it means that the selling price was set too low.

    On the other hand, if it takes a few months to sell, that indicates that you got your price point at the sweet spot.

    It is different when selling existing homes because that process is effectively an auction and you know you have gotten the best price you can. Price discovery is efficient for selling existing homes but less so for selling new homes.

    Your claim that it is only investors buying these homes is also wrong. Even by Tim’s own figures, which he admits there are problems with, 70% of these homes are bought by people who live in them. Of the other 30%, many of them are rented out, and so are also occupied by SF residents.

    Developers aren’t stupid and they build the homes that they know people will want to buy. The fact that you personally cannot afford one of them doesn’t mean that they should not be built. You don’t get to deny housing to others.

  14. I meant to add:

    If there were such a dire demand, it wouldn’t have taken 8 months for the new luxury condo building near me to sell 22 luxury designer condos….IN A PRIME/BEST LOCATION at that.

    Their ad read: just minutes from best restaurants, best bars, best shopping, best theatre, best entertainment, best this, best that. That’s how it was billed.

  15. I was thinking more about Marcos’s question:

    “why are luxury condos sprouting like mushrooms across the east side of town?”

    As an investment for greedy investors (absentee owners). So that many greedy investors can “snap them up” as they like to say, and then later resell them and make more money. It’s not that there’s a demand for them. There’s a demand for greedy investors to have the luxury of investing in them and keeping them unoccupied to resell them later?

    We have an AFFORDABLE housing crisis in SF. We do not have a housing crisis. There’s no shortage of homes for the wealthy and 1% (they have their pick of homes especially from what I’ve seen “For Sale” around Upper Market). If there were such a dire demand, it wouldn’t have taken 8 months for the new luxury condo building near me to sell 22 luxury designer condos. It took 8 months for them to be “snapped up” as they like to brag. They’ve already had their first “re-sale” in that building (they bragged about it). If there were such a dire demand, those 22 condos would have sold very quickly or immediately. But they are not AFFORDABLE. They are UNAFFORDABLE and for the wealthy. So that tells me that the wealthy are not that dire and desperate to move here either as the real estate hacks and shills like to lie and go on about. And with the new buildings near me, much of the retail space still has “For Lease” signs in their windows months after the buildings opened. Add that to the already empty store fronts.

  16. Dan,

    How does one win “an affordable San Francisco”? I’m serious, how exactly do we make SF “affordable” without creating depression conditions.

    And, although I do believe teachers are underpaid (I was a teacher at one time), I hope you were not identifying youself as one of the “poor”. Underpaid, yes. Middle class, yes. Poor, no.

  17. “SF is turning from super left to libertarian…”

    To me, that’s sanitizing the situation. Tell it like it is: The people ruining this city are Lobotomized GreedBots. Greed at any cost. They are shallow, superficial empty vessels who care about nothing but money. To them, It’s fine to leave the place a fucking wreck as long as their goal of greed has been accomplished and they can sit around and dump on the poor with their fucking Class Warfare nonsense.

    They have no feelings or care about anybody but themselves and wealthy corporatist parasites just like them. They are really the scum of the Earth and some of their disciples vegetate on this site as smug, arrogant, self-appointed omnipotent assholes.

  18. He who starts off with the lack of civility is not entitled to whine when it is returned. It is the initiation of rudeness that is the sin that Tim so laments and seeks to deter.

    If you can’t take it, do not dish it out.

  19. @shaman138: You responded to one of the members of the Civility Cult (who are the opposite of civility) and who’s always lecturing others on “civility,” and then you get “asswipe” in response. So very “civil” isn’t it? The hypocrisy! Clearly “civility” only applies to other people, and not them.

  20. As noted below, it is more accurate to say that rent control transfers millions (probably not billions) of dollars from younger tenants to older tenants. Like Prop 13, it eases the burden on long-established rental residents at the expensive of anyone looking for a place, who are typically younger.

    Landlords are not impacted in the aggregate because the average tenancy length is about seven years, ensuring turnover and market rents.

    The problem is more that, with both landlords and tenants, rent control creates winners and losers, rather than a level playing field for all.

    In other words, it rewards being lucky, and being older.

  21. However Ken, you might not survive the coming thing, and it’s coming. SF is turning from super left to libertarian, right before your eyes.

  22. @Ken,

    If you really want to put your money where your mouth is, please also request that CALSTRS and SFERS allocate a significant portion of their real estate portfolio to buying or building affordable housing in SF. It would seem that if progressives believe that landlords make an exorbitant amount of money in rent controlled housing, then CALSTRS and SFERS could make a reasonable return while charging reasonable rents.

    Of course, please first change the plans to DC plans so that the taxpayer isn’t on the hook if this idea doesn’t pan out.

  23. “SFRentier” aka Probal Young, the miserable troll with hundreds of accounts on sfgate, just lives to be an aggravating piece of shit. Believe it or not, this loathsome ghoul is actually a lawyer with too much time on his filthy hands.

  24. In 2008 returned from a teacher’s summer vacation to find a notice on my apartment door. First call was to Ted and the Tenants Union. Today, still in my home of almost 20 years. Teachers all over SF are struggling to remain in the communities we teach. In the face of housing costs that devour a teacher’s monthly paycheck and that drive many of our students families out of town, educators are committed to building a progressive coalition that will win an affordable San Francisco.

  25. I’m sorry but Tommy Avicolla Meccha is really a nutbag. Psycho even He is not any match in personality for Ted who was the sweetest, kindest man ever. And calm.

  26. I had a couple of conversations with Ted and, although we disagreed on almost everything, I found him to be amiable and affable. Unlike many on the left, I did not sense anger, hatred or bitterness from him. Perhaps that was why he was effective, as even his opponents conceded that he was.

    Some of the merchants of anger on the left could learn from him that one can follow and pursue a political cause while remaining civil and cordial towards those with whom you disagree.

    I had an issue with his little side-show supporting squatting. But in the main he was an opponent I could respect. I just wish more were like him, but the newer generation of advocates appear to have less manners and patience.

  27. That’s not quite true. SFTU consistently refused to advise rent-controlled tenants who were also master tenants.

    They also did little for the significant and growing number of tenants who do not have rent control. Not their fault, perhaps, but to claim that they helped all tenants is an exaggeration. Their favored policies helped some tenants but made things worse for others e.g. those newly arriving in the city or those who had to move.

    Broadly speaking rent control moves money from younger tenants to older tenants, much like Prop 13 and social security do. Whether you support that probably depends on whether you are old or young.

  28. The reason why condos are being built in larger numbers now is fairly evident. People want them. Without a demand, they could not and would not be being built.

    Gullicksen can hardly be blamed for that because the scope of his efforts were limited to just one sector of the housing market i.e. older, cheaper rental buildings. I don’t believe that he ever argued that those who can afford to buy a home in SF should somehow be denied the opportunity to do so.

  29. Ted came along after Rent Control had left me high-n-dry, so he was never a fav of mine.

    The SFBG, otoh, was an inspiration – even if it tweaked into something staid and ossified; still, it had some insightful and detailed analysis.

    Guess the only thing really keeping me in SF (well, the only OTHER thing), is Rainbow Grocery. I’ve thought of moving a number of times but held off due since that would mean losing access to FR (Rainbow).

  30. The reason why Gullicksen was so successful is that he did not just advocate for low income tenants, the SFTU advocated for all rent controlled tenants of all incomes and crafted and held together a coalition that has remained coherent and powerful for decades.

    The SFTU also never took city funding and thus was not on the hook to room 200.

  31. “why are luxury condos sprouting like mushrooms across the east side of town?”

    Yes, you’ve noticed that too. I think it’s so they can be partially underwater with sea level rise at some point in the future, which doesn’t seem to be the least bit of concern for anyone here in positions of power today.

  32. He was always there at the Tenants Union – tremendous energy – seemed like he would go on for ever. Hard to believe. RIP Ted Gullickson.

  33. Thank you Ted, for your voice, and your help throughout the years on the Parkmerced and general rental housing stock issues. A day we should all think about a roof over ones head, and the importance of essential well designed and thoughtfully made, housing for all people.

    Aaron Goodman

  34. Ted did a lot to protect some low rent tenants. But he did a lot more to shoot market rents up to the stratosphere for everyone else. Thanks for that.

  35. The city is less today with the loss of a person with this amount of passion and conviction for helping others.


  36. I went to some SFTU eviction protests, and saw Gullicksen in action. The man was absolutely tireless and razor focused. He looked like he could go on forever at twice the speed. His energy fueled everyone around him.

    He was a good man. RIP.

  37. Gullicksen was the last of his generation who still played for keeps. He shifted billions of dollars from the pocket of landlords into those of the tenants of San Francisco.

    If San Francisco’s housing movement is so strong, then why do we find ourselves in this dire predicament, why are luxury condos sprouting like mushrooms across the east side of town?

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