Activists victorious in rescinding Ellis Act evictions of teacher, other tenants 

click to enlarge The Ellis Act evictions of teacher Benito Santiago, shown above at right during a prior protest of evictions, and other tenants at 149-151 Duboce Ave. have been rescinded following efforts by Eviction-Free San Francisco. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • The Ellis Act evictions of teacher Benito Santiago, shown above at right during a prior protest of evictions, and other tenants at 149-151 Duboce Ave. have been rescinded following efforts by Eviction-Free San Francisco.

Anti-eviction activists have won another battle in their ongoing war against displacement of San Francisco's longtime, often-disenfranchised residents.

The eviction of a San Francisco Unified School District teacher, Benito Santiago, 63, and several others at 149-151 Duboce Ave. was rescinded Tuesday, seven months after Eviction-Free San Francisco began working with tenants there, staging multiple protests, said Erin McElroy, an organizer for the group.

Research by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, directed by McElroy, linked Pineapple Boy LLC -- which served tenants Santiago, Eduardo Santana, Rhani Remedes and Scott Evans with Ellis Act eviction notices in December -- to Michael Harrison, a co-founder of Vanguard Properties.

Pineapple Boy bought the building in November and immediately tried to evict tenants, McElroy said. In response, Eviction-Free San Francisco organized a few hundred people to march to Vanguard Properties in April, and followed the action with smaller-scale protests culminating in one Aug. 12 in which they entered the developer's office and were physically pushed out.

"My understanding is that it was after that action that [Vanguard co-founder] Michael Harrison had enough and didn't want to go through with the eviction," McElroy said.

While Eviction-Free San Francisco has been successful in stopping a number of Ellis Act evictions already, this had a unique element, she said.

"It was less of a legal maneuver and more of simply direct action organization that was able to generate the proper pressure to have the eviction rescinded," McElroy said.

Harrison now intends to sell the building, according to McElroy, and anti-eviction activists plan to make sure the new owner does not repeat the taxing cycle with more eviction notices.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Bio:
Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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