The fuel behind the latest Google bus protest Friday morning was outrage over a Google executive who, protesters say, is using the Ellis Act to evict tenants, including teachers, from a building in the Mission Dolores neighborhood.
At the corner of 19th and Dolores streets, Fairmount Elementary School third-grade teacher Claudia Tirado, 44, held a sign with a mug shot and the words, "Jack Halprin," "Google" and "Can I ride your bus back to SF after my eviction?"
Tirado and Eviction-Free San Francisco protesters say Halprin, an attorney and head of e-Discovery for Google, bought a seven-unit building at 812 Guerrero St. and moved in a couple years ago. On Feb. 26, Tirado said Halprin served Ellis Act evictions to all the remaining tenants, including her and another teacher. Tirado has lived there since 2006.
At 9 a.m. Friday, the group of about 50 protesters marched to 18th and Dolores streets, where they blocked a Google bus with a pink banner reading, "Google STOP JACK from Evicting TEACHERS" and a large cardboard painting of the building at 812 Guerrero St.
"We are selling our city for cheap and we built it," said Tirado, who brought her 2-year-old son's stroller, into a megaphone.
The blockade was shorter than similar actions in the past, including one on April Fools' Day at 24th and Valencia streets. San Francisco police moved Friday's peaceful protest onto the sidewalk, allowing the Google bus to depart after being stalled for 10 minutes.
Protesters then marched to 812 Guerrero St. and positioned themselves on the steps outside Tirado's two-bedroom unit. There, outside her home, Tirado said she believes Halprin is evicting tenants now because legislation by Supervisor David Campos that was passed this week would require landlords to pay Ellis Act-evicted tenants tens of thousands of dollars more than the state law now requires. The Ellis Act is used by landlords to evict tenants so they can get out of the rental market.
"This is a black eye on San Francisco to allow this to happen, for all of us not to stand together," Tirado said. "We need to stop this now because you are next."
Ted Martz, a 59-year-old neighbor, watched the rally Friday and called the evictions "an awful thing."
People like Halprin "should move to Los Altos where all the mega mansions are," he said. "We know the tenants. They're sweet. He's changing the character of the neighborhood."
Halprin could not be reached for comment Friday.
Eviction-Free San Francisco organizer Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer said the protest spotlighted teachers because three buildings within six blocks in the Mission Dolores neighborhood have been served eviction notices, and all house educators.
"Evictions are slightly switching," she said. "We were seeing mostly evictions of elderly folks and we're still seeing those, but now we're seeing a lot of working- and middle-class people being pushed out as well."
The protest ended on the building steps about 10 a.m., but the group plans to reconvene at 5 p.m. at 20th and Dolores streets to march to the homes of four teachers facing evictions in the neighborhood.