- This Week
Take a look at the map on the front page and you get the point: Thousands of San Franciscans are getting thrown out of town
05.21.13 - 8:14 pm |
Every point on the map (click here for the detailed, interactive version) is a building where the landlord has used the state's Ellis Act to evict all the tenants. (The points typically involve multi-unit buildings, so the number of tenants displaced is even worst than it looks). Some tenants have been here for decades, living in rent-controlled apartments, contributing to the community. And when the eviction notice arrives, they have nowhere else to go.
It feels as if all of crazy, radical, artistic, and unconventional San Francisco is under attack, as if a city that once welcomed waves of weirdos and malcontents — who, in turn, gave the city its attractive reputation and flavor — is changing forever. It's as if there's no longer any room for the working class — the people who, for example, keep the city's number one industry (that's hospitality and tourism, not tech) functioning.
It's terrifying. Neighborhood after neighborhood is losing affordable rental housing as landlords cash in on soaring prices. And there's a huge human cost.
In the end, if trends continue, this will soon be a very different city. We all know that change is part of life (and certainly part of hyper-capitalism) but the notion that there's a value to a city culture that needs low rent housing and cheap commercial space has been all-but abandoned by the administration of Ed Lee, which wants high-paying jobs at all costs.
And it's hard to imagine how the best of San Francisco — the city whose culture and sense of madness attracted all these creative folks in the first place — will ever survive. Call it Urbicide — because as Rebecca Bowe reports here, it goes way beyond residential evictions.