Legal fight brewing over HANC Recycling Center eviction

HANC's lawyer says its old lease got recycled into a new lease.
photo by Rebecca Bowe

The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling Center, located at the Kezar Triangle in Golden Gate Park, received a 90-day eviction notice following a Dec. 2 Recreation and Park Commission meeting approving plans for a community garden in its current location. However, tenant lawyer Robert De Vries, who is representing HANC, submitted in a Dec. 2 letter to Rec & Park Commissioners that HANC could not legally be made to vacate until the end of June.

The eviction has prompted an outcry from progressive groups, environmental organizations, and other HANC supporters, who turned out en masse at the Dec. 2 meeting and voiced strong disapproval over the proposal. It now appears that the issue may wind up in court.

“HANC has no intention of vacating the premises any earlier than legally required,” De Vries wrote to Rec & Park Commissioners. “HANC is also not willing to allow disruptive construction work or other activities to go forward on the leased property while it is in possession.”

In an earlier memo to Rec & Park Commissioners, city staff proposed issuing HANC a 30-day eviction notice, which would have ousted the recycling center by the end of December. That timing was significant, because it would have occurred under the administration of Mayor Gavin Newsom, a proponent of the eviction, who will vacate office Jan. 8 to be sworn in as Lieutenant Governor. Citing advice from the San Francisco City Attorney, the memo noted that Rec & Park could proceed with a 30-day eviction without commission approval.

But that initial advice was erroneous, City Attorney spokesperson Matt Dorsey told the Guardian, because it did not take into account HANC’s quarterly rental payments. Since the organization pays rent once every 90 days, instead of once a month, it cannot be evicted with just 30 days notice, according to state law. Once it was informed of HANC’s quarterly payments (by city staff, not De Vries’ letter, Dorsey said), the City Attorney advised Rec & Park that it should extend the eviction notice to 90 days.

The extra 60 days doesn’t just buy HANC time, it gives them hope. Newsom will be in Sacramento by then, and it’s possible that he could be replaced with an interim mayor who’s sympathetic to their cause.

De Vries, however, contends that 90 days is still too soon, and that HANC can't legally be evicted until June 30, 2011. HANC’s original five-year, fixed-term lease ended on June 30, 2001. Since then, it’s been paying rent to the city every 90 days. De Vries wrote that under state law, this arrangement means that "the lease is automatically renewed" for one year, and that it's renewed annually since 2001. California courts have found that “a tenancy from year to year is created where a tenant holds over after the expiration of a former lease for one or more years and pays rent,” De Vries wrote in his letter. His analysis is based on his reading of California Civil Code Section 1945.

“I don’t really see any other interpretation, frankly,” De Vries told the Guardian. In his view, by issuing a 90-day notice, “they’re putting something into the statute that isn’t there.”

The City Attorney’s office rejects De Vries’ analysis, and insists that the eviction notice is legal. “The lease does not expire on June 30,” Dorsey said, “and Rec & Park delivered a proper notice of termination.”

If this dispute winds up in court, it’s possible that the question won’t be settled until June of 2011 anyhow.


If a lessee of real property remains in possession thereof
after the expiration of the hiring, and the lessor accepts rent from
him, the parties are presumed to have renewed the hiring on the same
terms and for the same time, not exceeding one month when the rent is
payable monthly, nor in any case one year.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

I was at the 4 hour sham Hearing..., on 12 2 2010...
The fix was in , from the start..

The gaul of the RecPark Commission... They even made character attack on some of the HANC staff.

I was running the REA recycle center in 1973, when we met Ed Dunn, Sernior, and helped get them started.

Now, 36 years later, the City says thanks by "railroading" HANC off the property...

We know why, but that is a separate, and old fashioned politics ("get even")...

Anyone who wants to help HANC and the city..should sent an expression of support to their Supervisor, with a copy to HANC.

jack barry,

Posted by john barry on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

Newsom appointed his major campaign donor, Mark Buell, husband of Susie Tompkins (Esprit clothing founder) to be President of Rec & Parks last January. A self described environmentalist, Mark Buell is actually a mega developer, responsible for descrating sacred Ohlone Indian burial grounds with the Emeryville mall on Shellmound. Now Buell is selling off our SF parks as fast as he can... all in the name of solving the RP budget deficit. The 6 other commissioners, also Newsom appointees, are pressured to say yes to everything Buell and RP General Manger, Phil Ginsburg (Newsom's ex-Chief of Staff) put before them. A study of 130 votes on various park issues revealed that 98% of the time the Rec & Park Commission votes UNANIMOUSLY. They serve one man, Newsom & his cronies.... and San Franciscans are losing control over valuable park assets as sweetheart deals are given to Newsom buddies. Check out the discount being given the New Mexico based souvenir chain to take over Stow Lake's boathouse.
No amount of Rec & Park spin can cover the actual lease terms which put the City on the hook for 1-2million dollars of upgrades at the boathouse even though RP stated on page 11 of the Request for Qualifications that ""The Recreation and Park Department has no capital funds available for this facility".
Check out the deal made on some of the most valuable land in the city, on Embaracadero, right across from the Ferry Bldg. Without notifying the public, the Rec & Park Commission gave it to Newsom's lobbybists and real estates buddies for a bocce ball court... so they now control this public park!
Time to recycle the entire Rec & Park Commission who only serve special interests.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 6:41 am

The RPD did not hold one community public meeting in the Haight, Sunset or Richmond on its proposal to evict the 30 year Recycling Center from the former 49er VIP parking lot adjacent to the former 49er Kezar Stadium. Indeed, the only meeting it held was an invitation only meeting in September 2010.

Following that invitation only meeting, RPD did not reveal that it was organizing to evict the Recycling Center and replace it with a privatized community garden of 40 or so 4 ft. x 10 ft. plots for individuals and a small number of groups.

RPD management never talks about the role the Recycling Center plays in supporting gardening, environmental action, education, internships and job training, compost and other green supplies to various city areas, and the huge role it plays in recycling. RPD concealed from the public that until one week ago, it did not have any recycling program for all its parks. One week ago, after months of public criticism about no recycling, RPD announced it would launch a "pilot" outside recycling project. RPD does not bother to tell anybody that the city has used the HASNC Recycling Center to do all sorts of projects for the City, including help recycling in Golden Gate Park.

Folks in the Inner Sunset on 3 days notice announced a community discussion for Nov. 30, 2010 about the proposed eviction, and 90 people showed up. This was 3 days before the Rec Park Commission ignored the testimony of 69 speakers urging opposition to the eviction and simply voted to replace the recycling center with a privatized community garden that will cost the "broke" department a minimum of $250,000. Phil Ginsburg refused to show up to explain or defend his decision despite repeated invitations, his seat remained empty throughout the forum, and the 90 people shared extraordinary stories about the Recycling Center and what it has provided the community, including 10 paid green jobs with health benefits, that the $200,000/year coward Phil Ginsburg would discard without a second thought.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 03, 2011 @ 12:56 pm