Breaking: hundreds with OccupySF 'occupying' building

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Banners hanging from the roof of the new "SF Commune"
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY YAEL CHANOFF

UPDATE: Representatives of the Archdiocese have made clear that they will not make a decision regarding the building occupation until the morning 

OccupySF, along with at least 400 supporters and homeless advocacy groups, have entered a vacant ’building and plan to turn it into a community center. Participants served a free dinner, unrolled sleeping bags and tacked up posters in rooms marked “sleeping quarters” by organizers, and are currently meeting to decide next steps.

“Occupy San Francisco and Occupy Oakland originally were providing food and shelter to those who didn’t have it previously. That’s the plan I think, to provide food, shelter and a space for political organizing,” said protester Samantha Levens, 33, a deckhand on the Alameda-Oakland Ferry. 

The building, 888 Turk, is the former site of Westside Mental Health Center and has been vacant since the closure of that mental health clinic about five years ago. It is owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

It is available for lease through HC&M Commercial Properties.

About 400 marched to the building at 4:30pm, trailed by an former AC Transit decorated and converted to a protest-party vehicle by Occupy Oakland. The march had the air of an April Fools Day Carnival, complete with clowns, jugglers, and a man dressed as Captain America alongside people with bandanas and Guy Fawkes masks. Protesters marched from Union Square on Geary, chanting “homes not jails” and ”housekeys not handcuffs.”

The march followed a rally in Union Square, in which homeless advocates from Berkeley, Oakland and Sacramento spoke to the crowd, and performers including the Mixcoatl Anahuac dance group and the Brass Liberation Orchestra kept the mood festive.

The protest was part of a national day to defend the rights of the homeless with protests in 17 cities. Paul Boden of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, which planned the Union Square protest, spoke speficically about Business Improvement Districts in San Francisco, which he claimed funell property taxes to businesses at the expense of the homeless.

When the march arrived at Turk and Gough, the site of the building, it had already been unlocked from the inside, and protesters on the roof held a sign reading “organize or starve.”

About 40 police officers provided an on-foot escort for the march. Officers as well as several police vehicles are currently standing by the "occupied" site, and declined to provide comment at this time. 

An OccupySF-associated building takeover occurred Jan. 20 just a few blocks away at the former Cathedral Hill Hotel. At the request of the building’s owners, police entered the building, and no occupiers remained the following morning.

"Occupy SF through the OccupySF commune has inhabited a vacant building for the purpose of creating a community center in the spirit of the buildings original intention, to create a center for health and healing," according to a press release issued by the group.

 

Comments

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

Seriously, *nobody* is feeling it anymore, lol.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

I am definitely feeling the fact that they are taking care of the homeless.. There is no excuse to have people without a place to live in our country.. This is beautiful!!! OCCUPY EVERYTHING

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

crash in the bedroom of your shitty rent controlled apartment that you already share with 4 people. Like you said, no excuse for them to be homeless, so you should be the first to offer up a place. You know, occupy everything, including your bedroom. They'll poop in it.

And lol at "Occupy Everything", that just sounds fucking retarded. Like, everything? Really? Absolutely everything.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

UPDATE: (San Francisco) The SF COMMUNE arose on Easter Sunday at an undisclosed Church owned property. Less than one week after the Archdiocese commanded SFPD to violently evict and arrest 75 folks from 888 TURK St., a new Collective Housing Community Center has been established. The SF Commune will not tolerate the systems that force 7,000-10,000 San Franciscan's to remain homeless while over 30,000 housing units are wasting away vacant.

On MAY DAY, the SFC will open it's doors and conduct another OPEN OCCUPATION in solidarity with the MAY 1ST GENERAL STRIKE. For the next three weeks, the new site will continue to thrive covertly, engaging in mutual aid and direct democracy, in preparation for May Day. The SFC has been initiated to provide a perpetual, autonomous headquarters for the Occupy SF movement.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

What 30,000 units of housing are you talking about? The rent in SF is higher than anywhere in the US right now... you think that there's 30,000 units of inhabitable housing in SF? Where?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

I am definitely feeling the fact that they are taking care of the homeless.. There is no excuse to have people without a place to live in our country.. This is beautiful!!! OCCUPY EVERYTHING

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

I know it must be hard for you members of the MTV generation to pay atention to something for six months. So I am going to propose at our next meeting that we have a monthly name change. Then we can keep the atention of the media and those who depend on it for infotainment, if they think it is a different group every time.
Now ponder this: how sucessful will you be in life if you can not stick to the same job, school, or project for more than a few months?

Posted by Guest ethan davidson on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

to yours, dude. lol...

I realize this may seem too much for a message board, so I'll try to keep it really short. I googled your dumb ass, and I can guarantee you I make about six times your salary and I'm 20 years younger. Don't worry about my lack of focus or whatever, worry about your dying movement and how it became so unpopular so quickly. That's on you, not me.

And you'd think a "professional writer" could spell the word attention correctly.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

Because salary equates to expertise as the Bankster fools showed us when they steered the country into the ground...

All your high paying salary tells me is that you are from a privileged background and have had a leg up from birth but who must snottily insist he is an example of a meritocracy so he doesn't have to question whether his "success" is fraud doled out by the system. I and others could care less about how much money you make. It says nothing about whether I would want to be in a room with you or if I would bother to give you CPR when you get nailed in a SF crosswalk by a speeding BMW.

PS. Google stalking and grammar policing is so gauche.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

you can't stick to the same job...? "

I realize that doesn't directly equate to income, but income can be a good barometer for that. So the answer seemed to address the comment, albeit in a sort of haughty manner.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

I know. It's hard for you MTV raised folks to have to pay atention to one thing for six months. So I am going to the next Occupy meeting and propose that we change the name of our organization every month or so. That will, hopefully, keep the media, and those who depend on it for infotainment, interested for a while.

Posted by Guest ethan davidson on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

"Here be Trolls."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:12 am

Yael Chanoff is in a relationship with an occupier. He was in 888 Turk last night, they were making out. She camped at JHP too. You can't be part of the story and report on it.

The Bay Guardian needs to reassign the Occupy story to somebody else.

Posted by Journalist Ethics 101 on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 6:45 am

A few week-end warriors vandalising Oakland or squatting in a derelict building until they get told to leave isn't a movement and certainly isn't a story.

It's just a little harmless fun for a few kids. Occupy had it's 15 minutes but then it became cold and wet, and we all moved on.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 6:50 am

.... "Occupy is barely a story any more anyway. A few week-end warriors vandalising Oakland or squatting in a derelict building until they get told to leave isn't a movement and certainly isn't a story. It's just a little harmless fun for a few kids. Occupy had it's 15 minutes but then it became cold and wet, and we all moved on.
Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 6:50 am"

Sounds like the same murdoch-media-dictated comments from someone who never understood it in the first place. Simply chasing the latest fad as usual? Try thinking critically some time.... Oh and don't worry, you'll be back when it sinks in.

Posted by StopFoolingYourself on Apr. 04, 2012 @ 1:35 am

how dare a journalist have an opinion or a life. all journalists must necessarily be automatons with no feelings or thoughts of their own.

so what lies are in this post?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

The comedy of all of this is by SF Occupy doing these protests, they are giving more overtime to San Francisco police, which then increases their pensions, and pretty much puts most of the police who are monitoring these protests in the top 2% to 3% of income earners in the United States (value of their pensions over their life times + benefits + actual pay), and the managers overseeing these police operations are likely in the 1%. And so you have cops in the range of 1% to 3% overseeing a protest against the 1%. Only in San Francisco can you see a comedy such like this one.

from Bankrate... "Based on 2009 tax year filing data, the Internal Revenue Service says an adjusted gross income, or AGI, of $343,927 or more will put you in the top 1 percent of taxpayers." ...

Now, value the actual benefits the SF police receive today plus their current salaries + overtime. Then factor in their incredible pensions that are worth millions of dollars over their lifetimes.

And then just think, most California government employees (state, county, city) have similar deals and don't even have to put their lives on the line to get that money.

OCCUPY is right, the very top 1%, the folks who own the factories, have a responsibility to keep jobs in America. Instead, they have shipped most of our jobs out of the country, and created a fake economy driven by the Federal Reserve blowing bubbles so that Wall Street can loot our 401Ks and bank accounts. America has been looted, and continues to be looted.

We are a broken country. I'm not against OCCUPY, I just don't think they have a clue as to what they are doing. They support every cause on the planet, and thus they distract their focus and alienate potential supporters.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 10:14 am

Episode LXVII, in which Occupy attempts to resolve the Tenderloin's decades-old social problems using consensus and weed.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 10:52 am

Nice target! Religious orgs. receive tax-exempt status the rest of us do not because they ostensibly are offering services to the poor. Why did this former mental health hospital close down? Certainly not for lack of the mentally ill/homeless in SF.

In a city with the highest rents in the nation and city gov't that is in bed with high rent developers, we have a serious shortage of affordable housing. (Even the cranks on this list can feel it, though they can't stand the fact that someone else might get something for free when they do not...so they unproductively ridicule instead.) Every year fancy new developments go up, & the Affordable Housing fund receives a pittance, but those units NEVER get built. Get off your asses planning commission and get us some affordable apartments. Folks should not have to live in Oakland/Richmond to commute in and offer services to the rich folks who drove them out. When our nurses cannot afford to live here, we have a serious problem.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 11:22 am

Never mind that of course nobody is willing to pay for it.

And perish the thought of people actually working hard to be able to afford to live here. No, no, just riot and take it unlawfully . .

No wonder Occupy has become a joke.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 11:42 am

Hard working folks? Like the landlords rolling in their Prop 13 tax break? Twitter's owners also with it's tax break? The new private hospital with it's tax breaks who tells people who show up with no insurance to bug off to the city hospital?

Naah, us working stiffs should instead pay a increased sales tax.

You didn't really address the affordable housing issue I brought up, because its much easier to take swipes at well-meaning folks while sitting on your self-absorbed ass. This is a symbolic action to draw attention to homelessness and affordable housing issues while so many Commercial buildings sit idle.

They actually have your concerns in mind too, buddy, even if you dont like them. This city is far too expensive for the wages it offers and the city has done nothing to live up to its promises of building new units.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

Funny that, because most people see them as two sides of the same coin - reward those who don't move and punish those who do.

This city is expensive because it is desirable. you can't just make it cheap because you'd like it to be and, in any event, the cost would be prohibitive.

Not everyone has the fiscal power to live here, in the same way that I can't afford Monaco, Aruba or Bermuda. Deal with it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

Prop 13 was the racist, selfish taxpayer revolt against a court case that made the state pool property tax money to fund schools statewide instead of districts only funding the schools in their district. (ie. wealthy neighborhoods have great schools while poor districts suffer). It was sold as keeping poor old people in their family homes while property values exploded around them. It has been a disaster however for the state and that's why our schools have gone from number one (when i was in them) to near the bottom now. Now wealthy boomers sit on a gold mine and younger and newer owners pay much higher taxes and fight for what little housing stock there is. My own mom pays much lower taxes than you or I would, so if I was more selfish I would applaud this great plan as she have personally benefitted. And the best part is that if I inherit the house, I get to keep her tax rate! woopee! I do not begrudge anyone who has sane housing costs and only wish to extend it to more people. Housing is a right not a piggy bank.

Building housing does not cost that much in materials. It's this imaginary thing we call The Market or Property "value" that makes it expensive. And that's where the city should step in. They are fully willing to use eminent domain & sweetheart tax deals when they want a moneypit stadium, but unwilling to look after everyday people's concerns.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

Sig, you're a freaking stereotype.

Now get a job.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

Im white AND employed, silly. You don't know much about California history. This state is all about carpetbaggers and property owners exploiting cheap immigrant labor and then denying it any prosperity of it's own. Do you think SF's Chinatown was born spontaneously? Nah, it was a state law that chinese workers couldn't live anywhere else. Do you think Cali's agricultural elite weren't ecstatic that productive Japanese farmers were interned and had their land stolen under the ruse of 'wartime security'?

Whatever. I for one enjoy learning and analyzing my communities city planning choices, but you're welcome to tune out and think only of yourself as usual.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 3:29 pm
Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

Wow, impressive person you must be. Can't come up with any better response than this?

Some of the most well-educated and professionally successful people in the Bay Area support Occupy. There's a reason for that-- it's called critical thinking.

Being ignorant, unhappy, and selfish while stubbornly continuing to work a low-wage job is not admirable-- in fact it's harmful to society in the sense that you help to support employee exploitation and tip the natural balance in the economic supply and demand of dignified employment, by encouraging poor employer practices and not taking authority over your own options in the employment market. Desperation and insecurity is not a great excuse for self-enslavement and destruction of your fellow citizen's dignity in the job market. Please don't assume that "holding a job for more than a few months" is any measure of one's merits. In fact, wide-spread job security paranoia is a very powerful exploitation tool that employers are more than happy to use to their advantage.

This feeds into repression across the board for other Americans and should not be encouraged. In fact, I encourage all working people to acknowledge their own value and continue to leave positions until they are treated well and paid fairly in the job market. Employers should not seek to squeeze employees under the thumb and intimidate them with threats of the poor job market. Is this how you would like your children to be treated after fighting courageously for an over-priced and financially predatory education?

Not to mention that sacrificing one's own energy, earnings, and talent for a greater cause than themselves-- in the name of progress for all of their fellow Americans-- is just plain admirable. Especially when one's own personal safety and reputation can be put at risk because of it. Try and say that about what you do for a living.

PS-- I'm happily employed, thank you very much. So don't try the "lazy lucy" accusation on me.

Posted by StopFoolingYourself on Apr. 04, 2012 @ 1:20 am

Good job San Francisco! You have truly taken a quantum leap. Next you will have to accept farming land from the powers that be like they tried to offer it to Los Angeles. And be sure to change the image of San Francisco to make it one that upholds the principles of true marriage including and most importantly between first cross-cousins of excellent parentage!

Posted by GuestField on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

I guess this post makes sense to you? Your sarcasm was completely lost on me.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

The Occupy movement is the biggest thing happening on the planet right now, and the only thing offering even a slim chance of making the changes that might allow our human species to survive on this planet. People who think it is "not a story" are probably watching main stream media. I can only imagine the insulting and dismissive things that must have been said during every major movement for social change to occur throughout our history. The excitement and sense of fulfillment that comes with participating in this movement belies any offhanded, uninformed critique that might come from the likes of people here. I have been an activist all my life and I know what a unique and momentous moment has come to be in this time. We are all fortunate to be walking alongside courageous, compassionate, visionary and hard-working activists such as these.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

(But its much easier & more self-satisfying to ridicule the well-meaning folks while i sit on my cynical butt. )

What happened to my hometown? Who are these trolls snarking it up here? Even the Bay Guardian's comment section isn't safe from the only-out-for-themselves tech world transplants. Look newbies, I'm sorry you found the rents so high when you moved here so it made you bitter and jealous of everyone else around you. Long term inhabitants are not happy about it either. But SF was a place of cooperation and community and had plenty of room for bohemians and the working class before you arrived. Play nice, please, and think of others. Working together we can accomplish much more for the greater good than working to undermine each other.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

carry on railing against it in your inimitable quixotic way.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

years old and your face is covered in plooks. To the real world, it's a footnote with warts.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

I agree with a lot of activist causes.

But, I am not sure how illegally occupying a filthy and unsafe structure owned by a nonprofit organization is an example of courage or vision?

If you care about providing services to those who need it, then take all the energy and manpower and volunteer at any of the many nonprofits who provide direct services everyday to the poor, ill, and otherwise in need.

Also, it would seem more courageous to occupy a foreclosed building, etc.

Finally, as for making changes in how the government provides services, etc. Get involved in grass roots political organizations and also remember to vote. The U.S. consistently has some of the lowest voter turnouts in the world, and so people usually end up with the government they deserve, even if it is not the one they need.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

It was American consumers, buying the cheapest junk they didn't need, who forced companies to seek cheap labor or perish. Now there is no home town factory associated with most of the corporate brands. It wasn't always so.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2012 @ 6:10 am

If someone else can do your job better and cheaper, why would I hire you?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2012 @ 7:07 am

Because he lives near you, spends his income in your business, brings his friends with him, pays his taxes in your town which comes back to your business in infrastructure that supports you, because you live in a society of people who help each other be safe, healthy and happy and when you have sent all your jobs offshore, and there's no one to pay taxes to support your business, or to buy you products or services, or to pay for your kid's schools and for your friends society you will find yourself living on a lonely island all by yourself.

The logic you use is the logic which has brought us to the current catastrophe just as in the robber baron era. Profit, first, last and unto death.

Someday YOU too may learn what it's like to be at the bottom of a pyramid. But probably you won't learn your lesson until you find out just how nutritious a dollar bill really is.

Posted by Sandy Sanders on Apr. 04, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

The lardass that lives next door to me and sits on his rump all day long drinking bad beer and watching TV doesn't feel "closer" to me than some guy in Vietnam who works his butt off 12 hours a day to give me a better standard of living.

If you want to be my "friend" then do something to earn it, don't demand an entitlement to it because of the historical and geographical accident that we happen to share the same zip code.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

UPDATE: (San Francisco) The SF COMMUNE arose on Easter Sunday at an undisclosed Church owned property. Less than one week after the Archdiocese commanded SFPD to violently evict and arrest 75 folks from 888 TURK St., a new Collective Housing Community Center has been established. The SF Commune will not tolerate the systems that force 7,000-10,000 San Franciscan's to remain homeless while over 30,000 housing units are wasting away vacant.

On MAY DAY, the SFC will open it's doors and conduct another OPEN OCCUPATION in solidarity with the MAY 1ST GENERAL STRIKE. For the next three weeks, the new site will continue to thrive covertly, engaging in mutual aid and direct democracy, in preparation for May Day. The SFC has been initiated to provide a perpetual, autonomous headquarters for the Occupy SF movement.

Posted by CitiZen on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

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