Market Street tenants still facing uncertainty

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Victor Arreola has lived at 1049 Market Street for 14 years and says he can't stay in San Francisco if he's forced out.
GUARDIAN PHOTOS BY REBECCA BOWE

Anxiety continues to run high at 1049 Market Street in San Francisco, where 60 tenants who received eviction notices last month still lack clarity on whether they will ultimately be ousted or allowed to stay.

“I really feel like I’m being forced out,” said Chandra Redack, a tenant who has lived in the building for more than nine years and in San Francisco since 1982. “And that puts a lump in my throat.” 

A meeting between city officials and John Gall, who owns the building along with a group of investors, is scheduled for Tue/14.

Gall told the Guardian it was too early to say whether he would withdraw the notices of eviction, as Sup. Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee have both personally urged him to do. “I need to figure out what’s going on after I have the meeting with DBI,” he said. “This is a very complex issue.”

The property owner said it was his understanding that neither Lee nor Kim would attend the meeting – they’re bound for China as part of a trip organized by the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee – but representatives from their offices as well as officials from the Department of Building Inspections would be present.

As the Guardian recently reported, DBI announced last week that it had found a pathway toward legalization of the illegal housing units, which are arranged in a dormitory-style setting with kitchenettes and shared bathrooms on each floor. They provide all-too-rare affordable housing near Sixth and Market streets, occupied by many students, artists and disabled tenants. With Twitter's relatively new headquarters just down the street, rising demand for commercial office space has transformed the area and the building had been slated for conversion to offices.

Gall and his group of investors own several properties in the area, and up to 300 people might have been affected by eviction if the city hadn’t intervened. As things stand, the tenants’ fate remains far from certain. In a memo issued last month, property managers indicated that 1049 Market would have to be vacated entirely, because of “the City of San Francisco’s overly restrictive local building code requirements.” But even though a solution to the code restrictions has been identified, Gall hasn’t committed to reversing the evictions.

Gall emphasized that in response to pressure from city officials, he’d held off on issuing any new eviction notices either to tenants living at 1067 Market Street, a nearby property also under his investment group’s ownership, or to those in 1049 who hadn’t yet received formal notices.

“Could somebody have the right to be hopeful that it could be preserved as residential? I’d love to be able to give you more answers,” he commented, but ultimately would not say more.

With things hanging in the balance, tenants who received eviction notices now face the thorny dilemma of deciding whether to stick around and hope the ouster is reversed, or pack up and begin a new housing search. For many, opting for the latter means leaving San Francisco for good, since apartments in their price range simply aren’t available. 

Tory Antoni with one of the items for sale on his Etsy site, called "the twit."

On Sun/13, Tory Antoni welcomed a number of his neighbors into his small and tidy windowless studio, where he’d amassed a pile of artwork created by tenants residing at 1049. To aid those facing possible eviction, Antoni plans to post their artwork on his Etsy site, Antoni’s Collectibles, where he peddles antique objects to supplement his income.

“The actual artists that live here don’t get support from the city,” Antoni said, taking aim at public officials’ statements of support for arts in the rapidly changing mid-Market neighborhood. (Earlier this year, Mayor Ed Lee told the Guardian he was “very sensitive” to the concerns of mid-Market artists.)

“When we met with Jane Kim, she asked us, what can we do to help you? The answer is, just leave us alone! We just want to be allowed to do our artwork here in the city,” Antoni said.

Some of Antoni’s guests were consumed with worry over the looming possibility of eviction.

“This is really stressing me out,” said Victor Arreola, who has lived in the building for 14 years. “I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life right now. I never thought this bombshell would be dropped on me.”

Arreola works at the Chanel makeup counter at Macy’s in Union Square, just a short walk from his home. He’s on temporary medical leave after sustaining a physical injury, and said that if he loses his affordable housing, he envisions being to stay in the city or take advantage of the medical assistance provided through Healthy San Francisco. He’s considered returning to Seattle, where he relocated from more than a decade ago, but that would require quitting his job, leaving him without unemployment benefits. “I can’t sleep at night,” he said. “Because I just lay awake in bed, and think, what am I going to do?”

Ben Cady, a photographer who said he mostly relies on disability benefits to get by with the occasional freelance gig, said his affordable Market Street studio was by far the most comfortable housing he’d lived in after years of dwelling in converted garages or in-law units, flying under the radar in pricey San Francisco. “This has been the cleanest place, and there are no pest problems,” he said. That’s in contrast with past living situations, where “we had mice with names,” he added with a laugh.

A relative newcomer to 1049, Bianca Valez, said she’d lived there for six months and paid a little more than $1,000 a month for her studio. “Once I got the eviction notice, I started looking around,” she said, and soon realized how difficult it was going to be to remain in San Francisco despite her desire to be a part of the city. A server at The Franciscan Crab Restaurant near Fisherman’s Wharf, Valez foresees having to work a second job in order to pay rent. But that would also mean postponing her plans to enroll in school, something she’d long wanted to do as a means of launching a new career.

Up one floor, Redack reflected on her longstanding connection with the city, which she’d first visited during the 1960s when Haight-Ashbury was a burgeoning countercultural magnet. She said her favorite part of living in mid-Market was the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity that the neighborhood has supported.

Chandra Redack says having an affordable place of her own has made it possible to focus on making music.

Now, faced with a possible eviction, Redack says she’s been inspired to try and work with the building’s other tenants to try and hold their ground. When others started stepping up to the plate to help organize, she said, “things got exciting, but also exhausting.”

An artist and musician, Redack said it was only after finding the unit at 1049, where she lives alone for roughly $830 a month, that she was able to truly focus on her creative pursuits. “I wrote 100 good songs in this room in 2006,” she said before handing this reporter a copy of her album recorded onto a CD.

Redack works in the customer service department at Rainbow Grocery – “I can walk to work in under 24 minutes,” she noted – and has recently met a number of customers who’ve faced similar housing challenges in San Francisco.

“I chose the route to fight for what I can – at least a little more time,” Redack said.

“If we win, I don’t want it to be just OK, we won – now let’s forget about the other people who are being evicted. I don’t want the city to say, okay, we did this little thing.” An activist with a strong commitment to social justice causes, she believes the moment is ripe for a new tenants’ rights movement.

The tenants have received some assistance from organizers with the Housing Rights Committee. “The landlord has no excuse now to evict the tenants,” HRC organizer Tommi Avicolli Mecca told the Guardian. “What's happened so far is a testament to the strength that tenants have in organizing and refusing to accept that they have to leave.”

Comments

have converted to live/work because it was the "highest value" use. Now the gold rush is here, and the tenants, who provided profit to the owner when the building's use as offices was unprofitable, are disposable.

I know because I worked there in the early 1990's.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

because we seek to maximize prosperity for the good of all San Franciscans, and not just a lucky few who have sudsidized rents.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 6:32 am

"...people should be disposable..."

And there you have it, folks.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

Not everyone can afford to live in the world's favorite city.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 12:28 pm
Posted by ra on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

Considering how much urine ive mopped dishes ive scrubbed shoes ive sold symphony hall loges ive managed im sure many would still want me gone to place judgements like were all deadbeats reflects a lot character and charisma .You dont like my art i dont care but the oompah loompah is not for sale.

Posted by tory antoni on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 3:20 am

to live in a city which prizes education and intellect?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 6:31 am

between right and wrong, good and evil

and should go live in the sociopathic fantasy land of Grand Theft Auto where soulless pieces of worthless crap like you fit right in

oops

i imagine that playing Grand Theft Auto is exactly what you do when you aren't stupidly trolling blogs and attacking innocent people

i have no doubt that you get off on blowing away the innocent bystanders in the game

the interesting reality is (based on your pathetic pathological need to attack people you identify as weak) that you are clearly such a gutless pussy that if you ever met any such innocent bystanders in real life, you would run as soon as they looked at you

Posted by racer x on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

engage in insults and abuse. Typical troll behavior.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

n'est–ce pas?

Posted by bu on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

I can't imagine living in a place without any windows. That sounds grim.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 6:50 am

a window on the wall. That way it can have a view of, say, River Seine and the artists can pretend they are on the left bank in Paris, hanging out with real artists.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 7:21 am
Posted by bump on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

Dang guest, you have a super bad case of artist envy.

And you seem to have a surfeit of confidence in your artistic judgement.

Didn't Van Gogh sell exactly one painting in his lifetime?

And didn't Herman Melville and F Scott Fitzgerald die regarded as failures?

In short, guest, how the hell do you know how any of these artists will be thought of, or not, a century from now?

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

time. I don't know that and nor does anyone else.

Let's focus on what we do know, which is that only a very very tiny percentage of artists ever make enough money to live in SF.

And that there is zero reason to believe that anyone in this building is that gifted.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

Sometimes you just have to write it off to R&D.

When the only thing that matters is how much $ you got it sucks the joy out of life.

Unless you're Scrooge.

How many of these people do you know anything about beyond what you read in this article?

Which by the way, after I read it I'm glad I wasn't mentioned.

SFBG can be kind of precious.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

artists that you claim to care about.

What do you do for them?

Posted by anon on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

and 69 was such a good number ;)

Posted by po- on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... WOW, KIM meet with these folks over their EVICTION ISSUES ...
“When we met with Jane Kim, she asked us, what can we do to help you? "
yet WOULD NOT meet with me to PROVIDE EVIDENCE of Corrupt Rigged Police Investigations (Remember the BIG WHOOPA over the bike incident as spoken to by an article in SFBG). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtqja9Up02A , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DogpfAUdBg4 , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7GI9YAElnk , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Vw1f9OMLU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K37J2PCKDA

So Shall WE await RESULTS as WE have NONE in regard to the CORRUPT RIGGED POLICE INVESTIGATIONS ... watch the other YOUTUBE videos to LEARN how you GET PLAYED by the OFFICIALS ... NO RESULTS, NO ACCOUNTABILITY, NO HUMANITY, etc.

Watch to see what I get from DPH, MOD, HRC, Sheriff, Chief of Police, Police Commission, etc.Can you MEANINGLESS WORTHLESS WORDS with NO RESULTS, NO CONSEQUENCE, etc.

What will happen? Just what will happen with the investigation into the death at the hospital (SFGH woman in stairwell), just what will happen about the police investigations ... nothing, NADA, ZIP, ZILCH ... but they will tell you they care. Then things will "die down" and it will business as usual. Yes ... no VERIFICATION ... just what they want ... we will fix and they don't and NO ONE verifies. Same GAME different DAY.

Keep DRINKING the KOOLAID ,,, ha,ha,ha.

What will happen to these individuals ... helped by the city or OUT on the street ... what do you think ... shall we wait and see while the supervisors FULL of SOUND and FURY accomplishing NOTHING. I am still awaiting to see WHAT happened to the elderly couple that was being evicted and was given 10 days ... now 12 ... what is happening with the supervisors GREAT concern and that of the MAYOR? Hasn't this fallen from the "COLLECTIVE MEMORY" yet? Like I said before ... same GAME, different DAY .... where are the RESULTS for the elderly couple? Ha,ha,ha.

Oh and DO YOU THINK I WILL finally get CIVILITY from KANE KIM'S office and ne contacted for my video EVIDENCE into police investigations that are corrupt and rigged?
Keep watching the videos ...learn the GAME, learn the INHUMANITY and NON-ACCOUNTABILITY provided by OUR BEST PROFESSIONALS ...ha,ha,ha.

Keep DRINKING the KOOLAID and watch my videos into the deceit, mis-speak, non-performance and NATURALLY "BLAME the VICTIM" risk management approach.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 7:04 am

I'll go out on a limb and posit that city government ignores you because they know you're loony.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 8:06 am

But whatever they are, they're not working.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 8:23 am

chrome-nuts yet again attacks an innocent person who never directed any harm to him, just so he can posture as superior to others

you are a useless, self absorbed, narcissistic, loser

i've got news for you genius

people don't respect or see as superior, caustic jackasses who treat innocent people with disrespect

Posted by racer x on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 10:21 am

How come I don't get a troll barrier?

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 10:25 am

than a cheap, lousy barrier.

The reply was worthless, I'd agree, but at least he didn't just copy and paste it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 10:42 am

I want to be part of the Troll Barrier Team too!

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 11:09 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 11:53 am

how do you think i expect to get rid of piece of shit trolls like you

through magic?

no

by getting them to institute registration

they will

because i am just getting started asshole ;)

Posted by racer x on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

Dude, get some professional help.

Posted by Guestier Than Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

"barriers" would drive out trolls because nobody would read beyond your barriers and so the trolls, starved of attention and response, would simply crawl away.

When, as I predicted, that failed miserably you then switched your tactic to endlessly posting nonsense here to try and make this forum so unusable that SFBG management would be compelled to introduce registration.

Something, interestingly, that would be far more effective in driving trolls like you out than serious contributors like me.

Clearly you have no respect for Steven and what he is trying to do here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

coming from a troll asshole like you, who has no respect for anything, including himself

and particularly not the Guardian

truly laughable...

and

what i state in my comments

and what i actually intend

are often very different things

this is chess

not checkers

finally, it is because i respect what steven and the Guardian are working to accomplish that i am maneuvering to purge losers like you from this site

Posted by racer x on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

him and try and make his comment section unusable?

Because you know better than he does?

Posted by anon on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 7:54 pm
yep

people do not always know what is best for them

Posted by racer x on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

would never get what he doesn't know he wants, huh?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 9:44 am

Thank you for your comment ... I believe the CITY IGNORES because I have a SIGNED CONFESSION in 2007 http://myownprivateguantanamo.com/settle1.html from the city where it BROKE FEDERAL MEDICAL LAW after having my case dismissed with FRAUD and TESTILYING in 2003 (C02-3485PJH)

Or maybe they are IGNORING me over the article that QUITE CLEARLY SPELLS OUT THE LAWBREAKING and FALSE HEALTH CARE http://www.sfbg.com/2007/06/27/crazy where the BYLINE is "This is nuts: A bizarre tale of the insanity that is SF's mental health system."

I do however commend you on NOT only your HUMANITY skills but your obvious skills at seeing the "BIG PICTURE."

Now mind you a SIGNED CONFESSION in 2007 and NO ONE from the city attorney, DPH or courts has explained ... yet, I am "looney" per your assessment ... I prefer to see it as the INNOCENT VINDICATED VICTIM surrounded by others who can not connect the dots and can only attack the person as opposed to the facts. My haven't those TACTICS been USED by the city and FAILED?

Again thank you for your compassion or LACK of it which ever the case might be.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 9:46 am

You're an innocent victim of something or other. Just stop with the all-caps. It gives me a headache -- and a bad case of the crazies.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 10:23 am

Dear Chromefields ... Along with an APOLOGY comes contrition and remedy. What exactly are you sorry over? So before I can accept your apology ... please explain to me where is the contrition ... what did you do WRONG and WHY? I am only asking you the same thing as I have repeatedly ask the city PROFESSIONALS. Yes., I await your answer ... mind you I am also still awaiting the city's answers.

Sir... CRAZY is to divert from the TRUTH ... and it is NOT very HUMANE either. I await your response for your VICTIMIZATION ... to just say that I am an "innocent victim of something or other" does not say much in the context as to what I am trying to point out as TYPICAL RISK MANAGEMENT by the city and FALSE and UNACCOUNTABLE words by OFFICIALS ... watch the videotapes.

Should we not be on the same side ... for HUMANITY, TRUTH, JUSTICE and what is as opposed to what the SPIN machine throw out? How can we educate if the "TRUTH" is concealed, laughed or ridiculed over or the dots NOT connected?

Killing the MESSENGER and BLAMING the VICTIM is soo typical ... unfortuantely I've had enough "RISK MANAGEMENT" by the city to last me SEVERAL lifetimes ...

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 10:54 am

Sorry, JGG, scheduling constraints prevent me from joining your Truth and Justice League, but I've sent Wonder Woman in my place. She'll give you a ride to City Hall in her invisible plane!

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 11:20 am

The caped cretin and his sidekick, boy barrier.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 11:55 am

To Chromefields ... Just as I thought an EMPTY MEANINGLESS APOLOGY ... nothing learned, nothing gained ... congratulations. Please feel free to write back so that you may have the last word ... I will stand on the TRUTH and let others judge by your comments, helpfulness, correctness and lastly humanity?

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

There was no apology intended. I just thought, since no one ever responds to your strange diatribes, that you might enjoy some online humanity. No need to thank me. Keep fighting the good fight -- the city government is on the brink of being brought to its knees by the might of your will.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 8:02 am

the second page.

There really is no hope for him.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

I was using multiple bump posts to do it

but since the web master is actually more interested in dealing with such bumps instead of dealing with jack offs like you who plaster their site with meaningless abusive bullshit, the bumps got removed

once they get tired of deleting troll barriers and bumps they'll put in a registration system and

jokes like you will be fucking history ;)

i've finally at least succeeded in getting them to pay attention to the troll problem

which was the whole point :)

Posted by racer x on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

are trolling and - worse - a blatant attempt to manipulate the comments section and suppress free speech.

SFBG moderators have my full support.

And you really should try and express yourself without using words like "asswipe", "fucking", "moron", "bullshit" and so on. It doesn't make you look credible.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

To know how I really feel check out my new piece Live Work Die Lofts now listed in my shop.Sometimes visuals work better than words .

Posted by Tory Antoni on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

What matters is your fiscal viability to live in a place that it would appear you are not even close to being able to afford.

How do you justify being in SF when it requires a monthly subsidy from the owner of your property to remain here?

What do I gain by voting for a policy that takes money out of the pocket of a risk-taking provider of housing and give it to an artists who evidently can barely support himself?

On what planet does that make sense? And what is wrong with you moving to Oakland?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

I don't understand some of DBI's requirements. Why are windows required? They are desirable of course, but if a person looks at a windowless unit and says it works for them, then what's the problem? We have homeless people all over the place, and now we're kicking people out because they don't have windows in their units? Well, they're going to have a big window now - it's called the streets, where some of them will end up living and creating a burden on the rest of us.

Where does one question DBI's requirements? I have a kitchen island and I am told I am required to add an outlet to it because some people like to plug things in and put them on the island, and a cord from a wall outlet to an item on the island may cause a problem with someone running into it. This is insane. Seriously, we don't need DBI to idiot-proof our houses.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:42 am

DBI rules are like tax rules - they don't have to make sense and they often do not. The extra sting in the tail of the DBI req's are that they are really a vehicle to extract money out of contractors and property owners.

I've done a couple of condo conversions and, to do that, you have a mandatory DBI inspection, which of course you have pay a fee of a few thousand for. Then they give you a list of code violations and fixes, most of which are somewhere between pointless and bizarre. A friend of mine spent 100K to get up to code, and mostly it was un-necessary fluff. Even a clean bill of health for a condo conversion will probably hit you 10K to 20K. It's really just a tax.

So do you need a window in a bedroom? No. Heck, it's dark when you sleep anyway. But there is a basic human need for natural light and ventilation. Even prisoners get let out for an hour a day.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:58 am

There is clearly a great deal to know with this.
www.antiagingcreamsrating.com

Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

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