Tech shuttle buses, gentrification spark San Francisco demonstrations

Protesters alarmed at the impact of tech workers moving into San Francisco on home prices and rents blocked shuttle buses taking workers to Google and Facebook and stopped at the San Francisco Association of Realtors’ headquarters on their way to a rally at City Hall, with one woman shouting, “This is ground zero for the battle of renters in San Francisco,” through a bullhorn.

A press release issued by organizers alleged that:

“(R)eal estate speculators and investors are capitalizing on the tech class that big tech corporations are inputting into the city. The city gives the tech industry major incentives to move in, be they tax breaks or practically free use of public bus stops and other infrastructure. Real estate speculators take advantage of this, abusing state laws such as the Ellis Act to displace longtime residents, disproportionately those who are elderly, disabled, and/or in other ways marginalized. This industry too has long had its hands in the pockets of politicians. The collusion between tech, real estate, and city/state politics is responsible for the unprecedented levels of displacement.”

The Ellis Act gives landlords who want to convert rental units into condos or redevelop them for other uses the right to evict tenants. San Francisco requires that tenants who are displaced be compensated.

Protest organizers said Ellis Act evictions are up 170 percent over the last 12 months, “no-fault” evictions are up 83 percent over the last three years, and rents are up 20 percent along tech bus routes. Evictions have “skyrocketed” in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood since Twitter established its headquarters there, protestors said. Source: blogs.kqed.org.


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