Keeping informed

Ellis Act Evictions, the “housing crisis” and displacement of neighbors are the headlines of most newspapers today.
But it is Herb Caen’s voice that is especially missed today. November 11, 1962 Herb Caen posed the question “When can a city be said to be dying?” He then answered this question with the following quote from Howard Moody:
“‘A city is dying when it has an eye for real estate values but no heart for personal values,
When it has an understanding of traffic flow but no concern about the flow of human beings,
When we have competence in building but little time for ethical codes,
When human values are absent at the heart of the decision-making and planning and governing of a city
-it is dead and all that is left is decay.'”(The Best of Herb Caen 1960-1975, p.37)
Although we no longer have Herb to speak for the heart of our city, we can access so much information today via the internet so that our voices can speak from an informed place to defend our neighbors and our city.
A few sources:
San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
Click on Budget & Legislative Analyst-Reports-2013 -October 30 “Analysis of Tenant Displacement in SF”
San Francisco Government Website:
See Mayor Lee Announcement “Federal Housing Assistance” and “Housing Initiative”
News Articles for following current proposals: just type in “Evictions, Ellis Act, Housing Crisis”
Other sources: (“beyond the Chronicle” reporting)


Housing -the way it was and the way it is today

The way it was for many of us was well portrayed in Armistead Maupin’s book and the mini- series “Tales of The City”-MaryAnne circled the ads in The Chronicle, three in her case, and proceeded to visit the flats listed. She easily landed in a great flat with the amazing Mrs. Madrigral as a landlord and became part of a diverse, yet close-knit building community. Today one races to be the first of 40 plus people standing outside a building and just as the speculators of today sell to the highest bidder, those same new “landlords” are taking in tenants who might offer three years of rent in advance or those who can show that their salary is six times the monthly rent of $3000. for a one bedroom flat.             What we note here in North Beach is a dwindling supply of vacancies as so many have been either converted into condominiums-having “bought-out” tenants under the threat of the Ellis Act- or those that have been converted into TICs (Tenancy-in-Common) units. The flats that are vacant are so costly that few of the  working class of San Francisco, the “Baby Boomers” and older can afford to rent them. Ellis Act evictions have forced so many out of their homes and the 24% increase in rents since 2012 forced them out of The City.

Armistead Maupin's Tales of The City: Apartment Hunting of yore

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of The City: Apartment Hunting of yore



About the North Beach Tenants Committee

We are a group of neighbors in North Beach who got together for the first time in November 2013 to discuss our recent Ellis Act Eviction notices and to learn more about what was being done to prevent further displacement of our neighbors. Sometimes we call ourselves the “Lombard 21 Gang” as twenty-one of us on Lombard Street received Ellis Act notices in the Spring of 2013. Our ages range from 23 to 92 and our tenancy from 3 years to 48 years. Today we are working together to help our neighbors with more than the traditional cup of sugar. Under the guidance of Gen Fujioka from the Chinatown Community Development Center we are trying to inform all of our neighbors about what the Ellis Act is and what local services are available to support us.