Eviction of activist/gardener squatters follows HANC's eviction

Green activist Ryan Rising shows some of the seeds the many variety of seeds the gardeners have available for free.
Joe Fitzgerald

About 20 activist gardeners were thrown out of the old Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling Center space today, when Sheriff's Department deputies and four park rangers surrounded the old HANC site and ordered them to leave.

It's the second eviction on the same site this winter, as the recycling center that has been there for over 30 years before being ousted by city officials responding to neighborhood complaints about low-income recyclers. HANC was initially evicted on Dec. 27. In the wake of its closure, about 20 or so renegade gardeners set up a campground with their own urban gardening center in the space -- with free seeds, soil, mulch and borrowable gardening tools for the community. 

The gardeners, wrapped in sleeping bags and inside tents, had a rude awakening this morning around 6am. At least 30 members of the Sheriff's Department, led by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, announced that they were trespassing and had five minutes to leave. 

"It was right at sun-up, and I was in my sleeping bag," said Joash Bekele, a 28 year old environmental activist. "We thought they were coming [yesterday], we were up all night -- worrying that they'd come."

They didn't have long to gather their gear, and a lot of their tools were left in the now locked HANC site, said Ryan Rising, one of the key organizers of the group. Most importantly, they lost their newly built miniature greenhouse, which they constructed themselves.

"A lot of this is about food justice," Rising said. It's a better alternative to the community garden that the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) plans to build in the space, he said, because it would encourage community input in everything they do. 

"It would be a neighborhood space," he said. 

RPD officials did not respond to emails before press time (UPDATED BELOW).

The group is now out on the sidewalk beside HANC, on Frederick Street. Along the fence of the old recycling center sits bags of soil and mulch, books on gardening, and a sign that reads "Welcome to the Golden Gate Recology Center." 

The now-evicted gardeners answered questions about gardening from passers by, and offered tips on sustainable cooking and gardening to anyone who happens by with a question.

The group of "renegade gardeners" are meeting tonight to discuss their next plan of action, which may include staying on the sidewalk outside HANC, or finding a new space altogether, Rising said. 

The Sheriffs Department didn't reach us by press time for comment (UPDATED BELOW), nor did Mirkarimi. A park ranger at the site, William Ramil, said that the eviction was a peaceful, orderly one.

As Ramil described the scene, we stood outside the locked gate to HANC. Three cars pulled up, a Lexus, a Saturn, and a Honda Hybrid, all customers looking for the recycling center.

Andrew Herwitz, behind the wheel of the Saturn, was surprised to see HANC closed. "Having places that are community-run are so important," he said.

He said he was heading to the Safeway on Market Street with his recycling now, begrudgingly.

UPDATE 1/7: Sheriff's Department spokesperson Kathy Gorwood disputed reports that there were about 30 deputies at the scene, but confirmed that the evictions were peaceful and with no arrests made, declining further comment. RPD spokesperson Sarah Ballard told us, "The Department is pleased to be moving forward with the neighborhood-supported plan for a community garden at the site."


Wife-beater/Sherriff Merq has joined the fascist/capitalist brigade to help evict "The People" from a park owned by "The People?

Time for a revolution.

"""The gardeners, wrapped in sleeping bags and inside tents""

Like a pig-in-a-blanket inverted?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

Huh? Fitst you beat him to a pulp because Mirkarimi isn't part of the establishment. Now, you beat him to a pulp because he is. You can't have it both ways and get to move the goalpost, too.

I apply the Burger King mandate on you:
You don't get it yourway. You get it my way or not at all.

Find arock to crawl back under

Posted by GuestII on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 7:59 am

There's no telling what gets ground up to make it. These trolls will argue any which direction as long as it disrupts the conversation and conveys their pathological impulse to be insulting.

Computer miniturization has evidently made it possible to communicate one's poisonous thoughts even from smallest confined and moss-covered spaces.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 8:45 am

thoughts either. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make there, unless you're saying that you'd like to go back to the time when the media sent out information in one direction, with no right of reply or dissent.

The internet means media democracy. Every whackjob with an opinion can project that globally. But you benefit from that as much as those you criticize.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:06 am

they are seeking to deprive others of its benefit.

In addition to that error, you also included a straw man-ish supposition and a subtle ad-hominem. Perfectly troll-like.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:27 am

by throwing out allegations of trollery for nothing more than someone offering contrary opinions.

SFBG allows free speech, and that includes views that challlenge, criticize and correct progressive misconceptions.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:59 am

So what? This is private property, no first amendment guarantees to allow every troll access to that property applies here. It is not my property, but it is one of the few enclosures to which non-corporate, non-rich San Franciscans have access that it is worth defending against trollery.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 11:03 am

property property. So the 1st doesn't apply here. Onnly Tim gets to decide who cannot post here, not you.

And in fact Tim has pointedly refused to weigh in on that and specifically has not discouraged any poster here. Nor has any IP been blocked AFAIK, altho that's not really effective these days anyway.

Tim values free speech and wants to see it on his website. That's the only opinion that matters. He clearly values having a diversity of views here, and enjoys a balance of opinions. So do most of us.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 11:43 am

Says the guy who owns a home on a street where properties average mid 600's.
Yes, those are the words of a non-rich San Franciscan speaking truth to power

Posted by Erick Brooks on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

own their own little piece of San Francisco, and so have a vested personal interest in higher home prices i.e. profit from restricted supply of newbuild home.

Hestor, Welch, Redmond and Marcos are all culpable in this regard.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

affordable housing, and have never owned property in San Francisco.

You like to draw pictures with a broad brush and limited colors.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

protagonists. But as a lower-income renter, you also have a personal interest in "affordable" (i.e. subsidized by somebody else) housing.

Show me someone with no skin in the game.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 6:21 pm
Posted by Eddie on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

since that is tax-deductible. And you cannot rent because then you have rent control.

The only SF'ers whose housing costs are not subsidized are those who rent properties that are exempt from rent control, and that isn't so many.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 7:34 am

Cliché Troll

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

Imp troll

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

Yep, Fitst you didth this and thenth you ditst that!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:01 am

A: A typography troll.*

*apologies to all the proper typographers of the world; also, "miniature"

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:31 am

1. They complain that the authorities do what they are expecting them to do?


2. They think that because of who they are, and that they are so righteous they will get a pass from "the man."

These people make zero sense or the author is not relating their positions correctly.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

first please try to specify what in the above story I missed but which gave you such a supercilious authority to explain the squatters intent, motivation and state of mind the way you have.


Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

The "supercilious authorities", ie Sheriff's Office abiding by a ruling that has been upheld in court, has no right to enforce the law...

...because Lil Lil disagrees with it.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2013 @ 9:10 am

Little Lil should be our leader in a totalitarian state.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:04 am

I wish he had, then he could have gone to jail.


Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:13 am

...if being stupid and obnoxious was a crime.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

The "supercilious authorities", including the Sheriff and the courts, have sided w/the fascists. Time for a Lil-Charged Revolution.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

that is a good start.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 7:39 am

He want sent to the slammer where he lasted all of 5 days before he agreed to follow the eviction order and ended up leading the police tactical squad enforcing it himself. Because we have multiple layers of government in this country if one refuses to enforce an order one of the others always steps in and enforces it. If it weren't the sheriff's department it would have been the CPH or a federal agency.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

doesn't like it one bit.

Lame duck sheriff. Lee won by losing.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

Yes; just as you become intelligent by being stupid.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

loves to encourage defiance but is never the one putting his health or wealth on the line?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

cheap shots from the peanut gallery. Being a progressive poster or blogger is a substitute for engaging in any real action or responsibility to help anyone.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

now because he gave his wife a bruise and then tried to cover it up?

Interesting logic there.

Simple fact is that Ross may well have been intending to take an "aggressive" approach to his role, but that was nixed the day he deemed it appropriate to get all "powerful man" on his diminutive wifey.

How, he's been neutered. A one-term lame duck sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 3:32 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

Neighbors whining about low income recyclers: same assholes who whine about the

60s being over?

Posted by Insurrexxa on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

No, conservative NIMBYs who came from elsewhere whom think the 60's aren't over.

Wait til Recology raises their fees. They'll be screaming for a recycling center to bring their stuff to and demand their redemption. Them are real penny-pinchers.

Posted by GuestII on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 8:05 am

HANC, because there are still the black and green bills.

The only way to avoid a Recology bill is to take out all your own garbage to your own landfill. Who is going to do that?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2013 @ 10:08 am

while walking down Frederick Street.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 05, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

Funniest post I've read in a long time. I had the same reaction when I read the article.

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

Rarely have I seen a ridiculous piece of progressive propaganda more laconically, eloquently and comprehensively demolished.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

I only stood up for Mirkarimi because of the media circus that passed for (denied him) a fair hearing (and I felt bad for Eliana). But the truth is, I've always had my doubts about the man. Now, he's proven that he's nothing but a tool of the system of injustice (the same system that nearly ensnared him and his family). Consequently, I can no longer support him in any way, shape or form. He's done.

Posted by Prog Woman on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

a Sheriff execute a court order.

Posted by guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

have known that a Sheriff executes evictions and runs the jails, no matter how "progressive" he claims to be.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

that I'm sure it was one of our resident right-wing plants masquerading as progressives (like lil' lilz) who posted it.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 4:44 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

wanted this job. It's not a policy role, it's an administrative role. He simply does what the Mayor and the cops and the judges tell him.

Where's the fun in that for a self-styled ideolog? Indeed, could it have been the frustration of that realization that forced him to take out his pain on his wife?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

You don't know why he wanted this job? How about $250K a year for a start with years that will contribute to his pension. He was termed out as Supervisor so he needed some way to stay on the SF govt teet. It's not like he has family money like Chris Daly to buy a bar and 2 foreclosed homes (evicting the homeowners in the process) for his family to live.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

chance of being elected Mayor, else he would surely have stood. Ditto anything in Sacramento - a typical route for dried up supervisors.

So it was either a juicy city sinecure or skid row. And soap opera actress wives are high maintenance and require constant financial investment.

But most city sinecure's were subject to Lee's judgment, and Lee knows that Ross is a pompous, talentless, arrogant ass. So that leaves what? - the elected position that's the easiest to get for someone with few extra-political skills. Bingo - sheriff.

Too bad he hosed himself within days of his taking office, thereby rendering himself moot.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

during his term - if he's not recalled first. He can add those four years to his pension. He'll no doubt land in some not-badly paid "community organizing" position like Olague is desperately searching for right now. He'll not be bad off - although he certainly will not be able to work for the DA's office ever again.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

so he won't be running homeland security anytime soon either.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

Ross is a hypocrite! Chanting all along on supporting HANC, and promising that if he becomes Sheriff, he would not evict them. Hypocrite and a criminal!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 9:16 pm