In SF and Oakland, activists block tech buses to protest displacement

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Activists gathered at 24th and Valencia streets in San Francisco this morning to block a private Apple shuttle.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

Between 70 and 100 protesters gathered at 24th and Valencia streets this morning (Fri/20) for yet another blockade of a private tech shuttle, this time to protest evictions in the city of San Francisco.

The activists, who were from Eviction Free San Francisco, Our Mission No Eviction, Causa Justa / Just Cause and others, stood in front of a white shuttle bus holding banners and signs. Some peeked through cardboard signs fashioned in the shape of place markers on Google maps, with “Evicted” written across the front.

The shuttle was bound for “Main Campus Ridgeview,” a hint that it was operated by Apple. While there was no contact between the bus passengers and the protesters, a few sitting inside the bus could be seen capturing the scene outside with their iPhones.

With chants of, “What do we want? No Eviction!” And, “Get off the bus! Join us!” The group of tenant advocates marched from the 24th Street BART station to the intersection, where Erin McElroy, who was an unwitting participant in union organizer Max Alper’s street theater performance during the Dec. 9 Google bus blockade, led the street rally on a megaphone.

“What we are against is eviction,” she said. “What we are against is the Ellis Act. We want the ruling class – which is becoming the tech class – to listen to our voices.”

Guardian video from today's protest by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez.

Patricia Kerman, who is facing an Ellis Act eviction from her apartment of 27 years at 20th and Folsom streets in the Mission, was among the speakers who shared personal stories during the blockade, which lasted around twenty minutes or so. She told the Bay Guardian that she is a senior on disability, with a “very low fixed income,” and has had no luck finding alternative housing since she received an eviction notice. “He doesn’t understand that a roof over my head is more important than money in my pocket,” she said, referring to her landlord.

Paula Tejada, who is also facing eviction, said having rent control made it possible for her to get into a financial position to open her small business, Chile Lindo, a Mission District empanada shop near 16th and Capp streets. “I am once again proud of the Mission that stands for what is right,” she said of that morning’s action. “Not everyone is taking this lying down.” She added, “if you want homogeneous, go live in the suburbs.” 

Mariko Drew and Anabelle Bolanos had turned out with Our Mission No Eviction. Drew, who described herself as a longtime resident, said the bus was “a symbol of the privatization and increasing separation between the poor and the rich.” Bolanos chimed in, “It’s a constant reminder of how … our mayor and our local government has sold us out. [Mayor] Ed Lee is letting money make decisions.”

Highly visible activism around eviction and displacement has fueled new policy proposals, such as Mayor Ed Lee's recent announcement that affordable housing development would be prioritized.

Meanwhile, the Bay Guardian received reports that across the bay, two separate blockades of Google buses took place at Oakland BART stations.

According to a post on IndyBay, a Google bus was blocked at MacArthur BART station at 7:45am in Oakland. There have also been reports that activists blocked a tech shuttle in West Oakland.

When the Bay Guardian asked several protesters who were involved in the San Francisco action if there had been any coordination between the actions, they responded that there was not.

At the San Francisco protest, police showed up on the scene and asked people to step onto the sidewalk. The Apple bus departed and the protest concluded without incident.

 

This window was allegedly broken during the protest of this Google bus in Oakland.

 

Comments

Posted by Guest on Dec. 29, 2013 @ 9:04 am

We'll keep our ethnic diversity, thank you...

Aspen - Estimated median household income $71,541
White alone - 5,924 (89.0%)
Hispanic - 499 (7.5%)
Asian alone - 97 (1.5%)
Two or more races - 72 (1.1%)
American Indian alone - 11 (0.2%)
Other race alone - 8 (0.1%)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone - 5 (0.08%)

United States - Estimated median household income $50,054
White alone, percent - 77.9%
Hispanic or Latino - 16.9%
Asian alone - 5.1%
Two or More Races - 2.4%
Black or African American alone - 13.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone - 1.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone - 0.2%

San Francisco Estimated median household income in 2011: $69,894 (it was $55,221 in 2000)
White - 48.5%
Black or African American - 6.%
American Indian and Alaska Native - 0.5%
Asian - 33.3%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander - 0.4%
Two or More Races - 4.7%
Hispanic or Latino - 15.1%

Posted by Guest on Dec. 28, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

Guess what... this "Moocher" is pretty tired of working 24/7 to pay salaries, taxes, worker's comp, insurance, licenses... to keep the side walk clean, serve people good food and provide "charm" to the city--so don't you worry, I may well move out of the neighborhood... business and all.

All I was trying to point out regarding the opportunity my former landlady gave me (RIP)... is that when you give people opportunity to get ahead... a community thrives.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

We are supposed to believe them over those who create great prosperity for this area?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 11:06 am

if they are so against evictions, why not focus on getting people not to violate their leases, as that is a much larger source of evictions in SF, as compared to Ellis evictions.

and nothing screams "rich" like taking a bus to work!

Posted by guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 11:23 am

This is NOT "taking a bus to work", this is not the MUNI. This is a private, corporate owned, luxury bus, that only employees of special companies get to use. Using taxpayer funded space to do so.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

The seats might be more comfortable, but it's still a bus.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

You can't seriously be so dense as to not see the difference between public *any taxpayer and a few bucks can take it* transportation and private *not open for anyone except corporate employees* options?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 1:46 am

they are both vehicles and both can use our streets.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 7:54 am

despite your misunderstanding of the law.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 8:23 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:27 am

The technical term is "corporate shuttle bus".

Originally, they were intended for staff who were traveling to meetings between the different corporate office buildings scattered across SF Bay Area. Sometimes employees would find themselves relocated to a different city and then have to take the shuttle to get to work. To save time zig-zagging through car parks, the buses would just stop at the nearest bus-stop, and that did cause confusion. I remember one time the bus route went past a Veterans hospital and the poor guy in a wheelchair didn't understand why he wasn't being allowed on.

Existing bus services weren't safe (think muggings, drunks, druggies, gangbangers) or particularly speedy (100+ stops between two cities).

Posted by Mikael on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 9:08 am

I recall taking one in the 1980's when I started working.

I do not understand the problem here at all.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

Inconveniencing a bunch of people who are just trying to get to work isn't going to garner much sympathy to your cause.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 11:28 am

God forbid that people have to think of the greater cause, or anyone besides themselves...

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 1:48 am

You are not free to force them to, however.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 7:53 am

San Francisco is a politically active community. People take to the streets for social change here. Many times protests are disruptive. Duh! They're supposed to be. I love that aspect of living in The City. It's one of the reasons I moved here. But it's not for everyone. If you don't want to deal with regular protests, I would suggest Sunnyvale or Mountainview. In the case of the Google-ites, it'll be more convenient to get to work, too.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 8:18 am

(and usually the same 100 people).

Even Occupy, which occasionally was a few hundred, fizzled out.

It's a myth that anything is achieved in SF. most people here want to work hard and succeed, not start a revolution.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:26 am

There were two separate Google Bus blockade actions this morning in Oakland. One at MacArthur BART, and one in West Oakland.
See West Oakland reportback: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/12/20/18748143.php
And MacArthur BART: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/12/20/18748125.php

Posted by Autonomedia on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 11:40 am

what are they protesting about there?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Talk about being unclear on the concept!

It's probably human nature to want to blame someone else for one's own misfortune. It's certainly more convenient than sober self-reflection. The people of SF might consider their responsibility for 20-30 years of failed housing policies that created the conditions that caused our housing affordability crisis. Recently arrived hi-tech workers certainly didn't do this. It appears that SF will continue to become a hub of the innovation economy, attracting many thousands of hi-skill, hi-compensation workers. If we do not sharply increase housing production, why should we expect a different outcome? SF is on a certain trajectory to become a denser, more urban version of Carmel.

For instance, 80% of the City's current development is taking place on 20% of its land. Why are enormous areas of the City off-limits to helping address our chronic housing shortage?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 11:46 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

San Francisco is also a hub of crybabies. I mean, even a food service worker, by being conscientious and punctual (and certainly an overpaid BART employee), can rise up to management, buy property, and reap the benefits of their neighborhood becoming nicer and safer instead of wanting to keep everything cheap and ugly and "low income friendly".

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

evictions are increasing because there are huge profits to be made from selling houses right now.

that's because there are very rich buyers who can afford them, and they are almost exclusively tech industry folks.

the tech industry has had a dramatic impact on the cost of living in the bay area.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

At least come up with the right facts and stats.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

For the past 11 years I've lived two blocks from the MaCarthur BART station, where one of these stupid protests occurred. I can tell you that the vast majority of my neighbors are THRILLED to have tech money coming into the neighborhood. We welcome Google with open arms.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

Stopping worker bees from riding the bus to their job does nothing to stop evictions.

Calling the worker bees the "ruling class" does nothing to stop evictions.

People complaining about life in the city telling people who like living in the city “if you want homogeneous, go live in the suburbs.” does nothing to stop evictions and doesn't even make sense.

Given the ACTIONS of the agitators, it is clear they have no interest in actually stopping any evictions.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

The protesters' targets are the buses and not the riders. And the tech buses are more than scape goats, they are real instruments of the tech industry's policies of imposing their power and wealth on the region without paying their fair share of the costs. By providing private buses for its employees, Silicon Valley industries are shifting the impact of the jobs-housing imbalance of their making to San Francisco, Oakland and beyond without supporting public transit that could benefit everyone. Tech needs to take responsibility for the housing demand and transit impacts their growth and wealth creates. Tech does not exist in the cloud. It exists in the real world.

Posted by Gen on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

We need to start putting guns in jail instead of the actual criminals.

fair share means. "I want"

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

So you rather them drive to work than take a bus? Smart!
Oh, and what makes you think that you deserve to live in this city over anyone else. No one owes you cheap rent. Why don't you move to Hayward?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

The buses ARE the riders. No difference.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 12:01 am

Neither the buses nor the riders have done anything wrong.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

Time to start cracking protestors skulls again. And consider arresting the editor of this rag, who loves feeding the flames of resentment and violence. Let's see how fun it is when his organic ass is sitting in jail.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

This is you: How dare they use violence.
This is also you: Let's use violence to solve this problem!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

the state has a free hand to reestablish control over the situation. And they will - look at what happened to Occupy. The protestors have brought an end to their campaign by this action, mark my words. They may push a little more but their end is coming.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

As we saw with Occupy, they have no stamina for a real fight.

Slap them down and they run away.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 7:52 am

Reading these comments reminds me of Ayn Rand's "virtue of selfishness". You all should be ashamed of yourselves for not seeing the bigger picture of what is really going on here. With any luck at all the people in the busses will use their affluence to make their footprint a little less of a negative impact on their surroundings and use their new found success to make things better for all.

Posted by billy macavoy on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

Maybe every one should make things better for themselves, rather being mooching parasites off of other people....Oh wait, it's so much easier to be a mooching parasite...

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

Oh wait, I forgot you built everything you have all by yourself, didn't you John Galt! I don't know why I keep forgetting this petty little fact.

Posted by Billy Press on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 4:38 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

What part of "Promote the general welfare" are you missing?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

what constitutes general welfare/

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

The political process defines that, IT'S IN THE CONSTITUTION!

Posted by marcos on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

who block busses.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

If you don't like it, get the law changed, but do not blame people trying to get to work who haven't evicted anyone.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:24 am

I'm not sure what the bus blockers are trying to achieve. It seems a Hail Mary pass to try to attract attention to these issues. I'm not seeing where this takes them at a policy level, don't see Ellis being repealed or amended in Sacramento, it is a very narrowly localized issue up against the real estate lobbyists. And I'm not seeing the development of local candidates to retake government. Too many of these folks are from Oakland having failed San Francisco. It is almost like they're raging against other working people to make up for their political failures, the absurd logical extension of a world where the highest valued political currency is the self esteem, feelings, validation and right to be heard of the activist.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:35 am

as long as those with real power realize that this is a tiny minority of bitter envy hounds with nothing positive to contribute.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

They have valid criticisms and suggestions, the problem is that what they're doing has raised awareness, but they're not poised to do anything but nibble around the edges. The political prejudices based on demographics that we've seen have led to the narrowing of their circle of appeal. Those same prejudices are in play now and as they've proven to narrow the circle in the past, won't be able to expand the circle to where it needs to be.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

then what further actions are you suggestion would be more effective?

Setting fire to them? executing the riders?

There's nothing wrong with changing demographics. Maybe Sf is becoming more moderate while Oakland, taking lots of SF refugees, is becoming more progressive.

So what? Why does it matter?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

Well said Marcos

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2013 @ 12:41 am

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