Google Protestors Rail Against Evictions and Gentrification, Targeting Google Lawyer
Protestors in San Francisco blocked Google's busses again this week, while also making it personal -- again. Rallying against evictions and the gentrification of historically Latino and Black neighborhoods, some of the same protestors also singled out another Google employee at his home.
On Friday, Eviction Free San Francisco, a tenant rights activism group, along with other protestors, held a demonstration in the Mission District in San Francisco to rally against the recent evictions of several teachers who lived in the area. They blocked a Google bus -- the method many Google employees that have settled in the area use get to work at the company's Mountain View headquarters -- and also showed up at the home of Jack Halprin.
Jack Halprin is a lawyer for Google who also owns property in the gentrifying Mission District in San Francisco. Halprin, according to court documents, owns a Victorian-style house split up into several apartments. The occupants, which included some local teachers, received eviction notices from Halprin a few weeks ago, according to Reuters. According to the protesters, Halprin is evicting the tenants so he can move in.
The protesters decided to call attention to Halprin, demanding that Google ask Halprin to withdraw his eviction notices, and putting pressure directly on Halprin as a symbol of the technology industry's negative effects on San Francisco communities.
"When you put a face on it, it suddenly becomes more real," said Erin McElroy, an organizer at Eviction Free San Francisco to Reuters. "I don't think rich Google lawyers should be able to come into a neighborhood and buy a piece of property that is a rental property and then quickly evict everyone there to make a bigger profit." Said one of the protestors to SFGate. "I think it's unethical." As we previously reported, this isn't the first Google employee that protestors have singled out.
Long time Residents, including Latinos, Face a Tough Situation
Gentrification is happening at an incredible pace in San Francisco, where median rents are as much as three times the national average. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Mission District is now $2,600, for example. A recent report by Latino advocacy group Causa Justa::Just Cause looked at gentrification in the Mission District and Oakland and found that it's bad for public health, but already in the "late stages" in the historically Latino Mission neighborhood.
"The Mission right now is in chaos with evictions," said Cecilia Alvarado of Causa Justa in the report. "There is also nowhere to go. The units available are for people who earn $6,000 to $7,000 more than I do per month -- not for middle-class or working-class families," she said, "which had always been the status of the Mission -- families with kids."
As we previously reported, rising gentrification in the Mission District has led to the Latino population of the neighborhood dropping by at least 20 percent over the past decade.