Let’s Gentrify!

Let's Gentrify! http://uptownalmanac.com/2012/04/other-news-mission-still-over

Let’s Gentrify! http://uptownalmanac.com/2012/04/other-news-mission-still-over

 

There seems to be a surge in coverage of gentrification and urban inequality in San Francisco lately. The struggle of the Lee family –  80 year old Poon Heung Lee, his wife and mentally disabled daughter  – against eviction from the home they’ve lived in for 34 years garnered attention this week as protestors try to prevent sheriffs from carrying out a vacate order. The owner of the property, Matthew Miller, wants to evict the family so that he can convert the building into high end condos. The eviction is one of many Ellis Act evictions, which gives property owners the right to evict tenants if they sell the units or move in family members. Ellis Act evictions have skyrocketed in progressive San Francisco, contributing to the ongoing ground war between affluent renters/owners, many linked to the tech sector, and working class and low income communities of color in the city. Twenty-five year old Allie Crocco, a newly arrived employee of the finance sector, frames the moral dilemma this way:  “I feel bad for the old people being evicted, and I can see why there is so much controversy. But on the other hand, there’s a lot of money to be made in these buildings.”

A more penetrating observation is offered by a 12 year old from the city’s Mission district: “The Mission District, around here, has changed a lot because there’s a lot of white people taking over the Mission…People are moving out of the Mission because it’s getting more expensive, since so many more white people are moving to San Francisco. And that’s why it’s harder to get to school and black people are moving out.”