San Francisco landlord uses loophole to evict 98-year-old who paid rent on time for 50 years | Raw Story 

A 98-year-old San Francisco woman said this week that she is being evicted from her apartment after 50 years, and she’s never once been late paying her rent.

KRON reported that Urban Green Investments is using the 1986 Ellis Act to kick Mary Phillips out of her apartment so the company can cash in on the surging real estate market in San Francisco. The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants if they are getting out of the rental business.

“I’ve been very happy here,” Phillips explained. “I’ve always paid my rent, I’ve never been late.”

Phillips, who is one of many the low-income families and seniors being evicted, has vowed to fight the eviction because she has nowhere else to go.

“I didn’t sit down and cry, I just refused to believe it,” she said. “They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first.”

“Just because of your age, don’t let people push you around,” she said.

According to the San Francisco Tenants Union, tenants fighting evictions done through the Ellis Act often win their cases.

The group Vanishingsf, which fights the “hyper-gentrification on San Francisco communities,” has encouraged people to protest Phillips’ eviction.

“Who evicts a 98 year old woman?” a post on the Vanishingsf Facebook page asked. “Feel free to let Urban Green CEO David McCloskey, who’s evicting her, know what you think, ask him how he sleeps at night and if he’d put his grandmother on the streets. (415) 651-4441”

Here is some recent news coverage on the beginnings of gentrification coming to the northwest Bronx:

Mom-and-pop stores across from the Kingsbridge Armory are getting iced out of biz (NY Daily News)

“That type of letter is not a renewed-lease-letter; it’s a put-people-out letter,” said Christian Ramos, the vice president of the Kingsbridge Road Merchants Association.

EXCLUSIVE: Amid Re-development of Kingsbridge Armory, Rents To Double For Some In August (Norwood News)

“It’s frustrating. You don’t know if you’re coming or going,” said Bass, who feels as though it’s a type of legal eviction. “That’s just giving us three weeks to increase our rent, make a decision, get out, stay. This is really horrible. And these are families trying to stay.”

BREAKING: Rent hikes near Kingsbridge Armory threaten local businesses (BX Times)

The world’s largest ice rink complex is coming — but many local businesses likely won’t be there to see it.

WATCH: Kingsbridge Road shops face increased rent, possible closure amid building of ice skating center (News 12 The Bronx)

Tenants say a new landlord is starting to double their rents because the Kingsbridge Armory is reopening as a huge ice skating center in a few years, and property values are already starting to skyrocket.

This is what we’re doing to stop it: People Power Movement Fighting Gentrification in the Bronx


Gentrification’s racial arbitrage
June 23, 2014

This post spins out something that occurred to me in the course of writing about consumerist politics and its limitations. One of the sections concerns gentrification, and the political dead end of blaming it on what Anthony Galuzzo called “the fucking hipster show.”

Artists, students, and others classified as “hipsters” are often blamed for gentrification, rather than being understood as people who are often driven into poorer and browner neighborhoods by large-scale processes rooted in capital accumulation and government policy. This creates a divisive cultural distraction from the need to organize neighborhoods across race and class lines.

I go into that in more detail in the forthcoming essay. But I had an odd thought about the racist dimension of gentrification that didn’t fit in there. Racism is a central, unavoidable component of the whole process of gentrification in places like the United States. Landlords in non-white areas perceive that if they can bring white people into a neighborhood, they will attract more people like them.

At first, the newcomers may be the low-income hipster types, but they are the pioneers who make the area safe for colonization by the rich. The ultimate outcome is that the non-white residents get priced out and displaced, along with the original gentrifiers. It’s a process that’s been repeated so many times in recent decades that that it barely needs explaining anymore.

But what occurred to me is that the first wave of white gentrifiers are engaging in what we might call, by analogy with finance, a kind of racial arbitrage. Arbitrage is the practice of exploiting differences in prices for the same good in different markets. When such discrepancies appear, it can be possible to make risk-free money by buying out of one market and immediately selling into another.

Early gentrifiers aren’t engaging in arbitrage in this strict sense; the gains that go to early home-buyers, for instance, are consequences of the unfolding of the gentrification dynamic itself and not of some market imperfection in static comparison. But in the early stages, racism gives rise to a situation where the perception of certain neighborhoods diverges from their lived reality. A white person who notices this can exploit it to procure housing at a discount.

This is primarily because, all things being equal, white people perceive a neighborhood as having more crime the more black people it has in it. Blacks are, in fact, more likely to live in high crime areas, but white perceptions go beyond this reality (see the linked paper for a detailed study).

A white person who knows this will realize that an apartment in a black neighborhood will be systematically cheaper than the same apartment in a white neighborhood. By renting in the black neighborhood, whitey gets a discount without actually facing any additional danger.

The size of this discount is magnified by a second aspect of white racism about black crime. This one relates not to how much crime there is, but to what drives crime, and in particular violent crime. Many white people believe that rather than having a rational basis, violence in black neighborhoods is driven by some kind of cultural pathology or inherent animalistic nature. We therefore come to believe that mere proximity to black people puts us in danger.

This is illustrated in the recent, excellent debate between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jonathan Chait. (Excellent on Coates’ side, that is. Chait’s contribution consisted of digging himself into a hole, then calling in a backhoe.)

Chait, like many white liberals, tends to fall back on nebulous ideas of black cultural pathology to explain why black people face higher levels of violence and poverty. The primary difference between people like Chait and his conservative counterparts is Chait’s magnanimous acknowledgment that black pathology stems from the legacy of slavery rather than inherent inferiority.

Coates demolishes this whole patronizing and misbegotten enterprise. Drawing on his own experiences growing up in Baltimore, he shows how violence and machismo can be understandable and even necessary ways of surviving in a tough environment. “If you are a young person living in an environment where violence is frequent and random, the willingness to meet any hint of violence with yet more violence is a shield.”

But white gentrifiers moving into black neighborhoods don’t face anything like this same environment of violence. For one thing, a major source of random violence in black communities is the police, who certainly don’t treat white newcomers the same way. For another, these newcomers are disconnected from the social networks, and the legal and illegal economies, on which many urban residents depend for survival, but which can also be suffused with violence.

Certainly, white gentrifiers may be subject to property crime if they are perceived as rich or as easy marks. But the notion that they face the same murder rate as their black neighbors is simply preposterous.

Nevertheless, when I’ve mentioned the possibility of moving to a high-crime, predominantly black neighborhood, I’ve heard jokes — even from leftist comrades — along the lines of “heh, only if you want to get shot.” These are, presumably, people I won’t have to compete with for an apartment. Hence the racist perceptions of crime’s sources and targets drives down rents further and compounds the racial arbitrage.

Obviously real people don’t make such pure and conscious calculations, and white people find themselves living in mostly non-white places due to a variety of cross-cutting cultural and economic pressures. Nevertheless, it is the lower degree of racism of the early arrivals that helps start the whole process of revaluation and displacement.

There’s an almost absurd quality to it: White supremacy is so pervasive, and its structural mechanisms so powerful, that even identifying and rejecting racist attitudes can implicate white people in the reproduction of white supremacy.

It’s an important lesson that shows why anti-racism isn’t just about purifying what’s in our hearts or our heads. It’s about transforming the economic systems and property relations that continue to reproduce racist practices and ideas.



Community Members Disrupt Plans to Tour Boyle Heights

Boyle Heights, CA

Adaptive Realty, a real estate group set to gentrify Boyle Heights, is reeling from the backlash after their flyer calling gentrifiers (and displacement) to the community received outrage from long term residents and critics of continued colonization.

What will become a “public relations” learning experience for other financial interests, real estaters, and lobbyists for re/development who will make sure their efforts are much more subtle just might turn out to be the spark the city of Los Angeles doesn’t want to increase solidarity in city-wide anti-gentrification efforts.

The bike tour was cancelled. Gentrification, however, is always on the agenda. Less Damage Control, More Damage to Systemic Control

Boyle Heights Real Estate Flier Stokes Gentrification Fears

Gentrification Comes to LA’s Skid Row, and the Homeless Get the Shaft

One of the worst things about being rich is sometimes you’re forced to interact with the poor. When not in a sitting in orthopedic chairs in skyscrapers or on Italian leather sofas in luxury condos, the wealthy are often forced to walk on their own two legs—at street level—as if they were proletarian slobs. And this is upsetting, for on a sidewalk, anyone, even the hideously unprivileged, can look you in the eye.

Developer Geoffrey H. Palmer thinks this is wrong. In 2009, the real estate mogul sued the city of Los Angeles and successfully overturned its requirement that he provide some affordable housing in his massive faux-Italian apartment complexes. But while that kept poor people out, it didn’t do anything to address the problem of the poor people Palmer’s wealthy future tenants would have to deal with in the still-gentrifying downtown area.

So when Palmer started construction on two new buildings, complete with a pool and indoor basketball court, he proposed a pedestrian bridge connecting them to minimize “potential incidents that could occur during the evening hours, when the homeless population is more active in the surrounding area.” In other words, the rich will be able to literally walk over the less fortunate.


This is a family, biological and chosen, blended and bi-racial, queer and hopeful, black and brown, who are fighting  gentrification by raising funds to buy their home and stay in the neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina.  Please support them!  Thank you Serena & Emily, Matthias, Courtney, Bailey, Caleb, Max & Remy of the The LoveShack for their support of our project!  #BeforeitsGone #TakeItBack


For Immediate Release – August  28, 2014

Contact: Alvaro Franco, (646) 542-9538

Bronx tenants in Kingsbridge Heights meet to organize against rent hikes and gentrification

Bronx, New York - On Thursday night, August 14, members of a newly formed tenants association held a second meeting with support from the People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular (PPM-MPP)to discuss their strategy to fight a proposed rent increase at 2800 University Avenue that would attack the building’s working-class residents.  The landlord’s application for a Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increase attempts to justify a permanent rent hike on the basis of repairs, but many doubt the repairs will benefit the entire building.

At Thursday’s meeting, Maria Maldonado, president of the tenant association and longtime resident of 2800 University Avenue, and Jay Espy, a PPM-MPP organizer who grew up in the building, facilitated the discussion among 20 tenants in attendance. During the meeting, tenants raised concerns about much-needed repairs and safety violations that the landlord has failed to address in the building. They also strategized with organizers about taking collective actions to stop the unfair MCI rent increase.

“We can’t trust the Democrats, and we can’t trust the Republicans. The only people we can trust is ourselves,” said Espy, explaining that neither Democratic nor Republican mayors have prevented rent hikes that harm so many poor and working class New Yorkers. He placed the MCI rent increase in his building within the context of city-wide gentrification, a process that displaces working-class people of color from their communities.

Additionally, Espy blamed the redevelopment of the nearby Kingsbridge Armory into the world’s largest ice skating rink, a project that has already enticed landlords in the area to raise rent for small business owners and tenants on Kingsbridge Road. As a result, Espy encouraged the tenants to unify and organize themselves to take collective action instead of relying on politicians and landlords who do not share their interests.

Espinosa’s words resonated with the other tenants at the meeting. Sharon Cooper, vice president of the tenant association and also a long-time resident in 1978, captured the mood of the evening: “My grandmother always said: ‘united we stand, divided we fall.”


The People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular is a democratic people’s organization dedicated to educating, agitating, and organizing for Popular Control of our schools, workplaces, housing, transportation, policing, levels of government, and all areas that affect our lives, to achieve Fundamental Social Change. PPM-MPP identifies with the interests and aspirations of poor and working people and considers the anti-racist struggle central in our efforts to obtain a humane society. PPM-MPP is currently involved in tenant organizing, as well as organizing students in New York City public schools and colleges. For more information on PPM-MPP, go to or


 Also read about us on the Riverdale Press: Kingsbridge Ice Center said to cause rent hikes 

anonymous said:

i saw your gentrification post and i'm a bit confused. how is gentrification automatically a bad thing??? i like starbucks!


sooooooooo you don’t see how the reverse white flight back into the cities….the elimination of long standing poc neighborhoods….the increased threat to low-income people’s housing security….the blatant antagonism against homeless people…the eradication of safe community spaces for qpoc/tpoc..etc. is bad….

because you like starbucks????????

ok sis


Gentrification Stops Here! Kitzia Esteva-Martinez’ goal is to raise $900 in 5 days! Help me raise them bucks before my birthday!

I am an organizer in the Immigrant Rights Campaign at Causa Justa :: Just Cause — a grassroots organization building the power of working class Black and Latino residents fighting for housing and immigrant rights in the Bay Area.

We have the chance to fight gentrification and the displacement of working class tenants in the Bay Area by fighting to put anti-speculation legislation on November’s ballot in San Francisco and fighting for a healthy-homes law in Oakland.

Every year hundreds of working class families live under unhealthy conditions and harassment by slumlords in Oakland. We want fight like hell this fall to pass legislation that ensures our communities have a healthy home and are safe from threats by their landlords because of low income and immigration status vulnerability!

Your donation will ensure that we are able to do the outreach needed to bring the voices of impacted immigrant families into the forefront of this anti-displacement, anti-gentrification fight! This policy will defend tenants against illegal landlord harassment including lack of repair and maintenance and ICE and police threats meant to displace Oakland residents!

Please help us make this happen by donating to CJJC by August 1st so we can receive matching funds, and match your donation dollar for dollar.

Will you donate $50+ today? I’m giving $50 dollars to support CJJC. Will you join me? Please donate on my page and help me meet my goal of 500+ in 5 days by August 1st. We only have 5 days to do this together! (remember my bday is August 3rd!  I would love to wake up to this fundraising accomplishment!)

Thank You!!! Gracias!!!!

Donate here. Please signal boost!


For Immediate Release - July 29, 2014

Contact: Alvaro Franco



People Power Movement joins fight for real affordable housing as tenants organize to stop rent hikes in Kingsbridge Heights, the Bronx.

New York City - In Kingsbridge Heights, where Wall Street real estate developers are fighting over what will be the world’s largest ice skating rink center in the Kingsbridge Armory, local residents are fighting their own battles against rent hikes. Tenants in 2800 University Avenue, just a few blocks from the Armory, are taking a stand against rent increases in their building. They have been supported by the Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association (KHNIA) and the People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular (PPM-MPP) to organize a tenant meeting in the building lobby. Al Chapman, President of the KHNIA, and Jason Javier, Vice Chair of the PPM-MPP, led the discussion with the aid of English to Spanish translation.

Tenants of the building were in disbelief after being notified that their rent would go up $11.69 per room, including kitchens and living rooms. Most tenants could not believe that a landlord who had provided scanty repairs would be requesting them to pay more rent. In addition, the building has a number of code violations, including a missing side entrance gate and broken side door entrance that have yet to be fixed. The meeting allowed for tenants to voice their opinions and opposition to the rent hike proposal, and to meet others who have lived in the building for decades and who have never seen an MCI rent increase before.

This rent hike is due to alleged “Major Capital Improvements” (MCI) to the building, which has recently surfaced throughout the city. The MCI request also includes a permanent rent increase, meaning that tenants will continue to pay higher rent even after the “improvement” costs are paid for. According to sources in the area, 2800 University Avenue is not the only building to be hit by an MCI rent increase. Many in the community feel that this phenomenon is closely related to the changes being made to the towering Kingsbridge Armory in the community, which has already caused rents to double for nearby small business on Kingsbridge Road. Tenants in buildings like 2800 University Avenue are preparing to fight MCI’s, as well as future potential annual rent increases by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board.

During the meeting, tenants themselves elected representatives in their building to be President, Vice President, and Secretary, and essentially created their first tenant association in over a decade. More importantly, all of these representatives are women of color! The new Tenant Association is demanding for an extension time for a proper response to the notice, and preparing to compile reasons against the MCI rent increase. A few tenants have already responded by refusing to pay higher rent. However, due to the language barrier, most could not understand the MCI notice, nor the part indicating that English is the only language allowed. What is more, some received the MCI notice later than others.

Given that many of the residents do not speak English and that the demographic of the building is majority Black and Latino and working-class, PPM-MPP says that these are racist transgressions that allow landlords to unjustly push people of color out of the area. These acts add to the ever-present issue of gentrification in our communities. This battle can only be achieved through collective action, and tenants in 2800 University Avenue are demonstrating the potential for a movement against gentrification led by the people of this community. Tenants, both residential and commercial, are urged to take action on this injustice!



The People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular is a democratic people’s organization dedicated to educating, agitating, and organizing for Popular Control of our schools, workplaces, housing, transportation, policing, levels of government, and all areas that affect our lives, to achieve Fundamental Social Change. We identify with the interests and aspirations of poor and working people and consider the anti-racist struggle central in our efforts to obtain a humane society.

# # #

Read our newsletter article with more details: "The Bronx is Changing!"

White Williamsburg Douche to Black Woman: "Are you even human?"

My blood pressure is OFF the charts right now!  Twitter-ers @KO_616 and @brokeymcpoverty were in Williamsburg Brooklyn last night for burgers and used Uber to call a car.  The car came and some white people got in it even though it wasn’t for them.  What happened after that is both enraging and not surprising in the least.

A white man in Williamsburg looked me in my face and asked me if I was a human. Still trying to shake this off.

— Akoto Ofori-Atta (@KO_616)

August 12, 2014

Read More

11 Newspapers from Young Lords surface as El Barrio, NYC prepares to celebrate “Young Lords Way”
While Eric Garner’s death by an NYPD officer’s chokehold is disturbing, that high level of police brutality is all too common in communities like ours. Police brutality was one of the main issues the Young Lords fought against.

In honor of this weekend’s “Young Lords Way” Street naming in East Harlem, NYC, friend and supporter Tamara K. Nopper sent us 11 Young Lords bilingual newspapers from the 1970’s. While we don’t agree with everything said in the pages, they fought for the same basic level of respect, saftey and empowerment we desire today. Eric Garner was not the 1st innocent person of color to be killed at the hands of the police. If we don’t remember our history, and take action, he will certainly not be the last.  11 editions, all scanned into PDF’s (Here

The street naming will take place this Saturday
July 26th @ 1pm 
111th st & Lexington Avenue 

If you’d like to support our nationwide gentrification project, touching upon these issues and more, please do so below: (Link)

For Photos/Updates on our Progress
Check out El Barrio Tours on Instagram & Facebook

Andrew J Padilla
Creator of El Barrio Tours
Gentrification as a Question of Power: Many people… want development, so the question isn’t so much do we want improvements or not. The question should be: who gets to benefit and make use of the developments? Is it going to be long term black, latino residents and working class people, or middle class, often white, newcomers who landlords and developers cater to in order to accumulate high rents. Long term residents want development like well serviced and fully funded schools and parks, fixed roads, improved plumbing, clean air, and access to affordable healthy foods, while developers want development that looks like biotech campuses, an increased police presence, and cafes that sell expensive coffee. Some of the questions we seek to put out there are: On whose terms will urban development proceed? Who decides what is implemented and where? Who benefits from urban development?

Last week, a quiz from 1985 that purported to show how “upscale” your neighborhood has become provided a delightfully dated reminder (“Unisex Hair Salons” and “Travel Agencies,” anyone?) of just how long gentrification has been lamented and bougie brunch spots have been laughed at.

Figuring that our era of inexplicable “general stores,” urban B&Bs, and ubiquitous Traders Joe nonetheless deserved an updated version, Curbed LA went ahead and put one together, and though it was made with Los Angeles in mind, it could be applied almost anywhere in America.

 More: Time to Score Your Neighborhood’s Level of Gentrification - Checklists - Curbed National