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“Give Up and Move”—really?

July 20, 2015

Guest writerParkmerced Action Coalition – PmAC

The Parkmerced community is scheduled for a major upheaval next spring, 2016, as developers launch their 20 to 30 year demolition and construction project. There are residents lined up both for and against the proposed destruction of the existing community and after the failure of a law suit our tenants organization, Parkmerced Action Coalition (PmAC) is primarily dedicated to helping tenants insure their rights-as they are now and those spelled out in the Developers’ Agreement once the project is launched.

We often get calls from tenants who have issues with management, including eviction threats and notices. We accept that Parkmerced has several thousand tenants and as any business they have procedures that they follow-they are not the friendly landlord who lives upstairs and we refer tenants who approach us to the Rent board and to the list of tenants rights organizations that we have all unfortunately, as things are in the City these days, become too well aware.  There is a very real fear amongst exiting tenants that in light of the promises made to keep a certain number of units under rent control for those whose current residences are being scheduled for demolition management is looking for any reason to evict those tenants in advance of construction. Also as rents have accelerated so drastically in the current market a financial incentive indeed exists for getting rent controlled tenants out of their units.

That being said we do have some on going, very major concerns and have been met with very little support from the tenants rights community. This past week a current Parkmerced resident, who has a very legitimate case against her eviction threat,  as told by a leading, first line of defense, organization that the cards were stacked against our residents and that she should just move!

Clues for their reasoning–Parkmerced is represented with tenant issues by one of the best known landlord attorneys’ offices in San Francisco. One of the firm’s partners  is a member of the Rent Board Commission and the other’s wife is in management position at Parkmerced.  Parkmerced’s PR representative’s resume goes back to the first election campaign of Willie Brown and he has represented many campaigns since, both political and for developments.   In 2011, prior to the BOS vote on the Development Agreement. Parkmerced was one of the top 10 in SF in money spent on lobbying. Lobby efforts continue.  From just these few examples, if you been paying attention to SF’s political scene, you can easily see where this interconnectedness is leading–the fix is in!

It often feels that Parkmerced is an after thought when it comes to San Francisco communities. The perception of some is that it is a middle class suburb what with the lush lawns (prior to the drought) and award winning landscaping. But Parkmerced is a multi-generational, multi ethnic community, rich and poor and all that that entails. Many residents have lived here for a long time, some their whole lives, in rent controlled units and they feel the threat of displacement every bit as much as those in other areas of the City.

If this is the message from a tenants organization-“give up and move”-what hope is there for the 1000s that live here?

Parkmerced Action Coalition – PmAC
http://www.pmacsf.org

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