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    Local News Briefs

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Major Construction Work in Castro To Be Completed Before Frameline Festival and Pride Parade

    Castro Street between Market and 19th Streets is one of the most well known neighborhood commercial districts in San Francisco, serving the needs of local residents and being the historic center of LGBTQ community. The renovation project will enhance the streetscape experience with widened sidewalks, repaving, new lighting, and street trees. Additionally, in coordination with the community and local businesses, the streetscape project will host the Rainbow Honor Walk, with inlaid plaques of LGBTQ heroines and heroes as well as decorative crosswalks.

    Bay Times sat in on a series of four meetings regarding the etchings in the Castro sidewalk to be known as the History Walk—20 different squares relating in chronological order the historical landmarks of the Castro, from “pre-1776: Eureka Valley is a verdant grassland where native Yelamu people live nearby;” to “1963: The Missouri Mule, the first gay bar in Eureka Valley, opens and an influx of gay residents and businesses revitalize the neighborhood, which comes to be known as the Castro;” to “2013: A ju­bilant crowd fills Castro Street to celebrate the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriages in California.”

    The construction work on Castro Street between Market Street and 19th Street is still moving ahead on schedule and soon there will be a more walkable and beautiful street for all to enjoy. We have been promised by authorities that by the time of the Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival and San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration & Parade in June, all of the major renovations, including the sidewalk widening, will be complete, leaving only mostly aesthetic improvements like planting, painting the rainbow walk, refurbishing Jane Warner Plaza, and light post installations to be completed afterwards.

    Supervisor Scott Wiener urges everyone to make an extra effort to visit local merchants during this short disruption.

    Story by Dennis McMillan

    Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Report Reveals True Purpose and Harm of Ellis Act

    Over a hundred tenants from San Francisco took to the Capitol recently to protect their community from unfair evictions under the Ellis Act, a state law that requires a state solution. Tenants or advocates for tenants’ rights shouldn’t tolerate thousands of unfair evictions.

    State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the author of the bill to reform the Ellis Act, said it best: “The business model of a landlord is 100% occupancy. The business model of a speculator is 100% vacancy. Those are two very different business models.”

    Help San Franciscans stop their community from being destroyed by real estate speculators!

    The recent Anti-Eviction Mapping Project report reveals that the Ellis Act and its legislative history shows the purpose of the Act was to allow landlords, not speculators, to exit the rental housing business. 3,610 units have been removed from the rental market in San Francisco under the Ellis Act (1997-2013). At least 10,000 San Francisco tenants have been displaced through the Ellis Act. Owners commenced 51% of the Ellis Act evictions within the first year of their ownership of the property. The majority of those were during the first six months of ownership.

    78% of Ellis Act evictions are commenced by owners within their first five years of ownership of the property. 30% of units are Ellised by known serial evictors, meaning they have used the Ellis Act to evict tenants in other properties. Many of these investors have entered, exited, re-entered, and re-exited the rental business, evicting tenants from multiple buildings.

    Raising the Roof for Renters, the annual fundraiser to support tenants’ rights, will be held June 12, 6-9pm, at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. Tenant-leaders and advocates for tenants’ rights from all over the state, as well as several esteemed honorees, will be in attendance. More information is at tenantstogether.org.

    Story by Dennis McMillan