Business Leader Fears ‘Serious Consequences’
‘Housing is a right,’ she says
Sonoma is not the only county in the Bay Area where a movement is erupting over high rents, low vacancies, and the eviction of a whole economic class of tenants.
Protestors recently jammed the San Francisco City Hall demanding an end to evictions from the the city’s Mission District, where speculators are gentrifying low-rent apartments into luxury condos. The San Francisco supervisors voted 7-4 in favor of an emergency moratorium on condo conversion in the Mission. But, as in Santa Rosa, that was not enough. The emergency status of the ordinance required 9 votes.
Across the Bay in Oakland, what was effectively a flash mob of young people actually took over an Oakland City Council meeting, hacking into the sound system, putting up banners in front of the council members, and conducting their own hearing to object to further gentrification of the Lake Merritt neighborhood, where many attend Laney College.
“I’m tired of living in my car,” one student testified.
As the Lake Property Group, which is evicting working-class Latinos in Healdsburg makes clear on their website (see story this page), real-estate speculators see the expansion of Silicon Valley thrusting well paid tech workers into San Francisco and Oakland, pushing the working-class north.
Now, with gentrification on speculators’ agenda for the North Bay, there is almost nowhere for working-class renters to go.
Some are moving to Lake County and commuting long distances to work. Others are moving to the Central Valley, finding no work there, and moving again to no one knows where.
Others are moving in with friends and family, sleeping in their cars, or living along the creeks — at least until the rains come.
Even the capitalist powers know what is coming. “Housing is a basic human right,” writes the head of business’s North Bay’s Leadership Council wrote.
“How wide can we force the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ before there are serious consequences from those who have been denied their right to housing?”
How long, indeed!