Anti-gentrification activists “GET OUT” with Pride


A group of activists used the Pride Parade to make a political statement by marching with a faux Google bus, an action meant to call attention to gentrification in San Francisco. They rented a white coach and covered it with signs printed up in a similar font to Google's coroporate logo, proclaiming: “Gentrification & Eviction Technologies (GET) OUT: Integrated Displacement and Cultural Erasure.”

Some trailed the faux Google bus with an 8-foot banner depicting a blown-up version of an Ellis Act evictions map.

Others donned red droplets stamped with “evicted” to signify Google map markers, while a few toted suitcases to represent tenants who'd been sent packing.

However, their ranks were thin in comparison with the parade contingents surrounding them, which included crowds of workers representing eBay, DropBox, and, of course, Google.

A member of the small anti-gentrification contingent gazes in the direction of the Google contingent, where a crowd of tech workers is bursting with energy and carrying balloons.

A member of the anti-gentrification part of the march gazes in the direction of the Google contingent, where a huge crowd of tech workers was bursting with energy.


Google workers clad in identical tees wore colorful sunglasses, carried balloons and held a banner.

Activist Leslie Dreyer was one of six activists who put together the faux Google bus contingent. She used crowd-funding to raise roughly $2,000 for parade registry, bus rental, and custom-made decals.

“All of us have either been affected, or are in a position where we wouldn’t be able to afford to stay in the Bay Area if something were to happen to our housing situations,” Dreyer said. “There’s really no security to stay here.”

They selected the Google bus as a symbol because “we think the tech boom is directly responsible for creating a population of people who can actually afford these market-rate rents,” while also fueling real-estate speculation and giving rise to a deep-pocketed political lobby. “It’s not targeting tech workers individually,” Dreyer added.

Zeph Fishlyn, a sculptor and activist who earns a living as a tattoo artist, also helped launch the Pride Parade action. “My communities that I’m a part of – not just the queer community, but also artists and activists – are being forced out,” said Fishlyn, who suffered through two separate evictions in 2012. “I know 34 people who got evicted last year.”

Housing advocates are gearing up for a campaign targeting landlords that are infamous for gobbling up rental properties and serially evicting long-term San Francisco renters. Dubbed Eviction Free Summer, the campaign could get underway in coming weeks.

Activists handed out fliers encouraging people to join them by visiting


And so are some Google workers.

Blaming successful companies for the fact that a tattoo artist cannot afford to live in the one of the most expensive cities on the planet is a stretch.

And of course the Ellis Act would never have existed except that some municipalities look rent control too far, prompting a legal and statutory backlash.

But hey, there's always Oakland. It's not very far away and much cheaper.

Posted by anon on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 7:27 am

I'm not a tattoo artist. I'm a regular working stiff who makes 40k a year and I HAD to move out of San Francisco because I couldn't afford to live there anymore. What about the EMS workers, teachers, police officers and nurses who can't afford to live in the city? What are they suppose to do when a very successful tech company moves in? What about you? When the big earth quake hits will your Google phone rescue you?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 11:40 am

Or Daly City or Richmond or Vallejo, and so on.

Same in every city - some parts are more priicey than other parts.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

Amen, brother! Wait until all the social services are not able to get to them when they need it! I am in favor of all gay rights, but these little piss-ant rants have to go! I am a physician, and I abhor tattoos, by the way.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 20, 2013 @ 4:32 am

Oh great, let's all go gentrify Oakland. Oh wait, we already are.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

And when all subaltern communities are displaced from Oakland, there will always be where?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

Trapped in 1980s french post-structuralism, or unaware of Gramcsi's theory of "war of position?"

Posted by anon on Jul. 03, 2013 @ 8:05 am


Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

taxpayer why it is so important for them to be in SF? How would my life be better if Google moved to China and we had even more tattoo artists and "activists"? What's the downside to me of you living in Oakland instead of SF, while having a deeper tax base here?

I'm not getting it. Help me see it. Make me care where you live.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 7:40 am

They are in silicon valley. SF is their bedroom. Also they dodge billions in taxes -- Apple hid over 9 Billion this year -- and their lobby uses their money to urge politicians like Lee to give them tax breaks, so I wouldn't count on them deepening the tax base.

Why should they waste time convincing someone who only cares about himself that their community and long-term residents have a right to the city? If you don't care if there is affordable housing in this city, then one should presume you don't care about the diversity or culture that once thrived here.

Posted by Fight Back on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 8:44 am

economy, which includes SF. Some of their workers live in SF but many do not, while of course many other workers live elsewhere but work in SF. Swings and roundabouts, and it's better to think of the Bay Area as one big metropolis rather than get caught up in this part of it or that.

Apple and Google have not been charged with tax evasion. They have the followed the laws and rules written by those whom you elected. If you don't like the tax rules as they are, write to your Congressman and ask him to change them.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:00 am

You mean the same ones who take handouts from these companies and have 16+ million dollar houses in Pacific Heights? Yeah, that will do a lot of good.

Posted by Fight Back on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:29 am

hardly reasonably complain when businesses follow the rules, as Apple and Google have done.

Posted by anon on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:37 am

You have a right to try and live in it if you want to, just like I have a right to try and afford to live in Aspen. The trouble is that my theoretical right to live in Aspen is not matched by the means to, so I am SOL. You won't hear me asking for a handout or subsidy to I can afford Aspen though. I simply find another place which I can afford.

Diversity? It's not like there is a shortage of artists, actors or activists here. The place is crawling with them. If they cannot afford Pacific Heights, then they can live in Oakland. BFD.

Posted by anon on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:05 am

OK, so I'm not that young anymore, but I remember when I was. I could never afford to live in a higher rent district until my kids grew up and moved out. Gentrifying a city means better living conditions and a cleaner beef I have is that greedy property owners kick existing renters out, because they can make more money with someone else. I support a grandfather clause that says you cannot evict someone strictly for a rent increase. My other beef is, gentrification only seems to affect those who have jobs and pay for their living quarters. Look at the projects in Western Addition. GANGS hang out there, cause trouble, don't work, and treat their "free" homes like c.r.a.p. Look at the condition of the projects. If I were in charge, I'd be making monthly visits....and if you couldn't eat off the floor, I'd be handing out 30 day notices. But...we can't do that, now can we. We can push the lower end of the working class out, but not the beggar-gang banger-graffiti marking-Safeway stealing-thugs. Strange world we live in.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 8:17 am

increase. Landlords have to evict for one of 15 just causes. They can then re-rent for a higher rent, of course, unless the particular type of eviction imposes a relay on re-renting, e.g. Ellis and OMI. Sometimes it's easier just to pay a tenant a few grand to move, and have no restrictions. Four or five grand is a lot of money for some people.

And you're right, gentrification only really affects a few neighborhoods, and not the entire city. It doesn't affect the areas that are already affluent e.g. Pacific Heights. Nor does it affect the ghettos, which are beyond hope anyway.

It's just the "up and coming" areas like the Mission. Avoid living in a neighborhood like that and your problem is solved.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 8:31 am

Look at Santa Monica. I grew up in Brentwood, always thought that I could afford a place in Santa Monica. When I was a high school student, they made fun of me that I lived in the "grandaddy area." I am now living in San Pedro, a real hood. (And I achieved my graduate degree at Purdue.) Although I had been providing my health services in South-Central, I never could have imagined that I would live in the real ghetto. Although I am living on the Palos Verdes border, it is so completely ghetto living here. I would say in many ways worse than South Central. Frankly, I wouldn't care if I could walk to markets and other accommodations. GANGS are the problem. Can't wait to get back to West L.A. where I can walk again to conveniences, but again, no where is perfect.
It is a jungle out there no matter where you live. But your point is well-taken. Rent control in Santa Monica certainly did not work. I AM considering out-of-state options at this point. Even for us native-borns, I think that we need to consider these options. (And I am a physician.)

Posted by Guest on Aug. 20, 2013 @ 5:10 am

I was so happy to see this contingent getting ready for the parade. Couldn't agree more with them.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 8:36 am

Pride means being anti-immigration.

Posted by R Clear on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:39 am

Just as long as a few bad artists get to keep their subsidies and handouts rather than move a few miles to Oakland.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:49 am

Ten times as many tenants are evicted each year for non-payment of rent, or for breaching their rental agreements, according to the Rent Board statistics.

But nobody ever seems to mention that here, focusing instead on a relatively small number of landlords who annually seek to exit the rental business altogether via Ellis, as allowed by State Law, and retire.

Posted by anon on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:09 am

I'm amazed that any group promoting a message of "get out of our city because you are different from us" would be tolerated at the Pride parade.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:24 am

You overlook that the word "diversity" has a very special meaning in SF. It means everyone except Christians, republicans, landlords, big business, the wealthy and anyone who doesn't think the SFBG cookie cutter way.

Posted by anon on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:36 am

Pro-tenant groups hate landlords (and, it seems, any business who sin is to be successful).

Activists for the poor hate the rich.

Activists for gay marriage hate christians.

To further their agenda, the left must always find a bogeyman to wage a class war against.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:48 am

Anti-gentrification activists have failed. Their work has produced the exact opposite outcome.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:34 am


Class warfare and the politics of envy are always ugly and ineffective.

Posted by anon on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:38 am

I'm not sure which is worse; protesting job creation, protesting local immigration or using a symbol of mass transit - a bus.

Posted by R Clear on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:37 am

Private buses shuttle isolated tech workers too and from their job so they can avoid rubbing elbows with the unwashed masses. They are using taxpayer resources (busstops, road maintainance, tying up traffic) yet we are not universally allowed to ride on it. Great plan...underfund Muni, make it super slow and unpleasant to ride and the wealthier get to escape the damage done by privatization with the lovely gated communities on wheels.

Posted by Sigmarlin on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 11:21 am

Would you prefer that those people all drove to work instead and clogged up the highways even more, wasting even more fuel and causing even more pollution? Or do you have a better idea?

Posted by Tony on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

I'd prefer that we tax the living shit out of these private transit vehicles to fund rapid reliable regional public transit.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

not discourage people from taking buses rather than cars.

And the Google and Apple buses are not competing with Muni because Muni doesn't go outside the city.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

How about instead we tax the living shit out of the private transportation vehicle knen as the automobile, through higher gas taxes. California's gas ax is much lower even than the state sales tax, yet cars pollute and create congestion.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 03, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

Better idea? Obsessed with "innovation?" How about cash-rich corps. like Google and Apple building company housing for their workers NEAR their workplace. NOT very SUSTAINABLE to bus people in any direction when they can live in the affluent cities of the Peninsula and bike or walk to work. And let's see the Peninsula cities start building more housing for their local companies. There's plenty of places there selling cocktails, bacon-infused grub and every victual-of-the-moment that you can get in SF.

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Posted by Chinese page on Wikipedia on Aug. 05, 2014 @ 1:35 am

Better idea? Cash-rich corps. like Google need to build company housing for their workers NEAR their workplace. Not very SUSTAINABLE to bus people in any direction when they can live in the affluent cities of the Peninsula and bike or walk to work. And let's see the Peninsula cities start building more housing for their local companies. There's plenty of places selling cocktails, bacon-infused grub and every victual-of-the-moment you can get in SF.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

the people I work with?

Or that I might like to have some distance (emotional and geographical) between my work and my home?

30 miles is not an excessive commute

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

Your need for every last possible convenience for your high paying job is destroying lives through displacement, you whiny middle class asshole.

Posted by the head of joaquin murrieta on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

I just mind my own business. Your fate is in your own hands, not anyone else's. Quit being a victim.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 8:46 am

You are destroying the lives of others and the future of those others is indeed in their incapable hands leaving the rest of us the worst of all worlds.

You all don't leave anything to chance.

The activists labor under the misapprehension that the historical imperative means that they will win no matter what and that they can just mouth radical platitudes and cut deals with power instead of putting some skin in the game and taking risks.

Posted by anon on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 8:59 am

It's just that some people are living in places that they cannot afford, and so they move. Change is natural and inevitable. And SF is a much better town now than 20/30 years ago.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 9:22 am

You don't want to live near your co-workers? So why did you come to SF? So you can all rent the new 2/2 apts that just went up on Valencia for $5,000/mo? Soon you're going to all live here because it's just so "interesting," plague the Mission with your button-downs and your Uber cars and your guffawing at the gay nightclub posters, and wake up one day and see that your neighbors are your coworkers. All the "interesting" will be gone, because you used your power to destroy it. Why not stay in San Jo and try to make it exciting? Write some graffiti on the walls in C++ or something.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

Only some of them are in SF.

Maybe you'd be happier living further away from Valencia. There are lots of other streets and neighborhoods with different kinds of people.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 8:49 am

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/san_francisco

Posted by anon on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 9:05 am

I think /dev/rand would be more appropriate for SF

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

# mkfs -t boring_fs /dev/san_francisco

Posted by marcos on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

30 miles? i walk ten minutes to work.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 3:18 am

entitled to use them whether by car, bus or bike.

Bus seems the most transity-friendly to me, and it hardly matters whether the buses are private or public.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

I ride one of these employer-provided shuttles daily from San Francisco to Silicon Valley. It's a very, very efficient way to get a large number of people to work. If I were to take public transit, it would take three buses and a train, for a total trip time of between 2 and 2.5 hours. Without these shuttles, myself and thousands of other workers would crowd public transit even more than it already is, taking an inefficient, roundabout journey to work. The employer-provided shuttle, because it can drive directly to its destination and deliver a large number of people without unnecessary stops, reduces congestion on the roadways and on public transit. It keeps us (with our repetitive, consistent commutes) from clogging up public transit, and gets us off the road in ~45 minutes.

The shuttles aren't designed to compete with public transit -- they are designed as a targeted solution for people who don't need the flexibility of dozens of stops throughout the area. With their rigid schedules and small number of stops (mine has two stops in San Francisco and one at work in Silicon Valley), they are an efficient and highly-targeted means of getting lots of people from point A to point B. They actually impair traffic significantly less than a comparable journey would take via public transit. Though much of it would be on Caltrain, it would still require three regional buses and dozens of traffic-impairing stops.

I don't understand the accusation that buses use taxpayer resources without contributing. Operating buses requires paying for fuel, registration, and charter permits, all of which contribute money to the city. It may seem that the buses place an undue burden on the road, in terms of road wear and traffic. But consider that each of the double-decker buses holds ~80 employees. Imagine 80 additional cars on the road per bus, contributing to pollution and road wear, or 80 more people trying to cram onto a rush hour Caltrain or Muni bus. When you think of it like this, the buses provide a useful service. The largest double-decker buses get ~4 miles per gallon of diesel fuel to transport 80 passengers. That's ~320 person-miles per gallon -- over an order of magnitude better than a 30 MPG private vehicle transporting a single worker. I don't have enough information about the Muni/Caltrain fleet to do a comparison calculation on what my journey would cost, but due to the roundabout route and multitude of stops, I imagine it is significantly better than private vehicles but worse than employer-provide shuttles.

Regarding using Muni bus stops -- I agree this is an issue, and thankfully there are talks in progress with the city to develop some sort of licensing system that would allow private transit operators to register and pay a fee to use Muni stops, so the city sees some return on their investment for maintaining them. King County, WA (home to Microsoft, among others) already does this quite nicely -- have a look at the way Microsoft integrates its private shuttle service with King County Metro.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 06, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

What if the entirety of the speculative bubble funding this particular tech boom was one gargantuan inefficiency and you're trying to argue for efficiency within a system that is build to pop and explode all over the region, leaving us to clean up the mess?

Posted by anon on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 6:44 am

by "local immigration" do you mean displacement? and by "mass transit" do you mean privatized transit? Both are definitely problematic. Lets call a spade a spade.

Posted by Fight Back on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 1:04 pm