The vultures of greed

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Jeremy Mykaels, facing the Vultures of Greed

A small but enthusiastic crowd marched through the Castro April 20 to bring some attention to the rash of Ellis Act evictions that are forcing seniors and disabled people out of the city. The activists stopped at the home of Jeremy Mykaels, whose plight is symbolic of the state of housing in San Francisco today. Mykaels insists he's not a public speaker, but his remarks were poignant; we've excerpted them here:

I have AIDS and I am being evicted through the use of the Ellis Act. I want to welcome you to my home for the past 18 years, and to my Castro neighborhood where I've spent the last four decades, or two-thirds of my life.

I was there at some of the earliest Gay Pride Parades and Castro Street Fairs, listening to speakers like Harvey Milk and seeing entertainers like Sylvester with Two Tons 'O Fun and Patrick Cowley. I proudly voted for Harvey to become the city's first openly gay supervisor. I participated in the fight against the Briggs amendment, which would have outlawed gay teachers in California schools. I walked in the candlelight march honoring the lives of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone after their assassinations by Supervisor Dan White. And I've been here for many other protests and for many other celebrations.

And like most of you, I've seen how HIV and AIDS have devastated this community over the years and I have lost most of my closest friends and lovers to this disease. Until 12 years ago I thought I had somehow miraculously escaped it's clutches, but that was not to be and I have been dealing with that reality as best as I can ever since, with mixed results. And now on top of the great losses this disease has cost our gay community, even more losses are occurring in the form of more and more long-term tenants with HIV/AIDS living in rent-controlled apartments being forced to move out of their homes and/or out of the city after being evicted through the use of the Ellis Act, or who have been scared and bullied by just the threat of an Ellis eviction into accepting low buyout offers to vacate.

I had always thought that I would spend the rest of my life living in this neighborhood and city that I love. Now I know that, like so many others before me who found themselves in similar situations, I will have no choice but to move out.

Tech boom 2.0 has brought out what I call the Vultures of Greed, a de facto alliance of banks, the real estate lobby, and, whether unwittingly or not, city officials like the mayor and several supervisors and the Planning Commission. But the worst Vultures of Greed have been the real estate speculators, many of whom I have listed on my website.

And here I would like to call out my own personal vultures as a prime example of how uncaring real estate speculators can be. The new owners of this property are Cuong Mai, William H. Young and John H. Du, and their business entity is 460Noe Group LLC, based in Union City. These are truly callous individuals who knew from the very beginning that they had a person with AIDS living in the building, and soon after they bought the place they began threatening me with an Ellis eviction if I didn't accept their low-ball buyout offer and vacate. On September 10th, 2012 they subsequently Ellised the building and served me with eviction papers which means that I will only have until September 10th of this year to legally occupy my apartment. All these men want is the highest profit they can get after they remodel and re-sell this building. They could care less what happens to me when I am forced to move out of the city and no longer have access to all my HIV specialists who have kept me alive for this long. A prospect I'll admit that, yes, scares me. But these guys, they won't lose even a seconds sleep over my fate.


Yes, the Vultures of Greed are soaring high with sharpened talons ready to feed upon our city's seniors and disabled, and on what's left of our already decimated San Francisco gay community. But we don't have to allow it. Together with our growing number of allies, we can change minds and we can eventually reclaim this city from the Vultures of Greed.

BTW, we couldn’t reach Mai, Young, or Du, and their lawyer, Saul Ferster, did not return a call seeking comment.

Comments

Out of over 4000. Less than 5% of ALL evictions are Ellis-based and that's data from the Rent Board. Clearly this is a terribly pressing matter which must be dealt with by legislation immediately!! Tell Ammiano to attempt a repeal of Costa-Hawkins!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

massively subsidized rents for decades, and so can hardly complain now when they landlords - probably elderly themselves - can no longer afford to keep heaping such imposed generosity on their squatters.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:17 pm

"Imposed generosity" maintains these squatters in their ability to disrupt communication by like-minded people; which might tend to threaten their numb-nut randian agenda.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 5:57 am

why don't we confiscate 10% of your income and donate it to causes that you probably do not support?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 7:29 am

"why don't we confiscate 10% of your income"

Sadly, I suspect that doesn't amount to very much...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 7:40 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 8:04 am

Interesting apinion! Agree with you. Thanks.

Posted by Sammy on Mar. 24, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

I truly hope Jeremy finds a comfortable new home. Is there, perhaps, a public housing option for him?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

Another sad example of how rent control doesn't work. Expecting private property owners to provide perpetual housing to residents in need is unrealistic. The city should work towards a needs based, voucher system similar to Section 8.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

Is there a statistic of how many Ellis evictions "are forcing seniors and disabled people out of the city?" Every time you run an article on this topic, you have this same guy as the focus. Given that you write that there have been a "rash" of such evictions, how many have there been?

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

Between 2011 & 2012 there were 31 protected tenants effect by the Ellis act. But from all the articles and fuss you would think this was a crisis

Posted by Chris Pratt on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 11:30 am

"Every time you run an article on this topic, you have this same guy as the focus."

Well, they can hardly use David Weissman as the poster child for evil evictions any more...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

Sad but familiar story. The power of money and real estate have ravaged the entire city, not just the Castro. Gavin got his start evicting seniors and flipping the property. And the Castro, btw, used to be a regular neighborhood. The gay movement itself pushed out a lot of people in the 70's and 80's with buying power, tripling up and the "buddy" system. Not knocking gays AT ALL, but greed has come in all flavors. Local rent control has staved off the demise of a diverse S.F., but now the State should modify the Ellis Act. And us locals can fight to preserve the limits on condo conversions, the engine that drives Ellis Act and TICs, but opposing Weiner/Farrell's latest ploy.

Posted by Guest Jon Webber on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

"regular neighborhood?" Please, elaborate.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

Oh, and by the way, also like having cheap rent and being able to live in a home he cannot afford.

He'd also like a subsidized Mercedes.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

I didn't say I wanted the Castro to be straight again. But some diversity wouldn't hurt. I remember when it was a mixture of old and young, gay and straight.

Posted by Guest Jon Webber on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

"normal?"

Posted by marcos on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

but by describing the former ethnically less-uniform Castro as a "regular neighborhood," Jon does not -- as marcos would like to claim -- suggest that gayness is an aberration of nature.

Shame on marcos for habitually sinking down to the level of a troll. The question "normal?" does not relate to anything Jon Webber wrote.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 7:29 am

a white working-class neighborhood which was absolutely the norm 50 years ago.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 8:00 am

Where did I accuse anyone of bigotry? I asked them to elaborate on their choice of words.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 9:31 am

Oh woe is me. HIV status should not and does not allocate special housing privilege. And since when is someone guaranteed the right to live in his or her preferred city? Gee, I'd like to live in Paris at $900/month yet that is unrealistic, as is living in San Francisco at 1990's rent. Most people do not have Jeremy's unbelievable luxury of living in a rent-controlled dwelling at 1990's prices. I'm sure he, like the rest of us, could choose to move to a community in, for example, Mississippi or Georgia or Tennessee and find a nice new clean apartment that he can afford and that more than meets his living requirements. There are extremely competent physicians who can treat HIV in most cities in those states, and yes believe it or not there are people in those states - gays and straights - with whom you can be friends. And did Jeremy forget that some of us have other diseases, like the neurodegeneration disorder I have, yet have no special access to rent-controlled, Ellis Act-suppressed housing in a place where I have friends? Yes, if I was evicted via a lawful process like the Ellis Act, rather than whine, I'd be moving to a place I could afford, warm if possible. And I'd make the best of it if I had to move and I would organize the situation to be happy after my move. Candidly, that's what Jeremy should do, and he'll be better off tag 99% of the other humans on planet Earth.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

Oh woe is me. HIV status should not and does not allocate special housing privilege. And since when is someone guaranteed the right to live in his or her preferred city? Gee, I'd like to live in Paris at $900/month yet that is unrealistic, as is living in San Francisco at 1990's rent. Most people do not have Jeremy's unbelievable luxury of living in a rent-controlled dwelling at 1990's prices. I'm sure he, like the rest of us, could choose to move to a community in, for example, Mississippi or Georgia or Tennessee and find a nice new clean apartment that he can afford and that more than meets his living requirements. There are extremely competent physicians who can treat HIV in most cities in those states, and yes believe it or not there are people in those states - gays and straights - with whom you can be friends. And did Jeremy forget that some of us have other diseases, like the neurodegeneration disorder I have, yet have no special access to rent-controlled, Ellis Act-suppressed housing in a place where I have friends? Yes, if I was evicted via a lawful process like the Ellis Act, rather than whine, I'd be moving to a place I could afford, warm if possible. And I'd make the best of it if I had to move and I would organize the situation to be happy after my move. Candidly, that's what Jeremy should do, and he'll be better off tag 99% of the other humans on planet Earth.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

market for decades. And now he wants still more special favors? At somebody else's expense?

No way. He's a parasite with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Move to Oakland - a few minutes away and half the rent.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

The vultures of greed with their overdeveloped sense of entitlement and their still wanting special favors and deals at someone else's expense are the parasites on our society. Not Jeremy.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 2:52 am

and didn't get a handout from anyone else.

Jeremy, on the other hand, has been paying a fraction of the real value of his rental for decades.

He should be grateful the Ellis eviction took this long coming. I'd have had him out of there 15 years ago.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 5:13 am

The owners of rental buildings rely on the rental streams to pay down the mortgages. Tenants bought the building for the landlord.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 6:36 am

buy the building hoping that the revenues will be sufficient to meet the costs and make a profit. that is no different from any other business, except perhaps that it is more regulated and interfered with.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 7:17 am

The only risk a developer faces in this climate is referendum.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 8:18 am

There are a million things that can go wrong in RE as we say in 2008. Plus you do not see a return for many years after laying out the cash.

That's why developers demand a high ROI for any new project.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 8:47 am

There are too many carrots and not enough sticks in RE development in SF in 2013.

There are those who call an SF residential building permit a license to print money.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 9:34 am

that and so it comes to the same thing.

There is no free lunch; never was and never will be.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 9:50 am

If you have a problem with that NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO RENT. BUY instead.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2013 @ 9:52 am

Low wage workers paid for the McDonalds frachise too … so what?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2013 @ 11:56 pm

Low wage workers paid for the McDonalds frachise too … so what?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 12:03 am

"...like the neurodegeneration disorder I have"

Did you have your lobotomy before or after you were diagnosed with neurodegeneration disorder?

From Wikipedia: "The lobotomy procedure can have severe negative effects on a patient's personality and ability to function independently. Lobotomy patients often show a marked reduction in initiative and inhibition. They may also exhibit difficulty putting themselves in the position of others because of decreased cognition and detachment from society."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:34 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:41 pm

Federal law allows two for kinds of affirmative housing discrimination, seniors and PWA's.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 9:32 am

I can still choose to evict a senior if I choose.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 9:49 am

The Chinese are disgusting and are eating up our city. They are non-compassionate, rude and ruthless. If you want any more adjectives I have many and plenty. They already ate up North beach and kicked out the Italians. Clement Street, Irving Street, and many more. Besides they don't do anything nice to the properties after they get them.

All they care about is money!!! Just like our Chinese mayor who needs to be evicted from this city. He let the rat hole open even wider.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 6:31 am

They both hate Asians as well.

I imagine you prefer blacks and Hispanics, who achieve success so rarely that it is highly unlikely you'd ever be evicted by them.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 7:13 am

We need to allocate housing in San Francisco by seniority, as Tim suggested, to keep the Asians out!

Older white people have a ***right*** to live in San Francisco!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

Wait. I'm 5th generation Chinese. So does that mean I can kick out that guy and choose where he gets to live?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

to himself as 5th generation (fill-in ethnic group), I think you are making this up.

Come on. 5th generation Chinese-American. Maybe?

5th generation Chinese? 5th generation White? 5th generation Black? No way.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

Well since you don't remember a person referring to himself that way I must be lying. And yes, my family has been in this country for over 100 years after immigrating from China. So yeah...

I'm also guessing that you've never heard of a Chinese (or probably any other Asian) telling you their story is because they probably figured out how much of a prick you are within the first 5 minutes of meeting you.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

If this hateful rant against the Chinese doesn't violate the comment policy, then nothing does.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

The comment should stay up. Anti-Asian and anti-Chinese prejudice underlies a lot of the white progressive thinking on this board, as we have seen repeatedly in the past.

Particularly illuminating is that Mr. Mykaels is being evicted by two people with Vietnamese names and one person with a Caucasian name, so a poster blames - the Chinese.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

There are no "the Chinese."
But there are "the racists."

Posted by TrollKiller on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 7:15 am

Reading Jeremy's story- I do feel bad for him. Yet, I question his grip on reality. He wrote that he fully expected to spend the rest of his life in the Castro, apparently, in this rent controlled apartment. So basically, he expected to be able to stay in a cheap apartment, paying way below market rates for the rest of his life. Essentially he expected his landlord to subsidize his lifestyle. Must be nice.

Posted by Whackamole on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 9:28 am

They want a lifestyle that they cannot afford and they want somebody to pay for it because they feel so self-important that they feel they deserve what they know they cannot pay for.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 9:47 am

These entitled crybabies are known as billionaires, investors and developers, the snow job creators.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 10:02 am

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