The vultures of greed

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.


Oh, poor me, I want to continue to get a subsidy forever . . .

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

Many of them are completely unprepared for the fact that private property owners will not or can not provide them long term housing.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 10:46 am

apartments like they were an asset, increasing in value every year. Most of these units have outdated appliances, unstrapped water heaters, cracked and peeling floors and tile and haven't been painted or maintained well in decades but their occupants seem determined to hold onto them no matter what - as if they were a real property in which they're building equity. There's always a cagey defensiveness about their boasts too. "Yes, I know it's rundown but you should see what people around me are paying." I really don't get it, especially as the people in them usually make in excess of $100,000 per year each and could buy something in the city if they wanted. Even if you pay $1000 a month extra for something you own, you OWN it and it becomes a tangible asset - not a hovel where you're always temporarily residing.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 11:10 am

Lucretia some people don't think this looks super stable....

"One of these groups, the Federal Housing Administration, is so integral to the market that without it prices could have fallen a further 25 per cent, according to Moody’s Analytics...

...It is hard to dispute that if you own a residential property in any of the 50 states its value is being held up by the whim of politicians and central bankers."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

If you just want to live in it, and pay your mortgage, then property vaues are irrelevant.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

You are finacially illiterate….

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2013 @ 9:56 am

"....especially as the people in them usually make in excess of $100,000 per year each and could buy something in the city if they wanted."

Exactly where did you get that figure that people in rent controlled buildings make in excess of $100,000? This sounds like Anon usual argument: "most people".

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

most IT and finance jobs pay over 100K pa, it is clear that there are many six-figure tenants who enjoy the subsidies of rent control that clearly should be targeted at the poor.

That is why NYC means-tests it's rent control and why we should too.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

is total bullshit. Try $72,947 median household income, or $46,777 per capita.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:21 am

What kind of freak uses 'pa' to represent 'per year?'

Posted by marcos on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:43 am

under those screen names and others. Whatever he calls himself, his figures of average yearly income in SF are pure fiction.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:55 am

From my vantage point, such salaries are routine.

And of course they must be routine, else how would all those high rents and mortgage payments get made every month.

The fact that you find SF expensive is anecdotal only. The very low vacancy rate in SF tells a very different story. Maybe not everyone can make it here, but it only matters that enough do.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 4:32 am

2/3 of SFPD don't live in SF.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 7:29 am

their residence. It's called redlining.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:02 am

Nonsense, NYC requires cops to live in adjacent counties, San Francisco needs to require first responders to live within 30 min of San Francisco under disaster conditions, bridges and transit down.

Otherwise, we're just a welfare source for a highly paid and ultimately lazy cop class.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:19 am

unlikely that he could commute to work anyway. SF cops should live in the Bay area but they surely mostly do anyway. Plus they may have a pied a terre in the city while having a main home elsewhere. Non issue.

Cops cannot work at home like many of us, but I see no reason why they should live in the city either.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:54 am

We are "policed" by an occupying force whose wages are exported to far flung exurbs, major issue.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 9:36 am

non-issue whether he lives in Noe Valley or Novato.

Redlining and discrimination by zipcode is rightfully frowned upon in all thinking circles.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:21 am

"We are "policed" by an occupying force whose wages are exported to far flung exurbs, major issue."

Firemen may be able to do that, with their 24 hour shifts, but cops generally have normal 8 hour shifts. You really think that a cop is going to live in a "far flung exurb", when he has to commute into SF five times a week?

BTW Marcos, it strikes me that you have a spare condo. You could solve Jeremy's housing problem yourself.

Oh wait, it's too much "hassle" to be a landlord, isn't it?

Guess Jeremy's just going to have to fend for himself...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:34 am

He dumped the rent controlled dump, took a risk and bought a place.

OK, he could only do that because of some fat luck. And he sold out in the eyes of many progressives by so doing.

But at least he's not blogging 24.7 about how terrible it is that his 30 years of massively subsidized rent is ending.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 11:29 am

If only we all were young hets, you'd probably still bitch.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

and would have more worthwhile avenues to traverse.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

And you would still bitch until we gave you everything you wanted.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 5:53 am

Whatever makes you think that you have anything that I could possibly want?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:20 am

Luxury condos, development entitlements, more tax breaks, less regulation, fewer residents at the public policy table, more corporate lobbyists instead for more corporate welfare, the litany of entitled demands to be delivered from the public to private interests in a one-way direction goes on and on and on...and still you whine, still you bitch, still you complain about those damn progressives.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 6:42 am

I'm pretty happy with the city; you are not, evidently.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 8:10 am

Infinite excuses for cops who don't give a shit, zero tolerance for anyone who questions that.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 11:32 am

they are doing a great job in SF, which has one of the lower crime rates for a city of it's size in the US.

That is what you should be focusing on, and not whether cops are following your own weird political priorities, which of course they are under no obligation to do.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 11:51 am

Census statistics show median household, not personal, income at around $73,000 per year.

"Workers in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City Metropolitan Division had an average (mean) hourly wage of $31.17 in May 2011, about 43 percent above the nationwide average of $21.74, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."

Mean wage of $31.17 is much less than $75,000 per year. No doubt, plenty of San Franciscans earn that or more, but it is not the average income.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:05 am

There are statistical issues in comparing SF median incomes and the median incomes of the Marin/SF/San Mateo MD.

So the median income of the MD could very well be $73K while the median wage of the SF could very well be $31.17/hr ~ $62K which is not that much less than $73K, 15% less.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:39 am

It doesn't matter how many people cannot afford SF RE (probably 99% of the world's population).

It only matters that there are enough people who can afford SF RE, so that the vacancy rate is trivial.

Is a Mercedes car too expensive just because most people cannot afford one? If every Merc that the factory produces quickly gets sold?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 8:51 am

best I could quickly find. There probably is specific San Francisco county wage information, but I'm not going to bother in order to combat ignorant statements about "$75 k pa" from real estate shills.

The Census data ($72,947 median household income, or $46,777 per capita) is San Francisco specific.

I disagree that "$62K is not much less than $73K." $11,000 per year is a lot of money for a lower wage worker--in fact, that amount is about what it costs to rent a room in a shared SF apartment right now.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 9:02 am

it ensures that almost every SF home is afforded by enough people to sustain the city.

QED. It's affordable because people afford it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:18 am

piles of money on a dictionary and learn the definitions of the words "household" and "individual"?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 10:31 am

Regardless, there are enough SF'ers (individuals and couples) who can afford SF homes to show that SF homes are affordable.

A near zero vacancy rate proves that asking prices and rents are being met.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2013 @ 11:27 am

From latin abbreviations to just plain ol' lying, FE Guest remains a real piece of work. Of course any amount being quoted as "being made" can be *assumed* to be per year simply out of convention. The "pa" is just decoration conceived by a vacant and simple mind.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:58 am

Do you even have a job?

And the difference between 75K and 73K is trivial. Either way it is way more than requires a rent subsidy.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

Means-Testing rent control is contrary to the intent of the law. In our society, higher income people pay a lower percentage of taxes - the same principle apples to rental housing.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

Means-Testing rent control is roadmap to redlining.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

And anyway, redlining is illegal.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:19 pm

Your are flat wrong. Income tax rates are progressive at both the federal and state level. The more you make, the more you pay both in percentage and amount.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

You are flat out wrong. High income people tend to take capital gains which are taxed lower than wage income.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

You are wrong. You need to be extraordinarily high net worth, with a substantial portfolio, to be living off of cap gains income.

If you are a "high income" person earning their income from Cap Gains, then you'd need to be making $250,000 in cap gains under Obama's definition of high income. Someone would need to have a multi-million dollar portfolio to be drawing $250,000 in cap gains.

When you see stats like the top 1% pay 30% of all income taxes, do you think those people don't exist?

I'm happy you have adopted Obama's Buffett Rule talking point, though.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

works because he has never risked a penny in the markets in his life.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

for a very simple reason. You do not get a capital gain for just showing up at work every day. You get it only by risking capital, which often leads to a loss.

Nobody would ever invest if gains were taxed as high as income.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

Like most forms of welfare benefit.

It's for the poor, not for everyone.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

the number of people who work in San Francisco or live in San Francisco?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

Silicon Valley is probably higher, and many who work there live in SF.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

are the ones living in rent controlled buildings here in SF? I am only following Lucretia's argument which you took over defending.

Posted by Michael W. on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

rent-controlled housing.

I know one personally who owns a house in Tahoe but keeps his RC unit in SF for the weekdays.

That was not the situation that rent control envisaged, of course, but it is the reality.

The main beneficiary of rent control are middle-aged whites who know and play the system to favor themselves.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 11:26 pm