Some 400 protesters marched west on 24th Street this afternoon to rally against a development at the 16th Street Plaza and in support of Proposition G, a ballot measure that would impose a surcharge on developers who flip multi-unit buildings.

Under the blazing sun, marchers danced, bobbed and chanted against gentrification. Unlike last year’s march that focused on an eviction tour of recently impacted tenants and buildings, this year’s march seemed trained on the broader picture of the November elections and the more specific  350-unit development at the BART plaza.

“I’m here because so many long term San Francisco residents can no longer live here because of a loop hole in the Ellis Act that lets people come in and buy something cheap and then evict the tenants and make a large profit,” said Iris Biblowitz,68-year-old retired nurse who has managed to remain in the Mission.

Biblowitz was referring to the Ellis Act, which the state legislature approved in 1985 to give long term landowners a way to exit the rental business. In times of a heated housing market, however, it is increasingly used by developers to purchase a building at a relatively low price because of the long term tenants and then turn around and evict the tenants. They then often sell the units to buyers willing to own a place through a Tenants in Common mortgage and agreement.

Karyn Smoot, who works at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in the Mission, said that she was at today’s march, because “this is where gentrification happens.”

David Grace

David Grace

David Grace who works at a non profit near the 16th Street Plaza said he feared more non profits moving out of the Mission. “Who is going to keep watch on all of this stuff if we are no longer here,” he asked.

The march will turn north on Mission Street and end at the 16th Street Plaza where there will be a community demonstration and celebration until 6 p.m. Andra Cernavskis will be filing a full report on the march.