Photo by Lydia Chávez

As tenants of 812 Guerrero halted a Google bus at 6:30 a.m. today at 18th and Dolores to protest their eviction by Google lawyer Jack Halprin, the target of their protests, a man who has evaded press questioning and public appearances, walked toward it.

He could hear the protesters as he neared the corner of 18th and Dolores, but instead of turning around, he continued toward them. A reporter walked beside him. Are you Jack Halprin? He either smirked or grimaced, but kept walking, pulling something from his briefcase. It is unclear if he ever intended to board the bus and catch his ride to Mountain View – coming when he did, he would have missed the 6:30 a.m. bus – but instead of stopping or trying to get on the bus, he walked briskly by his tenants blockading it and headed toward Dolores Street.

The Google lawyer and landlord, close to six feet tall and solidly built, stopped there for a few seconds and then turned to head south on Dolores. Did he want to talk? He never looked toward the reporter, but kept walking. When protesters and others in the media came up from behind and started to shout, Jack Halprin ran most of the five blocks to the multi-unit building where he is evicting tenants from four units.

The group of about 20 protesters followed in a halting chase, megaphones in hand, prompting more than one sleepy neighbor to poke their head out of the window, some shouting back in audible irritation. The protesters who followed him taunted Halprin with shouts to make Christmas better for the children living in the units, to stop the evictions, to be decent. Why he ever appeared at a demonstration he clearly could have avoided is unknown. There was a sense of defiance in willfully walking into a protest he could hear a block away, but perhaps he just wanted to get to work.

“We can’t stay here, but why?” said Claudia Tirado, one of Halprin’s tenants facing an Ellis Act eviction in February, as the protest reassembled at the steps of 812 Guerrero. “You’re not going to get away with this without the whole world knowing.”

After almost a year of actions against the Google lawyer, first in April when his tenants found out about their upcoming eviction, then at Google I/O, Halprin’s plans for his four remaining tenants has garnered its fair share of attention. (Though, what exactly he plans to do with 812 Guerrero is unclear, and his options may be limited.) And, as their eviction approaches, his tenants intend to keep the spotlight on him.

“We’re trying to raise awareness,” said Chris “Johnny” Sideris, one of Halprin’s tenants.  “What he’s doing is part of a bigger problem, and we want Google to clarify its position with the community.”

When reached for comment about the conflict between Halprin and his tenants, Google spokesperson Meghan Casserly offered the following statement:

While we don’t comment on employees personal lives, we continue to work hard to be good neighbors in the Bay Area. This December, to cap $20 million in local giving for 2014, we announced $2 million in Google funding to three San Francisco organizations working to help our city’s homeless and newly displaced residents. We’re committed to the community and look forward to doing more in 2015.

In regards to these recent donations, Sideris said he appreciated that the company is giving back to the city in which many of its employees live, but wish they could do more to mitigate the impact on the housing market for tenants and work with tenants rights groups.

Evan Wolkentein, a teacher at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay and one of the tenant being evicted, said Halprin as been “clinically and even cruelly cold through the entire process.”  From the start, he said, Halprin has declined to discuss any remedies. He simply wants them out.

After a rendition of “Hit the Road Jack,” and four police cruisers arrived, the protesters called it morning, but promised to be back.

“It’s getting scarier as eviction comes closer, that’s why we’re putting pressure on him and Google,” said Tirado outside her first floor apartment—her landlord presumably in his own home above with no comment to share.

Protesters blocking the Google Bus in the wee hours:

Claudia Tirado from Mission Local on Vimeo.

This post has been updated since it was first published. We’ll continue to update it as warranted.

Lydia Chávez

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor at Berkeley’s J-school until 2019. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. The Tribune...

Daniel Hirsch

Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top...

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78 Comments

  1. Why isn’t this headline “Mob Chases Man” or “Google Lawyer Runs from Shouting Mob”?
    “When protesters and others in the media came up from behind and started to shout, Jack Halprin ran ….
    “The group of about 20 protesters followed in a halting chase, megaphones in hand…. The protesters who followed him taunted Halprin with shouts….”

    1. I agree. Typical Mission Local take on situations. Anyone in the right mind would take flight from these “Protesters”. I’d like to live in San Francisco, but I can’t afford it — life sucks, what do I do, I move on.

        1. If you can’t afford it, I don’t understand why you feel entitled to live there. I had to move to the east bay. I miss SF, but I don’t feel like I should blame someone else because I don’t have enough money to buy a home in SF. That seems pretty childish to me

    2. BellaDancer: What’s interesting is that there really was no mob that could keep up with him. There were only a handful following close by and you didn’t have to run as he was both walking and running. Since he was unwilling to talk, no one seemed that anxious to actually catch him. It was a fascinating display of willfullness on Halprin’s part. He could have avoided the protesters altogether but chose not to. It would be interesting to know why. Defiance? Willfulness? Taunting? A missed calculation on his part? Only Halprin knows. Also, we only have two comments per person. Or one comment and one reply.

      1. Lydia, you wrote,

        “When protesters and others in the media came up from behind and started to shout, Jack Halprin ran…” and
        that the chase, with yelling with megaphones, prompted “more than one sleepy neighbor to poke their head out of the window, some shouting back in audible irritation.” and
        “The protesters who followed him taunted Halprin with shouts…”

        We don’t know, and clearly you don’t know, why he approached the group. Maybe he thought he could talk to them and was intimidated by 20 people yelling at him, so he began to run.

        What’s the difference between 20 people yelling loud enough to wake and annoy neighbors, and taunting and chasing one man (all your description) and a mob? Maybe the difference is bias.

      2. Lydia, so your point is that Jack should have been intimidated?

        And because he was not, and showed the courage to not have his journey altered or interrupted, you find fault with that?

        If he had turned away, no doubt you would have crowed about how the protest was a great success because he crossed the street to avoid it.

        He did the right thing IMO. He didn’t change his plans but nor did he engage in those who clearly had already made their minds up. I think Jack comes out of this with more credit than either ML or the protesters

        1. Bert: No he’s clearly not intimidated, but I don’t know how wise or necessary it is to provoke people who are already angry at you. Legal or not, losing one’s home is emotional so what good comes from showing up at a demonstration aimed at you? In a sense, his actions made the story a bigger one, but that was just my sense. Perhaps others at the demonstration have a different point of view. Best, Lydia

      3. Except that he doesn’t actually possess that right. Now if someone hit him or threatened him it would be different, but otherwise its all solidly first amendment approved.

      4. Hey, yes! Harrassent and intimidation is wrong.

        Wait, no, I just checked my ‘social justice’ handbook, and now I see that harrassment and threats are perfectly fine as long as the target is a wealthy white male landlord.

        Those creatures are subhuman, you know.

    1. If you look at what he does (his profile is available on LinkedIn, you will realize he isn’t at all high-powered.

  2. why did he become a landlord in the first place? He knows about the city regulations and all issues with housing…

    1. What he’s done is not against the law. As tenants have the right to stay in their apartments at below market rents, owners have the right to Ellis their buildings. Laws are there for a reason, and if you don’t like a law, work to change that law… don’t harass someone for doing something they have a legal right to do.

  3. This is disgusting. Since when is it OK to personally attack a law-abiding individual?

    If you don’t like the law, lobby to have it changed, don’t threaten individuals who happen to be in a different position than you.

    1. Oh, cry this very rich man a river. He’s trying to toss families onto the street and you’re worried about his being embarrassed for a few minutes.

      1. A better question is why can some people not accept that there are different political ideas out there without getting personal and nasty about it?

        Halprin is following all the laws and rules, and is complying fully with a state law that specifically allows a property owner to do what Jack wants to do.

        So the protest should be in Sacramento if you don’t like the law, and not at someone who is being careful to do everything legally.

        Moreover the tenants have now sent a very clear message to Halprin that they are trouble-makers. So if he wasnt certain he wanted rid of them before, he sure as hell is more convinced than ever that these folks have to leave his home

    2. “Lobby to change the law, if you don’t like it,” said the guy who knows full god damned well that people have been lobbying against that Ellis law for years, to no avail, because the fix is already in. That said, I agree with you that no one should threaten people who happen to be in a different position than he is – like with an EVICTION! Not actually a threat, though, because once they slap one of those on you, you might be able to delay it, but you know and they know your ass will eventually be out on the street. Lobbying only works for rich people

      1. So, you don’t think that you have been successful on this issue thus far. What are you proposing to do next? Vigilantism and mob rule?

        I really don’t understand the logic behind this entitlement. Everyone involved should have understood for the entire time that ellis/eviction is a real possibility.

    3. The system is rigged so that you can’t change it without money. Accordingly the rich and powerful have made it impossible to create law that in any way challenges class hierarchy. It’s now understood that at this point in American politics and society upward mobility barely exists and that generations x, y, and beyond are all expected to do worse than the Boomers. Unfortunately we’re past the point of working within the system alone. We’re more in a place akin to the labor struggles of the 1920’s. And there was a considerable amount of violence and threats made against people in power. Furthermore, evicting people is also a form of violence. Threatening to make someone homeless is basically a threat against their physical well being as far as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is concerned. It should be expected that such moves will result in blow back.

    4. “Since when is it OK to personally attack a law-abiding individual?”

      In these United States? Since forever dude.

      This is why we have laws, courts and a constitution, this is why we engage.

      This is why we protest and hire lawyers.

      Have you been hiding from several hundred years of legal practise?

      Your understanding of “the law” and “law-abiding” and actual apparent reality is really rather naive. Not charming, just incredibly naive.

  4. “mob chases long time local resident and protests his contributions and commitment to the community”

    1. His contributions…you mean buying an occupied building, throwing out people so he can live in 2 units, and then trying to Ellis-evict the remaining 7 tenants, including 3 SF teachers and a toddler? How is that a contribution to the community?

      1. Why does a private citizen have the obligation to personally support people he doesn’t even know? If the City wants to provide some type of housing program for these displaced people then let the supes take that on.

  5. You don’t know why Halprin deliberately walked up to the protesters? To give them his middle finger. Why? Because he thinks they can’t touch him. Because he thinks he can Ellis Act his renters and no one will stop him; because he thinks the cops and the Googles will protect him from the “mobs”. In short, he assumes the system is rigged in his favor. He can be as provocative and negative as he wants with no meaningful repercussions. And because he is also a coward. A “mob”? It sounds like a few reporters a someone with a bullhorn trying to get him to publicly explain his position. Why not talk to the press? Why not talk to the protesters? Who, btw, put out a very rational and positive demand. The housing crisis is more than 812 Guerrero, and it is not going to be solved by chasing everyone out who can’t afford to live in the Mission. It’s Bay Area-wide problem, and the big tech companies, the great innovators, the great problem solvers, who are bringing in workers by the thousands with no place for them to live, have a responsibility to their own workers as well as the general public to help solve it. The speaker was spot on.

    1. except that the “discussion” shouldn’t be taking place over a bullhorn at a random corner at 6:30am waking up children and adults that have nothing to do with it. Why didn’t the residents of 812 Guerrero rally in front of their own building?

      1. If we had a Mayor and a Board of Supes who actually represented the public interest on this issue, the discussion and subsequent action would have taken place a long time ago. Meanwhile it hasn’t even begun. That’s why people are out at 6:30 in the morning at 18th and Dolores. Not usually thought of as prime time for protests. Note: Personally, I think we’ve all got something “to do with it,” and it is past time we woke up.

    2. But, isn’t most of what you say the truth? No one can stop him. You can shout at him and protest all you want, but shaming only works with people capable of being shamed. What he is doing is legal. You may not like the law (and you are welcome to try to change it), but it is still the law, and if he is immune to “outrage” and moral pressure, which apparently he is, then there is little to be done. The tenants will be evicted, and it may make people feel good to “not go down without a fight,” but they still go down all the same.

        1. So many questions!

          This “violent revolution” would definitely be at least a state-wide campaign, right? That’s where the Ellis Act is defined, so if it’s not there, you’re going to have to wage a war against the Federal Government, which would probably be a bit more difficult than garnering the support of a mere tens of millions of Californians.

          Eh, forget that. Let’s focus on getting the support of millions of Californians for now. What’s the real goal here? Are landlords to be dragged from their home? Are they allowed to live? If so, now that they’re definitely not homeowners, are they allowed to rent? Who would they be renting from?

          I mean, really, this sounds great. I’m thinking I could probably claim a few nice properties up in Marin. The spoils of revolution *will* be divvied up according to whomever can protect the property from other would-be scavengers, right?

          I can’t wait. I’ll capture and defend acreage in Marin with a small, well-resourced clan and proceed to kill off the males once things have died down (lol) a bit!

          Oh, maybe there could be a central committee that decides who gets what property. How would I get on that? Present more landlord ears than the next revolutionary?

          I think that within a few years I’ll need some kind of revenue stream to keep my concubines well fed. Since I’d have a bit of extra room, I don’t see a reason not to share a bit of my plunder with a few comrades (for a small fee, of course!)

          WHEN CAN WE START!!??!

          1. You do realize my quote was from noted radical President John F. Kennedy, right? He wasn’t calling for violence or major reallocation of wealth and neither am I. War has been and continues to be waged on working people by the rich. They’ve taken over our government, shipped our jobs overseas, and intentionally gutted the middle class. This is class war and we’re not the one’s who started it. So all your hyperbole aside, I think we can find something moderate and just for all parties concerned without resorting to government seizure of property. It’s well understood that owner move in evictions have never been successfully challenged in any meaningful way. You would be hard pressed to find a case where a property owner couldn’t move into a single family home. The anti-eviction movement is about preventing landlords from evicting apartment building tenants and replacing them with wealthier ones and you know that perfectly well.

    3. Clearing out parasites to allow new self enabled and more productive people in, is good for a community.. Stagnation is never good.

      1. “Clearing out parasites…” ???
        Teachers with familes as parasites …this comment exposes a great deal about you.

        You say , above in this thread, that long term ” means that you buy”.
        Considering the salaries that most teachers make, for most, buying is not an option.

        But with an inflated Google salary, yet another( self- enabled?!) lawyer can not only buy, he can evict decent familes while exhibiting no compassion.

        Commenting as someone who is in a bracket that you would not be able to label “parasite”, I find your lack of compassion, of social justice, and your inflated ” self- enabled” sense of personal importance , to be a pime example of a substandard human being.

  6. I’m sure all of this harassment will only strengthen his resolve to go out of the rental business. I wonder how much he offered in buyout money before he was forced to Ellis? Anyone?

  7. You report that the crowd dispersed after four police cruisers arrived. How about some reporting about that? Who called the police? What did the police think, see and do? Did they tell people to disperse? Did they say, “Oh, no problem, the 20 of you (and any others that join?) can chase this guy down the street, yelling at him with a megaphone.” Somehow I think they did not, but your reporting should tell us.
    A crowd of people chasing and yelling at someone is assault at the very least, and a yelling crowd tends to get bigger.
    There is an attitude that it’s okay to commit crimes against people perceived as rich or techie or gentrifiers. There is an increase of robberies on the street, break-ins, theft of bicycles, nightly smashing of cars. People tagged and smashed windows at Local’s Corner with impunity. They were encouraged to hate and strike out and they did.
    There are too many messages that this guy deserves to be harassed, and maybe worse, because he is evicting tenants.
    That’s not a people’s revolution. That’s just vigilantism, vandalism and irresponsibility.

    1. Chill out. No broken windows. No injuries. I also get woken up an ungodly hours by drunk kids. No point in conflating every act of petty vandalism into a conspiracy against rich techsters. Give the man some credit . He was acting provocatively and he knew it. He didn’t have to go anywhere near the protesters, yet he did. He didn’t have to run. He could have stopped and talked with the crowd. It wasn’t a “lynch mob” was it? It wasn’t Darrin Wilson chasing him was it? He’s not black. And he couldn’t have been afraid of bodily harm, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone there in the first place.

  8. I think the guy is going to live. Maybe if you lived your life in a way that doesn’t warrant people chasing you… No one ever chased me down the street LOL

  9. He has given up that right.All scrooges aka sociopaths with no care for other human beings get harassed. This mean spirited man needs to know the damage he has brought upon others lives.I hope the next story will be that he has seen the error of his ways.He no longer has the desire to place the greed for money above helping and being kind
    to others.It would be great to see this grinch pictured giving holiday gifts to the tenants and stating that he has decided to be kind and let them continue to live in their homes.Now that would be a true holiday miracle..

    1. Yeah! How dare he apply a law for exactly the use that it was intended! How dare he act like he owns his property!

    2. It is interesting that “no more greed” insists that others are greedy. Yet it seems like it is NMG who is demanding that things be given to him and his allies. Who are the greedy ones here?

  10. Hey Google, why don’t you PAY YOUR TAXES, your rightful corporate taxes instead of deciding to make a tax-deductible donation. How friggin’ self serving again.

    1. @Lisa: So you would prefer that Google not make the donation, pay taxes on a portion of it and keep the rest for itself rather than make the donation? Wow talk about spite. Maybe you should learn a little bit about the real world before making silly comments like that.

  11. Right, you don’t live here now, and can’t afford to, so you don’t move here. Makes sense to me. But saying “move one” referring to people who DO live here, some for decades, some born here, people whose families have been here for generations. They are just supposed to quit their jobs, pull their kids out of school, uproot everything, and pack up and leave? Their families and histories are here. This is their home. They ALREADY live here. This constant refrain that “… if you can’t afford to live here, then move…” is soooo let them eat cake-ish. I don’t know where you live, but if the rich move in and you find yourself being forced out, I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to just bend over and “…move on…,” right?

    1. If you’ve lived here for years, you likely own a home and aren’t in that situation. And before you say only rich people can afford homes, the two neighborhoods with they HIGHEST home ownership in the city are the Bayview and the Excelsior–neither of which are particularly wealthy. If you decide you want to be in a trendy neighborhood and drink lattes everyday, don’t start whining when you get priced out.

      1. “… likely to own a home…” That’s purely an assumption. Many families are long-time renters. Being born here doesn’t mean that while neonatal, I “decided” I was going to live in a trendy hood. And the neighborhood is only recently “latte.” Refer to my posting again, about long-time residents who were here long before “latte” happened, which is only really the last 5 years at most in the Mission. BTW: My post was entered in the wrong spot. It should have been in reply to “robert” whose response to evictees is to just “move on.” Nevertheless, it sounds like you’re saying the same thing.

        This all could have been avoided if Mayor Lee had not granted, and continued, these tax breaks. It benefits only one sector of the economy. The city has become overweighted with tech, and it has overwhelmed everything else. Of course there’s a backlash. With one act that had no foresight whatsoever, he wiped out a diverse city. A little of this and a little of that makes a great soup. But when you make soup with nothing but water, then you just have a pot of water, and a lot of hungry diners.

      2. There are many of us who have lived here for decades and do not own a home. And I care less about the trendy lattes and backpack shops, but do care about my neighbors and local businesses, moving is really tough especially on older folks. I am tried of people who think people who rent do not deserve to have roots in a community and are fine forcing us away from our homes and support structure strictly due to greed.

      3. “If you decide you want to be in a trendy neighborhood and drink lattes everyday, don’t start whining when you get priced out”.

        Oh yes….friends of my entire life, and of my parents before me, who are Hispanic artists in the Mission, are just thrilled to be living in a very newly trendy area. It is so enjoyable having the previous marvelous sense of community destroyed, to be sneered at by the callow, arrogant
        nouveau riche.

        People like you are eating the soul of a once extraordinary City.
        And you don’t have a goddam clue.

  12. Tenants who pay way below mark rent should NOT be protesting! They’ve probably had a good run, and now it’s time to find a place they can afford without relying on a LL subsidy.
    It is not the LL’s duty to provide below market rent ‘forever’ that’s why IMO this particular LL is choosing to Ellis.

    We need to change this whole system of entitlement in SF. If you don’t own the property, you really don’t have a say. IN any other place in Aerica – a 30-60day notice is all you get. Buying a home within your means even if ‘it’s in the east bay’, you will be safer and have peace of mind in the long run as you live within your means. Not everyone needs to live in SF!

    For all the regulations that the tenants try to get passed, the less LL’s will continue to be LL’s. Now that Eric Mar passed Tenant buyouts – tenants just shot themselves in the foot again!!! – they’ll be Ellis’d sooner than getting a nice check.

    We need a big change the system in SF, so that rent control is provided to those that need it i.e. mean tested yearly, and this subsidy should be paid through taxes by all residents so that we can protect renters like Claudia, a teacher & parent – but not put the burden on the owners. It’s an owners investment after all and he/she can choose to rent it, or not. The property is his, and not Eric Mars, or David Campos’s. A vote for either of those two will get you evicted soon enough.

  13. These protesters have such bizarrely warped views of reality. Placing this matter at google’s feet is insane. Why? Because google runs a bus line for their employees?

    Who thinks they DESERVE to live in a house in the future, just because they’ve lived in it in the past? Selfish, entitled people.

    Greedy, arrogant residents: The world doesn’t revolve around you. When the world changes, you need to learn to change with it. You don’t ‘deserve’ to live there indefinitely. Who did you displace when you moved in?

    I resect their right to free speech, but in a just and fair world we would not tolerate allowing these asshole residents harrassment of the property owner.

  14. Using the Ellis Act is no more a crime than using the rent control laws… Why don’t the over entitled tenants give Mr. Halprin a nice christmas and move to Modesto like they should.

    1. I begin to suspect that you, if not Mr. Halprin, are his doppelgänger.

      “…move to Modesto like they should”.

      As a native San Franciscan ( who owns a house and will not be forced to move anywhere) , may I just say that I loathe your mindset, and all those like you.

      You are changing the character of my City for the worse.

  15. “We can’t stay here, but why?” said Claudia Tirado.
    Umm, because they didn’t buy the place when it was affordable?!

  16. So what’s the plan here, to shame him into rescinding his Ellis notices and maybe selling the building so the tenants can stay for a while longer? His tenant is holding a sign that calls him a grinch. Did they actually expect him to stop and chat with them after all nasty things they’ve done with his image? This whole campaign against him has been downright deplorable, especially for school teachers to participate in.

  17. More Yellow Journalism from Lydia Chavez and Mission Local. It’s honestly getting harder to tell you apart from Fox News, aside from the direction of your political slant. Is this what you teach your journalism students? Best, Chris.

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