Neighbors and supporters gathered at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning to rally against the eviction of an elderly woman who they describe as mentally disabled. The neighbors – all of whom are locked in a legal battle to prevent their own evictions – live at 812 Guerrero St, a seven unit building owned by Jack Halprin, a Google employee who became their landlord when he purchased the building in 2012.

Four of the seven units still have the original tenants and all but Rebecca Bauknight, a 59-year-old woman who friends say has become increasingly isolated, have so far successfully fought their evictions. Bauknight’s condition, they said, prevented her from joining their lawsuits or from filing on her own.

Bauknight, who lives in a turret studio on the second floor, slipped out of the building at 4:30 a.m. with her small lap dog, said Claudia Tirado, a teacher and one of the tenants.  Halprin too, has been absent from the building for about a month, Tirado said.

Bauknight received a Sheriff Department’s notice that she would be removed from the building after 6 a.m. today, but Tirado doubted the eviction team would come as long as the protesters were there. Instead of a blockade, she said, the morning rally of some 40 supporters was “more of a ceremony” to mark a death or eviction, a point in time when “something happens and someone falls off the community circle.”

Evan Wolkenstein, a teacher at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay who is also being evicted, said of Bauknight, “Her mental illness has gotten worse with the stress of eviction.”

Of their own eviction cases, Wolkenstein said it would take at least seven months for Halprin’s attorneys to get a court date to pursue an appeal.

Iris Biblowitz, a retired nurse who has lived in the Mission for 40 years, attended the rally.  Biblowitz said that she had been evicted twice, but at time in the 1980s and 1990s when tenants could still find another apartment in the city.  Now, eviction means leaving the city, she said.

Photo by Lydia Chávez

Photo by Lydia Chávez

Eviction Looms for Halprin’s Disabled Tenant