R is for Relinquishment of Renters Rights

root - Posted on 17 December 2002

PRop R will be very dangerous for San Francisco Renters

by Connie Lu/ PNN Youth in the media Intern

The warmth of the sun is unable to penetrate the
thick, heavy blanket of gray clouds overhead this
morning. But the intensity of the sun's powerful
light is still able to permeate past the barrier of
water vapor, which causes my eyes to squint slightly
as I sit in front of the Richmond Library to meet the
other volunteers from the Committee to Save Rent
Control, part of POOR's effort to not just re-port (the news and other issues related to poverty and racism like rent control and housing advocacy ) but "sup-port" .As I attempt to look for the volunteers,
anxious thoughts of going door to door to pass out
information on rent control fill my mind because I am
not usually comfortable with talking to people that I
don't know.

Then I notice a group of about seven people gathered
on the green grass. I am handed a thick stack of
lemon yellow pamphlets explaining the dangers of
Proposition R, which is a drastic measure that will
convert as many as 85,000 apartments to condominiums.
Large apartment complexes are subject to this measure
as well. Proposition R will result in radical rent
increases and eviction because residents will not be
able to afford to pay the extreme amount of rent.
However, the most detrimental effect of Proposition R
is that it will allow landlords to remove rent control
completely from entire buildings because state law
prohibits any form of rent control on almost all

I am assigned to cover several areas in San Francisco
and instructed to simply place the pamphlets
in front of the door, which brought on great relief to
me since I was worried about having to interact with
the residents. As I refer to the map I am given today I
notice a bright pink box that marks my assigned area
from Balboa to Geary between 4th and 8th Avenue.

In regards to my lack of good sense of direction, I
make an extra effort to carefully follow the map.
However, I soon start to notice the block I was
walking down had already been littered with the same
pamphlets that were in my hand. I come across one of
the other volunteers, who kindly guided me towards the
right direction, which was of course the opposite way
that I had initially been walking in.

Now that I am on the right track, I begin placing the
pamphlets by the doors of the apartments. Later, I
came to the realization of a more strategic method of
placing the pamphlets either with the newspaper or
placing it through the door handle, which would
encourage visibility and result in the reality behind
Proposition R being exposed.

As I make my way back the Richmond Library after
handing out the last few pamphlets, I hear a man's
voice call out, "Excuse me, can I have one?" He was
an elderly Asian man, who seemed eager to know about
the information I had been passing around. I didn't
expect to be asked for a pamphlet, but I was glad he
did because I had the opportunity to both verbalize
and give him information about the harsh consequences
of Proposition R. I think he was able to get the
basic idea even though we were faced with somewhat of
a language barrier. But it was only after I had
finished talking to him when I realized that my
initial fear of talking to people about this measure
was somehow forgotten during my conversation with him.

When I finally made my way back to the library, I was
completely exhausted but thankful for the cool breeze
that rewarded the strenuous spreading of information
about Proposition R, which will help residents become
more aware of its dangerous and threatening

For more information on Proposition R or if you want

to help with getting the word out about this dangerous legislation call SF tenants Union at
(415) 282-5525 or go on-line to


For more work from POOR's youth in the media interns go on-line to


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