Rent to Evict

For years, many low-income renters called the building their home. That's until a developer, who told the government it would be affordable, raised the rents.

Patrick Murphy, 49, thinks a lot about the bitter end. He's got full-blown AIDS and a brain-stem aneurysm that throws him into seizures. He moved into 1030 about three years ago, in part because he could park his battered car near the building for up to a week at a time, and in part because the place was rent-controlled.

"I wanted a place where I could go and stay until I die, if that makes any sense," Murphy explains. Now, as the building empties, he fears he'll soon be looking for new, probably more expensive, accommodations. In recent weeks he's observed an exodus "of young Latino families who don't speak English so well," from the building. He thinks he may be next. "I have a pretty simple issue. [KDF has] minimum income requirements and I don't meet them," he tells us. Before he got sick, Murphy made a living repairing cars and selling them at several Peninsula luxury car dealers. But at this point, he hasn't worked in 11 years — "that hurts," he says with a grimace when the subject comes up — and his bank account isn't exactly bulging. He gets by on about $25,000 annually.

"I'm very much a realist when it comes to my physical situation," Murphy says, while standing on the grimy sidewalk in front of the building. "I can whine, but it doesn't change anything."

"I'm not gonna move," says Arthur Hinz, an 85-year-old former sailor. "Us old-timers can't afford to move."
"I'm not gonna move," says Arthur Hinz, an 85-year-old former sailor. "Us old-timers can't afford to move."
"Even if we don't have nothing to eat, we pay our rent every month," says Barbara Pohley, pictured here with her husband.
"Even if we don't have nothing to eat, we pay our rent every month," says Barbara Pohley, pictured here with her husband.

Murphy has, however, been quite vocal about the nightmare on Post Street. On a recent afternoon he walked to City Hall with about a dozen other tenants to lay out the situation for city supervisors, who may try putting the brakes on the transformation of 1030 Post by rewriting a chunk of the San Francisco rental ordinance.

He was joined by Cary Barlow, 40, who is deaf, and made his comments to the supervisors through a sign-language translator. "My future is uncertain," Barlow tells SF Weekly, explaining that he can't handle what looks to be a looming rent increase.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who called the hearing, was clearly heated with KDF. "I'm sorry this scam is going on," Peskin growled. "I want to let Ray Harper know that you are going to pay a very high price if you keep messing with any of the folks in this room. They are salt-of-the-Earth people, and I will take it very seriously. Ray, I'm pretty pissed off."

In some ways, Peskin's tirade wasn't fair since Harper wasn't there to defend himself.

But who could blame Harper and his colleagues for wanting to hang out down in Orange County? After all, unlike the inhabitants of 1030 Post, the KDF honchos lead pretty posh lives. One of them, property records show, dwells in a vast $2.1 million mansion; another owns a five-bedroom, four-bathroom home equipped with a swimming pool, and, floating in a Newport Beach slip, a $364,000 yacht.

The affordable housing business must be booming.

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