Two dozen income inequality protesters took to the streets of San Francisco on Friday to hold demonstrations against Google lawyer Jack Halprin, as class-based tensions escalate between activists and wealthy Silicon Valley employees over what protesters deem unwelcome gentrification.
Halprin, who owns a seven unit apartment building at 812 Guerrero St., began evictions earlier this year but declined to explain why, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Protesters assembled in front of Halprin’s door bearing a megaphone and signs.
In an apparent reference to Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil,” protesters held signs reading, “Google: Stop Your Evil Lawyer Jack Halprin From Evicting Teachers.”
“I do not intend to turn this into condos,” said Halprin. “You can talk to my attorney.”
“He is so fake, he had this plan all along,” Halprin tenant Claudia Tirado told MissionLocal.org. “Why doesn’t he buy a regular house, why does he have to take seven units off the rental market? When Jack Halprin moved in two years ago, he saw me and my baby, he knew who he was kicking out.”
The demonstration, organized by Eviction Free Summer, is merely the latest in a series of home demonstrations against Google executives.
Last week, demonstrators marched to the home of Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose with banners and flyers branding him a “parasite” who has “ravaged the landscapes of San Francisco and Oakland.”
President Barack Obama and Democrats have made income inequality a central theme of their policy agenda. Obama says income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.”
Ironically, Google employees are among the president’s biggest campaign contributors, donating $814,540 in 2008 and $801,770 for Obama’s reelection. Moreover, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt recruited, coached, and strategized technology for the Obama campaign team.
Experts say the technology industry, which overwhelming favored Barack Obama, is actually the “main driver” of income inequality because it allows young tech entrepreneurs to score huge financial fortunes in record time, thereby widening the growing gap between rich and poor.
Protesters told Reuters they plan to ratchet up the targeting of individuals to shine a brighter spotlight on income inequality and gentrification.