Militant Journalism

San Diego Cancel the Rent Coalition calls for eviction moratorium extension

In the early afternoon of Dec. 11, nearly 40 activists, tenants and organizers gathered outside of San Diego Evictions’ law office in Normal Heights. San Diego’s Cancel the Rent Coalition, of which the Party for Socialism and Liberation is a member, led calls to stop all evictions, extend the moratorium, and cancel all rents and mortgages.

After a short march down the hill of the office’s driveway leading into a parking lot in front of the building, participants circled around the lot, socially distancing with banners and signs. The group first heard from Armando, a member of San Diego Tenants’ Union, who faces eviction despite the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Although Armando has been open about his circumstances, his landlord issued multiple eviction notices over recent months in an effort to get him out.

San Diego has notoriously few protections for tenants. With little governmental assistance provided for the working class in the face of widespread unemployment, many people are unable to pay rent. Yet, SD Evictions is still operating as an “essential business.”

As Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment member Patricia Mendoza made clear in her speech, kicking people out of their homes is not essential, now or ever. “An eviction notice is essentially a death sentence,” she told the group, as her children stood beside her.

Rafael Bautista of SDTU, on behalf of the Cancel the Rent Coalition, issued a “Grade F” community health rating to SD Evictions. Bautista slammed SD Evictions for being a super-spreader of COVID-19 by pushing families and other tenants into houselessness. For the unhoused, it is significantly more difficult or impossible to shelter safely. Bautista also called out evictions attorney Rachel Callahan for her leading role in dispossessing tenants as the founder of SD Evictions.

The rally culminated with a few organizers entering the building to tape a notice to the office door. The notice emphasized that housing is a human right and tenants will continue to organize until evictions are halted, rents are canceled, and housing is guaranteed for all.

Liberation photo

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