Yuppie Eradication Project Sweeps San Francisco's Mission

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 22:03:51 -0700 (PDT)


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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/examiner/archive/1999/06/15/EDITORI
AL8732.dtl&type=printable
FWD  San Francisco Examiner  June 15, 1999  Page A 21

     THE SCAPEGOAT ERADICATION PROJECT

     Stephanie Salter

THE LOPSIDED economy in the United States has fostered
such Us Against Them resentment, it actually feels good to
reduce a segment of the population to one-dimensional,
subhuman cutouts - and to despise them.

If that segment can be further reduced by a cartoonish
label like  "yuppie,"  so much the better.

Unfortunately, just when you're feeling particularly
righteous, somebody like Lidia Fraser calls and insists
on becoming three-dimensional. She wants to talk about a
column in which you sympathized with much of an
anti-yuppie hate campaign that is making the streets of
San Francisco's Mission District a little meaner than
usual.

Outraged at skyrocketing real estate prices and the
displacement of the working class from the neighborhood,
an ad hoc group called the Yuppie Eradication Project has
been whipping up sentiment against loft dwellers and
certain upscale Mission businesses. Some of the group's
flyers have encouraged vandalism.

Fraser, a secretary who makes $36,000 a year, and her
housemate, Dwight Dolliver, who runs his own video
production business, have been on the receiving end of
that vandalism. Their building has been repeatedly spray
painted with such messages as  "Kill yuppies,"   "I hate
you"  and,  "Go home."  The street-level buzzer system
has been wrecked.

"I'm not a yuppie,"  Fraser said.  "I'm 43 years old. My
partner in life is 46. He's been in San Francisco since he
was 10 and has lived in the Mission for 15 years.

"I've been here for 25 years and in the Mission for 10.
Our crime is, we finally saved enough money to buy a place
in the same area where we rented all those years. What we
could afford was a loft."

Nothing Fraser said was tinged with anger, only hurt and a
little fear. Last week, Dolliver was spit on and hit when
he asked an angry woman on the street what she actually
knew about the people who lived inside the building she
was dissing.

Politically, economically, socially, Fraser sounds much
more closely aligned with the people who call her  "yuppie
scum"  than with the kind of folks who believe that the
Bottom Line is America's real deity. She works as a
secretary for a historical renovation construction
company so she can afford to pursue her real love: writing
children's books, short stories and poetry.

The office, lab and entire operation of Dolliver's video
production company is in their loft.

"Our work-live ratio is about 90 percent to 10,"  said
Fraser.  "I live on my bed."

No one in her building is rich, she said:

"Six of the eight units are occupied by artists. We're
what used to be called middle-class. But the perception
today is, everybody's either rich or poor."

Twice, Fraser and Dolliver have been evicted because
somebody wanted to make lots more money in rent or via
reconfiguration.

"I don't want to see poor people get pushed out of
anywhere. We know what it's like to get evicted; it's
awful,"  she said.  "That's one of the reasons we worked
to buy a place, so we wouldn't get evicted. I would love to
see The City offer low-cost loans so that people in the
Mission could buy the very houses they're living in."

The scariest thing, said Fraser, is being hated by people
who don't know anything about you.

"I understand where the anger is coming from, but the
methods are way off-base,"  she said.  "This is about
finding a scapegoat and making assumptions. I'm not
working my way up the corporate ladder. I'm a writer; I
can't afford to quit my day job. I've taken one vacation in
the last 10 years. Dwight does post-production on other
people's films so he can afford to make his own
documentaries."

Nothing about San Francisco's astronomical home prices
or indiscriminate building of loft projects makes Fraser
happy. She wishes city officials would make affordable
housing a real priority, use care in granting permits and
zoning variances, and follow up to see that work-live loft
spaces are occupied by artists and crafts people.

"Any real estate in San Francisco is overpriced,"  said
Fraser.  "But people who live in lofts didn't create this.
Scapegoating all of us, presuming we came from the suburbs
and that we're all rich, and attacking our homes is not
going to solve anything."

END FORWARD

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