San Francisco DJ Sake One Faces Eviction
San Francisco native, Stefan Goldstone – better known as DJ Sake One – is facing eviction after 19 years of living in his apartment in the Mission District. Considered a local legend, Sake One has been a major player in the Bay Area hip hop and music scene since the early 90s. Sake One has opened up for mega artists like Mos Def and Kanye West. More recently he was a DJ on the Bay Area’s Throwback Station, Q102.1.
Born and raised in the Fillmore District, Sake One went away to college for a few years at UC Santa Cruz, and moved back to San Francisco into his current residence in the Mission District in 1997. Now, his landlord, Margaret Mcauliffe, is trying really hard to kick him out of his beloved home. He knows that she owns several buildings across the city and is worried that she may trying to evict other tenants for bogus reasons.
Sake One had just finished working at Youth Radio teaching kids how to DJ in Oakland when he met up with us in the neighborhood he grew up in that he now calls “unrecognizable.”
Three 3-Day Eviction Notices
In July, the DJ received a 3-day eviction notice on his door that said he had failed to pay his rent for the month of June and that he needed to talk to the landlord’s lawyer. He faxed a copy of his rent check for June to the lawyer. A few days later, he received a new 3-day eviction notice on his door, this time stating that he had failed to pay his rent for the month of May. Again, he faxed a copy of the check he had used to pay for May’s rent to the lawyer. The lawyer never responded. Then his landlord really went for it. Sake One received his third 3-day eviction notice a week later stating that his apartment was such a mess that it was considered a nuisance. Along with the eviction notice, the landlord included a package of photos of how messy his apartment was to support her case. These photos were dated June 8th, and were taken illegally when they came in to change the batteries on his smoke detector.A flyer for a show Sake One played in SF in 2011. Photo: www.residentadvisor.net
INTERVIEW WITH LOCAL LEGEND DJ SAKE ONE:
So your landlord is trying to kick you out because your apartment is too messy?
My apartment, at times, has been fairly messy. I am a single male, I have 10,000 records, I’ve lived in this apartment for 19 years, so I’ve accrued a lot of stuff in that period of time. [I admit] my apartment could definitely use a cleaning, but in order to meet the nuisance statute says that it has to be some sort of like some kind of danger or annoyance to the neighbor or people around. Either that or there is some kind of damage happening to it.
Where is your house?
On 23rd and Folsom St. in the Mission. I live in a quadraplex. Me and another woman have been there a long time. She’s been there over 20 years. I pay $800 a month for a one-and-a-half-bedroom, which is well below market value. I’ve been there a long time and it’s rent controlled. They obviously want me out because they could make a lot more money.
So your place was messy, but it wasn’t like you had a raging party for a week and the whole place was thrashed?
No. There were some clothes strewn around, but there was there was no odor or no neighbor complaints that they talked about in the notice. I asked all my neighbors and they said they didn’t complain about me. I believe them for the most part.Sake One is ready to fight his landlord in court. Photo: www.itstherub.com
You haven’t been to court yet?
Once I get the summons I have five days to respond. And then after my response I believe a court date is set. I’ve heard that sometimes the judge will order mediation. One thing in my defense is that they never asked me to clean my apartment before telling me to get out. They are clearly trying to evict me by posting these 3-day eviction notices for various things.
Have they done anything to evict the other neighbor that has lived there longer than you?
Well, no. We just made an offer to buy the property. So, I don’t know if this has anything to do with that.
So wait, before all of this eviction stuff went down, you guys tried to buy the place?
We actually already put in an offer at market value on the entire lot (8-units in total) for $3.2 million. We are trying for a Tenancy in Common (TIC). We are working with Misson Economic Devolopment Agecny (MEDA) to buy the place. MEDA gets funds from the city and the state and if the sale goes through, they would then act as our landlord. So we would pay them off, instead of paying the landlord. The title would change hands and the tenants would deal with MEDA. It’s called a land trust. Basically, we submitted an offer that says they can sell to us now or wait until they decide they want to sell. This action was to circumvent them kicking us out, because there had been talk about the landlords wanting to sell the place. The property was purchased in 1976 for $279,000. They haven’t responded to our offer yet.
That sounds like a great opportunity. Hopefully, it works out so you’ll get to stay in the Mission.
It’s my home, I’m mean, I’m very much part of the community. I’ve seen my neighbors go through crazy stuff, they’ve seen me go through crazy stuff – we’ve grown up together. You know what I mean, we are a community in that particular area.
Why do you want to tell your story?
There are so many people getting evicted, I don’t want to make a big deal out of my issue. The irony of this whole story is that for the last 10 years of my life, I’ve been working with homeless people to help them get housing and get off drugs – and now I am facing homelessness. I’m a social worker, I have my Master’s Degree in Social Work. I have worked with the Coalition on Homelessness and various other organizations trying to help them get healthy and get stabilized. I work in Oakland now, but driving around SF and you see the tent cities. When you see the sun go down, you used to see people going home, but now you see people milling around because they have no place to go. You see people lingering at bars at the end of the night trying to kill as much time as they can until the sun comes up.Photo: GABRIELLE LURIE , THE NEW YORK TIMES
Where will you go if you have to move?
I don’t know where I’m gonna go. Luckily, being a DJ, I’ve gotten know some pretty important people. One of the members of the Board of Supervisors saw my Facebook post and said they may be able to find something for me. My parents live in the Haight, they have a tiny house I could always sleep in the garage or on the sofa. I don’t think I’ll be homeless, but as a native of SF and as someone who has paid over $100,000 to this particular landlord it doesn’t seem right. I haven’t hurt anybody, I’ve paid my rent – I’m a little messy but I don’t think to the point that I should be evicted. But even if I was, I feel like I should be given the chance to clean up.