An online petition calling for a moratorium on fire inspections across the Bay Area has garnered almost 10,000 signatures from those who fear the recent Ghost Ship fire will result in artist evictions.
“The Oakland Ghost Ship fire was absolutely tragic, and our community continues to mourn the loss of so many talented, inspiring individuals,” reads a statement on the petition’s site. “Unfortunately, city governments in San Francisco and Oakland are making things worse in their response. These cities are conducting witch hunts of artist warehouse spaces, knocking on their doors and evicting the mostly low-income artists living there.”
The petition was launched by Julie Mastrine, who also happens to be the Activism Marketing and Social Media Manager for Care2, the site where the petition is hosted. The petition is listed on the front page of Care2’s website.
“The city’s witch hunt is breeding fear, demanding cost prohibitive upgrades, and thus causing evictions of people who contribute to the artistic, creative spirit of the Bay Area,” Mastrine said in a news release sent out Tuesday. “My Care2 petition is imploring San Francisco and Oakland to stop taking a punitive approach to safety and to work with, not against, artists.”
The asks of the petition signers could be seen by some to be extreme; they include requesting that the San Francisco and Oakland Fire Department and the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection cease unsolicited inspections of artist buildings until they are either brought up to code, or given access to new affordable housing. The group would like officials to “not be so heavy-handed in inspections and enforcement,” and that they waive permit fees associated with upgrades such as sprinkler systems or exits.
The signatures will be delivered to City Hall during the San Francisco Department of Building Inspections meeting on Dec. 21 at 9:00 a.m.