The People Targeted by Ellis Act Evictions

by Stephen Booth on March 9, 2016

Leslie James Mobley in red shirt with vest

(First of a series) Musician Leslie James Mobley came from Oklahoma to San Francisco in 1989. His attraction to its cultural vibrancy developed into a deep love and appreciation. Leslie was able to carve-out a living with his musical talents. Since 1996 Leslie has lived at 2826 21st Street. Living in the Mission District allowed Leslie to fulfill his dream. He will tell you that “not even the big earthquake could scare this Okie boy away.”

Leslie has worked with dozens of bands, the most enduring, a country/western group known as Red Meat. Mayor Ed Lee honored Leslie’s band on April 26, 2013 on the steps of City Hall, as the band celebrated 20 years of togetherness. In 2014 Leslie was asked to play the City Hall Centennial celebration, with some of San Francisco’s most esteemed artists.

After years of working night gigs and day jobs, in 2004 Leslie and a partner were able to open a tavern known as “the Riptide” on Taraval Street in the Outer Sunset District. The bar was a success, and over the years was named “Best Bar”, “Best Bar with a Fireplace” and “Best Happy Hour.”

Unfortunately, in August 2015 the store next door caught fire and the Riptide went up in flames. While Leslie was busy trying to piece his tavern back together, in early January 2016, after 20 years of being a stable and trustworthy tenant, landlords James and Jodylee Meenaghan of San Rafael served Leslie with Ellis Act eviction papers, in an effort to clear the building.

Just after the “hands-off” landlord served eviction papers, Leslie witnessed one of the third-floor windows, literally fall out of its frame and crash to the sidewalk below, for lack of maintenance.

Leslie will tell you that he considers himself lucky to live in San Francisco, the city to which he has dedicated his blood and sweat for 27 years, which he feels is now being decimated by greed. “I have worked so hard to establish myself as a musician, as a business person, and as a community member; to be forced to leave this city will break my heart!”

Stephen Booth is an attorney with the Tenderloin Housing Clinic who represents Leslie James Mobley

Filed under: San Francisco News