On Wednesday evening, June 28, more than 40 individuals gathered at 400 South Mentor Avenue in Pasadena to support tenants who are fighting to save their housing from evictions by Caltech.
By News Desk
On May 31, California Institute of Technology, Caltech, purchased the 21-unit building at 400 S. Mentor Avenue and 8 days later issued no-fault eviction notices to all the tenants in the building. Tenants organized an association and, along with the Pasadena Tenants Union, held last night’s press conference.
Tenants accuse Caltech of disregarding the needs of the tenants, many of whom have lived in the building for more than 20 years. Valerie Murphy, a 22-year tenant of 400 S Mentor spoke at the press conference saying, “Caltech dropped a bomb on 400 S Mentor on June the 8th…. I have lived and worked in Pasadena my entire life. I spent over 30 years working on South Lake Avenue…and I sat on the Parks Commission for the City of Pasadena. I love this area! It’s my home. It always has been.”
Among those in attendance were Caltech graduate students who are working to form their first ever labor union, members of the Pasadena Tenants Union, as well as the tenants living at 400 S. Mentor Ave.
The tenants have formed an association they call the Phoenix 400 Tenants Association and they asked Caltech officials to meet with them. The tenants are demanding that Caltech rescind the eviction notices in writing, promise not to evict tenants for no fault in the future, and apologize for the pain and suffering caused to dozens of community members who have made Pasadena their long-term home. So far they have not secured a meeting.
The Phoenix 400 Tenant Association said in their press release, “This situation is not merely about the business transaction of property ownership, but the human consequences of displacement and community disruption. As residents of Pasadena, we understand and respect Caltech’s need to house its students, but we believe it should not come at the expense of existing community members.”
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