Water Repairs Completed?

HA HA HA. Yeah, right. I know, I know. I have less than 90 hours before I likely become homeless. And here I am, showing how water repairs are completed- just as my property manager claimed in court. Fact is, my property manager went right into court, and along with my slumlord’s attorney, smugly proclaimed “all water repairs have been made. Everything was completely fixed. A long time ago.” LIES!

That was on February 21, 2017.
Welp, judge and court found in their favor.
My claims were apparently bogus?

It’s only gotten worse… (March 3, 2017 at 5 PM):

Don’t ever go to court, if you don’t have to. That’s my advice. Certainly when opposing an attorney, and if you are unable to hire one to defend yourself. Lesson learned. A bit late, but oh well. Justice doesn’t matter. What’s the saying about if the facts are against you… argue the law. Welp.

They went on to state that I was the only resident to ever make a complaint about having water issues. Couldn’t introduce facts like a neighbor had ABC News come out to her apartment and film a news segment about the water issues. It was disallowed, denied because it was considered “hearsay.” Forget that nearly every resident won’t dare to risk their homes while living in poverty, on welfare, or retirement savings. “That’s Fresno.” As the saying goes…

Also, the 111-page Code Enforcement report of violations to my property was not allowed either. Judge deemed it “irrelevant.”

Then there is the fact I caught them in the midst of all their lies. Repairs are done? Why is the third water heater not yet installed? Oh, judge felt I was baiting and antagonizing. Dismissed, stricken. I disputed that “water shut-offs were always done with proper notice and were seldom, and never for long.”

Judge asked me how I intended to “PROVE” how long water was shut-off for. And showed my own submitted evidence of notices given. Now, how did I intend to prove they were given on days when water was not shut off? And on multiple days that I “claimed” that water had been shut off, there were no notices? Judge asked me, “Do you have proof? Otherwise I’m dismissing this as conjecture. There are notices right here. They gave them to you. You even provided them as exhibits, yourself! They fixed everything. So what is it you are trying to claim?”

Uh, I withheld January rent for ongoing issues – back to when I moved in in 2015. And water repairs were begun in November, but no closer to being “fixed” before January 5th. Despite all the promises and water shut-offs. I was in court on my 46th birthday (February 21st). Still. Not. Done. Judge chose to see things differently. I wonder how she’d see things if she lived here?

Today is March 3rd 2017. Below are images of my apartment complex. FLOODED.

And Fresno County Code Enforcement verified ALL of my claims. Needed a new toilet, repairs to kitchen and bathroom sinks, new door knob, new dead bolt… Huh.

I tried to introduce proof that property maintenance has been improperly installing toilets. Six citations for improperly installed toilets and five improperly installed doors… “Objection! That isn’t even HIS apartment unit! IRRELEVANT! And he’s claiming something from up to two years ago?!!!” Sustained. Uh, historical precedent? That six toilets were found by the Fresno Code Enforcement Inspector to be improperly installed, just like mine. Same owner, same maintenance staff. Same property. The fact that it is such a large apartment complex (over 200 units and $100,000+ in monthly rental income) just means it has multiple street addresses. One property. Welp.

I mentioned neighbors having issues. “Your honor! Property management has already stated no other person has EVER complained. And your Honor, you already deemed my witness to be highly credible!” Sustained. Judge to me: “Do you have anything substantial to show, say, or prove? Because I won’t allow you to introduce any hearsay or conversations you claimed to have had, evidence against other properties different from the one you live in, and old reports have no bearing on your present case.”

I knew I was doomed when the judge started interrogating me herself, without prompt from Plaintiff’s attorney. Especially the negatively-toned line of questions. ““Isn’t it fair to say that construction work takes longer and problems arise? Isn’t it true that the property manager worked to fix everything? They served notices of water shut-offs. They have fixed everything.” Your honor, I have introduced documents into evidence claiming repairs would be done by the end of November, then December 3rd. Yet, later notices detailed replacing the pipes, installing a new water heater, and replacing other parts. Later they admitted to not even having ordered the replacement pipes by the days they claimed they would be shutting off water to replace them. How could work have been completed in December when they didn’t even ORDER a water heater until the end of January? Their claim to have worked on fixing things was highly inaccurate. Informing us to fill our bath tubs with water to flush our toilets is cause for concern over Implied Warranty issues. Further, “infrequent,” “occasional,” and “seldom” hardly seem descriptive of the water shut-offs. Plaintiff’s attorney stated that water was never off for long, and the least inconvenience possible. But water shut-offs included Thanksgiving Day, December 23rd, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, AND both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“I don’t consider you to be a plumbing expert, so I will not allow your argument. You are done talking now. I won’t allow you any further statements. I’m deliberating on my decision…” WOW.

Anyways. I lost. Notice to Vacate is Tuesday, March 7th at 6:01 AM.

What did I do wrong? Fight for my tenant rights? I understand what happened. Poor City of Fresno needs to protect its more wealthy patrons. Yes, even slumlords. Can’t have disinvestment and blight because they all leave. The City of Fresno owns over 1,000 blighted and abandoned properties. They have no idea what to do with them. They’re worth less than nothing. I’ve tried to suggest many low-cost solutions. They won’t listen and don’t care. They’re pretty much all “owned” by the now defunct Fresno CDA (Community Development Agency). Which has transformed into many new agency names: Downtown Fresno Partnership, Economic Revitalization Committee, Downtown Revitalization Fund, OCEP, and more.

I expect to be homeless in less than 90 hours.

I know the reality I face. No future landlord or property manager will allow me to defend how I got wrongfully evicted. They’ll see “eviction on record” and won’t rent to me. Life is like this. Always. Nothing can be done about it. Just hope for the best.

None of this “matters.” Doesn’t matter that the Fresno Fire Department is here right now in order to help a disabled senior, my downstairs neighbor, exit her unit. Which she cannot do on her own, due to the flooding. No evidence matters at all. I already lost my court case for an Unlawful Detainer Judgment. I already fought for my tenant rights under the California Civil Code 1941.1 “Implied Warranty of Habitability.” And judge found I had no case, no merit, no claim. Judge found in favor of the slumlord. It’s already done.

Que será, será.

Oh, and about slumlords in Fresno. Early this morning (about 2:30 AM) there was a big fire in my neighboring apartment building. Embers wafting to about 25 feet in the air. It was terrible, devastating. I took some photos, actually. The Fire Chief was interviewing a tenant. She claimed she was at home when it started, and she didn’t know how it started. WAIT. WHAT??? Not a squatter? She had PG&E utilities and all? Paid rent? Seriously? It’s apparently okay to have plywood doors and windows in Fresno? Holy shit.

BTW, I still LOVE my M42 to sony E-Mount tilt lens adapter. If you’ve got a photographer’s eye, you may notice the subtle shifting of focal plane in a few photos. Isolating a subject, throwing some specific areas into softer focus or out-of-focus. Notice the depth of field on the two left-most firefighters? Notice the two on the right? Same distance from my lens, but softer focus. The background on the right feathers into soft out-of-focus bokeh. The gear, especially that one oxygen tank were intended to be my focal point here:

Those seventeen curved aperture blades on my Zeiss Jena Tessar 80/2.8 allow all this red light lens flare roll-off. It’s a damn wicked thing that most lenses just cannot accomplish. This:

Don’t even get me started…

Hello y’all. Tough times. Physical restrictions, constantly living in poverty (SSI Disability), not having home internet, and spending virtually all of my time with bad free wifi access researching and contacting to community/policy leaders.

I’m just gonna jump right in.

Please read: My Story

This past week, I’ve met with all sorts of professionals and leaders within the Fresno community. Long list. Cliff Tutelian is one of the most significant property owners in downtown Fresno. Alvaro started and owns Misc. Trading Company. Lupe is the founder and owner of Bebe O’s vintage clothing store in the Tower District. Sean Staicer is a front man for Bitwise Industies. Gina and Bob Estrada had an artists’ reception at their wonderful Gallery Strada in Riverpark. The Estradas business runs an investment portfolio of more than $1 billion. I also met with artists like Brenda Allison and Bill Roeser.

I met with so many more people, organizations, and leaders this week. Jeff Macon, Director of Innovate Fresno State at the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Shawn at Valley Small Business Development Corporation (VSBDC). Jim Santos, a mentor at Fresno SCORE in the local Fresno SBA office. Moe and Sandra at the management office for Manchester Shopping Center. Scott Christensen at Newmark-Grubb Realty. Barney Morris at Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV). The Superintendent of Fresno County Office of Education and FCOE Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Program Director Bob Bullwinkel. FCOE supervises 32 school districts encompassing 220,000 students. I also spent two-and-a-half hours in a one-on-one meeting with Principal Taylor from newly opened Patiño High School for Entrepreneurship.

I had multiple phone conversations and email communications this week with the owner of the historic Radin-Kamp Building (the former J.C.Penney) on Fulton Street Mall. He’s a former Fresno State grad that lives and works out of Thousand Oaks. He’s got credentials as a nuclear engineer, electrical engineer, and real estate magnate. He purchased the Radin-Kamp to much applause and fanfare as some “local” owner that wouldn’t leave the beautiful property neglected (as the previous abesentee landlord did, same as the Patterson and Helm and Bank of Italy Buildings). That was two years ago. Since then? Well, a major fire in the boarded up building destroyed the property. He’s filed applications. He’s made boastful promises. But he’s done nothing. It’s a 150,000 square-foot site. The historic building registry ties preservation laws to it. Expensive obstacles and time-consuming. Fire damaged and destroyed. More expensive repairs. California building codes are some of the strictest in the U.S. Neglected. Blighted. Hazardous, with dead animals and squatters inside. And yet, he refutes my claims that he will face challenges to renovate and re-open it for anything less than $325/sq. ft. ($50 million). Not to even mention his plans to construct a below-grade (underground) parking garage for 80+ parking spaces! Huh.

Don’t expect The Radin-Kamp to re-open. It won’t.

Market rates won’t support his building costs. Hence, Fresno is rampant with blight. I proposed to help secure HALF of his necessary funding. I see ways. Fresno’s Downtown Revitalization Fund, CDBG, job creation bills, and many other sources. It ain’t like he would’ve had anything to lose. Would you believe I offered to work on this project for FREE? lol. I want to help Fresno. It’s absolutely hopeless.

Fresno doesn’t want help. Fresno won’t acknowledge it’s challenges.

Overall, I’ve met with hundreds of the most influential people in Fresno– with no success. It seems I am only dismissed or discredited. I am condescended to. Practically laughed at. Yet, Fresno remains one of the poorest major cities in the nation. Leadership is lacking, failing, incompetent, without vision, just awful. I keep trying to do whatever I can to help, to contribute, even volunteer. How can I find a way to help when everybody ignores or discredits me for trying? Those incumbent don’t think there are problems. They don’t face them daily.