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 serĂ¡, serĂ¡.

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:

Opportunity.

Hello and thank you for visiting. Please forgive me, I have no idea how to properly express all of this. At any moment, a Fresno County Sheriff is going to come and serve me a 5-Day Notice to Vacate — to lock me out of my apartment.

I am being evicted. Forced to be homeless. Again.

I fought my landlord for negligence, turning off water, not having access to hot water for the past three months, and overall breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability (for a long list of Building Code violations that went neglected for nearly one and one-half years in my apartment). Welp, I lost. So now I owe: back rent, attorney fees, late fees, and service fees. This eviction will stay on my housing record for SEVEN years. I face an impossible situation. Living on less than $900 SSI Disability, trying to immediately secure housing, not enough savings for moving fees, no transportation, physically disabled, and liens against any future income… Meanwhile, my landlord is a direct relative of this horrific Bay Area slumlord.

I’ve suffered some of the most severe injustices. Six years ago, I also lost all that I owned. I know this portrays me as some sort of really bad and irresponsible person. Although I’ve done no wrong. I am disallowed the opportunity to defend myself against negative assertions, prejudices, and foregone conclusions. That’s just how this works.

A losing battle, one I don’t even get to fight.

I ask the impossible of you. I ask that you take me at my word.

That I am open. Honest. Intelligent. Capable. That I constantly strive to be a person of great integrity. That I am not negative. (Ha ha, see what I did there? Ha ha). All I’ve wanted is a chance to live with purpose, help make the world a better place. I’ve lived through extenuating circumstances that allow me a unique perspective on the country’s most serious problems, like: poverty, food security, welfare, blight, education, and job creation for the most disadvantaged.

I have an interminable passion for analyzing difficult topics, breaking them down into their faults/strengths/core strategies/objectives, then brainstorming & researching innovative solutions. My wish is to help implement better solutions to the most difficult socio-economic problems of our times. Social justice for all.

There is so much I still wish to do, share, collaborate on, and contribute. I am ready to move anywhere. Do anything. Help in any ways I can. Overwork me and underpay me. Please just give me a chance. Anybody want to help? Hire me. Fund me to move and work on a difficult issue? Start a nonprofit? Develop urban farms, commercial kitchens, co-share workspaces?

California needs $100 billion to repair its failing infrastructure. Saipan has over 50 blighted properties among major thoroughfares- where tourism is the primary revenue engine. Will Baton Rouge lose up to $1.4 billion in FEMA relief funds to fraud and corruption like New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina (according to the GAO)?

Don’t we need as many capable people as possible working to address our critical needs? I want to join in and help. I’d be thrilled to work, even for less than $1,000 per month. Anywhere.

Do I care that I undermine my own value? Nope. Just having an opportunity is more important than wealth. Is it relevant that last year my Scope of Work was $30/hour for a major university’s business incubator, innovation, and entrepreneurship program? Nope. Impoverished regions always cite their “brain drain,” where talented workers leave for greener pastures and better jobs elsewhere. Lack of talent in impoverished communities. Okay. Hire me or fund me. Pay my moving costs. I can assure you that I am just as desperate as these poor communities are: Cincinnati, Gainesville, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, El Paso, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, Saipan. Yet, I also have skills from working with some of the world’s top talent and businesses. My hardship (and desperation) is what also makes me available. If I were still successful, maybe you recognize the irony of how I wouldn’t be pleading for a chance to move and work in the worst of places? For barely any pay.

I just want a chance. A job. The ability to do good work on the most difficult problems our society faces. The world may discredit me, prejudice against me, and come to unfounded conclusions… all based on my current circumstances of hardship. Is there anybody still willing to actually listen and consider my abilities?

How can I possibly prove myself when society already judges so unfairly against me? Public perception, negative stigma, unjust conclusions. Isn’t this one exact problem that all impoverished and disadvantaged people face? Lack of consideration, inclusion, opportunity. Criminalized without reason.

Everything about my circumstances absolutely sickens me and leaves me numb. I’ve done nothing wrong. I have no recourse. No discussion allowed. I’ve tried so hard. I’ve suffered so much. I don’t understand.

Once I receive my 5-Day Notice to Vacate…
I do not know what is next for me.

A sincere farewell.

david @ soju . org