April 29, 2006
-- by Gary Boatwright
I’m Calling Bullshit On Homelessness. I have never lost a flame war yet, and I’m not about to start with this one. In two recent diaries over at MyDD, Tax Welfare For Billionaires and Tax Welfare For Billionaires II I pointed out that tax cuts for billionaires were nothing more than thinly disguised welfare programs for the ultra rich. Since homeless Americans and working Americans have a greater need for economic assistance in these perilous economic times, I decided to take over Birch Park just south of downtown Santa Ana (page 829 in your Thomas Guide at E3) as a statement of my discontent with the current economic conventional wisdom that providing welfare to billionaires will eventually trickle down to the rest of us.
I'm in the process of wrapping up a few loose ends before I file a series of lawsuits that will bring landlord/tenant law in Orange County, Calfornia into conformity with California law. The current rule of law in Orange County can be simply stated as "the landlord wins." Regardless of the law, the equity or the specific facts of any particular situation, "the landlord wins."
That is about to change. Trust me. I will be adding more details as I get situated in my new residence and my economic situation returns to the norm. For now you can take my word for it that landlord/tenant law in Orange County is going to experience a radical transformation.
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Good luck, and please keep us posted! What kinds of rights to tenants in the rest of California have? I happen to be deeply involved in the problem of tenants' rights in Manhattan. I'm on the board of the Renters' Union where I live. I suspect that NYC renters are far ahead of most of the country in the rights they have. The problem is that they don't know their rights and get exploited anyway. Enforcement is the key. That requires a Union, a good lawyer, and judges who aren't corrupt.
You got friends in this state. Check out these folks. They were out today taking on a real estate company in the Castro in San Francisco.
Posted by: janinsanfran at April 29, 2006 1:27 PM
Looking at a target for renter's rights?
How about looking at the anti-trust, campaign contribution, and other legal violations of the second-largest rental property manager in America --AIMCO!
(The only property manger that is bigger than them in this country is HUD!)
Terry Considine, AIMCO's CEO, is a rabid right-wing Republican who ran for the Senate in Colorado in 1992 on a far-right agenda and huge anti-gay laws. As it turned out however, he was too far-right --for even Colorado's right-wingnuts --and having lost, he's turned, instead, to full-bore destroying renters rights nationwide.
Under Considine, AIMCO's had notorious evictions in Colorado and throughout the country, and massive labor complaints against them by their workers. As a sign of their power recently, AIMCO got Governor Swartzenegger to dismiss half of California's State Historical Board when it declared one of AIMCO's larger properties there architecturally historic, and protected from demolition.
As part of all this, AIMCO also then hit Los Angeles with the largest single day of forced mass-eviction in the history of Los Angeles. It evicted 52 of the families at LA's Lincoln Place, where it is holding 600 beautiful low-cost rentals there empty. And it is now shoveling wads of cash to politicians of both parties to ignore building codes and to finish evicting the last 80 senior and disabled residents there.
And all this in order to tear them all down, and build luxury condos. As of right now, it looks like only about 50 out of 300 of those forced out may get to keep their apartments --while up to 2 billion dollars in luxury condos may end up replacing the 800 rare and affordable apartments there.
But hey, no Republicans or Democrats will really go after them --and AIMCO rolls on nationwide; creating more shortages of affordable rentals, and more evicted seniors, disabled, and working people!
My take is that one of the few good reasons to buy a home in California, as opposed to renting it, is as insurance against capricious landlords. More accurately, that's what I thought seven years ago when I bought my home in SFO. I think the premiums are too high now. I recognize it's really bad in Orange County— it's the main reason I moved away so many years ago. So have all my friends and family.
Good luck storming the castle.
Posted by: s9 at May 1, 2006 6:14 PM
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