In December, our coalition turned three years old. Currently, we have 193 members and we are growing each week. On Thanksgiving Day, last year, I thought about what I had to be thankful for and I know that there are many things.
Aside from that, I came to the following conclusion. Even though my property was put into REAP unfairly, because of that, I was inspired with a sense of fighting back against the corrupt policies of the LAHD, I have met some of the most wonderful people that I’ve ever known. I’m talking about the members of our coalition. You all are decent good people who have invested in Los Angeles and provide housing, which is a much-needed service in society. I feel honored to know all of you.
I have probably heard about 2,000 horror stories over the last three years from landlords who have read my columns and decided to contact me. I’ve seen their properties and I can say with all honestly that the landlords I have met maintain their properties well, yet the LAHD has made their lives a nightmare due to an unethical agenda by those make the rules at the LAHD.
When something in life is so outrageously unfair and hurts so many people who have done nothing wrong, I believe it is a sin to sit back and do nothing. I believe that sometimes God puts us in a situation where He wants us to go forward and fight a battle because it is the right thing to do. This is why I started the coalition. Throughout the ages, evil empires have existed for a long time until one person came along and decided to bring people together and fight back. Many of you have shown up at LA City Hall on short notice and we’ve had some victories only because of you being there and speaking up for your rights. I salute you. You folks are turning the tide because you became involved. God bless all of you.
A Few Quick Things:
- I had the article in the AOA magazine that contains the form to fill out for the Grand Jury scanned and put into a PDF file. I suggest that everyone who feels they have been damaged by the LAHD to fill out this form and send it in to the Grand Jury. [You can obtain the file on the AOA website at http://www.aoausa.com/downloads/MemberForms/Grand-Jury-Complaint-Form.pdf I sent an e-mail to Rushmore Cervantes telling him that we want to have a meeting with him once a month. He was the former interim General Manager at the LAHD and now he is second in command but he told the LA City Council last week that the LAHD is willing to work with landlords groups to keep making things better for landlords. In the letter I sent him, I stated that we would be going to City Council once a month to update the council on the progress or lack of progress that we are making with the LAHD. About half the LA City Council now understands that there is something really wrong going on at the LAHD. We’ve never had so many council members be so supportive of landlords and this is because of the hard work of our group and others. We must use this to our advantage and apply pressure to the LAHD so that they do start making positive changes. We are now in a stronger position with the LA City council than anytime before in the last 30 years. Here is a copy of the e-mail that I received after e-mailing Mr. Cervantes. “Mr. Hooey, Rushmore Cervantes has acknowledged receipt of your correspondence and will communicate with you some time next week. Thank you, Mary Arredondo, Executive Administrative Assistant, Los Angeles Housing Department.”
- For quite a while now, when the LA City Council is going to vote on a housing issue, they post a notice on the City’s web site just one day before. I believe this is a legal requirement. Still, they are giving us such short notice and they know that most of us will not see the notice let alone be able to adjust our schedules and attend. To me, this feels a bit sleazy. At one of our last coalition meetings, we came up with a collective idea and all those in attendance seemed to like it. We should all go down to the LA City Council once a month to update the council on things we want changed/improved (regarding the LAHD rules and policies). If they see a group of 100 landlords or more all sitting together, they will realize that we are not in a coma and that we are watching them. In the past, the LA City Council ruled against us every time because landlords seldom-attended council meetings, those days are over. If we go down in one big group, once a month, they will take us seriously. I will send out notices as to that day at least one week before so that will give everyone the opportunity to adjust their schedules. We’re not going to be an angry mob but by being there in a fairly large group, it will cause the council members to take notice.
And finally… thank you for your support. Your donations are what allow us to keep fighting for your rights.
Bill Hooey is with the Fair Housing, fighting for the rights of Los Angeles housing providers and may be reached at 323-397-8740 or www.fairhousingcoalition.com.