Espanola Jackson and Lisa Shelby in front of housing complex.

AIMCO DUBIOUS IN NATURE
WITH TENANTS AT HUNTERS POINT

(7/19/06)

Apartment and Investment Management Company (AIMCO) has always been very dubious with the tenants that it controls ever since 1997. AIMCO took over control of all the buildings linked to the Shoreview LaSalle, All Hallows and Bayview complexes in 1997 together with a check of over $12 million from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to subsidize rents for low-income housing and poor people living on fix income.

These complexes were built about 25 years ago of sub-standard material. Over the years these complexes which house over 1000 constituents of San Francisco have been plagued with a numerous health and safety problems.

Every imaginable mold and fungi make their abode within these complexes. Rain water and sewage from near by homes drip down the walls, through the ceiling, and have ruined the health of hundreds of tenants. It has made a living hell so much so that this matter was taken to court and the tenants won their case that was settled in 2004.

The San Francisco's City Department of Building Inspection played an important role in investigating this matter and the lead role was played by Jim Hutchinson was has since retired from City government. I kept in touch with his office from time to time over the years and was glad with AIMCO was fined $3 million dollars - they should have been fined $500 million.

HUD has always pretended to be concerned about these complexes and the welfare to the tenants but that has been the extent of HUD all talk and no action. The San Francisco City Attorney was able to make progress because of the Department of Building Inspection and won the case. However after the case was won nothing much accrued from this law suit except some band aid repairs that do not amount to much? Certainly various very serious ailments continue to plague the tenants that live within these four complexes. Mold and fungi are difficult to get rid off and the only concrete way to rid the menace it to totally demolish the buildings and get rid of the inferior material once and for all. There are some very expensive technologies wherein the mold and fungi can be capped or sealed but as I said these technologies are cost prohibitive.

Nothing much has changed from the tests that were done in 1999 where 504 apartment out of 604 showed signs of fungi. The City and County of San Francisco is fully aware about this situation and so is the SF Health Department. Of course HUD is fully aware of this situation as is Sophie Maxwell the District 10 Supervisor who initially showed some good faith but has not followed through with this case.

A number of folks including Sophie Maxwell were first to jump when AIMCO decided to fund the building of a brand new recreation facility and set aside $1 million. Others including the 49ers and the Bayview Rotary Club, I remember Kirk Reuter a former Giants pitcher pooled in $200,000. This brand new building is in the works and everyone who is some one is taking credit for it but so far the ground has not been broken. According to the timeline it was all to have happened in April 2006 the case was settled in 2004.

In the interim innocent people are dying. There are many living in these four complexes that suffer from acute breathing diseases especially chronic asthma. You will find several people that cannot survive with breathing apparatus that they have to cart everywhere they venture. Some cannot use their bathrooms and go in and out as quickly as they can. Mold is found everywhere and the black stuff is scary and makes you puke. The smell is foul and as soon as you clean it the mold appears back within days.

The tenants have called the press and several press articles can be found on the internet. Various State, Federal, and local representatives have gone to the complexes promised help and forgotten about the tenants. If you go the SF Health web site there is a number to call but they warn you do not bother them by requesting them to conduct a mold test? They will not do that so suffer folks and have your tests done privately! Recently Sophie Maxwell chose to meet the representatives of AIMCO to bring to the Board of Supervisor a Resolution that would permit AIMCO receiving over $85 million to renovate the four complexes Bayview Apartment, Shoreview Apartments, All Hallows Gardens, and LaSalle Apartments. She did this at her City Hall office and should reveal the contents of the discussion. She loves these close door discussions and has been doing them for the longest time ever. She has been called on these actions and taken before the Sunshine Task Force several times.

There was No meaningful outreach done by AIMCO even though Sophie Maxwell stated at the Board of Supervisors meeting that this was promised. Sophie Maxwell chose to continue the matter for a couple of weeks when tenants Lisa Shelby from All Hallows, Dorothy Peterson from Shoreview and Bayview Advocate like Espanola Jackson brought the matter to Sophie Maxwell attention at the BOS meeting.

In the interim AIMCO has given notices to the tenants stating that their rent will be increased. Some have gotten notices that up their rent to $600, others $800 and these tenants can ill afford such increases. Most live pay check to pay check. If they are forced to evacuate the premises they live in they will be on the streets and out in the cold. They will be homeless. They will die on the streets. This is a crying shame.

What concerns most of us that are involved with housing issues and Quality of Life issues is a process that calls for meaningful dialog has not occurred. Even Angelo King the Bayview Hunters Point Project Area Committee Chair commented that the process did not come before the full BVHP PAC at the BOS meeting. What is happening with Accountability and more Transparency? Why are some corrupt folks constantly crucifying poor folks that cannot defend themselves?

How can we trust agencies like the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency? This quasi-State agency loves to throw out plans but so far nothing much has benefited those that need help most. When will people from Bayview own their homes - preferably homes devoid of mildew, mold, fungi, and other dangerous molds some that have defied analysis in the laboratory! In meanwhile Sophie Maxwell was caught with her hand in the cookie jar - making deals with AIMCO behind close doors. She even tried through her aide Greg Assay to silence Angelo King but Angelo King chose to do right for once. May be Angelo King should learn from this lesson, talk to the thousands that have fallen prey to the four inferior built complexes and be aware of San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

I visited the area several times in the last few days - right now the Navy is moving thousands of tons of Class One Hazardous Material not far away from the four complexes on the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The dust particles are flying all over the places with the high gust of wind making it even easier to spread over a very wide area. The folks from the complexes can view the operations from the front and back of their homes over looking the project and no one has informed them of the impending serious health and safety dangers.

The Department of Toxics and Substances Control has been informed by me and so has the San Francisco Health Department. I can pray that something comes from my investigation. In the mean time Mayor Gavin Newsom is planning to build 4000 housing units - within the same area to accommodate healthy athletes from all over the world on land known for the worst hot spots and in many cases radiological elements.

The tenants from the 4 complexes need help much before the Mayor puts thousands in harms way. Why should innocent folks pay for inferior housing and have their rents increased by over 40 to 50 percent? Why does AIMCO need $85 million to renovate inferior mold ridden units? Who will monitor AIMCO? Who is getting money under the table? Should some Federal Agency be called in to investigate this matter? Why are we allowing our children to die? Who really is fully responsible for this episode and on going saga of death?


The complex overlooking CandleStick Park.


By All Hallows Espanola and Lisa.


LaSalle Complex.


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