From Smadar on 8/31/17:
I returned from my intensive yoga retreat in the Twin Cities on July 26, '17. A 'no cause' eviction notice was taped onto my door.
I have lived on Treasure Island since February 2012. I dutifully paid my rent and every year my apartment passed the annual inspection with flying colors. I have kept quite quiet about the frequent management harassment and the infra-structural racism characterising everyday life on this dilapidated, toxic, landfill island. I was busy finishing Wrapped in the Flag of Israel, and after the book came out, I spent a large chunk of my time touring with it. I love the comfort of my home, and have enjoyed living on Treasure Island despite the above. It is ranked as America's third most diverse neighborhood. My neighbors' friendship and support have been so invaluable, and the Island is conveniently located halfway between Berkeley and San Francisco.
In the days left until the eviction is to take place I will inform you of the manners in which the life of us, Treasure Islanders, is run by "The Villages."
I am being targeted because I'm a whistle blower. I am being evicted not only because I am a woman of color and a practicing Jew, but because I’m a scholar-activist with a decades-long history of activism against racial discrimination. JSCO will be able to act with racial bias more freely having removed someone who understands the thin veneer with which they cover up their racism. I do understand the subtext for their maneuvers—human engineering of the population in the luxury apartment development project in order to preempt the people of color residing on the island from redeeming their rights due to the dislocation: compensation and below-market-rate apartments in the upscale development. JSCO’s plans have been widely reported in fact-checked electronic and print media. This is exactly what JSCO did in the Bay View-Hunter Point development, where apartments sold for much less than the predicted apartments on Treasure Island because the Island is a much preferable location.
Here is your Shabbat read. Some quote, below, from this eloquent article by investigative journalist Carol Harvey are so relevant to my retaliatory eviction by property manager for the Villages at Treasure Island, Dan Stone:
'...Dan Stone sends manipulative, inarticulate emails and letters to “whiners,” followed by a mishmash of inadequate, poorly-accomplished maintenance non-repairs… Stone feels he is permitted to tell both subsidized and market rate tenants they have no jurisdiction or standing in their homes and to torture them where they live… Dan Stone’s infuriating contention that the security of Damian’s home, like his soul, actually belonged to his rapacious, abusive landlord…'
'...Stone’s face turned bright red. He yelled, “I’m not going to listen to you rant and rave!... This is my house, not yours!”'
'Damian: “That is my nightmare on Chinook Court, orchestrated, directed, produced, underwritten, financed, by property manager Dan Stone.”'
Dan Stone is a skinny, balding White man with a thick southern accent. His bullying has terrorized my life for the last 5.5 years. Remember, Treasure Island is the third most diverse neighborhood in America, as it exhorts itself. The management does not reflect the ethnic-racial composition of the tenants' body.
The Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) policy is to evict us one by one, as they engineer the future racial makeup of those who will purchase the lucrative 8500 apartments in the new development. The Island vistas of the San Francisco skyline are sublime! Whistle-blowers are the first ones to be evicted. The Island developers' lies were covered by Al-Jazeera.
The well researched article below exposes TIDA's deceptive strategies. It is likely that only a handful of White tenants will receive Below Market Rate (BMR) housing in the new development. Since the development has geared momentum in 2016, to preempt TIDA's BMR promise to all island residents (the majority is low income people of color), one by one Islanders are made to leave -- frequent electrical outages, sewage overflows, very slow internet, polluted water, untreated black mold, irregular mail delivery, irregular bus service. If Islanders stay put and are articulate about what goes on in their 'hood, they go through 'no cause' evictions, such as mine. These evictions are legally permitted per our leases.
'...Residents of ... Treasure Island pull no punches when it comes to the past actions of Lennar [the developer] and local officials who are friendly with the company, including mayors Brown and Lee. In a lawsuit against the company, Christopher Muhammad, a local minister for the Nation of Islam, called Lennar “a rogue company that can’t be trusted.” The asbestos-related suit cited Lennar’s construction ... as the cause of the neighborhood’s high asthma rates in children... “Our contention is that Lennar purposefully turned the [asbestos] monitors off,” Muhammad told the San Francisco Bay Guardian....and the city looked the other way.”'
'Bob Beck is director of the Treasure Island Development Authority, the city agency overseeing the area’s development. He doesn’t live on the island, nor do any of his seven staff. But with his engineering background, he sees Treasure Island as “an incredible location, from an engineering perspective—it’s a very interesting project to be working on... The city has a pretty high affordable housing requirement on the whole,” according to Beck, “but it’s been an emphasis here, with an added emphasis on the formerly homeless.”'
The conclusion paragraph of the article below sums it up:
“I would like to say that we get fair treatment from the city, but I would be lying.”
"Property Managers that are hired literally do whatever they want because they get away with it..."
The Villages at Treasure Island, or The Villages, in short, is the entity evicting me for no cause. The Villages is a management agency created by the Treasure Island Development Authority, or TIDA. TIDA is a part and parcel of the city of San Francisco, and meets regularly at the SF city hall. Nevertheless, TIDA is not obliged by the city of San Francisco pro-tenant laws and regulations. TIDA contracted the John Stewart Co to manage the Treasure Island former military townhouses.
When I moved to the Island in January '12, I simply thought that John Stewart Co is just another management agency for absentee landlords, like the rental management companies that exist in the Twin Cities, MN. I had not done my research to discover that the John Stewart Co. is the West Coast's largest company that manages subsidized rentals for the disenfranchised, who are mainly people of color. I and others on the Island, however, pay market rate rents.
So for five and a half years I have lived under a regime of bullying, threats and intimidation typical of the John Stewart Co management style. Racialized Islanders (mainly Blacks, Latinos, and Arab Americans) are subject to completely different treatment than non-college graduate Anglos (who don't seem like a threat to the local management) and Asians, who are mainly the most precarious of foreign students. In the past, the very few college educated Anglos who dared to complain were shown the door. Many of the racialized tenants call the Villages property manager "the sheriff" and are afraid to complain or ask for repairs, because he always threatens them with evictions, confiscation of their family pets, or unnecessary repairs that require their attendance so that they have to skip work. Here is what former employees write about the John Stewart Co.:
"There were really no pros..."
"If you are open to working with a slum lord, by all means place your job app now... Rude upper management... Entitled corporate team... Executives and Management in the Corporate Office are catty and unprofessional... The culture of favoritism pits employees against each other... Terrible company! Constant feuding among co-workers, bullying managers who don't understand conflict or problem solving! ... Hands down, the worst company I've ever worked for!... "
And the line that describes our Sheriff best:
"Property Managers that are hired literally do whatever they want because they get away with it..."
Please Circulate to your lists - Thanks
I'm being evicted for alleged 'no cause' probably because I have written several times in the Next Door Neighbor (NDN) discussion group that we, Islanders, suffer from infra-structural racism. This, on top of the eco-racism discussed in the Aljazeera English article I posted on my page last week. One manifestation of this infra-structural racism is the very frequent electrical outages we experience. Here is a capsule from the article, below:
'“We were joking that we were Third World in a first-world city,” said Towne Kathryn (our hero in the local media, Kathryn Lundgren), who has lived on the island for nine years... Those who live and work on the island told Chronicle Watch the outages are a hassle that lures criminals and costs them money... The problem, city officials say, is an ancient power system made worse by exposure to briny sea air — and the occasional seagull.'
NDN is run by a group of White folks Islanders who collaborate with the management company hired by the City of San Francisco to slumlord the Island -- John Stewart Co. (see my post about them from two days ago.) These collaborators remind me of kapos. Kapos were Jewish concentration camp prisoners whom the Nazis employed as brutal low-level camp managers in return for subsistence-level privileges. Given the level of surveillance and control the management exercises on the tenants, and their bullying, abuse and harassment, on the one hand, and our the Island being the last semi-affordable vestige of San Francisco housing, I think the employment of this term here is appropriate.
The chief collaborator demanded that I remove remove ANY mention of the word "race" (let alone 'racism') from my NDN entries. These were very few. There are others on the Island who fought a good fight. On the whole, I was quiet, busy completing Wrapped in the Flag of Israel and then spent considerable amounts of time traveling with it. So when I did not respond to the kapo's requests, he deleted my entries. Justifying his censorship, he wrote to me that here, on the Island, everybody's equal.The kapos hope that their collaboration with the management against the outspoken colored folks -- African Americans, Latinos and Arab Americans -- will spare them from evictions as the development of the fancy apartments progresses. They know that for the majority of us, getting the promised Below Market Rate (BMR) apartments will never materialize. People of Color decrease property values everywhere, including progressive San Francisco. In the meanwhile, the management stuffs South-East Asian foreign students or post-Soviet immigrants -- up to 7-10 in each apartment -- into units that become vacant due to the departure or evictions of of African Americans, Arab Americans or Latinos who find the deteriorating conditions on the Island impossible. The rent increases accordingly, to keep financing the development. Our landlord, to remind you, is the enlightened City of San Francisco. The sad part is that the kapos and managements do everything possible to divide the tenants and pit them against each other per historical origins and phenotype. One can just imagine what the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) and their slumlord management company are afraid of...
Smadar (very sweet and polite voice): So will this broken heating pipe leak asbestos into the house through the vents?
Dan Stone (heavy Southern accent): You’re old anyway. You’ll be dead before the cancer’ll get ya. You keep complainin’... we can evict you any time we want.
Dan Stone (otherwise known as 'the sheriff') is property manager for The Villages at Treasure Island, employed by John Stewart Company and the City of San Francisco Treasure Island Development Company (TIDA).
From the John Stewart Company Reviews: "Property Managers that are hired literally do whatever they want because they get away with it... If you are open to working with a slum lord, by all means place your job app now... "
Please write a comment if you are interested in more gems of wisdom from The Treasure Island Sheriff, Dan Stone.
From a conversation with the John Stewart Company attorney on July 26, the day I discovered the eviction notice taped on my door:
Smadar: My 60-day eviction notice ends on September 22, right during Rosh HaShanna. That’s Jewish New Year. I’ll be praying at the synagogue. Can we push back the clock a little to after Yom Kippur, September 30? I’d be so grateful.
Attorney for John Stewart Co: No. We’re not going to change anything. Your holiday thing is perfect. While you’re at church, we’ll go ahead and file the unlawful detainer. And then on September 29, we’ll recover possession of your unit and change the locks.
Here is what other tenants reported to the media about this conniving bully:
"... [Tenant's name] was relentlessly harassed. Hired stalkers phoned her threatening, “You have to move.” Lawyer overseer, long-time island attorney M., used false accusations to trick [tenant] into an early eviction." (San Francisco Bay View).
SF Curbed is a weird little blog which seem to cater to real estate investors, if to anyone.
So far, at present, I AM THE ONLY PERSON EVICTED FROM TREASURE ISLAND.
The Treasure Island Development Authority (or TIDA) employs an online 'reputation defender' to push back all the news items about the island's cleanup in its google hits. Rosy news items about the 'ecologically conscious' development appear on the Island Google pages 1-4.
It is interesting to note that this hot air balloon has seen print right when the unlawful detainer against me was to be filed in court.
We live in Trump-times, and the property manager for John Stewart, who has been hired by TIDA to run our slum, is a White southerner from Texas and Alabama whose gems of wisdom have appeared here under 'race chronicle 5'. His assistant, another unpleasant character, is a White dude from Tennessee. Together, they terrorize a population whose majority is non-White.
Any further information about SF Curbed, its sources of funding, or the article's author and his sources of income would be greatly appreciated.
On Yom Kippur eve, around noon, while my Mali and I were upstairs, we heard very loud bangs on our home's door. Soon thereafter the man banging on our door tried to break in.
"Smadar Lavie, I must serve you court documents, open the door!"
My Mali barked so hard and kept jumping at the door from the inside that the sensor motion went on, and the security alarm shrieked out loud. The man went away.
After the break-fast meal I found the documents, below, in my mailbox.
So now you know the identity of the attorney for the City of San Francisco's Treasure Island Development Authority and their slumlord, John Stewart Co.
On Sunday, just as I was getting out of my car, a young, White man jumped at me and stated, "You are Smadar Lavie." He then shoved the court summons to my face.
A refresher on how professionals hired by an agency housed in San Francisco City Hall express themselves:
My 60-day eviction notice ends on September 22, right during Rosh HaShanna. That’s Jewish New Year. I’ll be praying at the synagogue. Can we push back the clock a little to after Yom Kippur, September 30? I’d be so grateful.
Attorney for San Francisco's Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) and the John Stewart Co:
No. We’re not going to change anything. Your holiday thing is perfect. While you’re at church, we’ll go ahead and file the unlawful detainer. And then on September 29, we’ll recover possession of your unit and change the locks.
My heartfelt thanks to Noemie Eimeon Hakim Serfaty for her talent, solidarity and compassion in doing this short video.
From: Attorney to the John Stewart Company, and the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA), City of San Francisco
Subject: Re: Smadar Lavie's 24 hours to remove statements and post retraction
...I have been advised that Smadar Lavie is looking to take steps to have the statements published in a larger media - the Newsroom. Please be advised that Smadar Lavie has 24 hours to remove her internet posts regarding her statements about my client and myself and post a retraction, or I will file an injunction and seek any other legal remedies that I may have.
Sent: Sunday, October 29, 2017 8:08 PM
From: Smadar Lavie to her attorney
…. The John Stewart Company and TIDA-City of San Francisco don’t like to have these well-known issues of eco-racism and infra-structural racism in the open… I don’t watch TV online and don’t have a TV at home, so I had no faint idea what the attorney was referring to re The Newsroom. She also writes that she “has been advised” but we don’t know who gave her the advice re “the Newsroom”… I googled The Newsroom and it’s actually a fictional … HBO TV series... I fully stand by everything I wrote... I still hope we have freedom of speech in America.
**MY NO CAUSE EVICTION IS NOW A FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS CASE AGAINST MY SLUMLORD -- THE CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO -- PLEASE SHARE, THANKS**
OK, so here's my attempt at figuring out the corrupted logic of San Francisco's gentrification and development projects and their greed:
(1) The city of San Francisco is my landlord through the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) -- a subdivision of the city's administration.
(2) TIDA sublets the apartments of Treasure Island to the John Stewart Company to manage.
(3) John Stewart Co is described publicly as follows: "...Slum lord.. Rude upper management... Entitled corporate team... Executives and Management in the Corporate Office are catty and unprofessional... The culture of favoritism pits employees against each other... Terrible company! ... bullying managers..."
(4) The attorney for John Stewart explained to me right from the start that I have no SF tenants' rights and can be evicted for no cause at any time she wishes because the land on which my townhouse stands belongs to the military and is therefore under the jurisdiction of the federal court.
SO WE REMOVED THE DEFENSE OF MY EVICTION CASE TO FEDERAL COURT, WHOSE JURY WILL DECIDE THE LEGITIMACY OF A 'NO CAUSE' EVICTION. MY EVICTION HAS THUS BECOME A CIVIL RIGHTS CASE. IN A FEDERAL COURT I AM ALLOWED TO PRESENT ALL THE EVIDENCE ABOUT THE RACIAL, GENDER AND AGE DISCRIMINATION I SURVIVED IN THE HANDS OF THE JOHN STEWART MANAGEMENT.
I was researching today W.E.B. DuBois writings about the origins of White supremacy, trying to explain why most of the few Christian Whites (about 10%) who live on Treasure Island and pay market rate rents vehemently deny the eco-racism and infra-structural racism of our slumlord -- the Treasure Island Development Authority, an entity that uses the City of SF email server, housed in the SF city hall, yet does its business on lands which are federal. Further, these White renters almost always side with the management when it bullies and evicts tenants who are not White and not Christian. In 2017 all evictions in my 'hood were people of color. The evictions are probably there to preempt the tenants' legal rights for compensation and a below market rate housing unit when the posh apartment buildings will be ready. Colored folks, of course, decrease the property values expected by the various investors in the Treasure Island development. Median market rate for a SF 2 bedroom apartment (without the sublime vistas that come with Treasure Island) is 1.37 million dollars.
DuBois lucid analysis from 1935 is still so true these days:
“The white group of laborers, while they received a low wage, were compensated for by a sort of public and psychological wage. They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white… They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and public schools. They police were drawn from their rank and the courts, dependent on their votes, treated them with leniency as to encourage lawlessness. Their vote selected public officials, and while this had small effect upon the economic situation, it had a great affect upon their personal treatment and the deference shown to them.”
W.E.B. DuBois, 1969. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880. Pp. 700-701. New York: Atheneum.
"...‘urban renewal’ means pushing black residents out."
In my own 'hood, Treasure Island, the city of San Francisco who is my landlord jointly with the U.S. military is pushing Blacks, Latinos, Arabs and Muslims out.
An excellent read to shed light on the context of my 'no cause' eviction.
MASS EVICTIONS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR PLANNED FOR TREASURE ISLAND
*Please share with your FB friends, groups and lists*
The John Stewart Company (JSCO) is evicting me from my home for 'no cause'.
JSCO subleases the Treasure Island residential units from the City of San Francisco, who, in turn, subleases them from the US Navy who still owns the island until the cleanup is complete. My official slumlord is the city of San Francisco.
Mass evictions are planned for Treasure Island's majority residents -- people of color of modest means. In so doing, JSCO is already calculating its revenues from selling the luxury apartments planned to be built on the Island. JSCO is actually performing human engineering of the posh apartment's population in order to preempt the people of color residing on the island from redeeming their federal and state rights due to the dislocation: monetary compensation and below-market-rate apartments in the upscale development. JSCO’s plans have been widely reported in fact-checked electronic and print media.
JSCO is a partner in the development project. Who else is going to gain from the Treasure Island mass evictions of people of color?
Congresswoman Nancy and Laurence Pelosi, senator Diane Feinstein and Richard Blum (Feinstein's husband), Former senator Barbara Boxer and her son, Douglas Boxer, and all of San Francisco's mayors, from Willie Brown to present Edwin Lee as well as Treasure Island's own 'green' city hall supervisor, Jane Kim.
Below is a chart that spells out the interplay between kinship, friendships and cash flow in the context of the Treasure Island luxury apartments development. Please use the 'enlarge' feature on your screen. You can click on the name of each player and will get a screen that spells out his/her relationship to the others in the project, and most importantly, where he/she donates their dollars in order to further capitalize on my dispossession.
The chart has been prepared by the remarkable Anti-Eviction Mapping Project.