Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Savo Island housing co-op newsletter: The special "Jerry Springer" issue

Note: I may not have gotten these quotes exactly word for word but they are pretty much correct. I was writing as fast as I could! Also, I can't really get too mad at these folks. After all, they did teach me how to fight back against injustice -- thus preparing me for my future struggles against the many injustices perpetrated by George W. Bush!

You don't even want to know what went on at the Savo Island Board meeting last night. It sunk to its lowest point ever. Imagine the Jerry Springer show and throw in a hint of the National Enquirer and you pretty much got the picture.

The meeting started off peacefully enough even though the Board composition consisted mainly of five Alliance members and me. We interviewed a possible new management company to replace our current management company, one of 12 others who have been fired or quit. This company made a very professional presentation. Then we started talking about our maintenance staff. "Our current maintenance staff has already quit and moved on to other jobs," I stated.

"Jane. Please. They did not quit!" stated one Alliance member. Okay, semantics. They did quit working on weekdays but still come in to help on the weekends. The member then talked on and on and on about this and that. And then I started to say something too. I even raised my hand first. Honest! "Jane. Please. I am talking!" Oh. Excuse me.

Then I told the Board that, "a friend visiting me from Georgia Tech took one look at our siding and said, 'This is a major fire hazard.'"

"Jane, why do you always have to be so negative!" came the reply.

Then the Board alliance launched into a discussion regarding how horrible our current site manager was (and that's not negative talk?), how the tenant that this manager wants to move into a vacant unit -- vacant since approximately October 2006, losing the co-op approximately $1,000 a month in rent -- is not qualified. And how does the Alliance know that? Because one of their friends has apparently been pawing through the new tenant's documentation and trying to maneuver the new tenant's position further down on the waiting list.

But why would she want to do that?

Then the truth came out. "My daughter is on the waiting list," said one Board member. "What about her?" Oh. Relatives. Again. She apparently wants that unit for her daughter.

Then the friend of the Alliance told what I thought was an outright lie about our current site manager. And I politely called her on it. And that's when the meeting went all Jerry Springer. "You are a liar," one Alliance member started screaming at me. "You need to resign from this Board."

Then the Friend started bad-mouthing my daughter. "My grandmother is afraid to live in her unit because she's afraid of your daughter," she screams at me.

"That's not true," I screamed back. "Your grandmother lives with you because you have had a family of four of your relatives living in her unit for approximately the last year!" Don't scream at me. I gots a voice too -- and I know how to use it.

Then Jerry smiled happily as the Friend screamed back that I had better not mess with her or she would call the police on my daughter. "No wonder your daughter doesn't speak to you. You are a liar. You are vicious. And you are old." Wow. That last one was below the belt. That last one really hurt.

The Alliance's bottom line? "Jane, you need to resign." What? And miss all this free entertainment? That's way not going to happen.

And my bottom line? "You have run this co-op for the last 20 years and just look at it. It's a shambles and a debt-ridden mess." It used to be a nice place. Now Savo Island can't pay its bills and can't fill the units with anyone who isn't a relative and can't get its re-hab going and can't keep any management company and can't even run a civilized board meeting without Jerry Springer's help.

I am desperately asking the residents of Savo Island, the California Secretary of State in charge of issuing non-profit licenses and HUD to please step in here. 20 years of having myself and my family threatened and belittled because I am whistle-blower is more than enough. I want to just peacefully live in my own home and not see my co-op degenerate into National Enquirer material before my very eyes. Is that too much to ask? Apparently yes.