Monday, February 02, 2009

The special "Big Bang Theory" issue of my housing co-op newsletter

(Photos show the rotten condition of my housing project -- including our jankety blue tarp roof over the community room)

After trying for the last SEVEN YEARS to get my housing co-op's board of directors to quit stalling around regarding our desperately-needed re-hab project, I am starting to feel a lot like Penny, that normal person on CBS's "Big Bang Theory" who is always trying to deal with a bunch of super-intelligent nerds who know nothing about Real Life.

"Why don't they just DO the freaking re-hab and get it over with," I bet Penny would wail. "We already have a second project manager (the board fired the first one), a second architect (the board fired the first one), a second construction firm (the board fired the first one) and a bank loan officer on board. How hard can it be?"

Somehow or other Savo's board of directors keeps coming up with new excuses for putting the work off and finding new people to blame. "The new shingles won't match the old ones, the last fourteen management companies didn't agree with us, it's HUD's fault, it's the bank's fault, it's Jane's fault -- it's everyone's fault but ours."

I bet that Penny would just about be tearing out her hair at this point. But what would she do about it? I bet she would call on Sheldon, the physics nerd genius who lives across the hall from her, and ask him for ideas. "This is elementary, Penny," I bet Sheldon would reply. "HUD needs to file for financial receivership again. As you may recall, on March 28, 1989, back around the time that several members of the current board of directors were completely in charge of running the co-op, including staffing the site office and managing the co-op itself,
the California Franchise Tax Board filed a tax lien against Savo Island for non-payment of taxes vis-a-vis Alameda County Superior Court case 89-083945. And then in 1990, Savo filed a Notice of Default, HUD took over its deed of trust and the lien was released, according to court cases 90-273956, 90-273955 and 89-0167585. But on the other hand, filing for receivership might be a problem at this point in time because the U.S. District Attorney's office would have to take the board to court again and they aren't willing to do that because they've been under pressure from Bush's Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, who tends to like to see HUD projects fail -- but now that Obama is president and Eric Holder is the new Attorney General..."

"Sheldon!" Penny would cry. "Too much information! Just focus on the freaking problem!"

"Right. In 1979, Jimmy Carter built a housing project like Savo Island in every city and town in America under the Housing
and Community Development Amendments of 1978 (P.L. 95-557, 42 USC. 8001) and, statistically speaking, it's time for all of them to be rehabilitated at this time so HUD is working to pass a bill in Congress to fund the rehabilitation of said projects. However, approximately 10% of these projects are currently failing or have already failed due to..."

"Sheldon! Who cares what happened in 1978! Just tell me what we should do to save Savo Island!"

"Well, according to the FDIC, there were six bank failures nationwide in January of 2009 alone, with 25 additional bank failures in 2008..."

"But," interrupted Penny, "the bank that is financing OUR re-hab is solid as a rock -- but they have threatened to withdraw their funding if we change management companies one more time. And the board knows all this, yet they are deliberately going ahead with firing our current management company. And do you know what that means? A re-hab that was supposed to have been completed way back in 2004 won't even be getting started for at least another YEAR! If at all. Sheldon! What should we do!"

"Well. According to Article V, Section 5, of Savo Island Cooperative Homes Inc.'s official bylaws, "Any Director may be removed from membership on the Board with or without cause if removal is approved by a majority of all the Members at a duly noticed meeting of the Members...."

"But what does that mean?"

"Penny, to put it in layman's terms that even ordinary people such as yourself might possibly comprehend, it apparently indicates a specific procedure to be carried out post-haste."

"And what might this specific procedure be? In layman's terms that even I can understand?" asked Penny.

"Just fire the freaking board and get on with the freaking re-hab!" Sheldon replied.