Monday, May 25, 2009

The special "Mentalist" issue of my housing co-op's newsletter

The other day a neighbor said to me, "Jane, your housing co-op looks like trash. What ever happened to all its plans for a re-hab?"

"Those plans have been killed," I replied.

In the new TV series, "The Mentalist," Simon Baker plays a detective named Patrick Jane (no relation) who uses his acute mental powers to track down killers by using his incredible abilitiy to detect who is telling the truth and who is lying. Boy could my housing co-op use him now!

For the last eight years, our plans to have this dump re-habbed have been stabbed in the back again and again and again. Who did it? Members of our board of directors keep telling us that it wasn't them. "We have alibis!" they cry. "It wasn't us." Or was it? We desperately need this re-hab. We need to know who is killing it. We need Patrick Jane on this case!

"Was it you, back in 2001," Patrick would ask the board members, "who fired the re-hab's first architect and delayed the project for years?"

"No, no, no! It wasn't us!" the board members would protest. "And besides, he needed to go."

"Was it you who refused to raise the rents that would have financed the re-hab -- because rent increases wouldn't have effected the Section 8 residents but would have effected you -- until HUD finally had to step in and FORCE you to raise them?"

"No, no, no! We didn't do that. It just sort of happened on our watch."

"Was it you who delayed the project for two whole years more because you weren't happy with the next architect's choice of building siding and you wanted to replace it with something inferior yet more expensive?"

"No, no, no! You must have us confused with some other board!"

"Was it you," Patrick might then inquire, "that fired the first project manager when he apparently tried to move things along, fired the first contractor when he allegedly requested an actual start date for the re-hab, and fired several property management companies when they apparently tried to get the re-hab off the ground -- thus delaying the re-hab again and again and again?"

"No, no, no! It was all their fault! We HAD to do it."

Aha! Now Patrick would be making the board members nervous. Now they would be starting to sweat!

"Was it you who sent out a notice to all Savo Island residents stating that the bank that was financing this re-hab had just backed out with 'no explanation,' even though you KNEW that the bank had stated its reasons to you clearly in black and white. 'Given the passage of time since this project was engaged, and the difficult economic realities of the transaction, we are not in a position to proceed with the financing of this loan.'

"No, no, no! We wouldn't lie to the residents. We'd never do that!"

"And is it you who are all buddy-buddy-pals with the City of Berkeley officials who apparently want to tear down Savo island and make a killing for developers by putting up high-rise condos here instead?"

"No, no, no! Why would we want to do that!"

"Was it you that seemed to do everything it could to stall this housing co-op re-hab for eight long years, firing management company after management company who tried to help Savo, blocking any progress and seemingly innocently watching as the re-hab slowly bled to death?"

"No, no, no! We're innocent, I tell you! Innocent, innocent, innocent!" And then Patrick James would smile his boyish smile, give us his secret wink and then tell us exactly who is not lying, who IS lying -- and why.