Saturday, July 5, 2014

The new symbol of Goodman hypocrisy


I recently took a stroll through the Lockhaven grounds. Hadn't been there in a while, having been displaced like most other residents, and the changes are striking. Most of the buildings are now brown and taupe, the underlying rot covered with layers of paint. Some gardens cultivated by my neighbors have been removed and replaced with the kind of hardy ground cover favored by developers who want to reduce maintenance costs. There are now fancy wooden gates over some walkways, and where once there were picnic tables and funky brick planters there's now outdoor furniture of the kind you might find at poolside at a Marriott Inn.

Among all these cosmetic renovations that seek to give Lockhaven the kind of image that Goodman hopes will attract tenants willing to pay upwards of twice the previous rents, none struck me quite as much as the bicycles on the new building number signs. Bicycles! Trendy symbol of walkable, bikeable, sustainable communities. What could be more bitterly ironic than the appropriation of this symbol by a group of men who destroy those very qualities for a living? In their quest to add to the billions they already have, John Goodman and his cohorts break the law, lie, endanger the health of their tenants, and retaliate against those who dare oppose them.

I happened to see Goodman employee and investor Josh Obendorf on my walk-though. I almost wanted to compliment him. Most of the renovations are bland and generic, but some of them look pretty nice. But we have a message for Josh and all of Goodman Real Estate: There are too many of us. Too many of us who know the truth about what you're doing, and see through the shiny surface of your gentrification efforts. We see the rot underneath, and we aren't going to stop talking about it. Most of us may be gone from Lockhaven, but we will keep fighting you. Don't mistake your shameless new bicycle signs for flags of victory.

Oh, also they're also apparently changing the name. from Lockhaven to Cadence Apartments. Maybe because this blog is one of the top results when you search "Lockhaven." Don't worry, Goodman, we'll make sure potential new tenants know all about you, no matter what you call the place.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ballard News Tribune story about Goodman's retaliatory evictions




Great write up in the Ballard Tribune about the evictions of Michelle Kinnucan and two other members of the LTU. Shame on you, John Goodman. Your disgraceful actions are not going unnoticed. Each act against your own community, the community in which you grew up and enabled you to become so prosperous, becomes another part of your legacy. Seattle will not forget what you've done.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Goodman Real Estate lies again: eviction times radically accelerated

Josh Obendorf: Lying, or merely making another "mistake"?


In a letter on Goodman Real Estate letterhead dated October 31, 2013, one of the new owners of the Lockhaven Apartments, Josh Obendorf, admits, without ever actually apologizing, that their sudden, unexpected eviction of 22 residents in September 2013 was illegal (in corporate-speak this comes out as "not in accordance with the City of Seattle's Tenant Relocation Program"). Elsewhere, Obendorf calls the evictions "a mistake."

Nowhere in the letter will you find any evidence of any ethical qualms with springing 20-day evictions on so many people. However, you do find this pledge in Obendorf's letter: "As we move slowly forward, we are committed to deliberate and thoughtful communication with you to insure there are no surprises during these changes" (emphasis added).

Well, residents of two Lockhaven buildings were very surprised to learn recently that John Goodman, George Petrie, and the gang had lopped months off the relocation schedule. Since November, residents of 3053 and 3044 have been told repeatedly and in writing that they did not have to expect to leave their homes until the ends of October and September, respectively, and that Lockhaven buildings would be vacated and renovated in their entirety. As of now, half of 3053 is to be vacated by the end of April, shortening the relocation schedule by a full six months, and the residents of 3044 have to be out by the end of May, robbing them of four months to find new homes.

It appears that the "no surprises" pledge of Mr. Obendorf and the schedules given to tenants by Mr. John Goodman and his associates aren't worth the paper they were written on. But perhaps this is just another "mistake." Please help Lockhaven tenants get to the bottom of this matter by calling or emailing John Goodman (206.448.0259; jgoodman@goodmanre.com), George Petrie (206.215.9789; gpetrie@goodmanre.com), and Josh Obendorf (206.215.9893; jobendorf@goodmanre.com). Faxes can be sent to: 206.682.8996. Ask them what happened to "no surprises" and what good is a schedule that can change so dramatically on such short notice?

If you're a Lockhaven tenant in another building and have also been surprised to learn that Goodman Real Estate Lockhaven is breaking their pledges to you regarding the eviction schedule (or even if you're not surprised) then please reply to this email with more details so we can spread the word.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rally against Goodman on Pier 70



Yesterday's rally on Pier 70, held in conjunction with our allies at the Theodora Apartments, was a smashing success. From My Ballard's account:

At 12 p.m. today tenants from across Seattle picketed the offices of Goodman Real Estate at Pier 70 downtown. The picket was organized by Ballard organization Lockhaven Tenants Union and Ravenna organization Theodora Rescue Committee.
Since hosting a press conference last month, Lockhaven Tenants Union has been continuing their ongoing battle against owners Goodman Real Estate to stay in their homes after being served with eviction notices last September.
This event was also covered by KUOW, the Ballard News Tribune and King 5. The King 5 report was especially gratifying, as it finally highlighted John Goodman's pattern of predatory business practices. Lockhaven is not happening in a vacuum. It's part of a business model that is draining our city of diversity and re-making for the benefit of the wealthy few.

http://www.king5.com/news/local/Developer-that-displaced-tenants-at-Ballards-Lockhaven-buys-Ravenna-building-249652811.html


The KUOW piece is also worth a listen, as LTU ally Eliana Horn is allowed to speak at length to Marcie Sillman about the reasons for the picket.




This is great news, people. This shows the power of tenant solidarity. We and our friends at the Theodora are telling our story and people are listening. Our voices have been heard on every TV station in town, in the Seattle City Council, and in Olympia. The actions of John Goodman and company will not be without consequences.

One of the comments on the My Ballard story shows how John Goodman's local reputation is deteriorating rapidly:
A local boy with so much potential should pay more attention to the existing urban fabric and social construct rather than pursue profit in a manner that will exclude many old time residents.
Shame on Goodman Real Estate and bravo to those who sacrificed their time to represent the predominant viewpoint.
This is especially despicable in light of donations, etc. (i.e. B & G club) to make the company and Goodman himself look like a respectable member of the community.
We would only add that it's definitely not too late for John Goodman to restore that respectability. We call on him again to do the right thing and not displace tenants from their homes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wanted!



 The Lockhaven Tenants Union distributed several hundred copies of our this "Wanted by the LTU" poster to passersby at or near the Bergen Place Park on Sunday, March 9. We plan to go out next Sunday for another round of raising awareness about predatory development in Ballard and hope you will join us.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

YELP against gentrification!

Our friends at the Tenants Union of Washington State have organized this fantastic action you can easily be part of. From their site:
 
The Lockhaven Tenants Union and Theodora Rescue Committee are asking for your solidarity in their fight against displacement by developer Goodman Real Estate. They are asking supporters to post reviews on the Lockhaven and the Viktoria (another building Goodman Real Estate is trying to fill) that may include points about Goodman Real Estate's practices such as these: 
  • Paying rent to Goodman Real Estate is contributing to the gentrification of Seattle. Goodman Real Estate is gentrifying Seattle by issuing massive rent increases and displacing working people and seniors all over the city
  • John Goodman is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  Why are you paying so much rent from someone who doesn’t need the money?
  • Goodman Real Estate is making this city increasingly unaffordable by making cosmetic renovations to justify rent hikes in what was once affordable housing. Take a closer look at those renovations--how “luxurious” are they really?

Why YELP? You help tenants organizing to win affordability by shining the light on Goodman Real Estate's predatory habits, such as...

Pushing tenants out of Ballard: Goodman Real Estate purchased the Lockhaven Apartments, a 138 unit building in Ballard, in September 2013. The Lockhaven was market-rate affordable housing for working folks, seniors, and tenants with Section 8 vouchers. After Goodman Real Estate attempted to illegally evict tenants without relocation assistance, tenants have been organizing for five months asking Goodman Real Estate to keep rents affordable for the current tenants that live there. As of this writing, Goodman Real Estate has not put a single proposal forward to keep part or all of Lockhaven affordable, and plans to cosmetically renovate the  building, and raise the rent by as much as $700. In April, 6 buildings of tenants will be displaced.

Pushing tenants out of Ravenna: Goodman Real Estate has entered into a purchase and sale agreement with the Volunteers of America to purchase and redevelop one of the few remaining HUD Section 202 buildings left in Seattle. The tenants have formed the Theodora Rescue Committee to save their building. 

Pushed tenants out of the International District: Goodman Real Estate purchased the Downtowner, a 240-unit building that once had a HUD rent supplement contract. The Tenants Union of WA supported tenants in a campaign to get the federal government to fund vouchers for tenants covered by the rent supplement contract. Goodman Real Estate used low-income housing tax credits to rehabilitate the building, dubbed it the “Addison on Fourth”  and then raised the rents beyond the payment standard for tenants with vouchers. Only a handful of the original tenants at the Downtowner remain in their homes.  

“Goodman’s talents lie in carefully identifying and quickly purchasing distressed, underperforming or mismanaged properties. We reposition them…”
 - Goodman Real Estate Informational Video. "Repositioning" "underperforming" apartments is code for raising the rents in affordable housing!

Post a review on Yelp about Goodman Real Estate's gentrifying practices today! Click HERE to post to the Lockhaven Apartments page, and HERE to post to the Viktoria page.