Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Huge turnout for our first all-tenants meeting

Seattle City Council member Nick Licata and Lockhaven resident Sue Taylor

More than 80 Lockhaven residents and community members jammed into the Ballard Senior Center last night for an informational meeting moderated by John Fox of the Seattle Displacement Coalition. An extraordinary panel of experts and advocates was on hand to answer questions and offer support:



 
A LOT came out of this meeting, and we hope to post more details later. But one thing that struck me as I watched members of the Tenants Union of Washington chatting with Dulcie O'Sullivan of the Department of Planning and Development, was how our struggle has become a nexus and a rallying point for something much bigger than us. The effects of our actions have already started reverberating throughout the city. Eliana said that many of the low-income tenants she counsels have heard about and been inspired by our organizing efforts.

The Lockhaven fiasco is part of a pattern of cities being remade according to the dictates of developers who don't care about community, quality of life, or anything else that impedes them from sucking the maximum amount of money of their properties. Even if that entails treating human beings like garbage to be disposed of. 

Another note from the meeting: What we're now calling the steering committeebasically the people who have been printing up flyers, talking to the media, doing this blog, etc.need you. We invite any Lockhaven residents who want to be involved to attend our smaller organizational meetings and help us out. Strength in numbers! If we didn't get your contact info last night and you'd like to help, please write to LockhavenTenants@Outlook.com.

How far we take this is up to us. The meeting made it clear that our allies are everywhere.

Speaking of which, a HUGE thank you to the Ballard Senior Center. This meeting would not have been possible without them. The Center has from the beginning been incredibly supportive and generous. We love you, Ballard Senior Center!

Onward!
 
Dulcie O'Sullivan chatting with members of
the Tenants Union of Washington State
John Fox and Ryan Weatherstone
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Terrible picture of our panel. Left to right: John Fox, Nick Licata,
Eliana Horn, Dulcie O'Sullivan, and Ryan Weatherstone
 
 
 
 
 

9 comments:

  1. Will you be posting minutes from the meeting? I was not able to make it, but am very interested in what was discussed and any next steps.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we hope to post more details about what was discussed. Stay tuned!

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    2. Hello Lockhaven,

      What a great turnout last night at the tenants meeting. It started off a little slow but there was plenty of good information flowing after that.

      These are my honest take-aways from the evening. Feel free to dispute them if you disagree.

      ONE-YEAR LEASE HOLDERS
      • Those newer tenants still renting under the terms of their year lease are safe to stay until the end of their lease.
      o All those that share a stack with someone on a year lease will be safe until the end of that tenant’s year lease. (Because they are renovating only whole stacks at a time; probably in order to deal with plumbing and electrical which could interrupt required utilities for those living in the stack)

      ‘SAFE’ LIST TENANTS
      • Those tenants on the ‘Safe’ list are safe until the end of their safety period. (This was a contractual obligation written into the property sale contract and so there will be a definitive date in writing that exists out there for a some number of tenants, which I understood to be 5 though I heard 10 last night. The manager should be able to track those dates and those tenants down. I’m sure the agreement was for at least a year but may be more).
      o All those that share a stack with someone on the safe list will be safe until the end of that tenant’s ‘Safe’ period. (Because they are renovating only whole stacks at a time; probably in order to deal with plumbing and electrical which could interrupt required utilities for those living in the stack)

      QUALIFIED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE
      • It appears based on the numbers that were tossed out last night that a number of tenants would qualify for financial assistance to ease the burden of this process. Not all, obviously, but many.

      KEEP’EM HONEST
      • The buildings were all completed before 1950 and as such, were originally built, outfitted and painted with products that are hazardous if not handled and disposed of properly. There are very specific rules, regulations, permits, obligations and fines associated with these activities and Pinnacle is required to satisfy your concerns and notify you of risks. There will be more specific information on this topic within the next few days so that you are all aware of what to look for, document, photograph and who to notify if you are concerned that proper precautions are not being taken.

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  2. Hello Lockhaven,

    What a great turnout last night at the tenants meeting. It started off a little slow but there was plenty of good information flowing after that.

    These are my honest take-aways from the evening. Feel free to dispute them if you disagree.

    REALITY CHECK
    • It seems possible that the LH Tenants Union may have already achieved its greatest victory, which was to force Goodman/Pinnacle to proceed with their renovation within the boundaries of Seattle ordinance. Which bought you who are on the renovation list 6-8 months it sounds like.
    • The tenant buy-out idea, while gratifying, would require incredible will on the part of the tenants and the tenant’s union, considerable financing, wild luck as well as John Goodman’s willingness to sell a property that now belongs to him. I don’t see those stars aligning.
    • The media may have moved on. There were no media outlets there last night, which was too bad; there was great B-roll there. With the proper prodding I believe they would return but it would be advisable to avoid events during the evening news hours as their field teams are already on location. And community meetings just can’t compete with car accidents and lurings in their business.
    • Goodman Realty/Pinnacle WILL succeed in doing what they want in the end. It is within their rights, if they follow the law. Nothing can be done that will result in everyone keeping their apartments, their current rent or Lockhaven itself as-is. All should be preparing to say goodbye to Lockhaven at some point. But in the meantime we can make them toe-the-line when it comes to safety requirements as they relate to lead, asbestos, general hazards and inconvenience associated with their work.
    • Make an effort to keep them in the public eye as the publicity surrounding this is a problem for them. This blog, the network news, viewer & reader feedback, the local Ballard news are all great irritants to their reputation in the business community. Goodman can bury us in money and attorneys but their reputation as a company and John Goodman’s reputation as a human are not are not yet monetized to the same degree and can be impacted. This impact could leave a mark that might just make them think twice the next time they try to treat people like trash. Given the scale of John Goodman’s wealth, reputation may be more important to him than any financial hit he might take from the mess his people made.

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    Replies
    1. To the anonymous "REALITY CHECK": you are correct that a tenant buy-out will require a lot of commitment and work but your manifest defeatism doesn't really help with that, does it? Few, if any, hard fought victories have been won by people who had already convinced themselves they were losers who had the stars aligned against them. A plucky bunch of Ballardites fighting against the odds to buy their apartments makes a great media story and the panelists said there is precedent for such a success. A positive attitude won't guarantee success but nothing insures defeat like a negative attitude. Our next assignment: Defeat defeatism!

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  3. "Hope criticizes what is, hopelessness rationalizes it. Hope resists, hopelessness adapts." -- The Rev. William Sloane Coffin.

    "Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." --Anne Lamott.

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  4. Hi, Anonymous here.

    Well I hope you are right and I am wrong. But as I stated at the beginning, these were my take-aways.

    I think all your prose, piss & vinegar would be put to better use trying to come up with an actual plan or finding an actual phone number or an actual website or an actual organization that has actually done this in real life. I heard none of that last night. Nothing real. Just a lot of rah-rah "somebody did that once somewhere and so can you". I looked around the room and it was obvious that it wasn't going to be our battle cry.

    But sure, focus on my post as if it's the devil you are after. That'll really get you somewhere.

    I think your next assignment is to stop mouthing along with the words to your dream-plan and do something that actually means something, unless of course you have better things to do.

    I need to pack.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to post the take-aways and the "reality check" from the meeting. Your time and effort is appreciated.

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  5. Wow, only one day after the first real Lockhaven tenants meeting and you're whining about not having a plan yet and saying you "need to pack". Well good riddance to you. Your kind of negativity is real poison. Do us all a favor and keep your loser mentality to yourself.

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