Monday, April 25, 2016

Big Landords own politicians, take the battle directly to them with direct action

Note: Since this was published, a tenant from the complex and myself have both received confirmation from different persons at Supervisor Wilma Chan's office that she is indeed the representative for their area.  What a runaround.

There are some corrections regarding  yesterdays posting about the tenants struggle in Hayward.

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

This is just local news but for people outside of California and abroad who are involved in social activism, union struggles or other issues of that nature, it is an example of how government doesn't work when it comes to working class and poor people and I am sure all are familiar with it.

I had posted a blog last night about a group of tenants whose landlords, a Sammy Chan and Francis Leung, who also have an accounting business, are raising the rent for the tenants at 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue Hayward by 50%. This means anywhere from $600 to $900 for these people.  Read that account here.

From what I can gather, this apartment complex is in an unincorporated part of Hayward CA.* The tenants were also told this by some representative at Hayward City Council from what I was understand.  The tenants, who have formed the Hayward Gardens Tenants Association, decided yesterday at a meeting I attended, to have a "call in" today to the offices of the county supervisor whose area they thought it was, a Scott Haggerty.  Alameda County, where Hayward is situated, has five supervisors one for each district.

I called Scott Haggerty's office this morning and was told that it is not his jurisdiction, that it was Richard Valle's in district 2 and was forwarded to his office. I left a message.

I received a call back from an employee at Valle's office who was very friendly and helpful but told me that Valle was not the representative for the area in which the apartments are located, but Wilma Chan is. She is the county supervisor for district 3.

I just got off the phone with Wilma Chan's office and was told that Ms Chan is not the representative for the apartments located at 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue Hayward, in fact, there is no supervisorial representation for this address.

I am not familiar with this type of political set up so I ask a simple question:

"Who  is the political representative for these tenants?"

All I can say at this point is that I was told by Chan's office that the residences at this address were in the 13th Congressional District in 2011 but are now in the 15th Congressional district

I was also told they were in the 18th Assembly District in 2011 but are now in the 20th Assembly district.

The congressional representative for the 15th district that includes 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue Hayward is Eric Swalwell a Democrat.

It is no wonder that people avoid mainstream politics like the plague. Not only does the average person hate it, they hate politicians and they have drawn the conclusion that the political, system is corrupt. But the real issue is that political parties are not devoid of class content, they represent classes, groups of people with economic interests. The Democratic and Republican parties represent the rich, they are Wall Street parties. Working people as yet have no party.

How can the average working class person spare the time to deal with this bureaucratic nonsense? It is not accidental, it is supposed to work like this for ordinary folk. It is impossible when you have to work, have children and then have to fend off predatory attacks by landlords like those in the case we are dealing with here. I am not faulting the workers who answered the phones and helped me as best they could. It is not their fault. The system is set up to ensure working people have no real voice and our interests are not represented.  While the Democrats claim to be the friends of working people and the poor, nothing significant changes.

This has been frustrating for me and I can only imagine what it's like for those that don't have the time. The rich have lawyers and an ear of the politicians, but we have numbers.

I reiterate what I said yesterday that the best way to fend off attacks from big landlords and all moneyed interests is to confront them directly. I gave some examples.  Direct action, leafleting their neighborhoods, mobilizing people to picket their other businesses etc. It is when their pocket books are hurt that they act.

I suggest that actions like these will be the best way the tenants group will make headway with this landlord. It also makes us feel less like helpless victims.

I also called the landlords accounting firm at 415-546-7718 and left a message for Sammy Chan and that I was displeased with his actions.  His extension is 111 and Francis Leung's is 108. Their firm is:
Sammy Chan Francis Leung
9 Kearny Street LLC
50 Victoria Ave, Ste 210
Millbrae, Ca 94030

*For readers abroad, this means it is in a city but not politically part of that city and instead falls under the jurisdiction of the country the city is in.

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