MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
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Part Two: Sympathy With The Devil - Opinion
By Sandra M. Mendoza
"My three minutes are up? OK. Read the rest of my article in the Coastal Post next week."
A couple of Supes who had apparently slumbered through my impassioned presentation in behalf of people suffering because of Marin Housing Program Manager Lavetta Duhe_s reign of terror lurched awake at that one. Their ears seemed to perk up like my cat when someone approaches the front door. "What?? It_s going to be in a newspaper?"
My supervisor_s aide who hadn_t replied to my last three phone calls asked, pretty please, if she could see an advance copy. I agreed. Subsequently, I called again and left a voice mail message. She didn_t call back.
Then they held the Board of Commissioners meeting on the 2nd instead of 3rd Tuesday of the month. Cute. No "little people" showed up for open time. What a relief!
Go to the county supervisors' online pages and you_ll see invitations to stop by their office if you_re traveling through. And they stress how eager they are to hear from you and how good communication matters to them. Right!!
They give you a whopping three minutes to state your case. One poor gentleman from Point Tiburon who_d also been there the month before on a housing issue has already spent over $60,000 trying to get his issue resolved.
The man who cut me off is ostensibly a tenant representative but he works for Marin Housing Authority as a tenant manager. Whose side do you think he_s going to be on? And does that explain why he_s held that position for seven years instead of two?
Then I heard through the grapevine that they were going to send Duhe to "counseling."
My email follows:
Subject: Counseling can_t correct her sheer INCOMPETENCE!!! Nor inculcate a sense of compassion.
When my article came out in the March 07 Coastal Post, I heard from several people in the Venetia Oaks complex who were depressed and fearful and whose experience mirrored mine and that of other people I_ve spoken to.
People live in fear in the Isabel Cook complex.
People live in fear in the Fairfax vest pocket complex.
And yet you as a board recommend counseling for a power-lusting tyrant who rules by fear and who is totally incompetent at her job?
Barbara Collins and you as a Board are tying your careers to a woman who if she dared would face an army of black as well as white people willing to testify as to her perfidy.
Lavetta Duhe deserves what she gave Whit Hargrove (former Fairfax complex tenant manager)-a three-day notice of termination of her job and of her living space, which is not in compliance with housing law. Duhe having lived rent-free since September 1 has thousands of dollars to pay for her hotel bills and storage space till she finds another gig.
When Annette Rose was our supervisor she solved a problem the tenants had in a nano-second. Now, I don't even get my phone calls returned by my supervisor's office.
Charles McGlashan, my Supe, soothingly replied:
"I know that slow processes can be frustrating, but both sides to such a question have to be analyzed carefully via a fair process. However, be assured that the Board takes your concerns very seriously and will work with staff to understand what is going on, and how to deal fairly with the complaints."
Or as Tony Soprano would say: "fuggedaboutit."
Being "fair" to both the victims and the vindictive "perp" is not being fair at all, especially if you make no effort to hear from the victims: no one has asked any of us about our allegations. And I_m sure no one has contacted the Fairfax and San Anselmo police who get called on petty complaints by Lavetta and her henchman, because three complaints and you_re out. How_d you like to live under those circumstances?
After the thorough psychological mugging I got from Lavetta_s evil white twin I became so deeply depressed that when a neighbor volunteered to handle my rent recalculation for me. I agreed. She debated their lawyer down from the humongous rent increase, back rent and security deposit they were demanding. After losing all her worldly goods twice because of MHA_s poor maintenance and getting 4 or 5 leases over a one year period my neighbor learned every HUD law, rule and regulation, few of which MHA had been living up to! Complying with the rules is for us not them.
Apparently, Lavetta Duhe hadn_t decided which low-income complex she wanted to live in, so she fired resident tenant managers in both Fairfax Vest Pocket and San Anselmo_s Isabel Cook complex, single fathers who lived with their sons. The tenants liked both men and had often complimented them for the job they did. There was no explanation or warning for the firing and eviction, just a notice posted on the door.
When asked for a reason for the termination, she said she didn_t have to give a reason. OK. But would she please do so anyway: Lavetta said they were "just making changes."
Whit Hargrove (Fairfax) asked if he could move into a vacant apartment and pay rent. The other tenants approved. No, said Lavetta. That would be "a conflict of interest." Lavetta replaced him with a switchblade carrying, alcoholic with a gun collection. Hargrove and his son have been homeless ever since.
The other father-son scenario in Isabel Cook involved a paralyzed son about to undergo surgery. Cliff Yates was allowed to stay and pay a high rent if he agreed not to complain and do Lavetta_s job of tenant manager, for $50 a month.
When his son recovered and went back to work, Lavetta immediately slapped them with a big rent increase.
Ruthless, heartless, incompetent. Do you wonder I consider her a Devil and seek Karmic Justice?
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