While in the process of working on a petition campaign, we worked with City Towers tenants to collect personal stories that could be shared publicly to paint a vivid picture of the kinds of problems people are facing there. The interviews below were also published on Twitter [1-3].
Many tenants are understandably afraid of retaliation at this development, where all of the units are government subsidized but privately owned and managed. But many also see the basis to “speak out and stand out” in order to actually affect the type of material changes that are so badly needed at the Towers after years of neglect.
Interview #1: Leaks and Mold
This interviewee from City Towers preferred to remain anonymous. This is an abbreviated transcript from our conversation.
How long have you been living at City Towers? “16 or 17 years.”
What do you think are the main problems that everyone here has in common? “Work orders being forgotten; as a result problems get bigger and then management says that tenants are misusing the property.”
What happened when the leak came in your kitchen? “They didn’t respond until several months later. It affected my ability to cook in the kitchen, I had to get rid of everything and pay outside people to come and clean it just to be able to lay my head in here…”
“…[Management] never came in and did what they was supposed to do but they were upset about someone else coming in to get it done. It still affects me to this day.”
How have you been retaliated against for speaking up? “Several 3-day notices to quit and just cause notices…They don’t respond to me [when I complain]. They just want me to leave.”
During the time we’ve been talking with people here this tenant got unlawful detainer eviction papers placed on her door. They weren’t signed by a judge; it’s not clear if they are fake or if the courts are just incompetent. Either way, it’s clearly an example of retaliation against those who aren’t afraid to voice their grievances to the management office.
Interview #2: Broken Elevators, Crumbling Walls
We conducted a video interview with Ali and Antoinette, residents at City Towers since 2013. Ali is a veteran of the U.S. military, and we couldn’t point to clearer evidence than this that the U.S. government uses its own citizens as a disposable resource for ruling class interests across the globe and then forgets about them once they return.
The video is available to be viewed here.
Interview #3: Harassed by Mice and Landlord
A resident from Building C called one day to talk with us about a mouse infestation in her unit, and general thoughts on management at City Towers. These are excerpts from what she had to say.
“I’m living in an unsafe apartment infested with mice and roaches and you still want me to pay my rent. I’m not comfortable in my own house. I wake up screaming because I see mice around me.”
“[Don] McShane don’t do shit…he fucks with us but when we come down [to the office] and get on his ass they don’t do anything.”
“Several years ago I had surgery on my brain…I had family and friends coming over to check on me and [McShane] was trying to say I was involved in drug trafficking…They was threatening me with notices telling me I have 28 days to come down and talk about what’s going on in my apartment.”
[To be continued]