Said the Joker to the Thief

The hour is getting late
The hour is getting late

Finally, an exit strategy evolves. My attorney has negotiated a settlement with the landlord. It involves money and I get to stay in the apartment until the end of the year.

Like so many other things in this process I’m not free to discuss all the details. Which has diluted my original vision for this blog. I thought there would be all kinds of Perry Mason histrionics to report on. Then it would culminate with me in the witness stand, pointing my finger and yelling “you lying bitch!” I even died my hair platinum in solidarity with Lana Turner.

In reality, the things I could have written about were pretty boring. Ellis Act evictions are procedural matters, the courts never came close to trying the facts of my desperate but heartrending story. Instead attorneys argued over whether the 15 days started tolling on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Or whether I should have been served a copy of a notice that had been served to my neighbor. Who wants to read those dry arguments when there are tales of assassination drag to tell.

If I had prevailed in any of those procedural matters my Ellis Eviction would have been invalidated and the landlord would need to start over at square one. Which means I would have been given another year’s notice. At that point he could have dropped the whole thing or might have been motivated to pursue a more generous buy-out option. The former seems highly unlikely although it was the result I hoped for. I wanted to stay in San Francisco. Realistic goals are not my forte.

Since I can no longer afford to live in the City I’ve set my sights on Southern California. I’ve spent a lot of time there and I do enjoy it. My biggest fear is the adjustment it will take from the urban anonymity I love to the suburban nosy neighbor-ness I loathe. I hope I’m wrong about that.

Most of my childhood was spent in Indiana but for five years my family lived in the San Fernando Valley. I started kindergarten in Reseda and it was there I would later learn to read the local newspaper. In my case, the LA Times. I focused mainly on the comics. And pictures of Debbie Reynolds getting off the plane still wearing Eddie’s ring. Maybe that evil Liz didn’t break up their marriage after all.

But nothing topped the imagery of the Cheryl Crane murder trial. The depth of my understanding was limited to the photos but I was convinced Cheryl was just a poor girl trying to protect her mother. And the picture of a distraught Lana showing up at court made an indelible impression on my 8-year-old mind.

To honor the solemnity of the occasion Miss Turner dressed down in a simple black sheath and pearls. She topped it off, however, with the shortest, whitest platinum hair I’d ever seen. And sunglasses so black they looked opaque. Being a star, I’m sure she would have been happy to have worn opaque ones if it produced the right effect.

What that woman wouldn’t do in the pursuit of justice…

Come as you are. Lana was caught unawares and didn't have time to prepare for her day in court.
Come as you are. Lana was caught unawares and didn’t have time to prepare for her day in court.

***

The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

Mission Focus

Four months into this blog about my eviction and I’ve written mostly about my life in San Francisco over the last forty years. When I started it I thought there would be dramatic legal events to report about the eviction process. But nothing has happened. That will be changing soon.

The landlord Vince Young served all the tenants in the building with Ellis Act Notices last February 24th. We were given four months to move before the eviction process would begin. The notice is separate from the court proceedings and in order to fight the eviction you have to refuse to move at the end of the notice period. Most of the other tenants did not want to go through the hassle and were out by June.

My one neighbor Shakris and I had “protected status” so our deadlines were extended to a year. We do plan to fight the eviction and will not be moving out by the 24th.

At the end of February we will probably be served with unlawful detainer papers and the fun will begin. I’m already working on courtroom outfits and trying to find an Acting Coach to help me with my testimony (something along the lines of Lana Turner at the Cheryl Crane trial.)

I met with my attorney a couple days before Christmas and he was very non-chalant about the whole thing. He says we are going to prevail (which could mean a variety of things). But if he’s not worried then I shouldn’t be either.

Stay tuned for more developments and have a Happy New Year.

Next: High Jackie
Previous: Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The complete saga, From the Beginning