The Only Person Who Can Judge Me Is Judy

My appeal has been denied. And it only took a week.

The Court of Appeal had been taking four months to issue decisions which resulted in a huge backlog of cases. So they’ve started summarily rejecting anything filed by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic without review. That’s one way to handle a backlog.

But judges are people too, they have the same real estate investments as their other wealthy friends. It’s in their interest to keep this real estate bubble growing. It seems neither City Government, State Government or the Courts are willing to take on the housing affordability crisis. They know which side their bread is buttered on.

My attorney says I might have to be out of my apartment in 30 to 60 days. He’s mulling our options. I have faith in him, he’s creative and passionate about what he does. And the THC attorneys are about the only ones in town willing to fight for renters. I meet with him tomorrow.

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The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

The Great Un-Quashed

 

The old Hall of Justice on Kearney Street: the stuff of childhood fantasies.
The old Hall of Justice on Kearney Street: the stuff of childhood fantasies.

My Motion has been denied. We did not achieve Quash.

I spoke to my attorney on Friday and Judge Ronald Quidachy ruled against us on all of our issues. Some of them have been raised in other cases that are still being appealed. So things could change if the Appellate Division reverses one of them. And we will be filing our own appeal as well. The battle is lost, the war goes on.

In the 1950’s there was a television show called Line-Up that was the San Francisco answer to LA’s Dragnet. The reruns were recycled in the 60’s as San Francisco Beat. I don’t remember too much about the shows other than the semicircular windows. They served as the back drop for the office full of gum shoes hammering away on Royal typewriters in a Pall Mall haze.

Those arched windows made an indelible impression on me. They were huge and looked like they went to the floor. How cool to work in such a dramatic setting. I was hoping for such an office when I went to work for the San Francisco District Attorney in the 1970’s. Alas, all the new Hall of Justice could offer was an interior closet with no natural light.

My job as clerk was to accompany the Assistant DA to Municipal Court every morning. In the afternoons I would wait for delivery of the next morning’s docket, tractor-fed printouts two feet wide and weighing about five pounds. I would pull the files for the few cases that had them. Most only had the original police report which wasn’t of much use .

There could be 200 or more cases called every morning and we went through them at a blistering pace. 90% were answered with “continuance” “so stipulated” or “no objection.” A handful required an appearance by the defendant that could last a couple of minutes. When I saw them coming on the list I would slide the file over to the DA for her to quickly review–probably for the first time.

My moment to shine came when someone failed to appear. If they were on probation I would point to the far right column. The DA would rise to say “Bench Warrant.” I felt so empowered. I wasn’t exactly an Officer of the Court because I’m not an attorney but I was probably functioning on the Meter Maid level. Despite this power surge, I really hated putting people in jail.

I thought the proceedings were intentionally abstruse to keep the Court bureaucracy humming. Sometimes I just wanted to tell the defendant to fill out Form 5A-j and they’d be in the clear. The judge could have easily said the same thing. Instead he would hound the defendant about not having proper representation and not to come back without it. I guess if a dine and dash goes horribly wrong you need someone well versed in 5A-j law to keep you out of the electric chair.

This employment mill feeling existed amongst the attorneys as well. They all attended the same law schools and were intimately familiar with each others’ firms. And the firm the judge came from. They depended on each other for their livelihood. To have an adversarial system you need two sides so, although the money side almost always wins, occasionally the plebeians prevail to keep the game going.

I also think it’s why so much legislation is vaguely or poorly written. It gives the attorneys something to argue about.

In the pursuit of justice and keeping the legal profession afloat I hope the courts throw a little of that nuance juju my way.

***

The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

 

Thus Spake My Readership

fans2The comments I’ve gotten from readers over the last several months have usually been along the lines of “take that picture of me down or I’ll sue.” But there have been others.

One was from a journalism student in Denver who wanted to interview me about the current rental crisis in the City. Unfortunately, I was out-of-town the week he was here. And recently there was the reader who said he and his family were interested in buying this building until he happened upon my blog.

Daniel Brett, who works in the social investing field, wrote, “I communicated to the broker that we don’t support people using the Ellis Act to flip properties. Hopefully the message was shared with the owner so they think twice before doing this again. Had I not come across your blog and learned about the owner, we might have bought the place. So kudos to you for speaking truth to power.”

In writing about my situation I tend to treat the real estate industry as a monolith of greed because it’s so much easier to deal in stereotypes than to think things through. Mr. Brett’s email made me realize that they’re not all the same and that there are still players in the game who have a sense of responsibility. Their practices should put the Andrew Zachs, Denise Leadbetters, and Vince Youngs of the world on notice that you can make money in real estate without ruining people’s lives.

Next: Parallel Universes
Previous: The Folks at Home
The complete saga, From the Beginning

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

 

 

The Folks at Home

Still no decision from the court after two weeks and my neighbor’s hearing has been postponed a couple of times. All because of the huge backlog in Ellis Act cases.

So while I wait I’ve turned my attention to the Hoosier State where I grew up and where a lot of my family still lives. I visit them often. And when I do the number one topic of conversation is always that they don’t have enough freedom to practice their religion and how the government has failed to step in to tackle this oppression.

I notice it especially when we’re at one of our favorite Amish restaurants for lunch. The piped-in Muzak is this heavy on the tremolo organ playing hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross.” There is no better aid to the digestion than the feeling of being at a Dust Bowl funeral.

But seriously, I thought my work was done back there when we liberated the state in the early 70’s. Apparently it’s time for a second offensive.

***

The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

Clarity

I met with the attorney yesterday to sign papers allowing him to accept service on my behalf. He went over a rough time line of how this will all shake down. Finally, some milestones to be aware of and a general feeling for what’s going to happen.

On March 17th we will file our Motion to Quash the Unlawful Detainer. A hearing will be held on March 24th which I am not to attend. The judge may render a decision that day or a day or so later.

Depending on who prevails. either the landlord or I will probably file an appeal. The appellate process can take up to 60 days.

So I’m here at least until June. And, for the time being anyway, I don’t have to worry about the sheriff busting in and throwing my precious collectibles out on the street.

***

The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

 

What Have I Got to Hide?

Your call is very important to me

I’ve had three calls today wondering what was going on, why I hadn’t updated the blog, were there visiting hours at the county jail.  Obviously, the nation is on edge.

But the answer is nothing has happened. I’m still waiting. I can only guess what my landlord and his master of eviction profiteering attorney are up to.

Originally I planned to video the service of papers in my hallway for my readers’ viewing pleasure. Then I was advised I shouldn’t answer the front door. So the tripod came down.

I also tried to be sneaky about leaving or returning to the building, avoiding strangers. After a couple days I thought, why bother? Let’s just get served and get it over with.

A nasty cold hit over the weekend which curtailed my mobility. I barely made it off the couch. If there was a process server camped outside my building I can only hope he was charging by the hour.

Tomorrow morning I take the March rent check over to my attorney to deposit in a trust account pending the outcome of all this. Then I’m having lunch at the House of Shields with a trusted former boss cum tea leaf reader. I’ll be out and about.

In the spirit of Abolafia, life goes on.

 

***

The Eviction Story

Contact: ellistoellis@gmail.com

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown

Nothing has happened on the eviction front. My attorney told me the one year notice period actually ended on Wednesday so yesterday was the first day they could have served me. They didn’t.

They might serve me today because the five days I have to respond includes weekends. The deadline would then be next Wednesday which gives us only three business days to prepare the response. Except it’s already done. So we wait.

The games lawyers play.

——

Next weekend is the Chinese New Year’s Parade. I’ve only been to one in the 40 years I’ve lived here.

In 1977 my friends Juan and James had a hair salon on Commercial Street. They wanted to be good neighborhood merchants so they signed up for an entry in the New Year’s Parade. They asked several of their clients to be on their float whose theme was “the most beautiful women in San Francisco.” They asked me to be on it too.

Jeffrey found a satin 1950’s oriental cocktail dress with a bubble skirt. To make it puff out required proper undergarments but we had no money or resources for crinolines. So we stuffed it with newspaper.

In the 1970’s the general population was still coming to terms with the concept of people being “gay.” They hadn’t begun to grapple with the idea of “drag.” So my appearance was something of a novelty. What first or second generation Chinese-Americans thought of me I’m not sure.

I do remember our float being stalled at the intersection of Kearney and California for a while. Directly in front of me stood two cops who both caught sight of me at the same time. They looked at each other in disgust and silently shook their heads.

After the parade we were walking up Grant Street headed for the party at the salon. There were a bunch of teenagers setting off fireworks and yelling at us. They saw me as an easy target and started throwing their firecrackers. I just ignored them as their munitions bounced off the fortified skirt.

As we approached the salon Brian was sitting on the front stoop. We had mutual friends at the time and knew of each other but had not yet met. As my stilletos clicked down the ancient brick street he yelled out, “Oh! It’s my favorite party person!” No more prophetic words have ever been spoken.

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Previous: Disassembly
The complete saga, From the Beginning

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Disassembly

8:00 p.m. and nothing happened today. Here I sit waiting for the Nazis to invade Poland and all I got was a phony war.

I’ve been told that, even with the worst case scenario, I won’t have to turn on a dime to get out of here. Still I worry about some of the harder things that would have to be done. Like the ceiling fixtures that are hard-wired. They’re mine and I’m not going to leave them behind. Today my neighbor Shakris’ electrician friend came over to take them down.

The Tangerine Telstar pendant was in the living room.  It’s made of that great 60’s plastic that you used to see in Big Boy restaurants. I bought it for $50 at the Santa Monica flea market back in the 80’s. The amazing thing was I carried it on and put it in the overhead for the flight back home. Today I would be tackled, tazed and sent to Gitmo if I tried that.

The little chandelier in the dinning room I bought in Paris around 1990. I used to go to the Baccarat showroom when it was over on the rue de Paradis. It was a very 19th century experience, no glossy merchandising. Just simple, long, parallel tables covered in white cloth with a sample of every line and every piece in that pattern.

It was in a run down industrial part of town close to the red light district. One Saturday morning I was walking there and the girls were still out working. As I walked down the boulevard I would look down each side street and there would be about 30 girls in a uniform motif. One would be all (fake) Chanel suits in various textures and colors. Another was Dr. Zhivago, full length furs with matching round Shapka hats.

The best was Olivia Newton John alley. The girls were decked out in lyrca bike shorts, tank tops, leggings and headbands. Just waiting to get physical.

The fixtures were replaced with these $11 specials from Lowes. I feel they're better suited to the new landlord's taste.
The fixtures were replaced with these $11 specials from Lowes. I feel they’re better suited to the new landlord’s taste.

Next: Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown
Previous: Eviction Countdown: Day 2 Becomes Day 1
The complete saga, From the Beginning

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Eviction Countdown: Day 2 Becomes Day 1

This countdown didn’t exactly end with the precision of the Kennedy Space Center as Day 2 has melted into Day 1. But I was tired. I walked over to the Art Institute in Chicago yesterday to see the Cornell boxes before heading out to O’Hare to fly back. There’s something about trying to get around in 8 degree weather that saps your strength.

My pro-rated rent check didn’t make it to the attorney in time because somewhere along the line the U.S. Post Office decided that the overnight service I paid for was really a two day priority express. I’m entitled to a refund but do I really want to put myself through all that on top of everything else?

My attorney told me to just get it to him this morning so I’m going to walk it over to the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. And put my fate in their hands. The future probably begins tomorrow.

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Previous: Eviction Countdown Day 3, The Whole World is Watching
The Complete Countdown
The complete saga, From the Beginning

Eviction Countdown: Day 3

Visiting one of my four beloved storage  units
Visiting one of my four beloved storage units

Before leaving Fort Wayne this morning I visited one of my storage units. It gives me such comfort to behold my things. I drove up to Chicago, turned the car in and walked 10 freezing blocks to my hotel.

I’m at the Chicago Hilton on South Michigan, the final leg in my winter weekend hotel bargain tour. It was here that Queen Elizabeth II attended a dinner in her honor in 1959 on her visit commemorating the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Her Majesty at the Conrad Hilton flanked by Dick Daley, head of the Gestapo Poiice at the '68 Convention, and Connie Hilton, Don Draper's mentor and one-time pal
Her Majesty at the Conrad Hilton flanked by Mayor Dick Daley, head of the ’68 Gestapo, and Connie Hilton, Don Draper’s mentor and one-time pal

In 1968, the hotel was the backdrop for television images of police beating up anti-war demonstrators during the Democratic Convention. They were across the street in Grant Park.

Tonight it houses one of the nation’s most notorious Ellis Act victims.

What can a poor boy do.

The whole world is watching.
The whole world is watching.

Next: Eviction Countdown: Day 2 Becomes Day 1
Previous: Eviction Countdown Day 4, Billy Steve
The Complete Countdown
The complete saga, From the Beginning