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 daurril library-xt: facebook: The hazards of public housing


Monday, June 27th 2001, Tampa.


From: Joe Daurril, Vista 400 resident

To: Debra Koehler - Sage Partners: 1205 W Swann Av; Tampa FL 33606

Cc: Nikki Spitzer, Acting Field Office Director; HUD Regional Office; Timberlake Federal Building; 500 E. Zack Street #402, Tampa, FL 33602-2945;


Subject: Vista 400 Apartments: Racial mismanagement of tenant complaint, in a Public Housing facility by Joe Chapman III’s Royal American (RA) staff.


This edition of the following will be distributed to the owner(s) of the property at 400 E Harrison, and the Regional HUD Office, both in Tampa. They each may, and are encouraged to, disseminate subsequent editions as they see fit.


This memo describes two instances of a problem with a single RA employee, that are now expanded to include at least one more from his manager.


Since site reconstruction began, tenants have been required to accept work crews exclusive use of our eastmost (#2) elevator, which has gone from 5 to 6 days a week. This arrangement presumably allows us the uninterrupted use of #1, although contractors also use it whenever they are so inclined. Obviously, some mechanism must be available to isolate call button operation, so tenants can get #1 even when #2 is parked on the same floor - a need that is particularly acute when calling is from the lobby. There being no formal notice when construction's daily use is over, I have for the last several months taken that moment to be when a #1 call operates #2's doors, meaning the only way we can travel is by using #2. Simple enough.


So yesterday (Sunday June 26th) when I came in there was this crowd milling around #1. I entered the empty #2, but I could not get it to go up because a tenant on the other side kept my door open trying to get #1 to come down to her. Then she comes over to board #2, but is chased away by a Blue Shirt now identified as Ishmael. He boards with me, and we lift off, he explaining to me all the while why I can't be in the car. Meanwhile I told him that his use had been obstructing all the tenant traffic in the building, and mentioned that I would bring his failure to understand any of this to management's attention the next day. I left on the 9th floor, while he was still telling his version of the rules.


Reflecting this morning on yesterday's elevator incident, I thought I might first send house Manager N'zinga Charles a note inquiring if my interpretation of elevator protocol was correct, without mentioning the incident prompting my curiosity. Since I had doctors' appointments both in the morning and early afternoon, I hoped to get around to composing some communication that evening.


Stopping by the rental office at about 4 pm to get a mailbox key, I was again detained at a door by Ishmael, who told me my presence alone there threatened the security of the outer office, prompting then further exchange. Eventually our conversation brought the manager out, and I told her I was tired of being hassled every day by this employee. I stayed, the employee left, and she went back to her call. Available again, I told her I would bring my problem to her attention in writing, and got the key I came for.


As I headed back upstairs, Ishmael was back in the lobby and indicated I might tell my story to Carmen Suarez (now present), whom he described as "the assistant manager." I declined.


Passing thru the lobby later with groceries from my parked car, N'zinga called to me to come into the office. I declined, so she explained there that in the interim charges had been developed against me. Apparently she recalled a great deal since I last saw her in the office: that I had "pushed" Ishmael in the course of my previous entry, and that was unacceptable. She then went into some obfusticating detail, painting some story that I'm sure when she perfected it would sound like a brutal and unwarranted assault on her only child. She then told me she "didn't want any more trouble from me," and spun out the front door. But to my recollection, there was never a moment Ishmael and I were in physical contact with each other.


Now to me the post-office event is clearly a threat, which Ms Charles feels entitled to deliver but I do not feel I need to receive. Because all I'd done so far was to mention I intended to put something in writing, exclusively for her review. Which is of course no longer possible; even if I weren't sure both she and Ishmael consider my problem with him now to be short-circuited out of existence. If I were inclined to name her motivation, the first and obvious choice would be racial. The very list of the names of office personnel suggest no old white guy will obtain even token satisfaction from anyone there. I happily admit some relief from that conjecture is obtained in consideration of the good services actually provided me by Carmen S and Angel T.


On each of these several counts, the question may be as to how we define rude. I think staff's intimation that tenants are going to steal the building whenever they get a chance is an incredibly rude proposition. This is our home, not theirs, and in fact our first concern is that we keep the property that is already ours. Because here is a management that makes no provision for the orderly transfer of a deceased's property, all the while professing fanciful notion as to our security. Possessing then the only keys to our apartments, who do we think will abscond with the remnants of our earthly goods when we pass on?


Now it sounds to me like hers is a reprimand scenario straight out of the care and management of some jungle object. I do have to acknowledge her quick and amazing discovery of a defensive tactic. Management is the adult, and residents are the children. I think it helps her cause that Ishmael’s blue shirt has made him crazy. Apparently we have a manager who is going to call it "bad manners" whenever anyone objects to being screwed around by her staff, which may be for RA the whole definition of her position. I cannot help but recall that RA's previous assignment here went so far to refuse publication of her people's last names (including Joyce's own), so as to render ludicrous complaints against them. I myself may have been construed as "threatening" even as far back as then, because it took by any prior management measure, forever (and a week) to get this year's (my ninth) lease renewed.


At 4 this afternoon I would have taken the earlier portion of this memo to N'zinga in trusting expectation of some useful resolution to an elevator problem. On her own initiative she has chosen to up the ante, playing instead her role against mine. So now we will just have to see where that goes. Even as a cop, her behavior would not be acceptable. We need not dismiss the possibility that Sage’s building is currently in the hands of an extremely perverse management, recklessly disposing the lives of 200 people and the future of a 6 million dollar property. You may well notice my cautious use of the subjunctive.





Progress (or lack of it):


On Wednesday morning, the 29th of June, I transmitted the CC mentioned above to HUD’s Tampa office. Late in the afternoon of the same day I drove to 1205 W Swann Avenue and hand-delivered Debra’s copy to Karen Klaphake Boykins. At about the same time, HUD’s Marisol Agosto sent me their initial response. As of a week later, I’d heard nothing more from HUD, or anything at all from RA(M)’s local representatives or Sage Partners.


On Saturday, July 16th 2001 I received a letter (click the envelope) from Todd Kempton, Customer Relations, North Tampa Housing Development Corporation (NTHDC): addressing and disposing of the issue he defined as Inquiry #5208. It was presumably composed the same day of my delivery to Sage, and eventually mailed on Monday, July 11th 2001 from Columbus OH. It tells me that Sage’s Assistant Manager here responded to their inquiry, but neither that response nor the outcome are available to me “due to the Privacy Act.”




Last update on 6-July-2011 at 2:12 PM.