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Page Mill Properties sues EPA in rent dispute

Original post made on Jan 16, 2008

Page Mill Properties, a Palo Alto company that owns about 1,600 apartments in East Palo Alto, filed suit against that city Wednesday, claiming an urgency ordinance passed unanimously by the City Council Jan. 8 is illegal.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 5:16 PM

Comments (59)

Posted by EPA, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2008 at 10:07 pm

"Our goal was to form a partnership with the city to improve the living conditions at our properties,"

Right, at the cost of hardship to dozens of tenants, with real lives. There is an antiseptic quality to the investment strategy at Page Mill Properties. Mr. Taran needs to think hard about what his company is doing, and how to make his investment work in ways that don't displace people. That's a challenge, and certainly one Mr. Taran can afford.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2008 at 7:28 am

Of course this means that Page Mill Properties won't be willing to provide any services at all to the residents - until the lawsuit is settled and they get their way.

Sounds to me like everyone gets hurt in this one.


Posted by Ronald L., a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 17, 2008 at 11:00 am

Congratulations to the East Palo Alto City Council for standing up
to this greedy company. I wish our own City had shown their mettle
and stood up to Enron.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2008 at 1:25 pm

> Congratulations to the East Palo Alto City Council
> for standing up to this greedy company.

Over time, this "greedy company" wants to rebuild much of EPA, which is long in need of a lot of money to improve the quality of life for all.

What will the EPA Council be doing to pump money into the city to make it more livable?


Posted by Ronald L., a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 17, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Phillip -How do you know the long term goals of this company,
are you associated with them? According to their website "Page
Mill Properties was formed to capitalize on market trends and
investment opportunities". Is says nothing about improving the
"quality of life for all". I'm sure the residents of East Palo Alto
will be glad to know the dramatic rent increases and subsequent
lawsuit is all for their own good.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2008 at 3:19 pm

phillip -

How would you feel if Santa Clara County raised your property taxes - by about 30% of your annual income?

I agree with spending money to improve "quality of life". But, EPA is not Palo Alto. The people can't afford it. Find a way to improve quality of life without without denying life to the people who can least afford it.

If you're wondering, I own property in PA and other places - I'll never be homeless. But I understand the problems faced by those not so fortunate.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2008 at 3:28 pm

A further comment ---

You don't improve "quality of life" by making necessities more expensive. You improve "quality of life" by increasing opportunities so that more can afford the higher expense.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2008 at 4:31 pm

> Are you associated with the company?

No.

> How do you know the long term goals of this company

This issue is the fundamental Rent Control issue. The literature/newspapers are full of stories about how communities that are under Rent Control slowly see their "quality of life" deteriorate because the owners can not afford to invest in their properties knowing that they can not raise the rents to cover the cost of repairs/refurbishments.

This relationship between rent control and communities-spiraling-into-slums is well established. In the case of Page Mill Properties, they borrowed a lot of money to purchase these properties, so they will have to pay off the lenders who financed this purchase. However, it is difficult to believe that they simply intend to raise the rents and do nothing to increase the quality of these buildings as time goes along.

Keep in mind, that EPA is prime real estate that is long overdue for development. Sooner or later, someone is going to come along and make EPA a lot more like PA.

> How would you feel if Santa Clara County raised your
> property taxes - by about 30% of your annual income?

Obviously, I would move.

> But I understand the problems
> faced by those not so fortunate.

Not so fortunate? How are you "fortunate" in ways that those living in EPA are not, and can not be?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 17, 2008 at 4:42 pm

"The literature/newspapers are full of stories about how communities that are under Rent Control slowly see their "quality of life" deteriorate because the owners can not afford to invest in their properties knowing that they can not raise the rents to cover the cost of repairs/refurbishments"

This is the result of poor public policy. And, before you think I'm agreeing with you, read on. It should be in the LAW that property owners operating under rent control, who fail to maintain their properties to safe standards, receive fines associated with their neglect.

If a pattern of neglect continues, the property should be reclaimed from the landlord, with tenants given an opportunity to purchase the property at a state-determined fair value. Failing that, the municipality should take over the property, with no recompense to the owner, and work with tenants to create a formal cooperative arrangement that results in a livable space, with equity held by the city. This would create a new BMR entity, and put residential landlords on notice that profit at the expense of hard-working people will not be tolerated.

It's about time that residential landlords assume the special responsibility that they have in housing tenants, and making a profit from those tenants.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm

phillip wrote:

> But I understand the problems

> faced by those not so fortunate.

Not so fortunate? How are you "fortunate" in ways that those living in EPA are not, and can not be?

-------------------------

Fortunate? Yeah, I've got a house in Palo Alto, and another larger one at Lake Tahoe. Combined value - close to $4 mill. So I am fortunate - as long as I can pay the property taxes and insurance, I'll have a place to live. Even if I have to sell, I can rent just about anything I want.

I'm not a die-hard, liberal asshole. I'm actually a very right-wing Republican. But what Page Mill Properties is doing in East Palo Alto is just wrong. That's all I can say --- wrong.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm

For once, I have to admit that I agree with Mike on this one.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2008 at 6:03 pm

> This is the result of poor public policy. And, before you think
> I'm agreeing with you, read on. It should be in the LAW that
> property owners operating under rent control, who fail to
> maintain their properties to safe standards, receive fines
> associated with their neglect.

My college roommate's father owned rental properties in Harlem (New York City). He tried very hard to keep the properties up (or so my roommate claimed) and he found that the tenants trashed the places within a year of fixing them up. At that point, they complained to the to the Rent Board, which allowed them to not pay the rent.

After several cycles of this, my roommate's father tossed in the towel and walked away from the buildings--allowing the New York city government to take possession. Needless-to-say, no repairs were made on the buildings, and many of the tenants no longer paid rent.

The idea that THE LAW should hold property owners to one standard, and government to another, is certainly absurd--but it happens in locality after locality.

Then there is the issue of new roofs, new heating and new building safety requirements--many of which come along over the years. Property owners can predict to some extent the mechanicals upgrades needed, but these upgrades need to be paid for by the tenants -- via higher rents.

Generally, people want to hold the land lords responsible for the damage the tenants do. If the property owner should be held accountable for fixing damage that is caused by tenets, why shouldn't the law allow the property owners to recover fully from those tenets that caused the damage?


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2008 at 6:07 pm

> Yeah, I've got a house in Palo Alto, and another
> larger one at Lake Tahoe. Combined value -
> close to $4 mill

Yes .. you are fortunate .. but did you do anything to acquire these properties -- like work hard and make smart investments?

> But what Page Mill Properties is doing in East Palo Alto
> is just wrong. That's all I can say --- wrong.

If PMP simply raises the rent and does nothing to improve the quality of life for the residents of those buildings, then you are probably right. But if the company uses the increased rent to fix up the buildings, what is that "wrong"?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 17, 2008 at 6:11 pm

"If the property owner should be held accountable for fixing damage that is caused by tenets, why shouldn't the law allow the property owners to recover fully from those tenets that caused the damage?"

It does, check the code. Ever heard of security deposits? And, gimme a break on the people who bought in the Harlem slums. I've seen what "responsible" slumlords can do. Making a profit on the backs of the poor is not something to look askance at.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm

> It does, check the code.

Really .. what does the code say about a tenet that moves out-of-state, or just disappears (say back to Mexico)?

> Ever heard of security deposits?

The kinds of damages that tenants can cause in a multi-family building can be: firecrackers in the toilets, electrical outlets torn from the walls in the halls, graffiti in common areas, empty apartments broken into and trashed. Destruction of A/C and Heating equipment on the building roof, overturning trash cans in the halls. The list of possibilities is almost endless.

No security deposit from one person, much less unknown persons, can not come close to dealing with the sometimes systemic destruction of a rental property.


Posted by Jack Robbins, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2008 at 9:57 pm

>"If PMP simply raises the rent and does nothing to improve the quality of life for the residents of those buildings, then you are probably right. But if the company uses the increased rent to fix up the buildings, what is that "wrong"?"

I see both sides of the issue. I really do. As an outsider, it's easy to say this. You might even want to see this all go away. The argument is that improvements are being made. What's wrong with improvements? Sounds great!
The issue here, is cost. Or more specifically, low cost and the lack of.

The low cost is more important to these people than improvements. Period. What is the alternative for these people? Cram even more people into a tiny apartment? Move away, incurring the cost of moving, with money that they don't have? (Remember, moving costs about 3 months worth of rent.) Moving to another low cost place, where they'll have to take a new job, that might not pay as well? How are you going to move to a new place if you can't afford that one either? Jobs and money go hand in hand. What is the alternative, when EPA is the alternative?
The Bay Area sucks for cost. It really does. But, it's a great place too.

When you make thousands miserable, for the wealth of the few, that's the "wrong". Personally, I'm not arguing against the legal issue, but the ethical one. David Taran said "the city rejected our repeated offers to negotiate the issue of rent increases and left us with no choice but to litigate." BS. There was a choice. I don't think Mr. Taran is going to be on the streets or missing any meals any time soon. There's so much choice, it's ridiculous.

It was a choice to raise rents sharply, immediately after certificates were issued. It didn't have to be that way, it was a choice. It could have been a 2-3 year increase. But, now he has "no choice" but to litigate.
Yes, I read the article on investors.com. It sounds like Mr. Taran wrote it himself. The agenda, redevelopment, is obvious. And I'd be much happer if someone just came right out and said "Yes, we're bulldozing, and there's nothing you can do about it." while giving everyone the finger. Rather than trying to blow smoke where smoke doesn't belong.

I thank the city council for doing the right thing. The government should serve the people, not itself. Life isn't about money. It's about people. You did the right thing. And if you're still around next election, there are at least 4 council members who have my vote. I really do thank you for doing the right thing. You had a choice to stick your neck out, and you did. Thank you.

I can afford this. I'm paid decently. But, I can barely afford it. I'm on the breaking point, but I'll live. And that's why I live here. I think it's a messed up situation in the bay area. I am paid decently, and I can barely afford to live in EPA. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?
So, my heart goes out to the ones who can't afford this increase. I know that there are many who make much less than I do. Many with families. I don't know how they do it.
Of course they want improvements, who doesn't? But what good are improvements if you can't afford to enjoy them? That's why people put up with poor living conditions, low cost. Because to them, low cost is more important than improvements. It's more important than living conditions.

When a few are sacrificed for the many, that's noble. When many are sacrificed for the few, who are already wealthy, that's "wrong."

PMP. Fitting acronym.


Posted by Casey, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 17, 2008 at 10:34 pm

"[T]he municipality should take over the property, with no recompense to the owner"? Yeah, long live the King. That's why we have a Bill of Rights that states, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

It's rather quaint that you would place such faith and power in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats because we all know how competently the federal, state and municipal authorities have run public housing projects across the nation.

I also seriously doubt that the tenants have the financial means to purchase the property at a true FMV (not a state-determined FMV whatever that is), if they cannot even afford a 9 percent rent increase. I think their monthly mortgage payment will well exceed the 9% bump that Page Mill Properties is attempting to impose.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm

> The government should serve the
> people, not itself.

This is one view of the world, but it is one which is not beneficial to the "commonwealth" of the "whole", which is what government is supposed to serve.

> Life isn't about money.

EPA is underdeveloped. Crime is/has been high there. People are shot on the streets and in their homes by drive-by murderers--and there is not enough money to pay for adequate public safety operations. Illegal Drug distribution is/has been rampant because the "good people" do not seem to want to stop the "bad people" by taxing themselves sufficiently to provide adequate police protection.

EPA still does not have one supermarket for a population of about 25,000. Why? What is it about this town's people that not one supermarket operator is willing to invest the necessary capital to see that the people of EPA can by the food they need to stay alive.

Higher property values, which generate higher taxes to the local government, which then provides adequate public safety is one way "life is about the money".

If "Life is not about the money", life may never get to be any better in EPA.


Posted by couldn't have expressed it better, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2008 at 2:00 pm

good points.


Posted by To Jim, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Dear Jim - thank you for your interesting, informed comments.

As a "diehard liberal" in some ways, whose live safely in EPA for 12 years (seeing lots of crazy things which have made me cynical) I know it's not political position which causes someone to see something form a balanced perspective - it's one's ability to reason properly.

As a recent tenant of Page Mill Properties, I can say they have done NOTHING to improve many units - not even basic upkeep, like tree trimming to prepare for storms. I have NEVER dealt with such incompetent landlords. I get letters addressed to different tenants from them, workers showing up to fix items that aren't broken and that I don't even have, phone calls go unreturned, the water was turned off in the summer when they bought our units, thy tried to charge me a late fee for my paying rent late when I wasn't informed they'd bought our units (I'd paid the previous landlord - early even -, who returned my check saying they'd sold our units). All of us newer tenants are by turns amused and frustrated by these fools. They're also arrogant, and I am glad they're being called on it by the city. they treat most of us like we're idiots, or illegal immigrants who don't speak English or thugs. Many of their tenants are Stanford students, young parents, retired folks, professionals like myself, working class/tradespeople - we run the gamut. I have found, several times, that I had a better working knowledge of tenant/landlord laws and have had to educate Page Mill employees.

I'm happy to hear you have a wonderful quality of life and am betting you've worked hard to earn your lovely homes. Most of my friends and family members are wealthier than I am. I also have a good quality of life, am well-adjusted and happy - except about my rent increase. My letter to one of the Page Mill execs has gone unanswered. My requests for required upkeep - tree trimming, etc - have gone unanswered. I've documented everything, in case I need the info in the future. I don't plan on moving because I have dogs and it would be hard to find a local place that would let me have my dogs. Since they're more important to me than a fancier house, I am ok w/my lifestyle - it's my choice. I'm a bit stuck financially because I don't make much money, but I am much better off than many of their other tenants. You're right - Page Mill Properties is wrong! their level of service is a lot worse than our previous ridiculous landlords.


Posted by HARLEM?, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2008 at 5:09 pm

You think Harlem is a relevant comparison to the west side of EPA, where most of PMP units are? That's a moronic comparison.


Posted by Phillip Needs to Visit, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Phillip should take a trip to the west side and see how varying the housing is. It's the most densely populated area of EPA, w/the majority being renters (just like the majority of PA rents). It's not much like Harlem, nor is it like the gov't housing on the east coast. There is crime, there are some gangs - no denying that. Many of the units are ugly, but not all. Phillip has a bee in his bonnet about rent control and loves to vent his spleen here. He writes about Page Mill like they're the 2nd coming, but there's nothing holy about their agenda - it's wholly greedy.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Wow, the implied bias here is stunning!

For example:
"What is it about this town's people that not one supermarket operator is willing to invest the necessary capital to see that the people of EPA can by the food they need to stay alive."

the town's people? you have got to be kidding. EPA is a classic example of municipal and private sector failure (in its worst days). Things are getting better, and one of the ways that is happening is via the EPA City Council acting as it did.

Page Mill Properties is a slumlord, period. They are attempting to capitalize on the hard working lower middle and middle class (demographically speaking).

Mr. Taran should be ashamed of himself.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2008 at 6:20 pm

> You think Harlem is a relevant comparison to the
> west side of EPA, where most of PMP units are?

There was no comparison intended. The story was to illustrate how rent control and destructive tenants caused land lords not to want to fix up their buildings.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm



> Page Mill Properties is a slumlord, period.

Someone posted a link to this SJBJ article in another thread on this story:

Web Link

East Palo Alto city officials say they're aware of some of Page Mill's activities and are generally pleased with the rehabilitation work that his firm has undertaken at some of the apartments he has acquired. That includes evicting several felonious tenants and some major overhaul work of air conditioning and other primary building systems. Page Mill is now the largest apartment owner in East Palo Alto with far in excess of 1,100 units. Dominating a market in that way can give a landlord leverage to raise rents.

But the city's acting planning manager, Brad Tarr, and its redevelopment manager, Carlos Martinez, both say they have not been apprised of any plan by Page Mill to attempt wholesale demolition of buildings on the sites that the company has acquired. Moreover, Tarr suggests current city ordinances might make such a project difficult to execute.

According to public record, including hundreds of documents on file in San Mateo County court, Taran has spent well in excess of $100 million since September 2006 to acquire 70 parcels, mostly contiguous, in a thin ribbon of land fronting U.S. 101 and a stone's throw from what is arguably the most status-laden community in the South Bay. Yet, all of the properties lie in East Palo Alto, among the region's most humble communities, and they range from modest and aging apartments to some that can only be described as blighted.

> Mr. Taran should be ashamed of himself.

As cited in the 06/25/07 San Jose Business Journal article on this matter, EPA officials seem to have a very different view of Mr. Taran's work.

Certainly buying up property that is a "slum" makes you a "slumlord" -- but does trying to refurbish these properties make you an "enemy of the people"? NO!


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2008 at 10:46 pm

"EPA officials seem to have a very different view of Mr. Taran's work."

Which officials are those? And, I wonder if they would be willing to name themselves on the record. Taran has been monopolizing residential apartment opportunities for the last 2-3 years, That's OK, that's capitalism - but he has a responsibility to the people in his buildings.

Bully for him, he threw out some felonious tenants; that's laudable. However, raising rents on tenants in a way that causes extreme hardship is not laudable. Taran needs to change his tactics.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm

> What city officials?

Most of us only know what we read in the papers about these matters, so if the SJBJ does not want us to know the names of the city officials, then it seems people interested in the truth will have to do what the newspapers won't --

So .. here are the names and telephone numbers of the people who likely are the source of those (near) quotes in the linked article above:

Web Link

City Manager Alvin D. James 650-853-3100
Housing Services Wilbert Lee 650-853-3109
Planning Division Brad Tarr 650-853-3137

There is no reason to believe that the SJBJ made up those "quotes", but anyone who doubts can give these people a call and claim that they believe the SJBJ lied and they are demanding the truth!


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 12:41 pm

There was a timely artilce in one of the San Francisco papers on Jan. 18th, which shows that rents have risen an average of 9.4% around the Bay --

---
Web Link

Bay Area rents surge 9.4% in last year
---

The article claims that the rent increase in Mountain View is over 11%. So why should East Palo Alto be exempt from rent increases if the trend is upwards throughout the Bay Area?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 19, 2008 at 2:58 pm

"So why should East Palo Alto be exempt from rent increases if the trend is upwards throughout the Bay Area?"

Rents throughout the Bay Area should be controlled as well. 11% is an unreasonable increase for anyone to have to absorb on a yearly basis. This is a variable that messes with community cohesion, just so that a few can profit at a rate faster than their neighbors - with the irony being that most landlords don't even live in the community they own residential property in.

We're going to have to get far more aggressive about rent control, because *traditional* home ownership will most likely slow down, long-term.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm

By the way, most people who are unfamilar with EPA's "rent control" ordinance might find the following interest --
--
Web Link

> As an indication of the political orientation of those who
> formed the new city, one of the first actions of the city
> council was to propose a "strong" rent-control ordinance
> that was put up for a vote and passed, making
> East Palo Alto one of the handful of cities in California
> with such measures ("strong" rent control meaning
> vacancy control, which prohibits rent increases when
> tenants move out of a rental unit)[7].

Web Link

Local ordinances, establish residential rent controls which may
be generally categorized as "strict" or "moderate." Strict
rent control is characterized by the continuing control of rent
when a unit becomes vacant and prohibits a rent increase when a
new tenant occupies the unit - vacancy control. Moderate rent
control does not control the rent on a unit when it becomes
vacant and permits the rent to rise to the market rate when a
new tenant moves in. After this new rent is determined, the
rent is again controlled - vacancy decontrol.

Vacancy control ordinances are in place in Berkeley, Santa
Monica, Cotati, East Palo Alto, and West Hollywood.
----

The idea that a single "vote of the people" can set the rental rates on apartments for the next thousand years pretty much makes it clear that small Mom and Pop real estate "managers" are not likely to survive in such a city, and that professional real estate managers will avoid the place "like the plague".

It's really interesting that the local press has not managed to report about the harsh nature of "vacany control" that the EPA ordance has imposed on property owners in the past. It would be a worthwhile exercise for the local press to report as to whether these original restraints against property owners are still in place, and if so, to explain how forcing property owners to not raise rents when tenants move out is good for the city?

It is long past time for the EPA "rent control" ordinance to go away.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2008 at 3:58 pm

> that's capitalism

Spoken with a tone that oozes disdain for those who take the risks to make the foundations of our society work.

> Bully for him, he threw out some felonious tenants; that's laudable

Doesn't sound like you mean it.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2008 at 2:37 pm

"Spoken with a tone that oozes disdain for those who take the risks to make the foundations of our society work."

The foundations of our society would do their magic very nicely without the presence of slumlords, or the short-term greed exhibited in actions like th eone that Mr. Tenet has just taken.

It's amusing to hear the inevitable, rather condescending paeans to the slimy underbelly of capitalism - as an excuse to rationalize actions that enable the power of capital to help prey on the disenfranchised, all in the name of profit. Profit? For who? For one, or a few persons, who self-aggrandize themselves in antiseptic homilies to their "investment philosophies"?

Capitalism is a great system, but it doesn't operate with any one particular ethical algorithm that rules behavior on the way to accumulation.

Thus, the requirement for communities that want to maintain some sense of human privilege over the blind movement of capital, is to monitor the behavior of those who control capital, just as the EPA City Council has chosen to do.

There's a natural tension between private and public power in this regard. In this case, a private company has seen fit to corner a market on residential housing; that company made a poor judgment re: market timing (with rental housing increasing in demand) re: the needs of those who rent space in its newly purchased properties. In short, Mr. Tenet ran into a variable that his financial models didn't consider - the power of those who Mr. Tenet normally leverages his capital against.

Tenants have collective power; thus the current conflict.

We're going to see more and more of this as the raw, relatively unchecked power of capital (again, I'm a blatant capitalist) runs up against the limits of its ability to control the lives of others, to the degree of forcing them out of their homes.

In sum, we're talking about the triumph of basic human decency. Mr. Tenet should be concerned - not only for his personal reputation, but more importantly for the costs that the negative multipliers brought about by his short term greed will rain down upon all of us. He might reconsider his current financial projections, consult with the current tenants, and work with them to help make changes that fit into their respective budgets. Mr. Tenet would thus become a local hero, and possibly spur others on.

Capitalism is good; capitalism can be made better. Mr. Tenet's actions make the latter more difficult for all of us. He has ann opportunity to change that.


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 20, 2008 at 5:21 pm

---"Capitalism is a great system, but it doesn't operate with any one particular ethical algorithm that rules behavior on the way to accumulation."---
This is false. Capitalism is a social system based on the ethical principles of individual rights and free trade. It means the absence of the initiation of physical force.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2008 at 7:14 pm

"the ethical principles of individual rights "

Please show me these "ethical principals", and if you can do that, then show further proof that they are enforced uniformly among capitalistic cultures. That should keep you busy for a few decades.

I await Mr. Tenet's enlightenment to a kinder form of capitalism than the one he is currently practicing.


Posted by Angie, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Oh my, there are poeple out there that still don't know what's going in EPA. I lived in EPA for 38yrs. I relocated over a year ago to someplace we thought was cheaper. It is but the wages suck. I still call EPA my home and always will. These property owners are jerks, I am witness to several. I agree with Jim, he's right. Some of you that say how well off you are, you should go in EPA and rent you a place and live there for a month. You wouldn't last!!!!!! People are always looking at EPA as those poor people. Well screw you!!!!!!! Instead of always putting us down, you should get off your high horses and come "see" for yourselves. I hope the city council wins and this will show those other slumlords out there that EPA is starting to stand on their own two feet...


Posted by Angie, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Oh my, there are poeple out there that still don't know what's going in EPA. I lived in EPA for 38yrs. I relocated over a year ago to someplace we thought was cheaper. It is but the wages suck. I still call EPA my home and always will. These property owners are jerks, I am witness to several. I agree with Jim, he's right. Some of you that say how well off you are, you should go in EPA and rent you a place and live there for a month. You wouldn't last!!!!!! People are always looking at EPA as those poor people. Well screw you!!!!!!! Instead of always putting us down, you should get off your high horses and come "see" for yourselves. I hope the city council wins and this will show those other slumlords out there that EPA is starting to stand on their own two feet...


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Mike, I wouldn't attempt to show you anything. I don't think you believe there is a "reality" or that any "proof" is possible.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm

" I wouldn't attempt to show you anything"

Weak.


Posted by wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 5:27 am

> as the raw, relatively unchecked power of capital

Since the turn of the 20th Century, Communism has killed over 100M people advancing its perverted system of controls and the destruction of the human spirit and body. And this guy claims that "capital is unchecked"?

Yeah .. right ..


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 9:30 am

> Wow .. implied bias ..

While following Wikipedia article was written about crime in the United States, East Palo Alto makes an appearance in the article for having a very high crime rate:
---
Web Link

The likelihood of committing and falling victim to crime also depends on several demographic characteristics, as well as location of the population. Overall minorities, the young, and those in financially less favorable positions were more likely to be victimized by, as well as commit crimes.[9] Crime in the US is also concentrated to certain areas. It is quite common for crime in American cities to be highly concentrated in a few, often economically disadvantaged areas. For example, the responding communities in San Mateo County, California had a population of approximately 624,000 and 17 homicides in 2001. 6 of these 17 homicides took place in relatively poor, largely African and Hispanic American East Palo Alto, which had a population of roughly 30,000. So, while East Palo Alto only accounted for 4.8% of the population, 35.3% of all homicides took place there.[10] Thus it becomes very clear that the distribution of crime among different demographical groups and locales varies significantly.
---

It doesn't take much for a supermarket owner to look at these crime statistics and make a reasonable assumption that his supermarkets will be the target of robberies and other assorted crimes in/on his property--for which he (or his insurance company) will become liable.

Even if the supermarket operator were to hire a small police force to insure his store/customers' safety, there is no reason to believe that his customers would actually be safe. Moreover, supermarket margins are razor thin, so why would any reasonable business man start up a store in a place where the highest crime rates in the county are to be found without expectations of financial losses?

There is no bias here -- just a statement of fact.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 21, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Wilson, As usual, there are some who will use weak references to communism (really, a pathetic attempt to save face) to justify actions in a capitalistic society that cause harm. If you're OK with the many injustices that exist within our society, I guess there's nothing to debate with you.

Incidentally, please accept the challenge to monitor capital flow - to "follow the money' as they say. Why are 78% of key positions held in former communist Russia held by old party bosses and those affiliated with the KGB? And, where didi the money to fund the takeovers of defunct Soviet infrastructure come from.

In short, I think you need a history lesson.

Philip, you're another one who wants to use statistics to elicit sympathy for slumlords who prey on the poor, in the name of profit. Here's a little lesson for you.

Tenet is buying properties that have essentially gone unmaintained by property owners who have been holding on until the market was right. The residents in those properties are mostly hard-working folk who make marginal incomes.

Where there is poverty, there is crime. That's a fact that can't be disputed. It's a universal truth. Some people profit from the presence of poverty. Slumlords fall into that category.

So let's hear about the slumlords - virtually all of them absentee - who permit conditions like the those present in many of the properties that Mr. Tenet purchased. Let's hear about the almost pure absence of any sense of responsibility on Mr. Tenet's part re: the well-being of the tenants who leased those properties.

What Mr. Tenet wants to do is leverage his capital on the backs of hard-working people who have had little choice about where to live in a high-priced housing market. So, all the neglect that has existed in those properties; all the indifference to the health of residents that live in those properties; all the surrounding social problems that were contributed to by landlords who were thinking only about themselves - all this is what Mr. Tenent is profiting from, as areas surrounding the strip of residential properties that Mr. tenet has purchased have experienced inflated values sufficient enough to make the properties Mr. Tenet purchases "largely undervalued".

In all, nobody is speaking of the cost to EPA caused by absentee slumlords; there seems to be no discussion about the individual costs to tenants who are going to have to scramble so that Mr. Tenet can realize his projected returns on investment.

Please don't present me with statistics that show EPA as a crime ridden place (relative to other places) without also presenting part of the complicated picture about WHY EPA is such a place. Slumlords are a part of that problem. Mr. Tenet is a part of that problem.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 4:32 pm

> What Mr. Tenet wants to do is leverage his capital

You have used name "Tenet" for several postings now, did you Mr. Taran, the owner of Page Mill Properties?

> to justify actions in a capitalistic society that cause harm

No attempt to "justify" anything .. just to put into perspective the very one-sided slams against capitalism -- which has created the highest standard of living of any economic system ever invented. Lefties like you never seem to acknowledge that in you continued attacks on capitalism.

> Where there is poverty, there is crime.

Debatable. If everyone is poor, who is there to steal from?

> Please don't present me with statistics that show EPA
> as a crime ridden place (relative to other places) without
> also presenting part of the complicated picture about
> WHY EPA is such a place.

Didn't think that there was much use showing you statistics about crime. Well, hopefully some of the other readers get the picture.

> nobody is speaking of the cost to EPA caused by absentee slumlords

Most landlords are "absentee". The US Census points out that about 50% of all California housing stock is in the hands of renters -- meaning that there are a lot of landlords holding all of these properties. What makes EPA any different than any other city in California to absentee property owners? Time to start talking about the cost to EPA that its harsh rent control ordinance has exacted upon EPA.

> Here's a little lesson for you.

If anyone needed a lesson in anything, you would be the last person to look up for instruction.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 4:33 pm

> Tenants have collective power; thus the current conflict.

The "tenets" of EPA did act collectively a couple of years ago, when they had a chance to increase the security of their neighborhoods and the city as a whole --

Web Link

This proposed initiative measure, if adopted by voters, would impose a parcel tax for a term of 10 years for the limited purpose of enhancing police services and programs to prevent violence and crime in East Palo Alto. As a parcel tax, it is a special tax under California law, requiring approval by two-thirds (2/3) of the voters voting on the measure.

Fail: 664 / 21.2% Yes votes ...... 2,474 / 78.8% No votes

Overwhelmingly, the "collectively" voted to maintain the status quo on the level of public safety that must be endured by the residents of the town. As the record shows, EPA was not interested in better security if it cost them just a little more money. Using the government to stop the redevelopment of segments of the town shows how perverted democracy can become when not used correctly.

Measure "C", which followed a year later, did pass, however.

Web Link

But as is typical of EPA, the language of the Measure was such that the County of San Mateo has refused to collect the tax, citing inconstancies between the Measure and State Law. EPA did make some changes to the language of the tax-authorizing ordinance. In July, there was a threat of a law suit by apartment owners who claimed that any changes to the language of a voter-approved tax would have to re-approved by the voters.

As of this last November, none of the money collected from the tax had found its way into anti-crime fighting activities:

Web Link

with claims from the EPA officials that it might be well into the middle of 2008 before money begins to flow.

As is so typical when talking about government and its profligate ways:

"There is a history of millions of dollars spent in East Palo Alto,"
Abrica said. "So what? What happened?

What has happened, indeed?

If "collective" action were needed, it would be better focused on cleaning up crime in EPA so that the rebuilding can commence.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Apartment dwellers account for 57 percent of residents in EPA. It's a fact that apartment dwellers are notoriously absent when it comes to voting on property tax measures.

If the slumlords in EPA were so interested in increasing police presence, why didn't they offer to help their apartment dwellers register to vote, and then help get out the vote? I'll tell you why - it's too easy just to sit on an unmaintained building that lies in the midst of a hotbed of residential development, until a sugar daddy like Mr. Tenet arrives, bailing slumlords out of poorly maintained properties that one can project heady returns from.

I have no doubt that EPA will be a continuing target for residential and commercial developers; equilibrium will be maintained by the marketplace.

That said, the EPA City Council has done the right thing; it has chosen to compel an investor **who has already made a profit on these properties, in terms of raw equity growth** to consider the lives of those who will be displaced by his antiseptic financial modeling (as most financial modeling tends to be free of the social costs and benefits of development).

Both Palo Alto and EPA are facing problems with development; it's an opportunity to seek out more nurturing developers, or compel those that are already here to begin paying attention to the full cost of generating profit - including the social costs. It's about time.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Oh, and talking about slimy landlords .. let's not forget --

Web Link

Cabrini-Green is a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) public housing development on Chicago's North Side, bordered by Evergreen Avenue, Sedgwick Street, Chicago Avenue, and Larrabee Street. At its height, Cabrini-Green was home to 15,000 people,[1] living in mid- and high-rise apartment buildings. Over the years, gang violence and neglect created terrible conditions for the residents, and the name "Cabrini-Green" became synonymous with the problems associated with public housing in the United States.
-----

It's more than humorous to listen to talking heads trash the work of a private-sector landlord (in almost slanderous terms) who is trying to rehab a large area of less-than-desirable housing when public housing has proven to be such a hell-hole for so many residents who have government as a landlord.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 21, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Now that you've trotted out all the usual bad examples of egregious neglect in public housing, of which I agree there are many, let's look at some award-winning public housing designs - in places where public housing is welcome, and functional

High Point - Seattle
Web Link

Bridgeton Hope VI
Web Link

These were AIA award-winner last year

There are thousands more....

About Cabrini-Green: We're not talking about public housing in EPA, we're talking about Mr. Taran's purchase of more than 1500 residences - many of which are run down - in an attempt to corner a market in a way that gives residents no choice but to *leave the area* when rents go to high - because my Taran controls most of the places that these residents might otherwise want to occupy. That may be a smart business strategy, but it's a strategy that exists only because of the *neglect* of *privately-held* residential properties. Mr. Taran din't buy most - if any - of his properties from the government.

So, again, we see another attempt to shift the tide of this discussion from one where we plainly see an investment company (run by Mr. Taran) taking advantage (as is his right) of a market-based housing situation to make a profit.

Mr. Taran - as stated above - didn't include the variable of tenent and community opposition in his modeling algorithms. That's going to cost him a bundle. It has already begun to cost him a bit of local reputation.

And, lest you continue to think that's a slanderous statement, consider that Mr. Taran has insinuated himself into a public legal battle by suing a municipality, whose public policy makers are beginning to get it on by doing what many past EPA City Councils failed to do - i.e. look out for the best interests of the citizens that make up their community, and smartly use the neglect caused by past private landlords to leverage EPA's way into big box retail.

I think Mr, Taran is going to get more than he bargained for, and not in ROI - unless he finds a way to approach EPA with a bit more humility, instead of waving his landholdings and "investment philosophy" (no suit of armor, that's for sure) around as if he had just conquered the housing market in EPA.




Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2008 at 12:15 pm

> There are thousands more ..

Really? You wouldn't care to post a list of two hundred award winning Public Housing projects, would you?

> About Cabrini-Green:

Yeah, what about Cabrini-Green?

Or what about Geneva Towers, located in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley -- destroyed by the Federals in 1998 as an acknowledged failure?

> we're talking about Mr. Taran's purchase of more than 1500 residences -

Fully legal under the law!

> many of which are run down -

Not his doing, but the result of actions by the tenets and lack of action by former property owners.

> in an attempt to corner a market in a way that gives residents
> no choice but to *leave the area* when rents go to high -

or pay the rents, look for better paying jobs, apply for job-training assistance to train for better paying jobs, go to night school to acquire additional skills that will ultimately lead to better paying jobs. With better paying jobs, folks might chose to move out of EPA and live some where else.

> That may be a smart business strategy, but it's a strategy
> that exists only because of the *neglect* of *privately-held*
> residential properties.

Or the failure of code enforcement by EPA government officials.

> So, again, we see another attempt to shift the tide of this
> discussion from one where we plainly see an investment
> company (run by Mr. Taran) taking advantage (as is his right)
> of a market-based housing situation to make a profit.

For starters -- you have demonstrated no direct knowledge of Mr. Taran, or his plans. You have come close to slandering him continuously, without any idea what he hopes to accomplish via his business. It is you who have moved the conversation from that of reality into your typical left-wing tactic of vilifying honest businessmen.

> And, lest you continue to think that's a slanderous
> statement, consider
> that Mr. Taran has insinuated himself into a public legal battle by
> suing a municipality, whose public policy makers are beginning to
> get it on by doing what many past EPA City Councils failed
> to do - i.e. look out for the best interests of the citizens
> that make up their community,
> and smartly use the neglect caused by past private landlords to
> leverage EPA's way into big box retail.

Mr. Taran is totally within his rights to sue the EPA government. He will, of course, have to make his case before the court.

> with a bit more humility, instead of waving his landholdings
> and "investment philosophy" (no suit of armor, that's for sure)
> around as if he had just conquered the housing market in EPA.

It is a real shame that the local papers have done so little to report on this issue. A couple of quotes by renters indicates that Mr. Taran's company might not be the best administratively. It would be most interesting to have a newspaper contact some tenets, do walk-abouts of the apartments, read the leases, take photographs of those apartments where clearly the tenets are due repair support. The papers could help the tenets make the proper request for repair, and them monitor the situation to see if Taran's company is responding like a responsible property management company, or if they ignore the tenet's requests. The paper might also ask Taran to demonstrate problems with buildings where destructive tenets live (should there be any).

Having to listen to a left-wing nutcase isn't helping the situation. Most people don't have time to investigate every "injustice" that comes down the pike. That's what newspapers are supposed to do. However, there will be court documents that will be in the public domain at some point, so maybe some enterprising blogger will scan them and make them available when those documents are available.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

"Or the failure of code enforcement by EPA government officials."

Convenient to blame code enforcement for the *conscious* neglect of slumlords. Weak.

And now that you've had your hand called, you resort to calling names. Weak.

As I've been saying, Mr. Taran has an opportunity to do right, and include some new variables in his "investment philosophy" - that variable is the people who lease his apartment units, and the hard work, sweat, well-being-for-their-kids, personal hopes and dreams, etc. etc.

btw, I float in the stratosphere of long term fiscal moderation, which is more than I can say for investors who leverage the lives of people in sorry ways, causing more harm downstream - in the world, at large, even as their personal investments soar. We need less of that kind of selfishness.

The Court can make subjective judgment as it renders a decision; my hope is that Mr. Taran is offered an opportunity to do right by his tenants. If not, the decision should stand, with EPA officials becoming even MORE aggressive with rent control, by instituting code with SEVERE teeth - up to and including seizing property.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2008 at 4:22 pm

> Convenient to blame code enforcement for the *conscious* neglect
> of slumlords. Weak.

Really? Who else is tasked by law to be the check-and-balance in this equation?

> And now that you've had your hand called, you resort to
> calling names. Weak.

As the most censored poster on this web-log, the pot has little room to call the kettle black!

> As I've been saying,

and saying .. and saying .. (not much variety in the music of a "one-tune johnny").

> The Court can make subjective judgment as it renders a decision;

Great .. what good is the law if "courts are going to be subjective?"

> up to and including seizing property.

It didn't take long for you to get around to proposing the stealing of people's property in your never-ending attack on our economic system and our dearly fought-for Constitutional guarantee of property ownership.

However, if EPA were to do something like this.. we won't be talking about Mr. Taran any more -- we will be talking about Cabrinia Green from here on out!


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 22, 2008 at 4:39 pm

"what good is the law if "courts are going to be subjective?"

An indicator that you don't understand the foundations of legal code. Perhaps a course in Aristotelian logic?

Also, your references to Cabrini_green leave out the fact that teh Chicago Housing Authority had budgets for the maintenance of CR cut, over and over again - **much to the delight of developers - who *still* drool over getting their hands on that property, because of its strategic location in Chicago.

In all, your argument is a large rationalization for greedy behavior - let's call a jack, a jack.

About stealing: it's too bad that investors like Mr. Taran get one after another tax break to help them gobble up properties like the ones currently being discussed. That's stealing. Mr. Taran is attempting to profit at the cost of inconvenience and tragedy caused to *hundreds* of families. He seems not to care one twit about the tenants in the buildings he has purchased. Rather, he will bend over backwards to please those who can afford his new rents, and condo conversions, so that he can leverage his investment in some profitable exit, or other.

My hope is that the courts make an example of Mr. Taran, and Page Mill Properties. Until they begin to exhibit more nurturing behavior to those they are determined to displace - they deserve everything that's coming to them in the way of penalty, and loss of reputation.



Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 22, 2008 at 4:45 pm

For those who want to read more about the slimy subtext to Mr. Taran's Page Mill Properties takeover of 1500+ housing units on the Peninsula, read on

Web Link


Posted by V, a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2008 at 12:57 am

Wasn't some poor guy electrocuted working for Page Mill properties right before Xmas? They don't sound like they are very nice people anyway. I hope they lose their asses and go out of business.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2008 at 8:46 am

This press release from PMP provides some information that the local papers have not carried:

---
Web Link

The improvements Page Mill is making to its properties go well
beyond cosmetic measures. They include, among many other improvements,
the new roofs on nearly two dozen buildings and seismic upgrades
mentioned above, plus dry rot repair, pest control and the
installation or repair of security fences around swimming pools and
buildings.

Page Mill has also made a significant investment in improving
security. The company has hired two security companies and is
installing video surveillance systems connected to a dispatch center.
The neighborhood in which Page Mill's properties are located, Beat 4,
had the lowest crime rate in East Palo Alto in November 2007,
according to police statistics.

"Our goal was to form a partnership with the City to improve the
living conditions at our properties," said David Taran, Page Mill's
Chief Executive Officer. "Instead, the City rejected our repeated
offers to negotiate the issue of rent increases and left us with no
choice but to litigate."
---

Funny, how the local papers don't seem to be very interested in digging into details.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2008 at 8:59 am

This post is a joke --
---
Web Link

When you think it's ok to make thousands of people miserable who don't have money so that you can make millions on top of whatever you already have, you are a supreme waste of a human being.
---

From the Reuters article linked to above:

--
Page Mill notified tenants in December 2007 that rents would
increase by an average of 9% as of February 1, 2008.

The City claimed that the Urgency Ordinance was needed because
hundreds or thousands of tenants would have to vacate their apartments
as a result of the rent increases. In fact, only 13 tenants have
notified Page Mill that they will leave their units because of the
rent increases. Meanwhile, the company lowered rent increases for
residents who demonstrated special needs.
---

As noted in a previous posting, 9% is the average that Bay Area rents increased last year. PMP has treated the people in these apartments like property owners around the Bay have treated their tenets.


Again, from the Reuter's article:

---
Page Mill provides more than 1,300 rent-stabilized housing units
for East Palo Alto residents. The company had planned to institute
modest annual rent increases to offset a small portion of the $11
million it is investing to enhance the safety and living conditions at
its apartments, with improvements such as new roofs and seismic
upgrades.
---

Investing $11M in site upgrades can hardly be considered exploitative.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2008 at 9:05 am

> Wasn't a worker killed ...?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that workers do get killed on the job. The following posts document three such accidents this week alone around the US --

Worker Killed in New York City High-Rise Collapse
Web Link

BP worker killed at Texas City refinery
Web Link

Construction worker killed installing water main
Web Link

Unless charges of irresponsibility were brought against PGP in that incident by the County of San Mateo, that accident has nothing to do with this matter.


Posted by phillip, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2008 at 9:23 am

Crime seems to have been a problem in EPA forever, or so it would seem:
---
Web Link

Brown Announces East Palo Alto Crime Crackdown, Praises Citizen Action
Not For Broadcast Until 12:30 P.M. Today
October 09, 2007

07-065
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(916) 324-5500

EAST PALO ALTO – California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., community leaders and regional law enforcement officials today announced the completion of Project Safe Neighborhood, a nine-month multi-agency "crime crackdown and citizen mobilization" aimed at curbing a wave of violence plaguing the City of East Palo Alto.

"This multi-agency crime crackdown and citizen mobilization put a real dent in the wave of violent crime plaguing East Palo Alto because law enforcement agencies joined together with a large group of involved citizens," Brown told a news conference with community leaders and officials from the East Palo Alto Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. "Nevertheless," Brown added, "the fight against crime in East Palo Alto is far from over. Gangs in California are getting increasingly bold, spreading out from neighborhoods to terrorize whole cities and even regions. Combating this new breed of urban gangsters requires widespread citizen involvement and a coordinated attack by both uniformed and undercover officers, suppressing mid and low level drug dealers day after day."

A wave of violence struck East Palo Alto in late 2006, resulting in six homicides and 67 shootings. In response, Brown sent undercover agents from the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement to gather intelligence and lead an anti-violence task force. Bureau agents joined with law enforcement agencies including the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, San Jose Police Department and East Palo Alto Police Department to conduct undercover investigations into upper-level drug traffickers, leading to arrests and drugs seizures including:

77 grams of heroin and 28 grams of black tar heroin
156 grams of cocaine
558 grams of crack-cocaine
Two pounds of crystal methamphetamine

Together with numerous law enforcement agencies, the East Palo Alto Police Department made over 250 arrests, 400 parole and probation searches, 500 gang contacts and seized 45 firearms. Since the project was initiated, crime and violence has dropped dramatically in the city and there has been only one homicide.

The East Palo Alto Police Department also mobilized community members to participate in a 1000 person unity march and a 300 person youth summit. Community Organizations and police also engaged in crisis intervention, conflict mediation and negotiated cease-fires between rival gangs.

Other participants in today's press conference include: City of East Palo Alto Mayor David Woods, City of East Palo Alto Vice-Mayor Patricia Foster, San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks, San Mateo County District Attorney Jim Fox, United States Attorney's Office, California Highway Patrol Deputy Commissioner Art Anderson, San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association Chief Susan Manheimer, San Mateo County Chief Probation Officer Loren Buddress, For Youth By Youth (FYBY) Douglas Fort, One East Palo Alto Executive Director Faye McNair-Knox, EPA Unity March & Rally Director Marina Latu, Pastor Paul Baines, East Palo Alto Police Chaplains, City of East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis.

California Attorney General Brown has made the fight against crime a top priority. In June, Brown's Gang Suppression Enforcement Team took down 32 key leaders and associates of the Loc Town Crips, a Stockton-based Cambodian street gang responsible for extensive drug and gun trafficking. Agents uncovered widespread violence and drug dealing, including drive-by shootings and sales of methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana in California and around the United States.

In August, The Department of Justice cracked down on the A-Town Gang, a major central valley gang that terrorized the town of Atwater with robberies and murders and ran narcotics to states including Montana and Washington. Special agents joined the Atwater Police Department to serve 40 search warrants, arrest 26 suspects, and intercept a bulk delivery of marijuana, dismantling the gang's criminal apparatus.

The California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement is one of the largest state investigative law enforcement agencies in the United States. The division employs 450 sworn Special Agents, 200 forensic scientists, 600 civilian employees, and has an annual budget of $182 million. It is comprised of eight operational bureaus which include the California Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the Bureau of Gambling Control, the Bureau of Firearms, the Bureau of Forensic Services, the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, the Mission Support Branch, and the Western States Information Network.

In August, Brown announced the appointment of George Anderson, Sacramento County Undersheriff, as the 13th Director of the Division of Law Enforcement for the California Department of Justice.
---------

Again from the Reuter's article:

--
Page Mill has also made a significant investment in improving
security. The company has hired two security companies and is
installing video surveillance systems connected to a dispatch center.
The neighborhood in which Page Mill's properties are located, Beat 4,
had the lowest crime rate in East Palo Alto in November 2007,
according to police statistics.
--

While it might not be easily proven that PGP's efforts to increase security in their rental properties has resulted in this lower crime rate, everyone knows that "lower is good".

Mr. Taran and PMPs have nothing to do with the crime, and everything to do with making EPA a better place for people who reside in his buildings. Yet, there are always people who won't see the forest for the trees.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm

phillip (who is looking more and more like a PR guy for Page Mill Properties): "The company had planned to institute modest annual rent increases to offset a small portion of the $11 million it is investing to enhance the safety and living conditions at its apartments, with improvements such as new roofs and seismic upgrades."

Translation: "We specifically bought these neglected, undervalued properties at a time when the availability and affordability of housing in Silicon Valley was approaching saturation. By investing in these properties, and covering our investment through consistent, cumulative rent increases, we can "optimize" the demographic of our tenant population within "X" years, so as to make our plans for conversion to condominium or higher-priced rental conversion meet with our investment objectives.

"We project that within five years, Page Mill Properties will either continue to manage a much-improved group of housing units - in terms of demographic profile, security, and physical infrastructure, thus making these properties a prime target for buyout, or further conversion."

Short translation: "We're gonna buy up these neglected properties, put a little shine on them ($11M for 1700 properties - that's about $6K per property - a relative pittance), move out the lower and lower-middle income tenants, make the place safe, and gentrify the whole friggin' thing. We'll make a pile of dough. the current tenants? Who cares? - we got money to make!"


Posted by marisa, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 8, 2008 at 8:35 pm

I happen to be a current resident of a Page Mill Property located in East Palo Alto and all I can say is that they have no intention of "improving the current conditions/capital improvements". It's a ridiculous lawsuit and I hope the City of EPA fights hard on this claim.
When a flyer was passed/posted to the residents at this complex regarding the upcoming rally at a Baptist Church to gather and fight the lawsuit, they had someone come over to take them all down! Just depicts the type,kind of people who run this corporation.
Management is absent, maintenance takes days to fix anything...regardless of urgency, and what's worse they try to find loop holes in residents' leases to charge erroneous fees. I refuse to stand by and let a big corporation treat people in this manner. The citizens of EPA should stand up and fight for their right to live in a reasonably priced complex.
I strongly urge the City to stand up for the citizens of EPA and fight for us.


Posted by jperspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2008 at 6:28 am

The answer is simple...never invest in rent control areas....then the buildings fall down, the renters leave...THEN, if the city changes the law to non-rent control, buy the buildings and fix them back up.

If a city changes a law AFTER the fact...time to sue...


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