Councilman Nat Bates circulated another email related to HUD and the Richmond Housing Authority. Radio Free Richmond is posting his email without edits or comments.
Webster defines urgency as follows:
When something has urgency it requires speedy action.
This council voted to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday February 18, 2014 partly in response to the news media disclosing poor conditions and lack of maintance at the Nevins and Hacienda housing complex where residents have been complaining for some four or five years. After several tenants testified and validated the news media reporting, I suggested a special meeting be held on a day other than our normal city council meeting to provide full attention to the HOA problems at hand. The mayor rebuffed my recommendations and stated there would be a report provided on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Not only was the item not agenized but no report was forthcoming and at that time no date had been scheduled to address the problems. What did occur was management staff directing an inventory of each unit and their problems. Again, as Webster indicates, urgency requires speedy action. The question taxpayers and those who may be sympathetic with tenants enduring insects, roaches, mice and rat infected areas, poor plumbing, leaky ceiling, heaters not working, two elevators that are frequently out of service in a six story building with several wheel chair tenants want to know is, where is the speedy action of urgency?
On February 27, 2014, the mayor and staff finally canvassed the council for a meeting to be held on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at either 3PM or 6:30PM. This represents 21 days that passed before the council is briefed on what the problems are and then a discussion held on how to collectively best take major action to eradicate the problems. In addition, this council has no idea how much funds are necessary or who will bear the cost of the work required. Will the funds come from the city, HOA or HUD? Why is this important, because the city council has a policy that mandates and requires all department head including the city manager to spend no more than $10,000 of public funds without prior city council approval. Anyone in their right mind will recognize that these repairs will cost far more than $10,000. With the mayor and management's lack of a speedy action response, tenants will have to wait until March 11, 2014 with their leaky ceiling and poor plumbing, and watch the roaches, mice, rats, etc. continue to feast and have a wonderful time in the homes of unfortunate taxpayers who deserve better. Can anyone of you imagine enduring such conditions for 21 days plus another several days awaiting corrections of such a problem??? During my tour of duty in the Army while serving in Korea, one of my captains in discussing leadership once stated, and I quote, "No matter how sincere a person may be or how hard they may try, there are some people that are simply not cut out for leadership and especially in moments of crisis." Today, I think many of us will agree that we are witnessing firsthand that lack of leadership throughout our city.
During my recent contact with several HOA tenants, many whom I grew up with, attended school together and have personally known for years, and currently reside in the Hacienda, Nevins Plaza, Friendship Manor and Richmond Village, they suggested these problems are much more critical and serious than they appear. Allegations of nepotism, selling vouchers, favoritism in granting vouchers, selling drugs, as well as lying about work orders, etc. by management staff, are serious accusations in which this mayor, top management and a majority of this council seems to be in denial. Councilman Tom Butt in particular has done his best to undermine the news media cameras and photos as over sensationalizing their reporting and even suggesting that tenants were exaggerating their complaints. The bottom line seems that the majority of this council and top management are either in denial or just do not give a dam because the victims affected are low income and in particular black and brown citizen. Again, these allegations are so strong, serious and frequent that in my opinion only an outside independent and impartial firm or HUD's immediate intervention and investigation will determine what is going on.
My strongest recommendation is to immediately fire all of the management staff. With their departure and when they are not in a position to threaten nor intimidate the remaining HOA staff, you will be amazed at how much information will be forthcoming from several hard working and honest line staff who are also victims of management abuse of power. To do less is a disservice to the many tenants and the good citizen of Richmond.
- Nat Bates
Below, residents file action against Richmond Housing Authority. It was only a matter of time.