Breaking: Santa Cruz allows disabled woman to be smoked out then publishes Fair Housing pamphlet
Using HUD Community Development and Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the City of Santa Cruz published a guide to Fair Housing which is available, as per the link below, on the Santa Cruz city website.
Yet a little more than a year ago, between May and June 2011, the City of Santa Cruz discriminated against my sister Patricia Colby at the Mission Gardens Apartments by denying her a reasonable accommodation for the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke used by recalcitrant smokers at the Mission Gardens Apartments to kill her based upon her disabilities. These were hate motivated crimes on the basis of disability. The Santa Cruz City Council not only ignored her accommodation request, but Santa Cruz Housing Programs Manager Carol Berg retaliated against my sister by removing her unit from the HUD HOME program which afforded her extra affordability protections in case Mission Gardens ever loses its Section 8 subsidy.
Furthermore, the Santa Cruz City Council, City Manager, City Attorney and City Housing Programs Manager all stood by, doing nothing, while my sister and I were harassed, intimidated, threatened, coerced and retaliated against by Mission Gardens management The John Stewart Company â€” for advocating for her disability rights.
In 2005, my sister Patricia Colby moved into the Mission Gardens Apartments. Unknown to her, the neighbor in the unit below hers was an extremely heavy chain smoker. The intrusion of cigarette smoke into my sisters's apartment was so bad that her apartment smelled like she, a nonsmoker, was a chain smoker. My sister asked for a transfer to an apartment away from smoking neighbors in November 2005.
Soon afterwards, her downstairs neighbor moved in a boyfriend who was and still is a heavy chain smoker, doubling the amount of deadly secondhand smoke entering her apartment. Her health began deteriorating. The onsite manager, a chain smoker, refused to transfer my sister into the apartment below mine which became available around March 2006. This manager told my sister she would never gain a ground floor apartment my sister has mobility disabilities. My sister patiently waited while her health quickly deteriorated even more. By August 2007 her health was so compromised that she had several episodes in which she almost stopped breathing. She took on the services of attorney Ed Frey to gain an accommodation.
The management callously ignored Ed Frey until he prepared in November 2007 to file a federal lawsuit against the management and HUD. Before then the onsite manager coerced my sister to "just move on", telling her that she would never gain a transfer to an apartment away from smoking neighbors. The manager wrote my sister a letter in which she called Mission Gardens "a smoking property". This manager ran Missions Gardens as a smoking property for the benefit of smokers to the detriment of non smokers. Any resident who acted in a way that seemed to infringe on the perceived "smoking rights" of the manager's friends was harassed and run out of Mission Gardens.
Finally Ed Frey was able to gain my sister a transfer away from the deadly smoke of her two downstairs neighbors, but still to an apartment which had adjacent smokers. My sister moved, her health improved and she lived there without further health problems until her new upstairs neighbor, a "light" smoker, was cited by the Santa Cruz Fire Department for being a dangerous hoarder. Her upstairs neighbor blamed my sister for being cited and increased her smoking until her secondhand smoke began intruding into my sister's apartment, once again affecting her health.
Unity is the great goal toward which humanity moves irresistibly. But it becomes fatal, destructive of the intelligence, the dignity, the well-being of individuals and peoples whenever it is formed without regard to liberty, either by violent means or under the authority of any theological, metaphysical, political, or even economic idea. That patriotism which tends toward unity without regard to liberty is an evil patriotism, always disastrous to the popular and real interests of the country it claims to exalt and serve. Often, without wishing to be so, it is a friend of reaction – an enemy of the revolution, i.e., the emancipation of nations and men. -Mikhail Bakunin-