Ayodele Nzinga 
Member since Aug 24, 2010


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Re: “Neill Sullivan's Oakland

I rented an SMC house. It caught fire due to faulty construction done without permits. They also told me that the bottom floor (where the fire occurred) was "non-conforming but legal" -Bally Singh, turns out not so much - more like totally illegal and not fit for human inhabitation. After living in the house with no lights, no gas, and raw sewage piling up in the back yard after they made a sewer repair and refused to recap the sewer drain-- they attempted to evict me -- they kept us out of the house for months as they "repaired the home" . I used quotes because the word repair must mean something different to them than it does to me. Their repairs shrunk the house by taking away all the walls between what had been marketed to me as downstairs bedrooms, they took away the bathroom that caused the sewage problems and gave me back a house that was one bathroom and three bedrooms smaller and expected the same rent. A bad deal right? Then that house began to fall apart in large part because of their "repairs" We discovered mold, dry rot, and the house flooded because of the gutting during repair and according to contractors hired by SMC the flooding should have been expected as a result of the deconstruction done while we lived from pillar to post waiting for the house to be repaired. We were told that they should have been aware of the dry rot at the very least in their voracious deconstruction of the house we rented, a 5 bedroom, repaired into a two bedroom. Apparently they did not anticipate the result of their actions although they own hundreds of houses and have played at renovating most of them, or so they would have me believe. The aim of most renovations seems to be to turn former family residences into multiple units or multiple rent streams. We were relocated after another stint of months in discomfort, to another house, smaller, same rent, adjacent to multiple homeless encampments, downwind from a recycling plant with a steady stream of transients, a hearty rat colony, and the miracle of multiple species of flies that seem to inhabit the house year round. I too have had utility bill issues in connection with SMC as a result of them using utilities in my name to renovate a house I am no longer in. This has happened more than once, taken months to get straight and cost me money. So, this business man who is saving Oakland by increasing its tax base has no problem eating off the plates of marginalized renters who are living hand to mouth. In the process of all this I asked more than once to meet with Mr. Sullivan assuming that with so many holdings he might not be aware that our lives have become a living hell, that we lost all our meager savings, that we buried loved ones and could not have a repast at our home, that we have lost material belongings they won't replace, disrupted our lives trajectory, that our mental health has suffered and we will never quite be the same and that we are now in the throes of housing insecurity like we have never experienced. I would still like to talk to him. I would like to ask him about heaven, camels, needle-eyes and the fate of people misplaced by his takeover of West Oakland and his excursions into East Oakland, places where marginalized families could once afford to live but are now scrambling to get out from under the bus REO 1, REO 2, and SMC are driving. As a closing point, our new SMC residence took on water during the last storm and the cause has not been discovered although we spent a lovely week with repairmen who eventually just stopped coming although the problem was never resolved. They did leave me a nice message saying they would figure it out -- meanwhile; I am losing sleep wondering if that means yet another move is looming, and if we can endure it, or if after all this struggle we become just another displaced statistic . This is more than dollar amounts in personal profit, tax bases for a city, and individual business savvy it's very much connected to the fate of working class families, intentional community building (which could work in a number of ways depending on what you intend to build), real diversity in urban areas, and the outcomes of marginalized families struggling to survive.

Posted by Ayodele Nzinga on 03/25/2016 at 11:52 AM

Re: “Two Trains Running

Tickets @ www.lowerbottomplayaz.com

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ayodele Nzinga on 07/24/2014 at 12:36 AM

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