Last Friday afternoon, senior citizens living at Garberville's Cedar Street Apartments met with members of the board of directors and on-site manager Patti Rose. Most of the meeting dealt with one item that was conspicuously absent from the meeting's agenda -- complaints about management. Numerous residents claimed to have been threatened with eviction without adequate cause
"My blood pressure has gone up so much I went to the emergency room, because of pressure from the boss," said one resident. "I'm tired of being threatened with eviction," he added.
Residents claim to have been threatened with eviction over relatively minor issues, including noise complaints and problems with pets. Despite a heated critique of Rose's performance, representatives from the board repeatedly made it clear that they were unable to discuss the matter in public -- instead directing residents to file a written complaint, despite fear of retaliation.
"I think most people are probably familiar with the concept of employee confidentiality. Once you start getting into employee performance areas of discussion, you really need to be careful about what kind of discussion you have in a public way," added Dian Pecora, who was acting as a facilitator during last week's meeting.
While reviews of Rose's performance as the apartment complex's onsite manager were consistently negative during the meeting -- not all the residents agree on this issue. Nancy Mohr was largely quiet during the meeting, but eager to speak after it ended.
"I just think of her as a wonderful person," said Mohr, who recently moved into the Cedar Street housing facility after three and a half years on the wait-list. "The main thing is I think she has a really good heart, and is a very fair person who really cares."
The Redwood Times asked Rose for comment on the complaints discussed at the meeting, including resident reports of being threatened with eviction.
"It's a misrepresentation, I believe, of the actual facts. My usual policy when I get a complaint about someone's behavior, I talk with the person that's been complained about and try to make sure that they're aware of what the concern is so they can try to address it. If it goes beyond that and they continue to violate our house rules or our lease or our pet rules, then I write a letter so that they are notified that they are violating their lease and they need to address the concern."
"So far I've never evicted anyone," Rose added. "I want us to have good communication so that we can address those concerns and all live together peacefully."
Despite the focus on Patti Rose, part of the problem may be due to rigid rules that come with the HUD funding which subsidizes the apartment complex.
"It is very frustrating to have to deal with the red tape of HUD housing, and I can sympathize with both sides there," said Rebecca Arcos, director of the Healy Senior Center in Redway. "It's an awkward position to be in for the board, and the residents don't feel like they get their concerns addressed."
In the end, at the direction of the board, residents agreed to select a task force or resident council to represent them in upcoming meetings that will seek to adjudicate this conflict. There were also some heated complaints regarding the Cedar Street Apartment complex's policies regarding noise and pets, but little progress was made on these matters.
One resident made an impassioned argument for installing Dish TV and upgrading the on-site wifi. The upgrade would allow residents to access HDTV features that are unavailable with the current service -- but it's not clear that the Cedar Street Apartments meet the requirements for installation, which involve a commitment from at least ten residents. Based on hands raised among residents, there were only six to eight that expressed an interest in subscribing to DISH.