For you who didn't receive the recent newsletter from the Singer Park Association, we include an excerpt from it regarding the Caltrans Homes.
This article was in the Pasadena Star News. It is of interest to the Caltrans Tenants Association not only because of Caltrans' illegal sales of the houses but more importantly because of it's wide reaching ramifications. The case is based on Caltrans' Right of Way Manual and if it is a legal document or an internal procedure manual. Based on the Judge's decision, we interpret it to be an internal procedure manual based on the violations of the Administrative Procedures Act. This not only impacts the sale of the houses but how Caltrans does all of it's business including Property Management and rental rates, their interpretation of the Roberti Bill, as well as how they build roads.
The tenants experience has been that Caltrans mandates decisions based on information in the Right of Way Manual. We now have a ruling that says the Right of Way Manual is in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
The following statements were read and submitted at the Orange County Public Hearing held on November 14, 2006 regarding Caltrans and their mismanagement of state owned property.
• Assemblymember Carol Liu's Testimony
• The Caltrans Tenant Association Statement
|Road To Nowhere|
An Orange County Register Special Watchdog Report on Caltrans
• Road To Nowhere Main Feature Page
• HIGHWAY ROBBERY: How the California Department of Transportation took land it didn’t need and became one of the state’s biggest slumlords
• Oct. 18: Hearing set on Caltrans land policy
• Oct. 17: Orange County tells state to pay
• Oct. 16: Caltrans: Dodging reform
• Oct. 16: Local control of Caltrans sought
• Oct. 16: State agency defends Caltrans
Parking Lot at 721 S Pasadena Avenue Update:
We have achieved a VICTORY in our efforts to hold Caltrans Property Management accountable for their numerous violations of the law. We provided evidence to show that Linda Wilford, Manager of Right of Way / Property Management, illegally entered into a three year lease with Huntington Hospital to use a zoned R-4 residential lot as a parking lot for McCarthy Construction. The City of Pasadena found that Huntington Hospital was illegally parking vehicles on this lot and subsequently, when the Hospital applied for a 45 day Temporary Conditional Use Permit, the Cit Denied the permit. We thank the City Planning Department staff for their decision. You can see a scan of the City’s letter to the Huntington.
AB 1617 UPDATE:
AB1617 did not pass out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on July 12th, 2005. The bill has been held over for "Reconsideration", which means it will still be heard, probably in June of 2006. The bill will start in Transportation where it left off.
We will keep you posted as to the activity regarding AB1617 and alert you when we need your help.
|AB 1617 UPDATE WEB SITE|
Link to State Web site for current activity on bill AB1617. Type in AB 1617 where prompt asks for bill number.
April 14, 2006
To all Caltrans Tenants of the 710 Corridor:
AB1617 took most of the Associations’ time and energy for 2005. It could bring us relief and future purchase under the provisions of the existing Roberti Bill. The amendments to the Roberti Bill outlined in AB1617 will “clean up” language that became a determent to tenants purchasing their homes. The bill was amended last month and we are continuing to work with Assemblymember Liu’s office with possible additional changes before it comes up for reconsideration in June of 2006. We have been working with attorneys on additional language. We will keep you updated. Our goal is to see all tenants, Roberti Bill qualified or not, have an opportunity to purchase the homes that they live in, ASAP.
We are aware that other issues are of importance to the corridor and our fellow tenants. We know that this month some 63 tenants have had to pay 5% to 30% rent increases. That fact alone bears speculation that it may be based on discrimination, as there is no explanation on what the rent increase is based on or why certain tenants were given the increase. There is no consideration of maintenance or code compliance issues on the properties given rent increases. There is no rent appeal. We believe all these issues are illegal. We also believe that the rent increase is a way Caltrans has found to depopulate the corridor of Roberti Bill eligible tenants. If you can’t afford the rent increase, you have to move. If you can afford the rent increase it could prevent you from qualifying under the provisions of the Roberti Bill in the future. We have discussed this with an attorney who feels we have standing in a Civil Rights lawsuit. We are pursuing this option.
In the “big picture” regarding the actual plans for the extension of the 710 Freeway, we have attended and spoken at numerous meetings regarding the future plans for a tunnel to replace the surface route. We have supported the concept of the tunnel because we believed that the properties on the surface route would then become “surplus” and, under state law, would have to be sold in the near future. We are now beginning to realize that the concept may be true but the time line could possibly extend into the far future. This is unacceptable and could border on another 10 years, or more, of bureaucratic mumble jumble. By then, with the seemingly yearly rent increases, no Roberti Bill tenants would exist and the opportunity of Roberti Bill purchase for qualified tenants would be dead.
We have been meeting with the cities affected by the corridor, Liu’s office and the Director of Caltrans, District 7, regarding these violations of our rights and future legal rights under the Roberti Bill for possible solutions and/or remedies. Liu has been negotiating with Caltrans on behalf of three of our tenants with serious issues, which now have come to a stalemate with Linda Wilford, Caltrans Property Manager.
The Board of Directors sees this scenario as unacceptable for the 500 families impacted in the corridor. There are 7-8 tenant lawsuits in motion soon to be filed against Caltrans. The law suits range from tenants who were in the process of purchasing their homes and were denied their Roberti Bill rights by Linda Wilford and had no choice but to move or sue and tenants who live in surplus/excess properties who have been denied civil and contractual rights.
In our opinion, the head of Property Management for District 7, Linda Wilford, has been the catalyst and decision maker who has brought about these egregious issues by her pursuit of illegal actions against the rights of tenants. Formal complaints have been made against this individual. Her decisions include the rent increases and who received them, maintenance and code compliance issues, illegal use of properties such as DCU, the lot turned into a parking lot on Pasadena Avenue, taking some tenant properties for illegal use, the disqualifying of tenants to purchase their homes, the misuse of the historic maintenance funds, illegal tenant contractual decisions, and the documented bullying of many tenants. It seems that Ms. Wilford is behind the decisions to deny us our civil and legal rights. Some tenants have prevailed in legal actions they were forced to take against Caltrans and Ms. Wilford.
The Association requests that any and all tenants who have had any unfavorable dealings and or treatment at the hand of Ms. Wilford or her staff, Email us with your comments, stories and facts. This includes unfair rent increases, and maintenance and code compliance issues. These will be held in the strictest of confidence and not released without your approval. This information is important for the survival of our corridor and our rights! Her superiors have been contacted and documented incidents are necessary ASAP.
The association continues to pursue and maintain three main goals:
1. To preserve our Roberti Bill rights to buy our houses.
2. To ensure just and fair rent increases.
3. To ensure Caltrans complies with safety, health and maintenance codes to provide tenants with safe habitable living environment.
We believe these goals to be in jeopardy!
We will update you on these important impending issues.
On a positive note, we would like to personally thank the tenants who came forward with needed funds to keep us going, especially our “new” tenant who dug very deeply!
The Board of Directors
The Caltrans Tenants of the 710 Corridor
Neighborhood Watch: We hope you will let your tenant neighbors know what is going on and we hope you, in turn, will let us know what is happening to you. We can only help and assist those who we know need it. We have tenants who vigilantly watch over neighboring houses for break-ins and criminal activities. Remember to protect your tenant rights. Slumlord Caltrans cannot legally enter your home without at least a 24-hour notification. Police should be called if Caltrans violates this. We need to protect each other and stick together.
Web Site: We continue to update our web site and we hope you will add it to your book marks or favorites and we welcome comments and suggestions.
Read California State Law and Proceedures at the California Tenants Rights Web Site.|
A rental unit must be fit to live in; that is, it must be habitable. In legal terms, "habitable" means that the rental unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local building and health codes that materially affect tenants’ health and safety. The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides information as to what is habitable on their Dealing With Problems page.