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(CA) O'mei Restaurant Closes After Owner Made Donations

Photos for O'mei Restaurant

Photo of O'mei Restaurant - Santa Cruz, CA, United States. Chili Fried Rice



California Restaurant Closes After Owner Defends David Duke Donations

It didn’t survive the ensuing boycott

by Monica Burton  Aug 31, 2017, 11:20am EDT

A Chinese food restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, has closed following a boycott in reaction to the owner’s contributions to David Duke’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign, local paper the Mercury News reports. Restaurant patrons got word that Roger Grigsby, owner of O’mei Szechuan Chinese Restaurant, supported the former Ku Klux Klan leader’s campaign after contribution records appeared on a local site. This week, signs on the restaurant’s windows announced that O’mei would be closed for the foreseeable future due to “slanderous and malicious internet rumors.”

Grigsby confirmed that he had made multiple donations totaling $500 to Duke’s campaign, but lambasted patrons for spreading “political terror.” He blames not only boycotting patrons, but also employees who quit and then posted negative Yelp reviews for O’mei’s demise. Both the restaurant’s Yelp and Facebook pages have been flooded with criticisms, and the Yelp page is currently in active cleanup mode.


Grigsby attempted to defend himself against the “malicious internet rumors” in a phone conversation with the Mercury News. “All the things they called me: white supremacist, neo-Nazi, KKK — it’s all bullshit,” he said. “My girlfriend and my former wife were both Chinese. Anybody who knows me, it’s like the United Colors of Benetton in our restaurant. We’ve had every ethnicity.”

Grigsby also praised Duke, crediting the former KKK Imperial Wizard with “defending the civil rights of European-Americans, whites.” Not stopping there, he went on to say, “The very word, ‘white supremacist’ is an attack. Nobody calls Mexicans and blacks and Chinese ‘Nazis.’ They only call white people ‘Nazis.’ The idea there is to make guilt by association of two words. White people and evil Nazis.”

O’mei had been in business for 38 years and was something of a Santa Cruz institution. Former restaurant patrons who spoke to the Mercury News lament only that the restaurant’s staff that will have to find other jobs.

• Boycott closes popular Santa Cruz restaurant, owner defends David Duke donations [The Mercury News]






Seattle approves ordinance to stop landlords from using criminal records to screen tenants


by Michelle Esteban, KOMO

Tuesday, August 15th 2017


SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council voted 8 to 0 to prohibit landlords from using criminal records to screen prospective tenants. The only exception to the new ordinance are sex offenders.

City leaders and supporters of the measure; 'Fair Chance Housing Ordinance' insist its goal is to reduce housing discrimination and barriers.

Inside Seattle Council Chambers there was overwhelming support for a measure.

In short, it will restrict how landlords can use arrest and conviction records to exclude prospective renters. Seattle landlords will no longer be able to ask about criminal records, pending charges, juvenile records or any arrest record when choosing tenants.

The measure states the only exception are sex offenders and in those cases the landlord must have a legitimate reason to deny an applicant.

Council member Sally Bagshaw told KOMO News prior to the vote that she planned to vote yes because housing is an essential right to everyone and she hoped the measure will be an extra tool in the toolbox to help deal with the city's homeless crisis.

Prior to the vote the only public comment came from a handful of proponents who praised council for what they called "progressive law" and thanked them for their compassion and grasp of the issue.

The Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA) opposes the law, but its External Affairs Director Sean Martin said the Association saw no point in attending Monday's meeting after it passed in Council Committee 6 to 0.

"We knew it was going to be approved today," said Martin, who added the RHAWA will review the decision and consider its options, including a legal review.

Among the supporters who applauded and cheered when the vote was tallied were citizens who used the public comment period to tell their personal stories.

Including a few people who said their criminal records continue to follow them into the community - even years later, which at times has made it nearly impossible to put a roof over their heads.

"I still receive the message that I don't belong in the community," Seattle resident Rusty Thomas told the council.

He said he was formerly incarcerated and despite serving his time, going to college and getting a degree in psychology, he still gets discriminated against for his conviction.

"I'm still being told you can't live here we don't trust you no matter how much work I put in," said Thomas.

Seattle's Susan Mason said it happens to her too and she's been out of the system for 14 years.

"We have given so much power to landlords to re-convict me," said Mason.

She told councilmembers that she served time behind bars, met her probation requirements and paid her fines, but insisted she's still paying every time she attempts to move to a new address.

"What we are talking about is discrimination, period. Just this idea I have to plea to a private citizen even though I did my time," said Mason.

"A lot of our people are concerned about the liability component," said RHAWA'S Martin, "There's a lot of concern."

The RHAWA, whose majority of members have smaller units - about 10 or less, said the measure is poor policy and will put landlords and other tenants at risk by turning a blind eye to most criminal records.

"The big concern is landlords feel pain on this, we are closing doors in access to tenants," said Martin.

He insisted all landlords want the same thing: good tenants, and said the law will make it harder to assess risks.

He thinks some landlords will opt out of the rental business, possibly shrinking the city's rental market inventory.

The city plans to offer educational programs to help landlords with the new measure.

"What we know, and as my work as a prosecuting attorney, if someone leaves prison and doesn't have housing and a job, they're doomed by a spin cycle to be back out on the streets again," said Bagshaw.

The Mayor is expected to sign the ordinance into law. It would take effect sometime next year.

Landlords who rent out their own homes or rent a room would be exempt.

Source: http://komonews.com/news/local/seattle-approves-ordinance-to-stop-landlords-from-using-criminal-history-to-screen-tenants





(VA) John AdamsTHE OPIOID CRISIS


Poll: 2017 VA State Election - Attorney General 

Candidates: 

(R) John Adams vs. (D) Mark Herring





华人控诉:房东的悲歌!加州开始“打土豪,分田地” (图)


在标榜自由,民主,公平的美国,在讯息传播便利的现代社会,你相信会有人在没有犯法的情况下被剥夺了私人房产充公吗?这种“打土豪,分田地”的事情,真的会在美国上演吗?请看看发生在Alice一家身上的故事,事发地点就在距离我们不远的城市--东湾奥克兰。那个城市一向以治安恶劣著称,也因为租管(Rent Control)和租客保护条例(Tenant Protection Ordinance)政策超级严厉而闻名。

先介绍一下租管。很多人其实一直有误解,以为租管是个好政策,目的仅仅是约束地主不要太贪心,每年租金不能涨价很多。但是很多人不知道,租管政策的核心其实是严重限制了屋主对私有物业的的种种操控权力,反而把权力赋予了居住在里面的租客。读了这个故事,估计每个人都会问,到底房屋的主人是谁?是那个付了down payment,每月支付mortgage的屋主,还是低价住在里面,甚至一直拒绝缴纳房租的租客?

1. 事件导火索--强制迁出令

Alice家拥有的楼房在奥克兰市中心附近。故事起始于2014年7月,大楼管理方对楼内6户租客发出强制迁出令。有经验的屋主都知道,在租管政策严格的地区,要想让租客迁出,简直难于登天。搞不好一步走错,被租客抓住把柄,不仅赶不走人,自己还要倒赔几万甚至几十万美金的罚款。这栋大楼的管理方也是非常小心,生怕落下欺负”弱小租客”的恶名。他们发出迁出令的对象都是有确凿证据长期拖欠房租,而且有犯罪记录,比如刚从戒毒所出来的劣迹斑斑的租客。

而迁出令的发出,无异于引发了一颗炸弹,不到半个钟头,楼内立刻有人纵火。这就是职业租霸们对大楼管理方发出的宣战信号。按说,拖欠房租,恶意毁坏他人房产,都是足够把租客赶走的正当理由(参考文章:解码 JCE,魔鬼在细节!)。但是因为楼主不是警察,无法提供租客犯罪现场的铁证,也找不到现场证人,所以,不光这些作恶的租客一点事儿没有,Alice一家反而从此惹上了麻烦。

2. 专业团队EDC出动,保护“弱小”租客

面对迁出令的发出,这几个带头的租霸不仅继续抗拒缴纳拖欠的房租,而且还开始在楼里恶意闹事,煽动更多租客加入拒交房租的行列。大楼管理方在无法得到正常租金收入的情况下,不得不发出更多的强制迁出令。不久,著名的保护租客免遭强制迁出的专业组织EDC (Eviction Defense Center)被惊动,开始介入此案,宣告房东的噩梦正式开始。

EDC介入后,立刻发出了对大楼主管方的官司威胁。而且,EDC利用其丰富经验,很快帮一名职业租霸在迁出令执行前争取到了胜利和解的机会--要求大楼管理者取消此租客所有拖欠的房租,甚至还加上未来的房租,直到屋主修好了楼里所有被破坏掉的设备(包括被租霸恶意纵火破坏的部分)为止。就在和解产生的当天下午,EDC号召并组织了全楼租客的“霸租”(拒绝缴纳房租)运动,做为对“邪恶”房东的对抗。有了如此强硬的后台,专业律师团队撑腰,楼里大多数租客都开始停止支付房租,哪怕是一些刚刚入住的租客。

3. 奥克兰市府介入,教唆租客“造反”

这还不是最糟糕的。一周之后,EDC律师开始在这栋楼里挨家挨户发放一张传单(参考图1),上面打印的是奥克兰市府律师 Melosa Granda 写的一封电邮。里面写到:我在此要求你们大家一起加入起诉屋主的行列,尽量多的上交申诉,从而能让我们帮助你们改善在这栋楼里的居住环境。信后,她还附了一个清单,告诉租客可以就哪些方面起诉屋主,比如霉的问题,下水管道问题,有害动物(比如臭虫,老鼠之类),裸露的电线,等等。

这个充满蛊惑性的传单起到了立竿见影的效果,仅仅发出后一周,EDC 就有了超过20份租客诉讼,全部出自根本不交房租的租客,而且内容都跟 Melosa Granda 信里指导的一模一样...


(参考图1)

4. 媒体涉入,恶意误导舆论

因为EDC一直在不断发出租客申诉,大楼管理方本着守法负责的精神,赶紧联系修缮。2015年3月,城市的房屋检查人员对此楼发出检验合格,终止修缮的通知。但是KTVU Fox 2电视台已经兴奋地介入此案,根本不管修缮合格的通知书。他们在楼内呆了一晚上,拍出来许多肮脏,杂乱,和不适合居住的镜头。而且,新闻记者还专门采访了那些蓄意制造麻烦的职业租霸,他们到了镜头前,立刻成了被“贪婪邪恶”的大楼管理方肆意欺凌的柔弱租客,在电视里悲痛欲绝地控诉房东的无耻和自己的可怜无助。当然,他们绝口不提自己之前已经有超过半年没有付过一分钱租金,白白住在在楼里。

KTVU Fox 2台造出来的假新闻压力引发舆论哗然,这栋楼里的居住条件之恶劣看起来触目惊心。于是,在2015年3月底,城市房屋检查人员不得不重新开启自己刚刚终止的这个案件,再次对这个楼房进行挨家挨户的房屋质量检查。而检查结果令人震惊,明明是刚修好的很多设施,已经迅速地被破坏殆尽,破坏者是谁,可想而知。可是屋主和大楼主管方不仅没有任何办法惩罚这些蓄意搞破坏的租客,反而搞得自己“欺凌贫穷弱小租客”的罪名又被加了浓重一笔。

5. 蓄意栽赃水污染,犹如引爆重磅炸弹

所谓众口铄金,到了此刻,Alice房东这方基本已经深陷泥潭,在媒体舆论,还有市府官方那里都被抹黑成欺负穷人的恶房东。但是,跟他们后来受到的致命一击相比,前面这些序曲其实都算不上什么了。

在2015年5月,一个有过犯罪记录的职业租霸向城市发出申诉,说自己喝了楼里的自来水,身体感到严重不适。水公司检查人员立刻到楼里该人的住处取出水样检查。检查结果表明,这个水样的确有污染,但是污染源就在这个租客申诉中所提到的他接水的那个水龙头里。而城市房屋检查部门,虽然听说了水公司更多更全面的全楼水样检测报告一天内就会出来,却依然下令大动干戈,让全楼居民立刻紧急迁出住宅。之后三天,大批无法核实身份的入住者占有了附近一个汽车旅馆,而这几天的旅馆花费当然全部由大楼管理方负担。另外,就在紧急迁出令执行的当天,水公司做的系统的大规模的水样检测报告就出来了。检测结果表明,这个楼房的自来水质量完全符合要求,没有任何污染,唯一有问题只有那个提出申诉的租霸自己接水的那一个水龙头。(参见2015-5-4 EBMUD WaterInspection-failure in the faucet itself.pdf; )虽然水样检测报告铁证如山,可KTVU Fox 2还是我行我素地扩散他们的不实报道,内容骇人听闻:“上百奥克兰居民因为住在这栋大楼,不幸遭受大规模水污染的毒害。这些可怜的租客不得不全部迁出楼房。” (参考新闻链接 http://www.ktvu.com/news/4593168-story

就在一个月后,城市方面忽然发出限时一天的紧急通知,针对这栋大楼发生过的严重紧急问题,他们决定替换接管人,保护自己的市民安全。而事实上,这栋大楼并没有任何地方不合政府规定的居住标准,也没有任何政策细节上的违规。在这种情况下,市府律师根本没有充足证据剥夺私人楼主和大楼管理者的权利,也无法论证他们这个紧急命令需要立刻被执行的强制性与必要性。于是,他们只能用谎言来达到自己赢得官司的目的。在法庭上,一个资深市府律师当庭撒谎,完全违反了他作为律师的职业道德。他陈述了一段他明知道不是事实的证词:“尊敬的法官,请你一定要了解在这个大楼里,上百的居民每天因为受到污染的饮用水而不幸病倒,其中包括孩子和老年人”。而发表这种令人发指的指控的市府律师,其实早在水样检测合格当天就收到了报告,却故意颠倒黑白。而在市府律师的帮助下,法官认为案情太严重啦,大楼管理方太失职啦,立刻下令要求马上更换大楼接管者。

6. 房东破产卖屋,RCD粉墨登场

被城市方找来的大楼管理者不干事,先圈钱。一上来就拿房屋作为抵押,从放债人那里取得25万的经费。而整个大楼房东经过这一连串雪上加霜的打击,则被迫进入Chapter 11破产过程。在四个月后,破产法人接管了大楼,而城市并没有放弃对房子的控制。

当破产法院召开拍卖会的时候,虽然有两位买家愿意用市场价购买此楼房,EDC和市府却拼命阻挠,最后让法庭接受了一个叫RCD的由官方资助的机构得到了房产。这个RCD出价$4.5 million, 承诺要把一部分房间改成适合低收入住房,所以市府才拼命支持。但是明明另一个出价至少高$1 million的买家也说可以按照市府要求改低收入住房,但是因为奥克兰市长带领几位市议员去法庭为RCD站台,RCD最终成功得到了产权。

再说RCD可谓集万千宠爱于一身,不仅低价抢到购买权,还被破产法院两次恩准延期,好让他们有更多的时间能从HUD’ Section 8项目里筹集资金。而其他用市价的买家其实是愿意立刻付清款项的。要知道筹款时间越长,破产法人就会需要更多的管理花费,负担都落在房东身上。

RCD拿到大楼后,成立了一个可负担住房项目,从联邦政府拿到$20 million。这其实是要花费$20 million纳税人的钱,来改建这个大楼,他们才能完成这笔交易。就算楼里每个单元需要2万美金翻修来改造成可负担住房,那么一百个单元也只需要$2 million。所以这$20 million远远超出实际花费,这么大的负担都落在纳税人身上。而多余的钱,会到哪里去呢?会被谁揣进腰包呢?

7. 破产后仍无法逃脱,噩梦依然在继续

哪怕已经交出了房产,被租管扒掉了一层皮,Alice一家仍然没有逃过被继续盘剥的命运。这也是为什么他们开始向外界呼吁求助的原因。

第一,城市方要求继续追究Alice一家的法律责任,因为他们涉及到严重“虐待”租户。2017年3月,同一个地方法院发出通告,要求这个楼主个人,还有任何相关LLC都被放上被告席。法院的诉求是冻结与Alice相关的所有资产都要被追诉。虽然Alice仅仅是资产信托管理人,她的妈妈才是信托主人,但是那些财产依然被奥克兰市府强行加入追缴行列。而这些惩罚都是建立在根本莫须有,完全被捏造出来的罪名上。

第二,被城市方找来的大楼管理者虽然只接管了四个月,他却要求几十万美金的“赔偿”。首先,他要求按照每小时$350的费用来计算自己的接管费,外加每小时$575的律师费,还有接管人的私人文书也要得到大约每小时$150-$250。而对于他失去接管权力之后的每一个月,他要求每个月一万五千美金作为自己不幸失去这份工作的补偿资金,总时间长达15个月。另外,他还要求给他另外30万美金,因为他说当他做这栋大楼接管人的时候,有一笔因此产生的52万6千美金的欠款。而因为他当初是被市府还有司法系统特别指定的,所以这个接管人堂而皇之要求前任管理者支付他所有这些荒谬的赔偿名目,而不是从破产财产里支付。

第三,EDC又给出了租客指导,让之前提告的租霸们每人至少要求10万美金的和解费,而且“永远”不要私下接受和解!这样他们不光可以一直不交房租赖在楼里居住,还能得到丰厚的金钱补偿。

时至今日,房东Alice一家被贴满“欺负穷人”,“虐待租客”,“邪恶房东”的标签,自家房产被奥克兰市府和市府相关的组织机构巧取豪夺成了公共财产。整个过程中,到底房东一家做错了什么?他们唯一做错的,就是不该做一只深入狼群的盲目的肥羊。他们不该在奥克兰这个租管疯狂的城市投资买楼,不该被市府看中可以利用他们的房产搞政府的低收入住房福利计划。这就是Alice一家的所有”原罪”!

在这个故事里,获利者是谁?职业租霸们通过无穷无尽的起诉,得到了免费住房;媒体利用不负责任的虚假宣传,博得了眼球和高收视率;保护租客的律师们通过大量伪证据,在不断的开庭过程中大收律师费;奥克兰市府及相关组织,则通过这个案子运作,成立了$20 million的专项基金部门。

在这个故事里,输家是谁?除了破产的房东,还有就是广大奥克兰纳税人,和真正需要低价房救助的穷人。政府花了$20 million纳税人资金,利用租管引发的官司,投入大笔律师费,无数专业人员费用,最终得到了Alice家的房产。而如果这几十个million能够真正用在帮助穷人解决住房危机方面,可以买来多少住房帮他们解决危难啊?这就是rent control(租金管制)的噩梦,是Tenant Protection Ordinance(TPO, 租客保护条例)和Just Cause Eviction (JCE,举证驱离)带来的恶果;这就是大政府一手遮天的结果。






Comments:

(5/18/2017 @Alex)

"费城房东的悲歌也可以写一本书"


(5/17/2017 @不染)

"太可怕了"


(5/17/2017 @老陈)

"这就是典型民主党案例 -- 就是打土豪分田地吃大户,因为大户人少,吃户人多,一人一选票,选票多的赢了。"


(5/17/2017 @Lisa)

"这就是投民主党的下场。"


(5/17/2017 @Tony)

"只要支持民主党,房东就没法做下去。房东们有机会给本区的共和党参选人一些帮助是最好的办法。"










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