**BREAKING UPDATE** (05/21/12 @ 10:35 am) Today I called 311 and asked for a Structural Civil Engineer to come out and inspect the hotel, and an odd thing happened. The first time I called I spoke to a male 311 service agent who told me that SFDBI (San Francisco Dept. of Building Inspection) had given them instructions to not take complaints on their behalf anymore, and to tell the complainant to come into the office instead! This is what the 311 agent actually said to me?! I was simply floored. This agent seemed to be just a little too familiar with the new policy and sounded almost contrite while explaining it to me. I thanked him, hung up and called back a few minutes later. This time I got a different 311 Customer Service agent who was female and very cheerful at first. As I began to explain my complaint she became less friendly and said that she had taken complaints from me for SFDBI before. It was at this point she began to sound like the other agent the first time I called, sounding preoccupied as though reading something while talking to me. She did however, take my complaint and give me a reference number (service request reference # 1128298). What I think happened was that SFDBI had indeed left instructions with the 311 Customer Service agency to not take complaints on their behalf anymore, in an effort to erase the paper trail. It seems to me that SFDBI doesn’t want to be too hard on landlords (especially ones like Tenderloin Housing Clinic who are a line item on the city budget and very well connected) and will actually attempt to shield them from accountability. I have heard the old cliche of building inspectors taking bribes etc, but never thought I would see anything like this, nor at this scale. I’m telling you folks, and you should really already know for yourselves by now, our government both big and small is thoroughly riddled with corruption. Oh, and by the way, I cannot be considered nor accused of being a nuisance complainer for the simple fact that every single one of my complaints has proven to be abundantly valid. I will update this again in the next few days to let you know what happened, or if the engineer even bothered to show up at all.
Yesterday (05/17/2012) was the third failed re-inspection for a Notice of Violation issued by the city four months ago, to the All Star Hotel’s General Manager Ms. Kia Bautista. The hotel has yet again, failed re-inspection. I initially complained to the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection on January 27th, 2012 about these particular dangerous conditions of the building. I did this by calling the complaints into the city’s Customer Service Number, 311. This however, is just one of the many complaints that I have submitted so far, regarding the dilapidated conditions here at The All Star Hotel. I have filed other complaints to different departments within SFDBI, resulting in many distinct and seperate Notices of Violation being issued for those seperate problems. They will be detailed in upcoming posts in the near future, most can be researched on the SFDBI website. Some of the inspectors however, have been rather antagonistic with me and have not completely documented these other complaints. This of course, makes it difficult if not impossible to determine the actual repairs needed and performed. I suspect there is something “funny going on” although I cannot prove such as yet. Irregardless, I utilize the 311 customer service number since they draft their own complaint and then forward it to the appropriate city agency. You end up with secondary documentation in addition to a now reasonable expectation of response. This method is defeated however, when you are actually complaining to an inspector on site and in person, whom fails to document your verbal complaints. I guess you just have to go back after speaking to the inspector, and call 311 to repeat your complaints so that they are documented for sure. As a third measure, to make sure that violations and their repairs are recorded, I take a prodigious amount of photographs both before the repairs, and after.
During the second re-inspection of this complaint, I followed both General Manager Kia Bautista and Inspector Anthony Lepe around with a checklist. I had previously toured the building prior to the re-inspection to see what had been repaired, what had not, and whether I had missed something else. It has ALWAYS been the case that either I myself discover something new on these pre-inspection tours or, one of my neighbors advises me to report something that they have discovered to be falling apart.
The repairs that on site General Property Manager Ms. Kia Bautista ordered, in conjunction with Chief Maintenance Supervisor Richard, were done improperly and without any permit beforehand. They were also initially not performed by a licensed contractor (as is required by city building code), but by the building’s handyman Mr. Leonard Williams, who is not a licensed plumber nor contractor, and is not qualified to perform such repairs. For the life of me, I cannot see how they had the unmitigated gall to do such a wantonly irresponsible and intentionally negligent thing. Instead of doing what is right and legal, they directed the building’s unlicensed and untrained handyman (Mr. Leonard Williams) to do a hack job on the plumbing and radiant steam heating system, even though he has no experience nor training in either of these critical professions. Leonard used a PVC plastic elbow on a sewage vent pipe that actually required one made of schedule 40 black iron, and substituted a dangerously weak galvanized pipe on the radiant steam system which requires no less than schedule 80 black pipe, so as not to burst under the tremendous pressure steam can produce. If there are any plumbers out there reading this, I would bet my last dollar that they are just shaking theirs heads in disbelief right now. The PVC elbow promptly buckled and collapsed under the weight of a 25′ length of schedule 40 pipe above it, and when the plumbing inspector (Mr. Ken Young) saw the galvanized pipe in the radiator system, he promptly ordered them to tear it out and call a licensed plumber to make the ordered repairs. A different DBI Plumbing Inspector, Mr. Greg, was the one who originally issued the Notice of Violation, DBI Plumbing Inspection Supervisor Mr. Ken Young was just following up on Greg’s work. Excuse me for this but, you just don’t fuck around with the awesome power of steam, it gives mighty locomotives all the energy they need to pull millions of tons, for goodness sakes. Duh?! I’m still amazed that the galvanized pipe didn’t explode under all that pressure and kill one of us poor, abused tenants.
Those criminally negligent actions could have seriously injured or even killed one of us. The radiator steam pipe that handyman Leonard substituted (he had no business touching the system anyway, not being a plumber) with weak galvanized pipe could have burst, spraying tenants with super-heated steam and shrapnel, like that of a grenade. The pipe runs from floor to ceiling in the first floor kitchen, a common area that is always full of tenants cooking what little food they have (we can’t afford to “eat out”). This just goes to show that despite Tenderloin Housing Clinic’s proffestations of being advocates for the poor and homeless, they really don’t give a damn about us and think of us as nothing more than titties from which to suck dry our miniscule living subsidies. Most of us leave here much worse than when we came, often with an eviction on our records and ruined credit. The average rent per month for this dump is $600. For that you get a tiny room, shared bathroom, shared showers and shared kitchen, plus the joy of living in a blighted, falling down, century old building infested with all manner of bugs and vermin. Those pictures at the top of this blog are only a small sampling of what we endure. I myself have lost both of my trucks, half of my possessions and most importantly, precious time. I am now fighting for my rights, the rights of my neighbors and our collective dignity. The Tenderloin Housing Clinic, this hotel and it’s degenerate employees are nothing more than “Poverty Pimps“.
The images below are pictures of the following documents;
my actual handwritten notes before I made the complaint to DBI,
the online version of the DBI Complaint Data Sheet ,
the actual “hard paper copy” DBI Complaint Data Sheet that they sent me,
the hard copy DBI Notice of Violation generated after the initial on-site inspection,
the city, state and federal laws outlining various penalties for non-compliance,
envelope with postmark that contained all this stuff,
business card of the inspector himself, Mr. Anthony Lepe,
San Francisco Department of Building Inspection contact numbers,
and finally a complaint concerning faulty electrical work that I just threw in there because when I put the link in here to the pictures, you simply won’t believe it.