Letters to the Editor – November 2016

How long will California be blind?

Antonio Smith. Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, Cal.

I can and do agree with prison for those unsympathetic, who chooses not to change, etc . . . Now for those with addiction and mental health issues, this is a revolving door. When will we stop supporting and consenting to cruel and unusual punishment? I ask before you vote, please look at the individual closely. Ask yourself, if it were I!


Idea for Tenant Rights App

Christopher J. Huneke, Soledad State Prison, Soledad, Cal.

I wish to extend gratitude to you for including new voices into C.A. I’ve very much appreciated Tiffany Potter’s column, Tiffany’s Take, which has become my favorite and the first piece I read of each new issue.

I have worked with Richard Stone, Maria Telesco and have contributed to C.A. in the past during my journey through incarceration. Together we have started Unitarian Universalist services and a program called Houses of Healing with the intent of providing restorative and inspiring connections for prisoners and the local community.

In November, I will parole and I am hoping to parole into Fresno County because I hope to volunteer at the Fresno Center for Non-Violence. In my previous life, prior to being incarcerated, I worked as a web developer and I’m hoping the FCNV will take advantage of this skill set.

I noticed Simone Cranston-Rhodes’ article “Becoming a Tenant Advocate and Demanding Accountability.” As a person soon to be formally incarcerated, tenants’ rights is an issue I will certainly have a stake in. I believe I can help with her mission. If you are familiar with the app “Do Not Pay” it is a bot that asks a series of questions in order to ascertain the legality of automobile driving tickets. Then you can extrapolate the same type of solution to tenant advocacy. The idea would be that the bot could guide a tenant through the process of ascertaining what legal infractions a landlord is committing, then prepare and electronically submit a police report, a Better Business Bureau complaint, a Building and Development Report, and a Code Enforcement Report. It can also generate and electronically mail and time track a request by the city (we’d need to partner with them) to the landlord about a problem and time track a landlord citation for the six-month, “no-retribution” time frame, and automatically accept multiple bids (we could take a 10 percent cut as a revenue source to pay for the service). In addition, we could create a public system for tenants to submit work orders to landlords, provide a publicly accessible job-bidding board for those work orders and a publicly accessible rating system that gives grades to landlords for service levels or response time, work quality, and other areas.  Eventually, we could partner with a big website, like apartments.com, and become the national leader in apartment maintenance and tenant advocacy. Basically, the idea is to make apartment maintenance and tenant rights an issue that landlords can’t ignore because the information becomes so easy for the public to access that “reputation” becomes a landlord market differentiation just like it has become for restaurants.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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