A couple months back, someone sent me a link to SEIU 775 president David Rolf’s opinion piece in the Seattle Times, “Seattle’s neighborhood councils have raised selfishness to an art form” (July 25, 2016, http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/seattle-neighborhood-councils-selfishness-raised-to-an-art-form/). Preoccupied as I was much of the summer with the sad process of evicting a deadbeat roommate, I didn’t get around to it earlier. But that’s just as well since I would have missed including a link to The Stranger‘s acerbic headline on Mayor Murray’s attempts to deal with Seattle’s housing affordability crisis: “Seattle’s Neighborhood Councils Are Exclusionary, Self-Interested ‘Cartels,’ and the City Wants to Cut Ties with Them.”
In his attempt to hold back the growing “economic apartheid” that exists in Seattle, Mayor Murray issued an executive order defunding the neighborhood “cartels,” and should be issuing further legislation on the matter to city council chambers, well, just about now. (The Stranger, http://www.thestranger.com/news/2016/08/03/24422135/seattles-neighborhood-councils-are-exclusionary-self-interested-cartels-and-the-city-wants-to-cut-ties-with-them.)
David Rolf’s op-ed piece begins with a single statement that acknowledges the position of those who rent in neighborhoods like my own:
We should not use taxpayer money to support Seattle neighborhood councils that have an agenda excluding renters, people of color, the young, the poor and those who need social services from their neighborhoods.
Rolf’s comments that neighborhood councils consistently argue against new development do not address neighborhoods like mine in which watch and council members welcome the razing of existing single family houses in favor of new single family residences that can be sold at the million dollar mark, or for razing smaller, older properties to allow speculators on either side to “build out” before they flip the homes they own.
As I sit here, writing in my dining room on this October morning, the voices of the mobbers—the tenant relocators or the criminal speculators themselves—harangue me using speaker and radio-based harassment from the houses to my north and south, properties held by apparent house flippers. Based on my experiences here in this northeast Seattle neighborhood overrun by speculators encouraged by a corrupt and dysfunctional neighborhood watch whose members have made themselves criminal by their involvement in felony harassment, I’d say there’s not much of a leap between a “cartel” and a little racketeering.
The term “cartel” as used in The Stranger article to refer to a neighborhood council comes from David Rolf. In my neighborhood, it’s accurate, complete with criminal overtones. After all, some of those involved in my neighborhood watch have been deeply involved in attempting to control the destiny of their neighborhoods not only through the neighborhood councils but by inviting criminal real estate speculators and tenant relocators into their neighborhoods to commit felony crimes like stalking and cyberstalking to compel the turnover of properties for speculation.
The laments over the loss of city funding to neighborhood councils are predicated on a misbelief: That neighborhood councils are in and of themselves good. My situation proves otherwise. Another way to think about some of these unelected “community” groups is as middlemen stepping into the governance process, and not necessarily for the good of those they claim to serve, on either end of the deal.
Neighborhood watch and council misbehavior, malfeasance and organized crimes like racketeering that involve those in such groups expose the City of Seattle to great liability, especially if city coffers fund the crooks. Clannish neighborhood groups whose involvement in governance is less than altruistic may use their increased access to exclude and to condemn. Whether out of selfishness or malevolence, such neighborhood groups may “misrepresent” or overlook the interests of those they claim to represent. In my neighborhood, the neighborhood watch does not simply benefit from the involvement of the same people in the district councils, they use their position to support the ceaseless nuisance complaints they make to city departments, to fatten their wallets by making requests for city services that increase their own property values, and even by propagandizing Seattle Police Department into believing that those who reside on the properties they want to turn over are criminals.
I can only speculate on the cost of the more than 150 nuisance complaints, documented in public records, that my own neighborhood watch and its speculator friends made about me even before the harassment that was obviously criminal began. I suspect they already spent the funds they continue to lobby the City of Seattle to give them for neighborhood improvements in their unfortunate and ultimately criminal effort to harass certain locals out of the neighborhood these last years. By no stretch of the imagination does this serve any decent “community.” Perhaps the City of Seattle should advise those from my own neighborhood watch who decry the decision to cease funding neighborhood councils, that they’ve already been paid.
RenterHarassment.com is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those involved in “real estate mobbing” me. An investigation into the activities of my neighborhood watch should easily expose the criminal speculators or tenant relocators who moved into position around my legal rental home. Such an investigation could begin by looking at the pattern of civil nuisance complaints that seems common to “property mobbing,” as well as the attempts to frighten renters from the neighborhood by threats of civil actions and by civil actions. I believe that some of these more “civil” techniques that preceded the speaker and radio harassment’s introduction into my house through its window panes and communication and entertainment systems are a common theme in forcing “reluctant sellers”—a term I saw on a Florida website called propertymob.com—to give up their properties to shady speculators willing to use unethical means to “acquire” them.
It might take a grand jury to get some of those involved to talk, since it seems like intimidation and bullying dominate in this rarefied enclave, but those who are involved or know about it supported it because they thought they could get away with it. There are numerous reasons for their confidence, including the use of hacking and novel technologies like directional speakers. Another is their enlistment and cultivation of police bias into their strategy for eviction. But once it becomes clear that there’s no getting away with profiting off of criminal forced eviction in the good city of Seattle or in the United States, at least some of those involved will probably be quick to distance themselves from the others by providing the information necessary to make arrests.
Exposing what has happened to me here in northeast Seattle is one good way to show that the concerns of Mayor Murray and David Rolf about neighborhood council bias are more than justified. When those in neighborhood watch groups and neighborhood councils come to believe that it is within their purview to forcibly evict the legal residents they don’t like and to work with speculators to hand over other people’s properties to them in a drive to line their own pockets by gentrifying the neighborhood, these unelected “representatives” are clearly out of control. The activities of such groups should not only not be supported by Seattle city funding; because of their claim to “represent” their neighborhoods their activities should be regulated. In my own neighborhood, the neighborhood watch does not represent the goodness of community and those involved work systematically to suppress the voices and rights of the legal residents they believe they can bully, renters chief among them.
Take, for example, the South Cedar Park neighborhood watch, a watch group calling itself the “Good Neighbors” that operates as though it is above the law. Renters in the South Cedar Park neighborhood are disenfranchised by this unelected body which has actively attempted to force at least some renters from the neighborhood.
Captains of that group include or have included the likes of Sandra Motzer. You can find documentation on Motzer’s involvement in numerous north-end community groups on the web (www.seattle.gov/documents/departments/neighborhoods/districts/north/north-dc-current-meeting.pdf). Motzer sent an email, which I have in my possession but have not so far posted, to her husband Tim, to other members of the “Good Neighbors” neighborhood watch including Lee Mozena and John Clark, to two developers working the area, and to the male home owners on either side of an embattled female renter. Motzer proposed ways of using City of Seattle civil codes to compel renters to move from the neighborhood. Concurrent with this drive, Motzer chaired the Lake City Neighborhood committee responding to HULA, Mayor Murray’s proposal on homelessness.
Tim Motzer is just the kind of white, older unelected “representative” who has turned the mayor away from the supporting community councils. Tim Motzer is a former City of Seattle manager and now Citywide Neighborhood Council (CNC) representative for the North District Council (http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoodcouncil/members.htm and http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/Neighborhoods/Districts/North/North%20DC%20agenda%205_24_16.pdf). He has also advanced upon a renter in his neighborhood, shaking his fist and admonishing her that renters have no right to park on city streets. Part of his report at a recent meeting of the North District Council included a request made to District Councils across the city to provide letters “supporting a delay in the Mayor’s decision to eliminate funding for the district Council System.” (www.seattle.gov/documents/departments/neighborhoods/districts/north/north-dc-current-meeting.pdf) The same report also remarks on projects deemed “worthy of funding,” including one with the project number 2016-122 Lakeside Place NE Street Edge and Storm Drainage Restoration led by Tim Motzer. According to King County records, this is the small lakeside street of Sandra and Tim Motzer’s abode and may also be the “street edge” where, in her email to her cronies on renter parking, Sandra Motzer said that she and Tim would now require a guard rail on the street side that abuts their property. Tim Motzer is also named as a representative of the North Distict Council (NDC) Transit Sub-Committee “to formalize our response to King County Metro and Sound Transit in terms of our (emphasis mine) transport needs in North Seattle.” One wonders what kind of transportation policy would be promulgated by someone who warns those he knows to rent not to park on the city streets in his own neighborhood.
Lee Mozena admitted, in a failed bid to get an anti-harassment order in her drive to chase a couple involved in the legal marijuana trade from her neighborhood, that she had made something like 100 nuisance complaints about the legally parked vehicles belonging to another tenant whose goal in retaining them and parking them in front of her own home has been to keep herself safe while protecting the property lines of her rental home in a neighborhood overrun with bullying and property disputes. In one of many other complaints, Mozena complained to a 911 dispatcher who explained to her that a nearby tenant was not in violation of the Seattle Noise Ordinance that the tenant did not pay taxes and that she herself did. These are statements from some of the public documents in this matter in which the players made remarkable statements intended to damage the lives of their neighbors and put them into legal peril, not unlike the statements of the franchise family girlfriend who said in a courtroom that she and the owner of the south mobbing house would not be able to have children if I remained next door.
John Clark told the female counterpart of the couple involved in the legal marijuana trade that because she was a renter, he could “make [her] move.” He is apparently a retired therapist who has unprofessionally tendered “assessments” of two renters he has barely met and never seen in a professional capacity in civil suits intended to damage them, to tortiously interfere in their contractual relationships with their landlords, and ultimately to chase them out of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, Clark, an elderly man whose court testimony in one instance had to be prompted and led by his co-captain Lee Mozena, may also have been manipulated into what would, for a licensed therapist, likely be unethical conduct. Ms. Motzer appeared as a witness for Lee Mozena in the same court case, attesting to Mozena’s fears in encountering the couple. Curiously, Mozena was witnessed around the same time apparently trying to provoke the male counterpart of the couple by following him down the street to his house while shooting video of him on her phone.
People who war on their neighbors, who invite crimes upon their neighbors and are willing to lie in court and obstruct justice if that’s what it takes to acquire or “turn over” property, are unfit for involvement in any kind of government, be it local or federal.
The focus of David Rolf’s remarks is on the general tendency of neighborhood council groups to exclude. The sole purpose of the effacement that mobbing effects from both workforce and residential communities is exclusion, economically, socially, and otherwise. Concludes Rolf in his opinion piece on the neighborhood council system, “This is selfishness raised to an art form. The city can’t prevent these disproportionately white, affluent and self-interested groups from lobbying against inclusion, but it doesn’t need to finance them.”
By exposing the real estate mobbing in my Seattle neighborhood, not only can we defend the fairness of decisions like Mayor Murray’s withdrawal of funding for “neighborhood cartels,” but we may well lead the way in exposing a criminal real estate movement that teaches investors across the United States how to “acquire” property by quietly harassing legal residents of their homes.
And if you are involved with a district council or a neighborhood watch that is progressive and inclusive, instead of defending the district council system you should be interested in exposing the private projects of those in neighborhood watches or district councils who would be involved in doing what has been done to me and probably to others before me. If you believe in the neighborhood council system, the best way to defend it is to ensure that those district council and neighborhood watch organizations that abuse the public trust by aggressing on those they claim to represent, and even to protect, are exposed and prosecuted.
To put it bluntly, free me from the real estate mobbers and countless others who have been mobbed without realizing what it was or surviving it, as well as those who will be mobbed in the future, may be better able to live their lives as they should be lived in the “free society” that the United States supposedly is. Those attempting to harass me out of my home bragged early on that it was a “professional real estate hit.” Taking them at their word, what they do in effect, is to illegally and effectively incarcerate legal citizens who have done no wrong in order to “clear” them from the properties that developers want or that nasty neighborhood watch groups want to “turn over.” What they do, is extortion: Your privacy, your life, in exchange for your property.
Kudos to the Mayor for moving ahead with this attempt to broaden and extend participation in neighborhood government. People who would real estate mob their neighbors don’t belong in city or neighborhood government. People who would collude to constructively evict legal tenants from their neighborhoods should be in prison.
Please help to put them there.