[box type="note" style="rounded" border="full"]When letters to the editor reference elected officials, we try to give them an opportunity to respond. We thank Councilmember Dave Asher for submitting the following response to the letter below. - Editor[/box]
Thank you, Rob, for letting me know about this letter. I did have occasion to receive Ms Tucker’s application for a condominium owned by my wife and a relative. It is inappropriate to discuss particulars of what occurred after that, except to say there was no decision based, in whole or in part, on the source of Ms Tucker’s funds.
In fact, in researching the Section 8 program it seemed to be reasonable - not an obstacle to a successful rental arrangement. When I found information condemning the program, I also discovered information that directly contradicted the points raised in the condemnation. The authoritative sources that were most convincing generally indicated that a landlord properly maintaining a property would not have difficulty using Section 8 funding as partial rental payment. That is not to say that there are no differences. There are rules and procedures that need to be understood by prospective landlords, but they are not onerous. In fact, I did learn that tenants that have Section 8 support are often long-term renters.
- Dave Asher
Here's how this whole thing started...I'm a very nice retired lady on Social Security Disability with a Section 8 housing voucher. I live alone, no pets, don't smoke, drink, or do drugs, and have an impeccable rental history (until I was slandered by SHAG's Arrowhead Gardens in Seattle, as I suffer from asthma and was promised a non-smoking property, then after I moved in, they populated the place with smokers to fill the vacancies, with no regard whatsoever for the health and welfare of the seniors and disabled who live there, and Seattle Housing, which is a VERY corrupt housing authority, ) SHAG has a VERY nasty, abusive attorney, who lost his court case against me, as when SHAG refused to release me from my lease when I needed to move because of the smoking, I posted it on the Internet, which is my 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech, he took me to court, and of course, lost and was yelled at by the judge for being disrespectful in the courtroom, which apparently is his standard modus oeprandi.
After being forced to live in that smoke-filled hellhole for a year-and-a-half, I applied to live at Luna Sol in Kirkland, who were all set to rent to me until, lo and behold, it turns out has the same abusive thug, Robert Henry, as their attorney, so as soon as he caught wind of their renting to me, he ordered them not to, so they reneged on the deal, falsely claiming they were no longer participating in the Section 8 program, which was a large crock. (Complaints to ARCH and HUD, of course, yielded nothing, because as is common knowledge in this country now, govt agencies are all corrupted by corporate campaign contributions.)
So THEN, I met with Dave Asher, of ALL people, to rent his wife's condo. He showed me the unit, we sat at Starbuck's and talked for about an hour, during which time I explained to him everything that had transpired, and even though I provided him with impeccable rental references from previous landlords prior to my ill-fated move to SHAG's Arrowhead Gardens, he falsely claimed he wasn't renting to me because of my "credit," which I knew was, yet again, a large crock, because as everyone knows, a person's credit score is a moving target and changes daily and is effected by all manner of things beyond my control, such as credit inquiries, etc. I showed Dave proof that my credit cards monthly payments are always paid on time, yet he still wouldn't rent to me, which was abundantly clear, had nothing to do with my credit whatsoever.
Clearly, I was discriminated against and my civil rights violated, especially as I'm protected under ADA, by SHAG, SHAG's attorney, Luna Sol/ETICO, and Dave Asher, which in my case, boiled down to the fact that I was slandered by SHAG and SHAG's attorney, Robert Henry, who had NO business whatsoever, advising a client to commit acts of discrimination.
Therefore, prohibiting landlords from refusing to rent to Section 8 voucher-holders is clearly insufficient safeguards to prevent discrimination. When I advised ARCH and the City of Kirkland what happened, they should have taken legal action against Luna Sol/ETICO, as well as Robert Henry and his firm, for advising a Kirkland property to commit blatant acts of discrimination. When discrimination occurs in any community, it sullies the reputation of that community, and the City of Kirkland, like other communities, has an ethical responsibility to take action to ensure that such acts of discrimination and false refusals to rent to a citizen do not occur, and if they do, are dealt with quickly and heavy fines imposed.
And as far as Dave Asher is concerned, I threatened to sue him, but lucky for him, shortly thereafter I found a condo owner in a nearby community who is more than happy to accept the Section 8 monthly direct-deposit from King Co Housing Authority (who has treated me with the respect Seattle Housing Authority is clearly incapable of).
I want to point out one final thing about inspections, which from some of the comments posted thus far, there is confusion about. The inspection is to ensure that the property is livable and merely checks to make sure that the toilets flush, there is no mold, doors lock, etc., as anyone else would when viewing a place in which they consider living. It is not an invasive inspection and is designed to make sure the property is not a filthy rat-trap or something.
I think what the "elephant in the room" here is the fact that--and as has been admitted to me by many property owners--they are "anti-government" and though they want to rent their properties, prefer to "shoot themselves in the foot" by refusing to accept money from the government on behalf of a tenant, and what I have to say to those of you who feel that way, GET OVER IT!!! If you're "anti-government," then you're living in the wrong country. This is America, and every citizen, regardless of income, disability, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, should be free to live where they choose and not be denied housing for any of those reasons--or again--due to clearly false slanderous statements by a retaliatory landlord such as SHAG.
Carol Tucker, MA