Silicon Valley’s Low-Income Renters Find Few Protections from Predatory Landlords

Unit 9 felt like an oven. The heat would rise through the second-story 500-square-foot flat, as if standing over a lake of fire, Robert and his wife Kathleen Radivojec would bitterly quip.

“That was the least of our problems,” Kathleen reminds her husband, a burly, Balkans-born U.S. Army veteran. “The heat was awful, but the whole place was a death trap.”

“True,” Robert replies in a thick Croatian accent. “If we stayed there longer, it could have killed us. Now look, we’re alive but homeless.”

On July 6, a San Jose Code Enforcement officer condemned the dilapidated apartment unit, forcing the couple into a local shelter. The Radivojecs gathered their photos and other belongings of sentimental value but had to leave the furniture—including an antique cabinet, dresser and sewing machine—because they were too heavy to carry across a rot-weakened floor.

Kathleen shakes her head.

“Nobody would listen to us,” she says during an iced-coffee break from apartment hunting on a particularly hot afternoon last week. “That place should never have passed inspections in the first place. This is how people become homeless.”

The couple has joined a few of their former neighbors in a public interest lawsuit against their old landlord. Filed last month by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the case accuses property owner Michael Lucich of violating federal federal housing law and letting the apartment lapse into dangerous slum-like disrepair.

While the Law Foundation calls this an especially egregious example of weak government oversight, its lawyers say it also reflects a growing power imbalance between landlords and renters. In a competitive housing market that gives property owners the upper hand, tenants are often too afraid to speak up about substandard living conditions.

Meanwhile, with no local policy to prevent landlords from discriminating based on income source, renters with subsidized housing vouchers increasingly end up in the worst living conditions in the most impoverished areas.

“It wasn’t supposed to be that way,” says Kara Brodfuehrer, a senior attorney for the Law Foundation. “Section 8 was supposed to lift people out of poverty, but what happens is they get isolated in lower-income neighborhoods. It’s segregating people even further.”

Robert and Kathleen, both on disability and a year shy of 50, moved into the cramped, crumbling apartment on Rexford Way near San Jose City College in spring 2014. With a Section 8 voucher about to expire, even after an extension, and no luck finding a landlord willing to rent to a pair on public assistance, they settled for Unit 9.

“It was because of me,” Robert says. “She didn’t want to move in there, but we ran out of time. We already asked for an extension on the voucher. This was the only place that accepted us.”

Immediately, they noticed the vermin. Skittering in and out of the fridge, over their food and toes and through the wind-whistling gaps in the chipped green door. The cockroaches seemed impervious to bug bombs. The brown tile floor began to sag, having been patched over waterlogged beams. One day, Kathleen’s foot sunk right through. Even more frightening: the balcony walkway right outside the unit caved entirely, leaving a hole clear through the rot-soft wood.

A caved-in balcony right outside the Radivojecs' old unit has been patched up and taped off. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

A caved-in balcony right outside the Radivojecs' old unit has been haphazardly patched up and taped off. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

The stove, broken. Refrigerator, warm. Toilet, loose at the base. Shower drain, clogged. Missing boards. Bed bugs. No fire extinguisher. No smoke alarm. Mold, black and blossoming. Debris in the parking stall. Trash strewn around the entire 12-unit complex—old saw blades, used condoms, candy wrappers, construction waste, heaps of old clothes and fast food containers.

When Lucich, a septuagenarian Bosnian emigre, collected rent each month, the Radivojecs would tell him about the problems. But, as evidenced by city records, he never fixed them, flouting his end of the Section 8 agreement to keep the place legally habitable.

Robert alerted the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara about the dangerous conditions in April 2014, shortly after moving into the place. But the agency waited a full year to inspect the site.

“That was one of the biggest issues in all this,” Robert says, “that the county let this go on for so long. Lucich is a problem, but nobody made him stop.”

After repeatedly warning Lucich to repair the place, the housing authority stopped paying rent. Lucich tried to evict the Radivojecs—even though federal law prohibits landlords from kicking out a tenant for a housing agency’s failure to pay.

Finally, Robert called San Jose’s code enforcement, which had already cited Lucich scores of times at several properties. Issues ranged from vermin infestation to raw bubbling sewage and dangerous structural problems.

A few weeks later, this past July, the city locked up Unit 9 and taped up a notice on the door designating the flat legally uninhabitable, structurally unsound. Local housing law requires Lucich to foot the bill for his displaced tenants’ relocation, but he has yet to pay.

Lucich—who lives in a five-bedroom home with his wife, Sladana, in a gated community in Los Gatos—did not respond to calls, texts and emails for comment by press time.

Records show that he and his wife own several properties and businesses in the Bay Area, many of which have racked up code enforcement violations. In 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued him for allegedly firing several people at an auto body shop for complaining about sexual harassment.

A few years ago, a tenant won a $15,000 judgment against him for failing to keep up a property at Shortridge Avenue, another derelict apartment in San Jose. Beverly Taylor, also a Section 8 renter, has permanent scars from a bed bug infestation that Lucich failed to eradicate and forced her out of her home. “I was homeless for a year,” Taylor says. “He was supposed to pay my relocation fees and all of that and he did nothing.” Thousands of dollars worth of furniture had to be discarded, Taylor says, but she received just a few hundred dollars of that judgment, despite repeated attempts to collect.

“In person he’s unassuming,” Brodfuehrer says of Lucich. “He seems like this meek old man, but he’s not. He just talks himself out of things, apparently thinking he could keep getting away with it.”

Trash strewn in the courtyard of Michael Lucich's Rexford Way apartment. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Trash strewn in the courtyard of Michael Lucich's Rexford Way apartment. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

A few doors down from the Radivojecs’ shuttered and red-taped Rexford Way unit, another family continues to live in similar squalor. Benjamin Garfias, his wife Alejandra Hernandez, both 44 years old, and their disabled 14-year-old son signed on to the same lawsuit that paints Lucich as an unrepentant slumlord.

“When we moved in, [Lucich] said he would fix everything—the shower, the hole in the floor, cucarachas,” says Garfias, whose family primarily speaks Spanish. “We said, ‘OK, we need our own place,’ so we moved in.”

Since moving into Unit 8 in January, Garfias says Lucich raised his rent in the middle of a yearlong lease, from $1,500 to $1,600 months later. Still, the shower pipes shake, the cockroaches scurry all over their food and floors and no matter how much Hernandez scrubs and scours, she can’t make her home feel clean.

The oven kept turning on and off, heating the entire unit in the thick of a summer swelter. A PG&E inspector told her she was lucky to have kept the windows open or the fumes would have been fatal.

When Hernandez brought the issues to Lucich, she says, he would tell her to fix them herself or “go back to Mexico.” He tried to evict her, but a judge dismissed the case.

In nearby Unit 6, Benjamin Rapier, another plaintiff and Section 8 tenant, spent seven years battling Lucich over simple repairs. One summer a few years ago, his bathroom ceiling collapsed. Lucich fixed it a year later, but only after the city code enforcement ordered him to do so. Rapier has come up dry in his search for a new place because few landlords are willing to rent to someone on public assistance.

Brodfuehrer says she hopes the tenants’ case can inform policymakers as they consider enacting stronger rental protections. San Jose’s City Council plans to lower the allowable annual rent increase by next year and outlaw “no cause” evictions. But city leaders tabled a discussion about income discrimination pending a lawsuit filed against the city of Santa Monica over a similar ordinance.

One policy change enacted earlier this year, however, could prevent landlords like Lucich from getting away with so many violations for so many years. Prompted by a 2013 audit, code enforcement launched a three-tier proactive inspection model in January as part of its existing Multiple Housing Program. Instead of just waiting for the public to file complaints, the city created a three-tier system where top tier properties would be inspected on a six-year cycle and poorly maintained third-tier properties would undergo more frequent inspections at a higher cost to landlords.

To increase oversight of San Jose's 7,000 apartment buildings and 90,000 units, the city upped the number of inspectors from a dozen to 16 this year.

“The city should have been more aggressive before, then we wouldn’t have gotten where we are with this case,” Brodfuehrer says. “If you go back, it was pretty obvious that [tenants] would file a complaint, then all of a sudden drop it because they were scared of retaliation.”

Now, the onus lies with the city to follow up, says Mollie McLeod, a Planning, Building and Code Enforcement division manager who oversees the new apartment inspection program. Notably, the number of service requests—many of them complaints about substandard housing—has declined as the market has heated up. McLeod says she fielded 390 service requests in 2014-15, down from 547 in 2013-14 and about a hundred more the year prior.

Tenant advocates say the drop in complaints could be cases where renters feel intimidated by their landlord. With no “just cause” protections, a property owner can file a no-cause eviction and find another tenant who won’t complain.

“I watched people get evicted who would complain,” Robert Radivojec says. “I even had tenants turn on me because I complained. They don’t want to rock the boat because look at what happens: I’m homeless, my wife is homeless.”

Now, marked as a tenant who raises hell when he’s burned, he expects that finding a willing landlord will be that much harder.

A map showing how Section 8 renters tend to end up in the lowest income, lowest opportunity neighborhoods.

A map showing how Section 8 renters tend to end up in the lowest income, lowest opportunity neighborhoods. (Source: Law Foundation of Silicon Valley)

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

44 Comments

  1. Every landlord should obviously be required to maintain their property in a habitable condition, and this landlord sounds particularly reprehensible, but what’s the relevance of the map? Yes, Section 8 renters end up in the lowest income neighborhoods. Where else? Should the public be paying for them to live in Monte Sereno? Public assistance shouldn’t be a way of life. What it should be is temporary help until a person can improve their situation. If you want to live in a better neighborhood, then it’s up to you to get there.

    • >Should the public be paying for them to live in Monte Sereno?

      Seems fair to me. Their kids wind up going to good schools, get a better education, and end up buying a house there. That’s sort of the point. Place the people with the least amount of resources next to the ones with the most amount of resources. I know of at least one person that grew up on Section 8 in Willow Glen, went to WGHS, and now owns a nice house there.

      Problem is there isn’t enough incentive to get to that next level of life. The state should have free college tuition if you manage to raise your kids on section 8, and the kids pass all their classes and never get in trouble with the law.

      • Fair? So those who can’t or won’t pay for themselves should get a better deal than others who are working hard to provide for their families? Incentive? If the public is providing you with a nice place in Monte Sereno in return for sitting on your couch doing nothing, that sounds to me like a strong incentive to remain seated.

      • > Seems fair to me.

        You said it all!

        This is the mantra of the tribalist forager.

        The next thing that happens is that the tribalists point their noses at their shaman and whine: “Make it fair”.

        Maybe the parents WHO PAID FOR AND BUILT the good schools should be able to send THEIR kids to to the good schools. THAT would be fair.

        And the parents who DIDN’T build the good schools should ask Elizabeth (“You didn’t build that”) Warren what school they should send their kids to.

        This is the fundamental contention of politics: Republicans want to have a garden; Democrats want to forage in someone else’s garden.

      • Hello Robert –
        Just to let you know, I am the one who took Lucich’s tenant, Alejandra, to the Law Foundation. I had helped a previous tenant in her same apartment about 12 years ago report Lucich to Code Enforcement because the staircases and balcony were in poor condition and the unit had cockroaches. Lucich tried to place the blame on the tenant’s housekeeping. So, when Alejandra came to me with the same problems years later, I went ballistic and took her to the Law Foundation. Lucich now faces 4 violations of federal Fair Housing Act, 4 violations of State Fair Housing (Unruh Act), one count of fraud, and several violations of landlord/tenant law. I hope he does jail time. He is an ass. And the City should be ashamed that this guy has remained in business as a landlord despite all his Code violations.

    • Working people get Section 8! And with the high rents here in the South Bay, the Bay Area in general, hard working, tax paying people need some kind of help! Section 8 is not only for and is not only given to people on public assistance! What We used to call “middle class” does not exist anymore. So the answer to your question Mr. Malloy is YES, they should be able to live wherever they want and not in squallor!!!

  2. These examples are extreme, it’s good that these failures are being reported on and taken care of through the proper channels. For the less dramatic properties, and regardless of Section 8 or housing vouchers, my question is… Why?

    If rent is too expensive, or the property is old/poorly maintained or what have you- you don’t have to live around here. There is cheaper housing everywhere else, literally. No one on public assistance has a job in Silicon Valley that doesn’t exist a few hours away.

    • That’s such a narrow minded point of view. If the only people who can afford to live here are rich, how are you going to get good teachers for your fancy school? Do you think it’s feasible to rent a $2000/month studio apartment, pay back your student loans and have a car payment on a $45K/year salary?

  3. Having had to deal with both Bad Landlords and Bad Section 8 Renters the common thread here is a Bad Government
    trying to replace a working free enterprise system with under market handouts.

    If you don’t like what socialism is doing to housing just wait till it starts working on health care and collage education.
    You’ll just hate the results!

    • It’s working wonderfully in Europe, where education and health care are of high quality and free. Unless you’re talking about collage, not being very artistic I have little experience with that — just like you seem to have no clue what you’re talking about, just spouting off nonsense you heard on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

  4. Thanks to that stupid map I just discovered I had “very low” opportunity growing up, forcing me now to rack my brain and recall when and how government assisted me in overcoming the disadvantages of my childhood.

    Wait, I just remembered. They left me the hell alone!

  5. “Brodfuehrer says she hopes the tenants’ case can inform policymakers as they consider enacting stronger rental protections. San Jose’s City Council plans to lower the allowable annual rent increase by next year and outlaw ‘no cause’ evictions.” This is not a rent increase issue. It’s a code enforcement issue, and the problem seems to be the lack of code enforcement by the City of San Jose, which should be a defendant in the case filed by Ms. Brodfuehrer. “Finally, Robert called San Jose’s code enforcement, which had already cited Lucich scores of times at several properties.” So what is code enforcement’s policy—cite and forget? Lucich clearly understands that a citation is a worthless piece of paper. Laws without enforcement are useless. Lucich sounds like a real scumbag of a slumlord. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has each rental building in a separate LLC and all his personal assets in a trust, all in order to make himself judgment proof.

    “Tenant advocates say the drop in complaints could be cases where renters feel intimidated by their landlord. With no ‘just cause’ protections, a property owner can file a no-cause eviction and find another tenant who won’t complain.” The solution is a prohibition against retaliatory eviction as an affirmative defense to a no-cause eviction; and it should be on the same fast-track timetable as the eviction itself.

    “Rapier has come up dry in his search for a new place because few landlords are willing to rent to someone on public assistance.” Well, DUH! Would you, Jenn or Josh, rent an apartment in this high rent area to someone on welfare?

    I certainly hope the lawsuit Ms. Brodfuehrer filed seeks mandatory injunctive relief as well as damages. A violation of such an injunction is a contempt of court, which can result in a 5 day jail sentence for each act of contempt. Maybe Lucich could be sentenced to house arrest in one of his own apartments until he brings them all up to code. And maybe Code Enforcement can get off its dead butt and start enforcing citations.

    • Add Mayor Reed and his Band of idiots on his city council…who gave you Measure V, Measure W and Measure B…you remember them the ones that were sold to STPOOOPID voters as necessary to “protect jobs and city services.”

      Do you know anything about what happened to Code Enforcement after those measures passed? And Reed laid trained Code Enfor cers low on the City seniority list off? And replaced the few remaining budgeted positions with good people from other job classifications who had no idea about CE but we’re high on the seniority list but displaces because their offices were downsized?

      I’ll clue you in counselor: The same thing that happened with police and fire response. The time it takes to respond increased and the long list of things police and fire used to respond to significantly decreased. While the number and size of pot holes increased, library hours decreased, parks became wastelands, graffiti became structure preservative and and on…. meanwhile Reed’s developer friends continued to gobble up prime real estate and win zoning changes and fee exemptions to build build build more high density housing to increase population and further strain city services.

      • And do you know why people with no familiarity with code enforcement got bumped down to Code Enforcement Dept. jobs due to the budget crisis, WeedBoy? Answer: union work rules that require seniority as a city employee as the SOLE CRITERION for keeping a city job. So, under union work rules, people with expertise but no seniority were terminated so that people with seniority but no expertise could remain employed.

        • That’s right… what’s your point? The same unions with the same rules attempted to negotiate a solution to the problem Reed and company foisted on us to avert very situation we predicted would be the result of the measures.

          What’s truely sad JMO is you and others like you have such a skewed view of “unions” that you bought into the Reed lies, forwarded of the consequences, supported him anyway and are now upset about the results…. take a long.look in the mirror my friend and ask yourself what you were thinking.

          • One unintended consequence after another, after another. And now the former mayor wants to foist his BS on a statewide basis. Vote Trump/Palin to solve even more of our problems!

  6. Empty Gun,

    On the face of it you’re right – the free market should balance out good landlords/properties with bad. But it’s also that same free market that has created the affordability imbalance we see now.

    Can you blame a property owner for taking advantage of his constitutional right to own property, no? But how much should an owner be allowed to jack rent in a given period of time?

    Ex – I have a friend who just bought a house in Sunnyvale. Before that they were renting a from a landlord who was very generous to let them rent his property well under market rate. But now that my friend has moved on they told me the family is rennovating the 3-2 house and renting it for $4000 a month!!!! That is an annual profit of $48k on a house the landlord owes free and clear.

    But to your point about Bad government trying to effect the free market – you’re right but only to a point.

    Government has done too little, and only piece mealed their effort.

    The system isn’t set up to manage and stay on top of crappy landlords and price gouging. The City of San Jose admitted as much; enforcing the housing policy passively for host of reason the least of which was not wanting to trample owners rights.

    I don’t know what the solution is because cost of living in CA across the board is high. But until landlords price rental housing so high that the market collapses, or buying homes falls more in line with the rest of the country, the only help is government help.

    Housing policy in this country has always favor the land owner and segregated cities based on income.

    But you’re right bad government help is not the answer. But good, thoughtful, collaborative government can be.

    -Maybe all the cities should meet together to consider setting rental rates regionally, like their considering for minimum wage.

    Establish or reconfigure an oversite authority with real power to penalize gouging, poor housing conditions, etc.

    Why not seriously reevaluate business tax in relation to rental property? How many singal family detached rental properties are properly categorized as commercial business.

    All that being said, not all landlords are crappy. Those that play by the rules and offer affordable, safe and clean rentals should be rewarded for their efforts. And not all tenants are angels, they should be held responsible for actions.

    • First of all Bully,
      You need to consider the replacement cost to any owner, if you want more housing that money has to come from someplace and maintenance isn’t free ether. Replacement cost of a single small house here including the 30 year mortgage,is going to exceed a million dollars. That going to be about $2800 a month just to brake even. Plus another $18000 a year property tax.$18000/ 12=$1500 a month, $2800+$1500= $4300 a month. Your example is losing $300 a month fair market value. Don’t forget permits cost, and bad tenants that trash the place.
      Is that a little clearer? So go build it and get rich quick.

      If all the bleeding hearts out there had taken math and science instead of community organizing they could afford to live here. I won’t even ask why two 50 year old on disability from Croatia are living here on the government dole.

      Move someplace cheaper, I am!

      • Maybe you’re on to something Gun. The costs associated with renting property are another factor contributing to cost costs renters are asked to pick up… All those talking heads on HGTV and Property Brothers don’t tell the whole story to perspective landlords. Especially if they try to buy investment property in CA

      • The journalist here might have served the public better by writing the reason for the disability. Given the facts as reported, quite likely the disabilities occurred during the Yugoslavian Civil War and these folks are refugees–exactly one of the reasons America states for its founding.

        • Robert immigrated here as a young man, joining family here in the States. He served in the U.S. Army, as stated above.

      • Empty, Robert is from Croatia but has served in the U.S. Army. He’s a U.S. citizen who has lived, worked and paid taxes here for his entire adult life.

      • This is the exact point of the problem the city council is in. It is not possible to make apartments low income people can afford, see math below. Additionally, San Jose can not afford low income wage earners due to Prop 13 and increasing pension and services costs. Poor people bankrupt cities, see Vallejo and San Bernardino.

        SFH will cost a lot, too much to consider, so let’s look at apartments. A 1BD apartment replacement cost right now is around $400K (all said, permits, land, labor, material). Forgetting debt service for now, the way investors look at that investment is the following:

        1) If the acquisition cost is $400K, it better have a 5% cap rate, or $20K Net Operating Income. (Some will argue that cap rates in Santa Clara are 4.2% now. I argue that is on apartment where tenants pay BMR and the investor sees upside)

        2) If the NOI has to be $20K and the expense ratios are 30%, rent must be $28571 annually, or $2380 a month to make this deal “pencil in”. (rentjungle.com has average market rent for 1BD in SJ at $2473 in Aug 2105)

        3) If the unit application requires base salary is 3x the rent (likely), a new 1BD apartment can only go to tenants who make more that $85700, or over $41/hour working 2080 hours a year (40 hours a week for 52 weeks.) Not really your typical low wage earner.

        Additionally, the city can’t support low income residents in this unit as the property tax on a $400K assessment does not even come close to breaking even for services rendered. The low income tenant certainly does not make up for it in sales tax revenues. The city and the former mayor (and likely the new one) know this. While they pay lip service to rent control and 20-odd room homeless shelters, they know the math and know they must figure out a slow transition for these people. Likely on BART to Antioch, Pittsburg, and Richmond.

    • Bully Pulpit wrote: “But now that my friend has moved on they told me the family is rennovating (sic) the 3-2 house and renting it for $4000 a month!!!! That is an annual profit of $48k on a house the landlord owes (sic) free and clear.” How do you know the property is owned free and clear? So, Einstein, do you really believe that a rent of $4k/month represents an annual PROFIT of $48k to the landlord? Have you heard of things like insurance and taxes, and the costs of the renovation, all of which are deducted from the GROSS rent? The landlord paid for the renovations when they were made, but is recouping that expense over time. Can you grasp the difference?

      • Hey O’Conner

        Your are correct, I can’t know that the property is free and clear, but neither can you know the property isn’t. That being said, I’ll take what the former tenants told me.

        And, as a home owner for over 12 years I’m well aware of all the costs and pain associate with home ownership.

        I appreciate your aggressive tone when challenging bad policy. Keep leaning into the fight…

        • Seems like your tone is the one that is aggressive and misleading. YOU emphatically stated (as a fact not a speculation) that the house was owned “free and clear” obviously trying to give the impression that your friend and former tenant knew this as fact. It is only once you are called on that “fact” that you admit you don’t know it to be true at all. The landlord has an absolute right to make a market based rent and to realize a profit on that rental space. They also have the obligation, legally, to maintain the property. This SJI article isn’t criticizing or supporting landlords who are maintaining and improving their properties to maximize rental rates but it is specifically pointing out SLUM LORD owners who thumb their noses at code enforcement and renter complaints all the while continuing to collect tax payer funded rental assistance vouchers. It is criminal. And it is shameful that code enforcement sits by complaint after complaint and does nothing about it. The owner should be jailed and charged for each and every violation. Obviously the owner knows the write ups are meaningless.

    • Do you sometimes eat out? Do your children have teachers? Does someone clean your toilet? When you go shopping, do you see store clerks? Does it seem reasonable to you that these people should have a 2 hour commute because you’re so much better than they are? Or should we just do away with them altogether because they’re not worthy?

    • I agree.
      Our lives have drastically changed for the worse with congestion, high density condos, high taxes and fees. Vouchers are funded with tax dollars as are lunch vouchers at schools. Bond issues attached to our homes pay for healthcare. People should live where they can afford to support themselves. I am tired of paying for someone else’s total existence.

  7. I’ve read the comments, and they’re mostly just opinions. And you know what they say about opinions…

    I’ve owned rental property, quite a bit — 46 rental units at one time. And I’ve rented to Section 8 tenants. A lot of them. There are several misconceptions in the article, and in the comments here. Also, an omission or two.

    First, I very much liked renting to Sec 8 folks. Why? Because the federal Section 8 voucher gives tenants a year of rent subsidy, in which the gov’t pays the landlord 75% of the rent. If all goes well and there are no problems, the Sec 8 voucher is renewed automatically and indefinitiely.

    The tenant pays only 25% of the rent! So if the rent is, say, $2000, the renter would pay only $500 a month. And the government rent scales were always very generous. Often it was higher rent than I expected to get when there was a vacancy. Plus, the gov’t sent me the check in a very timely manner (unlike many tenants). I always got it within a day or two of the first of the month.

    But if the Sec 8 tenant was evicted for cause: like non-payment of rent, or having more tenants move in, or trashing the place, getting dogs against the lease, etc., they would lose their voucher. Permanently. (I never evicted a Sec 8 tenant; a subtle warming was sufficient to correct any problem.)

    That made Sec 8 tenants very good renters. Better than most. Because if they lost their voucher, they could never get it again. I’ve rented to Section 8 folks on welfare, senior citizens getting nothing but Social Security, and people working pretty low paying jobs. I felt that Sec 8 protected me very well, and I never had a problem with those tenants. They were super easy to control; no property owner wants the occasional renter who always complains, and gives him a hard time over things like he wants his own reserved parking space, or new paint once a year, etc.

    But Sec 8 tenants never seemed to complain (and before anyone jumps to conclusions, I took pride in my property and never allowed deferred maintenance, roach infestations, leaky toilets, or anything else like that). (Also, when I finally sold my property, to my astonishment the new owner doubled all the rents! Half of them moved, but they got the units rented again. And when Prop 13 passed, I reduced every rent by the property tax money I saved. Fool that I was. Not one tenant ever said, “Thanks!”)

    So Sec 8 is great for the property owner. But is it great for the taxpayer? Hardly.

    The vouchers pay a huge slice of the rent. Too much, IMHO. The result is that there are never enough vouchers for the demand. When they occasionally would announce that they had more to issue, the lines of tenants would literally go for blocks. People would camp out, and you can see why. That’s a lot of free money for a necessity. Why not subsidize , say, 40% of the rent instead of 75%?

    The problem is that taxpayers get whacked, hard (Sec 8 is a federal program in every state, in DC, and Puerto Rico). And I just heard on the news that some 91% of all immmigrants, both legal and illegal, are on the Section 8 program (among other assistance). That doesn’t leave many vouchers for long-time American citizens. Which brings up the omission I mentioned:

    The reporter should have tried to find out how many of those interviewed are here legally. It wouldn’t be surprising in the least if most are not. Yet, they all seeem to have their hands in the pockets of U.S. taxpayers. Why should that be? In the past, immigrants used to take pride in the fact that they could succeed on their own. And practically all of them did succeed on their own, with help from friends and family, and not being a burden on the taxpayers.

    Now, it’s different. Very different. There is no doubt that all the free money, food stamps, EBT cards that are automatically topped up every month, Sec 8 housing, etc., etc. attracts millions of illegals. Lately there have been stories of pregnant Chinese women flying into places like Vacouver, crossing south into the U.S., having their child, and then promptly leaving again. But that gives the whole family the right to come here legally any time they want.

    My wife is a retired Middle School Principal. We were discussing that when she retired 8 years ago, she would see one, maybe two parents of her students with headscarfs. Now she is a part time Administrator at a local school for disabled adults. It has an attached K- 6 school. When I visit her there, the majority (not half — way more than half) of the parents come in wearing headscarves, and thier old-country outfits. They’re very nice women, there to make sure their kids are being good and learning. They help out. But they’re appearing everywhere, more and more of them.

    Anyone who doesn’t know this country is being flooded — invaded! — by millions of citizens of other countries must be a hermit. I have friends in Cleveland where I grew up. They tell me that Mexicans (they call all Hispanics ‘Mexicans’ there) are everywhere now. They congregate at the Home Depots there, just like they used to here, until they were rousted. The influx is rapidly accelerating, and they’re showing up everywhere.

    Here’s the problem: everyone who gets here, either honestly after fifteen years of going through the immigration process the right way, or illegally, by cutting a 3-strand barb wire fence, is promptly directed to the local bureaucracy that provides them with instant, regular free money and housing assistance. They network just like anyone else, and they easily find out where to cash in.

    That’s our money, folks. If you pay taxes, you are subsidizing the illegal influx. It is completely out of control, but the feds refuse to lift a finger to stop it. Bureaucrats cannot even ask about anyone’s immigration status. Do you doubt that many illegals are collecting money in different cities under different names? It would be astonishing if that were not happening. And of course, they also get registered to vote. Everyone gets a ballot who asks for one. Can’t ask them if they’re here illegally, that’s another no-no!

    So now most Section 8 vouchers end up in the hands of people like those named in the article. Did you see the names? ‘Joe Smith’ or ‘Susan White’ aren’t the folks getting Section 8 vouchers, because the majority of those handing them out look like they work in a U.S. Post Office.

    There’s an election coming up. It’s an important one.

    Vote accordingly.

  8. > Here’s the problem: everyone who gets here, either honestly after fifteen years of going through the immigration process the right way, or illegally, by cutting a 3-strand barb wire fence, is promptly directed to the local bureaucracy that provides them with instant, regular free money and housing assistance. They network just like anyone else, and they easily find out where to cash in.

    For those who haven’t figured it out yet, this is simply primitive tribalist foraging behavior exploiting wealth producing capitalist society.

    Humans have been doing this for tens of thousands of years. They send out scouts to discover where the best hunting grounds are then they migrate to follow the herds and eat where the eating is good.

    For the primitives, welfare cash is simply consumption. It’s like clubbing a big fat elk in a petting zoo.

    For the time being, the hunting grounds (“us”) are so rich, that everyone can eat well. But inevitably, the predators overfish and overhunt, and the foragers turn to vicious, violent tribal warfare to maintain their food supply (see Thomas Malthus).

    This is the future that the compassionate Big Hearts are preparing for us.

  9. Robert Radivojec-comming in croatie, beutifool cantry. Croatia and Zagreb,and Kristina systers is yors.