When Leonna Patton, a tenant at the Arthur K. Snyder affordable apartments in Eagle Rock, called the Boulevard Sentinel on the morning of Jan. 7, the trash at the complex, uncollected for a week, was overflowing the interior trash chutes and stacked nearly to the ceiling in the collection closet on the ground floor.
I met with Ms. Patton and several other residents later that day and saw first-hand the pile up of the trash. Ms. Patton said that residents believed the pickup was delayed because the bill had not been paid, but McCormack Baron Management, the company that manages the property, responded to questions by the Boulevard Sentinel saying that the City of Los Angeles and its trash vendor were delayed in their normal pickups and that it had hired its own contractor to pick up the trash during the delays.
Regular trash pickup was indeed restored shortly after my visit. The lingering problem is that residents and management at the Snyder apartments are still not in sync on a number of issues at the complex, which is home to low-income senior citizens and disabled people.
The tenants are concerned with security. There is a guard on duty from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., but in winter, the start time is long after dark. Moreover, the guard is not allowed in the office where cameras are located that monitor locations on the property. McCormack, the management company, told the Boulevard Sentinel it was considering an earlier start time and that the guard was not allowed in the office “for privacy and data security” reasons.
The tenants wanted assurance that the new on-site manager, who started in December, was actually living in the apartment reserved for the manager, and not just there during the day. McCormack told the Boulevard Sentinel that she is living on site.
Some of the tenants believe there is prostitution going on in one of the apartments because of the frequency of various men entering and leaving the apartment. They have raised the issue with the on-site manager, but never heard any follow up. McCormack management told the Boulevard Sentinel that local police had found no evidence of prostitution
The question then, is why the tenants hadn’t been informed of the finding. Regular meetings between tenants, management and staff from the office of Councilmember José Huizar were proposed well over a year ago.
But Last November, Sean Starkey, Mr. Huizar’s Field Deputy, said that no meetings had taken place recently and that he had asked management to make sure they were reinstated. Mr. Starkey also responded quickly when informed by the Boulevard Sentinel about the trash pileup and other concerns raised by the tenants, saying residents could contact the Councilmember’s office for help in reaching housing or LAPD officials as necessary. (The number is 323-254-5295)
At best, the situation at the Art K. Snyder is a major failure to communicate. Regular meetings are overdue and need to be resumed.