Advertisement
 
(Page 2 of 2)

Mass Evictions Leave Residents Down--and Out

The State

Real estate: As scores of tenants pack up in Northern California, some advocates say it's time to increase protections for renters.

March 17, 2002|ERIC BAILEY and JOHN JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

By Goesch's reckoning, upward of 2,500 people are affected in the half a dozen subdivisions owned by Kawamoto.

"We've got bleeding heart stories all over," he said. "But they're all true."

In the Stony Point-Villa Royale neighborhoods of southwest Santa Rosa, many residents have already cleared out.

The post office has received 40 change-of-address forms. The local U-Haul office said it's having trouble keeping trucks in stock. So many people moving at once has strained the local housing market.

Those left behind feel like they're living on an empty movie set--the props are in place, but people are lacking.

Kathy Wagner, 55, said she's thinking of locking her garage door for the first time since she moved in. "It's kind of scary," she said.

Most people who do find housing are discovering that they must pay more for less. "Here we pay $1,190 rent. Our new place is smaller but we're paying $300 more," said Christine Chisholm, 25, who is living with her parents.

Though there is talk that arrangements might be made for residents to rent longer or even buy, many are so upset by the turmoil that they have no interest in staying.

"Are we angry? Yes," said Wagner. "Do we want to see karma happen? Yes."

Some have fallen ill. "The eviction flu," Wagner calls it.

And though she and others displaced by Kawamoto don't dispute his right to sell, they resent the way it was done.

"To come into a community like this and turn our lives upside down," Wagner said, "it's like a disaster."

*

Bailey reported from Sacramento and Johnson from Santa Rosa.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|