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What I’ve Lost

I am certain it is not clear to you the extent of my loss. The lemon tree that took 19 years to bear fruit; buried atop my son’s placental home; planted by my mother who died in my son’s nineteenth year in her bedroom, in the house I’d lived in all my life-she knew him, she helped birth him, she drove like a javelin to Santa Monica, to the converted farmhouse that served as a freestanding birthing center, ensuring his literal birth in a barn. This lemon tree was cut down…by the subcontractor…who is now dead.

My son grew up in that house. He called it a crapshack because he was, in childhood, quite gangling and sometimes ungainly. He was forever stubbing his toes. It was a cottage. It couldn’t be helped that he was a bull in a china shop. Nevertheless, that crapshack was his childhood home and the satellite around which we wove our travels in the world.

We built, my mother and I, a library in that house. Venice thrift shops provided much of our largesse.  We collected, and read, hundreds of books. Destroyed, now, many of them, the bookcase standing in the yard with many of my other klediments.

I knew the man who built my crapshack, by hand. He was a JW. His name was Elmer Lambert. His wife’s name was Ima. I remember they had a daughter, but might also have had a son. The house was a one-bedroom cottage with hardwood floors, built in cabinetry, a counter between front room and kitchen that could be used as a table, serving area, and lookout point. The front door boasted a barn-door type window, giving an unimpeded view of the front and side yard. The doorway was wider than average.

All the doors in my house, save the front entry, opened to the left. Behind the door to the bedroom, Mom had built a linen closet to house our dishtowels, cuptowels, bath towels, sheets, small blankets, some small kitchen appliances. The left-opening door, when left open, provided cover for the cabinet.

I had to step down once into the kitchen. I had a white ceramic sink that was deep, and boasted knobs for hot and cold. It was a piece of a countertop, cookware storage, and under the sink storage unit. Facing the sink, my stove was to my right. I had hooks, hangers, cabinets on the upper walls to the left; a hanger for mugs, a couple of places to hang dish towels. Had a mirror mounted in there, and a light. The large rectangular window above me provided morning light from the east.

I love to cook. My son loves to cook, but he has to have a whole lot of room and prep area. Me? I can whip up something palatable with a couple of burners, but it gets monotonous. I’ve been living like poverty for over a year now with a gas stove that is not connected to the gas line because the contractor left the line capped, providing no connector. There are many gas lines under this structure because a gas line was run to operated the gas dryer I do not have and to the hot water heater that was placed alongside the “driveway” because this structure was built without plans.

The flooring in the bathroom is mushy and feels about to give way at any moment; there’s a leak somewhere, likely because the shower was not installed properly and was not sealed. I have no warranties, even thought I was promised three years of warranties by Safeco Liberty Mutual if only I worked with their preferred contractor.

I had a back door, through which I could generate cross-ventilation, get to my back yard easily. I still have the t-poles for my clothesline, but my undamaged workshop was torn down to make way for a “garage”. There was a scheme to turn my verdant paradise into a heat island, bordered by asphalt and cement. My yard was full of green and flowering plants, including succulents, bougainvillea, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, a variety of roses. This in an area zoned for livestock and farming. I live in the County of Los Angeles. There are horses here. There are chickens here. There are nurseries here. But the County is gentrifying, which brings me to my property tax status.

In California, in Los Angeles County, in 2015, my property taxes were ~$650 per year. Now, in 2019, my property taxes have tripled. This job, done by Vince Paglia, was accomplished by tearing down my 1923 hand built Rambler home. I had a workshop in the back yard with a waist-high, full-length hard wood worktable. There were shelves that I remember saving magazines in because of the vertical dividers in the cabinet. There were shelves and cubbyholes on the walls. There was a great, heavy wooden drawer, that I possess still, that fit into the worktable. Vince Paglia tore down my workshop, the unpermitted expansion that was used for storage to put up a parking lot and I don’t eeeven have a car.

I miss Segovia. Segovia was a death cactus that grew in a ring of tires. Segovia was very tall, perhaps 7′-8′, and bloomed at night. When in bloom, Segovia’s scent wafted over the yard, blending with the night-blooming jasmine, sometimes the honeysuckle and lavender very faintly. Segovia provided most of the privacy in my back yard, grown along with the honeysuckle that grew on the fence. When Mama Gin lived next door, she was a homeowner who worked for the IRS. Her son served in the Air Force. Her daughter was a flit. She and Mom shared the care of the trees planted along the property lines between the houses. Mr. Lambert took care of most general maintenance, but Mom was pretty handy with tools.  Mom and I took care of the gardening and yard maintenance when I was growing up.

I remember Mr. Lambert gave me my first nickname. He called me Sputnik because I was his satellite as he worked about the place, prattling to him with my 2 or 3 year old self. Ima, Mrs. Lambert, always offered me fruit. I grew up kindly towards the JWs because I grew up with experience of the Lamberts.

I used to play and work in my workshop. I haven’t been able to use my spinning wheels because the inadequate garage is packed to the gills with my household goods. I haven’t been able to unpack because the house is now smaller, configured differently, has not even a closet, though a one-bedroom, one-bathroom was paid for. More than $80K was given to Paglia for goods not in this structure. I wish I did have the vent-free, infra-red heaters for which he received pay. I wish I had my back door. I wish the attic vents had been installed instead of the fire sprinklers for which I have no instruction manual. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these things because I never had them in my home before.

Vince Paglia and Kent Stiles of Safeco Liberty Mutual have put me in a bad way, I tell you what. I learned from reading the legal bric-a-brac that your insurance provider is not supposed to leave you any worse off than you were before you filed your homeowner’s claim. Maybe this is why Stiles has changed my claim number from 12-digit number to 22-digit number, and when I call to inquire about this claim number that I don’t recognize, no one else recognizes it either.  This brand new claim number is recorded on my claim history with the databases that record such data and hold it for seven years, along with the date of loss of every claim I’ve ever allegedly filed with Safeco Liberty Mutual, the cause of said loss, and the amount paid out to mitigate the loss. This brand new to me claim number even says my loss was caused by water. Imagine, the insurance company is recording false information; my loss was caused by the wind.

If my claim settled and paid out $48K under one claim number, why are $430K and $439K recorded under that new claim number as the amount paid out on those official records? Those records can impact the premium I’ll have to pay for insurance when I manage to escape from Safeco Liberty Mutual.

I have referred to the scam through which I’ve been put as GASLIGHTING. I hate being gaslighted, especially by a corporation that should have a fiduciary responsibility towards me, the insured, who paid premiums, on time, since 2011. Instead of being appreciated, I’ve been robbed.

I believe Safeco Liberty Mutual and Paglia and Associates do not appreciate the severe loss they have caused me. I think the dead contractor kindled the wrath, though….

aging · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · fraud · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Paralegal Studies

Safeco and the Department of Insurance

Safeco defrauded me. Adjuster Kent Stiles scammed me with the assistance of Nahal Mazandarani, Field Adjuster and a contractor, Vince Paglia and Associates.

Mazandarani brought Paglia to my home and insisted that I should use his services as I would be afforded warranties and work guarantees for three years. I was assured I was working with a preferred contractor through their Innovations program. My project would by supervised from start to finish, and I would have no worries … except that instead of repairing only one room, I’d have to have a completely new house … because my home had no foundation. This news was conveyed orally. I never saw the whole-house red tag that was allegedly issued by Los Angeles County Public Works and used to justify destroying my home of over 60 years. Kent Stiles “approved” the rebuild, but carried the project as repair only. He never reported to Underwriting that my entire home was rebuilt. Paglia never submitted plans for a rebuild, but had this structure built from a rough drawing of my home.

Now, the scapegoat subcontractor is dead and Paglia has called to intimidate me into making a settlement for much less than I am owed. He told me straight out that I would never get the more than $80K he was paid for materials and services not in existence here. At the end of his call, made from his car so no one could hear him, he said I should just forget we had this conversation. Really?

All of this has been reported to the Insurance Commission, but that agency is only as good as the agents who work the claims. My agent is working for Safeco. I am blocked from making any more claims without the approval of the adjuster and his minions in charge of plundering my claim funds. They had me state I wanted to make a new claim. I had to swear I was not .trying to get any more money on the old claim, which was supposed to be closed. Except it is never closed and my file is forever under surveillance. I had to provide a date of loss different from the old claim. I had to provide a cause of loss. My date of loss was taken from the Contractors State License Board citation of Paglia, wherein it is stated that the date of occurrence was 6.20.2016, three days after Kent Stiles took over my claim from the original adjuster who had worked it through to final payment, $48K. Stiles pushed the costs up to $430K, at least on paper. Many receipts in my claim file are for materials that are not here. There are documents full of misrepresentations. None of the documents cited as reasons for destroying my home exist. The contractor had the nerve to list himself as the owner of my property in order to demolish structures that were not damaged.

Through over two years of correspondence, the agent from the Department of Insurance failed to get answers to pertinent questions about my claim, failed to get requested documents, and he has treated me with contempt and condescension. He sees nothing wrong with the way my claim has been handled by Safeco. He is the reason I wrote to Consumer Affairs to question why DOI is the only agency consumers have to appeal to when being defrauded by insurance companies.

Safeco is corrupted through and through. I have a thing for chain of command, so went through the hierarchy in an attempt to have someone check the adjuster. Safeco has a Presidential Service Team, the last resort after talking with supervisors and managers. That representative was supposed to assist me resolve the problems I was having with Stiles. Instead, she also worked to support Stiles and his lies, assisting in the gaslighting that is a hallmark of this scam. All interactions have been documented in emails that are in my claim file, but the DOI agent has not bothered to review any of them. He allows Safeco to abuse me in the hope that I will quietly go away in utter frustration.

Well, I am as frustrated as I’ll ever be. Now, this is an obsession to find out just what the consumer has to do to be heard and helped to stop unscrupulous corporations, criminal insurance companies that are supposed to have a fiduciary responsibility to consumers, from defrauding us.

aging · Class · Community · ethnography · excess death · Homeless People · racism · trauma · white supremacy

Causes of Black Excess Death

A friend sent me a video in Messenger that detailed many of the ways you can end up dead in America if you happen to have been born Black. It stung me. It is the 21st C. and we are still with this white supremacist bullshit.

The video made me think about Emmett, that and an article I read by Dr. GS Potter, who seems to be a phantom, about why we can’t automatically believe all women when they cry sexual assault victim. I thought about the parallels I drew between Emmett Till and Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. Both dead as a result of doing something ordinary, both dead because of the believed white woman’s word.

When I feel more composed I will figure out how to embed the video. I want to have the ability to watch it several times. Emmett Till died as a result of purchasing penny bubble gum. Tom Robinson ended up convicted and dead because he offered kindness to a poor white girl, abused by her father and sneered at by the townies. Philando Castile hurts all the more because he was riding in his girlfriend’s car with a young girl child in the back seat, because he’s dead and mother and daughter are traumatized how many ways ’til Sunday?

Doing mundane things can get you killed in America if you are visibly Black. Sandra Bland is dead because she allegedly didn’t signal a turn.

What the fuck is this?

HOMELESS PEOPLE. IT IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS TO TREAT HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAYS WE DO. DENIAL OF A PLACE TO RELIEVE ONE’S SELF, DENIAL OF WATER, VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

Why do we have people living on the streets in large numbers in America and that shit’s okay? We officially have pavement dwellers like those I observed in parts of the Indian subcontinent that were, at the time, suffering large in-migrations of rural people into the cities, looking for work. They lived in the garbage dumps. In America, the area surrounding the homeless is turned into a dump because of lack of access to the basics: a place to cook, a place to squat it out later, a place to lay your head.

Seems so simple, the fix to this. So many rich politicians could afford to house all the homeless people on their many properties. Why do we, the people, allow these conditions affecting people just like you or me, to persist? Are we truly anesthetized? Are we truly that unfeeling? Is there no longer any creature recognition going on?

What the fuck is really going on, people?

In 1955 Money, Mississippi, Black people had a greater chance of being lynched, and of having the lynchers get off because of the low prosecution rates for violent crimes against Blacks, but in support of white female purity and white male superiority. Carolyn Bryant only recently confessed that she lied. Her believed lies got a 14 year old boy tortured, mutilated, slaughtered.

Hikkikomori looking better and better e’er day.

aging · Craft · death · friendship · observations · Religion · Sexualities · social observation

Type, Don’t Write – Take 2

The wind is high. Already, several tree limbs have hit the house. The first one was slender, showed signs of termites, hollow inside, ripe for being blown down.

Anxiety. What good would it do to call the insurance company? The tree should have been removed instead of my home. What good would it do to call the contractor who botched this job royally? I hope he used my claim funds for something worthwhile, like curing HIV/AIDS or the Oval Occupier.

Women are under attack, but they have always been under attack. We are not counted among those created equal. It is no accident that only men are mentioned. Just like it is no accident that God is allegedly a male. That’s sex. I never thought God had a sex. What need of sex has God? When the myth got started that Jesus was God, I lost all interest in Christian religions. I know they’re gonna be struck by something and I don’t want to get smote.

The Old Testament God was angry, jealous, would tear shit up, or inflict horrors on pretty innocent people. At least, I understand this God. He’s petty.

With the New Testament we throw out the petty God and claim Jesus is God and his son. That’s some hellified double relationship. God made a baby who was Himself. A woman was used.

Women constantly get used. I’m ’bout fed up with that. But women find it difficult to stand together. Wasn’t always this way, but it seems to be the case today. Maybe it’s generational. Women were in competition for men, so they were bitchy to one another. Let a woman get a man and she will abandon her women friends in a combination New York/LA minute. Cisness is death to women friendships.

My best friends were always lavender ladies. They know how to party. They know how to be quiet and comfortable together. They know how to be friends. I wish everyone was multisexual, especially the Christians.

Why do Christians have so much interest in other folks’ naughty bits? Why are they always trying to make women have babies they can’t care for? Why don’t they have as much care for the living as they do for the “pre-born”? I’d like to see a 6 week foetus survive on its own, no machines, nada. Just pretend it is born.

What happened to procreation being a job for two? If the women are being penalized for getting pregnant, why aren’t the men who impregnated them getting some sort of punishment? Punitive. That’s what Christians are. They are sadistic and mean.

Of course, there are sadistic and mean people everywhere in America. They exist in every religion, every ethnicity, every age group, every sex. But Christians, maybe evangelical Christians stand out for their love of death. They would rather see you dead than not believe the way they do.

I don’t know about this type, don’t write thing. I get to saying stuff I think but don’t say. I don’t like confrontation. I don’t like hurting other people. However, there is more room out than in. So, there you go.

aging · AS · Craft · Homeless People · observations · Religion

Type, Don’t Write

All sorts of info, directive filters into my headspace. The title is a result of this seepage. Either I read this dictate, saw it in passing on television, likely in an ad, or it was splashed at me through subliminal advertising. Who knows?

Doing so many things in a day. Ramadan always calls for a period of adjustment, generally a turning around of activity. Eating and drinking can go on during the night, but dawn sees the resumption of the fast. Day is now for contemplation. Night is for getting things done.

Night offers quiet. Getting things done must be accomplished in quiet. It is a blessing. It is calming. It is a refuge from the surrounding madness. The homeless remain, increasing in number. What need have I for pictures when the blind cannot see them? Mummy could ignore a lot of things because she was deaf in one ear. Ceaseless drips from a faucet set my teeth on edge.

Type, don’t write. Need to read more Faulkner and O’Connor. 1955 was a significant year. Read Faulkner’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby of 1955 in Sports Illustrated. Got no need for sports, but I do love horseracing. So many Black men built that sport. Built the South. Built the nation. But The Misfit runs the nation right now. Flannery said so.

The recitation continues. May your Ramadan bear fruit.

aging · AS · observations · Paralegal Studies

I Need a Lifeline

Haven’t knitted a thing in days! Thought April would never end. Now, the day after May Day, International Workers Day, I must pick up my work in progress and add a lifeline as an afterthought because my Bird’s Eye Lace section is off.

A day without knitting is like a day without knitting, I tell you what. I don’t like having to do without. So many tasks to accomplish in April, but at the least my property taxes have been paid and should be lower the next time I have to pay them. Nothing is more sure than death and taxes.

Completed my interview with Pissed Consumer. That was difficult as it was hard to find a neutral background in this rectangular rat trap.

Spoke with Building and Safety and have to laugh every time I think of the excuse I was given for the CFO (Certificate of Occupancy) that was issued to Vince Paglia having an issue date of 21 September 2017 when the structure wasn’t given final approval for occupancy until 11 January 2018. CONSUMER ALERT A contractor submits the CFO to the insurance adjuster to receive payment. It is a form of proof of work completed. Vince Paglia had this document in February though the Permit Date on the CFO is March 2017. My home was demolished in February 2017, the month the first check was issued to Paglia. There is no itemized statement in my claim file to provide a breakdown of the payment and Kent Stiles will not provide the statements no matter how many times I request them.

I asked the representative from Building and Safety if it was usual to issue a CFO when there was no structure standing on the property and was told no, the issue date was a “typo”. In 30 April 2019, the CFO issue date of 21 September 2017 is damn near two years old. Helluva duration for a “typo”. If I’d never brought the discrepancy to anyone’s attention, that “typo” would be word.

It takes a long time to get over being gaslighted for a couple of years and then having to go through the grueling ordeal of uncovering the evidence, following clues to get a documentation trail established. Research and investigations is long, tedious, hard work.

A typo. Picture me laughing.