report this user
May 5, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on Low-Income, Disabled, and/or a Single Mom Trying to Rent? City Housing Discrimination Tests Turn Up Disturbing Trends.

One more thing: in order to get insurance nowadays, many auto insurance companies run credit checks, just like landlords do. If you have lousy credit, even if you have a squeeky clean driving record, your insurance premiums are higher than somebody with good credit. So even though your credit rating in theory should have nothing to do with whether or not you are a good driver, you still are viewed as a less than ideal person to insure, and they can even decline to insure you because of it.

Here is an example of what some would call 'discrimination', the same as a landlord's view that you might be too big a risk to take on as a tenant if you have lousy credit and don't pay your bills, including rent, on time, or sometimes, at all. But is this viewed as 'discrimination'? Does anyone view it that way? No. People recognize that it's just being careful; being 'discriminating', even if it sucks to be judged that way. So why no outcry when a landlord checks your credit and rejects you for their place when they discover it's bad?

Because people recognize that those with shitty credit are an obviously higher risk person to rent to ie there is an almost guaranteed chance you will have to chase them down each month for the rent. I, like most landlords, have a mortgage to pay, and I rely in part on the tenant to make that monthly payment, otherwise, trust me, I would never have done the landlord thing to begin with. My bank doesn't allow me to simply not pay the mortgage - if I do, there are consequences, such as foreclosure. Yet if a tenant decides not to pay their rent, or pays it consistently late, the laws and protections are overwhelmingly in their favor and not the landlord, ie you can't just kick someone out, even with 30 days notice, even if you have a written legal document they signed (the lease) in which they promise to hold up their end of the bargain ie the rent, and even if you aren't rich and rely on that rent to pay yours.

So ... I get my house foreclosed on me when I don't pay my rent, with little legal protections for me. Tenants in turn, have next to no consequences, and are in fact protected by innumerable laws against eviction, when they don't pay theirs. Ditto when they damage the crap out of your property - good luck with those legal bills trying to get back the $3k in damage they did to your place, for absolutely no reason.

So again, is the credit check thing 'discrimination'? Or is it just a tool to help decide who is a good risk to take on and who isn't? Just like the bank running a credit check when you apply for a credit card or loan? And no one seems to have a problem with it. People with lousy credit are a group of people - a category - just like whites, women, single mothers, lawyers, section 8 folks, Stranger writers.

If Stranger writers fall into the category of people with bad credit, and/or the type more likely to be lousy tenants who will renege on their obligation to pay rent and who are more inclined than not to damage the property, break appliances, damage flooring, doorframes, windows, doors, etc., then landlords will rightfully and understandably not rent to them. Anyone who disagrees with this is free to go through the hard work and expense of purchasing a two or multi family home, live in one section of it, and rent the others sections nonstop and exclusively to Stranger writers, and anyone with horrific credit and references, and a rotweiller with a history, and a couple of tantrum throwing toddlers, and no job. That way there's no 'discrimination'. Best of luck to you, and please do check back with us a few months to let us know how it's going.

May 4, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on Low-Income, Disabled, and/or a Single Mom Trying to Rent? City Housing Discrimination Tests Turn Up Disturbing Trends.
Hey 7, thanks for your response. And yes I did read the whole article. I did not mention disabled folks, race, or any other factor like that. I mentioned section 8 and single mothers because, in my 10 years of experience (how much experience do YOU have as a landlord, pray tell?) - and the experience of several small time fellow landlords - they are hands down the worst, riskiest tenants to gamble your property on. Ask any landlord who has done this for any length of time, ie with more than one or two tenants, and they are highly likely to agree.

You are right, sort of. I did in fact 'choose' to be a landlord - but as I stated in my post, my 'choice' was not so much a choice, but a financial necessity. Being single and making a measly middle class income which has steadily decreased especially the last 3+ years, meant I needed rent money to help cover my mortgage + skyrocketing tax and homeowner's insurance premiums + the cost of heating oil for myself and my tenant's (because all of my competition does) which, except for this past winter, has been exorbitant.

I provided a benefit to others by offering a very nice, clean, very well maintained 2 bedroom unit with a deck, a large back yard, private parking, all on a quiet dead end street in a good neighborhood (not a rich neighborhood, a totally ordinary/middle class one), with even a dishwasher and stackable washer/dryer inside the unit. I had several prospective tenants over the years tell me it was the nicest 2 bedroom in town. I heard that over and over. Yet I never overcharged on rent. It was either slightly below market, at market, or slightly above. I carefully interviewed and screened people - because I live on the premises and so have to deal with their shit if they are a problem - but you learn that "employers" lie, as do former landlords. I bent over backwards to provide an extremely well maintained place for my tenants - doing all the work and cleaning myself, and took pride in doing so, and in being a decent, quickly responsive landlord.

It didn't matter. I got screwed, in particular by the section 8s and the single mothers. Horribly, shamefully screwed, and for no goddamn reason at all. Things I own like the appliances, doors, etc. were destroyed without any cause at all. What cause could there be for random destruction, abuse, misuse? These were not people I had a bad relationship with beforehand, or a falling out with. Not at all. I have witnesses to all of this, and photos and film of the damage. And I have the repair bills.

What you learn is that people simply don't care about things they don't own. Which is the sole reason public housing tends to be trashed on a large scale, quickly. When you don't own the kitchen countertop, or the fridge, or the door or window screens, or the hardwood floor or rugs or walls or the siding or yard or bushes, it doesn't seem to matter in the least if you stain or damage it. It doesn't matter if you expel the entire contents of the fire extinguisher the landlord provided to you as an emergency safety tool, and leave it empty in the kitchen closet when you move out, despite the fact that there was never a fire. (The 3 year old nightmare apparently decided it was a 'toy', which is just frightening.) It doesn't matter if you leave a LEAKING bottle of Drano sideways in the kitchen cabinets where food is stored. It doesn't matter if you leave raw meat out for 3 solid days in the kitchen in July, so that now, suddenly, there are fruit flies and bugs in the place where there never were before. It doesn't matter if the landlord asked you NOT to store large quantities of returnable soda bottles inside the house because of leakage and the fear it will attract ants. You do so anyway. It doesn't matter if the landlord had provided a brand new full sized stackable washer dryer - you can turn the place it into the laundry mat for (literally) your entire extended family and friends - because it's FREE, and the landlord pays the fucking water bill for the whole property! Woo!

It certainly doesn't matter that when you're away for a week at a time in the dead of winter, that you leave the heat up at the highest level the thermostat will go, draining the oil tank when you aren't there and it's below zero that week - who gives a shit that heating oil is $4/gallon and it's a 275 gallon oil tank ($1100)? Is that a decent thing to do to a landlord who has been really nice to you, and really fair and decent? Hmm?

I could go on. Any landlord could.

Suffice to say I have a right to comment on this article, 7, and tell the side of the story that the Stranger doesn't tell. I was serious when I asked that they consider interviewing a real live landlord - maybe interview a dozen of them - not bigtime landlords and not notorious slumlords. The vast majority of us are neither. Ask us about our experiences, and about what it feels like to have fake tenants sent to us to trip us up and charge us with 'discrimination' when we are really trying simply to protect our properties from bad news tenants, who sometimes cluster in groups like section 8 and single mothers - and teenage partiers renting their first place with no references. I supposed it's 'discrimination' if I refuse to rent my place to a couple of out of work 18 year old fratboys? Or it just a wise decision? Ya of course some teenage boys might be responsible and quiet and make a good tenants, but would YOU bet YOUR property on it? Hmm? And live on the other side of the wall from them for a whole year?

Walk a mile in my shoes, dude, or any landlord's, and then come back at me with the 'cry me a river/you're required to deal with irresponsible asshole's rampant, uncalled for noise, property damage, and abuse' bullshit.

May 3, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on Low-Income, Disabled, and/or a Single Mom Trying to Rent? City Housing Discrimination Tests Turn Up Disturbing Trends.

This article's tagline: "It's hard enough to rent in Seattle if you're low-income. Add being disabled or a Seattle mom, and you might face added discrimination " ...

Should read "it's damn near impossible to be a landlord these days and not get painted as a monster, despite being burnt all the time, exceedingly badly, by people for whom your own tax dollars help pay heating costs (while you get zero help) and subsidized child and medical care (while yours is never subsidized)."

Stranger writers! How about some balance here? I'm serious. Interview a landlord once in a while. Not a bad news slumlord - a real, genuine landlord somewhere, sometime. Not somebody who owns half the city. The vast majority of us own one or two properties and do the repair work and upkeep ourselves. We are human beings! The vast majority of us are ordinary hard working folks - not rich people - who pour what little money we get (after our mortgage, insurance, property tax, heating costs, etc is paid) back into the house or building.

May 3, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on Low-Income, Disabled, and/or a Single Mom Trying to Rent? City Housing Discrimination Tests Turn Up Disturbing Trends.

I think when writing these blanket anti-landlord articles, that the Stranger writers should really take the time to interview a few landlords, to get their perspective. You can't know what being a landlord is like unless you ask us, or unless you try being one yourself. I dare you to try and be a landlord, in fact. Give it a shot. See how awesome it is.

As a former landlord for 10 years (I own a small 2 family duplex - I live in one side, tenants live in the other), albeit way across the country here in the Portland, Maine area, may I say that my experience and the experience of those I know who also had rental properties in the area was that those with Section 8 vouchers and those who were single mothers consistently proved to be the absolute worst, most nightmarish tenants possible, causing enormous amounts of both damage and nearly constant noise. I'm talking the type of damage that is 3+ times the security deposit. Sometimes more.

When you are by no means rich - whole reason I have a 2 family is because I'm single and need help paying the mortgage - and you work extremely hard with your own two hands to maintain a decent property- clean, 100% in good working order, fresh paint, all up to code, etc.,, and someone comes in and trashes it - breaking literally all but one appliance, breaks the kitchen door frame, removes the storm door "arm" because their kid won't stop playing with it, and then they lose it so that you have to order a whole new expensive arm ... when they repeatedly rip window shades completely off their holders, break door handles, cause permanent stains to the lino flooring and countertops, smoke on the property - always! - despite it being a strictly nonsmoking place - leaving piles of cigarette butts dumped just off the deck where it's less easily detected but where it will blow around in the wind when dry, or leaving that impossible to remove telltale permanent cig butt burn on the bathroom sink after they agreed that no smoking would take place ever on the property because it was written right in the ad that it was a non smoking place and you wrote it into the lease they signed ... not to mention the nonstop noise from the nightmare 3 year old who is given permanent markers to write on the bedroom walls, doorframes, window sills and frames, who repeatedly breaks both window and door screens and throws daily stomping tantrums starting (literally) at 6am or earlier on a Saturday when you're trying to sleep in and this occurs for 18 straight months ...

You go thru that a couple of times - you get burned like that, and I have only listed a fraction of what I encountered as a landlord ... and the next time you are simply and rightfully and wholly understandably more careful in who you let into your place. And if the bad news folks consistently turn out to be single mothers and folks on section 8 - both of whom are next to impossible to evict no matter what sort of damage and mayhem they have caused - no matter that drug deals are going on in 'their' basement and unsavory characters are hanging out at all hours making you feel unsafe in your own goddamn home ... then you will avoid the bad news folks, the next time. Of course you do.

And no one here - and no reporter for the Stranger - who was in my shoes would do any differently. Nor would the people sending in fake tenants to try to catch landlords up and fine them. Not one.

Apr 27, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on New Building at 16th & Thomas.

I feel bad for that lovely small brick house in the foreground.
Apr 7, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on Jessica Williams' Brilliant Daily Show Segment on Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills.

What is sad about this is it's ever and thus. Humanity always, always seems to need to find that generation's boogieman/scapegoat. "The other". Why do we as a species never, ever get past this? The fear of what some perceive as 'different'? And we can't just let 'different' be - we have to find fault with it - and not just find fault - we have to drum 'different' up as something bad and evil and possessed, even; a threat - to children, to society, to humanity. For all of our big brains, we as a species really are as dumb as fucking posts.

Apr 1, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on Required Viewing: Rachel Maddow on Donald Trump, the GOP, Abortion, and the Media's Big Blind Spot.

Over and over, the thing we need to hammer home is the simple fact that the other side wants to force us to give birth - all females who become pregnant, no matter our age at the time (11? 12?), no matter the circumstance, no matter if we are criminally insane, homeless, heroin addicted, already have 4 other children we can't feed, no matter that our battering husband has raped us yet again, or if we simply aren't fucking ready in any way shape or form to be a mother and it was a simple fucking MISTAKE, getting pregnant, and it's only 2 weeks out and the mistake can so easily be undone - they will not listen to nor care about ANY of the circumstances, or our preferences about our own lives and bodies. They intend to


Period. Each time. Every time.

A spectacularly disturbing notion.


Mar 12, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on We Should Also Ban GPS Devices From Cars.

Charles, I appreciate the response, but frankly it has left me a tad baffled.

I have not applied enough thought to it? From what I recall (it's been a long day), you did not provide the results of the Dutch study in your article, or a link to same, but I don't think anyone needs a study to confirm that distracted driving is dangerous. I acknowledged that in my comment that it's the #1 cause of accidents, by far - this is, of course, widely known. The problem is, cars, at least in the U.S., are here to stay, and are an everyday reality for the vast majority of us. Not everyone lives in an area with subways or street cars and can get around their whole life exclusively on same, or bike everywhere as they do in cities in Europe. So cars are what we have to get back and forth to work, daycare, the assisted living facility, grocery store, etc. And most cars come equipped with radios - it's hard to find a car that doesn't come with a radio, surely - and this is a source of distraction and has been since radios have been in cars - what is that, 40 or 50 years? Now many cars have built in GPS in the dashboards as well, or some of us use the GPS system in our cell phones. And how many minivans come equipped with those annoying behind the headrest tv screens for the little ones to zone out on in the back seat? Blaring kids tv shows at probably top volume.

When you combine all of this with the fact that most of us have others (such as kids and/or spouse/significant other) regularly - sometimes daily - inside of our vehicles, that spells a lot of distraction. And that is dangerous and leads to accidents, but as a society, Americans have obviously decided to accept this as the unhappy but inevitable result of modern living - the price of admission for having this (for many of us) necessary modern mode of transport in our lives.

You asked me: "if kids are always going to fight with each other and parents, why have them in a car in the first place?"

I'm not even sure how to respond to this. Why have them in the car in the first place? Charles, of course you understand that parents - again, other than those who live in NYC or a place with decent, and frequent enough public transit - have to otherwise ferry their kids to school daily, or at least the school bus, to soccer practice or music lessons or both after school, to take them to grandma's house, to the park, etc? Parents don't all have automatic built in baby sitters they can leave the kids with each and every time they go to the grocery store. And the reality is that kids in a back seat are built in distraction machines, and two or more kids back there are going to fuss and fight because tight quarters + confinement + proximity of siblings = fights, hair pulling, name calling, etc.

So again, I guess I'm confused about this statement asking why people would have their kids in their cars in the first place. Were you being sarcastic?

I also don't understand your last statement: 'work hard and think in these terms.' In what terms, Charles? (Also, should we really have to 'work hard' to understand a post on Slog? I'm obviously not the only commenter that didn't "get" the premise of your article. Maybe that is a sign it wasn't very clear?) I know that I live in the everyday, modern reality of the world, in a largely rural state (Maine) with shit to nonexistent public transit. And as I'm not independently wealthy, I work for a living, 5 days a week, 15 miles from my house (at one point I worked 33 miles from my house) so a car is not something I can do without. Yes, GPS is yet another distraction for drivers - no question. But it is hardly used every day (unlike the radio, unlike having your kids in the back seat or spouse sitting next to you) and so I guess I'm disagreeing with the whole premise of your post that GPS is a major issue - any more than kids/spouse.

Thank you.

Mar 12, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on We Should Also Ban GPS Devices From Cars.

There is no question that the #1 cause of accidents is, indeed - by far - driver inattention. But it has always been the #1 cause - well before cell phone or GPS devices existed. Someone getting into an argument with their kid or spouse in the car is equally if not more distracted than someone quietly listening to a satellite guided voice tell them which turns to take in a city they are unfamiliar with.

I guess I don't understand a post like this that doesn't zero in, instead, on, say, texting and driving, driving while drunk, road rage, etc.

I spent 5 weeks on the west coast (including LA, San Fran, and Seattle) in 2012 traveling by myself, part of the time with a car, and would have been hopelessly lost had I been unable to memorize a map and each road name. And I have used my GPS app numerous times since.

It is merely a guiding device, Charles. It has an video feature - showing your car on the map - but you don't need the picture - again, the effing things talks to you and guides you verbally around town.

This is just a silly post.

Mar 10, 2016 Velvetbabe commented on White Trump Supporter Punches Black Trump Protester In the Face.

I swear to god, were this same thing to happen at my candidate's rally - some right wing guy infiltrating it in order strictly to heckle and protest (if that is what was going on here) - I would be annoyed with him/pissed at him; I would be happy, if he kept it up, to see him leaving, but the moment somebody on my side punches him in the face? I would fucking get in that guy's face so fast, all day long, as I know my friends/family members would. BECAUSE. We're adults! And human beings! And as grown ups we recognize when somebody has unnecessarily crossed a major line, and also because ... I don't want to be part of a party or a group of people for whom something like that is A-okay.

And, it sure as fuck makes your party and your candidate look bad.

I know this is Trump, but I'm still waiting for the first person at one of his rallies to act like an adult when this happens; to realizes that this shit is NOT OKAY, and fucking call it out - fucking DO something about it.