I had mentioned before, most recently in my Thank You post, that this blog is all about me. Well today is going to fall under that aspect. It’s totally random, and I’m even going to break my own silver rule in part of it. Yes, silver, my golden rule is not to air dirty laundry on the internets. This post will be a bit of a ramble, and it will also jump around a bit. I apologize in advance.
On Tuesday, my daughter and I had stopped by our property managers office to pay our PG&E and Water ( its a weird set up, and not relevant to my point ), and noticed the office totally closed up. When I had called earlier that day to let him know that I was going to be bringing it by, the answering machine immediately picked up. I thought it was strange but thought that maybe he was on the other line. Well when we got there, there were roses in the door handle, and the office blinds were shut tight with brown paper over the front windows. Not thinking much of it, we assumed, maybe they were on vacation this week and took the opportunity to paint the office. It’s mid month, rents aren’t due for a couple of weeks, lots of managers do that. I did think it was a little strange he hadn’t called me back, as he had called me back within 24 hours previously, but again, didn’t think much of it.
We were wrong.
We found out this morning, that our property manager was shot and killed over the weekend. You can read the KSBW article on their website here. There is also a story in the Monterey County Herald that you can read here.
Gordon Smith was a gentle, kind and nice guy in my interactions with him. His death hits me harder than even I expected.
I know that for some, you are thinking, this is silly, why are you all sad over your property manager?
That answer is multi-layered.
1. See we had a hard time finding a place to move to when we moved to this side of the Monterey Bay. People liked us, but we think chose other applicants because we have our doggie. Now, I still firmly believe that my Daddy stepped in and said enough is enough, because Gordon called us on the 3 year anniversary of my Daddy’s death and told us that he would like to rent the property we now occupy to us. So he automatically held a special place for us, as someone who believed in us. When we were all so excited to get he lease signed and start moving in, we forgot to give him the security deposit check, he even went out of his way to come by the property to pick it up. I can attest, most property managers would not have done that.
2. I work with property managers all day long. I am a legal secretary for an attorney in Monterey who specializes in Landlord – Tenant law. It is a small mini community. I will admit that there have been instances where a Defendant has scared me enough that if they came in, my hand was right by the phone or on my cellphone ready to call 911. I’ve only had to call the police once, but luckily, nothing has happened yet.
3. Of course it brings back feelings of my Daddy’s death. So its that loss factor. ( This probably carries more weight than I am currently giving it, but I don’t wish to diminish the fact that a strong, wonderful, caring man has died because someone was stupid. )
4. It’s just a senseless act of violence.
From the information that I was able to find, it appears that the Mother and Son who they have arrested for his murder were in the process of being evicted by the property management. Now, because I work with evictions all day, every day, I know that there are a bunch of different reasons that they could be evicted for. Nuisance, Drugs, Violence, Gang Activity, illegal activity, non-payment of utilities, and the most common reason for an eviction being filed…. Non-Payment of Rent.
Now, no matter what the reason for the eviction, none of them are justified for MULTIPLE GUN SHOTS TO A PERSON. Not even a SINGLE gun shot. There is no justification for murdering a person because they are doing their job as a property manager. This is such a senseless act of violence.
Instead of filing an answer at court ( the courts have a fee waiver form here in California and they are granted more times than not now days so money most likely wasn’t the issue), going to trial and trying to work it out, you shoot and kill your property manager? Heck, even if you lose at trial there are usually things that you can still do. (Not that professionally, I’m saying that because, well we work mainly for the Landlords, and once we have judgment, we just try to usher people on their way.)
I realize you’re between a rock and a hard place, and it is getting cold at night and you don’t want to live in your car or in the street. I understand that. Really I do, but killing your property manager? What is going on in those heads of you two that this sounded like a good idea? Yea, sure you now have “free room and board” courteous of the State of California and Santa Cruz County tax payers, but this is a temporary situation at best for you. This was PREMEDITATED MURDER! Don’t forget that the State of California has a death penalty option. THAT sounds better than going to a homeless shelter or something?
Here is a little insight for people. It isn’t fun, easy or cheap for Owners to evict people through the court system in California. It’s $240 to file the case at the Court, you have process server fees that can run anywhere from $35-$200 dollars, writ for $25, the Sheriff to evict of $125 ( though that can vary from County to County I think. ). Just in straight costs your looking at an average of about $500. That doesn’t even include attorney fees. Plus, because in the State of California, Unlawful Detainers ( evictions ) have calendar preference and shorter time frames to file responses at Court ( a standard summons is 30 days, whereby an unlawful detainer is 5 days ( or 15 depending on how they are served ) and with trial dates, most civil cases here in Monterey County are going to be set 30-45 days out, but evictions have to be set within 20 days of the request for trial date), your paperwork has to be P…E…R…F…E…C…T. The littlest thing can throw your whole case out. ( Yea I got a little technical in there. Sorry if I lost you. )
Owners, Property Managers, and Judges don’t like to kick people out of their homes, ESPECIALLY at the holidays. I know that, even in the limited aspect of how I knew Gordon, that he would have tried to work things out with the Tenants on multiple levels before resorting to an eviction.
Now, here is where I break my silver rule. I am going to get political.
Those who know me personally already know how I feel about guns and gun safety. I am sure some of you are saying, that this is another example of why guns should be taken off the streets. That if guns were illegal, this horrible situation would have been avoided. This is also where I tell you I disagree with you 100%. You are entitled to your opinion, however, I disagree.
See it wasn’t the gun that killed Gordon Smith, that was merely the means. It was the person who pulled the trigger. Do you blame the knife that killed Goldman / Brown? No. We blame OJ Simpson for that. Do I blame the spoon or the cookie dough sitting in my fridge that won’t make it to cookies for making me fat? No. Do we blame the sword for the wars in medieval times? No we usually blame politics and religion as most wars were about that. Do we blame the flamethrower for the deaths in the Cologne School Massacre? No we blame Walter Seifert. Do we blame the chemical agents that killed millions during the Holocaust? No we blame Adolf Hitler. Heck, Timothy McVey did just fine with items found at your local Home Depot, Ace Hardware, or Lowes. Then he rented a truck, loaded it all up and blew up a whole building.
May favorite way to visualize this point is this….
( Yes I know it is a satire show, and feel free to take it with a grain of salt. My point is that a gun is an inanimate object that can not think for itself. It is manipulated by man, and therefore we shouldn’t hold the object accountable for what man does with it. )
See bad people are going to find a way to do bad things.
Again, I respect your opinion, and if you disagree with me, that is fine and dandy. My own mother and I do not completely agree on the issue of guns. My brother and I tend to take after our Dad on that account.
/Political rant OFF!
My point in all of this? Well I don’t really have one. I’m sort of processing right now. I feel horrible for his office assistant who found him. I have thought many a time of how would I be able to return to work if I came in and found my boss slumped over his desk from the “attorney heart attack”, or if I came in and found my boss dead. I would like to think that I will never have to deal with that, but this situation, brings some of those fears back to light.
So, I will hold my sad heart and leave you with this. Hug your husband, wife, daughter, son, dog, cat, mother, father, rat, gerbil, rabbit, whoever or whatever you love and let them know. You never know when they may be jerked from your life, due to a senseless act.