THC attorney Steve Collier questions District Attorney Arlo Smith’s track record of prosecuting low-level criminals over slumlords.
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A Question of Resources?
by Steve Collier
Although the SF District Attorney has seemingly endless resources to prosecute immigrant T Shirt sellers on Twin Peaks, his office claims poverty when it comes to prosecuting slumlords. In the past ten years, the DA has not prosecuted a single landlord cited under the Housing Code for failing to make needed repairs or provide heat. Although San Francisco has had a law for 15 years mandating that landlords provide heat and making it a misdemeanor if they don’t, slumlords go unprosecuted, according to Randy Shaw, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. When recently presented by the Department of Building Inspection with cases to prosecute, the DA’s office stated that they did not have enough resources to prosecute slumlords.
The DA also refuses to prosecute landlords who criminally violate the Rent Control Ordinance. Robert Imhoff, a large San Francisco landlord was recently referred by the Rent Board to the DA’s office for prosecution regarding his refusal to re-rent apartments at 250 Taylor Street to tenants he had “temporarily” evicted to carry out repairs some eight years ago. The DA again refused to prosecute. However, the DA is prosecuting Ted Gullicksen, a Homes Not Jails activist who tried to draw attention to Imhoff’s refusal to rent by squatting in the vacant building.
Well, Arlo, which should it be, T-shirts or slumlords?