Bedbug Bedlam: HUD Senior Housing in San Diego

Before I post the lengthy "crazier than a bedbug" correspondence between myself and management in San Diego Square, a HUD-subsidized low-income senior building in downtown San Diego which is owned by a "legally separate" affiliate of the San Diego Housing Commission (the same man, Richard C. Gentry, appears to head the Board of Directors of both entities), I think some background might be useful.
San Diego has one of the worst homelessness problems in the United States, and over half of our homeless people are senior citizens. Low income housing in San Diego is Mr. Gentry's purview and has been for decades. I'm 77 years old, but some of the residents here are in their 80s and 90s. Some are relatively healthy, but many are frail and have serious health conditions and/or mobility problems. I've been living in this building for fifteen years and had no problems until Mr. Gentry's affiliate, Housing Development Partners, bought and "renovated" the building about three years ago.
Mr. Gentry is, from what I can gather, a homelessness profiteer. He gets money for low-income housing and appears to use most of it for gentrification, which increases property values and makes more people homeless. A good example is the Hotel Churchill, which was purchased and renovated to provide housing for homeless veterans and others. Before the renovations, it was a fleabag hotel with 92 units. After twenty million dollars were spent on the renovations, it had 72 units. So for each million dollars of low-income housing money spent, there was one fewer unit of low income housing in San Diego. Is that a great return on investment or what?
Here in San Diego Square, the renovations were designed solely to increase the property value, which, while not increasing the tenants' rents, doubled the fair market property value, which doubled the subsidy that the landlord receives from HUD. In a political climate where HUD funding has been consistently slashed, that puts low-income senior housing at risk. To increase the fair market value of the units, they had to enlarge the square footage of each unit. So, despite the fact that these 1-bedroom units are much larger than anything allowed for low-income buildings today, about 3 feet in length were added to the bedrooms. This wasn't much use to the tenants, making the units more difficult to heat, and, in fact, the year after the renovations there was no heat provided at all that winter. The following year heat was provided, but the controlling thermostat on the roof was set to 62 degrees, so if it was 65 degrees out, there was no heat in the building. Of course breaking up the floors to unnessessarily increase the size of the units, exposed the tenants, who were left in the building during all but 3 weeks of the "renovations," to a year of noise, dust, and frequent intrusions. HUD really knows how to make people uncomfortable.
When I asked the HUD project manager at the city office of economic development if the city had given any money to finance the "renovations" at San Diego Square, he told me he didn't know because they let the Housing Commission (Mr. Gentry) handle that sort of thing. Obviously, since there has been a sharp decrease in low-income housing and a huge increase in homelessness during Mr. Gentry's reign, the city feels it can trust him to ensure that low-income housing money is well spent--that is spent to enrich developers, investors, and low-income housing profiteers, and to support the political campaigns of those favorable to that agenda, rather than to provide more low-income housing and decrease homelessness.
Gentry claims that 6,000 to 9,000 new low-income tenants are housed every year. But since little to no new low-income housing is constructed, where are they housed? The answer is simple. The owners and managers of low-income housing, including senior buildings, find ways to make tenants uncomfortable, that is, to inflict stress on them. Some move out, but most people in housing of last resort can't afford to. Some die because stress weakens the immune system and shortens lives,particularly among the frail elderly with chronic health conditions, some don't die immediately but sicken and have to go into nursing homes, and some try to defend themselves, are evicted for not cooperating with the myriad of new rules that are imposed, and become homeless. With a waiting list of 75,000 or more for low-income housing, these victims are immediately replaced with new tenants for Mr. Gentry and his political puppets to brag about.
Is there anyone in the San Diego executive, legislative, or judiciary branches of local government who isn't themselves a landlord or invested in real estate, or in mutual funds that focus on real estate? Didn't the city assist with the mortgage debacle some years back, by offering to provide the down payment for people the banks knew couldn't afford and wouldn't be able to pay off their mortgages?
Anyway, I've been miserable since this building changed hands, so that should make Mr. Gentry and HUD Secretary Ben Carson very happy. It would take a book to detail all the harassment I've endured, but here's what I'm going through with the bedbug situation at the present time, in the form of emails between me and management, with cc's to  the owners:


Mark E. Smith

Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 12:33 PM

To: Soraya Sanchez <>

Cc: "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, Anita Chern <>, Marissa Mackiewicz <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

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To: Soraya Sanchez, Manager, San Diego Square

On Thursday, October 12, 2017, Mr. Greg Murphy, the maintenance person
here at San Diego Square, told me that this unit, #203, had
successfully completed the 6-week bedbug treatment, and that I was
required to bring all my bags back in from the balcony by the
following Thursday, October 19, 2017. As I do not wish to risk
reintroducing bedbugs into the unit, I do not want to bring things
back in that quickly. Mr. Murphy said that if I didn't have everything off
the balcony by Thursday I would be guilty of noncooperation with the
bedbug treatment. Since noncooperation with bedbug treatment is
grounds for eviction, I am writing this for the record and to assist
the Legal Aid attorneys if I am served with an eviction notice. I
spoke with the Assistant Manager, this morning and explained the
situation and that I intended to send this letter.

Previously, when I underwent bedbug treatment, about 2 years ago, I
was told to go
through each book and file page by page to look for bugs before
bagging them and putting them out on the balcony.. This time Mr.
Murphy seemed to think that the infestation was confined to the
bedroom and I
didn't realize that the bookcases also had bugs until the 2nd week
when Mr. Murphy told me to put all the books in bags quickly. I asked him to
remove the bookcases, so the bugs wouldn't have a place to hide. He
said he would do it that day, a Thursday, or the next day, Friday. He
didn't come back Thursday afternoon and did not work on Friday. The
next week the same thing happened again and he said that he didn't
want to remove the bookcases because he didn't want to get bitten. So
it took him three weeks to remove them. But he seems to expect me to
do things immediately. He said that instead of going through the books
and files page by page before bringing them back into the unit, to
just bring them in and shake them out on the floor. But the vinyl
flooring installed during the renovations has a fake wood pattern that
makes it very difficult to see bugs, and my eyesight is not the best.
I'd much rather go through the book and files before bringing them
back in, than to risk reinfesting the unit by shaking bugs out onto the floor
where I might not see them or be quick enough to catch them.

Greg said that bedbugs are "hitchhikers" and are only spread by
sitting next to somebody who has them. This is not true. They can also spread
from unit to unit, particularly in this building where the doors are
not fitted and have large cracks between the doors and the door
frames. This is what Cal Berkeley
says about it:

Q: My neighbor has bed bugs. Why is my room being treated?

A: Bed bugs will seek out optimal territory and because of their small
size, they can easily travel in minute cracks between walls. Studies
show that they are much more likely to spread from one room to
connecting rooms if the environment is favorable. Cal Housing's
aggressive eradication program depends on containing and eliminating
all bed bugs at once. Otherwise, the potential for re-infestation
grows to near certainty.

At the present time, Paul, Ann, Don, Lucille, Gary, Mary, and probably
a lot of other residents I don't know about, have bedbugs or were
treated for bedbugs within the past few weeks. The building is
infested, but the owners choose to blame the tenants, rather than
admit that they don't have, or won't spend the money for effective
treatment. Because the bedbugs spread from one unit to another, when
one unit is treated, other units become infested, and the problem

As reinfestation is a virtual certainty, I need time to get rid of
most of my possessions and to ensure that the possessions I need to
keep are bedbug free. To comply with the treatment protocol, all
washable things needed to be washed on a hot setting and then dried on
hot for a long time. It cost me $40 to wash all my clothes, towels,
bedding, etc., and I can't afford to do it again, so I need to throw
out or give away every item that isn't essential. It takes time to go
through things and make decisions as to what to keep and what to throw
away. The last time I got bedbugs, from a neighbor down the hall whose
unit walls were black with them before they were discovered, I had to
get rid of half my books because I simply couldn't go through each
book page by page. Now that I no longer have the large bookcase, I'll have
to get rid of more than half of my remaining books.

I got back on the Section 8 waiting list, but it will probably take 10
years before my name reaches the top. Still, as I'm hoping to move to
a small studio (this  1-bedroom is difficult for an elderly person
like myself to keep spotless and immaculate as required by management
and enforced with frequent inspections--the previous manager said that
my housekeeping was "impeccable," however the current manager says
that it isn't up to her unwritten standards) and I want to get rid of
everything that wouldn't fit into a small studio. Plus, I don't want
my executor to have to go through and throw out too many things when I
die. So this is a good opportunity for me to get rid of nonessentials,
however I can't do that all within a single week.

I'm not sure what the urgency is, as last time I had to keep
everything out on the balcony for six months. Why does everything have
to be brought back in now within a week? There is nothing about that
in the written bedbug treatment instructions or in the House Rules we
have in lieu of a lease.

When we launder our washable possessions for the bedbug treatment, we are
required to carry them to the laundry room in a sealed plastic bag, put
them in a washing machine, then put the bag, which is considered to be
contaminated, into another, clean plastic bag, and dispose of it in
the trash chute, and then use a clean new plastic bag to seal the
clean clothes in before putting them out on the balcony. But when they
did the relocations, they used the same carts that were used to take
out tenants' unfumigated possessions--carts which would have been
contaminated if the tenants had bedbugs--to bring back in the possessions of
tenants that had already been fumigated, so several tenants who did
not have bedbugs before the relocation, were infested after their
stuff was fumigated, probably from being brought back in by the movers
on bedbug contaminated carts.

HDP and SK Management were aware that the building had bedbug
infestations. That's why they fumigated everything during the
renovations. But, apparently believing that bedbugs only lived in
bedding and clothing, they did not fumigate within the walls of areas
that were known to be infested, or instruct the movers about proper
treatment of possibly infested belongings headed to storage bins for
fumigation during the relocations, in order to keep them separate from
possessions which had already been fumigated, or how to decontaminate
the moving carts, so the infestations continued.

While some bedbugs are undoubtedly brought in by tenants who pick them
up on a bus, in a movie, or by sitting near somebody who has them,
bedbugs also spread from one unit to another through the walls. Even
the instructions we are given from Dewey Pest Control say, "6. Remove
all wall plate covers on switches and outlets." While this apparently
is no longer being done, the reason it was done previously was because
bedbugs spread through the walls and can enter through any cracks.

I want to bring my things back inside from the balcony as soon as
possible, but without risking reinfestation. To expedite this, I
ordered some very heavy-duty plastic bags, so that I could contain
things that I cannot decontaminate quickly, such as books and files. I
ordered the bags Thursday night, and expected the bags to arrive
Sunday, but on Sunday I got the following email from Amazon:

From: "" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2017 18:04:10 +0000
Subject: Your Order (#112-5945084-3954651)


We have been contacted by the shipper regarding order
#112-5945084-3954651, and it appears that the package was damaged in
transit. We're sorry for any inconvenience this causes.

When something like this happens, we normally send out a replacement
order. In this case, though, a replacement order wasn't possible, so
we've requested a full refund for your order. You'll see the refund
apply to your original payment method within several business days.

Once processed, you'll be able to see the refund here:

If you still want the item(s), please place a new order.

We hope to see you again soon.


Customer Service Department

Please note: this e-mail was sent from a notification-only address
that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this

I reordered the bags and they are supposed to arrive tomorrow,
Tuesday. But while that will allow me to start bringing things in, I
will not be able to bring everything in as quickly as Mr. Murphy
demands. Even the things I intend to keep have to be hung up and put
away. I don't have a housekeeper and I have to do my own shopping,
cooking, and cleaning, so I cannot devote every hour of every day to
your property maintenance or irrational commands.

I'm doing the best I can, as quickly as I can. Because the bedbug
treatment is difficult and expensive, and due to the many continuous
infestations in this building, will definitely recur, I want to do
everything I can to make the times between the unavoidable
infestations as long as possible. I hope that management will
cooperate with me in this effort.

To sum up for the Legal Aid attorneys, in the event that I am served
with an eviction notice for noncooperation:

1. I cooperated fully with the bedbug treatment, which was
successfully completed. I would not have been ordered to bring things
back in from the balcony unless the bedbug treatment had been
successfully completed, so I did cooperate with the bedbug treatment.

2. While there is also a rule about not having anything but patio
furniture and a limited number of plants on the balconies, I had
nothing on my balcony until I was ordered by management to remove
things from the unit as part of the bedbug treatment and to put
everything out on the balcony. I am trying to bring my belongings back
into the unit as quickly as I can without risking recontamination.

Mark E. Smith
1055 9th Ave #203
San Diego CA 92101



Mark E. Smith

Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 3:13 PM

To: Anita Chern <>, "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, Marissa Mackiewicz <>

Cc: Soraya Sanchez <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

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Five minutes ago, Soraya Sanchez, the building manager for San Diego
Square, knocked on the door of facility unit #203, and I made the
mistake of just opening the door without asking who it was and what
they wanted.

She said that she wanted to confirm that my letter (below) had asked
for a 1-week extension of time for bringing things in from the
balcony, and that she would return the following week to inspect.
When I explained that I had not asked for a 1-week extension, but had
asked for as long as it takes me to bring things in without risking
bedbug reinfestation, which should have been quite clear to anyone who
can read, she said she'd come back in two weeks.

Apparently she couldn't read or understand the letter I had just sent
about the bedbug situation, her assistant manager wasn't able to
explain it to her, and she doesn't want to respond by email because
that would leave a written trail of her provocations and it isn't as
easy to provoke somebody in writing as it is by banging on their door.

I had explained the situation clearly in my letter. I had addressed
the email to her only because she is the manager. Nothing in that
email required her to knock on my door, twist my words, or provoke me
in any way.

Ms. Sanchez also said that in the future I must speak with her
directly, not with her assistant manager. I apologize for my mistake
in speaking with the assistant manager. I had mistakenly thought that
I was allowed to speak with the assistant manager and I had not been
told otherwise. In the future I will obey Ms. Sanchez' command that I
not speak with the assistant manager.

I do not wish to speak with Ms. Sanchez in the future without an
attorney present. If she wishes to contact me, she can do so by email
so there is a written proof of what is said. Otherwise, I need advance
notice so I can have a legal witness present to document her
provocations, as my reactions to her provocations are likely to be
used by her to continue to try to build a case against me for the
purpose of evicting me without cause. Ms. Sanchez brought the janitor
with her, so that she could have a witness, and I had no advance
notice of her intrusion, so I didn't have a witness to her
provocations. That isn't right--if she has a witness, I'm entitled to
a witness also. The janitor has been given access to tenants' files
and should not have access to tenants' personal information or be used
to help build cases against tenants. Those are not usual and ordinary
janitorial duties and I doubt if they are part of her job description.

If I need something in the future, as she has forbidden me to contact
her assistant manager, I will contact Ms. Sanchez by email, as I do
not wish to allow her to provoke me. She is an expert at provoking
tenants, twisting people's words, saying things that aren't true,
making unreasonably nit-picking demands, asking insulting questions,
and then writing tenants up for reacting to her provocations. This
appears to be a skill that the previous manager also had and that all
SK Management managers are taught, and may even be part of the HUD
policy of making HUD-subsidized tenants uncomfortable. It definitely
makes me feel uncomfortable.

Mark E. Smith
1055 9th Ave #203
San Diego CA 92101-5527


Mark E. Smith

Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 2:10 PM

To: Anita Chern <>, "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, Marissa Mackiewicz <>

Cc: Soraya Sanchez <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Delete | Show original

To whom it may concern:

Today, Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 1:34 p.m., the security guard
put the following notice on my door:

San Diego Square
1055 9th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101-5546  (619) 239-2073
TTY Relay Service: 711

To: Mark Smith
1055 9th Ave, #203
San Diego CA 92101-5546  (sic: that is not the correct plus-four on my ZIP code)

Dear Resident:

We are advising you that we intend to enter your apartment on
Thursday, 10/19/17, at about 12:00pm-4:00pm, for the purpose checked

Other: Final Inspection

*Final inspection cannnot be completed until all items are unpacked.

Greg Murphy
Maintenance Dept.
San Diego Square

The notice does not mention what the "final inspection" is for. Is it
the last and final inspection ever for everything to do with this
unit, or is it the final bedbug inspection that Mr. Murphy referred to

If it is the final bedbug inspection, the semi-final bedbug inspection
last week, when Mr. Murphy told me that there were no more bugs and
that I should bring everything back in from the balcony, was not
valid, as nothing was unpacked at that time, so a valid inspection
could not have been done.

If the semi-final inspection with nothing unpacked was valid, then
there is no reason everything must be unpacked for the final
inspection. Nothing is allowed to be brought back in from the balcony
until Mr. Murphy says so, which he did not do until after his
semi-final inspection. Does that mean that he ordered me to bring
stuff back in before he was certain that the unit was bedbug-free?

Management, including the janitor and the maintenance person, with
whom the office has shared my personal information illegally, is aware
that I am an emotionally disabled person, and that therefore I am
easily provoked. They therefore have made a practice of provoking me,
and then writing me up as if I had reacted emotionally without any
provocation whatsoever. That's why I want a credible witness of my own
choosing whenever they enter this unit.

This 24-hour notice appears to be invalid, as all prior notices of
entry were 48-hour notices, which would have given me time to notify
someone to be present as my witness.

Also, the reason for the 4-hour time span allotted, which means I and
my witness would have to wait up to four hours for the inspection, was
explained to me by Mr. Murphy as being set by the pest control company
to accommodate their schedule. The pest control company is not needed
to final inspection, so scheduling should be up to Mr. Murphy and
should not require a four-hour waiting time.

I have begun unpacking, but my things are not all unpacked, as I had
told Mr. Murphy, and had also notified the office by email, and will
not be unpacked for some time, so that I can ensure that I am not
reintroducing bedbugs into the unit. There was a lot of pressure on me
from Mr. Murphy to get things out of the unit and onto the balcony
quickly, so I was unable to inspect every book and file for bedbugs at
that time, and I did not dare refuse to comply for fear that the unit
would not be sprayed and I'd continue to be bitten by bedbugs. I did
comply, the unit was sprayed 3 times, with an additional spot spray
the following week because I had been bitten by a bedbug, but I wish
to take my time bringing things back in so that I can inspect the
books, papers, and other things carefully before bringing them back
in, so as not to risk reintroducing bedbugs into the unit.

If the purpose of management is to get rid of the bedbugs, rather than
simply to provoke me with unreasonable demands, then management should
cooperate by allowing me to ensure that I have time to inspect things
for bedbugs before bringing them back in.

I'm not sure what the current urgency is, as the previous time I had
bedbugs I was required to leave everything on the balcony for six
months. I want to bring my things back into the unit as quickly as is
practical, as life is difficult without access to my things, but I do
not wish to have to pack everything up again and put it back out on
the balcony again and go through another 6-week treatment because I
was in too much of a hurry to comply with management's orders, and was
therefore unable to inspect things carefully for bedbugs before
bringing them back into the unit.

Your cooperation and compliance with relevant laws would be appreciated.



Mark E. Smith

Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 2:45 PM

To: Anita Chern <>, "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, Marissa Mackiewicz <>

Cc: Soraya Sanchez <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>, Sherry Lambkin <>, Elizabeth Rivera <>, Jessimae Tapang <>

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Please note that I spent over $18 for heavy-duty plastic bags, in case
I was forced to bring things in from the balcony before I could ensure
they were bedbug-free. I thought I could just seal things in bags
until I could inspect them or there was enough time to ensure that all
bedbugs had died. But now the notice doesn't say to bring things back
in, it says that everything has to be "unpacked."

These people are so evil that they want to force me to risk
reintroducing bedbugs into the unit after I've just gone through the
whole bedbug treatment.

It is important that I document everything, so that if they attempt to
evict me for refusal to risk reintroducing bedbugs into the unit, the
Legal Aid attorneys who will be defending me against the eviction can
understand what occurred.

Ms. Sanchez said that the bedbugs would all be dead because the
weather was hot. But the boxes and bags on the balcony were piled 3
high and 3 deep (the size of the balcony was cut in half when the
owners enlarged the unit, so that the units are bigger, but tenants
can not own as many things due to the need to put everything on the
balcony each time the bedbug infestations recur), and the sun only hit
the ones on the outside, not the ones underneath or behind them.




Anita Chern

Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 2:55 PM

To: "Mark E. Smith" <>

Cc: "" <>

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On Thursday, October 12, 2017 your unit was inspected by Greg (maintenance staff) and Dewey Pest Control and found to be bed bug free.  You were then asked to bring your belongings from the balcony back into your unit for a final inspection to take place October 19, 2017.  You requested additional time.  I approved an additional week and Soraya, the resident manager, relayed in person the extension of time.
The final inspection is performed and required by Dewey Pest Co. to close the bed bug treatment.  The final inspection is now extended to Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Please accept this extension as a courtesy and comply with the completion of the bed bug treatment in order to close this matter.

Anita Chern, CPM, SHCM
SK Management Company, LLC
15910 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1400
Encino, CA 91436
Ph: (323) 930-2300 ext. 229
Fx: (323) 935-3605



Mark E. Smith

Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 3:40 PM

To: Anita Chern <>, Deborra Ann Low <>

Cc: "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, "\"Marissa Mackiewicz" <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

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Thank you. I would certainly be able to bring all my belongings back
into the unit by Thursday, October 19, 2017, but I would not be able
to unpack everything by then without risking the reintroduction of
bedbugs into the unit.

Please clarify your demands. Do you simply want everything brought in
from the balcony, which I could certainly do without risking
recontamination by sealing everything that I don't have time to
inspect in heavy bags until I have time to inspect every book and
file, or are you demanding that I unpack everything by next week?

Since I also have to put away the clothes, towels, linens, bedding,
and other washables that were laundered and dried on hot according to
instructions and no longer have bedbugs, unless I just dump them in
piles on the floor instead of hanging things up and putting them
neatly in drawers and on shelves, I wouldn't have time to go through
every book and file and inspect it for bedbugs by next week. I could
seal the things I don't have time to inspect and bring them into the
unit, but I couldn't unpack my books and files that quickly without
risking reintroducing bedbugs into the unit.

Since Mr. Murphy didn't give me time to inspect each book and file
page by page before putting them on the balcony, unpacking them inside
the unit would almost certainly reintroduce bedbugs, as I didn't know
at the time that there were bedbugs in the bookcase. Mr. Murphy, after
3 weeks of promising to do so, did dispose of the infested bookcase
for me, but since the books were already in bags on the balcony, I
never was able to inspect them carefully for bugs. Same with the
files. I have five large boxes of files and one small file box, and
six large bags full of books.

I think I can manage to donate, give away, or otherwise dispose of at
least half my books, which must be done as I no longer have a bookcase
for them, but many of my papers which are in the file boxes, need to
be sent to be included with the collection of my personal papers in
the Schlesinger Library of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced
Studies at Harvard University, so I can't just throw them away and I
can't send them to the library with bedbugs in them.

Thank you for the extension of time, I will try to arrange to have a
legal observer here between noon and 4:00 p.m. on Thursday the 19th,
to make sure I understand your demands, any further instructions from
Dewey Pest Control's exterminator, and any further demands from Mr.
Murphy and Ms. Sanchez. and that I am able to comply with them. Any
clarification you can give me before then would be greatly



Anita Chern <>, Deborra Ann Low <>

Cc: "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, "\"Marissa Mackiewicz" <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

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Oops. I now see that the time is extended until October 26, 2017.

However since the NOTICE OF ENTRY has not been rescinded or revised, I
think I might still have to try to have a legal observer here between
noon and 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, the 19th, when Mr. Murphy, and Ms.
Sanchez apparently intend to enter my unit, even if they are not
accompanied by an exterminator from Dewey Pest Control.

The inspection by Mr. Murphy and Ms. Sanchez, to ensure that I have
unpacked everything, which they are well aware I have not done, does
not appear to be part of the Dewey bedbug treatment, is not included
in their instructions, and was not mentioned to me prior to today's
NOTICE OF ENTRY, so unless it is rescinded, I have to assume that it
will occur in addition to the final inspection you so kindly
rescheduled to October 26th.

Please forgive me, Anita, as this has been very stressful for me, and
I am confused by what appear to be conflicting and irrational demands.
My goal is to get my stuff back from the balcony as quickly as
possible without reintroducing bedbugs to the unit. The purpose of
forcing me to unpack everything before I have time to inspect it,
appears to be to ensure that bedbugs are reintroduced to the unit and
I have to go through the whole thing again. That doesn't seem right.



Mark E. Smith

Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 4:39 PM

To: Anita Chern <>

Cc: "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, Marissa Mackiewicz <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

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Hi Anita--

I just learned from another resident that there are currently 16 units
in this building with bedbugs. I think it is time to stop blaming the
individual residents and to look carefully at such practices as
forcing people to put unwashable stuff like books and files out on the
balcony before they can be carefully inspected, and forcing people to
unpack things that they haven't had time to carefully inspect first.

Dewey's instructions say to inspect carefully before putting things
out on the balcony, but Mr. Murphy said to just put the bags out there
and put the books in them. He said nothing about inspecting the files.
In fact, he said that I should just bring the books and files back
inside and then shake them out on the floor, which would almost
certainly reintroduce bedbugs into the unit.

While there are some residents who don't seem to take bedbugs
seriously, there are many like myself who do. It is probably an
excellent idea to evict those who don't take the bedbug situation
seriously, but it isn't right to make unreasonable demands on those
who want to avoid infestations and prevent reinfestations.

If management would focus more on eliminating bedbug infestations, and
less on enforcing arbitrary rules that do not apply to every
individual situation and, in some cases, only make things worse, I
think the situation might improve.


Mark E. Smith

Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:22 AM

To: Anita Chern <>

Cc: "Dennis T. O'Donovan Jr" <>, Marissa Mackiewicz <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>

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Hi Anita--

Several residents have told me that they thought the exterminator was
spreading bedbugs to make more business for themselves. I didn't think
this was likely, as urban pest control is a growth business. But then
you wrote:

"On Thursday, October 12, 2017 your unit was inspected by Greg
(maintenance staff) and Dewey Pest Control and found to be bed bug
free.  You were then asked to bring your belongings from the balcony
back into your unit for a final inspection to take place October 19,
2017.  You requested additional time.  I approved an additional week
and Soraya, the resident manager, relayed in person the extension of

The final inspection is performed and required by Dewey Pest Co. to
close the bed bug treatment.  The final inspection is now extended to
Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Please accept this extension as a
courtesy and comply with the completion of the bed bug treatment in
order to close this matter."

I think that I can (with difficulty--I may have to pay a caregiver to
help) bring my belongings back into the unit by the 26th, a week from
today. I've already brought in and unpacked six large bags and several
small ones.

But the notice I got from Ms. Sanchez said:

"Final inspection cannot be completed until all items are unpacked."

I'm waiting for you to clarify if I am only required to bring things
in from the balcony, or if I am required to unpack everything.

Unpacking, putting the things I need to keep where they belong, and
giving away, donating, or throwing out the things I don't want to
repeatedly launder and remove every time the building infestation
spreads to this unit, takes time and makes it more difficult for me to
bring things back in quickly.

While the Dewey instructions say to examine everything before removing
it to the balcony, Mr. Murphy did not give me time to examine the
books and files, so I'd be willing to bring them back in still sealed
in heavy bags, but not to unpack them until I can examine them
carefully. I'll have to get large sheets of white paper to put on the
floor so that I can see and spray or squash any bedbugs that are in
the books or files as I unpack them.

When the Dewey exterminator comes to the unit to spray, I am required
to have the floors dusted and mopped. When they are here, they track
in a lot of dirt, so once they leave I have to dust and mop the floors
again. My personal observation is that neither the Dewey exterminators
nor Mr. Murphy inspect and decontaminate their shoes and clothes when
leaving a bedbug infested unit and entering a different unit.  So now
I think it is quite possible that what other residents have told me is
true, that the exterminators are spreading bedbugs from one unit to
another. Certainly, if they are requiring that everything be unpacked
before it can be inspected, they are most definitely inviting

I found an observer to be on call today, just in case Ms. Sanchez and
Mr. Murphy didn't get your email extending the time for inspection to
next week, and will have a legal observer here next week on the 26th
for the final inspection.

Please clarify whether I'm required to bring things in from the
balcony, in which case they can still be sealed in plastic bags until
I can inspect them carefully, or I'm required to unpack everything
including the files and books that haven't been inspected.

Thanks, Anita!


Anita Chern

Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:38 PM

To: "Mark E. Smith (" <>

Cc: "Emily Jacobs (" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>

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You have been through the Bed Bug treatment before and know the protocol.  I would suggest that you bring back clothing and bedding since the items have been washed, dried and packaged.  Next step, on your balcony, take one bag at a time, open, inspect and clean each item before returning the item to your unit.  With regard to bags with books and papers following the same procedure, however, with a book after inspecting and finding a bed bug since you cannot clean a book place it in a plastic trash bag to be discarded.
Please stop with the gossip.
Anita Chern, CPM, SHCM
SK Management Company, LLC
15910 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1400
Encino, CA 91436
Ph: (323) 930-2300 ext. 229
Fx: (323) 935-3605


Mark E. Smith

Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 2:15 PM

To: Anita Chern <>

Cc: Marissa Mackiewicz <>, "Emily Jacobs (" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>, Sherry Lambkin <>

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Dear Ms. Chern:

I don't think that communicating with other residents with regard to
our mutual problems as tenants of San Diego Square is "gossip." I
think it is a guaranteed tenants' right, specifically guaranteed to
HUD tenants according to the leaflets management has given us over the
years, and also a guaranteed Constitutional right, both state and

The previous bedbug treatments were different. The first time they
just had me put everything in bags, they then sprayed inside the bags,
and then the bags were placed outside on the balcony for about a week.
This was done by Dewey Pest Control and was their protocol at the
time. There was no requirement to bring things in before any final
inspection and no requirement to unpack things quickly.

The second time, nine years later, about two years ago, I was required
to keep everything out on my balcony for six months. This was again
done by Dewey Pest Control and was their new protocol. Everything had
to go into bags, but they only sprayed the unit once a month. There
was no requirement to unpack everything before a final inspection.


I have brought in and unpacked nine large plastic bags and seven smaller bags.

It is not true that a book cannot be salvaged and must be discarded.

If the book is left in a tightly sealed plastic bag for 18 months, all
bugs and eggs will have died.

What you appear to be saying seems like property theft to me. The
books for which I spent money, use for reference, and treasure (having
had to get rid of half my books the last time the building bedbug
infestation spread to this unit), some of which contain my own
writings and others of which mention or quote me, should be allowed to
remain sealed, either on the balcony or inside the unit, until all
bugs have died. I will, since I had to get rid of my big bookcase,
dispose of all books that aren't of great value to me, which is more
than half of them. I intend to keep books that are out of print and
irreplaceable, books would cost more than $50 each to replace, and, as
I said, books that contain things I've written or references to me or
my writings.

I can understand that you have the right to forbid anything other than
patio furniture and the designated number of permitted plants on
balconies, however I didn't have anything on my balcony until ordered
to put things there by management to comply with the bedbug treatment.
I do not understand that you have the right to prohibit any sealed
plastic bags inside the unit.

I bought some tape to seal the books and files that I won't have time
to inspect by next week, but I can't find the four rolls of tape I
bought and have to buy more tape. I'll try to take the bus to the
store to buy more tape today, but can't promise. I will try to have
anything that wasn't properly laundered or meticulously inspected,
back in the unit by next week's inspection, but books and files will
be in sealed bags until I have time to open each one and inspect every
book and file.

Since this building has been experiencing bedbug infestations for many
years, and many units appear to be infected, I'll try to have a legal
observer here for the inspection next week, as it looks like Legal Aid
is going to have their hands full defending against the evictions of
elderly people in San Diego Square and other HDP-owned buildings who
are unable to comply with the draconian and constantly changing rules
for bedbug treatment.

Since HDP keeps a law firm on retainer, I suggest that they (the
people you cc'd on your email) contact their legal representative to
be sure that you are allowed to ban sealed bags from inside the unit.

As you have admitted that I completed the bedbug treatment, no bedbugs
were found on the last inspection, and I haven't been bitten since a
week before that, the only questions now are whether or not you have
the right to force me to engage in unpaid heavy labor or pay someone
to help me meet your timetable for removing things from the balcony,
and whether or not you can force me to either risk reintroducing
bedbugs to the unit or to dispose of books that are valuable to me and
which are easily salvageable even if infected simply by leaving them
in sealed bags until all bugs have died.



Mark E. Smith

Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 9:00 PM



Mark E. Smith

Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 9:48 AM

To: Anita Chern <>

Cc: Marissa Mackiewicz <>, "Emily Jacobs (" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>

Bcc: Deborra Ann Low <>, Sherry Lambkin <>

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Dear Ms. Chern:

With regard to the final inspection of this unit on Thursday, October
26, 2017, at some time between noon and 4:00 p.m.:

I don't like bedbugs and I always report any bedbug bites or bedbug
sightings. This unit was inspected last week and no bedbugs were
found, as your previous email noted, nor have I seen any bedbugs or
been bitten by bedbugs since then.

If the final inspection is to ensure that I have brought everything
back in from the balcony, that could be done without entering the
unit, or by entering the unit and inspecting only the balcony. I will
have brought everything in from the balcony by then. I brought in and
unpacked three more large bags this morning and am working as quickly
as I can.

If the inspection is about making sure that everything from the
balcony is unpacked, there will be things that are not yet unpacked
and will still be sealed tightly in heavy-duty plastic bags, such as
my books and files. No inspection is needed to ascertain that some
things have not been unpacked, as I agree that some things will not
have been unpacked.

I will try to have an observer present when the inspection is carried out.

Because the inspectors (the person or persons from Dewey Pest Control,
and the person who constitutes the Maintenance Department for this
building, Mr. Greg Murphy),
have, in the past, not stopped to decontaminate their shoes and
clothing before entering this unit after having left infested units,
and always track in a lot of dirt so that the floors, which are
required to be spotless when they enter, always are filthy and have to
be cleaned again after they leave, I have the following requirements
for the inspection:

1. That the inspectors stop before entering this unit and take the
time to decontaminate their shoes and clothing. If they do not have
appropriate materials to do this, I can spray their shoes and clothing
with a light alcohol mist, which will kill most bedbugs without
harming the inspectors, their shoes, or their clothing, and dries very

2. While in the unit, the inspectors must stay together and move
slowly enough for my observer and I to follow them, so that if they
inadvertently drop a bedbug that they picked up while treating another
residence earlier that same day, we can see it and I can spray it with
alcohol or squash it before it manages to hide, propagate, and
reinfest the unit.

As part of SK Management, the corporation that manages this building,
your interest in ensuring that units are not accidentally or
inadvertently reinfested due to reckless or negligent procedures
should be as great as my own. Thank you in advance for your
cooperation in ensuring that my unit does not become reinfested with


I'm trying desperately to find a credible observer to be present from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on this coming Thursday, October 26th, when the "final inspection" is scheduled, so that it won't just be the word of a disgruntled tenant against management, and to help ensure that the inspectors don't bring bedbugs into the unit from the units they previously inspected. I don't have a phone, but if you happen to be available (San Diego Square is on 9th Avenue between Broadway and "C" downtown), please let me know!

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