april 24, 2000. Minding
their manors. On April 19, a group of about 50
low-income men and women living in the Tenderloin
Four — Marlton Manor, the Alexander Residence,
Antonia Manor, and Maria Manor — gathered to hear
HUD’s Carolina Chavez and the Redevelopment Agency’s
Sean Spear try to make sense of the regulations that
govern their future. A few weeks ago, the owner of
the apartment houses notified each resident of plans
to prepay the mortgages on the buildings, possible
as a prelude to selling the properties or removing
them from subsidized Section 8 status. Or possibly
not. Only Security Properties president Roy Lee III
knows for sure.
Spear and Chavez opened a mixed bag of
reassurances: The notification was premature,
because HUD has not yet agreed to accept the
prepayment. If the buildings are sold, the new owner
will be eager to collect his monthly serving of rent
and will likely remain under contract to HUD,
perhaps with a rent hike which will affect the
subsidizer but not the tenants. If he does opt out,
preferring to try his luck in the private
marketplace, the present tenants will receive
Section 8 vouchers, which are good anywhere in the
United States (and good for a long waiting list in
San Francisco). Antonia Manor resident Roger
Langford’s fantasies of life on the Florida
beaches disappeared with a loud pop when he learned
that, because technically no evictions are involved,
the residents would move out armed with vouchers but
no relocation money.
Redevelopment is still pushing its proposal to
purchase the buildings and bring in a nonprofit to
run them with the residents’ input. But at this
moment, nerves are fraying in the Tenderloin.
Thanks for the memories. In San Jose a
decade-long dispute is subsiding, and founding
father Thomas Fallon may finally get his day in the
sun. Fallon’s claim to memorialization is his
planting of a U.S. flag over the city courthouse in
1846, just before the Mexican-American War began; he
subsequently became mayor of his hometown. In the
late 1980s, according to the Mercury
News of April 19, then-mayor Tom McEnery pushed
for a statue in his honor, characterizing Fallon as
"a dashing cavalier whose actions symbolized
the union of California and the United States."
Not surprisingly, local Latinos took another view,
which they expressed with great noise and passion.
The result: the city promised not to erect the
statue of Fallon it had commissioned until four
other monuments were in place. Today statues
commemorating the city’s agricultural past, its
first pueblo, and Latino intellectual leader Dr.
Ernesto Galarza have been completed and one
dedicated to the Ohlone Indians is in the works. It’s
time, city leaders announced, to bring Thomas Fallon
out of his Oakland warehouse and set him up in
Pellier Park where he belongs. Despite hisses from a
few opponents, the motion passed.
The people of San Jose may regret the decision.
It turns out that Fallon was a bit of a scoundrel,
an opportunist who probably married the
granddaughter of General Joaquin Ysidro Castro (the
San Francisco street’s namesake) for her money. In
his later life, "distasteful habits"
managed to get him ejected from hotels.
But his wife, Carmela, is another story. In 1876,
when she found him making whoopee with the family
housekeeper, she conked both of them on the head
with an iron poker and filed for divorce. Moving
north with her six children, she entered the heady
world of San Francisco real estate and proceeded to
make a killing. In 1894 she built an appropriately
splendid house at the intersection of Waller,
Octavia, and Market streets, where she lived until
her death in 1923.
Her monument is this mansion,
soon to be reincarnated as San Francisco’s new
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community
center. Her former husband’s monument is a two-ton
statue in San Jose.
(toon courtesy of Eric