Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Burbank (Gatto) Blog: Sobering Thoughts on Sober Living Facilities

(Mod: One of the worst kept on-line secrets is the identity of the author of The Burbank Blog. That would be none other than soon retiring California State Assemblyman Mike GattoGatto, who was expected to oppose Anthony Portantino in the race this year for termed-out Carol Liu's District 25 California State Senate seat, instead boldly opted for a potential statewide run for the Lieutenant Governor job. That said, Gatto has an interesting take on the Sober Living Facilties question, one that contradicts the position of his own party. Too bad he didn't choose to say what follows under his own name.)

Sobering Thoughts on Sober Living Facilities: Lately Burbank has wrestled with the issue of sober living facilities which are integrated in the fabric of our community located right next door to regular homes in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

The federal government has essentially mandated that cities have no choice but to allow these group homes into quiet neighborhoods under the principle that addicts and such cannot be treated any differently because they are according to the federal government a suspect class.

Now, under guidelines released this past week by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, turning down tenants based on whether or not they have criminal records could be considered discriminatory and landlords could, as a result, face lawsuits or penalties. This is crazy.

According to the New York Times, "Landlords must [now] distinguish between arrests and convictions … and consider nature and severity of the crime."

Ordering cities to locate rehab centers in the middle of quiet residential neighborhoods, and now lessening the ability to screen residents is pretty crazy.

Since when are businesses permitted in R1 neighborhoods?  This is an overreach that runs the risk of turning sleepy charming Burbank streets into profit centers for companies loading up their homes with people with criminal records and addictions.

We are as progressive as any but value the concept of local control and the ability of people to choose through their city governments where they want businesses to locate in communities.

Mod: You can link to The Burbank Blog here.

Here is the NY Times article Gatto is referring to:

Federal Housing Officials Warn Against Blanket Bans of Ex-Offenders: Private landlords who have blanket bans on renting to people with criminal records are in violation of the Fair Housing Act and can be sued and face penalties for discrimination, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said.

Juli├ín Castro, the HUD secretary, is expected on Monday to announce guidance that details his agency’s interpretation of how the fair housing law applies to policies that exclude people with criminal records, a group that is not explicitly protected by the act but falls under it in certain circumstances. Federal officials said landlords must distinguish between arrests and convictions and cannot use an arrest to ban applicants. In the case of applicants with convictions, property owners must prove that the exclusion is justified and consider factors like the nature and severity of the crime in assessing prospective tenants before excluding someone.

Mr. Castro said housing bans against former offenders were common.

“Right now, many housing providers use the fact of a conviction, any conviction, regardless of what it was for or how long ago it happened, to indefinitely bar folks from housing opportunities,” Mr. Castro said in a statement. “Many people who are coming back to neighborhoods are only looking for a fair chance to be productive members, but blanket policies like this unfairly deny them that chance.”

Mod: For the rest of this NYT article click here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

73 comments:

  1. Let me see if I have this correct. The federal government says that we neighbors must not discriminate against a drug rehab business setting up in a residential neighborhood but, if we sell our home we must notify the potential buyer that a rehab facility is within 300 feet of the property were selling. That seems like a real catch 22 were dealing with here. How can we deal with this and stay out of legal problem? Not to mention how do we protect our families from this. How much is it going to cost in educating our family and friends of the potential hazards when were home or have visitors with kids? What is considered excess when securing our homes from such threats? Is there an alarm for that? Do we need to put up signs notifying people when they come over to our homes or are we discriminating by doing so? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

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    1. It seems to me that you do not have to notify a potential buyer that a rehab facility is within 300 feet of your property. By law, neither you nor a potential buyer is allowed to discriminate against addicts. Just as you would not tell a potential buyer that your neighbor is a smoker or overweight. Their damaging behavior is none of the neighbor's business, even if they want to share their barbecue or cookies with you.
      You can secure your home as much as you want, provided that you follow the building codes. I would advise against signs notifying people when they come to your home. Libel law suits would likely follow.

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    2. Crazy. So you work hard to make a safe community where neighbors know each other, and the state forces you to live with a transient population who will never contribute anything to the neighborhood.

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    3. The average American moves every five years. This is not nearly enough time to really know your neighbors.

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    4. Donald Trump is starting to sound more reasonable than our own government. Mandating that our personal safety, property rights and freedoms matter less than a addict's rights?

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    5. As far as I know there was not a single incident that anyone's safety has been jeopardized. Just a lot of fear. When it comes to emotions, we tend to not think clearly anymore.
      When you look at the history of property rights, you notice the following: You have never had any control over who purchases your neighbor's property unless you buy it yourself. Some thought they can regulate this by price and thus selecting for preferential neighbors, until they learned that this did not always work out like that. For instance, house prices have gone up so incredibly that some people made their money in not so honest ways, became our neighbors. We also realized that some foreigners have a lot more money than we do, purchasing three lots from a helicopter tour at once. Initially welcome since this was supposedly increasing the value of our home, people now start to realize that some of those never intended to move in, just to park their money. So, you have deserted neighborhoods, which decreases our home value all of a sudden. That is not so welcome, but it is part of the housing market. It goes up and it goes down. For all of us who enjoy those freedoms that come with a free market, this is a price we have to pay. There is very little that you can do about it, other than purchasing your neighbor's lot yourself. Then, you can control what is going on there. Your responsibility ends at your property line.
      Just like the addicted neighbor (whether in treatment or not, and the vast majority are not in treatment) cannot tell you what to do on your property, it is none of your business what happens on theirs. Same freedom and same rights for everyone.

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    6. "As far as I know ..."

      What you know isn't far enough to get you to Happy's.

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    7. More supply for treatment centers.

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    8. 4:03.
      There are a multitude of rules and regulations that interfere with individual freedoms, for public safety and the common good.
      Places like the Carter drug rehab have been given inappropriate exemptions from such rules, in a misguided effort to help people who struggle with their own natures.
      The intention was not to violate zoning laws and pump for-profit businesses into family neighborhoods, but that is the result.

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  2. If someone refuses to buy my house after I tell them it is next to a sober house, can I sue them for discrimination?

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    1. No, but you can be sued for telling them!

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    2. Well, then I guess about 50% of Sierra Madre can be sued, because that is about how many folks have talked about the junkie hut on Carter.

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  3. Don't they have about 100 of these scam sober houses in Malibu? Were these Dedicato boys too cheap to invest the big bucks, or is this targeted to San Marino/La Canada residents?

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    1. Malibu, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and lots of other places are trying to fight this. Sierra Madre needs to do the same.

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    2. It's a money making machine - never ending supply of customer, a protected racket by the US Government, very little monitoring and allot of quacks / hucksters running them

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  4. https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/veterans/

    Yesterday a hero, today unwelcome.

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    1. I am not certain how a drug addict can be considered a hero. Please explain. To me it seems like an ultimate act of narcissism and cowardice.

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    2. "Veterans who have seen combat may have co-occurring disorders, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to an addiction."

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    3. Doesn't the Veteran's Administration have facilities for their care?

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    4. 6:28 Am
      Not nearly enough. We have been very busy sending soldiers out.

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    5. http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/res-vatreatmentprograms.asp

      "The VA provides effective, scientifically proven services for all eligible veterans, no matter where they come for services. VA providers know that in many cases substance use problems are continuing conditions that require care over a long period of time. For other veterans, the substance use problems may be resolved more quickly with attention paid to related problems. Such related problems could be posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, pain, disturbed sleep, irritability, and/or relationship problems."

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    6. It would be upsetting if one of the reasons for sober living homes is the failure of the VA to properly care for the soldiers we have placed in their care.

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    7. The place on 22 West Carter is not tailored for veterans. They say they are for wealthy opioid addicts.

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    8. 7:57
      That is not mutually exclusive.

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    9. Yes. There are always nits to be picked.

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    10. 6:28
      Welcome to the real world:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/veterans-health-care_us_56c7778de4b0ec6725e28aed

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    11. 7:02 - So the failure of the Feds to take care of veteran drug addicts is leading the Feds to force communities like Sierra Madre to allow junkie rehab hustlers into quiet residential neighborhoods? I'll bet you can't contain your excitement.

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    12. 6:12
      I would not consider anyone who is enlisting in the military to serve this nation as a soldier a narcissist or a coward. They all do this knowing that they may have to pay with their lives. When they encountered combat, many of them have experienced trauma they were not prepared to deal with. Many bring home physical and -less obvious but no less damaging - mental wounds. I have personally investigated soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorders and I know for a fact that their entire bodies are flooded with stress signals, causing all kinds of alarming symptoms across the entire trauma range. The symptoms can be addressed one by one, but there is no cure at this point.
      Soldiers who have been praised for their personal responsibility all of a sudden realize that they are over their head with the trauma that they experienced. Many try to deal with it themselves. Others try to get to a VA hospital for help, and they are put in unacceptable long waiting lines.
      The recent Senate probe found a "systematic failure" of VA facilities. The VA now wants nurses to act like doctors. Doctors predict that veterans will be even more harmed.


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    13. First and foremost those are people who seek treatment for their illness.

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    14. "I would not consider anyone who is enlisting in the military to serve this nation as a soldier a narcissist or a coward."

      Wow. Now you're comparing our military men and women to drug addicts. What a creep.

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    15. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-abuse-in-military

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    16. OK. I get it. You hate the military.

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    17. Not at all. You completely misunderstood. Please read my statement again. I have supported the military, including wounded soldiers who return from combat to the US. I advocate for more understanding and support of the trauma some of our soldiers experience, that often leads to addiction. I support this even if it means that they are being temporarily located in my neighborhood for seeking help that they cannot find in other places.

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    18. Using the military to justify sober houses is shameless behavior.

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  5. Do police departments have a list of these group homes so they can be on the look out if crimes are committed in the neighborhood? Not to mention making neighbors alert to the potential and to be on the alert.

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    1. Since Sierra Madre has two police departments these kinds of communications must be doubled.

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    2. I don't think anyone has such a list. Since these homes can operate anywhere if they have 6 beds or less, without a license of any kind, the only people who would necessarily know are the people making money on them.

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    3. I think Elaine knows who they are. They do need a city business license.

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    4. Not if they are a group home.

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    5. If I bought a house in Sierra Madre and it turned out I wasn't told there was a business next door stockpiling drug addicts in exchange for tax and insurance money? I would sue a lot of people. Including the person I bought the house from and the city that hid this information from me.

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    6. In the estimation of some commenting here drug addicts and the swindlers who stack-house them have rights, existing home owners do not. In that way they are a lot like Mcmansion builders.

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    7. If there was no demand for McMansions, nobody would be building them. Tell your neighbors who own a McMansion that it is their fault. Please report back what they will tell you in response.

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    8. 6:45 - then why are so many of them empty?
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-26/at-3-68-million-this-california-home-has-everything-but-buyers

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    9. Because we are still in a housing bubble, as long as the Federal Reserve keeps the interest rates low. If the prices go down by half, they will all be sold in no time.
      But that would hurt the housing prices of everyone else, so they keep the prices up - for now.

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    10. Damn. What an easy liar you are.

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    11. http://www.arcadiaweekly.com/featured/arcadia-high-end-home-sales-decrease-in-early-2015/

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    12. Agent 6:57. Have you determined who izz keeping zee lizzt?

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  6. Why do the addicts matter more than my family?

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    1. Because people with families, those who meet their moral obligations and do the right thing, are the enemy of oppressed deadbeats and drug addicts everywhere.

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    2. Don't forget "Registered Citizens." They are victims, too.

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  7. "Since when are businesses permitted in R1 neighborhoods? This is an overreach that runs the risk of turning sleepy charming Burbank streets into profit centers for companies loading up their homes with people with criminal records and addictions."
    That's my question: what is zoning for? Why aren't these businesses in business zones?

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    1. Because state and federal governments do not think local planning ordinances are worth the paper they are written on. Area Assemblyman Chris Holden, who is up for reelection this year, supports this kind of state interference in local affairs. Including group junkie placement in neighborhoods like Carter. Knowing that, will you vote him because of his nice smile and statements of care about whomever is being discussed at the moment?

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    2. Judy Chu was instrumental in promoting Sober Living Facilities when she was in the California State Assembly
      ftp://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/05-06/bill/asm/ab_0901-0950/ab_926_cfa_20050503_170143_asm_comm.html

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    3. Do Chu and Holden have drug rehabilitation centers or other kinds of supportive housing next to their homes?

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    4. NIJBY: "Not In Judy's Back Yard"
      NICBY: "Not In Chris's Back Yard"

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  8. This discussion would be very different if rehabs worked, but it's common knowledge that they don't.

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    1. It looks like you are not entirely up-to-date with the latest research in addiction treatment. There has been tremendous progress made.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23055738
      "Opportunely, six recent clinical trial data from several continents have uniformly provided dramatic evidence of the potent, dose-related and highly significant efficacy of Naltrexone Implants (NI), with minimal or manageable accompanying toxicity and safety concerns.

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    2. Right. All the junkies are cured. Close down the sober houses.

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    3. How much are you making off of all of this, 7:00?

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    4. 7:20:
      zero

      I know it is hard to believe that there are some people trying to find cures for patients without a profit as their motivation. It's for the common good, but you won't understand that. All doctors used to be like that before we became a health care industry. Some of you older folks may still recall the doctor's visit, even after hours to check on your sick kids, without a bill for every syllable of advise.

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    5. I believe you! Well, no I don't.

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    6. 7:45 PM
      There is a lot more good in the world than you can imagine. Sad for you if you have never experienced it.

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    7. At about $30 grand a pop, I am sure everything looks wonderful to you.

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  9. Veterans are trained killers and they do deserve the best treatment possible. What is going on here, every time I want to preview it disappears so this may show up 3 times or not at all. Something is not right with this site.

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    1. Blogger (the Google platform I use) can be glitchy sometimes. Comments get swallowed up for no good reason. Sorry about that. All I can ask is that if something does not go through please repost.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. It's a sad state of affairs for all concerned when the supportive housing is drug rehabilitation. There are no doubt lawyers who specialize in providing hustlers all the necessary forms and filings to set up these places wherever they see the opportunity to make some money. The law firm for the Dedicato Treatment Center on Carter is:
    Alex T Aghajanian
    225 South Lake Ave, Ste 1180
    Pasadena, CA 91101.
    Anyone want to bet that this lawyer has multiple clients like Dedicato?
    Just as that nightmare lawyer Belucci has a niche market for registered citizens, others will serve the niche market for rehab cons.

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  12. Maybe if you sending these offenders to 'Sheriffs Joe's rehabilitation camps' in the Arizonian desert they would straighten out faster not to many repeat offenders according to 'Sheriffs Joe's' records, it also would be more cost effective to send them all to 'Sheriffs Joe's boot camp' in the Arizona desert.

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    1. Where's the money to be made in that?

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  13. A question about our zoning laws. If my wife paints in her study and sells her paintings at the local art fair, do we have to get a business license from Sierra Madre for that?

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    1. Only if the city hasn't thought of it yet.

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    2. So, anyone knows if the city hasn't thought of it yet?

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    3. They will now.

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