I can't go and pretend I'm happy with Josh and the Housing Long Beach Board of Directors. You've ignored the members of Housing Long Beach. We came to your meeting. You didn't say hi to us. You gave us two minutes to speak after we asked, and then kept cutting us off. You didn't respond to anything we said. And we weren't talking about anything but the business of Housing Long Beach. And the business of Housing Long Beach is supposed to be about getting justice for the residents of this city. We are residents, but you can't even have a conversation with us.
It was about twelve of us who showed up to your Board of Directors Meeting. We all spoke our minds about being left out and ignored. We were polite. Your response was, and has been, to ignore us. That's a clear message. I get it. I'm sure we all get it.
Josh, not one member of Housing Long Beach has had anything nice to say about you. Not because of any personal prejudices or any of that. We only know you through what you've done to our organization. And you've known for awhile that we don't approve.
As for the Board of Directors, you're ignoring us too. That's fine. You all got your own thing now. Congratulations. I'd like to see the budget and where the money's going, but I don't expect that from you since you've failed to respond to every single question that the members have asked.
I can't stop you from taking Housing Long Beach away from the members. Enjoy. But I hope you fully understand how odd it would be to attend your fancy dinner where I'm going to be honored as the member of the year. I was chosen by my friends, the other members of Housing Long Beach. I don't even know if any of those folks still consider themselves part of Housing Long Beach. It's Josh's thing now. Not ours.
See, my thing is like this: People all around here are living in unsafe conditions, being intimidated and cheated by landlords, losing their homes for speaking up, and you don't do nothing but put on a dinner to get people to give you more money. What you gonna use all that money for?
I'm doing my small part to help people be safe in their homes, to not be threatened by landlords and the sheriffs coming to lock them out. I can't fix it by myself. I'm not any more qualified to do this work than my neighbors. But its my problem, my commuity's problem, and the problem of every other working class person in this city.
You guys hang out and chill with the big people that run this city. That's a whole different world than what I'm used to. My Long Beach is the Long Beach of bus stops, the blue line, liquor stores, donut shops, and people getting their butts to work every day whether or not they got the energy.
In my part of Long Beach, rent is a huge problem. It's not getting any cheaper. Just having any housing is a problem. We get evicted for no reason. We can't get code enforcement to do nothing for us. We get lied to by rental agencies. We are disrespected, just as the members of Housing Long Beach have been disrespected by you all.
And, see, there is just you and us here, in this group. You, the bosses, and us, the workers. We are the workers of this organization and the intended beneficiaries of all that Housing Long Beach is supposed to be doing. But you've left us now. So Housing Long Beach isn't us anymore. Its just you. We still got the problems Housing Long Beach is supposed to be addressing, we just don't have a group that's addressing those problems. The group we had was gutted.
That's the new Housing Long Beach. Josh, and the Directors. The bosses without the workers. It's weird as hell to me. I don't get how that works. But I know that's not for little people like me to understand. It's above my pay grade and too high up on the chain of command. That's cool. I've never aspired to be anything other than what I am.
So, you know, as a white trash boy from Norwalk, I've never been one to turn down free food. I'm still down for you to fix me a plate and drop it off later. Also, if this member of the year award comes with some cash rewards, hook it up with that direct deposit. But I won't be able to make it tonight. I'm gonna spend this evening with some people in my part of Long Beach. Have fun.
Darren Taylor, renter in downtown Long Beach, broke, hungry, ready for some justice.