Thank you for covering the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Public Meeting on November 20 at the Seniors Center about the planned development at Sunnyhills Apartments. Unfortunately the reporter got one small thing wrong, which I think makes a difference to the context of the meeting.
At the presentation I brought up the issue of the community room to find out if it would accommodate a meeting of the Sunnyhills Tenants Association. The representative of the investors/landlord claimed not to know there was a Tenants Association at the apartment complex. I expressed surprise, noting that I was aware that the Tenants Association had reached out several times in the last couple of years requesting a meeting. Your reporter indicated that I had reached out to the landlord myself, however it was the landlord’s own tenants who have repeatedly requested meetings with him and his staff to clarify their situation, express concerns, and make requests. I am not a tenant, but a concerned community member, and I was shocked by his claim not to know about the tenant group.
This public presentation of the development plan in November was the first time since early 2017 that his tenants were finally able to meet with the landlord, even though the tenant leaders meet almost monthly and hold an annual potluck on the property and have frequently requested a representative of the company to attend. The presentation on November 20 was a required part of the city permit process — all residents within 1,000 feet of the property were notified of this public meeting, not just tenants. The Tenants Association also put the word out and translated the English-only notification for residents.
I would like to note that although many of his tenants are Vietnamese and he was requested by the city to provide translation for the meeting, he did not provide a professional translator. Instead (through the Tenants Association he supposedly didn’t know about) the developer asked for a volunteer. In a matter of this importance and complexity, professionally trained translators are a necessity and all notices should be translated into the dominant languages. I hope that will happen in future meetings.
Yours in community,
Note from the Editor: Thank you for your letter, Allysson. The correction has been made on the online version of the article, and states instead that it was the tenants who repeatedly requested meetings with the landlord. We appreciate your letter!