News Item: Dateline: Chino, August 24, 2018.
A 55-year-old man has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole, after being convicted of shooting the park owner and resident manager dead at a mobilehome park in Chino last year, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said Friday.
A jury found resident Joe Montgomery guilty of committing the first-degree murders of park owner Philip Connors, 69, and resident manager David Morales, 54.
It is debatable whether the tenant can be evicted. State eviction law protects criminals committing such "annoyances" unless a resident is affected, not a park owner or management. Some years ago, the California legislature deleted management from the definition of possible victims, thus disabling owners from taking action as a result of violent residents which injured or killed management personnel.
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Patricia, Philip's wife, described the perpetrator as a "cold-hearted and calculating murderer" in a victim impact statement quoted by a DA's office news release. She said hearing details about their killings during the trial made her and her family "physically and emotionally sick."
"Who could imagine the horror Dave and Phil felt when they realized that under no circumstances was the defendant going to let them live?" she said before the court.
WMA: The WMA has often introduced laws to summarily eject criminals who harm other resident elders, just like general landlord-tenant law. WMA seeks to protect the many families, helpless elderly, and young children, from violent criminals, but the state legislature consistently rebuffs this effort, claiming that owners would misuse such law. There is no such evidence. The same law applies to residential rentals. There is no evidence of such abuse in any context.
GSMOL: The Golden State Mobilehome Owners' League opposed providing clear and effective rights for victims. Together with Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, AB470 was rejected on illusory, imaginary excuses.
Life is Cheap?
In the search for a scintilla of logical, rational reason for such self-destructive action, some argue there is a natural prevalence of human beings to pursue self-flagellatory conduct (whiskey, smoking, cutting, drug addiction, sky-diving, street-racing, poor diet), which differentiates humans from all other animals in nature.
Here, it can only be presumed that some perverse gratification is counter-intuitively manifested by a choice, indeed preference, to remain a victim in the face of aid to make life better. "You like whiskey, I like cigars, he likes living in a crime infested housing project" ??
One clinical-psychologist says: Self-destructive behavior is far from being unusual. Sometimes, based on stupidity, lack of an informed choice, or due to illness, or based on fallacious imagery, self-protective instincts are discounted.
But residents and their leaders are very smart, certainly not ill. Still, laws proposed to help them are rejected, apparently, because the seething hatred of WMA and park owners clouds the interest in summarily ejecting really bad people who live just next door--within 3 feet of the lot line! Dangerous people who may hurt someone, or burn down their house. Is it an excuse that "we just do not like park owners"?
¶ Indeed, the propensity to inflict self-imposed harm does sometimes present itself in very clear and recognizable forms, where the wish to destroy oneself is manifest and conscious (or almost): self-mutilation, certain drug-abuses, or exposing oneself willingly to another person's violence, destruction of property, etc., are examples of this.
¶ However, these manifestations, so blatantly recognizable, are not by any means the most common forms of self- destructive behavior. Far more common are all the subtle and compulsive forms of self-sabotage, of which the individual has no awareness whatsoever, and that effectively attack her or his well being.
¶ To be continually self-derogatory, seeking humiliation without realizsing it, approaching everything from a negative standpoint, going through mysterious and repetitive failures, insidiously (and firmly) hanging onto pernicious situations, or constantly finding oneself in the position of a victim are among the many ways that can be used to harm oneself.
Thus, the voluntary assumption of risk of harm is vividly illustrated by Mr. Montgomery and his double first degree homicides of the park owner and resident manager. It seems demonstrably preferable (considering AB470 and other similar iterations for resident protection) to the risk of an improper use of a remedy to evict dangerous people. Instead, management may seek to evict and expose residents to about 4 months of torment, or, report the claim to the insurer and save money.
The park owner may then continue to collect the rent and avoid loss of rental income and probable unreimbursed attorney's fees and costs. The prudent advice may be to hold on spending resources ejecting criminals, but instead, to buy more insurance.
The resident-rejection of AB470 is documented. And gives reasons to park owners to not expend resources to seek complicated legal interpretations of just what does constitute grounds for eviction of violent persons.
The many efforts to bring real relief to victims of bully-hood will remain an aim of the industry, however elusive. Owners hope to give effect to the statutory objective of "safe and decent housing" in mobilehome parks. But alas, Hannah Beth and the GSMOL reject seeking to protect the elderly, children and families terrorized by violent people.
Perhaps self-reliance is key. The right to "stand and defend" doctrine is alive and well in California. And the likelihood that a first responder will arrive in time to stop a confrontation is remote. More seniors, fearing crime, are flocking to shooting ranges, according to the Wall Street Journal..https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-seniors-take-aim-at-shooting-ranges-1459243804.
Ultimately, after all, the issue of security and safety stops at the front door. It is the responsibility of all residents to provide for trained and effective protection and readiness in the mobilehome. Because 911 will never be there in time.