Paso Robles tenants trapped in building

June 15, 2012

A non-working elevator has caused several tenants of a Paso Robles apartment building to be trapped in their homes for more than two months. [KCOY]

In April, the elevator at the Hacienda del Norte Apartments on Tenth Street stopped working causing more than a half-dozen older and disabled tenants who live on the second and third floors to be unable to leave the  floors or retrieve their mail. The apartments are a HUD financed property, exclusively for senior and disabled residents.

On may 14, management sent tenants a notice that the repairs would be finished in a few days. However, the elevator was not fixed.

City officials have sent complaints to the Department of Justice and the California Fire Marshall while also talking with building management in an attempt to resolve the issue, KCOY said.

KCOY also contacted Cal-OSHA. At the time, the agency was not aware of the situation, but is not looking into the issue.

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I had a conversation with two gals who live there (one in a wheelchair and on an upper floor) – the elevator was NOT operating again as of 6-19… Can this be verified and finally get rectified? If the managers/owner loses the contract, where will all of these people go if the building is closed?

This is an example of the folks the city council and city government of Paso Robles serve:

This is an insane situation. And even more insane is the fact that it has continued so long!

How are these elderly and disabled tenants supposed to get their medical care? I have visions of the Fire Department using a bucket truck to lift a doctor or PA up to a trapped resident’s window, with the resident sticking their arm out the window so they can get their blood pressure checked.

And as far as a trapped elderly/disabled woman getting her annual gyn exam—not a pretty picture.

This sounds like a very serious issue. My parents were in an assisted living home. The management was very strict about anyone living on the second floor being able to negotiate stairs. It wasn’t about being able to use the stairs on a regular basis or being sound enough to climb the stairs. It was about being able to hold the railing and walk down the stairs under your own power if need be. Many elderly can do that despite using a cane or even a walker. This facility conducted an advance notice fire drill every 2-3 months. Everybody on the second floor had to walk down the two short flights of stairs. If someone couldn’t do that, they got put on the list to be transferred to the first vacant1st floor apartment and they got flagged in the on premise management office as requiring first response in an emergency until they were moved off the second floor.

This facility sounds like a highly negligent elderly facility. The management clearly can foresee the danger (and misery) and are guilty of cruelty to the elderly in my opinion. Where are their families in all of this? Where is the outrage? These people would perish in a fire, this is despicable and not to be tolerated.

The elevator has nothing to do with fire safety. You are told NOT to use an elevator in case of fire. However the elevator being out of service for a month is unconscionable. Being able to go to medical appointments and general quality of life are the issues as well as management not having any motivation to give a poop. This is typical of privatization of government services without oversight hence the business model “savings” do not go to the taxpayer or the beneficiary . You’re guaranteed payment and then further maximize profits by not fulfilling your obligations and oppose anti-“business” government regulation while slopping at the government trough. This is how Halliburton (Dick Cheney) and Electronic Data Systems (Ross Perot) operate. Like Halliburton and EDS I’ll bet the operators of this facility do not have to bid to provide services (what’s with that?). They just get granted approval to build a HUD guaranteed facility and then it’s easy street. Just like the phone company of old, or utilities when regulation fails (California natural gas market manipulation a couple of years ago); “We don’t care, we don’t have to”. The operators do not compete, it’s an “application” process for funding that is, of course, limited. You can’t serve everybody anyway so why bother trying to serve the maximum number with the funds? People will still be on waiting lists anyway so it’s o.k. take advantage of your personal opportunity. Who’s “application” get approved is very subject to who knows who and who hires who to expedite the process.

obispan, To the extent that these elderly are trapped without an elevator, you have made the point of my post. You’re correct, elevators are not recommended in a fire and some even become disabled in the event of a fire alarm being activated.

I first read this story on KSBY and a commenter there questioned allowing disabled people in wheelchairs to live on the upper floors if they can’t negotiate the stairs. I agree. What if there was a fire or earthquake and they needed to evacuate but could not use the elevator?

If these people could not make it down the stairs in two months, they are in an emergency state requiring immediate evacuation and relocation. Or maybe they use wheelchairs, but can also walk.

So, are they really stranded with other people bringing food to them, or not?

Hospitals do the same in having incapicitated people in multistory buildings.

Hospitals have staff and evacuation plans to get patients out in case of emergencies.

Do you know that the place on 10th isn’t assisted living?

Assisted living would not have the staff to get those people out on a 24/7 basis. In fact I doubt they have more than 1 or 2 staff on duty between the hours of 10:PM – 6:AM, if they even are assisted living. They certainly don’t have a dining room where everyone takes meals or daily activities so I doubt they ever have enough staff to get the elderly out in an emergency.

Where is the city government of Paso Robles in all of this? While these elderly, disabled residents are trapped in the building, the city threw a big wine festival!

All of the resources–including police resources–used for a bunch of tacky wine slobs to take over a city park (excluding the PR residents from using the park that day)–and the city government couldn’t be bothered to do their jobs and address this emergency situation where elderly PR residents lives are at risk?

Mayor Duane Picano, and council members Fred Strong, Nick Gilman, John Hamon and Ed Steinbeck: you should be ashamed of yourselves.

What is wrong with you? Are you so morally bereft of ethics and basic human compassion that you would allow this condition to continue for months?

You were elected and empowered by the people of PR to work in the best interests of the people of PR. YOU have the power to address this inhumane situation.

Yet the only people you serve are your rich wine slob cronies and the other pathetic wanna-be nouveau riche of PR.

You have failed to serve the citizens who need you the most, and allowed an emergency safety situation to continue for months!

At least three council meetings have been held during this time–and none of you could be bothered to even mention the situation? What is wrong with you!

THIS is the shame that is going to drive you from office. Out of all of your failures, this is the one that will bring you down. And, with a little help from our friends, this will be the one that brings the State in to do to you what they did to Mayor Rizzo and the City of Bell council members.

It’s people like the manger’s of this building, that give businesses a bad name.

I wonder, is the mangement still collecting rent? As a taxpayer who subsidizes HUD I say we cut the funds till fixed and credit the eldery for the inconvenience.

I completely agree, BeenThere.

In addition, there should be lawsuits field by the families on behalf of the elderly. False imprisonment, no access to medical care, and on and on. This is despicable!

Yeah the American way, sue sue sue sue. Be more American to fix the problem before its waaay too late. Then you can sue sue sue if needed to take care of the problem. You lawyers! Can:t live with anmd can’t live without you. Well, I can live without you. My friends and I still consider a handshate the law. God Bless

Unfortunately, it HAS become the “American way,” and through no fault of the people.

It is by lawsuits that the government and the corporations can be held accountable.

It is a very sad state of affairs when police officers have to file suit against a city to be compensated for the heII they went through at the hands–literally–of sexually assaulting police chief. The city manager and city council–the ones who have the power to stop it–actually ENABLED the police chief to continue the sexual assaults.

Government and elected officials must be held accountable, and the only method we have now is lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits.

I don’t think anyone, except perhaps attorneys, like it. But it is the reality we live with.

It is the City of PR, its government leaders and police department which have allowed this to go on for months.

Instead of addressing this emergency safety situation, THIS is what PR’s city manager, city council, mayor and police department were prioritizing: