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One word that makes me feel better: "Justice"? Nah. "Revenge!"

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Message Jane Stillwater
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Many years ago, several people at my low-income housing project co-op got together and formed a secret "Alliance" that took over the Board of Directors -- sort of a local PNAC. They asked me to join them and when I refused, I made enemies for life.

The Alliance then tried everything they could -- from election irregularities to spreading evil rumors to threats & lies to postponing annual elections to cooking the books -- in order to seize and maintain power over our housing project.

I singlehandedly fought The Alliance for YEARS, during which time they tried to evict me, called the police on my 12-year-old daughter, illegally raised my rent and threatened me with jail but finally they were all discredited and peace once again came to our sweet little housing project (BTW, there is one just like it in every city and town in America -- built in 1979, thanks to JIMMY CARTER!)

I was so pleased with my triumph over local injustice that when Bush stole the election in 2000, I figured, "Hey, if I can take on The Alliance and win, I bet I can take on George Bush!" And that's how I became a blogger.

But guess what? The Alliance started up their spin machine again and the next thing I knew, they were not only back in power and doing all their illegal stuff again, but they had apparently taken lessons from Karl Rove and were trying to make ME into the villain! Again. Whenever I spoke up at Board meetings -- which The Alliance now controlled -- they ridiculed me and told me to shut up. So I did the same thing I had done regarding George Bush. I started a blog!

Every month I sent out a newsletter pointing out the latest way that The Alliance had violated our bylaws -- such as moving their relatives into vacant units, laterally splitting their households, having meetings without posting agendas, trying to stop an extremely necessary rehab from taking place because it would raise their rents and letting their dogs POOP on my lawn!

But last week The Alliance outdid itself. They sent out a notice to the entire co-op ordering me to report to their inquisition wherein I would be verbally waterboarded for my negative attitude toward them. The notice was sent out under the name of the acting Board president -- who I found out later neither authorized it nor wrote it but oh well.

So I went to their kangaroo court -- where eight of them sat around a table and one by one told me what a terrible person I was.

In their notice, The Alliance had said that my inquisition was to be a closed "executive" session. But when someone in the Alliance had their girlfriend show up, they then announced that it was now an open meeting -- too late for me to organize any moral support of my own.

In my own two-minute "Far, far better thing..." speech that The Alliance did allow me to make on my own defense, I told them that they would be much better off spending their time obeying the project's bylaws, following HUD regulations and not blocking the freaking rehab before the rains started than spending their time pilloring me. But The Alliance had tasted blood and they were not gonna let me off that easy!

They then announced, "Now it's time for Round Two. We will now go around the table again." And they actually expected me to sit there and listen to them vilify me eight more times? Yeah right. I got up and left.

Do you KNOW what they said to me as I walked out the door? "Sit down. Where are you going? YOU CAN'T LEAVE!" What? Now they want to kidnap me?

I was very hurt and angry by these people's behavior. But do I want justice? Hell, no! I want REVENGE!

PS: Here's the newsletter that got me in trouble. Is this libel like The Alliance claims -- or is it only satire and freedom of speech. You be the judge:


Well, folks, it looks like we are now in the middle of a huge WWE Smackdown battle here at the Project! In one corner of the ring, we have the notorious heavyweight champion [The Alliance] Board-Member-C - who is practically undefeated, having won almost every power-match here since 1989 (if you don't count her historic loss to HUD back in 2002). And in the other corner we have feisty lightweight Resident-1. Let's take our seats and watch as they battle it out to see who will win!

What's at stake? The winner of the Project's WWE Smackdown gets to take possession of a prime ground-floor unit -- Unit X. And now, folks, the battle is about to start. Here comes the contestants. Here comes the refs. We haven't had so much excitement here at the Project since 1995-1997 when I myself stepped into the ring with the champ and battled for the right to hold annual Project elections again - or maybe that time back in 1998 when the Champ threatened to throw me in jail!

Anyway, Board-Member C had her eye on Unit X back in the spring and so her grown-up daughter (wrestling under the name of GU-D!) jumped into the ring and got herself elected chairman of the Occupancy Committee, a very strategic move! Then with the Project's official stationery at her disposal, she was able to write a nasty letter to the family that was then living at Unit X, trying to force them to move earlier than they had planned. (Needless to say, GU-D hasn't done anything for the Occupancy Committee since).

The Unit X family moved out, the unit became available and the battle began! R-1 had also eyed this unit and she had applied for it first on the basis that she was disabled with a degenerative disease and needed a ground-floor unit because her situation was getting worse. Nice opening move! Let's see if BM-C can get out of that headlock! And she does! It's the Battle of Accommodating the Disabled! Bring it on! BM-C effectively uses a walker to strengthen her claim. Brilliant footwork! However, BM-C is already well on the road to recovery so that is not in her favor. If she exercised and lost 50 pounds, she'd be good as new. That doesn't look good for her chances.

But even though R-1 seems to be the potentially most disabled, BM-C has a secret move going for her that R-1 does not. BM-C is tight buddies with a majority of the Board of Directors [who are in The Alliance]! At last week's meeting, they voted that R-1 wasn't eligible for Unit X because she had already been offered a ground-floor unit about two years ago and had turned it down. This could be the end of the road for R-1.

So. Round One went to BM-C. All of BM-C's friends on the Board were all jubilant about the victory they had just handed their friend - even though all BM-C seemed to win was the right to move from a three-bedroom unit with a washer, dryer and two bathrooms into a dank little two-bedroom unit wherein GU-D and she will now have to share a bathroom. They shoulda just stayed in the three-bedroom unit and put in one of those electric stair-climbing thingies instead. See ya at the laundry room, Champ!

But wait! R-1 is a scrapper. She's getting up off the mat. Hold on, there, folks. She's starting to fight back. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for Round Two! It seems that when the Board met to vote to give BM-C the unit, they met illegally - you gotta post a 72-hour notice before each Board meeting. The fight is still on! Plus R-1 can appeal the Board's decision because the "refs" weren't impartial. And did R-1 turn down that first unit before or after she started to become disabled enough to make it dangerous for her to go up and down outside stairs in the winter at night during a rainstorm - to say nothing of making the Project liable if she falls? And did the Board, before they voted, ask management to check R-1's file to see if she had been officially offered the old unit? Or was it just hearsay?

"That was an illegal manoeuver," protested R-1 as she began looking for revenge. Oh my God! This is turning into a grudge match, folks!

Despite BM-C's obvious win at the recent Board meeting, the odds of R-1 getting Unit X are still good. But BM-C is going into Round Three also looking good! By taking possession of Unit X, she could possibly do a hammer-lock on the Project by having GU-D keep possession of the old unit too. But if BM-C does that, what initially looks like a smart move is gonna end up getting her in trouble with HUD because doing a lateral transfer is illegal. That move will get her thrown out of the ring with a TKO because lateral transfers are against the Project's occupancy rules.

Sorry but I gotta stop here, folks. This sporting event is just getting too rough to watch!
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Jane Stillwater Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Stillwater is a freelance writer who hates injustice and corruption in any form but especially injustice and corruption paid for by American taxpayers. She has recently published a book entitled, "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips For Touring (more...)
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