Friday, February 17, 2012

Living in Squalor at the Siesta Rooms Hotel (Vancouver, BC)

By Anthony Forwood


Introduction

I decided to write this article about the living conditions of the building I live in and the way that the management treats its tenants. The management and a number of tenants are my main perps, and I have already written about many of their gang-stalking activities against me elsewhere. While I was writing this article, my computer mysteriously crashed several times, which has never happened previously, and even though I was careful to save the file to disk frequently while writing it after the first crash, somehow the saves weren’t written to my hard-drive, causing me to have to rewrite a large part of it all over again. After checking to make sure that it was saved properly after finishing it, I went to upload it onto the internet, but somehow the file had gotten corrupted and wouldn’t upload.

I had tried to do the upload on a library computer, and there was a very suspicious looking guy who had come and sat down at the computer right across from me soon after I sat down at a computer terminal. He just sat there staring at the screen of his own terminal the whole time without ever touching the keyboard, and was giving me occasional glances but avoiding direct eye contact. Just when I went to upload the file, he suddenly typed a few keys. A few seconds later, I got an error message saying that the file was corrupted and wouldn’t upload. Luckily, I had saved a few extra copies of the file on my computer at home.

Feeling very suspicious that my perps were somehow involved in all these problems, I went home and decided to take the precaution of writing the entire article out on paper as well, just in case anything further occurred and I lost the file before I could upload it. I was determined that my perps were not going to stop me from making public the information contained here, since they don’t seem to like what I am doing to expose them.


Main Article

I’ve been pushed to the bottom. I’m forced to live in one of the dirtiest, most run-down living environments a city can offer. The only other option now is living on the street.

The building I live in is a seventy year old hotel in downtown Vancouver, totally infested with cockroaches, bedbugs, and mice. The bugs have lived here rent-free for decades, residing in the walls, in dresser drawers, in closets, under beds – you name a spot, they’re there. They’ve even taken up residence inside my TV, computer, DVD player, and any other of my personal belongings that they can hide in. They do nothing but shit and crawl everywhere, and I can’t even keep food here or they infest it as well.

The bedbugs give me irritating bites every single night, waking me up and tormenting me until I’m unable to sleep any longer and forcing me to get up with less sleep than I’m comfortable with, just to avoid more of their torture.

The management blames the bugs on the tenants, claiming that we bring them in the building. They do very little about the problem, having an exterminator come in once every six months to a year to do a very cursory spray that never makes a bit of difference. I sometimes wonder if he’s just spraying water, because I never see any dead bugs after he’s sprayed, and they’re just as bad (and sometimes even worse) afterwards. Usually, only half the rooms get sprayed, and the tenants who have the dirtiest rooms are overlooked completely for some strange reason.

When they’re going to spray for bugs, the management demands that we pull our rooms apart, bagging all our belongings, taking pictures off the walls, pulling furniture away from the walls, etc., threatening to evict anyone that doesn’t comply. A number of tenants who didn’t have the courage to stand up for their rights have been evicted for this reason already. When I was five minutes late getting my room ready for spraying one time, he told me that the spray was toxic and I had to get out of the building. When I was too slow, he called the police on me, and they came with gas masks on, kicking loudly and rudely at my door, ordering me to get out immediately or I would be arrested. As soon as I opened my door, they grabbed me and forced me out before I could even grab a jacket (luckily I had my shoes on). They literally pushed me down the hall, down the stairs, and out the building into the rain, ordering me not to come back for eight hours. Since I had a copy of the extermination notice on me, and since it named the type of insecticide they were using, I used the time to go to the library and check on the internet about its toxicity. I found out that it was NOT toxic at all. When I went back to the hotel hours later, I told the manager what I had found out. He just snickered under his breath. It was just a big joke to him.

The building is uncomfortably hot year round. In the summer, they keep all the windows closed so there’s no air circulation, and in the winter they keep the heat cranked up too high. Of course, every staff member has an air conditioner that the management supplies for them, and they all live in the cleanest rooms.

The tap on the sink in my room suddenly started leaking one day almost two years ago, its constant trickling adding to the noise that I already put up with. I didn’t bother telling the manager about it because he’s an asshole and I expected he would probably blame it on me. When they came to do a spray for bugs about a year ago, the manager noticed it and said he’d have someone come up in a few days to fix it. He never did. A few weeks ago there was a water leak downstairs (I had heard someone sawing on the pipes the night before), and the manager came up to shut off my water completely. He saw the tap trickling water and said he’d get the plumber to come up after he fixed the leak downstairs. I waited all afternoon but nobody came by. Late the next afternoon, when I was coming in the building, the manager told me that he had come up to my room to fix my tap, but couldn’t because I wasn’t there (I had changed the locks a long time ago because someone was entering my room when I wasn’t home, and I didn’t give the manager a key because I suspected it was one of his staff). I went up to my room and checked my security tape. Nobody had come to my door. I went downstairs and asked the manager what time he had come to fix the tap. He thought for a moment and then said it was at 11:00 am. I told him that I had checked my security tape and that he needed to learn how to lie better. He sat there with a stupid look on his face as I walked away in disgust.

The hotel cleaner is on shift eight hours a day, five days a week, but he does little to nothing beyond mopping the bathrooms each morning at the time when most tenants want some privacy in there during their morning ablutions or to have a shower so they can clean themselves up. The rest of the day, he wanders the halls with his ring of keys in hand, and I constantly find him creeping around suspiciously outside tenant’s doors, eavesdropping on them.

Surprise, surprise, the cleaner started painting the walls in the hallway and stairwell about a week ago, all on the first floor where the manager spends all his time. Never mind the terrible state of the rooms that the tenants have to live in, the superficial fa├žade of the lower floor is important to maintain to make the building look like the entire place is being kept up. The owner, who rarely comes around as it is, never ventures past the first floor, and the manager (the fat, lazy bastard that he is) rarely does either. I’ll be very surprised if anything gets painted beyond the first floor, and I’ll guarantee that none of the rooms will be painted.

Half the rooms have never been rented out in the six years I’ve been here, and the remaining ones are barely cleaned or fixed up before they’re rented out again. My room has so many cracks in the walls, ceiling, and floor that it’s impossible to keep the bug population to a livable minimum. The tile on my floor is so old and cracked that just walking on it causes pieces to constantly chip off. It’s impossible to keep clean of dirt, and dust seems to ooze out of the building itself or come in through the window from the street, leaving a constant coating of dust and grime on everything that builds up again within days of wiping it off.

Every time the manager goes into a room for any reason, he usually brings a camera and takes pictures of any damage he sees so he can blame it on the tenant and keep their damage deposit when they move out. He’s done this to a few people already since I’ve been here. His own room is on the first floor, far away from any other tenants. The first floor is the nicest, and the least occupied. They renovated most of the rooms on that floor just before the Olympics in 2010, paid for by a government grant. The idea was so that they could offer accommodations to visitors during the games. They only rented out one of those rooms for a single night during the games, and I personally saw the look of utter disgust on the faces of the couple who stayed here when they were leaving. I don’t blame them. I guess they weren’t told that the nightclub directly below them would be keeping them awake until 3:00 am with their extremely loud music blaring directly below them.

Speaking of the nightclub, it’s owned by the same person that owns the hotel, and it’s the busiest nightclub in all of Vancouver (the Roxie), drawing large crowds of noisy young partiers every night. He makes a lot of money off of it, and the hotel tenants suffer not only the nightly noise of music and screaming drunkenness that can be heard throughout the building, but must also suffer pushing through the thick crowd of people waiting in line out front, which blocks the door that leads up to the hotel. The line could easily be made on the other side of the building so the hotel door isn’t blocked, but that would be too considerate of the hotel tenants. Getting through the line-up to go in or out of the hotel usually means taking some rude sneers and abusive comments from smart-ass young creeps who think they’re the ‘beautiful people’, too good to be so near a poor person.

We used to have access to laundry facilities, but had to pay a couple of dollars per load, but the manager took it away as punishment when a past tenant who did a lot of laundry complained that we were being charged at all. Now it’s strictly for the staff to use.

This is the squalor that I’m forced to live in, unless I want to live on the street. This is the Siesta Rooms Hotel on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, BC. This is the place that’s owned by a millionaire who owns half the block and several other nearby properties that are all kept up very nicely. This is the place that should be condemned but is allowed to continue to exist in the state that it is, even though the owner has the money to put it in order but doesn’t.