The TMA On Mold - Could They Be Any More Corrupt Or Ignorant

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Sep 16, 2009, 10:41:33 PM9/16/09
to Toxic Indoor Mold Central
Their comment on "The Texas Medical Association has done extensive
research. Mold is an allergen, so it's not a public health nuisance,".
"We don't investigate that, but we do educate a lot of people about
the mold.", is a blatant example of the medical professions mind set
that is literally killing people. If it was only an allergen, why
don’t allergists know about it or how to treat it? How can they
educate people with wrong information? Their statement is equivalent
to saying the world is square. Perhaps it is not a nuisance. It goes
much farther then that. It is a serious threat to human health and one
of the most dangerous health hazards out there. Any element that
literally affects every organ, tissue, and function of the human body
should not be ignored or dismissed just for political and financial
advantage. I guess they did not mean it when they took the oath and
cited: Will do no harm". They must of thought it meant to do no harm
to themselves and their pockets.

Building safety: City fights dilapidated housing
Various problems plague apartments
By Sean Thomas
Amarillo Globe-News
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Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News
Angelina Hernandez, center, assistant apartment manager at Sungate
Apartments at 2727 Virginia Circle, and Trevor Lane, right, Sungate
outside maintenance employee, call it a day after slowly trying to
make repairs earlier this summer to some of the apartments. Tenant
Terry Padgett, left, was on hand for some after-work conversation.

Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News
Some of the last residents of Old Town Apartments, 2003 Southwest
Seventh Ave., continue to move out earlier this summer after being
given an order to vacate the condemned complex.

Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News
The residents of Old Town Apartments have been given till the end of
July to move out of the condemned apartment complex July 22, 2009.

Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News
Some of the closed down units at Sungate Apartments July 22, 2009.

Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News
Spray paint on the Old Town Apartments at 2003 southwest 7 Ave reads
�no water� Monday, July 13, 2009. The end of July is the deadline for
residents to move out of the condemned building.

Stephen Spillman / Amarillo Globe-News
Spray paint on the Old Town Apartments at 2003 southwest 7 Ave reads
�no water� Monday, July 13, 2009. The end of July is the deadline for
residents to move out of the condemned building.

ARTICLE TOOLS: Email Article | Print-Friendly Format
SHARE THIS STORY: Old Town Apartments in Amarillo looks like a
favorite tagging ground for youths armed with spray paint. But if you
look past the scrawl of purple scribblings, it starts to look more
like complaints from residents. Spray-painted on one of the few
windows not broken are the words 'No Water.'

Who tenants can call

For concerns regarding pools, sewage or standing water, contact the
Environmental Health Department at 806- 378-9473.

For concerns regarding building code violations or substandard
conditions, call the Building Safety Department at 806-378-3045.

For concerns regarding issues in Section 8 Housing, phone the
Community Development Department at 806-378-3023.
Paul Parker used to manage the 20-unit, two-story building for John
Alexander. He said residents, forced to move out in July because of
substandard conditions, were without hot water since the middle of
June. Parker said the complex had many problems, including the gas
being cut because the bill wasn't paid and the boiler constantly
breaking. Parker blamed much of the problems on Alexander, who in turn
blamed it on Parker.
The city's Building Safety Department was called once last year and
three times in June about the failing building. Scott McDonald, the
city's building official, has started the condemnation process on the
building. Alexander doesn't plan to fight it.

"It's just not worth it to me," said Alexander, who along with city
staff helped relocate residents of Old Town to other housing. "I'm
doing everything in the world I can to get it done."

Old Town's issues aren't unusual but rarely reach the level where the
city condemns a building. Old Town, on Seventh Avenue just west of
downtown, is the third apartment building condemned so far this year.

Since August 2008, Building Safety has received about 35 reports of
substandard conditions in apartment complexes. Complaints are varied
but reflect substandard if not dangerous living conditions, including
stairs deteriorating, smoke alarms not working, water leaks around
light fixtures, no heat and floors sinking.

Given that Amarillo has 130 complexes, the roughly 35 complaints to
Building Safety in a year's time might seem a modest number. But at
the rate that new apartments are being built in the city, that number
is expected to grow.

According to the 2009 Amarillo Housing Survey, the city has seen a
consistent increase in the number of apartment units.

Since 2001, more than 2,800 units have been added. While the occupancy
rate has steadily declined as new units are built, the survey cited a
report from the National Apartment Association that found the number
of renters nationwide increased to "an all-time high" last year and
was the largest annual increase since 1965.

As new apartments are built, there's a corresponding demand in
services, such as those provided by Building Safety. But police also
are kept busy, with a few addresses in particular need of attention.

One apartment complex in Amarillo tops the list for police when it
came to calls for service.

Sungate apartments at 2727 S. Virginia St. has more than 200 units and
in 2008 had about 385 calls for service. Disorderly conduct, theft,
assault and burglary were the most common reasons police responded. So
far this year, they've had about 245 calls for service.

Sungate is owned by B&H Sun Investments, and Brian Humpherys is listed
as the registered agent for the company. Humpherys did not return
calls left at Sungate or his home for comment.

Residents with concerns not being addressed by property owners do have
options. The city's Environmental Health Department handles complaints
about sewage, standing water, swimming-pool issues and mold.

However, Deree Duke, director of the department, said the city only
has standing if the issue presents a public health nuisance.

"We receive a lot of phone calls about mold, primarily because of the
publicity it has received in recent years," Duke said.

In 2007, the department received 18 calls for sewage and pool issues,
only nine of which were found to be violations. Last year, it went up
15 calls that generated 11 violations. So far this year, the
department has found at least six violations from eight complaints.
Duke said mold issues often result in education for the renter and
landowner rather than action by the city.

"The Texas Medical Association has done extensive research. Mold is an
allergen, so it's not a public health nuisance," she said. "We don't
investigate that, but we do educate a lot of people about the mold."

The Building Safety department handles more general complaints. The
city has 15 inspectors who respond to complaints.

"Once we identify if there is a problem, we will write the notice of
violation; then it can take multiple paths from that point," McDonald
said. "We will ultimately enforce the municipal code. ... We can
ultimately close a building if we need to. It depends on the level of
risk for the occupants of the building."

The Community Development Department also provides the Tenants' Rights
Handbook to better inform renters on what landlords are required to
provide in Texas.

McDonald said enforcing the city codes and state laws is a balance
with ensuring residents still have somewhere they can live.

"We are here to protect and serve those people. Evicting isn't
necessarily helping them," he said. "Health, welfare and safety - all
three of those are in the balance."
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