EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Corruption | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'corruption'

Paying The Bills

I had realized that I got screwed yesterday. It turns out when you get a bill from a company you need to check it carefully and not just pay it off and forget about it. I paid my phone bill which was an astronomical $396 dollars and then started thinking. Why is it so high? I started looking at the numbers and realized a few things that I was paying that I didn’t need to pay.

1. I received a text message from a company called ClickGen that I ignored, but after contacting my phone company found out that the FCC actually allows this company to send text messages that if you don’t respond with OUT you get charged $9.99 a month. Lucky for me they reversed the charges.

2. We’re on the Universal Lifeline service because we don’t make money in the 1%’er range, yet we’re still charged tax for the people who receive Universal Lifeline service. That was fixed with the call.

3. The bill said I hadn’t paid last month’s bill so that was added in, but upon checking I had and I mentioned that I had proof that I had paid the previous bill. Upon hearing that they credited me $156.09 dollars which means my next bill will probably have to be paid in August.

Lots of us get bills and just pay them. Its a good time to look over every aspect of your bills because these companies while I won’t say a re totally unscrupulous don’t exactly have their act together because they let their computers do their thinking for them. Because of this they sometimes make mistakes, but they won’t admit that as long as you keep paying your bills.

Keep a good eye on the bills you  receive. I get emails from GoDaddy almost monthly telling me that my domain is about to expire yet I’ve never registered a domain with GoDaddy. These are tactics that companies use to get you to hand over money to them that you don’t need to and if you complain they’ll just say it was a computer error to try and avoid admittance of fault on their behalf.

If you keep your eye on your bills you might find that you have more money in your pocket at the end of the month so do what I have done so you don’t get taken.

The State of the Economy

I’ve been trying not to stray from talking about San Francisco, but today I have to talk about the State of California’s Unemployment Department and the U.S. Postal Service because one of them is to blame for the fact that yesterday, 12/12/2011 I received what was called my last unemployment check dated 4/4/2011 and mailed on 4/5/2011 as the picture shows.

WTF? Seriously? It took over eight months for them to send me my check? I worked for a company in 2010 under the JobsNow! program whereby my salary was repaid by the government. This lasted until the funding ran out at the end of September 2010 and I was helping them out on an equity only basis until I got my next job. In the meantime I started to collect unemployment again. Here’s where things started to get weird.

The put me back on quickly and then in January I got a bump up again because I had earned more per quarter than before because of my job. Then they cut me off because I had used up my money and didn’t have 40 times my weekly earnings to get an extension. I brought in the figures to show them differently and they gave me an extension, but now at the maximum draw for unemployment which they once again cut me off because now that I was making more money from unemployment I still didn’t have enough to qualify for an extension.

Just so everyone knows, if you work and are laid off you have to have earned in a quarter at least 40 times what you will receive in a week to qualify for an extension on your benefits. If you do not, your benefits will stop and you will no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits until you find work again. You’ll be unemployed, but not on the list of people who are unemployed.

So let’s get back to the check…I asked for a hearing again and went down and sat beside the judge who I explained everything to and who was very confused about the whole process and how this came about. She also asked me why when I filed my appeal that I filed it late. Uhm, late? I filed it the day after I received it and dropped it off at the post office directly to get it to them as quickly as possible.

The judge asked me why the post office took so long to deliver the letter. Well how the hell am I supposed to know? I don’t work for the f*cking post office! OK, I didn’t say that, but I’m hoping after she asked that question the answer popped into her head. I followed up stating that I had filled out form until the end of my payment time and hadn’t received the last check. When I received the write up of the trial this wasn’t mentioned, but my denial of further benefits was.

This all leads me to the check I received yesterday, over eight months late. After being denied extended benefits from way back then on the stub it tells me, You may qualify for extended benefits. If you qualify, the claim will automatically be filed. No action is needed on your part. You will be notified by mail of your eligibility.

Great. I’ll be waiting to hear from them in a couple of years.

Ed Lee breaks his promise

As expected Mayor Ed Lee will announce today that he is running for re-election as Mayor of San Francisco. This is coming from the man who received the position of Mayor all because he is not a politician and because he vowed not to do what he is now going to do. Ed has been a good Mayor in the seven months he’s had to do the job but he has now done the first thing that all politicians should not do — broken his promises to the people.

I would have to say that things could have been a lot worse in San Francisco since he’s been in office, but do feel some ground rules should be set.

  1. He should answer for why he has broken his promise to not run for re-election. A promise that got him the job as well as support from several of the Board of Supervisors to put him in the position in the first place.
  2. His ties to Rose Pak who along with the backing of several Chinese construction companies seeking to serve the Chinese population of San Francisco and not the citizens of San Francisco need to be looked into very closely to make sure that none of the money from the Run Ed Run campaign of Progress for all goes into his coffers.
  3. He needs to be held accountable for trying to save the city money, yet offers candidates a dollar for dollar supplement to run their campaigns. This was a first for San Francisco and is costing the city large revenues.
  4. His exemption of Twitter from having to pay local tax on employees while making the rest of the cities businesses continue to pay. [most cities do not charge local employment tax on businesses.]
Lee himself has declared that he is not a politician and that is why he was chosen as the interim mayor of San Francisco. By not being a politician he was expect not to make any sweeping changes to the city, but more act as a general manager and keep it together. So now the non-politician is going to step it up and run for the real Mayor position and jump into politics.
Perhaps this could be an attempt by Rose Pak who has stated anyone, but Leland Yee to dilute the Asian vote to keep Yee, the front runner from any possibility of gaining ground. If so, I would consider that a bold political move of a high stakes poker game sort of thing. In the long run though, I like Ed Lee and he was a good interim Mayor, but interim is just that. He will be appearing at a panel at the Castro street theater tonight and I urge you all to attend and see what he has to say, but think about what I’ve just written.

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A lawyer walks into a store with a disabled person, repeatedly!

Heeeere's Tommy!

This is a story that I read about yesterday. Actually it’s about several stories I read about yesterday concerning a lawyer named Thomas Frankovich, he works for the rights of the disabled. Normally that is something to feel good about, but this time it’s not. Several businesses in the Sunset and Mission District have been sued by Mr. Frankovich with the assistance of a disabled man named Craig Yates. How they do it appears to look more like an organized crime shake down maneuver than a cry for help for the disabled. Mr. Frankovich’s offices I have just learned are located at the top of 19 steps with no elevator access, hence Mr. Frankovich’s law offices are non-ADA compliant.

Now let me set the record straight that my mother was disabled. She had had four hip replacements and was morbidly obese so getting up and down the stairs was something she stopped doing during the last year of her life and prior to that it would take her about ten minutes to navigate down our thirteen stairs. While she could walk it could be barely considered walking and caused her great pain. When she would go out she would have to ride in a wheelchair that she herself couldn’t even maneuver. Now, here’s how Mr. Frankovich works.

Mr. Yates [sometimes accompanied by Mr. Frankovich] travel to a local business and test to see whether or not Mr. Yates can get into the building usually a restaurant to eat and use the facilities. If Mr. Yates could not he would write a letter to the business telling them they were non-complient with the ADA act. He would visit the business a few weeks later and if no changes had been made he would send a second letter then visit again in a few weeks. If he still had trouble there would be a third letter which included a summons to court from Mr. Frankovich.

Over the past three years six business in the Sunset alone have been targeted. Three have settled out of court, two are in mediation and one of the business has shut its doors for good. From the research I’ve done it appears that the out of court settlements have yielded Mr. Yates and Frankovich money in the tens of thousands of dollars from each settlement. These six law suits are not the only ones though. The grand total comes to over 30 law suits by Mr. Yates and Frankovich over the past three years. If you run the numbers in your head you can easily see how on a 50/50 split that each one of them would be sitting on a seven figure income per year. What’s more is that settlement funds are not taxable, so Mr. Yates after deducting his expenses from paying off Mr. Frankovich is in a pretty good place for a disabled man.

I should note that not all cases have been won by Mr. Frankovich. As I previously mentioned, one of the businesses has shut its doors as have also a few in the Mission District. Mr. Frankovich has also received three disciplinary actions over the last three years on ethics violations according to information obtained from the State Bar Association. What makes this story even more compelling is that prior to this Mr. Frankovich had levied over 100 law suits for non-ADA compliance in the Los Angeles area with a Mr. Jarek Molski using the same tactics.

[mappress mapid=”28″]I have tried to find pictures of Mr. Frankovich and Mr. Yates so that any business owners who visit my site can see what they look like so they would know to close down their businesses if they see them coming to avoid their racketeering-like ways, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a picture of them anywhere and I’m quite good with search engines. So far all I could find was Mr. Frankovich’s website at http://www.disabilitieslaw.com/. From my years of work as a graphic designer it is of my opinion that this was a very quickly put up website with a cartoonish picture of a man in a cowboy hat with a phone to his ear riding in a tank  labeled “access blaster” and a couple of disabled people in wheelchairs on either side with a throng of others walking behind the tank.

There is also another picture to the right that says, “One for all, all for one. The power of a class action lawsuit” yet so far Mr. Frankovich’s name only comes up associated with non-ADA compliance cases among two individuals. I haven’t seen anything about Mr. Yates or Mr. Molski saying that they are fighting for the disabled. It appears that they are both lining their own coffers with the money of small businesses.

San Francisco is an old city trying to keep its feel for the days of old somewhat. Landlords who purchase buildings built in the 20’s through 40’s LONG before there was the American’s with Disabilities Act usually don’t have the money to put into making their businesses ADA compliant or simply leave it to the people who rent from them to make the changes, but the majority of these businesses do everything they can to help out the disabled. I remember a business owner of a small coffee shop helping me bring the coffee and pastries I purchased out to my car because my mother didn’t want to get out of the car because it would be too painful for her. I’m am all in favor of assisting people with disabilities because I know what it’s like, but these two people insult the disabled by their practices and I feel it should stop now. Destroying local small businesses to line your own pockets is a crime in my humble opinion and I urge all you who read this to contact your local Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee to help bring this to an end.