This is in response to the letter sent to you by Charles St. Lawrence ("The Other Side of Pinewood Dispute," Dec. 5).
His first paragraph explains the financial support to the Anne Arundel County Housing Authority. This was to mislead the public away from the issue at Pinewood Gardens, which is Housing and Urban Development federal money. There are federal regulations on how this money is handled. Every notice that was given to the residents refers to this as HUD money. . . . His second paragraph again is also misleading. His lengthy description of Larry Loyd, executive director of the Anne Arundel County Housing Authority, does not match the description that I hear from residents. . . . As for Mr. St. Lawrence's comment, "a few disgruntled folks don't like the results but the greater good will prevail," the original count of people who opposed the wall construction numbered 76 out of the 96 apartments involved. Most of the residents are too old, too tired, too intimidated, too sick, too stressed out to stand up for their human rights or even know they are being violated. . . .
I wasn't the sole plaintiff in this action, as Mr. St. Lawrence well knows, but he insists on singling out the four of us who were mentioned as part of the group in the action. We were the ones who were able to make it to court on that day as spokesmen for the rest of the petitioners. He also knows no wealthy persons qualify for residency under subsidized housing. Judge Robert Heller remarked he didn't know how anyone can manage to live on $600 a month.
Of course we're talking about tax-funded this and that. We elderly have paid taxes all our lives. The buildings we live in were paid for by our taxes. We, by whatever cards were dealt us, ended up living here. We had high hopes that the judicial system that we helped to pay for with our tax dollars would be there when we needed it. . . .
Since Oct. 21, we have repeatedly asked for a meeting with the board of the housing authority to discuss the wall issue and the problems we are having. Mr. St. Lawrence called off the regular ** November meeting because there was no "important business." . . .
In response to Charles St. Lawrence's letter regarding the Pinewood Gardens . . . here are a few facts:
* Residents were never told that their kitchen walls would be demolished prior to a meeting in October 1993.
* Notices posted in every unit listing pending improvements and construction have never made any reference to destruction of the wall.
* When we learned of the planned demolition of the kitchen wall in early October, I personally visited the tenants and asked them the simple question: Did they want the kitchen wall torn down? Seventy-six out of 95 replied, "No."
* No board member has even visited our unit or spoken with the senior citizens unable to cope with the stress of these meetings, or physically able to attend them.
* One resident was called and told they were coming to paint her apartment. She was astonished and dismayed when they started to tear down the wall. She was never advised and was adamantly opposed to this.
I am one of the individuals of whom Judge H. Chester Goudy, Jr. requested bond at $15,000. How does he think individuals, living on Social Security, who have expended their savings on health care and keeping alive, could find $15,000?
Wealthy people do not qualify to live in low-cost housing. It is a travesty of justice that the courts should be concerned with the penalty costs (tax dollars) due to temporary stoppage of this contract but seem totally unconcerned that the demolition was proceeding without an Anne Arundel County building permit; without an electrical permit; without informed and sufficient consensus of the residents as required by law; without posting of the proposed wall destruction on the bulletin board in each building; without written notification of 48 hours as required by lease; without alternative living quarters for the disabled as required by law, yet with lax supervision of the work with resultant poor security for the units being renovated; unauthorized use of the residents' telephones by the workers, not to mention the incredible disruption to our lives and health.
. . . All we wanted was a choice to leave the wall up or not. Now many of the residents have thrown up their hands and said, "Let them do what they want, I can't take the stress."
I have nothing to lose. I have no money. I have had major throat surgery for cancer, coronary artery disease (I have had two heart attacks this year) and have a massive pulmonary mass in my left lung.
What has kept me going is the compassion of those individuals in both public and private capacity who bothered to listen and visit with us as well as write and telephone Larry Loyd, the executive director of the Anne Arundel County Housing Authority, on our behalf to no avail.
. . . Mr. Lloyd seems to defy accountability. That one man should have this much power is dangerous. I am specially grateful to the staff of The Sun for their balanced and on-going reporting. I only wish the political leaders who could influence Mr. Lloyd or Mr. Lawrence would do so. Gov. William Donald Schaefer, County Executive Robert Neall, we're here waiting. We all grow old. Some may be ill, some poor. Someday, one of you might be in our situation.
All we ask is to give us our remaining years in peace. I may die fighting for my wall.