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News :: Human Rights
The Last Testament of Mary Jesus
by Lynda Carson
Email: tenantsrule (nospam) yahoo.com
30 Nov 2005
Blood In The Streets Of Oakland...
The Last Testament of Mary Jesus
A Voice From the Past
By Lynda Carson November 28, 2005
Oakland CA -- A year ago December 10, a tragic scene unfolded at Oakland's Tribune Tower as hundreds gathered to watch Mary Jesus plunge to a bloody death.
There were no tickets sold for this event. No ticket takers, no ushers, no charge.
This was street theater of the damned, and everyone was welcome to watch the final curtain close, on the life and times of Mary Jesus.
High above the crowd and dressed all in black, she eyed the crowd below, before tossing down hundreds of copies of a suicide note blaming her landlords, a judge and an attorney for pushing her over the edge.
"Mark Roemer, James Lewis, and Dean Miller, they are the catalyst!", said the note in it's opening line.
Facing eviction after losing a hard fought battle in the courts to keep a roof over her head, Mary Jesus took her case to the people and this was the final act being played out on the streets of Oakland, for all to see and hear.
In part, the note went on to say, "Why did'nt anybody do anything. A couple of people did but they had no power, and those that did have power, were more concerned with a few technicalities, than justice. Except for (Judge) Yolanda Northridge, she just does this to people too poor to afford an attorney, and attorneys only take your case if you have the money".
In her last act of defiance before her tragic death, she wrote the statement, which points a finger at a corrupt system rigged against the poor, and those that held power over her during her last remaining days on earth.
Her tragic death horrified the crowd below, that watched, and tried to convince her not to leap to her death.
Mary Jesus could not stop those who she believed were hounding her to death, but she put up a bitter struggle and tried her best to keep them at bay.
It was on April 24, 2004 that Mary Jesus filed a Citizen Crime Report against her landlord Mark Roemer, with the Oakland Police Department.
The report states; "During a break at a hearing when the hearing officer James Raymond turned off the recorder and left the room, Mark Roemer turned to me and threatened me. He said to me, one of these days, your going to mess up". Mary Jesus goes on to say, "He is one of the co-owners of the building I live in, and makes threats and is consistently abusive and harassing. His comment seemed like a promise of violence".
Times have not changed much since Mary Jesus died a year ago. Landlords in Oakland are still doing their best to make sure renters cannot defend themselves from unfair evictions, the War Criminals in the White House are still in power, the Death Penalty rages on in Texas, new stories of prisoner abuse occur daily, and the GOP is looting the poverty programs for the poor, as fast as they can.
As recent as December 2, 2004, only eight days before Mary Jesus took her plunge off the Tribune Tower, she wrote a heart rendering testament, under penalty of perjury, and it quietly sits there in the public records, for all to read.
It is her last written testament to the courts, in defense of her right to have a roof over her head.
The last testament of a high spirited woman, during her last days of struggle on earth.
Mary Jesus wrote;
"I'm sure that I am not doing this right, but, I have been so upset since I read the plaintiff's opposition to my stay (and not for the reason you might think). He wrote that, "The defendant could easily move to another apartment". Nothing about this has been easy! They have put me through hell for no reason, Except how much money they could get for my apartment. I know THAT for a fact. Jim Lewis and Mark Roemer (the plaintiffs), have told me on numerous occaisions "how much they could get for my place". And when I was the manager, Mark Roemer forced me to ask a black female senior citizen (that lives just down the hall from me) if she would take money to move! Because and I quote, "we could get $1,200.00 for her apartment". I argued with him, "I LOVE Mrs. Henderson"!
But, he threatened me with, "if you don't ask her I will"!
He MADE me scare her! It was about a year later that I was placed on permanent GA. I was NEVER crazy, before they bought the building!
I love my apartment! It is the kind of apartment I've always dreamed of!
I moved here when I was twenty one, to start my life all over. I have been homeless, I've been incarcerated, I've been in shelters for battered women (when I was a child, during one of the many times we left our father to escape his abuse).
But, I moved to Oakland, (after my brother killed himself). It was a similiar situation, he was in danger of losing the house he was trying to make mortgage payments on, and the stress of impending failure was too great for him, so... My whole life was spent moving, we never stayed in the same place for more than a year, and I've been in this apartment for thirteen! I started writing (working on) a book a couple of years before they bought this building; (and I can't finish). It would be my salvation! But, how can I write a book for children, when I am angry and bitter?
As far as the money for stays, I am nine hundred dollars in debt! I have had to borrow money from my publishers wife to come up with the extra money, (because after all the expenses I have had to incur), G.A. isn't enough to cover the remaining. In fact, luckily for me, Judge John True's error from the last stay, will give me $40.00, so I can now pay the P.G.& E. bill.
See, if it wasn't for people like my publishers wife and the nice clerks and Judges, I don't know what I'd do!
I don't like to see, or be aware of the existance of evil! It makes me VERY uncomfortable! Thats why I have trouble leaving the house. I don't own a television, or a computer, and I certainly don't even look at a newspaper! I read books. And luckily for me, my apartment is one block from the main library.
You may wonder what started all this; it was an accounting error by a hearing officer at rent adjustment, (much like Justice True). He found that I had a five hundred dollar credit. I believed it, the landlords have made so many chicanerous accounting "errors" I thought he caught it.
And the owners never appealed, in fact they accepted the decision with their inaction. With that money, I was able to buy shoes that cost more than ten dollars, and I had'nt done that in years!
I was able to pay some bills.
But, it wound up getting me evicted, even though the rental board found that my rent was current. I did'nt have an attorney, and I think they tricked the judge who presided over the case into evicting me. But, I am hoping, that with the motion to reconsider, she will do just that.
That is the real reason, why the plaintiff wants you to deny my stay of execution, (did you notice that he did'nt ask that you make sure my stay is only valid up to the court date). I think he actually listened to that tape, and now he's scared that not only will he lose, but he may be punished. I also, have an unlimited lawsuit against the landlords to be heard on the same day that I am scheduled for the sherriffs to evict me. So, I think they are trying to get me out of the building, because I'm not suing for money. I'm suing for injunctive relief. I asked that (if I win, my rent be reduced to zero while I occupy this apartment).
I don't want money from them, it's blood money, and how can that teach them a lesson, if their insurance company bails them out again?
All that will happen, is that every body elses rates increase and they get away with commiting fraud.
I have to fight them! What kind of a person would I be, if I let them push me around? I'd be weak, "that which does not kill you makes you stronger"! And, I've already died; when the ambulance took me to Highland on the morning of my last motion, I was so delerious from lack of sleep that I thought I could die from it. When they put me in the hospital bed, I may have "fallen" asleep, but I thought I died, and woke up screaming an hour later.
I'm sorry to tell you all of these terrible things, and to burden you with my problems, but after crying all last night because of the things the plaintiff wrote in opposition to my stay, I was afraid you might believe them.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the preceeding statements are completely true.
Respectfully Submitted - Mary Jesus December 2, 2004
During her last week on earth, Mary Jesus set her apartment on fire and tried to escape by hanging herself in a closet.
Mary Jesus died on December 10, 2004 at Oakland's Tribune Tower, but her words still echo through the streets of Oakland, if you listen closely to what she has to say.
"I have to fight them! What kind of a person would I be, if I let them push me around? I'd be weak, "that which does not kill you makes you stronger"!
In an undated hand written letter by Mary Jesus shortly after April 23, 2004 she says;
My Motto- as Poncho Villa said, "I would rather die on my feet, than live on my knees".
How prophetic those words came to be...
If your passing by Oakland's Tribune Tower on December 10, don't be surprised if you notice a few people hanging out to offer their respect, in Memory of Mary Jesus.
Lynda Carson may be reached at; tenantsrule (at) yahoo.com
Click below for Photo of Mary Jesus...
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This work is in the public domain