Open letter to Queen Amadala

Your Majesty,

I write from a wondrous peninsula called San Francisco, at the edge of our Pacific Ocean. I forward this plea into Virtual Reality with a prayer that it reach you in time. Many tenants throughout our Kingdom have banded together to purchase homes for their families. However, the Imperial Viceroys will not let them move in.

Let me recount our tale, beginning in that cosmic period of time called 1997 of the Common Era.

Late that year the Viceroys passed, as a Temporary measure, an Owner Move In Eviction Proclamation, placing responsibility for housing of elderly and disabled persons on tenants who wished to move into buildings where they resided. The Proclamation was effective on January 30, 1998. In brief, occupants could not be evicted if they were elderly and sixty years of age and had resided in the building for ten years; or were disabled and had resided in the building for ten years; or were catastrophically ill and had resided in the building for five years. This Proclamation is referred to as OMI I.

Since the Viceroys had already determined that they there should be no new housing in the Kingdom, it was, to them, only natural that the persecuted tenants be responsible for housing the elderly and disabled. Their gloves remained spotless.

A Judge in our legal system ruled against the Viceroys, stating that "the moratorium is unconstitutional on its face" and that it operated as "an unconstitutional taking [depriving] property owners [without due process] of their right to enjoy their own property." The Judge's decision was sustained by Judges of a Court of Appeals.

In apparent defiance of that ruling the Viceroys immediately replaced Temporary OMI I with Temporary OMI II which was effectively identical except for inserting a notice mechanism by which tenants must advise landlords that they are/are not protected by OMI II. It was enacted retroactive to the effective date of OMI I. It was now obvious that we were not dealing with an honest, albeit misguided, legislative attempt to resolve city-wide housing issues. The Viceroys had declared a Holy Housing War [HHW].

Shortly thereafter the Viceroys enacted Temporary OMI III, which was even more punitive than its predecessors - including a requirement that members of the persecuted class of tenants have at least a 50% interest in the property in order to recover possession; including a requirement that the persecuted class of tenants bestow gifts on each person being evicted - consisting of twenty $100 bills; requiring that members of the persecuted class of tenants live in their own homes for no less than three years - or else! There was no mention of a guillotine, but there was a chill felt throughout the land.

Then came Proposition G making OMI II and III permanent and adding a few more onerous burdens, such as the requirement that once a "landlord" has recovered possession of a given unit, no other current or future landlord may recover possession of any other unit in that building.

The persecuted tenants were in disarray. What to do? The Viceroys celebrated, raising crystal glasses of Merlot to eye level: Salud, amor, pesetas, y el tiempo para gozarlos. But there was no tiempo.

Legal advocates called Attorneys at Law came to the immediate aid of the tenants. "Under our system of Justice," said these legal scholars, "Laws of the State of California supersede those of the Kingdom of San Francisco. Such a law is the Ellis Act which provides that government may not force one to be a landlord/landlady". The Viceroys put down their glasses and gasped a collective "Ooooooopps"!

Using the Ellis Act the persecuted tenants could evict all occupants of a building - make that, MUST evict all occupants of a building. Some did not need to evict everyone. But the Viceroys had placed them in an all or nothing predicament.

Having unleashed the Ellis Act by their Draconian Proclamations, the Viceroys sought to circumvent it. They passed a new Proclamation called Planning Code 209.10. This required the persecuted tenants who used the Ellis Act to ask the Viceroys for permission to live in their own vacant building. It was officially called a Conditional Use Permit. And with the formal application there was to be a mandatory gratuity of ten $100 bills paid to the Kingdom.

This provision was also struck down by the learned Judges. Apparently, even the least gifted in the Kingdom understood that asking for permission to live in your own vacant home was a blatant knock off of Mother May I.

In the Fall of the year 2000 the good people of San Francisco rejected another severe measure, Proposition "N". But in July of the year 2001 eight of the Imperial Viceroys promulgated an ordinance that in good measure replicates Proposition "N".

I know of your own problems over Naboo. Come, if you can, and bring help.

Your humble savant,

Leopold A. Rodriguez

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