Bit of a Personal Emergency

Calling all researches and legal knowers.

So I mentioned I live in a kind of crack-den-ish sort of place.  It’s become a sudden probability that I may get kicked out.

Recently, the many roommates here have come together and realized the woman who manages this place is a problem.  We believe that she’s skimming rent and now attempting to collect more money for excess power and water use.  None of us have contracts or a lease (we all pay cash, no check accepted), and we’ve never spoken to the person who owns this house.  Stories indicate that she likes to kick people out when they start figuring things out or making waves.

Our biggest fear is that next month her son gets out of jail and will begin living here.  Where he was arrested and used drugs and had parties.

Our current plan of action (subject to better suggestions) is to track down the owner of this house and contact him directly.  We need to find out what the rent really should be, as well as the truth about the power and water bill.

If you know anything about the legalities of this (California) or you can help research, please email me: grayson (period) queen  gmail.  I can provide an address and a few names to look up, including the woman who is managing this place (though she we believe she is illegal).  She’s on the verge of trying to get more money from us, so there is a little rush.

Thank you for your help.

Send ‘em if you got ‘em

We’ll here is a very long update:

A few days ago, Rara was transferred to a different section of the jail.  Frankly, from all accounts, it’s worse.  Rara isn’t doing very well.  For the first time, she called me crying.  She is now in what they call the tank, with 30 other females.  Luckily she knows most of them, so has some seniority with any newbies.  She’s still well liked, but there seems to be one woman who thrives on causing trouble.  It sounds like she’s attempting to create factions and fights, pretty much like you see on TV.

The biggest problem is the guards.  They’re more angry and cruel.  They intimidate and swear at all of the inmates.  As she told me how they treat everyone, I began to see a new perspective on the disposition of prisoners and their psychological health.  Possibly, the entire reason why people become repeat offenders.  Before, when they were in the other section, everyone was cordial and obeyed the rules.  Now, there are fights between inmates and guards.  They have the option to go to educational classes or church, but none of the woman want to go now, because they’re strip searched every time they come back.  They’re forced to eat their meals within five minutes and if any of the inmates get in trouble they all do.  They often lose privileges, like day room (where the phones are located) and mail.  Which is why you should write and send your letters ASAP, or they may not get to her.  On Monday Rara signed the papers to agree to the deal to do 3 years in prison.  At the end of the month the judge will sign off on it.  And from then, at any point she could be transferred to prison.  All research indicated that she will be unable to contact or receive contact for up to 7 weeks.  Afterwards there is a long, arduous process to clear people to visit or send letters.  But even then, if she gets into a work program (that will help cut down her time) she may not be able to receive any contact.

On the bright side, from the sound of it, the prison is much nicer than her current situation.  All of your donation have been very helpful.  Anything currently available, or received from now on, will go to purchasing her things when she gets to prison.  You’d be surprised what they can get.

As for me, some of you already know, but I’ve been keeping it a secret.  About a week ago I was on the verge of being homeless.  I needed to move and find a place within my budget.  On the very last day I managed to find something.  I won’t say it’s a hovel… in fact I feel bad about complaining.  One of my roommates is 20-year-old kid, who seems happy to be here, having come from worse.  Actually, it seems like all 6 of the people here are less fortunate than myself.  It puts it in perspective when you think you’ve hit the bottom.

If you follow me on my blog, you’ll notice I’m writing.  It’s a sort of therapy, or a lay over until I can start thinking deep and big.  I’m also about 14 pages into a new novel.  I write on my 15 minute breaks, when I’m waiting in the laundromat or mooching off free WiFi.  Rara always said I write best when I’m angry.

Good News, Bad News, Some News

Here is another letter:

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A bit of good news now:

I was just hired today, on the spot to work at an art gallery.  I start tomorrow.  The people there were very excited to have me, which is nice.  Plus they were very sensitive to providing me time to pursue my own artistic endeavours.

Now some bad news:

The district attorney final came back with a plea offer for Rara.  3 years in state prison.  They say typical people only serve 50% of their term.  18 months.  Minus the 2 she’s already done.  16 months.  There’s a long shot prison program she could cut it down to 12 months.

Or fight it and spend 5-6 years doing so.  And then having to sue for damages if she won.  And it could be a big if.

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Oh, and does anyone want to claim responsibility for sending me these?

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Delayed Again

As expected on the 11th nothing happened at her court date.  Her public defender did show up, but the prosecutor didn’t because he was on vacation.  They are expecting to receive plea deal by Monday.  If it isn’t awful Rara plans to accepted, though she said if it’s bad she may fight.

The new court date is for the 26th.  If she accepts the deal, it think this is where the judge will either give his approval or not.  If she doesn’t accepted then, it will be a scheduling for another court date and Rara will remain in jail.  They may give here another bail hearing at that time, but as of now, there are no funds to make bail.

There have been many questions about mail getting to here.  I’ve set up a page in the hopes of answering all those questions at once.  Go here.  If you have experience mailing her, and I didn’t cover some information, your input would be appreciated.

On a lighter note:

Rara seems to have managed to work out a system with her bunkmate, so she isn’t as annoying.  To keep herself busy, she is writing about her experience and the other woman in the jail.  She thinks she might put it into a book eventually.  She has also been making word searches for the other inmates to give them all something to do.  And I think I heard her correctly; she’s also writing a little newspaper for them.  Articles like, “How to stay safe from the Chupacabra,” and the weather report: “Cold Today.  Cold Tomorrow.”

And while she may dislike her roommate, at least she’s safe with her, for at least the next 190 days.  Apparently there’s a crazy lady in with them who no one can manage to stay in the cell with for more than 5 days.

As always, all letters to her are welcomed.  I should note that, they may be passed to the other inmates.  She’s become very popular for having things to do.  I know that the Rarasaur book that was sent to her went around a few time, and the other women gained some inspiration.  You’d be surprised how many of them have no one; no visits, no calls and no letters.

1 Month

It’s been a month since Rara went to jail, and as time stretches on, things seem to be getting harder and harder.

The other day during a discussion, I defined hope as: An intentionally false belief to help you get through a difficult time.

And perhaps that is what is slowly dwindling.  The hope that this might suddenly work itself out.  Some legal higher-up, would come and say, “This has been all a mistake, you really are a good person, you’re free to go.”  An intentionally false belief, to help cushion the initial shock.

Rara has a court date set for the 11th, though from the sounds of it, neither her defender or the prosecutor will make it.  So, she’ll sit and wait by herself all day.  On the bright side she gets away from her cellmate.

Her old cellmate has gone and was replaced by a woman who is in for her 3rd DUI.  Rara has no compassion for people who drink and drive.  To make things worse, everything this woman does is irritating or frustrating.  It’s taken a toll on her spirits, so she hasn’t replied to anyone’s letters since.  She has received many letters, but can’t reply to anyone outside the US, due to the cost of postage.  And to the three who may know, she happened to receive three letters on the same day, the content of which she took as a sign of dreams, portents and messages to stay strong.

And without further ado, another letter from Rara.  Click the image to see the full size version.

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We Can Draw Your Pet

Every month we are offering a special at a $20 flat rate for graphic design or illustration.

This month is PETS!

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Go to our services page, fill out the contact form at the bottom and we’ll put you in the queue.  Then we’ll let you know when and where to send the photo of your pet.  Make sure the photo is clear.  Don’t over expose the photo, like I did with that last photo above.  The best photo to send will show your pet’s personality and to get the most accurate details, higher quality photos would be best.  At the end, you will get a 3300 x 3300 pixels (11 x 11 inches) file, we can provide a smaller version too.

The illustrations featured here are an example; your pet on a white or transparent background in the same style.

The Waiting Game

I’ve been putting off this post for a few days now; trying to figure the right words to use.

I know there have been rumblings for the need to take direct action in Rara’s defence.  And the news I have will only fan the flames.  But in the interest of full disclosure I’ll tell you, if you promise to read till the end.

As you might know Rara had a court date on the 23rd.  She asked me not to go.  After speaking to her public defender, she learned that the lawyer didn’t consider the case a priority and that she hadn’t even looked at it.  Thus she would be asking for an extension.  There is a new court date set for mid-June.  She also learned that the way the charges were arrange, under a California law, it prevents her from settling and gives her a minimum of 3 years and 4 month, a maximum of 169 years.  This is obvious for scare and negotiation tactics.  As well, if convicted she would not be allowed to serve in Federal Prison, but State.  She was told, that if she chooses to fight, it could take 5 years to clear her; all the while still in jail.

And I’m sure right now, you’re as mad as I am/was/will be for a long time.  I immediately set forth on a scheme.  And as I was moving pieces into place, I received a call from Rara.  Again she asked me not to do anything, for fear that it might ruin her chances at a plea bargain.

I began a great internal debate.  I asked myself if it was my place to make the call.  If she was in the right mental state to make the call.  But then I began to take into account the Rara is Rara.  She alway seems to have a knack for people, and getting things to work out in the end.  I’ve seen it time and time again. And for me not to trust that right now, especially when I’m not so great at it, seems foolish.  So in the end I have to value her as not only a person who has the right to choose her fate, but as a resource with an invaluable skill.

I ask, those of you who feel the need to fight.  Sit for a moment.  We have to wait and see, even if it breaks our hearts, and burdens our minds.

With that said, she asked to see how viable it was to raise money for her bail.

A Letter from Jail

The following are scanned images of a letter I received from Rara.  The originals were in light pencil and have been altered for contrast and readability.  Click in the image to see it in full size.

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P.S.  You may have noticed that I haven’t been on the blogs.  With a cold and adjusting to a new job, my scheduling has been erratic.  Hopefully soon I will get back to work.

- G