Archive for July, 2015

Adult Ed.- Healdsburg Gentrification 101, Instructor- Mr. Peter Supino, liar.

I wrote this after reading a Press Democrat article by Clark Mason

(who can be contacted at 707-521-5214 or, or on Twitter @clarkmas.)

The real estate sharks (investors) called The Drake Property Group decided to grab a jewel-in-the-rough. The Prentice Apartments in Healdsburg, California. They aim to buy low, turn the tenants out, fix it up, refill it and make a killing. Their prospectus statement says they are-

“seeking ‘a tenant demographic more appropriate to the refined nature of the Healdsburg community, tenants who value good design and beautiful surroundings.'”

Peter Supino, the head of Drake Property Group, states  “we had no idea who was in that building” when his company issued the statement last year.

“It was a general statement, before I knew Healdsburg and knew those people. I would not repeat it.”

How can this be true? The statement specifically mentions “…the refined nature of the Healdsburg community.” He specifically mentions the group is “seeking a tenant demographic more appropriate…”  I have to ask, more appropriate than what? Mr. Supino could only mean the current tenants, in his words, ‘those people’.

Why would the head of the esteemed Drake Property Group invest in a property with tenants he didn’t know, in a town that he didn’t know? Isn’t he responsible for researching investments? Doesn’t he hold a fiduciary responsibility to his investors to have a basic clue about what he is suggesting they do with their money?

The answers are simple- He  wouldn’t, he is, and he does. Mr. Supino is a liar.  

Mr. Supino was not challenged by Mr. Mason. Why were these simple questions not asked? Are we to expect stenography or journalism from the Press Democrat? Mr. Supino played them like a tiny violin.

There are other questions not asked by Mr. Mason, the PD’s stenographer.

  • Who decides who is ‘more appropriate to the refined nature of the Healdsburg community’?

I would venture to guess that in The Drakes Group’s world, ‘refined nature’ = white (or not ‘Those people’).

  • Who decides how you gauge whether a tenant ‘values good design and beautiful surroundings?

Again, I would venture to guess that in The Drakes Group’s world, ‘values good design and beautiful surroundings’ = can afford double the rent (or not ‘Those people’).

Mr.Supino says “hopefully we can bring back a couple that were there.” Who is he kidding? Did someone tell him that would be a good thing to add? Is his hope supposed to show us how benevolent the Drake Property Group is?

Another aspect of this situation barely touched by the PD stenographer is that the position of the Healdsburg City Council. Aside from some chit-chat about how difficult it is to implement rent control, there was little digging done. It seems that the Drake Property Group’s plan is OK by them. But the question wasn’t asked. I’m sure some on the council feel like it would be nothing but an improvement to their cute little town, a tax bonanza, a wonderful way to clean things up a bit while marginalizing the people on whose backs the town was built. But I am just as sure there are others that do not feel the same.

Stenographers write down what others say. Journalists dig into the story acting as the eyes & ears of their community. Journalists ask follow-up questions because they give a damn about what they are reporting on.

The Press Democrat gives us stenographers. Sonoma County needs journalists

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