The condominium association that apologized last week for mistakenly citing a tenant for kissing her date good night is being criticized again--this time by Latino residents who say they are being treated unfairly.
Most of the estimated 400 residents in the West 3rd Street complex are Latino, and many do not speak English. But the Townsquare Owners Assn. does not make any effort to accommodate them, said Magdalena Castillo of the Chicano Moratorium Committee of Orange County, a civil rights organization.
According to the group, residents must follow a laundry list of rules regulating such things as parking and balcony use, or be fined. The rules, however, are printed in English. As a result, Castillo said, several residents did not understand instructions on how to display their parking permits and had their cars towed.
"People pass by out there and they say, 'Nice building,' " said Leopoldo Melesio, who has lived in the condominium complex for more than two years. "They don't know the problems inside."
Each resident must pay $192 a month to the association for security, maintenance and parking. Yet, Felipe Ramirez, who has lived in Townsquare for more than a year, said his car has been broken into five times. Yolanda Alvirez said she has been trying to have her roof fixed for the last eight months. Elouise Hernandez said she paid $35 and had to wait three months to have her name put in the complex's directory.
They said they all have complained to the association's board of directors and Vanco Properties, which manages the complex, but were told that nothing could be done.
Rosemary Schwartz, the grounds manager and a member of the association's board of directors, declined to comment on the residents' complaints.
Board members were scheduled to meet with Latino residents at 2 p.m. Sunday to discuss the situation. About 50 residents showed up and found a notice canceling the meeting.
The association "ignores them as if they don't exist," Castillo said.
Although some residents left immediately after seeing the notice, most stayed for more than an hour to talk about their options, which included hiring a lawyer and refusing to pay their membership fees. They agreed to have a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the main courtyard to decide what to do.