By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
But who coordinates these various services that are so important to residents? To make sure they work together, and cooperate with management to make sure caregivers can get in when they need to and deliveries are made when required? To make sure that Palm View works for its least-able clients?
Actually there is such a person. Her name is Lee Meyers, she’s the director of resident services, and she’s responsible for Palm View and West Hollywood’s other HIV residence. She does everything from arranging movie nights to coordinating casework to trying to keep neglectful tenants from being evicted. But because so much of her work is confidential, she acknowledges that it may not be apparent to many residents, some of whom, she feels, are unfairly hostile to her. One of her employers described her position as “a burnout job.”
According to Meyers, eight Palm View residents have died. This creates a pervasive fear. In addition, many “suffer from low self-esteem” because “it is hard to have to ask for help.” Some have said that Meyers’ problem is that she has an in-between job, working for management while also representing the residents. “The people need an advocate,” says one local official, who lives with AIDS himself. Ed says typical problems range from forgetting your keys to forgetting to pay rent to collapsing on the street — all carrying the stigma of humiliation.
Actually, for an unknowable number of people with AIDS, “independent living” may be a contradiction. “You can take 14 pills a day and still not be healthy,” says Jeff Prang, a West Hollywood city councilman who’s become involved in this issue. He adds, “Many of the residents’ complaints are reasonable.”
Some grievances are being addressed. This week, there was the first open meeting between Palm View residents and management in a long time. New rules for admission of guests and caregivers — along with crucial deliveries — are being created. Building management (another “burnout job”) is being changed.
But the ultimate change may have to go far beyond West Hollywood — to the way society in general thinks of AIDS survivors. And forgets about them and their continuing needs.
If you have a name that’s tough to pronounce (take it from one who does), certain people will delight in mispronouncing it. Particularly superiors out to prove how little they think of you.
So it was fun to watch this tactic backfire last week in federal court, where 29-year LAPD clerical employee Theresa Schell collected $3.6 million from the city after the LAPD first demoted, then fired her for testifying that there was no official excuse for the city to delay overtime payments to police employed during the 1992 riots. Bernie Parks was himself hit with $500,000 in punitive damages.
According to City News Service, what particularly outraged the jury’s foreperson was that Chief Parks, throughout his testimony, kept mispronouncing Ms. Schell’s last name as “Schnell.” I guess that, like everything else, the cost of nomenclatural derision is going up these days. That’s fine with me.
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