Curtain Close

Alleged involvement in a high-quality music video with lyrics espousing gang violence by some tenants led Del Monte Manor to issue eviction notices.

Of all the reasons given for evicting a tenant, participating in the production of a music video is certainly not among the most common.

But in July, six households in the Del Monte Manor complex in Seaside received eviction notices accusing the tenants of ties to “criminal or wrongful activity” because they participated, allegedly, in “an unauthorized and unpermitted film project involving what appeared to be a music video on the premises.”

The video appeared online on June 16 and was quickly taken down, but not before being archived by Seaside Police. The Weekly viewed the track, titled “We Crippin” – the name provides the first clue about its content. It features two rappers, identified as N.Sane Ready and Da Bigg Homie, boasting about killing rivals and other forms of gang violence. “I got 30 in the clip and I ain’t missin’” is one of the least explicit lines in the song. The production value is high and the video opens with stunning aerial footage of Seaside and the Monterey Bay.

Easily identifiable in the background as the beat drops and the rappers appear in the frame, flanked by dozens of young men, is Del Monte Manor. The video was shot on May 26, in an apparent response to the killing of Tremain Calloway several days earlier. Calloway was driving on Yosemite Avenue near the housing complex when he was shot to death. Two men, who police say belong to the Crips gang, have been arrested and charged with murder.

Del Monte Manor’s management company, TerraCorp, is accusing the tenants served with eviction notices of appearing in the video and providing electricity and other help to the production. None of the tenants were willing to speak to the Weekly but Princess Pope, an advocate on their behalf, says eviction is an extreme response considering the extent of their involvement.

Pope adds that the tenants who were seen in the footage may not have even known about the content of the music. “The tenants I talked to thought they were part of a memorial for Tremain Calloway,” she says.

According to Pope, two military veterans and a family receiving Section 8 housing subsidies are among those being evicted. They were given 90 days to vacate their homes.

TerraCorp referred all questions to its lawyer Ryan Mayberry, but Mayberry did not respond to messages.

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With 98 federally subsidized units out of a total of 192 apartments, Del Monte Manor is the largest low-income housing complex on the Monterey Peninsula. It’s owned jointly by three local civic organizations and two churches.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which subsidizes the low-income units and monitors the complex for compliance with federal standards, is aware of the evictions, a spokesperson says, adding that the agency cannot intervene in the situation.

“Unless there are allegations of unlawful discrimination and a formal complaint has been filed, HUD has no authority to intervene in ongoing evictions, and as such, does not and cannot get involved, as evictions are legal actions to be adjudicated by a judge through the judicial system,” a HUD spokesperson writes by email.

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Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers higher education, the military, the environment, public lands and the geographic areas of Seaside, Monterey, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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(1) comment

Otis Needleman

Eviction, at least for the first offense, does seem to me a bit much. The residents might want to get with the county Housing Authority to review their options. Very hard to find Section 8 housing, especially with an eviction. But in the end, it's the landlord's call. Can see how the landlord would want to get rid of all behind that video, high-quality production or not. Perhaps the talents of the video makers could be better used on something that actually contributes to the community.


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