Protest at the SAHBA Home Show - April 17th, 2004
News Flash!!! April 17, 2004 – We picketed the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) today during the Southern Arizona Home Builders (SAHBA) Spring Show. Even Attorney General John Ashcroft would have been startled at the “SAHBA Patriot Act” imposed on us by SAHBA executives and the TCC security team who were trying to interfere with our lawful First Amendment right to protest. While things started out respectfully – by the end of the afternoon it turned ugly on the part of SAHBA and the TCC with false accusations being hurled at us in an effort to make us go away. What follows is an accounting of the day.
While strolling the public sidewalks with our signs (solidly adorned with this website address) we were greeted by two of Tucson's finest! The TCC & SAHBA had called the police. The officers were very professional and also very protective of our First Amendment Right to protest peacefully. They told us we were doing nothing wrong and were free to continue our protest.
As the afternoon wore on, and our protest continued – we were obviously having an effect on both SAHBA and McCreary Homes. Denise McCreary, President of McCreary Homes, started snapping pictures of the picket line and screaming at us from her car. She hollered something about the “money we stole from them!!” We are astounded that she would think that withholding money for a defective build is tantamount to stealing. In fact it seems to us to be a rather scurrilous accusation, tantamount to slander.
Shortly after this outburst, Mrs. McCreary backed her car up the down ramp of the TCC. Within 10 minutes of her theatrics, a group of SAHBA executives and TCC security personnel approached our group on the public sidewalk. They told our picketers that they must stop walking and accused Ray of backing our car into one of the security guards almost 1 & 1/2 hours prior to the accusation! The “injured” guard told Ray that he “wasn't going to say anything – but he was now starting to feel back pain.” The fact that Ray had not been driving the car was apparently a moot point. The fact that the driver of the car did not hit anyone was also not deemed important. These “officials” told Ray he was going to be arrested. Ray's response? - “Go Ahead. Arrest Me! Please! I insist.” Ray then thanked them profusely for the increased publicity they were generating. Both TCC security and SAHBA officials tried detain the group on the public sidewalk until the police arrived. We declined to be held and continued our protest. The police were called again.
Again the officers quickly determined that the charges were trumped up and bogus. First the “injured” guard identified Ray (48 years old) as the culprit – then he identified our 18 year old son – then he said it was Stacey (45 year old woman) – The actual driver was a dear family friend – 74 years old – who did nothing wrong. The officers once again displayed exemplary professionalism and told us we were free to continue our picketing. The officer also mentioned that the guard never told him of any kind of “accident” or being hit by anyone having anything to do with us when they first interviewed him – just minutes after the “incident” and approximately 1 & 1/2 hours before it was reported. It seems “coincidental” to us that this trumped up charge occurred right after Mrs. McCreary went back into the TCC. Could it be that SAHBA officials and the TCC were trying to mollify an angry woman? It is a sad day in Arizona - indeed a sad day in America when a corporation is so afraid of public exposure that they will fabricate a story to try and stop a legal protest. What could possibly explain such abhorrent standards? Are these the ethics that SAHBA and the TCC stand for? Does the City of Tucson endorse the tactics that the TCC deployed? After all the TCC is a city owned entity, and the City of Tucson should stand for its citizens legal rights to protest.
Following this short interlude with the Police we continued our protest. The only other event marring an otherwise very positive day was when McCreary's daughter drove by in a Honda Civic spewing vulgar language and snapping pictures. Like Mother, Like Daughter! How interesting to us that Mr. McCreary never showed his face. Does he let the women in the family do his fighting for him? We fully expect that either SAHBA or the McCreary's will try and take legal action to stop this website and our promotion of it. We are not afraid. We are also prepared to take legal action to protect it. The ACLU advised us on our legal rights to protest and we will fight any effort to stop us from helping other families avoid our pain. It is our mission. It is the only redemption we can find in this experience. We ask you to help. Let SAHBA, the TCC, and the City of Tucson know that you don't approve of their tactics.
You can email:
Ed Taczanowsky - Executive Vice President of SAHBA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Leftridge, Operations Manager of the TCC at email@example.com
Mayor Bob Walkup at the City of Tucson at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be filing formal complaints with all of these entities on Monday morning. Since we seem to recall that filing a false police report is a criminal offense, we will also be contacting the police and district attorney for action.
We would like to thank SAHBA, the TCC and the McCreary Family for providing us with the additional motivation to continue our fight against unscrupulous builders and developers. Thanks in advance for your support and help. We truly appreciate the thousands and thousands of you who have read the website and the hundreds who have written in support. We truly appreciate your interest. It keeps us working to protect future homeowners from our devastating experience.
We were so impressed with the professionalism of the Tucson Police Officers we encountered. They were respectful and did their jobs with great courtesy and they were supportive of our First Amendment Rights even in the face of irate SAHBA and TCC officials. What is really sad, is that SAHBA could have just responded to our inquiry about how McCreary Homes could possibly be meeting their “standards” as a certified custom home builder with the shoddy work that was done on our home. Their silence led to our protest. Posted below is an ad from the 2004 SAHBA Home Show Brochure about their Certified Custom Builder Program. During the 2 years that our verified complaint was on file at the Registrar's office McCreary maintained SAHBA certification. Was there ever an annual review of his qualifications? Yet SAHBA touts this certification as maintaining “quality standards.” We never received a response to our complaint about McCreary Homes. Perhaps SAHBA will explain now.