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Therapist in quandary over moving practice

By Judith Scherr Daily Planet Staff
Friday September 01, 2000

After practicing psychotherapy in the historic building at 1942 University Ave. for more than a dozen years, Karen Rose will be out on the street. 

She was given notice Aug. 15 that she had to be out of her office by Sept. 15. 

And that’s not an easy thing for the blind woman, who insists on wheelchair-accessible space for her clients. 

Rose’s landlord is Reddy Realty, whose owner Lakireddy Bali Reddy made headlines for his alleged role in bringing teenagers from abroad for sex and bringing others to work in his businesses under false pretenses. Reddy’s now confined to his brother’s home in Modesto, out of jail on $10 million bail. 

Sid Lakireddy, Reddy’s nephew, is managing a remodeling project at the building, one of more-than $70 million in properties Reddy owns. 

A fire in December damaged the roof, which he is replacing. He’s also repainting the front of the building and doing some other interior work, he said.  

Lakireddy told the Daily Planet that he expects the work will take about three months and that Rose will be able to move back in if she wants to. 

He added that if she were unable to find a new place for her practice by the Sept. 15 date, he would hold up the work for another two weeks to allow her more time. And he’s trying to find her a suitable place for her practice. 

Moreover, he said if Rose could tolerate the construction noises and danger, she could stay during the work. “If she wants to stay on, she can,” he said. 

Much of this is news to Rose. 

“I was told that I could move back after one year or 18 months,” she said.  

And she said no one told her she could stay.  

“If they’d let me stay through the construction, I would stay,” she said. 

Rose, who is on the faculty of San Francisco State University, said that ever since she got the notice to move, she’s been searching for a place to hold her therapy sessions. 

She said she’s contacted 14 commercial realtors, the Chamber of Commerce, the University Avenue Merchants Association and others.  

All she’s found is space she could use exclusively in the evening – she sees clients during the day, in the evening and on weekends – and a building that is closed evenings and on weekends. 

She’d be willing to see clients in her small Berkeley home, but she’d have to get approval from the Zoning Adjustments Board.  

“They said there are 140 hearings before me,” she said. Approval would take months. 

Rose said a therapist can’t just tell a client, the week before, that she will no longer be seeing clients.  

Preparation for terminating a therapist-client relationship takes some time. 

She said her eviction appears legal, since she has a month-to-month lease.  

Rose, who is a member of the Commission on Disability, said she is proud of her accomplishments in life.  

After earning an undergraduate and graduate degree, she received her license to practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1984.  

She was forced, early on, to go into solo practice, because agencies refused to hire a blind therapist, she said, citing Department of Labor statistics which say that 70 percent of blind adults are unemployed. 

Rose said she’s determined to continue her work and is offering a reward to anyone who can help her find a new office. She can be reached at 486-1188.