Monday, June 29, 2015

Care about kids? Then do something about rental properties in this city.


An arcade game in which players use a mallet to hit toy moles, which appear at random, back into their holes ... used with reference to a situation in which attempts to solve a problem are piecemeal or superficial, resulting only in temporary or minor improvement.

I googled "slumlord" and "safety," and came up with the article quoted below, among many hundreds of others. Before you read it, take stock of the reality in New Albany.

We're actually not playing "whack-a-mole" here.

While it's true that Section 8 housing is registered and regulated with periodic inspections, hundreds of other rental properties are not even subject to the most simplistic registration, much less inspection.

Year in and year out, political "leadership" in this town looks the other way. Always has. We all know it, and tend to prefer living in denial or blaming renters rather than act.

Consequently, here's my tip-off for the week to come. In this town, hundreds of children live in unregistered, uninspected and unregulated rental properties. They live there every day and night, and every week and month during the year.

Now we have a wonderful civic pool, slated to be open two months out of the year. Building it has cost the city $9 million, not counting yearly upkeep, and in order to finance it, we borrowed against future tax revenues in the expectation that property values in the pool's TIF district will rise, and so will property taxes, and the difference will pay the bonds.

In this TIF area, hundreds of children live in unregistered, uninspected and unregulated rental properties. They live there every day and night, and every week and month in the year, and the existence of a pool is doing nothing to make their quality of life cleaner, healthier or safer.

Praise water sports and parks to your heart's content. They're important. But don't suggest to me that their existence testifies to heartfelt concern for children, when children are subject to degradation that this town's movers and shakers cannot bring themselves to address with government intervention where such action might be the only way to secure genuine improvement.

And don't even dare use the words "fundamentally better" to describe a place where an issue like this is perennially ignored owing to political cowardice. A pool is not fundamental. Living conditions are.

If you cannot tell the difference, you have no business being a lifeguard, much less a mayor.

Whack-A-Mole City Enforcement Keeps Slumlords in Business, by Megan Burks (Voice of San Diego)

... Repeated requests for repairs through Shah and his managers have netted few substantive improvements, tenants said. In a brief phone call, Shah said he acts quickly when tenants ask for repairs, but failed to follow through with an offer to provide KPBS and Voice of San Diego with proof.

And stacks of formal complaints against Shah show the city’s essentially playing a game of whack-a-mole. The city’s code enforcement team knocks out thousands of isolated complaints a year, but does little to hold repeat offenders accountable.

No comments: