A code of safety: Some feel crime and code enforcement are linked in New Albany, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)
Lax code enforcement welcomes a criminal element into New Albany, according to Jeff Gillenwater.
Gillenwater, a New Albany resident who has lobbied for tougher rules through his work with several neighborhood associations, said deteriorating houses and rentals impact more than merely property values.
“Make it look like nobody cares and potential residents will believe you, including relocating criminals,” he said.
Mayor Doug England promised to lay out his code enforcement plan to the City Council when he returns from back surgery and rehabilitation, which will likely be the first week of January.
Alas, another year has passed during which New Albany's city council has acted boldly on trivial pursuits, such as the currently unenforced (duh) ban on novelty lighters, but proposed nothing of substance to curb the city's empowerment of slumlords, a situation that derives not from ordinance, but from generations of outright political cowardice.
To be sure, there have been fact-finding meetings, and CM John Gonder waxes optimistic, telling the Tribune's Suddeath, "I am very hopeful. I have no reason to think that they will pull out a toothless tiger."
Gonder gets it, and yet toothlessness is such a part of New Albany's heritage of unresponsiveness that it surely must be written into the city's genetic code. According to our political DNA, measures to combat the unchecked reign of the slumlord are DOA. It's going to take more than words. Think: Deeds ... irespective of the political fallout.
Uncouncilman Steve Price, who by his own testimony yearns to be regarded as a "hobbyist" rental property owner who makes nothing from it (and they call me a socialist), said it best back in August after the initial rental property registration committee meeting: "This is all a bunch of fucking bullshit."
It is, but as usual, not in the way that Price unimagines.
None of us currently know the dimension of the mayor's plan to address the reality of New Albany's default state of non-enforcement. I remain hopeful, although we are well advised to refrain from holding our breaths.