Jail Time for Code Violations

Jail Time for Code Violations

Posted in the Conneaut Forum

C Barry Mowry DEM

United States

#1 Sep 10, 2011
ATTN: City Manager
Council
REF: Jail Time for Housing Code violations
Dear Gentlemen:
Comm U N I ty
You see, community includes 'you and I', both in spelling and in practice of daily life.
"You and I" work together to accomplish our goals as a community; threat of jail means we both fail.
The city believes it has a housing condition problem, but the jail time solution is not the answer. How will jail time repair that frayed electrical cord, or the low water problem because of copper piping connected to galvanized pipes? It won't because it does not address the problem with a solution.
Focus on the specific problem. Use the tools you now have on hand. They work. A bigger hammer won't solve the problem just because it hits and hurts everyone. It's costly and, in fact, delays any improvements.
In fact, the council has an ordinance before it that both the Law Director and Judge agree they will not use ('unless they absolutely have to'). What owner is going to motivated by a vailed threat to change if this law will not be used?
What may work better is a specific Clean and Lien Ordinance focused directly at unkempt structures, vacant lots, and unhealthy homes.
The city should respond QUICKLY to a written complaint and violation, clean it up through private vendors, and the costs placed on the owner, tenant or landlord or by placing a lien on their property or possessions, as necessary. All very specific actions to the problem and the solution.
No occupancy permits. No city-wide inspection programs. No more additional costs to home buyers and seller, real estate brokers, agents and appraisers. No permanent budgetary infrastructure cost to city finances.
Don't declare war on all the citizens who pay taxes now because of a handful of decrepit houses. Vote down this amendment to the housing code. Favor an ordinance that attacks the problem at hand.
No DEMOCRAT should be in favor of this ordinance. Vote NO.
What you have here is a product of failed logic, a lack of focus to actually fix the problem quickly and efficiently, an example of past administrations not enforcing the laws on the books and doing their jobs, a lawyer who thinks jail time is the answer to every problem, a politician who panders to voters for his
electoral benefit.
In a community each looks out for the welfare of others for the benefit of all. Jail threats destroys the sense of unity and reduces it to a threat of government against everyone.
Instead of the city serving a citation, offer a hand of help. Get volunteer from the police department, fire department, public works, a local club (Kiwaniis, Lion, Moose, Elk) to clean, cut, paint, repair, restore, rewire, replumb and touch up a structure. That's when you'll realize you have a community that includes YOU AND I.
C Barry Mowry, DEM
Former 2nd Ward Councilman, 1970

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