Question; What do all of the entities in the title have in common?Answers; A. They were all entertaining.B. They all enjoyed a signifigant popularity in their hey-day.C. They are all deceased!So what does this have to do with a 21st century discussion? Funny you should ask as I was wondering the same thing a few short hours ago in a meeting chaired by three of our city councilmen concerning New Albany's
It came as a surprise to more than a few that the turnout for this first meeting was so large in number. I did not get a specific head count but there was an estimated 40+ souls present.
Although the intent of the chairman was organizational as opposed to getting deepl;y involved in a public debate this early, it quickly became evident that the public was going to speak!
As with any such endeavor the room was magically seated nearly equally with pro activists ( homeowners, neighborhood organizers) on one side of the room and anti activists ( landlords, real estate agents) on the other. To be fair to all there was some intermingleing but not much.
The Anti side erupted first with cries of unfairness, discrimination, and potential loss of their business's & income. (Note; members of this same group a few short days ago in a meeting of their peers were saying that renting houses for profit was not in fact a business.)
They began by objecting strenously to rental property registration and even more so to the prospect of (gasp) property inspections being required. They felt this disscussion was moving way to fast and needed much more time to be researched before any action was taken.
Pardon me, but isn't thirty years of talking long enough? But I digress.....
To continue, Ron Hartman, the city's Building Commissioner was asked to speak to the size & seriousness of unsafe/uninhabitable housing in New Albany. He acknowledged that there are significant numbers of such dwellings in our city but seemed to think that with increased communication between the public, his office, and other responsible government entities it could be successfully addressed with the laws & ordinances already in place.
The Pro side, when finally able to get a word in, presented the committee with references from other cities as to how they had resolved these problems. There were also first hand testimonials to instances of those self same government officials that Ron had sited, being notified repeatedly to no avail. To wit some still haven't been addressed.
Again, to be fair, there were a couple specifically mentioned that have been at long last resolved but the damage to the neighborhoods surrounding them has already been done. Four years to solve an issue that is evident to a school child is a bit much don't you think? It was further documented that much of that was the result of the public's involvement in absence of the city's!
To their credit, the councilmen for the most part did much listening and very little talking. After all this was an organizational meeting which purpose was to look at which decaying tooth in this hounds' mouth to extract first. It is after all a long standing issue which has no one solution.
I said for the most part. Councilman Price (my representative by the way) took issue with the whole concept of additional government intervention in peoples lives.
"All that is needed is a common sense approach to this problem" he offered. He referenced the 1980's as being commiserate with the Emaculate Conception in terms of New Albany housing.
Yes Steve, that's our point. It has gone downhill like an out of control freight train ever since. And by the way, it is 2008!
He also fears beefed up inspections as an assault on the rights of common citizens. "I don't want Barney Fife runnin' around with a clip board!"
Well Steve, unfortunately due decades of bad business practices of some who rent housing to others for an living and/or, city/county officials who willingly turned a blind eye to such the inspection option is now a necessity.
"What goes on in my home is none of your business!" Right again Steve so long as your activities do not endanger my home & family!
And so it ended. All in all I thought the body of the meeting went well and at the very least the conversation has begun in a more or less affable fashion.
There were other issues brought to the table such as where does the health department, fire department & law enforcement fit in this equation? Or who pays more in taxes on housing in New Albany?
But there were others present that are more versed in these subjects than I so I'll leave it to them to discuss further.
Myself, I'm looking forward to the next gathering.Trailers for sale or rent...... Roger Miller
Labels: 21st Century, Barney Fife, Roger Miller