On August 1, 2016, at 7:00p I sat in a front row seat to observe Lakewood City Council process their decision related to the Rental Registration & Safety Inspection Program (RRSIP).
During the public comment session, I easily admitted that my published articles included laser like highly critical analogies. I went on to say that not one of my articles included any criticism directed towards members of City Council or city staff. In fact, I am positive about our city council and city staff. Negative thoughts regarding any of these individuals serving our city have not entered my mind, nor have I had any private conversations that included negative comments.
I am thankful we have people willing to do what, at times, must be a thankless job. So my discussion was only about ideas and issues, not about people.
The vote is in. The City of Lakewood is going to implement the program including some amendments to the original proposal as follows:
- Section 4: Rental properties occupied by the owner, a parent or child are to be exempt.
- The RRSIP Director is to report the program results to City Council one time per year.
- Section 4G: New buildings will be exempt for ten years from the date of issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy.
- Section 5a: Delete director’s ability to waiver a property from inspection.
- Section 3: Mobile homes are exempt.
It appeared that each member of the council did a lot of soul searching to come to what they felt was the right decision.
Each council member spoke to provide their rational for their decision. Some of the comments were as follows:
The public does not understand the law about not being able to target just the problem properties. I, do understand, but do not believe that is a justification to punish people who are not a part of the problem.
Currently, the city can only be reactive based on ordinances currently in place. The city wishes to be proactive.
The program might well eliminate problem properties that will impact on our city reputation, which will help everyone in the city.
There is a maximum of only one inspection every five years, which should not be much of a burden.
There are scary houses in Lakewood. We have to do something.
There are children suffering out there in substandard housing. We have to do something.
Realty Trac reported that Lakewood is the number one “down and out” neighborhood. We have to do something different if our city is to lose that dubious distinction.
We all need to work together for the benefit of the city.
Council Person, Marie Barth, who voted NO, mentioned the importance of not eroding private property rights. She also referenced her desire to see the city improve the ordinances and programs that are already on the books so that they could be used instead of starting a new program.
While each council member appeared to make a thoughtful decision regarding what they felt was the right way to vote, I was highly impressed with Council Person Marie Barth’s courage and independence and her willingness to cast a Nay vote. She voiced her vote with maximum courtesy and respect for the other members of the council and the city staff.
The Lakewood City Council voted 6 Yea and 1 Nay was as follows:
Council Person Mary Moss – Yea
Council Person Mike Branstetter – Yea
Council Person John Simpson – Yea
Mayor Don Anderson – Yea
Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen – Yea
Council Person Marie Barth – Nay
Council Person Paul Bocchi – Yea
Readers, as time passes feel free to contact me with any good or bad experience you have as a rental property owner, rental manager or renter. I would like to learn of your experience and possibly share that experience with our community.
Setting my opinion to the side, I will happily report the good, and bad as to how the RRSIP impacts on your life and business.
I have to stop writing now because I need to shuffle down to city hall to pick up an application for that new $93,000 director’s job. Is there anyone willing to offer a letter of reference to the city for me?