“The current wave of regulations being considered . . . (among them) telling landlords who they must rent their property to . . .” leads Shiftwa.org (Aug.22, 2016) to conclude Seattle’s “liberal leaders’ ‘progressive’ reforms are becoming synonymous with Soviet-style regulations.”
With its Rental Inspection Program (RIP), Ordinance 644, passed 6-1 August 1, 2016, Lakewood’s leaders appear to have hitched their caboose to Seattle’s train.
On August 10, Seattle’s City Council passed just the most recent of an onslaught of tenant laws, this one requiring landlords to rent to the first qualified applicant.
Steps to ensure landlords are compliant: (1) Seattle’s law allows “prospective renters to sue a landlord when they think they’ve been skipped”; (2) Seattle “will ramp up its sting operations”; and (3) Seattle plans to “add two staffers to handle work related to the first-come, first-served policy – to the tune of more than $200,000 next year.”
Though the financial details of Lakewood’s RIP are a work in progress, initial plans called for a RIP director to be hired at $93,000; an assistant at near $50,000 and a new car at $30,000.
Lakewood’s RIP architects recommended not to pursue the low-cost alternative of a “robust educational program” that would have communicated to landlords and tenants their respective duties and responsibilities.
“Empowering tenants and community residents to ensure safe, decent and sanitary housing,” is most certainly commendable. But those words belong to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which has set up a complaint line to address such matters as “poor maintenance, dangers to health and safety, mismanagement, and fraud.”
A complaint line.
Not an intrusive and oppressive and over-bearing and unnecessary bureaucracy.
But a phone call or an email.
Speaking of which, a promise was made August 11 by a member of our Lakewood City Council that the question as to whether Lakewood’s RIP Ordinance 644 was subject to referendum would be asked of the Municipal Research Services Center (MRSC) since MRSC declined any request unless made by an elected representative.
As of this writing there is still no answer.
Ironically, on August 13, speaking of Shiftwa.org’s reference to Soviet-style regulations, “Tatyana Stanovaya, a political scientist, commented on President Vladimir V. Putin’s firing of his longtime chief of staff, the latest in a series of moves to replace veteran officials with a younger generation of unquestioning loyalists”:
“He does not need advice, he needs people who will carry out his orders with as little fuss as possible,” said Stanovaya.
Questioning elected officials does not a bully make. And though leaders think they want loyalty, what they really need is honesty, and accountability.