I have written and spoken on several occasions regarding Lakewood City Council’s decision related to the now passed currently titled Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP) under Lakewood City Ordinance #644.
Two words in one of my writing(s) proved controversial enough that at least a few good and intelligent people suffered the experience of having a strong emotional reaction which blinded them to the message I was attempting to communicate.
I am going to use two new words in my effort to make my point which I expect can only produce a positive emotional reaction. The two words are Rotary Club.
My relationship with the Rotary Club began 1962. I was just a kid in my late teens getting ready to leave high school. Oh, by leave, I do mean graduate. My high school guidance counselor, Miss Gertrude Hansen, who proved to be one of my key lifetime mentors, asked, “Joe, are you going to go to college or not?” She informed me that if I decided to attend college, she wanted to submit my name for a Rotary Scholarship.
It was a small $200 scholarship, but from my perspective, it was a giant scholarship because Rotary was investing $200 in a teenager with an unimpressive grade point average, a weak goal set which all amounted to an unknown and unpredictable future. The scholarship might as well have been a $10,000 in terms of how the Rotary’s generosity had such a huge and important impact on my entire life beyond high school.
I knew I had to work hard in college, and I had to do my best so as not to waste the Rotary Club’s money. The Rotary Club got me started down a successful pathway in life.
Rotary has a decades-long positive reputation built on ethical activities that are strongly focussed on helping mankind on a local and international level. As Rotary accomplishes their good works, they do so by doing things the right way based on a just foundation.
While I have numerous reasons for admiring the Rotary Club, allow me to share just one more of those reasons. A significant moral and ethical code supporting Rotary Club decisions and the actions of its members is called the Rotary Four-Way Test. The Four-Way Test relates to things we think, say and do in all walks of life, including personal, business and government.
Rotary Clubs are composed of hard working citizens most of whom are blessed with significant leadership skills. Rotarians come from a variety of professions, businesses, educational institutions and governments.
My research shows that close to 50% or more of our Lakewood City Council are now or historically have been members of our local Rotary Clubs. Additionally, a significant number of city staff in positions of influence belong to Rotary.
That being said, it easily follows that the Rotary Four-Way Test is an ideal and non-controversial way to evaluate the city council’s recent decision on the RHSP.
Rotary Four-Way Test
FIRST – Is it the truth? PASS: Lakewood City Council earns a PASS on the first test.
I am not aware of any falsehoods related to Lakewood City Council’s decision making process. The two most important truths are 1) City Council is absolutely correct when they tell us there is a problem with inadequate and dangerous housing produced by a few slumlords in Lakewood. 2) City Council desperately wants to bring a solution to this problem so as to eradicate slum and unsafe housing.
SECOND – Is it fair for all concerned? FAIL: Lakewood City Council FAILS this test.
It is not fair to involve, punish and victimize innocent high quality landlords, innocent quality property managers, and innocent renters by taking their time and money as a part of Lakewood City Council’s effort to eradicate the actions of a few slumlords.
THIRD – Will it build goodwill and better relationships? FAIL: Lakewood City Council FAILS this test.
City Council can only expect to irritate and alienate the innocent members of our community who are not a part of the slumlord problem by their implementation of a program that marks the City of Lakewood as unfriendly to business.
FOURTH – Will it be beneficial to all concerned? FAIL: Lakewood City Council FAILS this test.
This plan will be detrimental to innocent landlords, innocent property managers, and innocent renters. The city plan may not benefit slum-condition tenants either once you factor in the unintended consequences when slum-tenants face rent increases and evictions thereby adding to our homeless population.
It is sad to note that our Lakewood City Council failed 3 of the 4 Rotary Four-Way Test ethical standards.
I recognize that an immense amount of courage is required for any politician to admit a mistake has been made and then to take action to reverse a wrong decision.
I challenge members of Lakewood City Council to revisit and reverse their decision regarding the Rental Housing Safety Program. Once the proper correction has been made, I urge Lakewood City Council to find a solution that passes the Rotary Four-Way Test.