When I won the Great Cross Sound Race in 1990, a competitor’s double rowing shell was named ‘Paradocs’, appropriately enough given the pair were both doctors.
Lakewood’s Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP), paradoxically, plans to achieve after the fact – entailing a great deal of complexity in the process – what it could have done initially and simply.
“A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, leads to a logically unacceptable conclusion.”
In Lakewood’s case, architects for the RHSP soundly reasoned initially – albeit briefly – that educating the public concerning tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities was a doable, viable, and logical alternative to reaching instead what is to many an objectionable, volatile, and unacceptable conclusion.
According to the Lakewood City Council (LCC) Agenda Packet for December 12, 2016, the Community Economic Development (CED) staff “will create procedure manuals and a ‘how-to’ video for the public to navigate the new website” which manuals, video and website will be for the purpose of educating everyone on all matters related to the RHSP (p.4 of 83).
Additionally, in March of 2017, per the CED’s flow chart, “public outreach will entail newspapers, video, online materials, community meetings, and letters to property owners” (p.6 of 83).
So what will be done now could have in fact been done then, couldn’t it – this educational outreach program?
In May of last year “instituting a robust tenant/landlord outreach educational program,” (p.9 of 12) was an option presented to the council. But in the cost/benefit analysis, on a scale of 1 to 6 with 1 being low and 6 being high, the benefit of communicating to the residents of Lakewood their rights, responsibilities and privileges whether renters or landlords received but a paltry score of 2, and cost 4, with the result that the whole communication concept was considered on the low end of priorities.
Now communicating to the public, is a high – although far more costly, given all the complexities of which you can read in the latest update (pp.3-6) – priority.
At first the CED persuaded the LCC that communicating effectively with the community was not – then – in the interest of expediency.
But now it is.
Now, that is soon, rental inspectors – both city and private inspectors – will enter private property and owners and tenants alike will be educated.
The ‘or else’ is a worst-case scenario being played out Oshkosh, Wisconsin where “John Zarate, the City of Oshkosh’s Chief Building Official, stated in a presentation, conducted on Aug 3 at the Winnebago Housing Coalition meeting, that ‘special inspection warrants’ would be obtained at the discretion of the health and safety department if renters refused access to their home.
“Zarate said that if denied access into the rental location, the department would take actions that consist of hiring a locksmith to pick the lock or breaking down the door to gain entry into the renter’s home.”
Meanwhile here locally the information concerning the RHSP requested via formal Public Records Disclosure made on October 24, promised on December 2, has been postponed by the City until January 6 as they “need more time.”