I have written numerous articles regarding the City of Lakewood’s Rental Inspection Program (RIP). Every article stated, in some manner, that I was against initiating such a plan.
Today I come to you with hat in hand for I have to admit that I was wrong. My folly was my failure to see the big picture. I am on board with our Lakewood City Council’s City Safety Plan.
I finally realize our city council voted for the RIP because they are all about citizen safety. Our Lakewood City Council’s approach could make Lakewood the safest city in America. When you think it through, what our city is doing makes total sense.
The great thing about the RIP is that our Lakewood City Council now has a well thought out plan and series of policies in place that can easily be duplicated over and over again in their crusade for more city safety. Find a safety hazard and bingo, Lakewood City Council can create a new government expansion.
Here is how the City of Lakewood’s simple 10 step process works for their first project, the RIP.
Step 1: City Council selects a safety concern no one can dispute. In the city’s first program the concern is renter safety. Everyone agrees there are at least a few slumlords in our city who rent hazardous properties.
Step 2: City Council makes it a policy to ignore the fact that hazardous rental properties are the exception, not the rule.
Step 3: City Council makes it a policy to punish all rental property owners for the transgressions of a few property owners.
Step 4: City Council makes it a policy to violate Constitutional Rights or at least the spirit of Constitutional Rights in the name of safety and thereby makes renters and landlords second class citizens.
Step 5: City Council makes it a policy to ignore the fact that there are solutions already in place such as the renter’s freedom to move out, the Washington State Landlord Tenant Law, building and safety codes, police reports and fire department inspections.
The foundation for Lakewood City Council’s position is that renters are too fearful, ignorant and poor to solve their own problems without a socialistic style plan that spoon-feeds a minority number of renters on their pathway to safety.
Step 6: City Council makes it a policy to ignore the overwhelming public testimony against their safety plan.
Step 7: City Council makes it a policy to target a group of citizens who have no voice or ability to fight back.
Step 8: City Council forces the entire target group to participate in the safety program thereby robbing citizens of their money, time and freedom.
Step 9: City Council plans to charge everyone in the target group a fee, but they do not plan to inspect all the properties in a timely manner. That would be too hard. Collect all the money, but do not perform all the inspections.
In order to achieve the City of Lakewood’s stated goal for renter safety, in light of the fact that property conditions can change rapidly, inspections realistically need to be conducted twice a year.
Step 10: City Council can sit back and watch the city collect the cash flow once the program is in place even though properties that should be inspected are not inspected and properties that should not be inspected are inspected.
The City Council has implemented a genius plan especially if we think of it as the first building block towards making the City of Lakewood the safest city in America.
Based on the concept that Lakewood City Council is on a rock solid path towards making The City of Lakewood the safest city in America, what next?
There are so many ways a Lakewood citizen can get hurt. Our city council has only addressed one of the citizen safety hazards, slum property conditions.
The city needs to apply their 10 step safety policy formula to all the other safety concerns. Here are a few safety concerns for City Council to consider.
AUTO SAFETY: Most citizens maintain their vehicles properly, but there are a few who do not. A few drivers move around the city with bad brakes, bald tires, defective lights, defective exhaust systems and cracked windshields.
We have a police force that can help us by using all kinds of traffic laws to eradicate traffic safety violations, but the law enforcement approach does not create a steady cash flow for the city, so once again, city council will want to ignore a solution already in place.
Solution: Punish all drivers including those who take good care of their vehicles. Charge every Lakewood citizen $100 for every car they own. Charge trailer owners too. More safety and more money.
Violate Lakewood Citizens’ Constitutional Rights by using roadblocks for mandatory vehicle safety inspections. A fleet of tow trucks could be standing by to haul away vehicles for the slightest safety violation.
Another Constitutional Right violation the City of Lakewood could implement would be to force their City Auto Safety Inspectors into private citizen garages and carports for vehicle inspections.
In the interest of brevity, I am now going to simply list additional safety hazard categories the City of Lakewood can use to promote their crusade for safety along with a suggested starting city inspection fee.
I think you get the idea. You can overlay the City of Lakewood’s 10 step safety policy formula for each category and quickly see how our city can make Lakewood the safest city in America.
LADDER SAFETY INSPECTION: $5.00 per ladder.
BIKE SAFETY INSPECTION: $10.00. (Exception: Bikes with training wheels.)
BABY CRIB SAFETY INSPECTION: $5.00.
WINDOW CURTAIN CORD SAFETY INSPECTION: $5.00 per window.
PIPE BOMB INSPECTION: $300.00. While there are not many making bombs in their kitchens, the City of Lakewood operates under the concept, as clearly demonstrated in their RIP, that if there is any kitchen bomb making, the city needs to lump all kitchen owners together, including those who are not guilty of bomb making.
TRIP & FALL HAZARD SAFETY INSPECTION: $25.00.
WATER HAZARD SAFETY INSPECTION: $25.00.
CHILD CHOKING HAZARD SAFETY INSPECTION: $50.00.
TOE STUBBING YARD HAZARD SAFETY INSPECTION: $25.00.
METH LAB GARAGE SAFETY INSPECTION: $100.00. Because some citizens have meth labs in their garages, it only makes sense to apply the City of Lakewood’s 10 step safety plan and thereby force all garage owners, both owner occupants, and renters, into allowing the city to inspect their garage.
BANANA PEEL INSPECTION: $10.00.
Now that I am at long last able to enthusiastically give robust support to Lakewood City Council’s plan for city safety, I must join the hue and cry of those who have repeatedly asked Mr. David Anderson to stop writing what can only be thought of as a plethora of articles attacking our Lakewood City Council’s mighty fine Rental Inspection Program.
After all, how can anyone argue against safety? Make Lakewood Safe Again.
Conversely, if anyone does not agree with conducting safety inspections for all the above suggested categories, then maybe, just maybe, the City of Lakewood’s ten step plan is not the right solution for our renter safety problem either.
If Lakewood fails to use their socialistic safety plan to eradicate all hazards Lakewood citizens face, then rental property owners and renters are the victims of city discrimination.
If I am wrong about being wrong, we should ask our Lakewood City Council to scrap the Rental Inspection Program.