A beer can was spotted by administrators at a high school football game.
Before the season-opening kickoff, 75 students – row by row – were consequently pulled from the section of bleachers near where a school official saw the can and all were sequestered in classrooms, creating what some parents described as a chaotic scene.
All were required to provide blood and urine samples.
Failure to comply would result in suspension from school.
The comparisons between what happened that September 1, 2017 evening under the lights at New Jersey’s Randolph Township High School, and what is happening as the spotlight of public scrutiny reveals the similar tyranny of Rental Inspection Programs (RIP) sweeping SWAT-like across cities throughout America – our own Lakewood, Washington an example – are, as we approach Halloween, scary.
In passing Ordinance No. 644 the night of August 1, 2016, the Lakewood City Council admitted the five programs currently in place by which to deal with property issues in their domain were insufficient, ineffective, and undermanned. Their solution was to mandate everyone who owned or occupied a rental, irrespective of probable cause, to be inspected for possible code violations.
All rentals will be sampled.
Those failing to comply will be sanctioned.
As Sam Rolley writes in Personal Liberty of the beer can debacle, a local school board candidate said that any sensible observer ought to have been able to see the problem with forcing such a large number of students to take the tests.
“Let me be very clear,” he said. “Teenage drinking is a serious problem, and it did in fact occur at our school on Friday night. Our process of preventing backpacks, bottles and cans from entering the stadium broke down. In addition, some number of students arrived intoxicated. We owe it to the community to identify such students, and to protect them and the community. But, we also need to do it in a way that protects the rights and dignity of the student body. When the accused-but-innocent outnumber the guilty 16 to one, we probably did it wrong.”
That admission you will never hear from the current Lakewood City Council with regards its imposition of the Rental Inspection Program.
Are slum-like conditions a serious problem? Yes. Is there evidence those problems exist? Yes. Has the process of preventing it broken down? Yes. The city has five programs and still cannot make headway. Does the city council owe it to the community to identify those needing attention? Yes.
But does the Rental Inspection Program protect the rights and dignity of all who own or occupy rental property? No.
“When the accused-but-innocent outnumber the guilty, we probably did it wrong”, said no Lakewood City Councilmember ever.
Personal liberties – the rights of Americans to exclude unwanted visitors from their home, whether they own or rent, especially government- and government-approved inspectors – are no longer honored; citizens no longer immune, when Rental Inspection Programs are imposed at the city’s will; instituted at the city’s whim; and all, with few exceptions, are snatched up in the city’s web.
How did this happen? Whence cometh this thief in the night? The ghoul at the door, why did we not recognize him for who he was, let alone let him in?
Disguise. Too late we discover something wicked this way comes when it appears at our doorstep dressed as innocuous, as harmless, as a clipboard carrying, official looking, perhaps even smiling, safety inspector.
That’s what Personal Liberty observed. Of the relinquishing of our freedoms, the eroding of our rights, of these wrote Rolley: “Americans are conditioned to embrace every day in the name of ‘safety’.
The Rental Inspection Program: ‘it’s about safety.’ That’s what Lakewood said.
If the city would have set it up only to inspect buildings suspected of being under maintained or having a single complaint the program might work.
Punishing ALL property owners is just plain wrong.
Joseph Boyle says
Thanks for your continued written-fight for citizen freedom.
I wonder if and when the inadvertent abusers or the abusees will ever wake up and understand that what is being done by implementing the RIP is WRONG.
It may take the advent of some unintended consequences (Injury, death, shootout, building fire, the death of a child or jumbo lawsuit against the City of Lakewood) to motivate people to once again utter those pathetic words, “This is terrible. We must do something to make sure this never happens again.”
It may well be at that time some government representative says, “We must disband the RIP.”
Jason Medley says
I have followed these Lakewood articles for a while now, and I believe you are spot on. I too am a rental property owner and am always concerned about the local governments’ ability to adopt, and enforce these type of codes on property owners. I would suggest to you to sue the city of Lakewood in federal court. The last thing the local governments want is a lawsuit of this nature. Unfortunately, my experience has been that these local governments can, and will impose such codes; the problem is that nobody challenges them in court. It may be at least worth sitting down with an attorney. Good luck and keep fighting.
David Wilson says
????? WASTE OF TIME.