Between Mr. David Anderson, The TNT and I, we have written over 100 articles on the City of Lakewood’s Rental Housing Safety Program, known as RIP.
On multiple occasions, we have communicated that this unnecessary and intrusive Socialistic program that punishes the innocent and judges them guilty until proven innocent because of the acts of a few, would eventually become a bureaucratic money grabbing nightmare.
According to page 84 of the Lakewood City Council agenda for November 20, 2017, it appears the nightmare is about to begin. (Note: Click on my link and scroll down to Page 84 to see for yourself Lakewood’s predictable money grab.)
Imagine this. When Lakewood was selling the program to any who might be within earshot, they projected a $50,000 expense for a computer program to help administer the RIP. As it turned out, there was a $200,000 cost overrun. Lakewood City Council grinned, like money was not object, and charged ahead with their pet project. That is 1/4 million dollars spent, and now we learn that the city has no way to track how many reinspections they may have accomplished. The exact words on page 84 read, “We do not have the capacity to determine the fee corresponding to the particular reinspections.”
After spending 1/4 million dollars for their pet RIP computer program, city staff indicates the city has no way to track how many reinspections occur on any particular property. $250,000 for an inadequate and ineffective computer program that still cannot handle the RIP. Am I missing something or does that not sound pathetically moronic? Lakewood should publicly identify the city staff member who spent 1/4 million dollars for property inspection software and failed to include a provision for inspections. Termination or early retirement should follow.
The 2017 fee structure was a variable system as follows: 1st inspection = No Charge, 1st Reinspection $90, 2nd Reinspection $125 and 3rd or subsequent reinspection $200.
To compensate for City Staff’s poor planning on the 1/4 million dollar computer program, they are recommending adjusting the 2017 variable fee structure in 2018 to a flat fee structure of $125 for every reinspection. Property owners and renters, the RHSP has not gotten underway, and already the fees are going to be raised, and Lakewood is getting ready to thrust their hand into your pockets.
$50,000 — $250,000 for a computer program. $90 — $125 for a reinspection fee. What does it matter? It does not matter to Lakewood City Council because it is not their money. It is someone else’s money. It appears City Council thinks If they are going to promote SAFETY, innocent victims are just going to have suffer.
What options might Lakewood consider?
If what Lakewood City Council tells us is true; that the RIP is not about making money and is not about empire building, but instead about SAFETY, then make the first inspection and the first reinspection free. That would be abundantly fair and would leave a good taste in the property owner’s mouth. Properties would improve regarding their safety profile. Renters would not have to suffer from unnecessary RHSP rent increases. So which is it; SAFETY or money grabbing and empire building?
How about an old-fashioned NCR (No Carbon Required) 8 1/2” X 11” Inspection / Reinspection Form that the inspector could maintain in a follow-up reinspection file? Would that not give Lakewood the capacity to track the reinspections? If the $100,000 inspector can’t handle that, fire the inspector.
Our Lakewood City Council is getting deeper and deeper into a morass of unethical and unfair bureaucratic action. It appears that the six City Council members promoting the RIP are so married to this bad idea they are blind to their ethical transgressions and they lack the courage to do what is right by turning the clock back so property owners can enjoy free enterprise and renters can enjoy their Fourth Amendment Rights.
What about a stack of 3 X 5 cards. The inspector could tract the reinspections that way. Yes, yes, I know, city staff has bragged it up that they want the RIP to be paperless. I say that when it comes to spending another 1/4 million for more software development to meet the paperless goal or raising fees on landlords, 3 X 5 cards start to sound like an intelligent way to handle the city’s lack of capacity.
Challenge solution. In the near future, I have a meeting scheduled with two kids, an eight-year-old and an 11-year-old. I am going to brief them on the RIP. Then we will brainstorm for their solutions related to the City of Lakewood’s “lack of capacity” problem. It will not surprise me if these two intelligent junior advisors are able to come up with better, more ethical, and cheaper solutions for Lakewood’s lack of capacity as related to the RIP reinspection fee plan.
Yes, I am thinking any kid with a chalkboard, tablet, a stack of 3 X 5 cards, and a box of dull crayons will be able to outthink the Lakewood City Council and Lakewood City Staff when it comes to solving the “we do not have the capacity to track reinspections” problem. If they do, you can be certain, I will report back to you.
By the way, how old do these kids have to be to run for Lakewood City Council?
David Anderson says
A software program to support the Rental Inspection Program, originally budgeted at $50,000 becomes $250,000 – for which “forgiveness” was sought by city staff, and that, together with approval, was given (Councilman John Simpson so-moved; Councilmember Marie Barth seconded. There was no discussion in the council consensus).
And now, a quarter-of-a-million dollars later we have “no capacity” to track who paid what?
“If an apology is followed by an excuse or a reason, it means they are going to commit same mistake again they just apologized for.”
? Amit Kalantri
“It is very arrogant to assume that we are the most intelligent species when we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Both rats and monkeys have been shown to learn from error, yet we have not.”
? Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
And now the evictions begin as small property owners who just don’t want the hassle, get rid of their one rental house. Notices have already gone out from a number of respectable apartment complexes that rents will be going up due to the RIP.
Just who are they protecting.
The never ending growth of city government and control over our lives.
Just admit the mistake city council and remove the program!
Thank you again for providing more evidence of the incompetence of the City of Lakewood. If they had to run a business like they are inforcing (RIP) to make a living, they would all be living under the Steilacoom Lake bridge. However, they know what’s best for renters. My opinion is they don’t want low income families living in the City of Lakewood. They start a program (RIP). Rents go up because of the program (RIP). Low income families either move voluntarily, or are evicted because of the program (RIP). No more low income families in Lakewood. I truely believe that is what the City of Lakewood’s goal is. That is how they can make the “City of Lakewood Beautiful”.
Greg Horn says
Joe, There is probably a minimum age requirement of 18 or 21 to serve on the city council, but sadly no minimum requirement on I.Q or good judgment.
Sean Graver says
I wonder if city of Lakewood staff forgot about their contradictory statement below because the RIP gives them direct authority into landlord tenant issues.
NOTE: The City of Lakewood has no direct authority in regard to dealing with tenant/landlord issues. The pamphlet below is intended to provide general information only.
For some reason I read the headline as “Lakewood City Council lacks mental capacity”.
David Wilson says