Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson and the City Council want Amtrak high-speed trains permanently suspended from running through the heart of the city. To that end they have written a letter.
Speaking of trains, follow this train of thought.
Lakewood, the City, does not want and has long protested – rightly so – the entry of unwanted guests, aka high-speed rail.
Lakewood, the people, does not want and have long protested – rightly so – the entry of unwanted guests, aka government-contracted inspectors into heretofore private rental property.Photo by Christina Klas of the track through Tillicum before track upgrades
Just yesterday, January 12, former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna was interviewed by Dave Ross, KIRO 97.3 host, who asked Rob about a case in Virginia where police, thinking a suspect possessed a stolen motorcycle, entered a property without a warrant and looked under a cover to find the stolen bike.
“It was parked under an enclosure that the defendant argues was part of the home, and so should definitely be covered by the 4th Amendment’s protections against unlawful search and seizure.”
The State of Virginia is arguing, not surprisingly, said McKenna, that “it shouldn’t make much difference whether the motorcycle is parked in the driveway or down on the street. It’s mobile in either case, and the exigency circumstance, where we’re worried it’s going to disappear, applies in both cases.”
Questionable reasoning, given tarped-in-the-driveway it’s still on private – or was – property.
So, McKenna, what shall we say of Lakewood’s government-contracted inspector’s warrantless entry into the rental itself?
Ironically, “Smarter Government Washington” – McKenna’s website – ostensibly “seeks positive solutions for a leaner, more efficient, and less expensive state government.
“We all have a stake in this,” writes McKenna, “so SGW takes a collaborative approach, soliciting ideas and involvement from experts, state employees, and” (drum roll) “regular citizens to make government more effective.”
“More effective,” not more intrusive.
“We also follow what is happening in state governments around the nation,” continues McKenna, “to see what is working well, and what isn’t, and what lessons we can learn to make Washington’s state government work better for all of us.”
OK, then, how is the Rental Inspection Program working in Kansas? Wisconsin?
It isn’t. Their state legislatures (Kansas) and governors (Wisconsin) threw ‘em out.
Reason? Violation of the 4th Amendment.
Gary Turney says
“Lakewood, the City, does not want and has long protested…..” is a stretch. Certainly some people are against the rental inspection program, and a vocal few (yourself included) have spoken out against it. But absent some sort of referendum, we really don’t know what the majority of Lakewood residents, and thus “Lakewood, the City” wants as a whole. The best you can say is that through the City Council, who presumable represents their constituency, the City actually does want the program. That’s the basic premise behind representative government.
John Arbeeny says
You obviously did not attend any of the “outreach” meetings held by the City on the subject of RIP. The attendees, both landlords and tenants were overwhelmingly against these unwarranted inspections of private dwellings. The only difference between owner occupied and tenant occupied dwellings is who lives in them…………nothing else. RIP for owner occupied dwellings? Not that big of a stretch.
Gary Turney says
You are correct, I did not attend any of the City meetings. But I would offer that supporters (or those who don’t care) would be much less inclined to attend those meetings. My only point is that it is a stretch to say Lakewood, as a whole, is against the RIP.
I’ve also noted that most of the objections to the RIP are private landlords – individuals who own a few rental units. I have wondered where the big rental complexes stand on RIP. There are many large apartment complexes in Lakewood, most presumably owned by companies of some sort. I would think if the RIP is that onerous to landlords, they would be up in arms. But I’ve heard nor seen anything on their views. Maybe I missed that at a meeting too.
To address your last point, there is a difference between owner and tenant occupied dwellings when it comes to maintenance. The condition of an owner-occupied dwelling is entirely up to the owner. The condition of a tenant-occupied dwelling is up to both the owner and the tenant, with the owner having much more control over major problems, but the tenant has to live with them. I’m sure most landlords are pretty good about major repairs and such. But in extreme cases, who protects the tenant from “slum lords”.
John Arbeeny says
“The attendees, both landlords and tenants were overwhelmingly against these unwarranted inspections of private dwellings.” I did not make the claim that Lakewood “as a whole” was opposed to RIP, only those who attended the City meetings. Regarding large apartment complexes, I have found that they often do not want to make waves regarding such issues and keep quiet. Their refuge is in their ability to raise rents on people who have no where else to go. My point regarding owner occupied vs. tenant occupied properties is that if you make the case that 50% of the housing units in Lakewood are subject to inspection it is just a short jump to inspecting 100% of them. The city can do this already on a case by case basis to check code violations, proper permitting, abatement, etc. Indeed a case by case basis rather than wholesale dragnet for rental properties would be more appropriate. There are already numerous way as federal, state, county and city levels that tenants can voice their concerns and get redress to landlord misfeasance and malfeasance. In the mean time, a tenant in substandard housing could languish for 5 years before their dwelling wins the RIP lottery. That is not an effective way to deal with the problem.
Gary Turney says
John, the original article made the statement “Lakewood, the City, does not want and has long opposed……”, not you. That’s the “stretch” my original comment questioned, and what I was referencing when I said “Lakewood as a whole” in my response to you. Sorry I wasn’t clearer.
Joseph Boyle says
Ask yourself; Why does the city only plan to invade rental homes and not owner occupied homes? The reason is the city cannot yet figure out a way to duck around the Fourth Amendment rights of the owner occupied citizens.
Once the city figures out a work around, they will be busting homeowner doors down too. When that happens, “Safety Inspection Programs” will be everybody’s business.
Mr. Boyle, I’ve been reading portions of the many letters you, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Arbeeny have written regarding Lakewood’s Rental Safety Inspection Program. I’m neither a renter nor a landlord, so I don’t have a horse in this race as the saying goes. But I am a longtime Lakewood homeowner and generally take an interest in what’s happening in our city (where I see many more positives than negatives). I’ve been trying to get my head around the many objections, predictions, and hazards you’ve delineated. And I just can’t.
Follow me here. I rent a duplex which fits my lifestyle and budget. I’m happy with it. With the exception of a light switch, everything works–the dishwasher, the garage door opener, etc. There’s a knock on my door one day and the person identifies himself/herself as a city rental safety inspector, and asks if he/she can enter and inspect the building. I say okay, and at the conclusion of the inspection, the inspector confirms the non-working light switch and asks if I had informed the landlord, to which I answer no. The inspector said that it could be a safety hazard and should be repaired, and that the matter would be conveyed to the landlord. The landlord repairs the light switch at the end of the day, my duplex is potentially safer. So, where’s the harm here? Not a good ending?
This is a sheer guess on my part, but I’ll put forth that the majority of the inspections would be similar to the one described above. Yet after reading some of your letters, one comes away with the notion that terrible things could happen, even the potentiality of someone getting shot. Really? I know far less about human behavior than you (given your law enforcement training) but again, I can’t get my head around all the drastic effects of the program you’ve written about. And now you see the possibility of the program being extended to homeowners?
Gary Turney says
Marty – good comment. I think you pretty much described my thoughts. And this idea that it could be extended to owner-occupied homes comes across as hyperbole to me….
William Marsh says
I have a Idea for these inspections or the inspector’s! If this ever becomes a Law, god help us, then bake some happy cookies, and require all the inspector’s to eat them prior to entering your home. Bet Ya they only make it to one inspection! End of problem!!!
Larry King says
Re: High Speed Trains: Would the city withdraw it’s objection to high speed trains if Amtrak agreed to armor all crossings including for pedestrian traffic, or are there other safety issues? What do other countries do to protect the public from high speed trains? Also, what would be an acceptable speed thru the city?
David Wilson says
SSSSSSTREEEEEAAACH of opinion for your letter.
Time for commitment to an institution for you also Mr. Anderson. Your delusion of the mayors speech on trains and the FORMER Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna statement about Virginia fo all places, converted in your delusional mind to the City of Lakewood’s Rental Housing Safety Program convinced me of your sickness. May you be involuntary committed soon for your own Safety.
“RIP” means rest in peace because Lakewood has our backs to fight the slumlords of Lakewood.
Slumlords of Lakewood a true Gang, to include you and the FORMER slumlord JB and all of the slumlords who speak against the safety program who are against the renters and poor citizens.
David Wilson says
Lakewood recently learned it received two Healthy Communities Awards at the platinum level from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
The awards were for the improvements made at Springbrook Park and the city’s Rental Housing Safety Program, which is rolled out at the end of 2017 and will start in the near future.