I'm sorry, thats thursday the 13th.
Thanks for the prompt, stump. This will be an important meeting to attend, and as will be pointed out in my second point tomorrow, we have been lied to once again by our leaders. If you read the newspaper tonight, you may know why-- but the point is subtle.
You don't need to be a tenant or a landlord to feel strongly about this ordinance; this has ramifications across the board for everyone in the city, and must be fought, particularly in the way the city is proposing it.
Ask yourself: why doesn't the City of Ludington post the proposed Rental Inspection Program on their website, either now or back in June? It's not that complex an ordinance, but the only way you could actually see it is if you are a landlord and were sent a copy of it, or have been able to see the Mason County Press copy of the original which he scanned from a landlord's copy given to him.
Back in June, nobody except for landlords were given a look at the ordinance, the city mailed the proposal to many if not all established landlords, inviting them to an advisory committee meeting where they could vent their problems. I'm thinking the idea behind this was to make people come forth with their points, before it would be put on record at a regular meeting, where such words would hold a lot more weight. Most citizens, unfortunately, won't air their concerns more than once, thinking it redundant.
Since then, they have conveniently kept the R.I.P. under wraps; apparently they E-mailed many of the landlords of this city with the latest proposal, but haven't really changed the nature of the ordinance, only the price-- at least that's according to the propaganda wing of the COLDNews. I'm not a landlord, so I don't get updates from the city on ordinances that will greatly affect mine and my fellow Ludingtonian's freedoms.
Unlike large cities, Ludington does not have a problem with deteriorating housing stock aside from the random blight that occurs anywhere in the U.S. That blight can be taken care of without the necessity of a housing rental program. If the City thinks there is a problem they can always institute a complaint program where tenants can call the City if the landlord is not maintaining the property or if they feel an unsafe condition exists. Having a City wide, mandatory inspection program is not the way to go. This will be another grab at eliminating the privacy tenants except in the homes they rent. I know of Cities that have issued search warrants because tenants refused to allow inspectors into their dwellings. The right to privacy is a Constitutionally protected right and again we are seeing how this Council has no qualms about violating citizen's rights. The fourth Ammendment of the Constitution reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
If landlords and tenants could ally together, and part of why tenants are trying to be herded out of the discussion is because the city leaders fear such an alliance, they could quash this program if it ever does pass.
Courts recognize the Fourth Amendment rights of tenants, even for rental inspections. A warrant must issue if they assert their God-given right to be secure in their homes, not even the landlord can let them in if they refuse.
Can you imagine the added costs and efforts that would ensue if our inspector had to go to the courthouse for the thousand plus occupied units in the city and obtain an administrative warrant, when our ordinance doesn't even have such corrective measures written into it?
If the city unwisely believes this is not a tax and doesn't put it on the ballot, but votes for it themselves, and it is implemented, this should be the Plan B of our community in fighting back. Plan A would be to get the courts involved, which could take awhile, and to get landlords and tenants that are familiar with the rights of people and the limits of the powers of their government ready to run for office in 2016 in order to get the city leadership back on the right track.
Most of the people with something in this town have had to play the game to continue their livelihood. They generally won't speak out publicly because it may jeopardize their existence in the future. Eventually, with X leading the fight by breaking down the walls, this will bring them out of hiding.
It is written it is for protection, health ,safety and welfare of the tenants. Hell, the tenants are the ones who make their home a pig sty hell hole that they complain about. The city thinks the landlords should go over and do their dishes, clean the toilets, vacuum the carpets and take out the trash.
A few years back in a large Michigan city an apartment complex which consisted of 2 campuses with a around 1000 units was forced to allow inspectors into units where the tenants did not want inspections. By the way, this apartment complex is one of the best managed in the State. The owners of the complex would not allow inspectors into any unit where the tenants refused to allow the inspection. So what did this city do. They obtained a blanket search warrant and forcibly performed the inspection. A licensed locksmith accompanied the inspector and did his magic. He "picked" the locks of the units to allow access for the inspection. All without the tenants approval. This City legally performed an act that would have sent a real burglar to jail. This is America folks where this should not be happening.
I heard today that there is a class action law suit in the works if the city of ludington passes this ordinance. Don't know the details, maybe 4th amendment rights? Either way, it's a one way street down hill and picking up speed. I also heard it might be in favor of the landlords to get rid of tenants that are destroying their property, just call for a inspection, it won't pass if it is trashed, then evict them as the property in the city code say's it's not up to the city health and safety code. Still would have to pay another $50 bucks but they would be gone.
It's current form, even with any more landlord/tenant-friendly tweaks that the committee may come up with that they discussed at this meeting, (which wasn't much-- maybe they will allow some landlords a waiver if they have strict enough insurance inspections) it will still be a lawsuit-inspiring menace to the public.
Many tenants that understand the ramifications of this need to come to the next two city council meetings and let them know how much this will hurt them. Jackie Steiger, made some great points at the first committee meeting. She was a woman whose relatives had stayed at my Dowland residence, back when it was six apartments.
She stopped me while I was biking about a couple days before that meeting, asked if we were taking tenants. Her plight was that she was being uprooted by her landlord by him converting the property to non-rental use, much like we had done at our apartments back around 2007. City officials and policies were a good part of that decision.
She expressed that she had been checking around and not finding anything in the city that she wanted to live in, and a fear that many places would quit renting and those that would be would offer nothing affordable if the rental inspection she had heard about were passed. I suggested she go to the meeting and express her concerns.
A plausible conspiracy theory: Rental Inspection Programs are designed to get more people out of landlord-tenant relationships and broaden the base for public housing where the poor, unskilled folk can be herded together and better controlled by the government. Not surprising that these efforts are coming after LIAA helped us with our city's Master Plan with Agenda 21 concepts all over the place. If the city knocks out enough rental properties, they can petition MSHDA and HUD for more Pineway Townhouses, and plan a better city with all the rental properties they can snatch up for pennies on the dollar.
Plan a better city? Maybe that's why big-time Agenda 21 proponent and City of Ludington Planning Commissioner Joe Moloney was there and arguing for the program without making his title and relationship with the city known. He's chomping at the bit to be in control of more private property.