Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Bad Landlords Get Only A Little Better

Last September, the Greensboro Housing Coalition released a list of landlords who had racked up the most code violations at their properties. They were

Agapion family: 63
Shannon Enterprises: 51
Skip Alston: 15
Bediz family: 13
Abadallah Abu Hashem: 12
Paul Norman: 11
W. B. Wall heirs: 11
Maxine Jennings: 8
North Carolina Premier Properties: 6
Eugene Burkhart: 6
Total: 196

Now the GHC has released an updated list, dated February 7, 2007:

Agapion family: 58
Shannon Enterprises: 36
Bediz family: 9
W. B. Wall heirs: 9
Paul Norman: 8
Maxine Jennings: 8
North Carolina Premier Properties: 6
Eugene Burkhart: 6
Abadallah Abu Hashem: 4
Skip Alston: 0
Total: 144

What does it say about our code enforcement process that, 6 months after being cited, only about 25% of the violations have been addressed? (15 of those violations were "addressed" by demolishing Skip Alston's St. James apartments.)

Greensboro's RUCO ordinance is intended to clean up substandard properties, though it will not be fully implemented until this coming July. Let's hope it performs better when it's running on all cylinders.


Glenwood said...

You are so full of shit. Who do you think is responsible for this stuff? The same lazy dishonest city staff u r so quick to support. Pick a side and stay on it. By the way, Mitch did lie ...he lied a bunch..and carmany posted his lies as facts...and u applaud them....there was no new documents for willow oaks..mitch and butch are full of shit..and so r u...

Anonymous said...

Troublemaker, do you think that your language is going to get anyone other than angry teenagers to take your thoughts seriously? Being a Rebel without a Clue is no way to go through life, son.

The owners of these properties are indeed responsible for their upkeep. How could you possibly think otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Troublemaker does indeed "have a clue". In fact he has the facts! David has attacked him often, albeit with "professor" words.

I like David because I believe he is sincere, and I like his site, but I too wonder just where he stands and how he can defend officialdom on one hand and then condemn these sorts of things that officialdom is directly responsible for. All it would take is city council driving around and viewing these sites and then demanding in no uncertain terms that they be cleared up pronto or heads will roll and it would be done. But no, they are too busy trying to cover their buns for the disaster they have allowed Mitchell Johnson to lead the city into, and giving out big bucks to the multi-billion dollar corporations. Oh and I might add: covering up expenditures to downtown businesses, parks that belong to others and golf courses that costs the tax payers a $1.5 milion a year to maintain so the well off needn't pay reasonable greens fees. Brenda Bowers

David Wharton said...

Brenda, a couple of things:

First, you say I have attacked Ben "often." I don't recall ever attacking Ben on my blog, or his, or anyone else's, with "professor" words or any other kind.

I did once say on Ed Cone's blog that I thought one of his sources is a weasel and a coward (and I still think that's true). On my own blog, I think I've only praised Ben's work.

We did once have an exchange of angry e-mails after he insulted me, for which I quickly apologized after I cooled down. He didn't.

Second: I'm pretty sure that some, if not all, council members have been on at least one tour of bad housing such as you mention. The Greensboro Housing Coalition holds them on a regular basis. And I know for a fact that some council members get after staff to enforce the housing code more aggressively (thank you, Tom Phillips).

Unfortunately, property rights protection that are built into both city ordinances and state law give clever and unscrupulous landlords lots of loopholes to evade enforcement.

I have seen this legal cat-and-mouse between inspections staff and bad landlords played out many times, and it's infuriating.

But the cures often turn out to be as bad as the disease.

Heavier fines? You'll end up penalizing decent landlords who've been victimized by irresponsible tenants, and they'll come complaining to council. In fact they've formed an organization to do just that.

More aggressive enforcement of RUCO? The civil libertarians will cry foul -- and they have a constitutional point. You're for the Constitution, right?

Another option would be seizing property by eminent domain. But do you really want the city going around confiscating people's property?

However, I actually agree with Ben that both city staff and city council could do a better job on code enforcement. That's why I made this post.

But these problems didn't start with this city manager, or this council -- they go back decades. In fact, both the manager and the council are partly responsible for passing the RUCO ordinance, which has helped a little, and may help even more when it's fully implemented.

It would be nice if the solutions to Greensboro's bad housing were as simple as you suggest -- just remove Darth Mitchell and his Council of Evil Minions! -- but the facts say otherwise.

Maybe you should try checking a few of those before you comment.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, please. First of all, I have talked to Dr. Wharton many times..in person...and I assure you, he does not use a language that only scholars and intellectuals are capable of understanding.

You are defending a blogger who appears to be a now aging baby boomer (from the photo) and still chooses to use gutter-speak. I can't take people like that seriously---regardless of their lofty aspirations to be omniscient concerning the motivations of the local government employees.