Lorain, Oh- Broken Homes – Broken People- Just Plain Broke- Part Two

May 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm 32 comments

PART ONE: http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/lorain-oh-broken-homes-and-broken-people-just-plain-broke/

How did I get to this place of “shrug” ( apart from my personal situation) the “immunity” to the ADCD disease (Abandoned- Blighted -Criminal Tenants-Deteriorating properties ) had already set in.

In May of 2005 a young girl was attacked going to school- Lorain City Schools were blamed – the Lorain Police Dept were blamed by the community – but it was the community that was to blame. The school system can only protect the child whilst on their property- the police dept can really for the most part react after the crime has been committed. The problem was the neighborhood the girl had to walk through and the abandoned house ( 7 years ago) that enabled the crime.

I was angry, so Reverend Donahue- Christian Temple Disciples of Christ and Charleston Village Society put together a consortium of safety to decide what we could do . Forty people answered the call- LPD- including the Chief of Police, Sheriff’s Dept, Lorain City Schools- the superintendent , 5 of Lorain’s city council people, non-profit social service agencies, day care center representatives , business organizations , religious community representatives, members of the community and the Safety Service Director Craig Miller as well as Chief Building Superintendent Bill Desvari and a representative of the Lake Erie Landlords Association.

The Fire on 22nd street – July 2007-  the cause the building code crack down on 5 landlords ???READ ON – TELL ME YOU BE THE JUDGE……….

After three exploratory and fact-finding meetings, a goal was decided upon.
To make the concept work there had to be a total commitment to the concept- a pilot program for the taking back of a neighborhood –
It was a 5 pronged approach and needed 100 percent buy in and co-operation by the five

One – Lorain City Schools

Two- Lorain Police Dept -

Three- the Religious Community –

Four-  Social service agencies-

Five-  the Administration and Building Dept of the City of Lorain.

If one failed the concept failed. We had assurances from all involved to do their part.

A school would be at the center of the project- Lorain police Dept would have an office at the school where the neighborhood residents could get to know their officers and feel comfortable in having a dialogue as to the issues they faced.
The religious community/ community advocates and social service agencies working together to inform the residents in the target area of “help available” and finally the city administration / building dept would see to it a clean up of abandoned homes, deteriorating rentals were targeted. The concept consisted of a target area of 2 block area radiating out from the center – the school
.
The pilot program was picked in an area around Lincoln School- and a group or residents and representatives formed the South Lorain Coalition under the chairmanship of Father Thaden , they took ownership of the project. The community galvanized and progress was made .
BUT- Two things happened ,the most disastrous to the pilot program was
in 2007 Lorain City School’s under new administration took back Lincoln School- as it was now needed-  with little warning to the community. It was just too soon for the fledging organization to absorb.

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2007/08/14/lorain-schools-taking-back-lincoln/

Lincoln Community Center Director Leon Mason said he found out about the board’s intentions to terminate the lease on Friday and called the move a shock. Violent crime has drastically decreased since the center opened, and Mason said he’s worried that the board did not give him enough time to find a new location…………….The center was created by several community organizations, including the Lorain Police Department, as a way to stop violence in South Lorain, which erupted with several murders in 2005, including the shooting death of 15-year-old Samarrie Soler


BUT even before that body blow to the pilot program- the City Administration under Foltin  talked a good game to our faces , smiled and nodded shook hands but not ONE DAMNED THING WAS DONE TO ALLEVIATE THE CONDITIONS OF THE HOMES! Without the buy in and follow through commitment of all participants the pilot program was doomed to fail and it did- and with it the failure of the concept spreading the concept to other areas.

RIP- Quality of Life- Lorain- Ohio

After many years of dealing with the “head nodders  – crossed fingers behind their backs type “ the lack of follow through the ” just a storm in a teacup thinking- it will blow over just smile and nod yes” you build up an immunity. I am not alone………..

During the research for this post I came across
http://curbsidequotidian.com/non-fiction/dispatches-from-home/
Dispatches from Home by Nick Kowalczyk -lives in upstate New York by way of Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa. He teaches creative nonfiction and feature writing at Ithaca College.


Photo Source – The Ithacan

I had a childhood marred by bullying, but I gained confidence when I became a journalist because it made me feel like an advocate for truth, justice, and good government. In college it’s all I thought about, and I worked hard enough to be named one of the top ten journalism students in the country, by the Scripps Howard Foundation, in 2001. And my career began in Lorain………

………..Hired by The Morning Journal’s competitor, The (Elyria, Ohio) Chronicle-Telegram, I received, as a lowly summer intern, the Lorain city beat. I covered the city council, read the daily police blotters, watched the municipal court hearings for DUIs and prostitution and domestic violence arrests, and regularly talked with the mayor. It was a depressing, disillusioning job for a hometown kid. Every day I discovered a new reason to move away. Every day it seemed evident that Lorain would fall apart. Sometimes as I drove back to the newsroom I even imagined the earth opening and Lorain falling into the crack, absorbed by flames and hell. (Melodramatic, I know…). But even more melodramatic—and self-fulfilling—was my fear that somehow Lorain, like a vortex, would absorb me back.
…………What is a homecoming if not an opportunity to reenact the past? I can’t remember the dates exactly, but a few years after I moved away I came home and realized most of my family’s old haunts no longer existed. These places included my high school, my old grade school, my parents’ grade school, the YMCA, our favorite downtown donut shop, the restaurant where we ate breakfast every Sunday, my father’s favorite hardware store, the hospital where my mother worked, and the church where my grandparents and parents were married. To look at these places now brings an echoing feeling of emptiness in my chest, along with sentimental indignance. Coming back to Lorain is like wandering around a forest of dead trees in winter.

Photo Source
How sad this talented young man does not have “pride” in his hometown. But why should he write about the GOOD and GREAT things in Lorain? There are great and good things but like a disease unchecked – slowly spreads and destroys the good - The disease – the deteriorating infrastructure/ houses/ those that prostitute her for their own needs have set her on a decline and we are mainly “bandaiding”.

June 26th 2005 The Chronicle Telegram ran an article – BROKEN HOMES-  by Dan Harkins and Shawn Foucher  that article touched a nerve then and still does- because very little has changed but the numbers in those 7 years. Unfortunately the article is not on-line but you can access the Word Document here -BROKEN HOMES
brokehomes

It’s not hard to find examples of crimes linked to abandoned or all-but-abandoned homes in Lorain. The crimes are an extreme example of the kind of “negative effect on the neighborhood stability and economic vitality of the city” that state auditors warned Lorain of a year ago.
“By not administering its code enforcement, property maintenance and building programs, it is difficult for the city to preserve its housing stock,” auditors wrote in their report.

As I said not a lot has happened since that report from the state auditors in 2004 – except the numbers change

BY THE NUMBERS
The number of vacant homes in Lorain has gone up 70 percent over the last 30 years.
1970: 1,044 homes
1980: 1,579 homes
1990: 1,252 homes
2000: 1,745 homes

** approximately 2,000 in 2005 however from the 2010 census report

3615 – vacant
1642 vacant for rent
57 rented but not occupied
557 for sale
159 sold but not occupied
83 for occasional use/ temp housing
1,110 – all other vacant – abandoned


The solution in my humble opinion- SOMEONE HAS TO TAKE CHARGE AND BE THE BOSS-
– no waffling about only a few months in office- we have had that pronouncement with every new administration- not acceptable -the Building Dept and the codes have been there through all administrations- a Mayor / Administration (new or not) doesn’t tell the Fire Chief/ Police Chief etc. how to do his job when they take over – all our new mayor has to do is tell the Building Dept- ENFORCE THE CODES IT WOULD BE MUSIC TO OUR EARS!!!!

The other part of the solution is stop the baby slap punishment being handed out by Lorain Municipal Court and the prosecutors for property maintenance . The 5 Landlords mentioned in part one only one received any “punishment” a $250.00 fine( fine of $1,000- $750.00 suspended) as well as the 30 day jail sentence (suspended) and court coss. The rest had their cases dismissed ( even though the plea was no contest for most) . THE LAW IS NOT TOOTHLESS-  Time to bring the gavel down hard!!!!

Common sense, if nothing else, tells you – that garbage housing/ garbage neighborhoods brings more garbage and vermin – four-legged and two-legged kind. The reason we in Lorain, have an influx and saturated solution of Registered Sex offenders, career criminals and those on parole is because ” they can easily assimilate into our neighborhoods” and the social service agencies are here for THEIR CLIENTS – for which they get a lot of money for their paid “Directors and staff”-

As long as Lorain is perceived as being a haven for the criminal element- sub- standard housing and whilst rental and social service agencies are the main business attractions no little clean up or tattoo artwork on Broadway will help stop the rot ( bandaids at best). The core issues have to be addressed and soon and it can start with code enforcement and a tough stance.
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/a-very-civilized-affair-well-that-is-meeting/

I would draw your attention to what Lakewood (just 20 miles down the road) considers a “troublesome home” ( Channel 5 news April 30th
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/money/consumer/troubleshooter/lakewood-to-buy-and-convert-three-troublesome-homes-to-improve-neighborhoods-and-safety

http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/a-very-civilized-affair-well-that-is-meeting/

Time for our local government and elected officials to stop paying lip service and cuddling up “to the money in the campaign pot supporters” ( as did Landlord Foltin
apparently) or in another 7 years someone else will write of the Lorain that was and is now and the numbers will tell the tale-those that left-those that died- those that cry – the names will change but the story will stay the same ……..

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Lorain, OH- Broken Homes- and Broken People-just plain broke May 3rd- Drowning – Chris Ritchey

32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ladalang  |  May 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Just loved this piece. The history the accuracy. Thank you!

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    You are welcome – but………. well that is why the burn out and all those people back in 2005 that jumped aboard the “we can do this train” only to find out it was the train to nowhere once again……… suffered and are suffering burn out……and that is what is counted on I am beginning to realize in my old age………

  • 3. Don Killinger  |  May 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Great second article and oh so true on all counts. But where do we go from here????? Is there really hope for this city when less than 50 % of the homes are owner occupied and as you pointed out there are 1000’s of homes vacant. Even the block watch program lacks support and coordination. Can the city find a way to pass the proposed housing ordinance and can they actually enforce it if they do? Is there will to do it in the Administration and the courts?? Complex problems are here and it will take a concerted effort by all in our community to turn this situation around and make our city respectable and prosperous. Burn out is an issue for sure!!!

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    The problem, as pointed out to me on the phone a couple of days ago, is that there are not enough of US left- US being the average Joe who just wants to have a quiet life , a comfortable home and good schools-

    unfortunately there are more of “THEM” those that have agendas , are in the business of sub standard rentals – THEM who represent the special interest groups and are very vocal who “support politicians and the “elected judges” for that matter financially for their election bids …. I am not saying everyone is a crook by anymeans but you are less likely to listen to Joe Blow who is on the “fringe” as to those you know and whose agendas you are in sympathy with .

    The problem is it is Joe that keeps the cog in the wheels turning- his well kept home supports property taxes at a greater amount – his earnings are taxed federally state and locally….. he is a consumer he adds to the economic engine that drives the city but he is slowly dying out in this town or leaving…… and why…….becuase he is being forced away paying more and more for less and less quality of life……… look at the statement made by Nick in the post

    “It was a depressing, disillusioning job for a hometown kid. Every day I discovered a new reason to move away. Every day it seemed evident that Lorain would fall apart”

    Can you blame him…….. also as far as Block Watch again there are more of “them” the criminal element and transient rentals on a block than there are of the homeowners or LONG TERM RENTERS – and in the areas the NEED the program they are basically getting up in age those that have remained – isolated. 12 year olds with a gun in your face….

    Sorry to not be able to give better news but unless the enviroment we live in becomes a healthy one this cess pit of “self agendas” will continue to blight life and neighborhoods and life as we would like to live will be lost……. Time for those in power to clean it up!!!!

  • 5. aka mozart  |  May 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    You put a lot of time into that Loraine. Very well said..as we have been saying it over and over and over…and still holding hope but aginst hope. :~(

  • 6. Dennis Lamont  |  May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I post, post and repost:

    http://www.kenosha.org/departments/development/index.html

    “We” have been watching this place grow for the last 10 years, and in fact had them down here (at the Palace) to explain how they did it. 17,000 jobs lost, 1/5 the waterfront, great new downtown, nice neighborhoods. Industrial parks with great companies, Of course “everyone” knows that it can’t happen here …..anyone figured out why ideas die at the border yet ???????

  • 7. Brian  |  May 2, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Loraine,
    As much as I appreciate your witings, I feel that this does not accurately reflect the true nature of the problem nor the approperiate solution to address a much larger issue. The simple “answer” to “solve the problem” by throwing the book at people just doesn’t work. Look at what the penile institution has done over the last twenty years and there are solid facts to support that this doesn’t work.

    Creating a housing “gestapo” within the building department and a bunch of judges that “throw the book at them” only works until an old lady on social security is put in jail because her house needs painted. THEN WHAT?

    Once the law is bent for the lil ol lady, then it becomes the standard for the courts as far as punishment.

    Society has become to reactionary. Laws and punishments are created by the politicos to make it appear that they are listening to their constituants. The building departments job is to interpret building codes, not housing codes, and they are not the same. This is like asking a fireman to be a traffic cop.

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Ok Brian then who in Lorain does the job of enforcing the ordinances for housing?

    Do we have a housing – property maintenance dept NO-

    and it seems the Building Dept for as long as I have been here has been the one to inspect the homes…..
    Here we go from the City of Lorain’s website

    The Department was established tos administer and enforce the provisions of the Lorain Building, Housing and Zoning Codes plus the National Electric Code and State Building, Plumbing and Elevator Codes.
    The Department’s two primary functions:
    •Plan Examination and
    •Code Enforcement

    The Department registers building contractors, issues permits, maintains records, inspects all new construction and major rehabilitations engages in systematic code enforcement programs for existing properties and provides nuisance abatement to properties and buildings in disrepair

    It was the “building dept” who were called years ago by the tenant next door and came in to see her crumbling walls and cited the landlord- ( of course nothing came of that the tenant left ) and now I have a house next door that is crumbling in upon itself……

    of course there is that other little bug a boo the guy had added another bedroom changed some things ( over the weekends) finally got a permit after I called “building dept” but apparently I was told there would be “no inspection”unless the landlord asked for it……….

    Well why do have ordinances and a building dept- let us do away with it because if all they are there for according to you is to interpret “building” codes

    heck the “new construction in Lorain ” can’t take up that much of their time can it……
    and we can save some money……

    The ordinances are there – the rules are there – so they need to be followed – because not following them Brian is what has gotten us to the place we are.this is what I see- this is what I live with- and I can’t agree with you on this one……..

    somebody in government in Lorain HAS to get their finger out- grow a pair- and do something….. because the way fo the past is NOT working………..show me something that does other than by making a start with ENFORCEMENT OF WHAT IS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS- and I don’t care if the fireman sdo it- the police do – if the health dept do it.but someone has to make this start because Brian Lorain is hemorraging and needs Triage first and foremost because we can save the patient…..

  • 9. Brian  |  May 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Loraine,
    I understand your fustration, but in your own words, what we have now isn’t working. My belief is that Lorain needs a housing department staffed by lower cost residential inspectors to inspect and maintain one, two, and three family structures. The department should also have a couple of folks reassigned from community development to issue loans to homeowners to make repairs and apply for grants for our residents. I also believe that the city should get out of the general contracting business. The health department already regulates the commercial properties which is four units and up and have generally been pretty good with dealing with nuisance properties.

    Code enforcement alone does not build neighborhoods when the city is as guilty as any other property owner in not taking care of what is theirs. Just look at the alleys that are overgrown and full of trash and used tires. Look at the tree lawns with trees that are in such bad shape that they would look better cut down. Why are the tree stumps never taken out when the trees are removed? Then look at the roads and the cars that litter the streets. It is like a third world county without even considering what the housing looks like.

    The “system” that the city uses today is complaint based and there is more than enough folks in the city complaining to keep a dozen inspectors writing papers that the courts don’t have the time or staff to prosecute. There has to be a different way to deal with the problem………………………………….

  • 10. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I agree and they need to do something long term along those lines. However I got an email from a person in another county using the NSP monies for demolition of the abandoned and dilapidated housing last night

    Basically they stated that by working only 2 days a week on the situation they have in their community ( similar to Lorain) taken down 85 homes in less than a year – the difference being Lorain is “purchasing” the homes where as they are condeming the properties- going through the paperwork/ appeals etc by utilizing their “Building Dept”- Health Dept” and “Fire Dept” the property owner then has a certain period to demolish if not then that city comes in and demolishes the property and puts a lien against the property for the cost of demolision..

    so why does Lorain purchase the homes…….I checked back and although the source was unofficial it seems the “health dept” who is apparently part of the condeminng process ( Don???) was taking up to a year to make the decisions…. the process was getting bogged down…..apparently……

    At one point in one of the “many ” let us try this one of our groups worked with the Police Dept who are on the roads and alleys all over this town every night and every day to call in properties that needed attention to the Building Dept…. they tried but again “lip service…… ” by the Foltin administration at the time.

    And Brian these dillapidated properties put lives in danger, from the vagrants that live in them using them as safe houses ( remember the Doane Building fire???) and how about the fire dept personel who have to go into these homes when they are torched or catch fire.how much does that cost not only in money but to the safety of those men….. it is a ridiculous state of affairs……..
    Do I think these posts will have any impact on what is happening NO but my frustration level of the deteriorating quality of life in Lorain deserved at least an eulogy……..

  • 11. Henery Hawk  |  May 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Great piece, Loraine. I wish that Lorain had the problem that Lakewood has. At least the property in the photo looked nice. NONE of the problem properties in Lorain looks like that. Broken windows, collapsing porches, plywood over doorways, the list goes on.

    Lorain needs to take a GOOD look at the landlords that own more than the 5 on that list COMBINED. They need to do what Judge Ray Pianka is doing in Cleveland (http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=308). He has stopped these landlords from buying any more properties until all of the ones owned are in compliance. ALL of them.

    As far as the Block Watch goes, there was a Captain’s meeting March 13, and all of us submitted our email addresses. Almost two months later, and we still haven’t heard a word. I received an email stating that the addresses of the properties in my Watch area that would receive signs was submitted January 18. It’s coming up on 4 months now and there are still no signs.

    I could go on, but it would be pointless. There are folks that care like you and I, Loraine, and those that post here. And there are those “that care” because saying so makes them look better. You’ve named a few of them in Parts I & II.

    People need cited, even if it’s Grandma. If Grandma has a problem, the City has programs. If Joe Slumlord gets cited, he can do the same or get out of the business. But until people are held accountable and not slapped on the wrist anymore, this problem is here to stay.

  • 12. Mark Teleha  |  May 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I don’t know why my name keeps getting changed to Henery, even when it’s written in as Mark

  • 13. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    you will always be Henery to me :) and I agree we start somewhere and soon or the good areas will find they are more isolated than ever………… surrounded .but the ABCD disease …. and shrinking……..

  • 14. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 2, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    HIGH GRASS

    Any resident can call directly to the Bldg Dept. line designated for this purpose at 204-2283 or you can email highgrass@cityoflorain.org.

    This will get the address on the list and generate a letter to provide the proper notification period.

  • 15. aka mozart  |  May 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    just to take off track for one minute…but speaking of housing…a robin has decided to set up her home right on a ledge on the porch…she dive bombs me when i exit or return…if i move her lovely well constructed home…will she abandon her nest…or am in i in for a real attack….i see the kitty next door…licken her chops…waiting for an easy dinner soon. Yikes…sorry for the interuption…i am sorda on the subject…my bad!

  • 16. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    hopely the Robin isn’t Chris Robin….. ;)

  • 17. Brian  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Mark,
    I am going to address your comment about citing people. The stuff that has been going on in Clevelasnd has taken years to “build”. Policies were created, programs were built from the ground up, legislation was debated, created, and passed, and FUNDING is allocated to get the job done. None of this really exists in Lorain. The city adopted a property maintenance code that it doesn’t need because there already is one that the State of Ohio uses and buys stamps and paper to print the citations.

    A housing court would be a thing that could streamline some of the processes, but the fines and court costs that are levied no where near cover the cost. Let’s break it down.
    1. Inspector goes out and evaluates property. 30 minutes
    2. Inspector goes to city hall and looks up who owns the property and writes citation. 30 minutes
    3. Inspector gets call from the person who was cited explaining what is going on. 30 minutes
    4. Inspector has to go out and verify that the citation has been corrected, which it probably hasn’t so back to the office and start the paperwork to start court action. 45 minutes.
    5. Clerck of courts gets paperwork and starts the court proceedings and delivers citation to police officer to serve summons. 30 minutes
    6. Officer delivers summons while performing other daily duties. 15 minutes
    So far three man hours into just getting the summons issued.

    7. Person appears in court and says they are working on it and are given time to repair dwelling. 10 minutes for the prosecutor and ten minutes for the judge.
    8. Person goes back to court, this time the inspector who issued the citation has to be there to explain to the judge what progress has been made. The building inspectors day is shot because they have to wait around to go before the judge. 15 minutes for the judge and at least 45 minutes shot for the building inspector. The property owner is given another extension.

    Case still isn’t over and we have close to 4 and a half hours at a minimum tied up and no resolution, spent gas and vehicle wear and tear inspecting the property.

    9. Building inspector has to go out shortly before the next scheduled court date and reevaluate the property. 45 minutes
    10. Back to court and in front of the judge again. 15 minutes judge, 15 minutes prosecutor, 45 minutes building inspector.

    Now, close to 6 man hours are tied up in this case along with the other related costs and great news, the conditions have been abated. The judge fines the person three hundred dollars and court costs so maybe $450.00 is levied. The person is set up on payments and the courts get all of the money. None of the money goes back into the building department to pay for gas, or the police officers time, so, who ended up paying to take the person to court? The taxpayer.

  • 18. Don Killinger  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Under Tony’s Admin. numerous properties where brought before the Board under NSP I & 2. The Board on many occasions (and I mean many) declared these homes a public health nuisance and then were turned them over to the Prosecutor for condemnation. In some cases property owners were given an additional 30 day if these could demonstrate tangible evidence they were indeed improving the structure, property. But now supposedly the federal NSP monies have dried up and any additional monies given are given to the County Comm. Development. We did not sit on properties for no reason they were acted upon promptly- I would say at lease 100 were brought before the Board in the last 2 years.

  • 19. Brian  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Lorain,
    I remember the Doane building fire. My offices at the time were in the building located directy next to it and I had to let the fire department in the ajoining property so they could make sure everyone was out of it.

    That being said, you are absolutely right about believeing that you are getting lip service. You complain, and blah blah blah.

    You follow up and what are you told? Blah, blah, blah.

    The city does not have the systems, policies, legislation, and the FUNDING that I mentioned to Mark above. If it was as easy as just sending citations and making an example out of a few people it would have already been done but it doesn’t work that way.

    The example that I listed above was fairly simple. Now I am going to comment about what happens when a person with money gets cited, THEY HIRE ATTORNEYS and since Lorain has NOT CONSISTANTLY AND EVENLY ENFORCED THE LAWS THAT THEY SAY ALL SHOULD FOLLOW, everything gets thrown out!

    Back to square one.

  • 20. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks Don for that as I said it was an unofficial source…… so what happened to the condemnation process once it got to the Prosecutors office??? because I wa told the whole process of condemnation was taking too long … .I am beginning to see the “road block here ” from what Brian has written and you that “maybe it is the judicial system that needs an overhaul” as well

    Just maybe instead of all that paperwork and back and forth the fine should reflect the ” true cost” of that effoprt to bring someone before a judge in order they maintain their property>…..

    no more $450 or as per the one guy that did get fined for the property re the fire in part two. $1,000.00 with 750 dollars suspended….

    maybe we should UP THE FINES…….. for instance Don will tell you that we tried the “nuisance house ordinace re police calls .it was researched adapted to Lorain and went nowhere… and you know why because the after X amount of calls out by police etc. to a property with a given stated amount of time. the property owner would get a notice that the next time police were called to their property they would be charged the “cost of the call out” well that went down like a lead balloon with the landlords associations….but it works in other cities and very well.

    So maybe the FINE should fit the crime so to speak……and maybe the those adjudicating such fines should be held accountable.maybe their ” decions and suspensions should be published- weekly monthly at least…. with a picture of the property next to their decision. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • 21. Brian  |  May 3, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Loraine,
    Is it a crime to be poor or on a fixed income? If someone is older and on a fixed income and have outlived their saving, what do you do? This is the problem that Henrey believes there are programs for. Five thousand or more properties in Lorain may qualify for some sort of program that Henrey is bringing up but I bet less than a hundred a year get the funding. That means that to just take of the housing repairs for our older poorer residents TODAY would take 50 years to do. The housing falls apart ten times faster than the city would be able to fix them.

  • 22. Brian  |  May 3, 2012 at 1:11 am

    The time that the building department needs to get involved with housing inspections is the cases where a building is structurally unsafe, then the health department comes in along with the police department and they can tear a house down in three days.

    It isn’t that the properties that were brought to the attention of the health department lacked judicial enforcement, the city ran out of money to tear them down. If the city contracts with a demo contractor, he is supposed to get a P.O. saying the funds are there to pay him. There is where I believe the ball stopped rolling…

  • 23. Don Killinger  |  May 3, 2012 at 3:34 am

    The Board of Health never was kept informed as to the status of each house turned over to the prosecutor for condemnation orders. It would be most interesting to find out how many homes actually declared a public health nuisance and condemned where or are being torn down.

  • 24. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Brian most of” us “in Lorain are creeping around the poverty level- or are seniors – what you have now in Lorain is this scenario – My husband and I purchased this “old house’ when the previous owner passed away- he had purchased it under a similar situation the people “lived here” took care of it as best they could and it was a good house- as a young couple we purchased the house but when we die, which will be in a few hundred days, then it will end up a rental- no young couple will move in a love this house with her leaded windows and woodwork….. I have seen it so often it breaks your heart…..

    as Don stated there are MORE people in rentals rentals than owner occupied. that was the story in 1994 “rentals therefore are a huge part of the problem” rental business is just that a business- therefore since it is one of the largest businesses in Lorain then the situation is different from your little old lady struggling to keep her home in a decent condition……
    start with rentals there is legislation as to rental inspections is there not – is it enforced – multiple units come under the health dept. Start somewhere start with the homes units that are part of a “business.”

    Do the rest of us slowly decline because “business is good” and those people who are in these homes do they deserve just because they are poor to live in conditions that reflect neglect?

  • 25. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Don , put in a call to Howard Goldberg let us know what you find out :)

  • 26. Brian  |  May 5, 2012 at 11:08 am

    As I was driving around town the other day I noticed that that a lot was just cut. It appeared that the yard looked “littered”. Heaps and mounds of tall grass clippings left behind are surely going to kill off the grasses to be replaced with weeds which brings up another point about the building department.

    I am going to assume that just taking care of tall grass complaints eats up a vast majority of the time of the building department this time of year to the point that it would probably be difficult to do much more of anything else.

    When a council person or resident complains about a tall grass, the folks that are trained and certified in building codes with specialized training are sent out to measure grass with a tape measure.

    This is about the same thing as taking our policemen and women and putting them all on crossing guard detail. If we take our detectives and road patrol units and have them be crossing guards for two hours of their shifts everyday, what impact would it have in other areas of law enforcement?

  • 27. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 5, 2012 at 11:18 am

    well maybe grass should be outsourced to the street dept :) but cutting grass brings in money to the city…… maybe police presence on the streets… crossing the kiddies might be beneficial it would show a police presence in the neighborhoods – they could get to know the kids – the kids would trust them and so help them out when stuff in their neighborhood is “bad”…… sorry Brian I guess we won’t agree because there has to be a “start” somewhere- and you and I both know bottom line is “money ” what kind of quality of life can we afford in Lorain…..

    It is like my husbands basement – it NEEDS to be cleared ( I will not go down there- I will not admit to having any part of it- he needs to get rid of his junk electronics etc. but I know he doesn’t know where to begin and if I begin he will create holy hell…… but he has to make a start somewhere if he wan’ts a quality of life around this house…because I am getting to the tipping point—- Lorain has past the tipping point..

  • 28. Brian  |  May 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I know as FACT that the city can tear down a condemned house in days, not weeks, months or years through the health department to protect the safety of the neighborhood.

    I have seen it done and I was involved in the process so this is more than just hearsay.

  • 29. Brian  |  May 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I am not disagreeing with you about the needs to START something. The problem is that the way things are set up now, NOTHING GETS FINISHED. An occasional structure may get cleaned up or reaired here and there, but it is more by accident than because of some well conceived program.

  • 30. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    It certainly appears that way ( nothing gets finished ) on that we can agree :)

  • [...] http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/capt-wilford-a-hero-of-the-inland-seas/ I frankly think Lorain and all previous administrations and councils should hang their heads in collective shame. You haven’t got much time to decide whether or not Lorain’s history can help her present – it is going- going going ………..with just a few souls clinging on for dear life to her heritage in this city. The Black River Historical Society who fights for every crumb.It might not be so urgent if these homes had been maintained – One thing feeds another- http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/lorain-oh-broken-homes-broken-people-just-plain-broke-part… [...]

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