Code Enforcement Task Force 8/26/16 Meeting
On Friday, August 26th, there was a Code Enforcement Task Force meeting at City Hall. A representative of No More Slumlords attended the meeting. The following are her thoughts.
Most of the attendees of the task force meeting aside from actual members of the task force were community advocates. Initially two tenants showed up to the meeting, but left before it started (and after a condescending comment was overheard about their presence).
The main chunk of the task force meeting was dedicated to going over New Orleans’ routine inspection program proposal from Nan McKay. While this proposal was applauded for being no cost to the city (in fact, it would bring in $70,000) and for providing an efficient online portal to see the results of inspections quickly, it was also criticized for issues surrounding the per inspection fee and for the seemingly “strict” requirements for a properly maintained property. The task force – comprised of city officials, property owners, and community leaders – discussed whether or not this proposal would serve as an appropriate template to use for Fresno moving forward. A decision was not reached as the task force agreed to meet with a representative from Nan McKay first on Wednesday the 31st to receive answers to some of their questions and concerns.
The latter bit of the meeting was turned over to Esther Delahay (Executive Director of the Lowell Community Development Corporation) as she discussed plans for upcoming tenant classes, scheduled to start on October 1st. Delahay stated that she hopes to hold at least five classes by December, three of which will be in Spanish. Child care and food will be provided at these classes, and upon completion tenants will receive a certificate that Delahay hopes some landlords will come to recognize.
There were some tensions and disagreements among certain members, but everyone remained highly supportive of the work Delahay is putting forward and seemed committed to putting together some plan of action that would eventually lead to a decrease in substandard housing in the city of Fresno.
A proposal for a routine inspection program for New Orleans
A fee structure for a routine inspection program for New Orleans
UPDATE: I reached out to a few members of the task force who were vocal during the meeting, and one of them got back to me recently – Terance Frazier, developer and rental property owner. Frazier offered me his number for a future dialogue, and forwarded me a response from Blake Lacey. In that forwarded e-mail Lacey, who attended the meeting with Frazier, shared his criticism of the proposed plan, stating that as it currently was, it had the potential to “increase evictions for tenants due to penalties derived from the inspections of Nan McKay and Associates,” which could “lead to gentrification.” He believes moving forward with a plan with additional incentives that could outweigh the negative possibilities would be more agreeable. We appreciate his response and look forward to hearing other points of views from task force members.