Thank you Adam for the report, for those of us who cannot attend it is most helpful.
I completely understand people's frustration, the problems in our SW community are considerable and dangerous. I salute every effort everyone of you have made. Thank you for caring, it does make a difference. Even whe other folk here just hear about it, it gives them a little more hope. And for me as a new resident to the 19th, I am always delighted to hear about every initiative other residents like you are involved with. And I intend to be involved.
One thing I know about the police department after all my years as a volunteer in police initiatives...they are overwhelmed by the problems of the community and under resourced. And this is not their fault. That does not mean we cannot improve upon how policing happens.
Community Policing or citizen-police partnerships are essential to expanding RPD resource in the city and SW. Cops are still adjusting to citizen involvement and it can get a little edgy sometimes between us. Afterall this is a quasi military organization that spent most of its history not sharing with citizens and with pretty tight boundaries. I am wondering if perhaps some folks do not feel they have a partnership with the cops and if it would help to get that in place?
I don't think that people are debating WHO files a lawsuit. The frustration that you hear is (in part) related to many of us feeling like we have worked incessantly to bring information to various city officials (i.e. police, 911, NSC, etc) and have seen nothing happen. Re: the house that Sheri references above - in addition to 14 active police calls there have been other calls/sharing of information (i.e. smoking pot on the porch, mini bike traffic in/out back and forth to Thurston, noise, unattended children, a weekend house party last summer, etc). It may or may not be a 'drug house' but it's definitely a 'nuisance property' and there is certainly 'drug activity' going on there.
If RPD needs more information on the houses that were identified on the pin board, HOW is that request getting back to the people who identified those various locations? AND, how will other possible locations be identified?
I get it that the city resources are limited, but also believe that the lack of response many of us have seen/experienced from the police and NSC has contributed to people feeling very tired - and some of the people who ARE involved and asked to do more are tired.
Street watch is a great idea - and i see that it's getting quite a bit of press in the past 24 hours. It would be good to see the same level of attention placed on the frustration of citizens of this community and our collective demand that we receive our fair share of city resources for our community. I am looking forward to the first lawsuit and will certainly lock arms with anyone who is involved in truly combatting illegal activity in this community.
I was at the Street Watch meeting and it was nice to see the meeting so well attended and to see the enthusiasm for the proposal Adam McFadden, Mike Dardzinski and Bryan Hetherington described. Hopefully this pilot program will refine effective methods to using civil lawsuits and city ordinances to evict drug dealers. We desperately need to refine the tools we can use to deal with this problem effectively. The police can't do it all and even the good landlords need all the help they can get.
A few years ago we owned a house at the corner of Post and Milton. It had been my mother's house. We were hoping to sell it and ended up leasing it with option to purchase to a "nice little old couple" who were going to live there with their handicapped son. Marian, who was in real estate at the time, checked their references carefully and used a standard lease with option to purchase form. Before signing the lease we both went down to talk to them again at their daughters house where they were staying in the southern end of the 19th ward. They seemed like a really sweet close family. We soon found out what their family values were from the traffic in and out of their newly leased "home". It was being used as a drug house. We talked with the police to make the needed buys. We talked with the neighbors urging them to call 911to report drug traffic and keep pressure on the police. We talked with our attorney to see how we could evict them. We needed proof of wrongdoing to evict them. We needed police buys to have proof. The police could not make ANY buys. That was disappointing. I walk PAC-TAC and and when out walking we often stood on that corner many times hopping put a dent in their traffic. That did not drive them away. It took us one and a half years to get them out of there! We only succeeded because one month they were ONE DAY past their grace period in the lease for paying their rent and I refused the check and started the eviction process.
I don't know if what Adam can pull together would have helped in our case but it probably could have in many other cases that were left to the police at the time where the lease situations and code violations would have made things easier to address quickly through civil lawsuits. Freeing up the police from the "easy" cases would let them spend more effort on the tough ones.
I want to thank Adam and his associates for all the hard work that has been put into this project and I sincerely hope that we can all work to see it become a success.
I took some pictures at the Wednesday meeting and put them a Kodak Gallery album with captions.
Thank you John! That was an amazing post. Having a different view of the situation, and having first hand experience, you would have a better understanding if this program could work. And from the sounds of it, you could have used it!
I am very proud of what we are doing. If you think of it, we have been able to, with the help of Adam bring resources from the city directly to the 19th Ward to address our concerns. I think that this points to the strong commitment the residents of the 19th Ward have for our community. I know I get frustrated, and do my far share of bitching. But we also need to not get lost amongst the forest of doubt, and negative thinking. The 19th Ward just won a battle in the war to claim our neighborhoods. Let's take a moment to be thankful, and optimistic while we prepare for the next fight; implementing and testing "Rochester Street Watch". After which I’ll lead the chorus of disdain, once again! :)
Okay, maybe I haven't read this carefully enough. How does bringing a nuisance complaint directly result in an eviction? Would the complaint not name the property owner, rather than the tenant? And if the owner was found liable, then what? Would there be fines? Would they be significant enough to motivate the owner to go to the considerable trouble of evicting a tenant? My summer job in law school was defending low-income tenants against eviction. Evicting a tenant is a huge time-consuming pain in the butt, as John's post indicated. Most of the lessors I encountered were happy to negotiate rather than go forward with the eviction, especially the out-of-state owners. If the owner's C of O was revoked as a result of the suit, then the owner couldn't rent to anyone until a new C of O was issued. Vacant property? Guess what it will be used for...
I'm going to assume that my skepticism is due to a lack of understanding about how this actually works. Can anyone explain?
I have heard from five attorneys since yesterday who want to volunteer!!!!! I am excited! Bryan, Mike and I are working hard to make sure we cover many aspects and don't worry I see us having the ability to expand this in other areas.......