Eric Weiss said his 30 years of code enforcement in Allentown found most code enforcement problems were with RENTAL AND ABANDONED BUILDINGS, such as this one in the 400 block of Chestnut Street in Pottstown.
There are politicians and aides to politicians, the county and the big monied real estate industry contributing to this blight in Pottstown, there are unsavory connections.
In some areas of the country savvy attorneys and community law centers find success prosecuting heinous, parasitic income property owners.
What does Pottstown borough do? They send their attorney to court, (at taxpayer expense), to stand up to a homeowner who cut down the trees on their property without a permit.
I can guarantee you, with all certainty, that situation did not threaten me or impact my quality of life in Pottstown like officials who continue to neglect to protect good investors and prosecute – or do anything they have to do – to reign in the negative investors.
clik to read the article >>City attorneys step up to file a lawsuit…
“Accusing a landlord of defrauding the Department of Water and Power out of millions of dollars and escaping responsibility for substandard conditions in his building through a complex web of sham corporations, “self-foreclosures” and retaliatory evictions.”
ALL OF THESE THINGS HAPPEN IN POTTSTOWN with regularity = year after year after year and local officials can’t or won’t figure it out? So what do officials do? They hold a meeting, (that most residents can’t attend because it was held during work hours, last Wednesday). The meeting, (see Evan’s articles below), was ostensibly hosted by council but they didn’t mention this at any public meeting, did they?
Only one council person was there.
Presumably, officials in attendance listened as, once again, people with experience told officials what they’ve heard before:
That THEY, borough government, has to get the housing under control.
THEY HAVE TO DO IT. How many times do they have to be told what they already know or, pay for another study to tell them what they should already know?
The borough was lauded for their ordinances at the meeting:
3 x’s and “your out” for nasty tenants who suck up police services and, oh yeah, the charge back to slumlords for not regulating their renters. Oridnances that might suggest that officials are on the ball, except = those ordinances are never enforced. Some citizens believe they won’t enforce them because they are afraid of lawsuits from slumlords. Afraid??
So, we continue to see local government play tiddly winks with slumlords. They appear to be fearful to make a move because year after year the parasitic investors rear their ugly heads to threaten the borough with lawsuits.
REALLY. Is that the reason? I have to tell you, the following comment chaps my hide… but good.
Keith Place, director of L & I in Pottstown: “Place told the summit last week that the Better Landlord program is still under review by borough staff, that there is concern about legal challenges.”
Are we to believe that officials are so intimidated by the Pottstown leaches that they are paralyzed in their efforts or… is this just more obfuscation?
Is the lack of transparency, the excuses… are they just another attempt to cover up embarrassing or scandalous truth?
Tools to re-build Pottstown: Code enforcement is key << clik for today’s Mercury article by Evan Brandt
The PPD and a slew of other law enforcement agencies play “whack a mole” with drug dealers, shooters, gangs and other criminals who, for all we know, (for all the borough knows), continue to move into and occupy any one, or all, of the 2500 – or so – unregulated rental properties in Pottstown. While the crooks are paying cash to other crooks, under the table, for a hideout …
THE BOROUGH CLAIMS TO BE INTIMIDATED BY A POTENTIAL LAWSUIT?
What a sham.
That’s an affront to every resident that is truly intimidated and frightened by the never ending crime and debauchery in this town.
Every day that the borough neglects to get a grip on the negative investors is another day they hang themselves out to dry – adding to the crime – the potential for serious harm to innocent victims and, the very real potential for seriously massive lawsuits that accompany the risk they take.
But, we are asked to believe that borough management and elected officials are shaking in their boots under threat from the omnipotent Pottstown slumlords? I don’t buy it.
We have a local official (s) (maybe more than one), that intervened in a situation where a slumlord should have been given violations and wasn’t. The slumord is…. a friend of the official and he is also a man who is a purveyor of filth and crime, for over a decade, in his dangerous rental properties in Pottstown.
Could these friendships and affiliations be the REAL reason the borough drags their feet? That deserves an answer, not platitudes.
“But you know, the mayor was a landlord and one of the other council members owned a few properties and they were, well, let’s just say they were not particularly enthusiastic,” said Eric Weiss, at last Wednesday’s meeting.
In September it will be FIVE FULL YEARS that the cockroach has been sounding the ALARM, telling the stories of residents who are too afraid to do it themselves.
From renters to homeowners and even good landlords who are stuck in this filthy web of negligence, they are all prey to the out-of-control renters, criminals, slumlords and borough governments excuses.
Their truths, their struggles have fallen on deaf ears.
Not a new borough manager, not a $33,000 codes study, not a new director of License and Inspections, not firing the lien and clean guys, not featuring these atrocities on my blog, not even the possibly of implementing a proven, successful program such as the Better Landlords, (that was researched and vetted by citizens of Pottstown), who are among the stakeholders in this community…
…NOTHING has rocked the faulty foundation of this borough government, not common sense and certainly not wisdom.
What we potentially have here, at minimum, is the complicity of those who are easily fooled, who should know better, who are PAID and ELECTED to know better and do better.
But, let the borough officials hold meeting after meeting and pay for another study – at least it looks to the outside world – as if they give a bats left foot about our struggles.
Another intersting fact: Citizens were not given the same opportunity to do a full council presentation about the Better Landlord Program, despite the hours and hours of work and research they put into the project.
Instead, they were relegated to a committee meeting.
Yet, this month, the full council was privy to a presentation by a company, that makes the claim they can “harass” banks into registering foreclosed properties. Their proposition was recieved by council as though it were as good as caviar on a golden platter, (as staff wiped the sweat off their over worked brows, thanking their lucky stars that THEY don’t have to figure out how to harass blighted property owners).
Here’s Evan’s article about the blight busters who presented to council: Pottstown eyes new method to deal with blight
THAT has totally left the impression that the borough doesn’t have the backbone to take control of the slum property owners or the blighted property owners themselves. If this company is sucessful, more power to the people.
Why are officials looking for the silver bullet and contracting with outside companies? Do they understand the complexities well enough to know if the contractor is doing the work they signed on to do, or not? There has to be some education curve for officials in that process. Hell, at the outside, the contractor can look like the bad guys, right?
So why does council authorize the expenditure of tax dollars, in ginormous sums, thrown at a management team that demonstrates they know how to hold a meeting, pay for a study but they can’t and won’t take control of these situations?
Apparently, they can’t manage their way out of a paper bag.
Taxpayers could, theoretically, sub-out everything, at less cost, and let private businesses do the heavy lifting, right? Isn’t that the philosophy here?
Why does the borough manager turn around and chide a resident of this town, a businessman who’s knowledgable and capable and willing to help the borough get on a better track? Why try to diminish residents by calling them “negative”? Switch and Bait – (once again).
We want to talk about what ails this town and the viable solutions but, they only want to turn the tables and call us negative, haters or apathetic.
Officials hand off maudlin excuses that distort the facts that we, the residents of Pottstown, intrinsically know to be truth because we live the truth every single day.
At one time there was serious potential for the codes dept. and citizens to work together on these issues.
Not any more.
For the past 3 years, communication and information sharing from local government has been locked down tight – trying to find out where they stand on ANYTHING is like trying to pry an oyster open with your bare hands.
The problems with slum housing owners and diminishing transparency in local government are #’s one and two of the most atrocious health and safety threats to this community.
From fire hazards, crime, raw sewage (freely running on sidewalks and in storm drains) to the infestations of bed bugs and vermin in rental properties. Our loss of property values and quality of life, the loss of tax revenue and homeowners, borough government doesn’t want to discuss it with you and that leaves only speculation about what, if anything, is being done.
The streets and alleys are filthier than ever, there is more illegal dumping than I ever recall and the borough’s own properties, (see the lot across from Pottsgrove Manor), reflect borough governments own discombobulation and chaos. In fact, a resident retrieved an old beat up t.v. from that property just to give the area a better appearance when it was clear that the borough had no concern.