Tired of the county getting all the good scandals, city of Eureka decides to create a crapstorm all its own

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the guy behind the wheel of the cement truck is probably Larry Glass.

He’s the unstoppable force behind Eureka Municipal Code sections 150.030.001 – 150.030.083—also known as the Rental Housing Program, which seeks to fund rental inspection and enforcement activities by imposing rules and fees on all rental property owners in the city.

Boring? Not a bit! In fact, it’s the best kind of political theater: Rich, fat slumlords pitted against vulnerable (but wholesome!) poor people, who with the city’s wise and beneficent assistance resolve their differences and live happily ever after in upgraded housing stock and quiet, tree-lined communities, possibly with Jesus.

But first things first! Let’s get on down to City Hall and register our rentals!! It’s like sex offender registry, only serious. Really! Have you ever known a child molester out of compliance to be charged up to $1,000 a day? Neither have we, but that’s what grandma would be looking at if she failed to register the other half of her duplex within 30 days.

So now it’s inspection time!! Yay! The ordinance gives the city the authority to enter any rental unit in response to any complaint, real or fabricated, by any person, connected to the property or otherwise, including staff, total strangers, and your ex-wife’s half-brother in Fortuna.

If you’re not home when the inspector arrives? No worries! They can get a warrant and break down your door.

Should any problems be found inside inspectors can order repairs to be completed within as little as 48 hours, and can then re-inspect afterward (“can” being literal here, as the city explicitly gives itself the right, after breaking into your house, to not follow up on their repair orders. They’re busy people, you know).

In some cases you may be able to get an extension on the repairs, if staff feel like granting one. But in other cases you cannot, regardless of the availability of funds, qualified repair people, or materials in stock at Pierson’s.

Failure to comply with the inspector’s schedule will subject you to fines of up to $1,000 per day per repair. And if you don’t pay all those fines, fees and penalties within 60 days, the city will put a lien against your property, even though obviously it’s a piece of shit and who would want to live there, or you wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place.

Well fuck-howdy, have we left anything out?

Oh—just this little gem under section 150.030.024 Right of Entry: “Whenever it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce any of the provisions of or perform any duty imposed by this chapter or other applicable law, or whenever the City has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in any residential rental property any violation of the provisions of this sub-chapter or other applicable building, zoning, housing, fire, nuisance, health, safety or related laws or regulations, the City is hereby authorized to send an inspector to enter the premises at any reasonable time and to inspect it and perform any duty imposed upon the City or authorized representative by this chapter or other applicable law.”

Translation, please? Remember how it was determined code enforcement officers didn’t actually have legal justification to take armed, pot-spotting Sheriff’s deputies with them on building inspections? Well, friends, that paragraph right there is exactly the authority they lacked.

We hope the Eureka City Council will see this compendium of rights violations for what it is. Good intentions are laudable, but they’re no excuse for policy as bad as this.