Larry Glass teaches us all a valuable lesson

At least he's fashionable.

At least he's fashionable.

Dear Larry Glass,

Thank you for recognizing the obvious and dropping your poorly conceived rental housing ordinance before wasting any more time and money trying to shove that bag of crap down the throats of an unwilling electorate.

However, please do not think you have a pass on whatever new idea you rolled out at the workshop Tuesday night.

Oh–remember that event? The one that was so poorly noticed attendance dropped from a couple hundred at the previous meeting to fewer than a couple dozen on Tuesday? Weird, huh?

We could find no advance word of the meeting anywhere, except of course on your friend’s blog, the same forum you routinely use to distribute your talking points, reward your friends and punish those who dare to oppose you.

But you, great man of the people that you are, somehow failed to send that announcement to this blog, which as you know has been following the issue somewhat closely.

Still, the little upset over this proposed ordinance pointed out to those of us who don’t drink your grape kool-aid how out of touch you are with the residents of this city and how easily you can be stopped when we put our minds to it.

Thank you for that. It’s a lesson we won’t soon forget.

Hugs from the bugs.

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Eureka residents gather again Tuesday to tell Larry Glass to just suck it

Larry Glass Shit

A workshop to discuss the rental housing ordinance being shoved down our throats proposed by City Councilman Larry Glass kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka.

Glass got the crap slapped out of him last week, when he unveiled the controversial proposal, which would fund a maze of rental inspection and enforcement activities by imposing rules and fees on all rental property owners in the city.

But several readers report that the councilman is leaving nothing to chance this time around, and to drum up some support at the meeting tonight has extended numerous invitations to local representatives of the downtrodden. You know who we mean–not the downtrodden themselves, who could give a shit or they wouldn’t need to be talked into going to a meeting, but the usual high-minded do-gooders who may mean well but leave in their wake broken promises, hobbled economies and a string of unintended consequences.

It ought to be a good show–and this one won’t be televised. That right there is reason enough to attend.

This Week in Stupid

douchetrophyWelcome to the first edition of This Week in Stupid, a new weekly column in which we will present the coveted Douchebaggy Award to the person or persons who best exemplify the mental ineptitude that has made this county the clusterfuck it is today.

Our first week of competition turned into a tag team event. Larry Glass and Sheryl Schaffner, with their poorly conceived rental housing ordinance, faced off against the relentlessly opinionated husband-wife duo of Jeff Schwartz and Marcy Burstiner, whose contributions to American letters last week proved even stupid people can become lawyers and college professors.

First, Mr. Schwartz lamented the difficult lot of the professional classes who, even with their multiple degrees and cush jobs, still can’t always afford to send their kids to private schools. Not only that, but now they’re expected to pay for their own childcare, and they have no special immunity to contagious disease. Our hearts break! But, uh, counselor? You do recall that you recently quit a job that paid $96,000 a year, which is more than three times the average Humboldt County income, right? So honestly–how sorry for you do you expect us to feel?

Ms. Burstiner, meanwhile, took local media to task for failing to describe the budget cuts that caused her to be furloughed three days a month as “tragic.” Well, professor, one person’s “tragedy” is another’s balanced budget. If you’re teaching your journalism students to insert this kind of opinion into the news stories they write, maybe your three-day furlough should be described as “inadequate” instead.

So Jeff and Marcy, this Douchebaggy’s for you!

Well that’s it for now. Stay tuned for the next installment of This Week in Stupid. Send your nominations to humboldtmirror@gmail.com.

BREAKING NEWS: Times-Standard runs relevant, somewhat coherent editorial

Probably some kind of fluke, but let’s enjoy it while we can.

Proceed cautiously

The Times-Standard
Posted: 08/06/2009

We understand and commiserate with the city of Eureka over the need for there to be some kind of city oversight of what is obviously an enormous problem of rental units in the city either being of inferior quality or of them being used as greenhouses for the area’s burgeoning house-grown marijuana crop.

But as we’ve said before, this is a sticky situation — forcing mandatory inspections down the throats of tenants and landlords borders on what could be an unconstitutional search-and-seizure approach to dealing with these issues.

Similarly, making the process complaint-driven could also open up a can of worms wherein bitter or irresponsible tenants could hold landlords over a barrel by destroying property, only to then complain to authorities that their living conditions could be labeled as substandard. Take it from us, the substandard label can be a real pain in the print.

To us, only one approach seems workable in this mess — and that is to make inspections mandatory when the units are between tenants. That is, when an apartment or house empties out between tenants, that would be the time that the city would perform inspections to make sure that the unit is habitable.

We’re still not convinced that this program is worth the headaches it will create. We’re also not convinced that there will be so many violations, and thus so many fines, that the program will pay for itself.

The city is basically considering a huge expansion of its powers and responsibilities at a time when money is getting harder and harder to find. We see the need, and we’re obviously aware — and have reported on — irresponsible landlords who have made consideration of such a program a necessity.

But the city must think long and hard about what it’s going to do, if just to ensure that any steps it takes now are sustainable into the future and aren’t ultimately seen as a municipal punchline no one gets when the joke still lingers on every street and corner in our beloved Victorian Seaport.

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.