Thursday, October 11, 2007

Operation Overlord & Landlord Accountability

Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.
- Benjamin Franklin

"The purse of the people is the real seat of sensibility.
Let it be drawn upon largely, and they will then listen to truths which could not excite them through any other organ." --  Thomas Jefferson

"If we are to solve the problems that plague us, our thinking must evolve beyond the level we were using when we created those problems in the first place." --Albert Einstein

`tunnel' history, the kind that can lead an investigator to know more and more about less and less

"My experience in government is that when things are non-controversial and beautifully coordinated, there is not much going on." - JFK

“Opinion is power.” - Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1816

It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. - Winston Churchill

That government is best which governs least. - Thomas Paine

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.
Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington

The secret of getting things done is to act! - Dante Alighieri

Peter's Placebo: An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.

Grossman's Misquote: Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

Cohen's Law: What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts, not the facts themselves.

Goldwyn's Law of Contracts: A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Mencken's Metalaw: For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong.

“Demagoguery beats data in making public policy."
-US House of Representatives Majority Leader

"But we must remember that good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.
Hence there are two parts of good government; one is the actual obedience of citizens to the laws, the other part is the goodness of the laws which they obey..." -- (Aristotle, Politics).

Operation Overlord was the code name for the main Allied D-Day invasion of Europe during World War II.
It's mission was reclaim ground that the Axis had occupied.
And, to open a western front that would have to be defended on the ground

Like most conflicts, this one was ugly and terrible in its effects, but very necessary.
Fortunately, it was successful - for our side!
And, like many wars and other games of violence, it got romanticized and became entertainment.

The issue of 'Landlord Accountability' is different.
There is no sinister cause at work behind the scattered nuisances which some parts of our City experience from time to time.
Noise, litter, parking congestion and the complaints that result therefrom are relatively benign, and while annoying, do not lend themselves to an easy solution.
That is not to say no solution is possible or necessary, but any solution will be inherently partial and fleeting in nature.
And, it will require a large element of neighbors uniting with each other and actively working to make more socially acceptable, the periodic thoughlessness of fellow human beings.
That has been my experience in almost 70 years of living in this country - eight different States worth.

The reason problems like these exist is essentially based in human nature itself, not some major planning error or a failure of policing the community.
Yet, those are the things that are getting most of the blame.
Why, there is even a single issue blog devoted to this subject!
In my brief review, that blog seems have the equivalent to 60 to 70 pages of information all related to complaints on this one topic.

Why not ask the people complaining -many anonymously- to offer any solutions they might have?
Isn't that the way most problems get resolved?
The lack of curiosity is troubling, because identifying the factors that combine and contribute to the nuisance of concern is important if we are to understand what can be done about this situation.
Instead, there is a simplistic view -consistently expressed- that it is the 'City's' sole duty to make these problems just go away.

I agree it is the City's responsibility to facilitate a community discussion and then implement those recommendations which seem most reasonable and have the most potential for long term success.
But, I doubt that will mean just hiring more enforcement officers and assigning them the mission of rooting out those deemed to be the offenders.
It is the worst form of demogoguery to just throw money at a problem like this and expect a favorable result.
No sensible person uses a sledgehammer to swat a fly!

Let's also not forget the efforts that have already gone into resolving this problem, including the vigorous discussions held in 2004.
Without those efforts, we would certainly have more than the six documented complaints that are on file for this year!
While it is time consuming, uncomfortable and frustrating to actually document complaints, that is an essential part of getting this situation identified and under control.
If citizens aren't willing to undertake this effort, no meaningful solution is possible.

Basically, I see Landlord Accountability as yet another three-legged stool.
It must necessarily involve the personal responsibility [of all of those living in an area, government entities [like the city and WWU], as well as landlords and property management companies.
Without the active cooperation of all affected parties, any approach to resolution of this issue is doomed to become a wasteful and expensive failure.
Instead, let's all work to come up with ideas that are reasonable and achievable.
And, resist the temptation toward election year pandering while we're at it!
In Operation Overlord, the enemy and its mission of world domination was a very well known threat, and most of the free world willingly united together to defeat this awful prospect from occurring.

For that reason, there really is no comparison between WWII and 'Landlord Accountability', except the obvious play on words.

In ancient feudalism, an overlord was a lord having authority over other lords.
Operation Overlord was coined to connote that meaning.
The free world was not going to submit to domination by lesser 'lords', like nazism and othe dark and repressive 'isms'.
Overlord meant freedom was going to maintain its world order over repression.
Fortunately, it did prevail.

I don't believe the issue of 'Landlord Accountability' rises to any where near the level that an Operation Overlord is necessary.
The City doesn't need to become an Overlord police state bureacracy over this issue.
If it is considered desirable to test the 'family definition', that can be done by carefully pursuing one of the documented complaints with our existing enforcement officer.
Then, that particular element will be up to the courts to decide.
When that information is known, we can move to improve other definitions, requirements and means of enforcement.

In the meantime, let's keep doing what we are doing now, but do more of it.
That point seemed to be totally missed during the Council's Oct 8 meeting.
Of course, what we are currently doing is obviously not up to the job of meeting every one's expectations!
Is there any area where that does happen?

Of course, we can improve!
But, what are our priorities?
I can tell you mine.
If I have a choice between pursuing criminals or nuisances, it will be criminals every time!
That is the type of direction the Police Chief asked for, because without a budget addition those are the choices we have.

But, often those types of choices are false ones, because there are many diverse services and programs the City provides which are considered valuable by citizens.
I would hate to be put in the position of choosing between Police & Parks, for example.
Or, between Firefighters & Janitors.
All of those functions are necessary in some proportional ratio of expense.

Let's try to keep our perspective on 'Landlord Accountability', shall we?
And in doing so, recognize there really are no silver bullets.
There is only the hard work of becoming informed about the root causes at play, and the cooperative solutions that must be accepted and practiced by all parties involved.

Boy, this democracy thing sure takes a lot of effort, doesn't it?
You bet it does!

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
And maybe a little growing up, and accepting the responsibilities of being engaged citizens!
From Wikipedia are 3 categories in which the word 'lord' is mainly known:


' an overlord was a lord having authority over other lords'


'A Lord is a person who has power and authority.
It can have different meanings depending on the context of use.
Women will usually (but not universally) take the title 'Lady' instead of Lord'


Five ranks of peer exist in the UK, namely Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron; and all male peers except dukes use the style "Lord X".

Various high offices of state may carry the cachet of honorary lords:
thus we find titles such as Lord High Chancellor or Lord Mayor.