Dear Mayor Fulton, Deputy Mayor Tracy, Councilmembers Monahan, Andrews,Dear
Protect Your Privacy and Property Rights
Attend tonight: 6 PM Item 7, 501 Poli, City Hall Council Chambers.
Dear Mayor Fulton, Deputy Mayor Tracy, Councilmembers Monahan, Andrews, Morehouse, Weir and Brennan, <?xml:namespace prefix = o />
The goals given by you to the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative included economic benefits, promote permit pulling and ensuring safety. The number one category of input from the public was fear of code enforcement, and reducing fear was one of the goals you assigned to the committee. Many have a concern the Staff’s recommendations will increase fear, prevent permit pulling and prevent economic benefits from accruing to our city and community. Here’s why:
- Code Enforcement's staff report, did not acknowledge the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative's six recommendations designed to reach the goals you assigned.
- Instead, the staff focused on other goals not requested by the community:
- a resale inspection program to discover any un-permitted improvements
- a rental registration program that could require you to register your own home if you had to rent it out for an emergency leave of absence
There is no path to wholeness for citizens in the Code Enforcement staff’s recommendations. It is a continuation of an outdated punitive process.
4. Lack of due process is a serious issue and it was sidestepped in the Staff's report, but clearly addressed in the VSHC report, through the establishment of the Citizens’ Review Board.
5. When a property is turned over to the county for a collection process that can end in foreclosure, no objective party reviews the citations (some were cited for the sin of weeds..was it an elderly person who needed their lawn mowed?)
6. Continued Unjust Prosecution: Since the City staff admits that their records of permits are incomplete, some of these folks may have been prosecuted unjustly for not having permits that actually were pulled in the past and lost by the City.
7. The citizens’ input has been distorted by the Code Enforcement Staff. The staff edited 56 recommendations by the public to indicate the policies the public desired were already in place. Upon closer scrutiny, that is simply not so.
8. Code Enforcement claims it would cost the city too much money to improve a process, but there is no corresponding revenue projections.
8. Staff refuses to inform citizens of all rights and remedies at first contact to reduce fear. They say that would cost the city $200,000. It’s a one-time form letter that would reduce fear. Fear Continues
- Staff refuses to drop the harsh practice of clouding titles for non-safety violations so a person cannot access their equity or a buyer cannot get a mortgage. This is a serious financial taking without due process. Increases Fear.
- Staff refuses to stop the harsh method of turning property owners over to the county for a collection process that can end in foreclosure. Our City’s actions initiate a potential foreclosure process. Every other city in VC uses small claims court or a collection agency. Another financial taking without due process. Increases Fear
- Staff did not acknowledge the committee's recommendation for a reasonable Compliance program, so only two remedies remain, be wealthy enough to hire an architect and start from scratch, or tear it down. Increases Fear and Violates General Plan.
- Staff refuses to allow due process or oversight through a Citizens Review Board so the road to financial ruin still has no Due Process. Without this, there is no legitimate community participation for buy-in. Increases Fear
- Staff ignored the committee's specific recommendation for an aggressive marketing plan , so whatever is done would not be known by the general public. Defeats Goal for Economic Benefit and Community Buy-In
- Staff refuses to disallow searches without a warrant for code violations through the use of satellite cameras in the sky. This violates our 4th amendment right to privacy. Insisting this is ok because it has not been heard yet in the Supreme Court should not be the basis for inclusion in our City’s policies. Increases Fear A better measure would be: Is this the right thing to do and will it reduce fear?
15. Staff insists that those with second units must live on their properties. What if they have to go into assisted living? Some are there already. Must they move back home?
16. Staff does not address compliance with State Civil Code 1941 (essentially HUD standard,) which Staff has given “selectively” as the standard of compliance. Increases Fear and Reduces Economic Benefit
Some key recommendations of the committee, were dismissed or not addressed:
All of these Ensure Safe Housing:
- Due process and citizen oversight through a Citizens Review Board. Staff claims the Construction Appeals Board does this. According to the Chair of that board, the CAB regards do-it your-selfers as competitors. Their members are Building professionals and there is an obvious conflict of interest. An objective forum for grievances and due process is needed (a jury of one’s peers.) This would Reduce Fear, and Create Equity
- The Resolution to allow legalization of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Ventura's safe non-conforming properties, both commercial and residential. Creates Economic Benefit, Promotes Permit Pulling, Reduces Fear, Creates Equity, Ensures Safe Housing and Creates Community Buy-in.
- A realistic Compliance program. Reduces Fear and Creates Economic Benefit
- An aggressive marketing program to inform the public. Creates Economic Benefit, Reduces Fear
- Substitution of private home safety inspectors for city inspectors Creates Community Buy-in, Reduces Fear and Creates Economic Benefit
Within the VSHC six recommendations are the details that make them work, such as mitigating adverse neighborhood impacts and city liability. By ignoring the six recommendations of the committee and instead, rephrasing the 56 prior recommendations that were used to implement and detail out the six recommendations, the process is corrupted and confused. An ordinary person who did not work for code enforcement could not understand it. Adopting just Code Enforcement’s recommendations will prevent community buy-in, increase fear, not ensure safety, discourage permit pulling and no measurable economic benefit would accrue to the city or community. Ignoring the Collaborative’s recommendations and instead adopting the staff reommendations defeats our community’s need for a re-building of trust and partnership.
The Ventura Safe Housing Committee spent up to two years to build a safer, more efficient ship, rather than adding more deck chairs to the Titanic. Some members of the VSHC are willing to continue and organize the Citizens Review Board to help the staff implement the improvements desired by the community. This is the highly skilled volunteer help our Mayor requested in his State of the City address! This is your first opportunity to “walk that talk.”
Let the people help you move Ventura forward, as you requested,
Attend the February 28th City Council Meeting, 6 pm, 501 Poli, City Hall, 2nd Floor for the Council's Approval or Not of The Recommendations from the Public to the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative for:
Legalizing Ventura Properties, Amnesty of Penalties, Reducing Fear of Code Enforcement, Promoting Permit Pulling and Ensuring Safe Housing.
Self Government Will Cease to Exist if Treated as a Spectator Sport. The VSHC has done everything they can do to get your voices heard. Now it is up to you! Show up, fill a seat, speak for 3 minutes or fill out a comment card. Click the Star article link to bone up! It's about your home!
If you are not interested in property or the improvement of code enforcement policies in Ventura, we apologize for this message and request that you please scroll down and remove your name from this newsletter. Thank you