Thank you for your recent coverage of Councilman Glass's (now defunct)
rental inspection ordinance. Allow me to add a few points to some
quotes from your article.
Quote 1: "A crucial element to [a similar ordinance] in Rancho Cordova,
population 61,000, has been education and outreach -- something that
may have been fatally lacking in the approach taken by Glass' task
This is somewhat of an understatement, as Glass and his task force met
and drafted the ordinance in secret. The public was neither allowed
to observe task force meetings nor to comment on its proceedings. The
public was not given a draft of the ordinance prior to said draft
being placed on the agenda for approval on April 21.
Quote 2: "During their two years of research and preparations, the
task force met with landlords, property managers, realtors and other
concerned citizens, as well as the ACLU."
Beginning in April (and possibly even earlier), I and other ACLU
members were excluded from task force proceedings. Prior to April 21,
Glass had twice promised to give me an advance copy of the ordinance
and invite me to a task force meeting. Glass silently broke those
promises and excluded me. I have also heard from others who feel they
were deliberately excluded by Glass.
Quote 3: Following April 21, "[Glass's] task force met with
detractors, made some changes and brought a slightly different version
before the council early last month, to no avail."
Only after the April 21 draft had been pulled from the agenda were I
and other ACLU "detractors" allowed to attend two of the secret task
Quote 4: "A fundamental objection to the ordinance was the idea of
forced or coerced inspections."
Forced inspections were a component of the April 21 draft. In the
August 4 draft they were removed and replaced with inspections "based
on a complaint or staff observations". The Journal may consider this
to be a "slight" change (as per quote #3), but I consider the removal
of unconstitutional inspections to be very significant.
The April 21 draft compared having your home entered and inspected
without cause, without your permission and quite possibly without your
knowledge to being required to stop at a red traffic light on a public
roadway. On June 17, at one of the two secret task force meetings
that I was allowed to attend, Glass explained that the requirement for
sweeping inspections of every rental unit was in the ordinance because
"I just honestly did not read it" before placing it on the agenda for
approval. The task force had been meeting (in secret) for so long,
and had written so many different versions of the ordinance, that
Glass was having difficulty keeping track of what was (and what was no
longer) in the ordinance.
Quote 5: "Glass said his proposed ordinance would have been
"administrative and polite" and that the city would never have
demanded entry without consent."
Perhaps Councilman Glass has forgotten (or perhaps he never even read)
the last paragraph of section 150.030.015 (titled "Right of Entry") of
the April 21 draft.
This section describes the procedure whereby
"whether or not permission to inspect has been obtained" a rental unit
inspector can unilaterally decide to "present proper credentials to
the occupant and demand entry".
The Glassian saga of this ill-fated ordinance would likely be quite
comical were it not for the fact that two and a half years have been
squandered before Councilman Glass and the task force finally realized
that the first step forward is to help the city effectively use the
code enforcement tools it already has.
Of course the Journal doesn't want to acknowledge the hard work of the ACLU in successfully stopping this thing. After all, the last thing Hank or the rest of the Arcata mafia want is to start treating Greg Allen and other civil liberties advocates like human beings with credibility. It's not as if they haven't been on the front page of the Times-Standard about 4 times in the last month or anything...