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Administrative Searches and the 4th Amendment


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Administrative Searches and the 4th Amendment

Sorry to report that my libertarian elk are engaged in yet another assault on the American justice system.
 

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In an alleged effort to root out slumlords, some cities treat renters as though they don't have any rights, forcing residents to allow government officials in for mandatory warrantless "inspections" to make sure homes are up to code.

The lawyers at the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm, have been trying to fight these inspections for years as unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment. This week they've filed a class-action complaint against the city of Seattle that attempts to put a stop to its inspection program.

According to their lawsuit, Seattle launched an inspection program in 2015 that requires landlords to register rental properties with the city. The city then randomly chooses 10 percent of the rental properties to inspect each year. This includes inhabited apartments and houses. The rental inspections are very thorough, allowing searches of the entire premises and therefore mandating that the people living there allow strangers in to look over their stuff.

In July, according to the lawsuit, a group of renters sharing a home wrote city officials telling them that they do not consent to a search of their property. The owner of the home also wrote to let the city know that she was respecting her tenants' wishes. The city responded that if the landlord refused to let the inspectors in, she faced penalties of $150 a day for the first 10 days, and then $500 a day afterward. Seattle did not even respond to the letter from the tenants.

The Institute for Justice is now representing both tenants and landlords in these cases to try to stop unwarranted inspections under the city's law, arguing that it violates the privacy provisions of the Washington Constitution.

 

Those whining renters just don't understand that warrantless searches for their own good should be welcomed. No wonder Seattle didn't reply to them. As for their slumlord, it's no wonder those evil libertarians at IJ would associate with that kind of scum, after seeing their association with the likes of Suzette Kelo and noted heroin dealer Tyson Timbs.

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I'd love it if something like this were tried here.

My target of choice would be my tenant who is a lawyer for the County. He's a really nice guy. I've seen what happens when you piss off really nice guys who have law degrees.

And I'm pretty sure that if something on the property he is renting is out of order, he'll again look where he should for the solution: to me. And if I fail, at the rate he's paying, I'd lose a good tenant because he has plenty of options.

On the other end of the spectrum, I went to look at a house in 2017 and was pretty appalled. It was summer, so storms every afternoon. And every afternoon, the rain came through the leaky roof. There's a lot of this. Landlords who just won't fix anything. The tenants seemed like nice people, doing their best to move and empty buckets in their house. I thought taking their money should be some kind of crime. And it's that kind of thinking that leads to laws like the one in Seattle.

I didn't buy the house.

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21 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Those damn pesky constitutional rights!!!

Well, yes, and excesses of capitalism too.

I'm pretty sure those tenants in that leaky house had a contract saying they'd pay in exchange for housing. It looked to me like they were paying and the landlord was only sorta providing housing. So sorta breaking the contract. But unlike my lawyer-tenant, their options are pretty limited in terms of getting a real remedy for that apparent breach of contract. That's not what it says in the free market theory books.

The policy of registering every rental and inspecting 10% of them is ridiculous. In any rental market, you can identify the people with choices by the rent they're paying. Around here, the annual market for homes ranges from around 800/month to around 1,500/month. Hmmm... where might we find landlords who are neglecting maintenance to the point of breach of contract? Might it be the landlord who has a friggin' lawyer for the county paying near the top end? Or maybe we should look elsewhere?

Looking elsewhere leads quickly to: rich lawyers have fourth amendment rights and poor janitors don't.

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5 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

So are you saying that profiling is or is not OK?  I'm not really sure where you stand on this issue.  You sorta come off as these searches are unreasonable, but that it would be ok if the "inspections" were only being done on poor people so we could "help" them.  Can you be more clear?  Thanks.

Talking about the rationale for the rule isn't the same as agreeing with it.

The reason they're inspecting a random 10% is because no one, especially not loons like me who believe in fourth amendment rights for illegals, would go along with the proposition in my last sentence. I hope. BTW, some illegal immigrants are poor.

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OK, so the 4th amendment is obviously very boring.

How about zoning?

 

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On Friday, the City Council passed Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive plan to permit three-family homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods, abolish parking minimums for all new construction, and allow high-density buildings along transit corridors.

“Large swaths of our city are exclusively zoned for single-family homes, so unless you have the ability to build a very large home on a very large lot, you can’t live in the neighborhood,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told me this week. Single-family home zoning was devised as a legal way to keep black Americans and other minorities from moving into certain neighborhoods, and it still functions as an effective barrier today. Abolishing restrictive zoning, the mayor said, was part of a general consensus that the city ought to begin to mend the damage wrought in pursuit of segregation. Human diversity—which nearly everyone in this staunchly liberal city would say is a good thing—only goes as far as the housing stock.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, dogballs Tom said:

OK, so the 4th amendment is obviously very boring.

How about zoning?

 

As I learned more about religion, one of my take-aways is how institutions of power protect themselves from those uncooperative followers who just can't seem to get with the program.  The obvious Judeo-Christian version is the money changers but it crops up here and there in most religions.

In modern society, we call the 'money changers' the 'zoning commission'.  One of the fundamental flaws in capitalism is that it works on a cyclic principle - you play a game, decide a winner, and start over.  But what happens when you can't start over and you lock in the results?   Welcome to the zoning commission :)  What happens if a particularly cooperative person - say someone with lots of money - shows up?  Like magic.. the zoning commission is your savior. 

We'll see how Minneapolis fairs but my guess is that the changes aren't so altruistic and have little to do with systemic racisim - there's some developer already in the pipeline.  

 

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15 hours ago, cmilliken said:

What happens if a particularly cooperative person - say someone with lots of money - shows up?  Like magic.. the zoning commission is your savior. 

That only sometimes works but sometimes there's a higher authority.

I inquired about getting zoning changed on a piece of property. The County zoning guy agreed with my reasons and said his office would have no problem with the change, but he also promised me that it would NEVER happen without an Act of God because it meant deviating from State govt requirements to change the boundaries of the Urban Services Area. There really are developers with more money than God who really want this done in communities around the state. For the most part, they can't get it done any more than I can. Act of God required.

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Administrative Searches In NYC
 

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When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business. But that’s exactly what happened. Attorneys for the city threatened Sung with eviction merely because a “stolen property” offense had happened at his business.

The city presented Sung with a choice: See his business shut down or sign an agreement giving up constitutional rights—including his Fourth Amendment right to be free from warrantless searches of his business. Faced with the imminent closure of his laundromat, Sung had no real choice but to sign.

In New York City today, this experience is all too common. Under New York City’s so-called nuisance eviction ordinance—more appropriately termed a “no-fault” eviction ordinance—residents and business owners can be evicted simply because their home or business was the site of a criminal offense.

 

That's obviously just a common sense law enforcement practice, but unfortunately my libertarian elk at the Institute for Justice, notorious for assaults on our legal system, are challenging it in court.

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On 12/12/2018 at 7:24 AM, dogballs Tom said:

Well boith'jeez..... That looks a awful lot like flat land..... Up nawth of burlintin, izit? Just off th'newyawk bawdah..... Yep..... Figirz....

 :rolleyes:

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2 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I think it makes perfect sense that if I sell drugs on out on the far corner of your property while you're asleep that you should lose your house.  I mean, you should KNOW what's going on at all times 24/7.  

Nobody sells drugs, drugs sell themselves.  (credit to Chris Rock, Bring the Pain).  

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7 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

I think it makes perfect sense that if I sell drugs on out on the far corner of your property while you're asleep that you should lose your house.  I mean, you should KNOW what's going on at all times 24/7.  

It's a bit worse than that.

The guy did know about the undercover operation going on at his business because the cops told him about it.

The analogy would be: cops tell me they're going to sell drugs on my property, do it, then take my property because of it.

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Heh. I think you're missing the sarcasm.

It's actually not clear whether they told him about the sting operation. It's clear that it doesn't matter.

 

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Sung came to America in 1981, and he opened his laundromat in 2008 in Inwood, near the northern tip of Manhattan. The business prospered, allowing Sung to put three kids through college.

Twice in 2013, undercover NYPD officers came to the laundromat and offered to sell stolen electronics. Both times, someone allegedly took the bait: The first purchaser was an individual totally unknown to Sung, and the second was a son of a friend. Neither Sung nor his employees were involved in any way.

Seven months passed after the second of these incidents, and then, without any warning, Sung found a brightly colored notice on the window of his laundromat informing him that he was the target of a no-fault eviction action. Sung had just days to prepare for a hearing—scheduled for Christmas Eve—where he would have to convince a judge that his business should not be closed.

Worse, when Sung finally found a lawyer willing to take the case on such short notice during the holiday season, he learned that innocence was no defense under the city’s ordinance. Sung could be evicted, and his business closed, simply because his business was the site of a crime. The identity of the criminals was beside the point.

City attorneys, however, made clear that so long as Sung signed an agreement waiving various constitutional rights, they would not shut down the laundromat. Under the agreement, Sung was forced to: (i) allow police to conduct warrantless searches of his business, (ii) provide police unfettered access to his video surveillance system, and (iii) consent to future fines and sanctions for alleged criminal offenses without any need for a hearing before a judge.

The agreement proposed by the city would waive not only Sung’s rights, but also the rights of other people. If Sung sold his business, the agreement would bind the new owners as well.

Despite the agreement’s onerous terms, Sung found he had no choice. Reluctantly, and only to save the laundromat, Sung agreed to sign.

 

The two other cases in the class action are a bit different in nature but are also outrageously outrageous. To evil libertarians.

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2 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:
 

So this was speculation and not actual fact??  Usually, things like that are preceded by "I suspect....."

Didn't sound like speculation.

But reading a bit further in my posts...

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When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business

Two possibilities are suggested by this:

1. He never imagined that would happen because he did not know about the sting in his business and couldn't imagine things of which he was unaware.

2. He never imagined it because, despite his awareness of the sting, he had the faith in the goodness of government that leads people to look at cases like his and say stuff like:

1 hour ago, Shootist Jeff said:

WOW!  How does this BS even make it to court??

And my suspicion is that it's 2. But anyone who followed links could see the full story for the context of that suspicion.

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On 12/10/2018 at 5:22 AM, dogballs Tom said:

OK, so the 4th amendment is obviously very boring.

How about zoning?

 

 

Also boring, it seems, but it's pretty funny to me that San Fran is forcing a guy to rebuild a historic home he tore down.

We have a Punta Gorda historic district that would react the same way. It's charming as hell unless you want to repair your old house.

The look of pre WWII FL Crackershacks apparently has historic significance. This is funny to me because I'm typing from one right now. My office was built in the 1930's as a home in Port Charlotte. In the 1980's a church bought the historic building with the intention of expanding their parking lot. They put up an ad saying, basically, "Anyone who wants a free house, please come and take it." My mom bit. So it was transported here instead of meeting the end of most of these historic buildings: a bulldozer.
 

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...

This isn't the city's only conflict pitting new developments against a desire to stop anything from ever changing.

Working its way through the courts right now is a lawsuit filed by business owner Robert Tillman, who for years has been stopped from converting his laundromat into apartment complex partially on the grounds that the current laundromat is of historic significance.

...

 

Isn't "historic laundromat" oxymoronic? And other kinds of moronic?

 

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From the Amazon thread:

On 11/14/2018 at 4:05 PM, Left Shift said:

Watching Amazonians every day by the thousands, I can reliably report that they walk, bike, bus, tram, hoverboard, skate board, electric-assist bike, motorscooter, uni-wheel (whatever those things are called), Lyft, Zip-car, and do anything BUT get into a personal car.      I would bet 20% don't even have driver's licenses. 

We are building residential projects aimed at Amazonians with maybe 1 stall per 5 units, or no parking at all.  

Not your average office worker.  

They're legalizing that kind of development in San Fran.
 

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The City of San Francisco, long notorious for having some of the most restrictive zoning rules in the entire country, recently abolished minimum parking requirements for new construction. This might not seem like a big deal. But such mandates add many thousands of dollars to the cost of new housing construction, and thereby reduce the amount of housing, and raise the price of what is available. San Francisco still has numerous other restrictions that block housing development. But this is a notable step in the right direction, and follows in the footsteps of several other cities that have adopted similar reforms.

It's worth noting that abolishing parking requirements and single-family home zoning mandates would not forbid the construction of either single-family homes or buildings with lots of parking spots. It would merely permit the construction of new housing of other types, which previously had been banned. But, in so doing, these reforms would facilitate a great deal of new construction, and thereby reduce housing prices.

 

The thought of not having a car is so foreign to me that it's hard to wrap my head around it. I have my old truck and a minivan and plan to keep both. But they both take space, they both require insurance, both require maintenance, etc. It would be nice to get out of all of that, but not necessary and the vehicles are necessary where I live.

But I'm a rich guy (defined as "someone who owns at least one boat for pleasure") and can afford two vehicles. The overhead of a car is a real drag for people for whom the math of life is such that they have no boats.
 

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Why should any of this interest you, unless you're planning to rent or buy a home in one of the affected communities? The answer is that exclusionary zoning is possibly the most important policy issue most nonexperts have never heard of. In addition to greatly increasing housing costs, it also cuts off many poor and lower-middle class Americans from valuable job opportunities, thereby greatly reducing economic growth and cutting GDP by as much as 9.5%. It is one of the main factors holding back both poor minorities and working-class whites, and preventing millions of Americans from having the opportunity to "vote with their feet" for areas that offer greater opportunity.

The issue unites economists and land-use scholars across the political spectrum. But until recently, progress has been stymied by a combination of public ignorance and resistance by powerful interest groups. But the firewall holding back zoning reform finally seems to be cracking.

 

Or maybe planning to buy and then rent a home. The county wants landlords to provide housing in the under $900 range in this area. That would be nice, an underserved market. So let us build duplexes in more areas.

Sometimes zoning results are just weird. The City of Punta Gorda wouldn't let me put up a fence on one property because, they say, they might close that street and make a park. OK. Super. If they do, it'll enhance my property value. They don't want my ugly fence next to their pretty walking park. OK. I get that. Makes sense until you look across the street at the chain link and barbed wire fence around the mini storage facility. I just wanted a normal chain link fence, no barbed wire or anything.

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On 12/19/2018 at 6:59 AM, dogballs Tom said:

Isn't "historic laundromat" oxymoronic? And other kinds of moronic?

Determining that the answer to the first question is "yes" cost $23,000 plus the lost rent on 75 units for 4 months, which is a hell of a lot more than $23k.

They're still working on the second one.

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12 hours ago, sam_crocker said:

I'm surprised they haven't seized the property in Asset Forfeiture.  Maybe they'll do that after they lose on the first lawsuit.

I'm not sure if the historic laundromat building has committed any crimes but one could no doubt be invented.
 

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...The Supervisors held a public hearing on the project on June 19, 2018. Four and a half years into the process, Ronen and the other Supervisors raised a new issue: Citing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), an environmental law, they expressed concern that the building would cast a partial shadow on a playground next door. The Supervisors voted to delay the project.

Tillman says such shadows are not a legitimate grounds for appeal under CEQA, and that the Supervisors manufactured the issue to delay his plans further. So he sued San Francisco for $17 million in damages, or what he says his building would have generated thus far if not for the city's illegal delays. Litigation is rare tactic by San Francisco developers, who fear political retaliation on future developments. With only one project, Tillman had less to lose.

But in October of 2018, just two months after Tillman filed his lawsuit, the Planning Commission delivered a surprise. It had independently studied the shadow issue and found that it wouldn't have a significant negative impact on the playground next door. The Commission quickly reapproved the project, and Calle 24 declined to appeal.

Tillman finally has the green light to move forward, but he hasn't yet withdrawn his lawsuit out of concern that the Board of Supervisors is devising new ways to try to derail his project.

 

"We have a housing shortage due to our rent controls, but don't you dare destroy a historic laundromat to build housing!"

"We have a housing shortage due to our rent controls, but don't you dare build enough housing to cast a shadow!"

The alternate plan being promoted is to somehow get money from taxpayers and donors to build 100% subsidized housing. OK, great. Have at it. And after the taxpayers' reps and the donors have come up with a pile of money and you have a real plan, find a site and execute it. Meanwhile, leave the guy who has money and a plan alone with the nonsense about historic laundromats and playground shadows.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hong Kong's answer to their housing shortage:

We could build some islands.
 

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The Our Hong Kong Foundation—which first released a detailed policy proposal for building the new islands in August 2018—put the cost at HK $1,360 per square foot of reclaimed land which works out to be about $32 billion in U.S. dollars, or roughly 10 percent of Hong Kong's GDP. One government source told the South China Morning Post that the land reclamation plan would cost up to $68 billion, while an environmentalist group has pegged the costs at closer to $128 billion. The government of Hong Kong, a self-governing "special administrative region" of China, has not released official estimates.

That's a lot of money however you slice it, which only further frustrates those who say the project's aspirational completion date of 2032 won't address the region's immediate and pressing problem of housing affordability.

There are things the Hong Kong government could do right away to help reduce the city's astronomical housing costs, including reforming zoning in the territory so that more housing can be built on land that already exists. A large majority of land that falls under Hong Kong's jurisdiction is actually zoned for "green space"—meaning parks, reservoirs, and farmland—and is thus ineligible for housing.

Rezoning this green space could open up a lot of new land to development, but it would be incredibly controversial.

 

$32 $68 $128 billion and done in 2032?

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On 12/10/2018 at 5:22 AM, dogballs Tom said:

Single-family home zoning was devised as a legal way to keep black Americans and other minorities from moving into certain neighborhoods, and it still functions as an effective barrier today

Or, as was a practice in Avondale Estates, Atlanta, you could just put it in the deed.  It is just a shame that people have to hide their racism today.  Political correctness I guess.  (Where is the sarcasm font)?

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On 12/26/2018 at 4:39 AM, dogballs Tom said:

I just wanted a normal chain link fence, no barbed wire or anything.

Tom,  

Some people would like controlled development.  We build nice neighborhoods like that.  Just because you are less offending than the worst offender doesn't make you a good neighbor.

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7 hours ago, hasher said:

Tom,  

Some people would like controlled development.  We build nice neighborhoods like that.  Just because you are less offending than the worst offender doesn't make you a good neighbor.

We own three houses in a row. They let me put chain link fences on two of them. Just not the one that's across the street from the yuge chain link fence with the barbed wire.

Just because there's a rule doesn't make it a good rule.

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49 minutes ago, dogballs Tom said:

Just because there's a rule doesn't make it a good rule.

I lived in a historical neighborhood.  People worked very hard to keep apartments from replacing homes.  It was very affordable back in the day.

I now live in a very nice building downtown.  I selected this carefully.  We are a community and we are going to make sure that no on violates the community agreements.

This is not a high end or exclusive existence.  The street people know my first name and I would love for them to not live on the street.

I don't want a garbage developer coming in here, ever.

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Mayor DeBlasio Is Going To Take On The Worst Slumlords

And he should probably start at the top.

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It's worth noting that the worst landlord in New York isn't even a private landowner. In December, then-NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, who's since been sworn in as attorney general of New York State, put the city's own housing authority at the top of her "2018 NYC Landlord Watchlist."

 

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Uh Oh. DeBlasio Also Wants A Vacancy Tax
 

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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday vowed to lobby Albany to pass a vacancy tax that would penalize landlords who leave shopfronts empty.

“It feels to me as a New Yorker…it used to be there were some storefronts vacant – and for a limited period of time – and now you have lots of storefronts vacant for years. And that’s a blight on neighborhoods,” the mayor said at an unrelated City Hall press conference.

 

It might be smart to just pay it. "It's blighted" is what politicians say about your property right before they take it and you wind up in the Kelo thread.

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  • 2 months later...
On 12/10/2018 at 5:41 AM, cmilliken said:

In modern society, we call the 'money changers' the 'zoning commission'.  One of the fundamental flaws in capitalism is that it works on a cyclic principle - you play a game, decide a winner, and start over.  But what happens when you can't start over and you lock in the results?   Welcome to the zoning commission :)  What happens if a particularly cooperative person - say someone with lots of money - shows up?  Like magic.. the zoning commission is your savior. 

LMAO at what happens when an uncooperative person shows up.
 

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When the city of Santa Rosa, California, told Jason Windus he had to lower the fence around his home, he complied. But the Santa Rosa Code Enforcement Division probably couldn't have predicted his next move.

...

It all started after Windus built a fence to keep his dogs from leaving his property, which is on a street corner. "It was a 6-foot fence, like everybody else's around here," he told The Press-Democrat. At least one neighbor wasn't a fan. A city spokesperson told KTVU someone filed a complaint last October regarding the fence. It was found to be in violation of the city code because it might block drivers' views of the intersection.

"They were going to fine me a lot of money if I didn't cut the fence down," Windus told KTVU. "I don't know who [the neighbor] is and I'm sure they're not going to come forward."

Windus shortened the fence to 3 feet. Incidentally, he happened to have several mannequins in his yard that he had obtained via his job running a moving company. "I couldn't bring myself to throw them away. I was going to use them for target practice," he told KTRK. It turned out they would come in handy.

"I guess the average person would get angry," Windus told KTRK. "I throw a naked party in my yard."

"You want to see the inside of my yard, now you get to," he added to NBC Bay Area.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/28/2018 at 6:26 AM, Importunate Tom said:
On 12/19/2018 at 6:59 AM, dogballs Tom said:

Isn't "historic laundromat" oxymoronic? And other kinds of moronic?

Determining that the answer to the first question is "yes" cost $23,000 plus the lost rent on 75 units for 4 months, which is a hell of a lot more than $23k.

They're still working on the second one.

In other San Fran housing news, No Adverse Shadows!
 

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San Francisco lived up to its reputation as the nation's NIMBY capital this week by voting to reject a proposed apartment project over concerns that the new building would cast too much shadow on a nearby park.

...

"We absolutely need more housing and affordable housing," said Supervisor Matt Haney to the San Francisco Chronicle, but "this isn't a meaningless shadow on someone's backyard. This is a shadow that falls on the only multi-use public park in SoMa."

Indeed, the proposed six-story building would, on the longest day of the year, cover an additional 18 percent of nearby Victoria Manalo Draves Park—which boasts a community garden, basketball court, and softball field—in shade, according to a study performed by the city's Planning Department.

...

This series of events is hardly unique to the Folsom project. Indeed, it bears a striking similarity to another proposed San Francisco apartment project profiled by Reason.

In that case, property owner Robert Tillman has struggled for years to get permission to redevelop a laundromat he owns into 75-unit apartment building in the neighboring Mission District over the objections of community activists who've argued that his laundromat is a historic resource, and that the shadow it would cast on a nearby school park would be detrimental to the health and safety of neighborhood children.

A big difference between the two cases is that the Board of Supervisors' decision to delay the Folsom project has earned it some sharp criticism from San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

"You cannot claim to be pro-housing and then reject projects like this one," tweeted Breed, a self-identified YIMBY (Yes in my Back Yard) who won election in June 2018 on a pro-housing platform. "Low- and middle-income folks continue to be pushed out of our city. Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is ~$3,600. We. Need. More. Housing."

The irony is that Breed, in one of her last acts in her previous job as city supervisor, bowed to the demands of neighborhood activists, and voted to delay Tillman's project for lacking sufficient shadow study.

 

Wow, $3,600/month for a one bedroom?

As noted in another thread, that's an indicator that our version of capitalism is broken.

21 hours ago, Bristol-Cruiser said:

You are living in a self-created dreamland. Here is a real life example of someone who works at JP Morgan-Chase who ends up short more than $500 a month - must be frivolous spending, you can see what she spends her money on. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the company who makes $31 million a year, could not/would not respond to the inquiry. BTW, how does one spend $31 million a year? If you don't spend it you can only invest it and make even more money.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/katie-porter-jamie-dimon-jpmorgan-chase_n_5cae6b58e4b0308735d4b310


People are paying outrageous amounts for tiny apartments because CEO's make a lot of money, not because of historic laundromats or adverse shadows.

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  • 2 weeks later...

RRS means one thing on a sailing site but it can mean

Racist Railroad Stations
 

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Is allowing for the construction of more housing near transit stops racist? Most people would say no. Not the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), however.

Rather the organization—founded in the 1980s to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS—had decided to dip their toe into the housing policy debate in California, arguing in a recent mailer that allowing for more housing construction would be tantamount to the racist urban renewal programs of the mid-century.

"Urban renewal means negro removal," reads a mailer from the AHF

...

That argument is deeply ironic coming from AFH, given the group's past support for a policy that is known to spur gentrification: rent control.

Back in 2018, AFH spent some $21 million advocating for Prop. 10, a ballot initiative that would have repealed state-level limitations on the ability of California's local governments to impose rent control.

A Stanford University study from the same year found an expansion of rent control in San Francisco during the '90s actually sped up gentrification by encouraging landlords to take rent-controlled housing units off the market and convert them into pricier condominiums that could be sold at market price.

Were AFH truly as concerned about gentrification as their noxious mailer suggests, they might want to reconsider their past rent control advocacy as well. Instead the group had decided to cynically deploy identity politics in an effort to spread myths about what is, at the end of the day, a marginal loosening of California's ridiculously restrictive zoning laws.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

FL Bill To Ban Rent Controls
 

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In many state capitols and city halls, politicians debate how much affordable housing developers should be required to build. Not so in the Florida legislature, where a rapidly advancing bill would prohibit cities from mandating that new private housing projects include any percentage of rent-restricted units at all.

...

These mandates are often used by cities and states trying to grapple with cause increasingly high housing costs. Proponents argue that they ensure that lower-income residents see the benefits of new construction without having to ask taxpayers to fund fully public housing projects. Critics counter that shifting the costs of providing affordable housing onto developers will make some housing projects uneconomical, reducing the overall supply of new housing and driving up prices in the long run.

 

I edited that a bit for accuracy.

I'm one of those "critics."

Eeek! A Nomix!

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  • 2 weeks later...

California's Rent Control Advocates Will Get What They Want Good And Hard
 

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Tenants' rights groups are ecstatic that two major rent-control bills have sailed through the Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee. Democratic supermajorities and Gov. Gavin Newsom's blessing may assure the bills will become law, thus offering the latest affirmation of H.L. Mencken's infamous quotation: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

"We know that millions of tenants are one rent increase away from not being able to afford food, healthcare or even becoming homeless," said Assemblyman David Chiu (D–San Francisco), author of one of the bills. He's certainly right, but his "easy" solution will only make good housing harder to find and far costlier over the long term. He's just pandering to voters angry about high rents.

But the housing crunch largely is the fault of the Legislature's slow-growth land-use policies enacted over two decades, and local governments that have given in to the selfish demands of homeowners who are tired of congestion (and don't want lower-income people living nearby in apartments). Instead of fixing the mess government created, lawmakers want to make private owners subsidize rents of their customers. It's morally wrong and doesn't work.

Rent control has long been tried in California (Santa Monica, San Francisco), New York City and Europe. In Stockholm, the waiting list for a rent-controlled apartment is nine-to-20 years. But go ahead and get your name on the list. The same thing happens everywhere. Landlords exit the market. Developers stop building apartments. People stay in apartments for decades, thus eliminating housing mobility. Supply drops significantly, driving up rents region-wide. Young people and new immigrants have to double-up in overcrowded dumps....

 

I read on RentPrep for Landlords and other places about the nightmare of trying to evict someone in other states and it does give me faith in humanity. It can take years to evict a deadbeat tenant, during which time they trash your property and you pay their utility bills. Any tenant could act that way. The fact that rental markets exist in these places can only mean that most don't.

And it also means those landlords must price their properties in anticipation of the large losses when they get one who does.

Rent controls, like any price controls, will make the situation worse. That will make more people long for government to solve their problems, which may explain why Kamala Harris is a yuge supporter of rent controls.

 

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  • 1 month later...
34 minutes ago, jocal505 said:
38 minutes ago, Importunate Tom said:


What does this case have to do with whether or not homeless people have rights?

Right off the bat, you miss the point. The problem here is not their rights. The problem is the roof remaining over their head.

Are a slumlord figure? 


Your thrashing around is confusing. I'm not sure what cen$or$hip of political $peech has to do with homeless people and the fact that you need a home to have second amendment rights in the TeamD/grabby view.

I already admitted in this thread that I'm a slumlord figure. To make it worse, as mentioned, one of my victims is a lawyer who works for the county. Poor helpless guy, totally at my mercy.

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  • 2 months later...

Zion, Illinois Rental Inspections
 

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Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, there is only one option for the government when it wants to search a home without the occupant’s consent: get a warrant. In Zion, Illinois, however, the government operates by a different set of rules. Zion’s rental inspection ordinance gives it license to fine landlords up to $750 a day, or even revoke the right to rent property altogether, unless landlords force tenants to allow the city’s unconstitutional searches. 

Zion landlord Josefina Lozano wants to protect her tenants’ rights. After some of her tenants refused to allow warrantless inspections, the city sent Josefina a threatening letter giving her until September 29, 2019, to comply—or face fines that could reach five or even six figures. Rather than wait for the city to issue ruinous fines, Josefina and three of her tenants—Della Sims, Dorice Pierce and Robert Pierce—are teaming up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a federal lawsuit fighting Zion’s unconstitutional ordinance.

“Just because someone chooses to rent, rather than own their home, it doesn’t mean they give up their constitutional rights,” IJ Attorney Rob Peccola said. “It is plainly unconstitutional for Zion to force renters to open up their homes to government inspectors without a warrant and under threat of extreme penalties.”

Dorice and Robert have called their Zion apartment home since 2000. Because they value their personal privacy, the couple sent a letter to the city objecting to an inspection and demanding a warrant before allowing government inspectors to search their most private spaces. Zion ignored that request, choosing to threaten Josefina, their landlord, with fines.

“This is our home. It’s our right to decide who comes in it, and the government can’t do so without a reason,” Robert said.

In 2015, when the city passed its rental inspection ordinance, the mayor at that time blamed the city’s poor financial health on an “overabundance of non-owner-occupied rental property.” Renters, he asserted, “often do not take care of their property like homeowners do, so this ordinance targets rentals only.” But individuals’ constitutional right to privacy in their home does not depend on government preferences for homeowners over renters. All persons enjoy that right equally.

 

Just as in the thread topic case,

On 12/6/2018 at 8:17 AM, Hypercapnic Tom said:

Those whining renters just don't understand that warrantless searches for their own good should be welcomed.

 

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On 7/3/2019 at 1:38 AM, Hypercapnic Tom said:


Your thrashing around is confusing. I'm not sure what cen$or$hip of political $peech has to do with homeless people and the fact that you need a home to have second amendment rights in the TeamD/grabby view.

I already admitted in this thread that I'm a slumlord figure. To make it worse, as mentioned, one of my victims is a lawyer who works for the county. Poor helpless guy, totally at my mercy.

Hello, Pooplius.  I won't do work for slumlord figures. They are a certain elk, they have no budget for the work their buildings need. They are just workin' it in the USA.

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3 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Damn, my jocal to english translator is broken again.  Can anyone help me out here?

You must not be very bright. 

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4 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:
20 hours ago, jocal505 said:

Hello, Pooplius.  I won't do work for slumlord figures. They are a certain elk, they have no budget for the work their buildings need. They are just workin' it in the USA.

Damn, my jocal to english translator is broken again.  Can anyone help me out here?

He's actually right about this. Though they don't typically have lawyers as tenants, there are definitely people with no budget for maintenance, or at least no inclination to spend said budget.

I mentioned one above.

On 12/7/2018 at 7:21 AM, Hypercapnic Tom said:

On the other end of the spectrum, I went to look at a house in 2017 and was pretty appalled. It was summer, so storms every afternoon. And every afternoon, the rain came through the leaky roof. There's a lot of this. Landlords who just won't fix anything. The tenants seemed like nice people, doing their best to move and empty buckets in their house. I thought taking their money should be some kind of crime. And it's that kind of thinking that leads to laws like the one in Seattle.

I didn't buy the house.

My rough guess was that the house in question needed $30-50k in repairs, all because the landlord didn't replace a $5k roof. I just looked it up and someone did buy it for about $40k less than the asking price. I think they paid too much because I would have made the idiot landlord compensate me for the price of the needed work plus the PITA factor and lost rent while the work was done.

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  • 2 months later...

Hesperia Sued Again
 

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing the California city of Hesperia and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department over a local rental ordinance, passed in 2016, that the DOJ says amounted to illegal racial discrimination.

The Hesperia law required landlords to register their rental properties with the city, submit the names of all adult tenant applicants to the sheriff's department for criminal background checks, and to include in their leases "crime free" addendums that mandate tenants be evicted for engaging in any criminal activity on or near their property, or in the case of drug crimes, anywhere at all.

In addition, the city's ordinance required every rental property to undergo an annual police inspection.

The DOJ is arguing that this heavy-handed ordinance was all an effort to keep black and Hispanic renters from moving to Hesperia in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

 

An "annual police inspection" is another "administrative search" and the fourth amendment problem should be obvious.

This isn't the first legal problem for this rule.
 

Quote

 

In 2016, HUD opened an administrative investigation into Hesperia's rental ordinance. That same year, a nonprofit housing provider and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city over its law.

In response to that lawsuit, the city in 2017 begrudgingly amended its rental regulations to make tenant screenings and evictions for criminal activity voluntary.

 

I'm happy as usual to see ACLU Inc exercising its corporate first amendment rights in this time-honored way.
 

Quote

 

Tenant advocates often argue for anti-discrimination laws on the grounds that some private landlords, left to their own devices, will refuse to rent to people because of their race.

Provided all the allegations in the DOJ lawsuit are true, the Hesperia law is an example of the opposite phenomena: city officials decided that landlords were not discriminating enough on racial grounds, and passed a law to make them do more of it.

 

My view as a landlord is that if others turn down good tenants for stupid reasons, that leaves more good tenants for those like me who will not.

Apparently, an unacceptably large percentage of Hesperia landlords felt the same way, prompting the city action.

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3 hours ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing the California city of Hesperia and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department over a local rental ordinance, passed in 2016, that the DOJ says amounted to illegal racial discrimination.

The Hesperia law required landlords to register their rental properties with the city, submit the names of all adult tenant applicants to the sheriff's department for criminal background checks, and to include in their leases "crime free" addendums that mandate tenants be evicted for engaging in any criminal activity on or near their property, or in the case of drug crimes, anywhere at all.

In addition, the city's ordinance required every rental property to undergo an annual police inspection.

The DOJ is arguing that this heavy-handed ordinance was all an effort to keep black and Hispanic renters from moving to Hesperia in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

 

An "annual police inspection" is another "administrative search" and the fourth amendment problem should be obvious.

So, I'm curious....  if they had left out the annual police searches and left the other aspects in place, would you be ok with that?

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21 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

So, I'm curious....  if they had left out the annual police searches and left the other aspects in place, would you be ok with that?

No. I see no reason to submit applicants' info to a sheriff for a criminal background check. I already get those through a private service. Also, I'm of the opinion that most drug "crimes" should not be crimes at all. As for things that I agree are crimes, I'm not so sure that they should require lease termination if committed "near" the property.

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1 hour ago, Shootist Jeff said:

So, I'm curious....  if they had left out the annual police searches and left the other aspects in place, would you be ok with that?

I'm also curious on what legal basis a background check could be required of a tenant by a city unless they claim the tenant needs to apply for some kind of license to live there.   Sounds like multiple constitutional issues.

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6 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

I'm also curious on what legal basis a background check could be required of a tenant by a city unless they claim the tenant needs to apply for some kind of license to live there.   Sounds like multiple constitutional issues.

It's actually a little worse than you describe.

As mentioned above, they want to BG check applicants, not just tenants. I typically have two or more qualified applicants to whom I'd like to rent before accepting one, and there are some unqualified applicants in the mix. So for each party to whom I rent, the sheriff would be looking into that party and some others who are not even going to be my tenants.

So they're definitely looking to give out permission, if not a license, to rent in the city. The DOJ says the Hesperia govt was doing this because too many landlords were willing to rent to black and hispanic (or is that LatinX now?) people.

 

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18 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

I'm also curious on what legal basis a background check could be required of a tenant by a city unless they claim the tenant needs to apply for some kind of license to live there.   Sounds like multiple constitutional issues.

So are you saying a background check for something that doesn't require a license is bad?  

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  • 1 month later...

Nutjob libertarians continue to assault the American way of life
 

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This morning, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion vacating and remanding a lower court’s ruling in favor of Pottstown in a lawsuit challenging the borough’s rental inspection ordinance. This law allows the borough to enter residents’ homes without cause and without the residents’ consent. The Court also reversed the trial court’s orders denying discovery to the Pottstown residents who challenged the law. This makes sure that as the lawsuit now proceeds on remand, the residents will have a full record of how these inspections are actually conducted—and what inspectors actually do once they are inside peoples’ homes.

The Court also rejected the borough’s argument that, in order for the tenants to challenge the law, residents would have to first submit to the borough’s invasive rental inspections. After Pottstown tenants Dottie and Omar Rivera and their longtime landlord, Steve Camburn, refused to allow inspectors inside their home, Pottstown obtained administrative warrants to search inside—but with no suspicion that anything was wrong. The Borough also attempted to search the non-rental family home of Pottstown residents Thomas, Kathleen, and Rosemarie O’Connor without their consent and with no search warrant whatsoever. These brave citizens sued Pottstown with the help of the nutjobs at Institute for Justice (IJ).

 

Much like corporations, tenants are sort of people too and might just have fourth amendment rights...

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More on the Pottstown searches
 

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...

Fighting coerced, cause-less inspection of rental units isn't new for the Institute for Justice. It challenged Yuma, Arizona over a similar law in 2002, and forced the city to make search warrants conditional on probable cause. The group is currently fighting similar inspections in Zion, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington, as well.

"Seattle's law is being challenged as more and more cities adopt similar, proactive programs to help improve rental inspections," Curbed reported of the challenge to that city's cause-less searches. "Detroit and Syracuse, New York, have recently passed similar ordinances."

So have other local governments.

"If there is one thing every American understands, it's that government officials don't have the right to enter our homes unless they have a warrant or there's a true emergency," ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga objected after Hampton, Virginia, adopted a similar rental inspection requirement in 2013. The ACLU earlier threatened legal action against Virginia officials in Chesterfield County, deterring them from adopting similar inspections.

Most of these rental inspection laws couch their rationales in public health language. They're full of concern about code compliance and maintaining safe and hygienic conditions for tenants. Sure, tenants could take concerns up with their own landlords, or file complaints on their own initiative, but much of the push behind rental inspections drips with contempt for the agency of mere renters.

"By relieving tenants of the burden of having to force reticent landlords to make needed repairs, systematic inspections can help ensure that a locality's rental housing stock is maintained and that residents live in healthy conditions," ChangeLab Solutions, a public health nonprofit, claims in A Guide to Proactive Rental Inspection Programs published in 2014.

"Often, the most vulnerable tenants don't complain," the report continues. "Some tenants are unaware that they have a right to safe and habitable housing. They may not know about existing tenant protections or code enforcement programs. Or they may have language barriers or disabilities that make it difficult to navigate the code enforcement system. Many tenants may be afraid to complain about their housing for fear of increased rent or landlord retaliation (such as eviction). Residents may be undocumented or have limited income that hampers their ability to move."

The ChangeLab Solutions report notes that some tenants may have privacy concerns and wish to deny entry to inspectors. It recommends administrative inspection warrants as a means of breaching such barriers.

As befits laws that were born in contempt for those who sign leases instead of deeds, penalties for noncompliance are often levied on landlords, leaving them to find a way to coerce resistant tenants into admitting inspectors, or else join those tenants in fighting intrusive officials.

 

It's nice that ACLU Inc can effect political change by merely threatening to exercise its corporate first amendment right to expre$$ itself by suing.

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  • 8 months later...

NYPD's No Fault Eviction Program Ends
 

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On Monday, October 5, 2020, Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a settlement order providing systemic relief to thousands of New Yorkers whom the city had targeted for no-fault evictions in years past. For decades, the city used its no-fault eviction program to coerce residents and businesses to enter into settlements waiving their constitutional rights. Under this week’s settlement order, the city will be barred from enforcing those no-fault settlements across the board.

“This week’s settlement order has been a long time coming,” said IJ Nutjob Sam Gedge. “For years, New York City used the threat of eviction to break up families, forcing leaseholders to kick out children, spouses and siblings—many of whom were never charged with a crime. Other times, the city would force businesses to consent to warrantless searches and video monitoring. Monday’s settlement order delivers justice to the countless New Yorkers who were stripped of their constitutional rights in these ways.”

Through a program dating back to the 1990s, the New York Police Department often threatened to evict businesses and residents when somebody—even a total stranger—committed a crime at or near their property. Once eviction proceedings were underway, New York City’s prosecutors would then bully the businesses and residents into signing away their constitutional rights in order to avoid eviction. Parents would have to agree to bar their children from their homes. Businesses would have to agree to warrantless searches. Others would have to agree to waive judicial oversight of future sanctions imposed by the NYPD.

Laundromat owner Sung Cho learned about these practices the hard way. After undercover police officers came to Sung’s laundromat and offered to sell stolen electronics to his customers, the NYPD threatened to evict him from his business. The city said it would let him stay if he agreed to three demands: waive his Fourth Amendment right against warrantless searches, grant police unlimited access to his security camera system, and allow the NYPD to impose sanctions for alleged criminal offenses even without any opportunity for a hearing before a judge. Faced with eviction, he reluctantly settled on the city’s terms.

After Cho—along with co-plaintiffs David Diaz and Jameelah El-Shabazz—teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to challenge settlements like these, the city overhauled its no-fault eviction practices in May 2017. But thousands of New Yorkers remained bound by unconstitutional settlements that the city had extracted in the past. In changing its law, the city left them behind.

Monday’s settlement order grants relief to those thousands of New Yorkers.

...

 

Re the part I bolded: holding property owners responsible for the actions of criminals seems to be a popular idea but it's still not one I share.

Glad to see the nutjobs at IJ win again!

 

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On 1/8/2020 at 6:41 AM, Quotidian Tom said:

Nutjob libertarians continue to assault the American way of life
 

Quote

 

This morning, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion vacating and remanding a lower court’s ruling in favor of Pottstown in a lawsuit challenging the borough’s rental inspection ordinance. This law allows the borough to enter residents’ homes without cause and without the residents’ consent. The Court also reversed the trial court’s orders denying discovery to the Pottstown residents who challenged the law. This makes sure that as the lawsuit now proceeds on remand, the residents will have a full record of how these inspections are actually conducted—and what inspectors actually do once they are inside peoples’ homes.

The Court also rejected the borough’s argument that, in order for the tenants to challenge the law, residents would have to first submit to the borough’s invasive rental inspections. After Pottstown tenants Dottie and Omar Rivera and their longtime landlord, Steve Camburn, refused to allow inspectors inside their home, Pottstown obtained administrative warrants to search inside—but with no suspicion that anything was wrong. The Borough also attempted to search the non-rental family home of Pottstown residents Thomas, Kathleen, and Rosemarie O’Connor without their consent and with no search warrant whatsoever. These brave citizens sued Pottstown with the help of the nutjobs at Institute for Justice (IJ).

 

Much like corporations, tenants are sort of people too and might just have fourth amendment rights... 

Getting those records took a while.
 

Quote

 

...

On June 23, 2020, the court ordered Pottstown to produce “all requested documents.” Pottstown chose to defy this order and instead filed for a protective order in the Court of Common Pleas, asking for the quantity of documents it had to produce to be severely limited and for the right to withhold all electronically stored information.  

And that’s not all—Pottstown claimedfor the first time in the three years of this litigation, that producing these documents was so burdensome that the plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the rental ordinance should pay for what the court had ordered. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, in reaction to Pottstown’s obstinate unwillingness to satisfy its discovery obligations, asked the court to allow the plaintiffs to appoint a computer forensics expert trained in data recovery to retrieve the borough’s files. Judge Haaz granted this request in Wednesday’s order. 

“Pottstown’s attempts to keep its unconstitutional inspections hidden from public view were always meritless, and we’re pleased to see the court recognize it as such,” IJ Nutjob Robert Peccola said. “With these records, we will be one step closer to vindicating Pottstown residents’ constitutional rights.” 

 

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

Getting back to zoning disputes,

Sierra Vista Residents Sue City to Keep Their Homes in Place
 

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Staring down the possibility of homelessness, three Sierra Vista residents ordered to move their RV homes sued the city today. The suit comes just days after the city council chose to enforce eviction orders initially issued in 2020. The Institute for Justice (IJ), which has been working with the homeowners since last summer, filed the lawsuit to protect the homeowners’ property rights under the Arizona Constitution.

“No one should be made homeless in the name of zoning,” said Paul Avelar, managing nutjob of IJ’s Arizona office. “There is no health or safety reason for kicking our clients out of their homes. The city’s eviction orders are senseless and cruel and come in the middle of a pandemic.”

...

Amanda Root has lived in Sierra Vista for 26 years and owned her property in Cloud 9 for 21 years. Unfortunately, Amanda’s manufactured home was lost to fire in 2016. Without insurance, she was not sure whether she would be able to afford another. Fortunately, friends donated the trailer she lives in now.

“I’m suing Sierra Vista because their order would make me homeless,” said Amanda. “I love my home, I take good care of my property and I shouldn’t have to move. It’s frustrating because I’m surrounded by houses that are falling apart and the city is doing nothing about them. I own this land, why should I have to go somewhere else?”

In July 2020, Cloud 9 residents received notices ordering them to move their homes within 30 days. The orders came without hearings, a procedure for appeal, or any court approvals. The city does not maintain that the homes are unsafe for their residents or a danger for the neighborhood. The lawsuit asserts that abusive zoning laws and failure to provide residents with due process before taking away their property rights are violations of the Arizona Constitution.

More broadly, restrictive zoning makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for people of modest means to live in modest homes.

...

 

Amanda Root sounds like a real piece of trailer trash, what with wanting to live in and care for her own home on her own property and all.

 

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Another zoning triumph as Seattle closes Yonder Bar
 

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...

While Yonder Bar is closed, Yonder Cider is still available to buy online and in retail stores. And efforts continue to ensure Yonder Bar's hiatus will be temporary. Yonder has launched an online petition, asking supporters to tell the city to allow it to reopen. (Full disclosure: I signed.) And a freedom of information act request, which at least one party has filed with the city, could shed light on just who filed the complaints against Yonder Bar and—maybe—why they did so. 

Hopefully, the city will come to its senses. And soon.

"It's going to be funny when this lone complainer winds up getting a citywide zoning change that will legalize stuff like Yonder on every lot," the Seattle-based Twitter account Pushing the Needle tweeted hopefully this week.

That would be funny. And awesome. And the most just of results.

 

It would be a funny unintended consequence but doesn't seem all that likely to me.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nutjobs Challenge New York City’s Abusive Building Code Fines and Fees
 

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In 2016, Queens homeowner Joe Corsini came home to find a piece of paper on his door. It was a notice from the city. He was being fined $3,000 because he moved his pigeon coop from his backyard to his roof and didn’t realize he needed a building permit. Joe was frustrated, but not deterred. He hired an architect—and a lawyer—and started to work with the city to bring the coop into compliance. The city set out a series of unreasonable requirements and after months of going back and forth, Joe finally gave up. Despite working with the city, however, it continued to fine him. When he finally gave up, the city had imposed $11,000 in fines—all for a pigeon coop. To make matters worse, to appeal the fines, he had to first pay them in full. Understandably, Joe tore down the coop and paid the fines.

Joe is not alone in being targeted by the city’s abusive building inspectors. This year, the city brought in nearly $1 billion in fines and forfeitures, much of it raised by the Department of Buildings. Next year, the city projects it will increase that amount by another $150 million. It can only do that by increasing inspections and fines.

Although Joe may have torn down the coop, he is not done fighting the city. Today, he partnered with the Institute for Justice, a nutjob law firm, to sue the city and put an end to its unconstitutional program of trapping property owners in a byzantine system of permits and fines that few can escape.

“New York City’s building code treats ordinary homeowners like a revenue source, regularly imposing huge fines for minor violations,” said Bill Maurer, a senior nutjob at the Institute for Justice. “An innocent mistake shouldn’t cost a homeowner tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. The city’s system is so rigged against small property owners that few can escape unscathed.”

...

The Department of Buildings is not above the Constitution. When it imposes fines and fees on property owners, the owners must have a meaningful opportunity to be heard by an impartial adjudicator without the burdensome condition of paying everything upfront. This protection is the bedrock of due process and is especially crucial when the fines provide a financial incentive for the Department of Buildings to stack up penalties, as it did to Joe.

“The constitutional guarantee of due process for deprivation of property guards against precisely what the DOB is doing to unsuspecting homeowners across New York City,” said IJ Nutjob Diana Simpson. “Joe’s lawsuit seeks to put an end to the DOB’s role as cop, judge, and jury for the city’s building code. It will ensure that the city focuses on actual threats to public safety, instead of targeting small homeowners without the know-how or the resources to fight back against the city’s draconian system that lines its own coffers.”

 

I hope Mr. Corsini prevails.

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  • 2 months later...

Administrative Searches and Article 1, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution
 

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...

Forced rental inspections are spreading like wildfire in Iowa. State law requires that cities with populations of 15,000 or more adopt a “program for regular rental inspections.” Orange City has a population of just over 6,000 but nevertheless passed a rental registration and inspection law in February 2021.

The lawsuit alleges that Orange City’s rental inspection program violates Article I, Section 8 of the Iowa Constitution, which guarantees the right to keep the government from unreasonably intruding upon private property. More broadly, the lawsuit asserts that the Iowa Constitution provides greater search and seizure protections than the federal Constitution as it has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, which narrowly carved out an exception in the 1967 case Camara v. Municipal Court.

“The Iowa Constitution is clear: If the government wants to enter your home, it should only be able to get a warrant if it provides real evidence that something is wrong inside,” said IJ Attorney John Wrench. “Orange City can’t use an administrative warrant to force its way into Iowans’ homes without even suspicion that anything is wrong.”

Erika’s landlord, Josh Dykstra, was stunned that these inspections would ever be considered by the city.

“It’s unconstitutional for the government to search through your property without a reason,” Josh said. “A cop cannot enter a property without a warrant. What makes city officials think they can barge in when police officers cannot?”

Amanda Wink, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, emphasized that the ordinance treats renters as second-class citizens.

“Me renting a house is no different than owning a house. My privacy shouldn’t be any less important,” Amanda said.

The Institute for Justice is the nutjob law firm for liberty and the nation’s leading advocate for property rights. IJ has successfully challenged a rental inspection program in Yuma, Arizona, and is currently challenging the rental inspection regimes of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Zion, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington.

...

 

I tend to agree with Amanda. One of the concerns noted in promoting these programs is public health dangers from things like faulty wiring, which a tenant may not recognize as faulty.

I can't see how that would apply only to rental properties. Any of us might have faulty wiring and not be aware of it, even if we own our homes.

The Camara case referenced is kind of interesting and the opinion is shorter than the average wofsey post. It says in part:
 

Quote

 

...

If a valid public interest justifies the intrusion contemplated, then there is probable cause to issue a suitably restricted search warrant.

...

in the case of most routine area inspections, there is no compelling urgency to inspect at a particular time or on a particular day. Moreover, most citizens allow inspections of their property without a warrant. Thus, as a practical matter and in light of the Fourth Amendment's requirement that a warrant specify the property to be searched, it seems likely that warrants should normally be sought only after entry is refused unless there has been a citizen complaint or there is other satisfactory reason for securing immediate entry. Similarly, the requirement of a warrant procedure does not suggest any change in what seems to be the prevailing local policy, in most situations, of authorizing entry, but not entry by force, to inspect.

...

Assuming the facts to be as the parties have alleged, we therefore conclude that appellant had a constitutional right to insist that the inspectors obtain a warrant to search and that appellant may not constitutionally be convicted for refusing to consent to the inspection. It appears from the opinion of the District Court of Appeal that under these circumstances a writ of prohibition will issue to the criminal court under California law.

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So an area-wide inspection program that pursues a valid public interest is something that will probably cause warrants.

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