The other day I was speaking to a resident about who is running for election this cycle. She said that she would only vote for someone who would do something about illegal immigration. I am sure her complaint was primarily racially motivated, but moreover it was uneducated as the people running for election this cycle cannot really do anything about immigration. It is a federal law and local municipalities can’t do anything about it.
What local municipalities can do is strengthen their codes and look more closely on the violation trends for the properties. Falling down homes and broken windows, while very obvious are not the only things that cause community problems. Too many people living in an apartment or mounds of trash on the street – which is not always caused by immigrants – are not-so-clear signs that there are issues going on in that property and something needs to be done about it. All of these things affect the quality of life for everyone in the block and degrades the town.
If the codes department is on top of things many kinds of things would get violations which would hurt the landlords that are allowing this kind of behavior go on. Attack negligent property owners in the community by citing them every time they violate the law and they will eventually close up shop and that problem property will abate itself. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Once the word gets out that the municipality is not going to accept this kind of property owner and things will slowly turn around.