Landlord group still endeavors to balance all sides of the equation
Landlords are caught in the middle. On one hand, they’re subjected to the city’s taxes, fees, fines, rules and regulations, and the court system. On the other hand, they deal with the tenants and their rights, situations, attitudes, behavior, advocacy programs and, again, the court system.
For landlords, functioning and surviving, should they decide to invest and participate, can lead to physical, mental and financial challenges.
Addressing these challenges is what SLIC (Schenectady Landlords Influencing Change) is all about. In January our newly formed group sent out letters of introduction to, among others, the mayor, members of City Council and county Legislature, code enforcement, city court judges, and directors of DSS [Department of Social Services], Section 8, Mohawk Opportunity, New Choice and SCAP [Schenectady Community Action Program].
This letter states, “Our goal is to effect changes in the system (operating rental properties) that will not only make them more “landlord-friendly,” but will enhance the tenants’ quality of life as well. We intend to focus on each of the following areas; the court/legal system, city/county government, and tenant advocacy programs. We plan to present them with reasonable ideas and proposals that will lead to future improvements.”
Then, as SLIC continued to evolve, it became a strong proponent of eduction and information; providing landlords with better methods to run their business and deal with all its challenges. Our programs include networking, speakers, workshops and City Council presentations. We have created a carefully constructed standard lease for landlord use. We have introduced an award program where landlords nominate exceptional tenants for recognition.
It is understood that groups and organizations channel their efforts toward their basic “mission statement.” However, in any group, there are going to be varying opinions and personal agendas. Some will be more vocal than others. Individual experiences and reactions will vary. Through acknowledging these differences, exploring and researching options and alternatives, we look to effect change.
SLIC advocates diplomacy and reasoning supported by research and facts. Although, along with most of the city’s general population, we struggle with the burden of its financial status, we do not condone a “radical” or “activist” approach to our interaction with the community. (Nevertheless, individual landlords and their attorneys may choose to follow a different policy.)
As a group, we will continue our quest to encourage and facilitate positive change. We respectfully urge the city and program leaders to maintain open lines of communication with SLIC. Cooperation and collaborative relationships between the city, landlords, and tenants will serve as a stepping stone to the betterment of the rental system and overall quality of housing in Schenectady.
The writer is co-founder and director of SLIC.
Eye-opening testimony raises fracking doubts
I attended a fracking forum in the town of Broome recently. Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon, having just returned from Montrose and Dimock, Penn., offered to speak. Allow me to share observations from his “go see for yourself” message.
Be careful: The state roads have been deeply rutted by continuous truck traffic. You’ll need to maneuver far to the right, or left toward oncoming traffic.
Notice the look-alike garden sheds by each home; they contain 300 to 1,100 gallon water buffaloes. These can be refilled at a fire hydrant outside Montrose for one cent per gallon, and used for bathing, laundry and dishes. Bottled water from the store is required for drinking and cooking.
Tax revenue from gas drilling is offset by the drop in property values. Nobody wants to purchase homes near a spider work of gathering pipelines, flaring gas wells, blowouts and contaminated well water.
When asked whether the residents received gas from these pipelines or benefited from lower prices, Jim answered, “No.”
Go see for yourselves. You will discover what comes of believing the promises of an industry adept at manipulating the minds of people who live above the resources they want to extract.
The rule: ‘One step forward, two back’
A couple of comments about last week’s news. In Texas, the over-60 male majority has decided to take the abortion issue back into its own hands and enforce their will on the women of Texas.
A jury in Florida has decided it’s OK to shoot and kill an unarmed black youth as long as you feel you are in danger.
New York state has decided we need a law to prevent adults from smoking in public parks.
These events prove that while we have come a long way in this country, there is still plenty of work for future generations when it comes to human rights — as well as the rights of all to make their own choices.
As a parent, I hope we all talk to our kids about these issues and encourage them to fight for a future without bias and discrimination.
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