Council in brief: Bobby Henon calls out negligent property owners

Some legislation of note from today’s City Council meeting:

>> Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced a resolution supporting a
bill from state Sen. Christine Tartaglione that would toughen penalties
for those who assault transit drivers.

>> Councilman Bobby Henon introduced an ordinance that would provide for the creation of a Problem Property Task Force. The group would be chaired by the managing director and consist of representatives from any city department that desires to participate, including the District Attorney’s Office, L&I and the offices of the police, fire and health commissioners.

“We’re reacting to violations and property maintenance concerns before they escalate further,” he said, adding that the legislation is also intended to encourage collaboration between various city departments that oversee nuisances.

The ordinance would give power to the managing director to declare residential buildings “problem properties” once they have two or more Property Maintenance Code, excessive noise or litter violations or if they are host to persistent activities or conditions that pose a significant safety hazard.

Owners would be subject to a $2,000 a day fine for each violation, participation in an educational program designed by the Problem Property Task Force and the cost of a police officer, which would be posted on the premises to prevent harm if the property poses a severe danger.

>> Henon also called out several property owners by name for negligence and said that they would soon be subpoenaed to testify before a Council committee hearing on problem landlords.

>> Councilman Jim Kenney had a somewhat tense exchange with Doug Smith, Verizon’s Vice President of Government Affairs, over Kenney’s resolution to hold hearings reviewing how much progress the company has made in building a citywide cable TV network and whether it is neglecting poorer neighborhoods.

“Let me be clear: A hearing on the FIOS project is not needed and I ask the sponsor to table the resolution,” Smith said. “The sponsor of the bill said we weren’t building in low income neighborhoods. We don’t
do business like that. … Verizon is on schedule and, in many cases, ahead of

“To quote Shakespeare, I think he doth protest too much,” Kenney responded. “The more and more agitation I sense from Verizon, the more and more I feel we should have the hearing.”

The resolution passed Council unanimously

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