Saturday, September 1, 2007

More Reader Comments

This from an email to the Mayor and copied to me:

Subject: Forward to Mayor

Ms. Hanowell. Whatcom County Local Voters Pamphlet: Position Descriptions: City mayor: The City mayor ensures effective, efficient and economical administration in accordance with the CITY CHARTER or BYLAWS, the WASHINGTON STATE CONSTITUTION, and other applicable FEDERAL, STATE, and LOCAL laws as well as city council policy. Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following: Enforces all ordinances and state statutes within the city.

Would you please inform the mayor that it is his job to enforce the single family code currently on the books, and put there by the city council. Also that He is currently derelict in his duties. Reason being? Please response as I would like to share the answer with my neighbors. I thank you in advance.

Respectfully Yours,


From a recent email to me:


I appreciate your perspective on this "growing" issue and agree with many of your major points which you articulated very succinctly. I also agree that additional (on campus) WWU dorms could help alleviate some of the problem. Unfortunately, there will always be a large percentage of (especially) upperclassmen that opt to live off campus regardless.

I agree, this problem is not created by students. It is the landlords offering high density accommodations to seek maximum profit from their investments. It would be interesting to know how many of our city neighborhood association members (over) rent to students?

I tend to agree, most students are responsible and try to fit nicely into the community. Your comment concerning "mature" supervision in these "boarding houses" identifies a major reason for our frustrations. Many, if not most, multiple housing unit rentals seem to be poorly maintained nor cared for inside and out. This contributes greatly to the degradation of home values and our individual quality of life in any neighborhood.

"Alternate" (WWU owned) housing is a concept that should be explored more fully. This could help relieve some of the problem, but needs to be funded by our legislature similar to renovations and classroom construction. A question jumps out at once; where would "alternate" housing be located? I'm sure it would become a "not in my neighborhood" issue! This is a great conundrum.

Dick, what do you suggest should be done to "force" the City and WWU to actively step up to this problem? Past (and present) actions have been useless except to aggravate our collective frustration level. Letters and phone calling apparently has not worked ! I would be interested in your comments.

A novel approach to consider would be to contact the IRS, WA State Revenue and Bellingham City Finance Departments. I wonder how many of our (beloved) landlords of "boarding houses" are paying Federal taxes on their earned income !! That's called tax evasion! It would be relatively easy to find out the owners (landlord) names and addresses. Remember, Al Capone was finally jailed for tax evasion.


Yet another email comment:


We live in the equally unenforced, single-family-zoned Magnolia Hills subdivision and have our quantum of the equivalent of rooming houses in our neighborhood -- you can spot them by the unkempt yards, heavy/loud traffic, excessive numbers of cars parked wherever, overflowing trash cans (cardboard boxes, beer cans, bottles, etc.), post-midnight noise, and the quarterly appearance of junk "free" furniture by the curbside. Neighborhood appearance affects property values. Renters and roominghouse inmates don't care. Owners do.

I suspect the new Bellingham mayor and City Council (remaining elected and newly elected alike) won't do anything enforcement-wise until and unless the presssure increases. Time to get organized.

Like you, I am a retired federal government officer (State Dept.) and returned long-time WA resident.



1 comment:

LM said...

CW....I feel your pain as your neighbor in Magnolia Hills. I'm an original homeowner in the sub-division and have seen the area go from very nice, family oriented to what you have described. I have 4 "boarding house" properties in a row across the street from our house. Part of the problem is out of town wealthy parents purchasing homes for their student kids and dumping the kids on the neighborhood to do as they wish. Although retired military, I'm out of town on business a majority of the time and have become concerned for my wife's safety in my absence. I have complained to the city in the past with no response at all. I'm willing to work with anyone to solve this problem.