According to Jack Weiss, the head of the Planning Committee, "This meeting will be for presentation and an introductory line of questions by the committee only." This is not an unusual way of business but I would like to see eventually the public providing input during the committee's work sessions as was done last year when the council was debating a proposal from Councilman Weiss.
Earlier this year, the Mayor and her staff presented the outline of a rental inspection and "registration" program that received a lot of negative feedback. I reviewed that proposed framework in a blog entry in early February entitled "Mayor's Rental Health and Safety Proposal Inadequate." Fortunately, that proposal met some opposition and the Mayor and her staff went back to the drawing board. Without going into details, any proposal that does not contain an active program of periodic inspections of rentals by the city is a problematic exercise. Complaint-based systems simply do not work. We know that through a CDC study and, moreover, by sad experience here in Bellingham where the present complaint-based system is a dismal failure.
In an email to Councilman Weiss I lamented the timing of the Mayor's submission. This serious effort to produce an ordinance comes up in late spring and summer, just as the academic year ends and the largest represented group of renters leaves town. I wrote: