“OFFICE OF FAIR HOUSING, CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT, LADY OF THE EVENING, UNFIT APARTMENT??”

 

March 9, 1994

 

Floyd O. May, Director

Office of Fair Housing and

Equal Opportunity

400 State Avenue

Kansas City, Kansas 66101-2406

 

Subject: Lesure Vs. Williard

 

Dear Mr. May,

 

Thank you for your letter indicating dismissal of the complaint.

I find it hard to believe that the complaint should have been given enough Credibility to file.

A couple of simple questions, are you current with the rent? How far behind? What did you spend your last checks for? That’s three, but as these people sat Before you the manner and nature of their problem becomes evident.

These people were being sued out for nonpayment of rent and were retaliating. They also called the housing inspection department.

Fortunately the inspector, Gloria Jackson didn’t make connection with them Before they had to move. They had really trashed the place and the inspector Would have condemned it.

Mr. Leasure and Miss Rock’s apartment certainly needed to be redone. I think Any place these two and their friends lived in very long would need to be redone.

Seems to me that a little common sense would save a lot of paper work, time, And tax dollars.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charlie Williard

cc: Gloria Jackson, Codes Administration

Re: 2756 Holmes


 

“LETTER TO JUDGE CAGLE, HOUSING COURT JUDGE. NEEDS OF POOR PEOPLE, HIGHER COST”

August 29, 1995

Mr. Cagle:

Thank you for your reply to my letter and the tape. I assure you that the letter was not to lobby on my behalf. We had fullyintended to apply for a change of venue. The reason being that the higher court will not uphold your rulings ($12,500 plus 3.5 years jail time).

Speaking of lobbying, don’t the neighborhood organizations lobby you intensely at neighborhood meetings?

As Mr. Martin stated, the 3.5 year jail term being reduced to 20 hours of community service does say something.

Regarding your reply indicating that you take into consideration all viewpoints in the business of housing court, do you take into consideration the poor people’s point of view.

They are the people who struggle to have a place to live and need low cost housing. Many of these people do not even make five figure incomes. Many times the are not the smartest. They are not organized like speculator-investors and seldom make contact with community or political organizations. These people are not organized, and they are not subject to being organized. They are usually silent on governmental and political issues and they usually don’t vote. They also think it is great to restore old mansions – until you start raising their rent.

These are the people that will be pushed out of Hyde Park in the gentrification of this area.

As we push this fix up mania, landlords like myself will leave the field (we will find other endeavors with less governmentintervention) and rental will go the way of big business; with subsidized housing cost more and more. You should read lastmonths Reader’s Digest article about the cost of subsidized housing.

The interesting thing here is that in times past we excluded certain people or classes from our more affluent areas. Then the fair housing laws were enacted. Are we trying to do the same thing with code enforcement? As we eliminate low cost housing and subsidized housing becomes the norm, these people are going to reach for the better areas and then what? Higher subsidy payments, made necessary by eliminating low cost housing, will take the rental market to the affluent areas. We will see landlords moving into these areas. Smart business people go where they can make the most money. We might see a resurgence of the 1950s block busting based on economics.

The law allowing search warrants for code violations is interesting. Assuming that it is based on good intentions, the upgrading or upholding of health, morals, and welfare of the people; why can’t we use the same principal to raid suspected drug houses?

Myself and several neighbors would be glad to sign complaints on the drug houses on this block. Just think what we could do with some of the real problems. You should review my March 22nd letter to the Star. I think I should revise and resubmit that letter.

Have you heard the latest on the Bazooka’s Bar and Ray’s Playpen? I guess they’re going to pay them $790,000 AND relocate them. Here I am providing a needed service, and they want to run me out of business. Maybe I have the wrong lawyer or maybe I’m in the wrong business.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


 

“GUN OR GOVERNMENT CONTROL, COULD IT WORK OR IS IT MORE BUREAUCRACY {2000}”

November 1, 1995

Gentlemen, Ladies, everyone, listen up;

I have just figured out how to have effective gun control.

Make the carrying of concealed weapons the domain of housing and code enforcement with Judge Wayne Cagle declaring them storage of unapproved items Or trash and debris.

We could let the code enforcement people use all those telephoto cameras to Gather the evidence. They are fearless in going in back yards to gather Evidence.

Perhaps this could work with alcohol and drugs too.

Then we would have to build more jails and that could help solve the

Unemployment and vagrancy problem too.

I’m just full of good ideas this morning.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


 

“MC’CLANAHAN’S “MISGUIDED PLAN TO ZAP THE LANDLORDS”

E. Thomas McClanahan

The Kansas City Star

January, 1996

However you feel about landlords—and they have been one of history’s most reviled classes—the city’s plan to impose an annual licensing fee on owners of rental units is one of the dumber ideas to pop out of City Hall in recent months.

Under this proposal, property owners would pay $25 a year for most single-family rental homes and $20 for each apartment unit. This would produce nearly $2 million in revenue, which would be used to upgrade enforcement of the property maintenance code.

New inspectors would be hired to certify the “habitability” of older rental units. They would check structural safety and verify the availability of heat, electricity and water.

As Property Conservation Manager David Park told the Star’s Jeff Spivak: “The city needs to engage in some form of proactive code enforcement. If you wait until complaints are turned in, we don’t keep up with the decline in housing conditions. All indications are that the housing stock is deteriorating faster than it should.”

Yes, code enforcement is an important part of any strategy to arrest urban decline. But as long as money and people continue to flee the city an approach that relies heavily on mandates is like bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.

The antidote to deteriorating property and falling asset values is reversing the outflow of people and money. Of course that’s also the antidote to so many other urban problems, such as “deteriorating infrastructure.” Instead of finding new ways to take money out of people’s pockets, local officials should be streamlining city government, cutting red tape, reducing taxes and improving the city’s ability to compete for investment dollars.

If more people and money move into the city, real estate markets will firm up, which will make owners more confident about recovering their investment. Indeed, in many areas where values rise rapidly, many landlords—and homeowners—become maintenance-and- improvement fanatics.

Would a rental licensing plan help lure capital back to the city? Hardly. It would impose an annual penalty against anyone who makes the mistake of offering dwelling units on the local housing market. Naturally, landlords would attempt to recover the fee by raising rents.

Some details of the plan are still being worked out. One version discussed Friday would impose lower licensing fees and require no inspections for rental units less than 15 years old. That seems more reasonable, but in a few years people in City Hall still might find themselves wondering why the number of new apartment complexes proposed within the city limits has been decreasing.

Another consideration is how inspectors would define “habitability” on a day-to-day basis.

When my wife and I moved to Kansas City in the 1980s our former home was still on the market in our old city. We couldn’t afford two mortgages, so for several months we rented.

Upscale it was not. On clear nights we could see stars in the gaps between the window frames and the walls. The porches sagged, the back yard fence had collapsed in places, the foundation appeared to be crumbling.

As unappealing as it was, this place met our temporary requirements: low rent and a month-to-month lease.

If a scrupulous inspector had declared that and houses with similar problems uninhabitable, we would have been forced into a property with higher rent. That would have been an inconvenience for us, but for people with lower incomes the consequences of diminished choices are more serious. What some people consider “habitable” may differ from the views of an inspector working from one-size-fits-all rules.

There’s nothing wrong with a reasonable program for boosting code enforcement, although city officials shouldn’t take their eye off the ball. The key to arresting housing deterioration is attracting more people and capital. Since a license fee on property owners would discourage investment in the city, it would likely become part of the problem—not part of the solution.

E. Thomas McClanahan

The Kansas City Star

COMMENTARY

I can relate to Mr. McClanahan’s experience. My wife and I with two small children came here from Searcy, Arkansaw in 1967, driving a 1961 Rambler (extinct now) and a 1950 Dodge pickup truck that had been in the junk yard.

We were able to rent a little two bedroom (shall we say dump) and it served us. It’s gone now.

Oh but if I had that truck now!!! There were no side window glass and we ran into rain. And the wiper didn’t work. I rigged a coat hanger with a couple of curlicues to act as pivot joints and with my arm out the—where the window would have been—I wiped the windshield.

My little girl was asleep in her car seat at one point when we turned so that the rain came in on her. It was a rude awakening for her. Like a cold glass of water in your face.

The old truck would do about sixty to sixty five but that would have pushed it too hard so most of the time we tooled along about fifty. We couldn’t afford to blow a motor. We were loaded down with my wife in the Rambler trailing along. Kinda like “Grapes Of Wrath.” Seems awfully slow nowadays.

The place we moved from wasn’t very fancy either. In fact with a little effort I could milk this story into a real tear-jerking—hardscrabble background existence.

But LBJ tried that and got tripped up on it so lets just say there is a need for substandard housing.

Charlie (You know my name),

Charlie Williard


 

“LET’S RECYCLE, GREAT IDEA, GETTING COSTLY THO, STORAGE OF UNAPPROVED ITEMS”

June 18th 1996

Letter to the Editor Kansas City Star

Let’s recycle, a great idea. I’ve been doing it for years. Picking up usable stuff, a sink, a stove, a usable tire off the street.

Of course the City takes, a dim view of this practice if someone complains. That’s storage of unapproved items. I don’t know how we consider a useful good item unapproved but they do.

Years ago the fines were five and ten dollars and the item was usually worth much more. Now they want to put me in jail.

The man walking the street with a joint and a bottle is a danger to us but we can’t put him in jail. And I have yet to see these unapproved items jump up and do someone harm.

Recycling has become the “in thing” now, especially as big outfits can make more money and landfills become fuller and more expensive to use

I’m griping! My gripe is that I have saved a lot of landfill space without costing taxpayers a cent. And I would like to keep doing it. And, one should not end a sentence with it either.

Charlie Williard


 

“MERRYMAN, OLD FEUD FORGET IT, STOP GETTING CRIMINALS OFF SAFE STREET’S”

May 27, 1997

Mr. Merryman

Greetings, salutations: glad to see you again and all that bull.

My my, asking you about the ‘taping’ business must have really hit a nerve to cause you to call me a blood-sucking slumlord.

Well Mr. Merryman, you did the taping, and you cost your client at least $50,000. So just who is the bloodsucker?

It was not fun sitting in court, having you call me a thief and not be able to refute the charges. The tape you made of our conversation before I retained counsel would have exonerated me. But it was inadmissible evidence and you weren’t about to show it anyway.

I’m not too perturbed at being called a slumlord. I’ve been called a lot worse. You too.

And I doubt that you are concerned about my alleged slumlord activities. You are just mad at having to dismiss a million and a half in suits. Missed some big fees there didn’t you.

Maybe your client called you a few choice names. Especially when they finally saw the tape transcript. I know the tape sure changed their attitude toward me. I felt for her but she wasn’t around until the money was to be divided. I did the care giving.

If you really thought I was trying to steal you should have let me try, then sprung the tape.

But those things are in the past Mr. Merryman, Lets drop it. We have important things to do.

We are told the infrastructure is crumbling, housing stock deteriorating, crime is everywhere–unsafe streets, and politicians don’t have enough money to spend.

I don’t purport to have all the answers but it seems to me that if we could control crime, people wouldn’t leave the city, property values would hold and the streets would be safe.

As I stated in a letter to Mr. Hallquist, that if you lawyers would stop getting the criminal off I think our streets would be a lot safer.

I remember you stating at one of our hearings “I just kept a man out of prison this morning.” We might ask, was the man guilty or not guilty? And if guilty, what about the down side, He is back out on the street. Unsafe streets.

There seems to be ‘down’ sides to many things. There is the story of creation. God created man and told him ” there is good news and bad news”, the good news, “I created you with a brain and a sex organ, the bad news, you don’t have enough blood supply to run both at the same time.

Gary Mazer got off and got paid to boot. But do we want him at our front door step?

The city dreams of code enforcement and rebuilding all the older areas. Sounds great. The down side: where do the lower income people go? And who pays the bill?

The code enforcement program is premised on the idea of being ‘good for the health, morals, and welfare of the people.’ Do you believe that? And do you believe activities that devalue the ‘health, morals, and welfare of the people’ become criminal acts and must be prosecuted?

If you say yes, then I say let’s go. I’m with you. It doesn’t take too many Gary Mazers to devalue an area. It doesn’t take very many muggers, rapists, or thieves to

devalue an area. Alcoholics walking the street with a bottle don’t help either but liquor remains very available. Driving and drinking creates a big problem too.

The laws enabling the government to confiscate property being used in drug activity seem reasonable to me. Now, how about a law that would penalize any one that enables criminals to pursue criminal activity, or evade and avoid prosecution?

Smoking greatly devalues health. But it seems to be enjoyable, stylish, the ‘in thing.’ The down side—emphysema—death. But there is an ‘up side’ to this one. People who smoke and die young save the government social security payments for their old age. That point was brought out in a recent article by Stephen Chapman in the Star the 28th of April.

But if we look at one side of the picture we might be inclined to make smoking a criminal act. My father tried with me. Didn’t work. Then he got smart and stopped making us slip around-let us smoke openly. Took the fun out of it so I quit.

We could generate a lot more revenue by criminalizing smoking than we did prosecuting people who put coloring in oleo. That would be an ‘up side.’

Well think about it Mr. Merryman. Its not like you would be out of work by stopping getting the criminal off. There are many things capable lawyers could do for the ‘welfare of the people’ but criminal acts must be prosecuted?

Persuasion being your forte; you guys could counsel people to do right and our local politicians wouldn’t have done wrong.

I have a question, if wrong is spelled with a w, why don’t we use a w in right? Or maybe we could drop the w and spell wrong rong. Right! Or rong?

I didn’t do well in English. My friend was chiding a Greek student for doing poorly in Bible Greek. He shut up when the Greek boy said, “Okay, how did you do in English?” End of story.

Sincerely

Charlie Williard

P.S. If you will listen to the tape I don’t see how you can call me a blood sucking slumlord. It’s rather ironic that this is the second time a taping was made intending to be detrimental to me that turned out to my advantage. I didn’t know part of these people or what to expect. You may be able to hear me in the background of the ‘john call’ asking ‘who are you?’

I didn’t even know ‘Tylenol Aggie’ at the time. I did know Webber, the big code booster. And Hernandez, the developer’s friend. Everyone knows us now.

I should run for office. No, if convicted of a crime, surely I could get off on good behavior, but those terms are four years, and then Leavenworth—? No thank you.

I have learned since that Aggie wanted the government to back her in buying and rehabbing the old Senate apartments. And that might have been another property in the S&L bailout. Amazing what we do with government money. Look at Guinnotte Manor.

Charlie Williard


 

“LUPE SALAZAR, INSPECTOR, TENANT RENDERED UNITS UNFIT, CALLED, YOUR HOUSE NOT SO SPIFFY!!!!!”

June 9, 1997

Lupe Salazar

City Code inspector

Ms. Salazar

Our conversation in court recently was interesting.

It has been three years since the concerted effort to cite and I ask you—has anything really changed?

To refresh our memories; Jackie Delgato at 3408 Charlotte was being evicted—owed over a thousand dollars!

At the time she called you: she, her three children and a big shepherd had trashed the apartment. Her boyfriend had trashed the yard with motor parts and other junk.

Ms. Delgato wanted the place declared unfit to live in to avoid the past -due rent. The apartment was certainly unfit to live at that time. The question is who should be cited?

And you should have seen the family home she moved back to. It would make mine look good.

And Michael Lee at 3425 Holmes—being sued out—having also trashed his apartment—had actually moved but still had a key: calls you, meets you at Armour and Holmes and gets you in.

I had let the building become vacant because Lee was burglarizing the other apartments. The heat was off.

They were unfit to live in at that time but why not cite the ones really responsible.

It was interesting to see you and Mr. Fisher, him standing on the car fender trying to get a better picture of some offending item on the porch.

I heard that your place was not up to code so I went looking. And if you call mine a mess so is yours.

I mentioned that to you in court recently and you said that was your mother’s place.

Now if code compliance is so good for our health, morals and welfare then what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and the mother too and we wouldn’t want your mother deprived of these advantages.

I do not really want to worry about 2304 Jarboe, be it yours or your mothers. The area gives a lot of reasonable people affordable housing and will continue unless too many “Jackie’s and Michaels come along.

My area is beset with the development problem while yours is not.

I am sending you a file of letters, some you may have seen, along with a tape.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


 

“COUNCIL, RUDENESS OF HOUSING COURT JUDGE, CAUSE OF CITATION, RETALIATION–MAD”

 

December 14, 1997

 

City Council

Kansas City, Missouri

 

Open letter to the Council members:

 

I was in court recently on a code violation, I had applied for a change of judge on the 26th with the court date being the 5th. I was sick with the flu and had a friend in court to advise Judge Cagle accordingly.

The case was moved from the 2:30 docket to the 3:30 docket and upon being called, Judge Cagle did not give my friend a chance to ask for a continuance. “You tell Charlie I’m issuing a warrant. And a one thousand dollar warrant has been issued. The bond is excessive. Hernandez didn’t have to post bond.

I had applied for a change of Judge, also I had a friend in court to advise the judge that I was sick. The bailiff and the inspector were both aware of my illness. The inspector was not objecting.

My friend indicated the judge was rude to everyone. I have seen this rudeness myself.

I urge you to go over the and see for yourself the nature of housing court. These are people cited for housing code violations, many times because someone is mad at them. Many times their house is not even the worst house on the block. But they are cited.

An angry neighbor was one of the problems that led me to being the notorious code violator. That and the fact that Doug Maag paid $64,000 for a house and I bought the one across the street for $5,750. And I think mine is better than his. I have a full driveway and the terrace is not as high. I can see how he could be unhappy. There is also the investor angle.

Seems to me that we should have more of a live-and-let live philosophy.

The people being bothered most by codes are the poor and they are being treated worse than the common criminal up in circuit court..

I have chided Judge Cagle that he should be over in criminal court with the kind of fines he hands out.

As we eliminate low-cost housing, we will face more Guinotte Manors-$92,000 per unit, just to rehab.

My properties are good solid units with good wiring and plumbing but you can always find things wrong.

In a conversation with Lupe Salazar, she stated that she could find a dozen things wrong with about any house.

I urge you to put perspective in code enforcement. It is not reasonable for code enforcement to become the tool of speculator-investors or of neighbors harassing each other with anonymous calls.

Chuck Webber, the great code booster, said the calls need to be anonymous to avoid retaliation. Many times, according to one inspector, the complaint itself is in retaliation for something.

 

Charlie Williard


 

Slumlord of the month award.

 

January 22nd

 

Let’s start with 4818 east 8th. This property actually belonged to the heirs of Kenneth Gheen Sr. He died two years ago and the heirs couldn’t manage their personal lives much less some rental property. I advised codes of my no-interest but records being what they are my name is on it.

 

The heirs sold to some drug dealers and though they put a new roof on and some other things they couldn’t get their lives together. A Rose Young and others were arrested there recently. A Randy Warren is already in prison.

 

I advised Bill Evans of the drug status a couple of times and they went by but this isn’t like trash and debris. I got a letter from the Combat team and at this time with the heirs not being interested, I may take charge of the property, clean it up and preserve it. It is and has been bad. But it wasn’t targeted. I would have been cited big time.

 

The property at 2209 East 42nd is being sold but the new owner is not as fast as he should be in doing some of the needed maintenance. He has put a lot of work in the house next door. He is behind with me too but he is trying and it seems to me that home-ownership is worth working for and being patient as the buyer tries. This property is much better than the building across the street. But the one across the street is not targeted. No one is mad at him.

 

The 42nd street property along with the rest were on a target list about four years ago because Doug Maag and some others here in Hyde Park were mad because I bought 3408 Charlotte for $5,750 when Mr. Maag had paid $64,000 for 3409 Charlotte. I have a better property, have more ground and less terrace with a full driveway. They also want to run out the rental here as that will enable prices to rise.

 

These properties are reasonable with good wiring and plumbing and would not attract undue attention otherwise. I think if you went inside you would find the mechanics better than average. They are also insulated.

 

As Lupe Salazar stated in a private conversation that she could cite about any house with a dozen violations. Go look at her house and the lot next door. Read the letter I wrote her. The code inspectors also go past and behind properties much worse than mine, such 3430 Charlotte to look for code violations on my properties. The roof is bad and the back wall is falling down. But this house is not targeted. This does not seem fair or reasonable.

 

People need affordable housing and to serve those needs everything doesn’t have to be top notch. Here is a stack of letters concerning the issue. Fixing up is good but there are other needs-balance.

 

As Mr. Finley was proposing this award I asked him about a ‘tenant of the month award?’ How about it? Read the letters I wrote Mr. Clay and Mr. Mendoza. I can find code violations in city hall.

 

How about some credit for all the affordable housing I have provided people who might otherwise be in section eight housing at considerable higher cost. Some might be living on the street if I did not provide affordable housing.

 

How about some credit for taking one of the poorer houses in Hyde Park and making it look good. If I had owned it, it would have been cited big time. It hadn’t been painted in 20 years, but no one was mad at him.

 

I could support the licensing of rental property if the same type of control were implemented regarding the tenant. In the letter to Mr. Clay I chided him about giving these tenants that had trashed my apartment the same three days to cleanup or vacate that I was given to correct some problems. That was a no no.

 

If you chose to anoint me slumlord of the month; which house will you post the notice in front of? The 4818 East 8th ? That would be interesting with it having been tied up in probate.

 

Maybe the one on 42nd street? The building across the street is worse. The house at 3435 Holmes? One could walk up in the back yard and look at the rear of 3430 Charlotte (the building Mr. Fisher walked behind four years ago to cite 3428 Charlotte). 3430 Charlotte was falling down then and is worse now and not cited. Wasn’t targeted.

 

Maybe you would go to 4015 Woodland, I was fined there but the houses on each side are worse. Or 3916 Olive, properties nearby there are much worse. And there are city-owned lots all around these that are much worse. Perhaps the city should set an example for us and clean up their lots. Maybe use code people to show us how, eh?

 

The 42nd street house along with the Woodland and Olive have been sold and the people don’t make a lot of money and they are all behind but they are trying. I recently put in a water heater for the lady on Woodland, not my job but she doesn’t have the finances. These are the less fortunate who don’t always manage well but still have needs.

 

Maybe the 42nd and Tracy property? On one side (a duplex) is a young fellow is trying to raise a son and the other, a couple with three children, both behind. Have you heard of the increase in gas prices? If you make $30,000 a year no big deal, but try it on $10,000. And the house next door; ask Mr. Clay. They have trashed my yard several times.

 

You might try 3408 Charlotte, but that is a pretty good-looking house and Doug Maag’s yard at 3409 will make mine look good. He lets the standing growth that remains after the flowers are gone stand. Doesn’t look too good. I would get cited for that. But these things are not bothering me. I can live and let-live.

 

You might try 3421 and 25 Holmes. But the house south —???. And the fellow across the street jumps the curb and uses cement pads for a makeshift driveway. These people are not bothering me or anyone else. Live and let live.

 

Where I live? 706 East 34th, but the house across the street south has a porch very much in disrepair and the house just east of me throws garbage out on the property just north of them. This is also one of our area drug houses; Mary Alexander and Chris Pouncil. The house north of me is not too spiffy either. But no one is mad at them.

 

I know it sounds great for everyone to have a nice place to live but these people can afford these houses for the average of the $300 rent I get. But if I must maintain them to the top-notch standard, can they afford the higher rent?

 

Perhaps instead of floating close to 200 million in bonds for the Entertainment thing we should use the money and up-grade all inner-city housing. HO HO HO. Or maybe give them a good house in the better part of town. It could be cheaper than paying for a section eight rental the rest of their lives. NO NO NO. We are spending $92,000 per unit to rehab Guinotte Manor. It would be cheaper to give these people houses. I have digressed, sorry.

 

If we could up-grade all poor housing and make all neighborhoods nice, where would the poor go to live and what would section-8 housing cost? I don’t think society as a whole wants to pay the cost but developers have dollar signs in their eyes and do-gooders are a bit naive about the real world. They want to fix everything at someone else’s cost.

 

Twenty five years ago Charles Ballew and Jim McMim (both work for the city) lived in the 3435 Holmes house. They needed affordable housing; eighty and a hundred a month then. As time passed and good jobs were acquired they bought a house across the street at an affordable price. Later they had me in court wanting to run out the rentals they had once needed. What if they could not have found affordable housing when they really needed it?

 

Saturday, Jan, 24th, in the Star an article about the increase in homeless people; ever wonder why? Sunday’s paper carried a long story about tobacco and it’s harmful effect and the prestigious law firm that defends them. This firm is actually enabling a company to do harm. And these are respectable and accepted members in our society. Maybe we need an award for them too. The healthy neighbor award. Read the 8th paragraph of the Hallquist, letter and the 17th of the Merryman letter. Too many good lawyers get too many good criminals off; result-unsafe streets. Simple!

 

Pat Jacobs’ caymans have never harmed anyone. My storage of unapproved items or junk in my back yard have never hurt anyone. In fact, as I recycle it helps the environment, lessens the landfill problem and the less fortunate of today are able to find affordable places to live. We are running out of landfill space. Have you not heard?

 

Sincerely,

 

Charlie Williard


 

“GILLIS, INSPECTOR-SLUMLORD HOUSE ADVISING OF NON OWNERSHIP AND DRUG USE. GO GET ‘EM”

 

Dec. 9, 1996

 

Robert E. Gillis

 

Code Enforcement

 

Dear Mr. Gillis,

 

You have written me regarding 4818 East 8th St. This property is not mine. Furthermore, Kenneth Gheen Sr. is dead.

 

The property is in limbo in probate.

 

However you could do a big service to the neighborhood by determining the residents and proceeding. Call the utilities for the correct names. I have been informed that it is a drug house, even producing meth.

 

The drug enforcement people are limited in what they can do. But code enforcement can obtain a warrant and go in. Then perhaps you could share the information you would readily see with drug enforcement.

 

If you meet with success here, call me. There is a drug house here by me at 708-10 E 34. I would sure like to see something done with it.

 

Good luck.

 

Charlie Williard


 

“BARBARA SHELLY, UMKC CODE VIOLATION’, WAL-MART CODE VIOLATIONS, CODES–A TOOL”

 

Jan. 22, 1998

Barbara Shelly

Kansas City Star

A Losing Proposition for UMKC
You are wrong. The game does have demand,— the coaching and the sports industry.

You are very right about the unreasonableness of the program.

The dirty seats and missing chunks of plaster caught my eye. Code violations. Call the city. Wouldn’t do any good though.

I was in court recently and observed code violations in a court house office.

Maybe you would like to do a story on the real-life of inner-city and how speculators and investors use the code department to harass people they want out of their area. It is called gentrification.

As the attached letter indicates I am being considered for an award.

Have fun,

Charlie Williard

 


 

“LETTER TO STAR EDITOR, CENTERTAINMENT WON OR BOUGHT?, $25,000 VS $1,000,000″

 

Feb. 1998

 

Letter to the Editor

 

Kansas City Star

 

“Centertainment – won or bought?”

 

Twenty five thousand dollars verses close to a million —gold rules the world, he who has the gold makes the rules.

 

But the voters spoke! Do we remember the Sailors project on the Plaza and how many times we voted that down? And the cost of the elections. Big money is what really voted.

 

Maybe we didn’t care to vote, thinking that if we voted “wrong” we would have to vote again and maybe again. Vote yes the first time-save money.

 

Maybe we should take a look at the good thriving businesses in the area and just leave some things alone. But then developers and bearcats can’t make money or have jobs leaving things alone. They might also wither and die without tax dollars.

 

He who has the gold makes the rules, and at taxpayer expense.

 

Charlie Williard


 

“JUDGE DEBRA NEAL BOND REDUCTION REQUEST, SLUMLORD AWARD, CRIME.”

 

Feb. 2, 1998

 

Dear Judge Neal,

 

If you do not wish to reduce the bond today I will post the extra $1500, as it will be cheaper than hiring a lawyer, another reason that the amount of the bond is punitive.

 

Enclosed is a statement letter regarding the slumlord award. I am thinking that you knew this was in the works. It almost seems as though I was prevented from entering the property to begin clean up until after the award ceremony.

 

I did enter and put a lot of trash out for the regular trash pick-up. The cops were called and upon seeing a man cleaning-up instead of druggies, were rather indignant that the caller couldn’t also see the difference.

 

Had the big pick-up been Friday the place would have looked pretty good. The ceremony could have witnessed a big clean up.

 

I called Dart two or three times myself, but as indicated in the letter there was little they could do. I also consider it derelict on the part of codes to have let the condition exist for the last year and a half as it has.

 

But it isn’t the worst house in the area even at that and these people were doing a lot of work on the house, a completely new roof for one thing. And it wasn’t mine.

 

Though the house belongs to the heirs of Kenneth Gheen, Sr., I think I can clean it up, channel the profits to the grandchildren of the man who worked for me so well for twenty years. He was a good man but he didn’t too well in raising his kids.

 

An example of the rising cost of housing for the poor is being played out in a property at 2615 Jackson. The new owner is raising the price to the buyer from $25,000 to $35,000. This is or was a rent-to-own. The lady with four children is in a difficult situation and can’t afford it. Go by and see her. See how the poor live. Her phone is 923-3202.

 

You asked if I was familiar with Ad Hoc. Yes, My wife and I have called them more than once about the drug activity next door and a little four year old girl saying, “No, I don’t want to go with him.” I have talked to DART about this house too. Come and observe it as warm weather comes and they sit on the front porch drinking and whatever. Call Carl at 722-5768. The house is 708-10 East 34th St. The people, tenants, Mary Alexander and Chris Pouncil.

 

Sincerely

 

Charlie Williard


 

“HONORED SLUMLORD, GREAT IDEA, SHOULD BE EXPANDED TO INCLUDE CROOKS AND POLITICIANS”

 

Feb. 3, 1998

 

“Honored Slumlord”

 

I received this honor recently. And on a property I don’t own. It was a drug house and a mess but lets look closer. With two men, a couple of hours and a big trash pick-up; the property looks reasonable in its area. Mission Hills, it’s not though.
The City is spending close to two and a half million per year on property code enforcement while DART has eight men to try to control drugs. Maybe we need to convert a portion of the monies and energies of code enforcement to drug enforcement.

 

All those telephoto cameras could be used to take pictures of drug deals. The search-warrant law enabling codes to enter a property to search for code violations could be used to find drugs and meth labs. And some of those city code cars could be used to “tail” drug dealers.

 
I don’t think we really want to wipe out drugs. Too many Upper-class people use drugs. The Mark Morgan type people. Therefore we just play with “control.” Maybe we are focusing code enforcement in poor areas in order to divert drug attention away from the more affluent areas. Leaves these people safe from the splashy TV coverage of Johns and slumlord awards. And where do some of these johns live? And where do the bigger drug dealers live?

 

The tenants of this “honored” property should have been in court a year and a half ago. I advised DART of the drugs. I also advised codes and urged them with their search warrant powers to assist DART.

 

I also advised Councilman Finley that the slumlord award sounded good and the idea should be expanded to include the “tenant of the month” award with the same type of TV coverage. And the crook of the month award. Look at the people who steal millions and get very little punishment.

 

Do you suppose we could have “politician” of the month too? Smart people in glass houses don’t throw stones.

 

Call your councilman. Let DART have half of codes money and people to work with.
Charlie Williard


 

“LETTER TO THE EDITOR, KANSAS CITY STAR, GLOVER OR SUCKER PLAN”

 

April 28, 1998

Letter to the Editor

Kansas City Star

 

Glover or Sucker Plan – which is it?

The sound is great: Midtown shopping center to help keep money spending in the inner-city for tax purposes.

But 43 million (I didn’t know how many zeros) is a lot of money. Why didn’t we try to build this on the already vacant land just east of Paseo? Or why couldn’t we subsidize already existing business to expand and provide more services.

How about the Gillham Plaza area? Several good buildings with potential. Interest on this kind of money could provide policing that would insure safe living.

Did we need to buy this particular area of land because certain people owned pieces of it? Or maybe Hallmark needed expansion room. Or maybe some people in City Hall wanted a particular business closer to them?

With 43 million we could have torn out a number of low cost housing units to make way for big business at taxpayers expense. Where is our common sense?

 

Charlie Williard


 

“EASLEY, 3302 HOLMES, RECENT PURCHASE, PAINTED FIRST TIME IN TWENTY YEARS”

May 7, 1998

Mr. Easley.

You notice I didn’t say dear.

I got your letter about 3302 Holmes, peeling-blistering paint—I purchased this house in ’97 and spent a lot of last summer and painting it was one of the many things we did. But there surely is some little spot that is pealing. You should have seen it before. I wonder if you could consider a request for an extension of time on all the properties.

Thanking you In advance. I wonder how I ever got along without you.

Charlie Williard

 

P.S. You might try that telephoto camera on the drug house next door. It would make them nervous but I doubt that it would stop them.

You commented about 706 east 34. We took a tree down and in time the wood has been hauled away to be used as firewood.

Looks like you have sent me a letter on everything I own here. I don’t know how you think I could do all these things in 30 days. I don’t see these things as life threatening or detrimental to the health, morals, or welfare of anyone. And we usually get to these things before the building falls down.

In the case of 3302, I actually have brought it back to life. And there are still things wrong which we will continue to work on.


 

“MR. EASLEY, 3408 CHARLOTTE, TENANT WORKING, MIRANDA RIGHTS OF LADY NEXT DOOR”

 

June 1998

 Mr. Easley

 Property: 3408 Charlotte

 

The tenant there is doing a nice job of painting that house and we are cleaning up the back yard.

I wondered if you saw the back yard or if you were just assuming there would surely be some trash and debris, and sure enough there is some as is the case of most inner city yards. I also wondered if you went in the neighbor’s yard south, who complained on me once and gave permission once; whose yard and house is worse that mine.

But then I learned that you got a peek by going in the backyard north. She felt intimidated, the city ID card, an employee of the city; she is 70 or 80 years old and easily intimidated.

Mr. Easley, the violations in her back yard could give her jail time and hundreds of dollars in fines and therefore shouldn’t you be advising her of her Miranda rights. After all, this becomes very criminal and should be treated with seriousness, and a city employee should not bulldoze their way in on unsuspecting people. Especially a 70 or 80 year old lady.

In all fairness you should not even ask to go in the back yard of a lady of this capacity without her attorney or some one of common-sense knowledge of the consequences being present. You should not bulldoze your way in by intimidation. She, nor her backyard, is bothering any one. They have not been detrimental to anyone’s health, morals, or welfare.

But then her backyard wasn’t the real reason for going in her backyard. You wanted to see my backyard. And gathering evidence in that manner would be improper in higher courts. But that is different too.

Now the drug house next door to me, go get the bull and doze it. (a pun you’ll understand later hon). See Pitch letter enclosed. But that is a whole different thing.

If this were not true Mr. Fisher would have caused a building next door to one of my houses to be torn down because it is falling down in the back and he surely observed it from my back yard in 1993 and it is worse now.

I’ll go you one better, he got their permission and walked through their yard to observe my backyard without citing the falling down structure.

Did you notice the article in the Star about the rising cost of housing in the area? And here we are, spending two and a half million per year pushing rising prices in the name of neighborhood preservation. The idea of preserve means keep it the same. Hold it like it is.

You should read the June 10th article in Pitch about the rich taking the poor mans property by UMKC and then the June 17th article about code enforcement in the interest of gentrification. Gentrification is also a taking of the poor man’s property by the rich and powerful.

One of the statements in this country’s proclamation when breaking from England was “and the government (England) hath sent forth hither swarms of people to harass us and live off our substance.”

Charlie Williard


 

“MR. BATES, HUMAN RELATIONS, CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT, LADIES OF THE EVENING”

 

July 21, 1998

Human Relations Department

Kansas City, MO

 

Dear Mr. Bates,

In answer to your letter regarding Mr. Hill’s complaint;

Mr. Hill came to me from the halfway house at Armour and Forrest after prison stating that he got railroaded after a fight with his girlfriend. I later learned he was a child molester. Mr. Hill’s close friend, Robert Fagan came about the same time and with a story that didn’t check out.

Immediately unsavory people began showing up day and night.

I talked to Mr. Hill several times about the company and he tried to keep them away. On one occasion at night he would not open his door to some of these people and I had to run them off by calling the police. On another occasion I ran off a prostitute.

These people continually went back and forth between Mr. Hill’s apartment and Mr. Fagan’s. Mr. Fagan had to move also. Mr. Fagan is white.

I did not refuse Mr. Hill’s rent. He was having trouble getting moved so we moved him and deducted that cost from his deposit.

Mr. Fagan was not accepted where Mr. Hill moved to and I think this was very good for Mr. Hill.

The other tenants did complain, and comment now about how quiet it has been with these fellows gone.

As some of these people went bad (or badder)? I bugged their parole officers but to no avail. They didn’t want them back. The prisons are full. Overfull. So are the halfway houses.

Gentrification is fast eliminating low rents and affordable housing because the developer and investor is in the business to make money. I anticipate that in another five years there won’t be any $300 apartments here.

I am enclosing a file of letters you may find interesting about gentrification and the need for low cost housing and the problems that can arise when some one makes a complaint. Imagine the criticism I would have if Hallquist and Stackhaus had known I was renting to convicts.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard

 

PS: You might ask Mr. Hill who took him to the bank, let him use their phone, helped him write his checks, took him to the store while these other people were getting his money.
I know you didn’t need to read a book; but—Also try John Gresham’s “Street Lawyer.”


 

“EASLEY, CRIME CONTROL “WAG THE DOG” WHO GETS CITED? 3430 CHARLOTTE NOT CITED, BAD.”

 

Sept. 18, 1998

Dear Mr. Easley,

Sorry I didn’t get things moved as I thought I would last week but the death in the family cost me a couple of days time. Cost me a week two weeks ago.

It is interesting what we focus on that becomes good for the health, morals and welfare of the people. We have known that tobacco was killing people for sixty years-more, we know about the alcohol infant syndrome, and then junk food ????.

We premise the codes on the preservation and up-grading of our well-being. Bologna. It is on money. We have so many areas so much worse that Hyde Park. And so many properties that are so much worse that anything I own. Right. Development is here now. The speculator investor is here and it becomes political And its jobs. See “Wag The Dog.”

We even think it will control crime. And it can, for a given area as we price living out of his ability to pay, but the criminal just moves to another area and as a whole we are back to square one along with the probability of increased cost to the taxpayer for subsidized housing. A nice merry-go-round.

The Pitch lambasted UMKC for taking the poor man’s property, then touted code enforcement as the cure-all without touching on the fact that gentrification is also a taking of property from one class and giving it to another class; the class with more money and the knowledge of how to use the government to help them.

As we visited the other day about code violations in general and the one about exposed wiring in the judge’s office I remember a conversation with Lupe Salazar as she stated that she could find a dozen violations on about any house. And you could certainly find them on her house. Go look. You wont of course. It is sensibilities.

And it is political. When Mr. Hallquist house had palm seized paint blistering for over a year, maybe over two years he wasn’t in violation, or wasn’t cited. Besides I could paint several houses for the fifteen grand he was trying to get from the historic neighborhood foundation.

I was offered a building there on Troost about six years ago. It was declared dangerous and torn down. But even as a dangerous building and had it been allowed to stand it could not be the danger or detriment to the health, morals and welfare that exists with the liquor store down the street, a properly licensed code conforming facility.

With the area coming back I should have taken it. It was free. And I doubt that it would have hurt anyone.

It wasn’t in as bad a shape as the building Mr. Fisher walked behind at 3430 Charlotte to cite me for a trailer parked on a non-hard surface and tall grass. Sensibilities.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard

 

I should have taken one down on Quality Hill a few years ago for $500.


 

“ABOUHALKAH, GOOD LETTER ON SUBSIDY 11-08-98. SELLER BUY CHEAP, JUNKIE NEIGHBOR”

 

Nov. 11, 1998

 
Dear Mr. Abouhalkah,

You wrote a good article about the subsidy business in Sunday’s (Nov. 8, 1998) paper. Great.

I have been so critical of your views on code enforcement that I feel the need to compliment you when we are in agreement on something.

You stated that the gamblers lost. No. the gamblers won. They get to keep on gambling don’t they? Well I guess you would say they lose because gamblers never really win over the long haul. But that wasn’t what the election was really about. And that won.

The way the amendment was worded and portrayed: and our elected officials endorsed it, I can only shake my head and wonder.

That is why I wrote the article on gambling which the star published several months ago. I advocate that if we are going to have gambling lets throw it wide open, from shooting craps on the street corner to betting on the ball games. We do a lot of it anyway.

The money would stay local instead of going to Vegas.

As it is now we have government control and only certain people can profit from gambling.

Jerry Hester had a good article about the government-nanny trying to control the speed limits to no avail.

In getting back to the real-estate industry, I think we need to get the government out of the business along with getting it out of a lot of things.

And of course that would include code enforcement. There is an article in the same paper about a fellow owning a property and wanting to sell but can’t; or can’t get his price because of a junkie neighbor.

Code enforcement is not about the health, morals and welfare of the people but rather about preserving Mission Hills and the making of money.

Did this man buy cheap and enjoy cheap taxes for years because of a junkie neighbor? But never mind those possibilities, now he wants to sell and money is the issue.

I keep asking the question; when we redo all the older areas, up-grade everything, where are the poor going to live?

The Roman Senator in Spartacus, “When the people came to me and said ‘yes these benefits are good but we are loosing our freedoms.’ I told them I understood. But I didn’t do anything about it because I wanted power”.

The Glover plan was a great idea but it should have been built over between Paseo and the freeway. Ground was cheap there and we would not have torn down a number of low-income houses.

Business is not always right. Government is not always right. Nothing is always right. But as we increase our dependence on the corporate-government nanny, where are we going? The animal farm!

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


“MR. GUSWELLE, LITTLE RED SCHOOL HOUSE, BEST OF PLANNING DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK”

 

Dec. 20, 1998

Mr. Gusewelle

Kansas City Star

 

I enjoyed your article last week ending with the point that the teachers just might be able to do a much better job if left alone to do it. And I am supposed to know that you don’t end a sentence with it. And I have gone and done it twice.

This country, this city was built by people with very little formal schooling. This computer I am using is a marvel but it may not be the product of higher education. And certainly not the product of bureaucracy.

Back in the seventies the following was in the Reader’s Digest. I have the copy but cannot find it so I have ad-libed the best I could.

I attended a two-room school and didn’t do too bad. I remember listening to the other grades working with their lessons.

Also enclosed are some letters regarding my battle with the powers that be. They may become collector items someday. I have attracted comments from as far away as London. Probably the “pro” contact me and the “con” contact Tylenol Aggie. Can’t win ‘em all.

When one thinks about how we live, the urban sprawl, the desire to have a new house, keep up with society; and this is world-wide, then the problems of gentrification is not just a local issue.

 

Little Red School House

 

Once upon a time there was a little red schoolhouse. The grades were first through sixth or eighth according to need. The community maintained it with the teacher being hired and fired by the local school board or community leaders.

It was a rather heterogeneous group with a little girl who was smart enough to help the much larger boy with his reading and he could help her across the mud hole and carry in the wood to keep the fire going for warmth.

Each grade would listen as the other grades recited their lessons and learning took place.

But then one day, educators from the state came by and said we are doing exiting things in larger schools and we must consolidate. We can have separate rooms for each grade with special teachers that will know exactly what each child needs.

But the children didn’t seem to learn as well.

So the educators came again and said we need more diversity, a more heterogeneous setting, and something more colorful. “Let’s tear out all these walls and have one big group and since red is a cheerful color, let’s paint it red.”

 

Charlie Williard

 


 

“STAR. POLITICAL. TO IMPEACH OR NOT TO IMPEACH. CLINTON’S EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

 

Dec. 22, 1998

 

Letter To The Editor

 

Kansas City Star

 

To impeach or not impeach

 

I asked my wife if Clinton should be impeached. She was vague. I asked what if I had done some of the things Clinton has done. She was no longer vague and I knew in no uncertain terms what was right and wrong and good for me. I’d like to live and keep all my parts.

 

I concede that many things should be private but when the one holding the highest office in our country has conducted his private life the way Clinton has, he should be removed.

 

Think of the example this is presenting to our young people.

 

Charlie Williard