“EASLEY 3425 HOLMES, IMPROPER USE OF PORCH ACROSS STREET FOR PICTURES-HER PROBLEMS”

Jan. 20, 1999

Dear Mr. Easley,

I learned that you were looking at 3425 Holmes and the neighbor indicated that you knocked on the door across the street and when no one came to the door you made yourself at home and used the corner of her porch to take a vantage shot with your telephoto camera.

Now that is almost as bad as Mr. Fisher going behind 3430 Charlotte, a building that was falling down in the back, to cite me for tall grass and a trailer parked on a non-hard surface; real serious crimes.

At that time Mr. Fisher also stood on the fender and hood of his city car to take vantage shots. I don’t think he wouldn’t do that with his personal car.

To knock on her door and then use her porch without her permission is actually trespassing Mr. Easley.

Sincerely.

Since starting this letter we visited on the street and you indicated that you had her permission-over a year ago. That’s a bit old! Interesting, and I indicated to you about the nature of her kids and the grief they caused the block fifteen years ago. But we can’t talk to her about that and we don’t give fines and jail time for those things. Yes, she has the nicest house on the block as you told her. You know how to compliment a lady to get what you want, don’t you. She also has had better that average income over the years.

It seems apparent to me that this area was blitzed after my slumlord award because I made the point that there we many properties all around me that were worse. Some of my neighbors even blamed me and thought I was reporting on them.

It seems to me that if these violations were real crimes worthy of prosecution and the penalties levied on me that you could keep very busy just driving the street and seeing them without the need of the telephoto camera. I am sure that you know as well as I that you can see plenty from the street with casual glances. You wouldn’t even have to get out of your car.

To deal with these crimes we have to set up a special court with a handpicked judge that is biased in a certain direction.

The evidence gathered would be inadmissible in a higher court.

Charlie Williard


 

“EDITOR, KC STAR THE BIG SPENDERS ELECTION AUCTION {MAYOR AND COUNCIL, 01-01-99)

March 1, 1999

Letter to the Editor

Kansas City Star.

The big spenders election auction.

With all these political hopefuls willing to spend huge sums of their own money campaigning, these offices must be worth big bucks.

So I have a suggestion, lets auction the offices off by sealed bid. All bids will become the property of the City and will be used by the city for general operating expenses. The City itself will even campaign to urge hopefuls to run. The more the merrier.

This method would eliminate all the name calling and mud slinging and the city would profit greatly and reduce taxes. The latter is doubtful but it is a great idea. Politicians would not have to posture themselves in promising things they can’t possibly do.

This is the reality of the situation anyway. Remember that we voted on the Sailors project three times, that huge sums of money was spent to get the votes in on the boats in moats, and the amount spent on the Entertainment thing.

And they are going to rebuild the city! Whose money are they going to use? Whose taxes are going up? Whose rents are going up? And how are they going to recoup their campaign expenses?

And where are we going to put all the low income people who will be displaced by this rebuilding and redeveloping of the inner city?

Sincerely

Charlie Williard


 

“MR. LIVERGOOD, 4818 EAST 8TH, BEHIND SCHEDULE, COMPARISON OF OTHER WORSE PROPERTIES”

April 14, 1999

Dear Mr. Livergood,

Thank you for your letter and finally returning the phone calls. I have called you a dozen times in the last three weeks and left messages part of the times. You must be a very busy man.

You indicated returning 4818 East 8th street back to being demolished because I am behind schedule.

That doesn’t seem very reasonable. I may be behind but I am getting things done. It is cleaned up outside and inside. We are getting windows and doors in and a lot of little things to numerous to mention done.

The enclosed deed copy indicates transferring the east 25 feet to the property next door so he can have room for a driveway. That will enhance that property and others nearby in providing off-street parking.

This property has a new roof; a building in back that will be converted into a nice two-car garage and in time will be a very good property.

If you must tear down a building, go to forty First Street just west of Woodland. There you will find two houses, been vacant for years and open, damaged beyond repair, real eyesores, tear them down. And there is 3430 Charlotte. This building has sat for ten years, two fires and the roof bad, the back falling down and open; and I thought beyond repair.

This is the building the esteemed city inspector, Allan Fisher walked behind to cite me for tall grass and a trailer parked on a non-hard surface on my property next door. It is a brick structure and it was open and the back was visibly falling down then. And the Honorable housing court Judge Cagle tried to give me six months in jail and five hundred dollar fines on my offenses.

I could have complained and caused it to have been torn down. That would have enhanced the value of my property, but that doesn’t seem right. It belonged to a party in South Hyde Park and since that area represents a group of people that were intent on harassing me maybe they had clout.

This property is mentioned in the enclosed letter to Mr. Easley.

If you feel you must proceed with tear down I trust you will send me the appeal form or simply accept this letter as the appeal and advise me of a hearing date.

On paper things go according to schedule but real life is different. I remember Crown Center was completed behind schedule. I would guess that Union Station is a little behind. I think we are all aware of the Famed Glover plan being a little behind.

So what’s the big deal of me being a little behind? I paid almost two thousand dollars in back taxes and am working on it and will continue until it is done and the city will reap the tax benefit as opposed to spending several thousand dollars tearing it down and have a vacant lot in land trust?

Tearing it down doesn’t make much sense to me. I am wondering how it makes sense to you? I’d welcome your reasoned response. Sit down and write me a letter.

All the political hopefuls ran on the premise of rebuilding and making our city a great place to live; now that we are all getting the assessment reevaluation letters, I wonder if anyone has figured out who is going to get to pay for it.

Charlie Williard


 

“LETTER TO MAYOR-COUNCIL, ELECTION, FOCUS ON MATERIAL NOT ON PEOPLE”

April 27, l999

Open letter to Mayor, City Council, and Court.

The recent election campaigns were interesting in that the main focus was in rebuilding the inner city.

Not much was said about rebuilding lives, but of making property values rise and to enhance the material well-being of the inner city.

A lot was said about increasing the basic city services. The rhetoric was great. ” I’m just a neighborhood guy.” “I’m a team player and I can get things done.” “I love Kansas City and I want to see it grow.”——And spent bundles of your own money, the charities must be overlooking you people.

A basic service—the hauling of bulky items: I called for a pick up. It is scheduled three weeks away. It has taken longer. I have seen them picking up at one property and the man next door thinking they could get his items at the same time sat them out. Not so. It has to be in the paper work. No matter that the items could be picked up more economically while the truck is already there. They surly have phones, couldn’t they get an authorization!

Maybe we could have drop off points in areas where people would take their stuff themselves. Maybe we could pattern it after Walpole Mass. [That’s harder to spell that Missouri or Kansas.]

Crime—One of my tenants had a break-in, Police-we will be there with in four hours-this call can take up to four hours. Maybe we could have civilian employees of the police department in an economy car handle this type of case.

Hey, we already have people in cars with cameras and phones with investigative experience on the city payroll.

At the present time they are investigating a lot of complaints for tenants against their landlords because the tenant is mad at the landlord because the landlord is demanding the rent or kicking them out. Since the inspector may already know the tenant the inspector would only have to shift his vengeance from the landlord to the criminal.

A lot of tenant complaints could be dismissed by asking if the rent is current and the trash picked up.

We are spending over two million a year on codes reporting peeling paint, tall grass, storage of unapproved items trash and debris and tenant complaints while it took me five years to run to drug dealer out next door. What’s the point?

Lets take a million of this money and zero in on street crime. Let’ s do something. The inspectors have the cars, cameras-telephoto at that, and phones. They could report people walking the street with a bottle in their hand, cars that obviously could not pass inspection, drivers leaving liquor stores and drinking, a man carrying an aluminum storm door or window heading for the recycling center on foot..

We could even put the inspectors in cheap [inexpensive] used cars so as to be undercover. They could do video taping at countless drug sale sites. I doubt that we could do this. It’s too easy and common senses cal. [New word I just learned].

I don’t know what we will do with these people as we eliminate them from the inner city but as we rebuild we are also going to eliminate a lot of lower cost housing that is much needed for the lower income people.

But then we are not doing this for the poor. We are doing it so the investor and developer can make money.

The Glover plan eliminated some blight; but it also eliminated a lot of good affordable housing. The UMKC people had enough clout to stop that move. We have torn down a lot of good buildings because we either cannot control crime or can get easy government financing to build new and that is bad judgment and poor use of resources.

Losers sometimes call for recounts; but I heard once of a winner upon seeing the mess, contemplated doing so.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


 

“EASLEY, AREA CLEANUP WEEK. CITY LOTS, TRASHY. GENTRIFICATION ELIMINATING LOW COST RENTALS”

May 18, 1999

Dear Mr. Easley,

Saw you in the neighborhood May tenth but couldn’t stop to talk. You see that was clean up week for the area. Lots of good stuff on the street free for the picking. I got a lot of good stuff. I even put out a lot of stuff myself. And believe it or not a lot of it was taken. Scavengers render a real service in the scheme of recycling and saving landfill space.

But we did get to visit at the end of the week. We mowed the weeds and cleaned up after my yard sale. I could have used your advice before my sale; weeds declared noxious, dangerous and detrimental to the health, morals and welfare of the people, might be marijuana—free picking with nominal purchase. I might have sold all my junk the first week. Then no one would have complained. But then you needed something to do. Also you might check on all those city lots.

Things are changing dramatically David. Loan companies are even contacting me to lend money. Look at the building at 3430 Charlotte. I would not have considered fixing it up had it been free to me. But now some one is going to spend a bundle there. Had I made a few phone calls when Fisher was citing me for nit-picking things next door in 1993 it probably would have been torn down. Unless of course the owner had clout. ???

Things are changing and I honestly doubt that codes has had a lot to do with it. It is the normal cycle of things. The Doonesbury cartoon says it so well. We try to fix things and mostly what we do is set up bureaucracies that work at justifying their being.

You’re an intelligent man, tell me, are the things I have been saying-writing so crazy. If we want to up-grade mankind shouldn’t we work with man himself instead of his toys. Change him and he will change his toys. We know how detrimental to the health, morals and welfare booze is but we still consume great quantities of it while we worry about tall grass, peeling paint and storage of unapproved items. We got the emphasis on the wrong syllabus.

And now we are having this hue and cry about relocating these lower income people in the better areas. Where is it going and what is going to happen. I remember telling Judge Cagle that as we try to upgrade the inner city beyond its practicality that landlords would be going to those areas and running rentals there. And so it is happening. Who knows, maybe there will be a section eight house beside you in time and a sex offender next door to Judge Cagle.

Want to make that million? I’ll only charge you a thousand. Or maybe you don’t care for property. I have told Cagle he ought to be over in criminal court where he could handle real crime and put those people away. Maybe you should try police work. Your commanding persona and presence might serve society well there. (You say ‘trying to get me killed’ no not really—how’d you guess?)

Mr. Easley, word has come to me that you walked up the driveway of 3425 Holmes and had a look-around—that isn’t proper, remember you are not to come on the property unless you have permission. Three people saw you. Shame on you.

If you are short of something to do go look at city lots, most of which are over-grown, several just east of your building there on Troost. You might take a sling blade along (a tool that cuts grass).

You could concentrate on the many positive things I do.

A lady was visiting her daughter who lives at 3428 Charlotte which I own and contemplated about how nice it would be to have all the properties all fixed up nice. Her daughter has some mental problems (developmentally delayed we call it now), and I told her that when we do that (and it is coming) that her daughter will not be able to afford to live here. She thought a minute and replied ” I never thought of it that way”.

We are getting a lot of things done. The school bus is up and running now. What I planned for it didn’t work out so I will sell it. But I don’t think it was detrimental to any ones health, morals or welfare, unless it was mine when the motor didn’t work out right.

Charlie Williard


 

“EASLEY, TICKED OFF, CLIMBING ROCK WALL FOR PICTURES, CRIME CONTROL. CODES BUILDING”

July 13, 1999

Mr. Easley,

I knew I had ticked you off the other day but I didn’t realize just how bad until it was reported to me that you were seen climbing the rock wall to take pictures of 1010 East 33rd. Isn’t that trespassing. And did you get the neighbor’s permission.

Mr. Easley that is dangerous to your health, morals and welfare. That is worse that standing on your (the City’s) car hood to take pictures of some offending item. It just isn’t worth the hazard and we wouldn’t you to get hurt We especially wouldn’t like to pay the damage claim if you slipped and fell. And the damage you might do to the car—?

We are working on 1010, you should have seen it before we went to work on it. I guess you noticed all the brush that had been cut, the fence taken down so we could get back there and all the building materials in neatly stacked groups. Caught a bargain at the swap-shop and we will use it.

We discussed your views of periodic inspections to cause or make people maintain their properties and we have the law allowing the city to use a warrant to enter a property to look for code violations; now why not use the same principle to enter to look for drugs and other criminal behavior.

The house next door was a drug house for five or six years along with other problems (we could hear a four year old girl scream ‘no, I don’t want to go with him!) We called Ad-Hoc. We called the police. We tried.

We got the emphasis on the wrong syllabus. Our last election—much was made of rebuilding Kansas City and enhancing it’s material well-being—Not much about up-grading its moral value. A man can walk the street with a bottle in his hand but usable items in my yard can be deemed storage of un-approved items and land me in jail.

The drug house—Mary Alexander was known as a user and other things, OD’d more than once, Yolonder Walker OD’d (died), Cris Pouncil was in and out of jail-prison. It shouldn’t be too hard to pass a law to monitor people with these backgrounds and do frequent inspections-even surprise inspections.

Maybe it is like I stated in that slumlord letter. We may not want to control drugs.

I tried to send you copies of several letters last week and had trouble getting them all through. I have heard that the building there was not up to code but the fax machine–? Here’s trying again.

I don’t mind you staying in a substandard building and I want the same privilege. When I look at that building EPA has built over in Kansas and realize that you and I paid the price for it—?

Charlie Williard


 

“COUNCIL-MAYOR, SCHOOL FOR LANDLORDS—SCHOOLS, SCHOOLS, SCHOOLS FOR EVERYBODY”

Nov. 23, 1999

Letter to Mayor and City Council

I understand you are grappling with the idea of controlling landlords, or rather their property. Even thinking of setting up a school to teach them how to run their business. Interesting!

I am a landlord, and to borrow a phrase from a recent movie, you know my name.

Perhaps I should express my feeling and a lot of other people’s feelings about the city trying to regulate everything.

We can’t make everything right for everyone. Years ago we caused the urban-sprawl with well meaning government programs. Now we are trying to stop it. Gentrification may slow it down but I doubt that urban sprawl will stop. But then what will we do with the poorer people displaced by gentrification. We will need another government fix, won’t we! Where does it end. Maybe we just need to leave some things alone.

A few years ago the city set up a special court to deal with landlord-tenant cases. I think they soon decided that these cases did not deserve special treatment. I had a case and the judge saw fit to explain to the tenant that the rent was due at the beginning of the month, not at the end of the month with her saying “I didn’t know.”

Sometime later she had another judge explaining the same thing to her. Interesting.

I have a hard time understanding the importance of a law allowing codes to enter a property to look for code violations when we don’t see fit to do the same with drug houses. Aren’t drugs a much more serious crime. Where is our common sense?

I have a hard time understanding why we spend ninety thousand dollars to rehab housing units, we could give these people thirty thousand dollars houses and be ahead. And maybe pride of ownership would help them. Maybe we should sell them these lower priced houses and if they don’t pay for them we would still be better off.

I have a hard time understanding why a code officer feels that a violation exists on a property and writes a citation when the houses next door are much worse. I have been cited for nit-picking things when the property next door was much worse.

I have a hard time understanding why we are putting so much emphasis on the man’s property when we don’t seem that much interested in his personal well-being. But I do know the reason—money to be made.

We are going to do the Linwood shopping center and we are going to pump fifty more million plus in the area to help it be successful. Where are the poor going? Northland doesn’t want them. Johnson county doesn’t want them. But we can’t not do this thing because it is a money maker. Especially with the public footing a big chunk of the bill. Where is our common sense?

We should have built this over between Paseo and the freeway. The ground would have been cheap and we would not have torn down some good affordable housing. Where is our common sense?

I have a hard time understanding why we think we can make everything right for everybody. And then if we could-could we afford the price tag? Government fixes are very costly. We need some common sense.

Here are several letters you might find interesting.

Charlie Williard


 

“MR. MILLER, DANGEROUS BUILDING, NEED FOR SOME COMMON SENSE.”

Dec. 1999

David A. Miller

Code Enforcement Inspector

RE: 4818 East 8th St.

Dear Mr. Miller

Received your letter today. Yes we got delayed but not stopped.

We have painted the house and it will need another coat. It will need a lot of things but it seems that if we are working on it, even though a little slow that it is senseless to demolish the house. There are houses in the area that nothing is being done on and they are still standing.

I will pay the cost of removing the siding. I can contact Kaw Valley Wrecking or pay the City. I need to know much.

I have applied for loans that would have already been here but for a mishap; approximately ninety thousand dollars which will enable me to get some things done.

Work at the house has not stopped. My wife indicates they did a lot of cleanup and closing up all week there last week

I was in jail. I tried to post a property bond. It was denied. A common criminal can post twenty percent but not me. My crimes were code violations and full cash was required. Ten days out makes a big difference in what gets done. Ten days of nice weather; I could have gotten a lot done.

The roof does not leak though it will be repaired properly in time. The jail out at MCI does leak. And why don’t they tear the old jail down?

I hope some common sense can prevail here.

Here are some letters that might be interesting to you.

Charlie Williard


 

“GENTRIFICATION, WHERE WILL ALL THE POOR PEOPLE LIVE WHEN WE REDO ALL THE OLDER AREAS? LEAVE IT ALONE”

December 3, 1999

Open letter to the Mayor and City Council

Kansas City, Missouri

As you grapple with the so-called problem of dealing with landlords, even setting up schools for them, I get the idea that you think controlling the rental property will end a lot of our problems. I don’t think so but let’s talk.

We have the law that allows codes to enter a property to look for code violations—lets expand that law to enable the police and drug control officers to enter suspected drug houses to look for this activity. We wouldn’t want to limit this just to drugs, let’s do it when we think children are being abused or neglected.

I live by a drug house. Of the previous tenancy, one OD’d-fatally, I think one is in jail and the other one moved. They OD’d several times. With this kind of activity it should be no problem to track it and just simply use search warrant powers and go in. Mast cannot give police their first-hand knowledge—privacy laws. What about my privacy and those telephoto cameras codes uses?

The search warrant entering might be a good way to handle child abuse and neglect problems too.

Landlords would probably embrace this idea because they see a lot of drug activity and usually would like to see the place raided to get them out of his hair.

This principle could be expanded to deal with general house keeping problems. If the sink is observed with week-old unwashed dishes set up a school for them. Maybe they don’t know how to wash dishes.

If they always seem to be broke set up a school to teach them how to spend their money wisely. Show them how to save money and eventually buy their own home instead of paying rent the rest of their lives.

Schools could be set up to show these people how to buy and maintain property.

A school could be set up to show them the absurdity of buying lottery tickets or going to the boats in moats.

There would be no end to the schools we could have these people attending and landlords might even be relegated out of business by reason of upgrading the renting class of people. And this would be good.

The people could be kept so busy going to schools and working on their property that they would not have time for mischief and the crime rate would drop. (George Orwell—1984.)

This would enable the tax base to rise; giving the city much needed revenue, hallelujah. Utopia.

This may sound like a bunch of bull but when you think of the eighteen million we are spending on trying to control drugs maybe we should try it.

Lets turn the drug and gun problem over to Judge Cagle’s court. He can declare them unapproved items. With the fearless code inspectors willing to climb rock walls and go in back yards with their telephoto cameras with the aid of the search warrant powers this problem will be handled. Bull!!!

Schools and codes, the cure-all.

Charlie Williard


 

“MILLER TEAR DOWN- JAIL SATIRE TO COUNCIL”

Dec. 17, 1999

Letter to the City Council and

Mayor Kansas City, Missouri

Attached is a letter to Mr. Miller regarding a property he feels should be torn down.

Granted, I have been slow. But some progress has been made and a lot more will be made in the future.

This isn’t the worst house in the area. It has a new roof with only a small hole that was cut by the firemen to let the smoke out when a fire was set. And besides it is producing close to $500 a year for the city.

You can see more of the history of the house from a couple of letters I have enclosed.

You note also I was in jail ten days which would slow anyone down a mite.

Jail was interesting in that I saw plenty of code violations there. One code violation was very amusing. A receptacle was missing and an inmate kept trying to touch the wires together to light his joint. It would spark big. But it would not blow the breaker. The breaker should have tripped. That is unsafe, very conducive to electrical fires. Or maybe a pre-mature electrocution. Is that still legal in Missouri? Both those items should be code violations. Besides what if a good guy like me had gotten a hold of it?

And the city thinks landlords can keep drugs out of their rentals when we can’t keep them out of the jails.

Another major violation was that the MCI building I was in had a roof leak.

I realize that jails aren’t supposed to be Holiday Inns but the concrete block construction with no sound absorbing material causes the sounds to reverberate around so as to be very disconcerting. I didn’t have too much sympathy for the inmates but what about the guards. This sound problem could drive them crazy.

With the knowledge and expertise the City would have in building construction, surely a pleasanter building could have been constructed economically.

This could have a very good effect on the inmates. If we are happy we are much more receptive to being directed or trained. So surely the inmates would be more receptive to counseling if the situation is better.

This reverb problem could even be construed as a code violation in that it is not healthy and is hard on the ear drums and therefore detrimental to one’s health, morals and welfare as stated in the City code books. I know we think that the cars with all those extra sounds that drive us crazy would be caught and ticketed if our police cars were fast enough to catch them. We have a sorry state of affairs here don’t we.

It was interesting to note that many of the guys had been there before. Some even at the old jail and the major reason was booze; an item that seems to be very detrimental to their health, morals and welfare and is readily available everywhere. Do you suppose product liability like tobacco could become an issue here?

The biggest code violation out there was the old jail but I am not pushing to see it torn down, maybe in time we will find a use for it. Maybe ‘old inmate reunions.’ Maybe it could even make money.

You know my name

Charlie Williard


 

“MAYOR-COUNCIL, JENNY JOHNSON, LANDLORD CONTROLS, CRIMINAL RIGHTS LAWS, YES, YES, YES.”

Dec. 20, 1999

City Council and Mayor

Kansas City, Missouri

I have before me the article by Jenny Johnson regarding landlord controls. Also a copy of the letter she addressed to the Council.

I am curious about the percentage of drug offenders who live in homes (their own) as opposed to rentals.

I am also interested in how she thinks landlords can do what the police and drug team seem unable to do?

She wants to make landlords responsible—how about letting landlords be responsible by enabling them through the court system to kick out undesirable tenants, say within ten days. Or at least a month.

How about expanding that codes search warrant law to allow surprise searches of suspected drug houses.

She indicates that the police and legal systems are overburdened and constrained by criminal rights laws. Yes, and they seem to be pro-tenant as well pro criminal. It can take up to three months to get a bad tenant out. You see we have to deal with those criminal rights problems too.

Given the chance we landlords might surprise you.

I think we are playing with setting up another bureaucracy. We need another layer of bureaucracy like we need another hole in our head.

Here is an idea that might just work. Lets talk to our attorneys and persuade them to quit getting the criminal off. Attorneys could take schooling in counseling that would enable them to counsel the drug and booze offenders to stop doing those things.

Gary Mazer might be a completely different person now if his attorney had saw fit to sit down and counsel him about the virtues of honest work instead of begging and cursing people on the Plaza.

In concluding I say we need three things: to be able to kick out the problem tenant PDQ, schooling for lawyers to enable them to counsel the offenders into being good productive people, and the search warrant powers greatly expanded to deal with the drug and booze problem.

The first two items there might eliminate the need for the third item.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


 

Letter to the Mayor and City Council

Jan. 5, 2000

As you grapple with the many problems of the city regarding rental housing here are some letters you should find interesting.

It is a sad fact that most people have their hand out for all the government will give to them. This was borne out very well in the issue of enticing businesses from one area to the other with incentives or tax breaks.

I keep asking the question “where will the poor live when we re-do all the older areas?” and no one seem able to address the issue.

The city seems to want to address the issues of trying to make things right for a lot of people that I feel are not helpable. They will not do the one-two-three things that would make things work out for them.

As I have said before, most of my tenants are reasonable people and we get along. I feel the city should adopt a policy along the lines of the “clean hand” doctrine.

As for what is happening regarding gentrification; leave it alone, let the problem work its-self out. The city should stay out of the business of promoting one group’s interest over another’s. We can’t make everything right for everyone.

Charlie Williard


 

“MR. MILLER, MORE COMMON SENSE NEEDED”

Jan. 31, 2000

Dear Mr. Miller

My men working over on 4818 East 8th tell me that you are unhappy with the progress there to the extent of saying that the building must be demolished.

We are behind schedule but we are working on it and it is not the worst looking building in the area.

We have been working inside getting it ready for wiring and sheet rock. These are things that have to be done and they are things we can do even in bad weather. It is clean up work and doesn’t always show big as in really looking like we are doing a lot of work but it has to be done.

I know you spoke of getting the outside looking good, well, it’s cold, and now there is snow on the ground. We have done a lot outside. You have pushed on getting that hole in the roof properly repaired. We have it repaired on a temporary basis and it doesn’t leak. More that I could say for the jail out at MCI. Warm weather can make the outside repairs go much better.

You notice we did panel, with proper outside paneling, the rear portion that was in need.

Mr. Miller, I do not see this as a game of checkers or dominoes where one of us wins and we play out the hand or game and start over. This is a house that is in the tax base providing the city with income and in time will provide housing for someone as well as income for it’s owner.

If torn down, the demolition expense, the lost tax, and the vacant lot—what’s the point to win here by the city by tearing it down? Crown Center wasn’t finished on schedule. Union Station wasn’t finished on schedule.

I remember when you came by my house and picked up the check for the asbestos removal and I signed a letter, and now I learn that it gave me a month to have the property 90% done. I guess I should have read it closer because that would have been nearly impossible.

I had just gotten out of jail. I was sick for a week and a half after that. I had $90,000 in loans lined up to do several things but a separation and pending divorce scuttled that.

Mr. Miller, you may be able to win the war on tearing the house down but what have you or the city won or achieved? You cause a good structure to be torn down that was being worked on, again I say what have you achieved. You win all right. But what do you win?

There are two houses, 3430 Charlotte, been vacant for at least fifteen years, falling down in the back, open. I have mentioned this house before because the city inspector walked behind it eight years ago to cite me for a trailer on a non-hard surface and tall grass and ignored it’s falling down condition. The other house, a burnout at 4143 Tracy, open, nothing being done, while the city nit-picked mine next door.

If you have to tear a building down go tear them down. That should keep you busy for a while and maybe I would have mine fixed by then. Both of those buildings torn down would enhance the value of my properties next door but l do not see fit to complain. Live and let live.

Mr. Miller, I am at least working on my house. I might add that I have rehabbed four houses this past summer and fall. I have been busy. You might even say that I have done a lot more for your cause that you can see.

Charlie Williard


 

“JIM GLOVER, LINWOOD SHOPPING CENTER REVIEW, $50 MILL. WITHOUT WHICH AREA WILL ROT?”

March 9, 2000

Dear Mr. Glover,

I understand there was a review of the Linwood Shopping Center on the news—channel 5 and that you stated that without the extra money, 50 million pumped into the surrounding area that it would rot (the surrounding area).

I don’t think so. It isn’t rotting now. And then from another prospective it is rotting. We are also rotting. Sometimes we evensmell a bit. But with proper bathing and reasonable care we manage to get along. And properties are in this mode also. They will not-do not stand by themselves always without upkeep.

And I am sure that some of them are detearioting—as is normal and from time to time repairs are made that keeps them in usable condition—though not always in tip-top condition.

I keep asking the question, “where are the poor going when we re-do all the old areas?” and no one seems to want to deal with the issue.

It is a reality that when we up-grade this area that prices will go up both for the buyer and the renter and those of us who already own property (and the more the merrier) will do alright but the tenant and the new buyer is facing higher living costs. The rest of us are facing higher taxes and insurance costs.

To build this shopping center we tore out a lot of good affordable housing, spending about 80 million. I know there was some blight in the area and there was crime but we shouldn’t burn a house to get ride of bugs.

I think we should have built this shopping Center over between Paseo and the freeway. A lot of freeway traffic would have stopped there, the ground would have been cheep and it was already cleared. And most of all we would not have eliminated a lot of low cost housing. We destroyed natural resources.

We are trying to use development and code enforcement to control crime. And it will work for a given area because as we up the price of living in an area the lower level of crime will decrease because that level of criminal has to move elsewhere. But then what about the elsewhere that he goes to? We haven’t changed things much, have we? In doing this we have upped the cost of living for the good lower income people, have we an answer for them?

I stated in a letter to the Star sometime back that with the interest on $43 million we could have rebuilt the Gillham Plaza area and even provided police protection to make it a safe area. And then it cost $80 mill.

Mr. Glover, if you are really concerned about the area rotting down why didn’t you buy the property at 1010 East 33. Look look, see see see, it was rot rot rot ing ing ing right under your nose nose nose.

It’s too late now because I bought it, put on a roof and painted it and it still has some rot but that will be taken care of in time and that is the way it works. In time the property will be a credit to the area and will probably last as long as your house will, though I may not take it to that level.

Mr. Glover, I believe you voted on a law that enables the City to get a search warrant to enter a property and look for code violations, Why not expand that power to enable the police to track drug users and drug houses and do the same thing. If you would lobby for and get that kind of law passed I would vote for you next time around.

With this kind of control we could clean up the inner city. The warrants would be issued to the houses and all occupants therein. With warrant in hand the officers would knock on the door and identify themselves as the drug patrol and say “come, pee in my cup or report to jail.” Sorry, no free passes, this isn’t monopoly.

Charlie Williard


 

“HALQUIST CRIME CONTROL-LAWYERS GETTING PEOPLE OFF, FREE ENTERPRISE, CODES–A TOOL”

Allen Hallquist

36th and Holmes

Kansas City, MO 64l09

Dear Mr. Hallquist

Since you haven’t been able to run me out of the neighborhood, and you aren’t leaving either, maybe we should try to get together like Rick Robert’s suggested in the radio-telephone interview.

I am happy to see the area come back. I always felt that it would. I also did not worry about it because I could accept it the way it was back when you guys wouldn’t have thought of living here.

I lived here, bought old cars, fixed them up, sold them; lawn mowers, antiques, you name it. I have always been a horse-trader. The placement director in college stated to Phillips 66, in placing me here, that I had sold or traded everything from a sewing machine to the kitchen sink. My specialty was a little red and white needle threader that sold for a dollar. I had a ball. Worked my way through two years of school.

I have done a lot of property maintenance, vehicle mechanics, appliance repair work and you name it in the area before the ‘yuppie movement’. I didn’t quite fit the yuppie movement. I guess I wanted to do things too economical.

I really do enjoy seeing the area come back, as you can imagine, with the number of properties I own. I won’t mind getting rich. I just bought another property last month. It was too cheap. It needed fixing up. You guys were asleep. You guys should come and see me. With your brains and my common sense we could make good together.

You guys have made the charge that the way I run property breeds crime; I don’t think that is true. Crime is everywhere. Aggie’s claim that crime has dropped dramatically is not true.

Crime is a big problem here. I think one of the reasons is that we seem unable to punish the criminal. I lost some items recently, stolen, I found them, could we prosecute? No, he had a good lawyer. Got him off.

Maybe we should attack this thing from another angle; talk to lawyers and say, hey if this party is guilty let him pay. Or, if the lawyer gets him off and he goes out and does it again, charge the lawyer. Let the lawyer put up a bond saying this guy will go straight.

You’re a lawyer, how do you feel about these things. Do you think you could get your colleagues to think about this? If wecould just stop getting these guys off, our streets would be a lot safer. Our own neighborhood here in Hyde Park could reallymake a come back. And you could make money from the property you have invested in. To think that we paid Gary Mazer—oh boy!

I am not against the area coming back but I think we should give some consideration to all groups of people who live here and as it comes back the lower income people are going to be pushed out.

You came here because you could buy a mansion cheap and other property that you thought you could make money on. That seems reasonable but what about the poor man whose area you are taking?. Where does he have to go?

Gary Mazer has a place to go because he had a good lawyer but most poor people don’t fall in his category.

A man came to Abe Lincoln. It is recorded that Abe told him “I can take your case and win it but it will make a poor honest family miserable, isn’t there some other way you can make this much money?”

You’re a capable lawyer, a smart man: aren’t there other ways of making money than the taking of the poor mans abode? A fair fight is one thing but; you are using city hall on your side. I am chiding you because he is going to lose it anyway; but it doesn’t seem fair that you have the government to help you get rich at the poor man’s expense.

A story: three men died and went to heaven. Saint Peter asked the first two what they would like to have. The first one said he would like to have a thousand dollars. He had never had any money. He got his money. The second man said that sounded good to him. So he got his thousand. Saint Peter turned to the third man and asked him of his wishes. The third man said I don’t need anything, just tell me where those guys are lodging tonight. He didn’t need government help.

Most people live on whims and the thing of trying to keep up with his neighbor. All these wonderful programs we try to institute do not seem to do much good. We are going to spend $90,0000 per unit to rehab Guinnote Manor. Is that reasonable when we can buy good houses for much less?

I confess that I have spent good time and money saving people money and what did they do with their savings? They bought things they didn’t need. They went to the Boats. They bought much nicer cars than I drive. Who knows, one of them might even be driving a Saab.

I have lived frugally and have been able to accumulate property but someday it will be divided up, sold off, or something because seldom do children have the same intent in life as do parents. And that is as it should be. Wealth should redistribute. And it does. And it will do so better without government control and regulation.

If the government were not guaranteeing property loans we would not have had the S&L debacle with the taxpayer picking up the tab. The same with farm loans and that debacle. All forms of subsidy should be stopped. Let the law of supply and demand and free market economy operate.

The two million plus per year we are spending on code enforcement does not control crime or property. Look at Troost-midtown.

If we would choose to control crime I think property values might take care of its self. That is where lawyers might be able to effect big changes. If good honest lawyers would stop getting the criminal off–?

A man robbed four banks and got three years and ten months. Now if we take Councilman Finley’s idea and publicize this man’s picture and his lawyer for it’s shame value? Could we make a difference?

And if we would start neighborhood organizations that would lobby the lawyers in their neighborhoods to think about the overall good of not getting the criminal off; would it make a difference in crime? What we are doing isn’t working so maybe it would be worth a try.

Representing the criminal and getting him a fair deal is one thing while getting him off is another thing.

Code enforcement is premised on the statement of being good for the health, morals and welfare of the people. Bologna! It’s special interest rules and regulation designed to help the rich stay rich and get richer.

I am not opposed to getting rich but free enterprise in a free economy is hard to beat. If code enforcement really worked the cities in the east would be paradise because they have ten times the code enforcement we have. They would be slum and crime free.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard


 

“LETTER TO THE EDITOR, COUNCIL AND MAYOR MEETING, TOUGHER LANDLORD LAWS”

Letter to the Editor

Kansas City Star

I attended the meeting recently in which the city was to discuss the toughening of rental regulations.

I left before this topic came up mainly because I could not decipher the dialog and would not have understood what was going on.

I find it ironic that the city wants rental housing to be run properly while the equipment in city hall does not operate so that the average citizen can understand what is going on.

In an article in the Star, Sunday, Feb. 6, “In Aging Suburbs, an Issue of Value”— the real issue is money. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours we’ll negotiate.” Somehow we think we should be able to control the value of property and enable it to always rise. Preposterous! I thought we operated on the law of supply and demand and free enterprise. I think we believe in it —-unless it starts taking from something we value. Then we call in some arm of the government to try to stop it.

In the free enterprise system one is free to make or lose money, wealth, reputation-whatever and neighborhoods or the value of properties there-in should not be exempt from this process. Otherwise you must set up a system of controls that tries to peg things at a certain point and not let anything change.

What about the fellow that is on the lower end of the totem pole? Does he have the right to try to climb the ladder to better things in life? If we allow this process it is going to change things. And I might add that you can’t stop it. Why do you suppose we had the Boston Tea Party? Some people didn’t want change and some people did want change. And aren’t we glad about who won.

Should our government guarantee to everyone that if they purchase a property that it will always appreciate in value? Preposterous! What would be the cost of such a policy? I guess we could go to the insurance industry and try such a thing. For a price they will insure anything. And they will get richer. They already own us, what else will they extract from us?

We are trying to control something that is uncontrollable. Mankind lives, survives, thrives-whatever in all different kinds of social and economic conditions and these are constantly changing. Ones values are constantly changing, hopefully for the better but not always.

We can’t control street prostitution on Independence Avenue any more than we can control drugs in the jails but we think we can control property values by controlling rental property. We are just going to set up another layer of bureaucracy.

The rich man does not wear out his new car, even the next buyer does not wear it out. This enables the poorer man to have a car. Same with fancy suits. What do you suppose the rich man would say if some government planner told him he had to wear that suit until it was worn out? and the same with houses. And then we would tell him that he could not come back to reclaim an old neighborhood as in gentrification. Leave it alone, you can’t have it. That belongs to the poor man.????

Perhaps we should be working on mankind’s moral values more than on his material well-being. Perhaps we should reunite church and state and start requiring character guidance training like the army did. We would need to do it more that once a month.

Besides if we don’t let areas decay the developers will all go broke and we will have to put them on welfare. They are already but we don’t think of subsidy and TIFF money as being welfare.

Seems to me we should live and let live and let neighborhoods alone to become what seems to be needed by the people that wish to live there.

Charlie Williard


 

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

Letter to the Editor

Kansas City Star

The Star printed a good article on gun control March 6th.

Gun control is a lost cause much like drug control. I don’t carry or want to carry a gun but the fact is that there are a lot of guns out there and they are going to remain there with or without gun control.

If we pass Proposition B we must set up a system to deal with the permits. According to the Star the cost will be from a million to almost 4 million. And at a cost of $80 for the permit; how many people will just go ahead and carry with out getting the permit.

I knew a man who was unstable but his wife got the permit. I know a man who was being robbed and instead of getting the money they knew he was carrying from his coat pocket, he pulled out his 357. The man ran. I asked him if he called the police, “no, I didn’t have a permit.”

Nothing is ever always right every time. Maybe we should just repeal the law that says we can’t carry concealed weapons. Or is that too easy.

We have the building inspections or codes at a cost of over two million per year and yet we have buildings fall in disrepair, we have liquor control at great cost and we have people drinking themselves to death, and gaming control and people gamble away their life savings. We have the vehicle inspection system; it’s a joke.

Sometimes I think we want all these controls that are supposed to be for the health, morals and welfare of the people more for the sake of bureaucracy than for the good of the people.

I think the animal farm is in our future.

Charlie Williard


 

“JUDGE CAGLE, RUDENESS IN COURT. YOU ARE NEEDED IN CRIMINAL COURT.”

Judge Wayne Cagle

16th Municipal Court

Kansas City, Mo.

Dear Judge

I am sorry I was sick Friday and unable to appear in person but along with the motion for change of judge I arranged for a friend to appear and advise thereof.

It seems you disallowed the motion and did not even give my friend a chance to explain that I was sick.

The inspector and bailiff were aware of the reason and me not being there.

My case was also shifted from the 2:30 docket to the 3:30 docket.

The treatment of this case does not meet common courtesy. Twice, in court recently the inspector; one time was not there, the other time did not have his file and a continuance was granted.

After all Judge, this isn’t murder, it isn’t even like the drug-dealing next door.

I still say we need you over in criminal court where there is real crime.

Sincerely

Charlie Williard


 

“STAR, GOOD LETTER BY MIKE HENDRIX, ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE!”

Mike Hendrix, saving stuff worth saving

Letter to the Editor

Kansas City Star

Kansas City, MO

A good article by Mike Hendrix, what is good for all is not always good for all, or it depends whom the “all” is. There are people whom need this stuff and can use it. And I suppose the critic is not opposed to these people receiving the stuff but do it somewhere else. Like the group home recently. It’s okay to take care of these kids but not next door.

Doug Maag at 3409 Charlotte in Hyde Park likes flowers which also includes sunflowers and to some his yard is gaudy and in poor taste. Beauty is to the beholder. His yard is adding oxygen to the air. He doesn’t have to mow so he is not polluting.

I hate to have to defend Doug Maag’s yard because he has been so critical of my so-called slumlord activities but do we all have to be the same with properly manicured yards, properly painted houses with no improperly stored items. Why can’t we live-and let-live.

Sincerely,

Charlie Williard