This piece will focus on the “wording” of the Collinsville Health & Safety/Crime Free Ordinance. SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE
John Miller, Mayor (618) 345-6514 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Moss (618) 345-5329 email@example.com
Liz Dalton (618) 345-4660 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Ciampoli (618) 345-7607 email@example.com
Jeff Kypta 618-345-0996 firstname.lastname@example.org
You must first ask yourself, why “now”? Collinsville, like most municipalities, has been taxing the “residents” (please avoid using that word if you do not k now the legal meaning) for as long as many can remember, yet, virtually all municipalities are resorting to deceit and quiet-theft to support bloated salaries, benefits, paybacks, political favoritism, corporate benefactors, and a host of other fraudulent endeavors that benefit anyone but the “citizen”. It is a protectionist racket and you, the taxpayers, are the serfs paying tribute to your rulers. Isn’t the system supposed to be created and controlled by the so-called “People”? Then why have the tables turned to where you now look over your shoulder for the next code violation to sap your time, energy, and money?
When you read a piece of legislation, ordinance, statute…. do NOT pretend to understand what it is saying in the language you read. You cannot use a dictionary to interpret such things. Have you noticed that section 8.02.020 of the code is titled “Definitions”? If you are a reasonably educated individual, why would the City need to define such words as “City”, “Person”, “Tenant”….? Do most people not understand what such words mean? Yet, the Code takes deliberate measure to “define” them, not as words, but as “legal terms”. There is a significant difference. The City puts this piece before you knowing you will not dig any deeper to inquire why they define words you presumably already know.
Likewise, they also fail to define words that carry significant relevance to the application and enforcement of the Code. For instance, Section 8.02.050 titled “Fees” states, “All application, inspection, or other fees relating to this Chapter shall be provided for in the Municipal Code, as may be amended.” What “other fees” are they referring to? What does “relating to this Chapter” mean? How many other ordinances “relate” to this Chapter where there is an associated fee that may be impacted? Basically, they have Carte blanche to assess any fees they deem appropriate and you will foot the bill because this was passed.
These are just a few of the concerns you should have over this proposed Ordinance. I will touch on the more significant issues, but I strongly urge you to contact your City Council members and tell them to not vote for the passage of this oppressive Code. They will likely scare you with statistics and reports, but let’s be reasonable; if society is crumbling as they like to purport, do you want to be a captive in your “Code Compliant” home fearful of every person walking the street? This Ordinance is nothing more than a revenue generating measure designed to exploit your fear and ignorance. It is no coincidence that at a time when cities are broke, infrastructure crumbling, and crime rampant (if you believe such things) that this is offered as a panacea to sooth your anxiety. Ask them, what have they done with all the monies confiscated through taxation and fees to-date; and why do we have such problems if they were remotely responsible from the beginning. Governments create circumstances to support statistics with which to frighten you into giving up more liberty for more control and money to line the pockets of the “rulers”.
There is a good article on theshriverbrief.org about how arrest record screenings fail to fight crime while impeding fair housing.
Number of issues involving WHEREAS –
“…lacked an effective health and safety code enforcement program to provide for periodic inspection of commercial and residential buildings throughout the City.” – If it has lacked an effective one to this point what makes us believe that this one will be any more effective? What do they mean by “lacking an effective” code? Does that mean it has not been effective in taking more of your money? There is essentially no difference because they refuse to enforce the Codes on the books, but they need a justification for your dollars. This implies that the City, with all the money and resources over the years, has failed to do its job and NOW require this Code to keep you safe. Did they intentionally let things get so bad (which I posit they are not) in order to plea to your insecurities in getting this passed? Honestly, the less power the City has the better.
“…the lack of such a health and safety enforcement program has permitted portions of the City’s commercial and residential housing inventory to become substandard….” – First of all, it is NOT the “City’s” inventory. It belongs to the owners. When did the City assume ownership of this property? Was it the lack of “such a health and safety enforcement…” policy, or was it the lack of enforcement of current Codes that caused the problem? Again, it is the lack of money provided by way of the current Code that is the problem.
“…improving the commercial and residential housing environment throughout the City requires inspection of buildings…” – I say it involves enforcing the Code on the books. Inspection is not necessary. They are making a case that the people are incapable of correcting their own issues and therefore required to spend money on things that are not necessarily a safety issue, but which the City will benefit from by charging for inspections and enforcement. Why now is there a need for this? I’ll tell you, because now they need the pretext to charge the fees.
“…the goal of the Health and Safety Inspection Program is to increase the health, safety, and general welfare of the public while strengthening neighborhoods…” – Excuse me, but the “goal” is to create a pretext for unwarranted searches of people’s homes in order to “cleanse” the City of what it deems “undesirables” and make a tidy sum in the process. How does this Code contribute to the health, safety, or general welfare? Isn’t that the job of the people to determine what is in their best interests? What does a building code have to do in the grand scheme of things in improving such things when it will COST the majority of people more money than they may deem worth their “health, safety, or general welfare”. I can tell you that there will be an incentive to refinance homes at lower rates to pay for code violations. As the values go up so do the property taxes. If you have been holding off on improvements because you are just trying to live, guess what? You will now be needing to come up with money you already to not have in order to satisfy the City. Likewise, if they can create a “blight” situation by refusing occupancy in areas so as to cause property to decrease in value they will be moving forward with confiscation and resale to one of their most favored “developers”. Debt, taxes, and fees. The blood of government.
“…make housing safe and indirectly reduce crime by preventing the “broken window” syndrome…” – What is a “broken window” syndrome? Where is that defined in the Code and how does it directly relate to safety or crime? Maybe they are hoping to push the burden of enforcement on landlords instead of the police doing the enforcement. Again, added costs to the people. There is NO correlation between such Codes and crime reduction. Belleville has has such a Code for years and look at the crime rate in Belleville. How many gunshots are silenced by their “Code”? I actually Googled “Broken Window Syndrome” and found this information. I think Collinsville is really blowing this our of proportion. Broken Window Syndrome is a theory regarding urban disorder and vandalism. Pretty tall aspirations for little ‘ol Collinsville. Read more here.
Building – Means virtually ANYTHING with walls and a roof. That is correct. They claim jurisdiction over your storage shed, garage, outhouse….
Dwelling – Anyplace a human being may stay seeking shelter or comfort. Nowhere you go is safe from their inspection.
Immediate family member – They now need to define what type of private association you can have with others. Look for live-ins and distant relative being removed from your “dwelling”.
Person – “Means any natural person; firm; joint venture, including all participants; partnership, including all partners; association, social club, or fraternal organization, including all officers and directors; corporation, including all officers, directors and significant stockholders; estate; trust; business trust; receiver; or any other group or combination acting as a unit.” – Wow! Where do you fall into that list? Are you a “natural person”? Did you know that corporations are also considered “natural persons” in some instances? Think very hard about what they are saying. Do not assume anything. Generally, when used in legislation, a “natural person” is a flesh-and-blood individual, but one who is charged by law with a duty or obligation. Usually one of a fiduciary nature. It does NOT, in the normal parlance of the word, define the common man.
8.02.060 Applications for Health and Safety Permit
C. Any Health and Safety Permit issued by the City shall not be deemed a release or waiver by the City of any requirement for compliance with all applicable sections of this Code, nor shall it constitute a guarantee that no Code violations exist. Issuance of any Health and Safety Permit shall not restrain or prohibit the City from making further inspection of the dwelling unit and giving notice of any violation of this Code at anytime, notwithstanding the validity of a Health and Safety Permit. – In other words, do not believe for a moment that because a “dwelling” has a permit it is safe. The City does not guarantee it has caught all possible violations and therefore you could still be at risk. They are too incompetent to guarantee they are keeping you safe, even though they want the power and money to make you believe you are. If they do fail to catch some violations, whether intentionally or not, they claim the power to keep coming back again, and again, and again… until they get it right, which they cannot guarantee they will. Just pay the fee and cherish your false sense of security.
8.02.100 Inspections Authorized; Right of Entry
This will take quite a bit of time, but in essence, you are guaranteed a minimal 4th Amendment protection. Possessing the Permit gives them additional authority to violate many aspects of the 4th Amendment because you have essentially given them permission when you applied for and received the permit. The best advice is, if you cherish your privacy and 4th Amendment protection, is to not apply for the permit and stand your ground in court.
8.02.210 Crime Free Housing Program
A. and B. – The City is now in the business of registering landlords. What relation to health, safety, and welfare do landlords possess differently from other people? They are saying that landlords pose an increased crime risk. If this is the case, why don’t they just outlaw landlords altogether?
8.02.230 Certificate Duration
D. All persons applying… shall submit an affidavit stating that for all leases, commencing after the effective date…they will utilize a Crime Free Lease Addendum or have clauses in all leases substantially the same as a Crime Free Lease Addendum, as further related in this Code. – They are imposing a legal duty upon the landlords which carries pains of perjury (affidavit) for failing to use the City’s language (Crime Free Lease Addendum) which has not been disclosed or made public. They are attempting to write lease agreements for landlords. If they had the power to do this it would be done through statute or law, but they don’t So, they are forcing the landlords to sign affidavits stating they will use the City’s Lease Addendum language in their leases. I say that the landlords should arrest any tenants they see breaking the law rather than calling the police if they want to control crime. How do you arrest someone if you are a private individual? Read this. I think it would be more responsible if the landlords knew how to effect a citizens arrest and police their own properties. Since the police can’t guarantee, nor be responsible, for anyone’s safety the landlords have just as much right to arrest for crimes directly witnessed by themselves. People have a common law right to make an arrest if they personally witness a crime. However, this is not for things like vehicle or traffic offenses or ordinance violations. Real crimes are those which involve violence or harm to another or their property. Most “offenses” are NOT crimes.
8.02.270 Crime Free Lease Addendum
A. Any owner or property agent entering into leases…shall utilize a Crime Free Lease Addendum or have a clause in the lease substantially the same as the Crime Free Lease Addendum… The Crime Free Lease Addendum shall make criminal activity a lease violation and shall specify that criminal activity shall include, but is not limited to violent criminal activity or drug related criminal activity engaged in by, facilitated by, or permitted by the tenant, a member of the household, guest or other party under the control of the tenant. – This is essentially imposing a penalty upon landlords to adopt language promulgated by the City, of which there is no mention of in the Code as far as verbiage, and creating lease violations out of undefined acts. This section is so ambiguous and arbitrary so as to be almost laughable if it weren’t so serious. First of all, how can the City dictate to the landlords what they will put into private contracts between themselves and their tenants and then to impose an enforcement duty upon the landlords to interpret what “criminal activity” is? Does it mention whether or not the activity is supported by a finding of guilt in a court of law (there’s a joke) or if it is merely the accusation of criminal activity? Who is empowered to determine what “criminal activity” is? Can anyone make an accusation that criminal activity is being engaged in by a tenant and therefore impose eviction proceedings upon that tenant at the landlord’s expense? It states that it “shall include, but is not limited to”. No limits? So the City can add criminal activities to this list as it sees fit to fabricate out of thin air? Also, what is “engaged in by, facilitated by, or permitted by the tenant…. or other party under the control of the tenant”? Where are the limits on this? How are landlords supposed to control tenants who are then to control “other parties”? This language is insane and essentially creates a prison out of rental property with the landlord becoming the warden and tenants as inmates.
8.02.280 Crime Free Housing Seminar
A. As scheduled from time to time by the City, any owner of residential rental…shall attend and complete a City of Collinsville Crime Free Housing Program Seminar… – So now, the City will schedule training for landlords and if that landlord is out of town, on a job… they will have to avail themselves to training by the City. Who is going to pay for this training and the facilities? How many classes will they offer and what if every landlord is unable to attend when they offer the schedule? Since when were people subject to any scheduling requirements for attending training by the City? Is this where the landlords are “deputized” or just brainwashed and intimidated into doing the City’s bidding? Will the City impose unreasonable duties upon them and under such training, if the landlords acts in good-faith but is then subjected to a lawsuit by a tenant he believed he was taking lawful action against, will the City hold harmless and indemnify the landlord? Will the City hold harmless and indemnify the landlords for possible violations of contracts and rights by using the Lease Addendum? Is the City not deflecting some of the liability for possible unlawful acts upon the landlords for which they will be personally liable?
What the City is intending to do is create an inroad to surveillance and control of the people by way of these permits. Do not think for a moment that when your home is “inspected” they are not looking for other violations for which to punish you. Maybe they will determine your children look underfed or inadequately dressed. Maybe you will have something lying about which they will observe and infer criminal activity from. Maybe they will take note of your demeanor and keep an eye on you. This is big brother, no doubt about it. There were stories a few years ago about people in Belleville waking up in their beds to find inspectors in their homes. How can this happen? Because once you have the City’s permit your protections drop dramatically. This is Police State.
People have to work together or government will deem you all incompetent and stand in for you. The statistics they use are not facts, they are scientific opinions which are skewed. People who live near rental property should approach the landlords with their concerns and the landlords should be responsive. People should be reasonable. If this is a pretext to ethnic cleansing then let them come with guns and tanks and clean house like they would prefer, but do not force the people under threat of harm and punishment to open their doors and lives to the City. This Code will protect no one, but it will bestow the City with much more power at the cost of your constitutional protections.
Also, do not engage them in a debate over your Constitutional Rights. There are no such things. Constitutions do not give you any rights. Rights belong to you by way of you being a flesh-and-blood human being and your Creator, God…whatever you believe. As long as you harm no one there is no crime. The City or the State cannot fabricate crimes out of thin air. Disobeying an unjust command from a tyrant is not a crime, it is a duty.
I suggest people deluge the City with phone calls and pack the council chambers. If this passes, I recommend the landlords and everyone else to not comply. It will be scary at first, but the last line of defense is people sticking together. I also suggest you familiarize yourself with the concept of jury nullification. If called to sit on a jury over someone who merely disobeyed the City, regardless of the evidence, vote not guilty if there was no victim.
This Code is just a stepping stone to more oppressive controls and fear mongering. They can guarantee NO greater safety as they make no guarantee for the permits they issue. It is all mind control and perception. The reality is, more control for them and less freedom for you.
Furthermore, since this is all about forcing the landlords act as a law enforcement arm of government, under the pretense of you feeling safer, remember this; the police have NO duty to protect anyone and there is no recourse if they fail to do so. Here are a few cases where the courts have held that the police are not for your protection:
Davidson v. Westminster, 32 Cal.3d 197, 185, Cal. Rep. 252; 649 P.2d 894 (1982) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
Keane v. Chicago, 98 Ill. App.2d 460, 240 N.E.2d 321 (1st Dist. 1968) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
Wuetrich V. Delia, 155 N.J. Super. 324, 326, 382, A.2d 929, 930 cert. denied 77 N.J. 486, 391 A.2d 500 (1978) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
Chapman v. Philadelphia, 290 Pa. Super. 281, 434 A.2d 753 (Penn. 1981) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
Morris v. Musser, 84 Pa. Cmwth. 170, 478 A.2d 937 (1984) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
The Illinois Constitution sets the rules for home rule municipalities. It states:
SECTION 6. POWERS OF HOME RULE UNITS (a) A County which has a chief executive officer elected by the electors of the county and any municipality which has a population of more than 25,000 are home rule units. Other municipalities may elect by referendum to become home rule units. Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.
(b) A home rule unit by referendum may elect not to be a home rule unit.
In my opinion, this is the first place the people of Collinsville should start. Repealing home rule. Collinsville undertook a special census for which to establish the requisite 25,000 residents needed for home rule. They claim to have 25,300. Just meeting the limit, which I posit is exaggerated. I did not participate in the census and at that time I urged others not to as well. My warnings were dismissed and hence, home rule and the power of the City to do as it pleases with only 3 votes required. Since there is a 5 member council, a majority vote consists of 3 which puts the people of Collinsville under the whim of such a small number. Not a good thing.
I suggest a petition to place on a ballot for referendum, the removal of home rule status for Collinsville. That will do a few things. It will reduce the power of the City to that which is authorized by the Legislature and the Constitution as well as protecting the people through the application of “Dillon’s Rule”, which puts the emphasis on the rights of the citizen against the City. Before anything else is done, I urge the people to repeal home rule status via referendum. This will preemptively solve many of the present and planned problems facing many of the people in Collinsville.
Second, I strongly suggest the people become familiar with Jury Nullification. As a last resort, when our fellow citizens are hauled into court for disobeying an unjust law, ordinance, or statute, it is the right of the jury and jurors to vote “not guilty” without having to explain anything to anyone, even if the evidence shows there was in-fact a violation. There are many unjust laws on the books which define no victim other than the sensibilities of the State. The people pay for courts, judges, prosecutors…etc. to prosecute these victimless crimes. People need to start refusing to convict and the State may stop prosecuting such nonsense should it turn out to be unprofitable. Getting unjust laws overturned is almost impossible. Government does not return power once it has taken it. Juries are the last line of defense in stopping the tyranny. It takes only 1 juror to save their fellow-man.
Lastly, I suggest the more principled council-persons to propose ordinances or resolutions which recognize the sovereignty of the people and their inalienable rights. Government does not like to even discuss such matters, and having such on the books helps those who are assailed by the City by having a recognized superiority. This is probably not going to happen soon. It would take a strong, resolute individual to propose and argue for such and I can assure they would be ostracized. That said, more council-persons need to be “outsiders” to their peers and stand on basic principles of fairness, justice, and submission to the people who allegedly divest themselves of sovereignty in the name of having their rights protected as opposed to diminished.
Feel free to contact me.