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Wed., Jul. 23
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena’s Nuisance Law discriminates against renters

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To The Editor:

Once again Mayor Hidy is grandstanding with bombastic and shallow pronouncements at the expense of thoughtful and practical solutions to village problems.

I refer to the headline of 28 June 2014 “Massena Landlords Warned.” Of what? “Mayor Says Nuisance Law Crackdown Coming.”

The article continues to outline Mayor One Term’s remarks to the Massena Landlords Association about a “crackdown coming” to enforce a village nuisance ordinance.

I submit that the ordinance, as described and intended to be utilized by Hizzhonor is ill conceived and discriminatory. What Hidy outlines as offensive behavior in rental properties is illegal and offensive in any property - whether by renters or by homeowners. Why discriminate against renters - are they somehow “less than” homeowners?

I grew up in a rental property on Spruce Street and I think that I was under the same rules and regulations as those who lived in nearby homes. Or was I expected to hold a higher standard of conduct? I think not.

Like his “pit bulls and tattoos” bluster, Hidy is simply full of hot air designed to gain cheap attention, rather than address the real problems of the village.

If rental properties are run down and decrepit eyesores with substandard living quarters, enforce the existing codes that require the landlords to keep their properties up to standard.

Why single out renters? Cannot a decent, law abiding citizen live in an eyesore rental without being subjected to stereotypical discriminatory typing. Illegal behavior is illegal behavior, regardless of by a renter or homeowner.

The solution to the problems cited is law enforcement - by Village Police and Code Enforcement Officers - not eviction of tenants.

Should a homeowner be required to move out of their home because of offensive and/or illegal activity on their property? Neither should renters.

Go after the landlords who do not maintain their properties, not the poor people who can only afford the rent charged by the many Massena “slumlords.” Again, punish landlords for code violations and arrest all citizens - renters and homeowners - who break the law.

By the way, are not all homeowners responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalks in front of their property? They are simply dreadful in many areas of the village.

Andrew S. Szarka

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