Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rental inspections favor illegal immigrants

June 28, 2007

With the passing of the rental inspection program, the De Soto City Council has joined hands with all levels of legislature in failing the citizens of this country.

I spoke with four out of five members before the passing of this ordinance. They identified specific problem areas of blight in De Soto. If you live near, or know of them, you would agree something needs to be done. The city council has the ability (and responsibility) to set a time frame for the owners to correct the problems or condemn it.

But wait, then where would the people who currently live in those targeted rental units live? The better question may be: How many of the people living there are in this country legally? I don't recall any part of the ordinance stating the need to verify legal status and turning subsequent lawbreakers in to the proper authorities.

Not that they would do anything. The federal government puts the number of illegal immigrants in the United States at 12 to 30 million, which means they really don't know.

I'd bet a hefty sum the majority of the residents in problem rentals are illegal, who are the real law breakers. From education to medical to welfare and beyond, our social systems support a great number of illegal immigrants with our tax dollars. It's a fact many are afraid to speak out. It is wrong that the city council's new ordinance gives those who live in fear of having their illegal status exposed more rights than property owners. It is a mute point for tenants who are citizens, because they are already protected. The state of Kansas has a lengthy, detailed tenant/landlord statute. Most of this statute encompasses and leans heavily in favor of tenant rights and it is strictly enforced.

Now, let's consider the question of where would the people go if the city's targeted units were condemned and how would this effect our community? The fear may be outside of De Soto. The council, and specifically, rental and business owners in the community want and need the economic impact of the population of the local residents. The long-term residents of De Soto have seen the population swing toward more Hispanics over the past 10 years or so.

Diversity is a positive thing. Any good citizen can appreciate what this country has to offer through our immigration process. The dollars and work force our Hispanic neighbors bring to our community are enormous. As with many in De Soto, both United States born and legally documented immigrants, I welcome those from any nation willing to lawfully embrace the opportunity to improve their lives. However, we cannot condone giving rights to those lawbreakers who choose to remain illegal.

It would appear De Soto has become a sanctuary city for many illegal immigrants. How do we fix the problem? I honestly don't know, but giving rights to illegal immigrants is wrong and unconstitutional. This only serves to send the message that our city is willing to sell out to an unlawful way of life by not only turning a blind eye but abetting the crime.

Those who know me know I stand firm in my beliefs of what's right and what's wrong. This ordinance is wrong.

The city administrator and attorney stated this program would help me run my business. I can assure you there is no government agency at any level that I want or need help from. I have to make a profit in order to sustain my business. The city, schools, county, state and federal government are all models of ineffective, inefficient bureaucracies that no businessman worth his salt would follow.

When I was interviewed following the passing of this ordinance I made it clear where I stood and why. Only my statement on non-compliance was printed and not the aforementioned reasons.

I believe at the end of the day, no matter what you do, you have to be able to look in the mirror and say you treated people the way you'd like to be treated. As a landlord, I have no properties I would not live in myself, and I have no tenants I would not feel comfortable living next to.

I suspect the owners of the city's targets can't say that. In direct response to Bill Trimble's letter in the June 21 issue of The De Soto Explorer: I am a self-employed businessman and must be responsible and respectful with time and money -- mine and that of those around me. Example; I supply pre-addressed envelopes to my tenants for mailing rent payments. Picking up rents from 25 units 25 times a month for 12 months a year - no, thanks. By the same token, if any of my tenants need something I'm there.

As far as my option to sell; I have a relationship with most of my tenants that means more to me than putting them at risk of an unsavory owner. As far as being a good citizen and obeying the law, I'm exercising my right to protest this ordinance infringing on my personal business.

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