I started doing ‘Fame It, Shame It’ back at WoM. Parts of Lorain were literally falling in on themselves. The Building Department was overwhelmed and undermanned and underfunded. A girl was sexually assaulted in a vacant home, and drug activity was taking place in others. People that were responsible in keeping up their homes and lots were being punished by absentee landlords who let empty properties rot. Something needed done, and FISI was born.
While Mayor Krasienko had started his term off by quickly addressing housing problems, what has been done is merely a drop in the bucket. Money is still a problem, and other things need addressed, as well. I’ve continued FISI, and hopefully, rather than be angry at me for ‘shooting houses’, the building inspectors will write down addresses and visit these properties themselves.
Recently, a well-known landlord discovered my series and, since he’d had properties featured as well as a story written on him alone, he had a fit. Check it out:
WOW HERE IS A TRUE CASE WHERE THE PERSON WRITING THESE BLOGS IS NOTHING BUT A 100% TROUBLE MAKER HERE IN THIS CITY OF LORAIN OHIO, AND OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS. LIKE WRITING ABOUT A HOUSE LOCATED AT 511 WEST 18TH STREET. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, WHEN THE HOUSE WAS FIRST PURCHASED, IT WAS INTACT WITH EVERYTHING UP TO CODE UNTIL VANDALS ATTACKED IT. SO WHO’S THE FOOL NOW ?THE DAMAGE YOU SEE HERE IN THIS PHOTO YOU TOOK OF THIS HOUSE IS A TRUE CASE OF WHAT I/WE LANDLORDS CALL ‘CRACK HEAD VANDALISM’. THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE ON DRUGS GO AROUND TEARING UP OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPERTY, STEALING ALUMINUM SIDING, GUTTERS, COPPER PIPING,& ELECTRIC SERVICES TO GET MONEY TO FEED THEIR DRUG HABITS. HEY… I HOPE YOUR HOUSE IS NOT NEXT ON THEIR LIST TO GET THE ‘CRACK HEAD MAKE-OVER’ & IF SO I WOULD LIKE TO COME AND TAKE SOME PHOTOS AFTER THOSE CRACK HEADS ARE DONE WITH THEIR MAKE OVER OF YOUR HOUSE.I WILL GLADLY LIST THEM HERE SO YOU TOO CAN FEEL THE FULL EFFECT OF BEING MIS-JUDGED. FEEL FREE TO SEND YOUR OWN COMMENTS AND PHOTOS TO BIGRED69C@AOL.COM AND I’LL GLADLY HELP YOU UPLOAD THEM.
I explained the house had been apparently neglected because I got word from someone concerning the property, and that if owners couldn’t maintain/keep up with the responsibility, they should sell the house to someone who could, and stop hurting the neighbors. And, he replied with this:
WOW MARK THIS HOME WAS JUST PURCHASED AND NOT NEGLECTED. THE CRACK HEAD VANDALS HIT IT SO YES U ARE GOING TO SEE THE DAMAGE IN YOUR PHOTOS RIGHT ? ANSWER IS YES THIS IS A TRUE CASE OF WHAT I WE/ LANDLORDS CALL ‘ABSENTEE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH’. IF THOSE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE WAY THE NEIGHBORHOOD LOOKS LIKE, WOULD START PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO WHATS GOING ON IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD AND HELP STOP & REPORT THE VANDELS, THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN AND PROPERTY VALUES WOULD NOT DECLINE. IN FACT PROPERTY VALUES WOULD INCREASE RIGHT ??? WE CAN NOT STAND GUARD AT OUR HOUSES 24/ HOURS 7 DAYS A WEEK. BY THE WAY MARK HOW MANY HOUSES DO YOU OWN AND AGAIN I HOPE YOU DONT GET THE CRACK HEAD MAKE OVER LIKE A LOT OF PROPERTY OWNERS ARE GETTING IN THIS TOWN.WHAT ABOUT THE HOUSES THAT ARE NOT OWNED BY ANYONE BUT UP FOR SALE OR FORECLOSURE OR JUST SITTING THERE BECAUSE THE OWNER IS ON VACATION OR RECENTLY PASSED AWAY? NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DISTROY ANYONE’S PROPERTY WHETHER OWNED OR NOT, WHETHER OCCUPIED OR NOT. THE POINT IS ‘OPINIONS ARE LIKE THE BACKSIDE YOU SIT ON, EVERYONE HAS ONE…SO BECAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU SAY IT…BECAUSE ONCE YOU SAY IT, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT BACK’. THE LEAST YOU CAN DO IS BE FAIR.GUESS YOU ARE STIL ON THE ‘FOOLS’ LIST SINCE YOUR FIRST REPORT WAS SO ONE-SIDED AND YOU DIDN’T GET ALL THE FACTS BEFORE MAKING COMMENTS.NOTHING BUT THE FACTS
Unfortunately, neighbors aren’t inclined to look out for absentee landlords who don’t leave contact numbers, and really don’t have the ability to reciprocate the ‘pay attention to the neighborhood’ program. Another thing is NTBF’s opinion of ‘one-sided’ translates to ‘nothing but the facts’. Photos don’t lie. The damage is there, or it’s not. Some damage is readily apparent as to whether it has been there for a while. Some is not. But NTBF’s reputation and numerous properties weigh the vote heavily against him. Not too much wiggle room there. So, being the fair person I am, I took NTBF/Big Red up on his offer to send my comments (on January 23):
If you think I’ve been unfair in the photos of your houses that I’ve posted, then I’d like to hear about it.
I’d like to hear what your intentions are for the 37+ properties that you own, and what you’re doing to improve them, whether you’re going to rent them out, etc.
If there’s a side or an aspect of your situation that you think should be out there, then by all means, let me hear it. People have seen your name in the Journal and on the ‘net, and would enjoy hearing your side of things.
But to come on my blog and tell me I’m a fool doesn’t hold much water considering the situation.
And I’m still waiting for a reply. From someone who was pretty passionate about calling me a fool.
In the meantime, traffic on past FISI articles, visits to photos of FISI properties on my Flickr account, and landlord searches have spiked considerably. Word has apparently gone out.
So, I extend the above offer to other landlords. If you feel I’ve been unfair, let me know. If you’ve fixed up your property from the condition I found it, I’ll let everyone else know.
And if you haven’t fixed up your property yet, maybe you could consider making plans to?