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Re: “Oakland Must Re-Imagine Code Enforcement As Advocate For Community Health and Safety

Once again the problem in Oakland is much less a computer system problem as it is a people problem. A new expensive program with a fancy acronym, headed by yet another high paid manager and trying to do all things for all people may not be the panacea suggested by the author of this article. For staff, the mission will be confusing when you combine life safety goals with commensurate goals of avoiding displacement of tenants and reducing costs for owners. Those goals will inevitably be in conflict. When that occurs, which goals are the priority in decision making will be problematic, inconsistent and ultimately political. At the end of the day, "code enforcement" includes zoning codes, building codes, fire codes and housing codes. In addition to looking at different things when inspecting a property, the people who perform each task have different backgrounds, education and training. The current situation is that those people do not communicate with each other in any meaningful way in order to identify problem properties and jointly coordinate mitigation plans. If they did, the recent tragedies, where all facets of code enforcement had knowledge, could never happen. In most cities, there are internal systems of communication that make code enforcement happen every day. Oakland's Building Department has budgeted and spent millions over the last 20 years promising high tech solutions to this inspection problem and nothing has changed. Why will it be different this time? What really has to change is the current inexperienced leadership, especially at the top of the food chain. There has to also be a retraining of staff so that they realize how the work they do is connected organizationally and systems set up to facilitate internal communications. It's not the system, it's the culture!

Posted by Gary Patton on 04/25/2017 at 7:09 PM

Re: “Oakland Must Re-Imagine Code Enforcement As Advocate For Community Health and Safety

No re-imagination of code enforcement is necessary for rental properties.

A person renting out a property isn't a low income individual. Certainly a company isn't. If either category can't or won't maintain the property so as to make it habitable by the code, they need to divest, either voluntarily or be forced.

Cases like Ghostship and the halfway "halfway house" cannot be tolerated.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 04/25/2017 at 2:39 PM

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