Saturday, July 10, 2010

Response To This Morning's Greensboro News & Record Article on RUCO Guest Column by Donna Newton

First let me say that I think Amanda Lehmert is one of the most objective and usually accurate N&R reporters. However, we all make mistakes - as I think Amanda did in her front page article this morning about RUCO CLICKHERE. According to a report delivered by City staff at the RUCO Board meeting last Thursday, the cost of RUCO for this year will be $547,454 - NOT $980,000, so I'm trying to find out where Amanda got her number. I think staff gave a detailed budget to the Board that I didn't come away with in my packet. I'll be checking this out on Monday.

I will also say that RUCO has been wrought with administrative error since the beginning, primarily because of a very poor records keeping system. It's old and and it's cumbersome and it just doesn't work in some instances. However, despite all those hurdles, RUCO is accomplishing its purpose.

Second, the Inspections Dept. has reduced numbers of staff over the years since RUCO was put in place. They used to spend their time on the hoard of complaints - more than 2000 complaints in 2003 - down to 459 last year. Also, the number of properties they are now able to take to the minimum housing commission and actually get remedied has increased from 17 in 2003 to 105 this year. They used to spend their time chasing their tales trying to get the houses before the commission.

Third, much of the rental housing stock has been RUCO certified and we revised the ordinance some time ago so that a RUCO is for the life of the property unless there is a complaint. New rentals and those not yet inspected do, of course, have to be inspected. Plus, there is a sampling requirement of 2% of the rental stock as a sentinel effect program. Only 10% of those sampling inspections have violations. That's because they get plenty of notice that they are going to be inspected. The long notice is a good thing because after all, what we want to happen is that they fix their units. We are not out to have people fined. I think the "only 10%" is a good thing.

Finally, sub-standard units have decreased from 1,679 in 2003 to 705 last year.

This program is working in so many ways. We should not let it be undermined and we should fix the administrative problems.

I was appointed to the committee that is going to bring a recommendation to the RUCO board to take to Council. I will say that one thing I will push for is a change in the makeup of the RUCO board. It is currently almost all landlords with only one housing representative. Landlords need to be on that board, but so do more of us who know the rental housing stock in Greensboro, but do not profit from it.

Donna Newton
Greensboro Neighborhood Congress

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Anonymous said...


"the RUCO board. It is currently almost all landlords with only one housing representative."

And Nancy and Don are in the property owners pockets.

Notice the News and Record didn't allow Amanda's article to have comments.

It's the Don and Nancy steal from the Poor to give to their Rich Donors show, supported to a censoring Paper of Record.

Anonymous said...

"Rental inspections up for debate"

The News and Record article says "up for debate," but it's only for the landlords on the board and the one housing rep who has probably already been bought off.

How can they put "debate" in the title of an article and not allow debate?

Anonymous said...

"Michael King, the Project Homestead director, had repeatedly cried to city council members that he was being discriminated against when he was being subjected to audits by city staff. Project Homestead had been the recipient of city, state and federal funds for years. A city staff member had justifiably been attempting to audit the housing organization.

The News and Record reported that Mr. Vaughan, along with three other council members, intervened to have this city staff member investigated. This, of course, would potentially stymie the ability of city staff to audit the organization properly."


Houston, we have a pattern.

Anonymous said...

"Project Homestead, a not-for-profit corporation, was...plundered, and milked for unknown amounts...causing its bankruptcy.

The monies stolen in the Project Homestead scandal represented a mix of taxpayer money, funds obtained from home buyers and especially money that should have gone to the poor.

The potential charges against those affiliated with Homestead might possibly include fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, making false statements, and negligence.

The internal operating environment that enabled Project Homestead included excessively empowered non-profit executives with insufficient board oversight and control, and accountant complicity.

The external environment that enabled Homestead included insufficient accountability for boards and accountants working with non-profits, and the power of a local political machine that required Homestead's chief executive also to be insulated from accountability.

Project Homestead occurred as a direct result of (and as a reflection of) the prevailing local governing culture in Greensboro and Guilford County, which is corrupt.

In Greensboro, the local district attorney's office declined to prosecute anyone in connection with Project Homestead-- even as the District Attorney sought and received a key political endorsement from the machine that enabled and helped perpetuate the Homestead scandal."


How is this not the same thing only different, with Downtown Greensboro, TREBIC, Greensboro Partnership etc..., all controlled by those with the purses?

Has nothing changed?

triadwatch said...

it is time for a complete overhaul on every board and commission in all of guilford county, also yes weekly has talked about ruco and the board make up as well.

triadwatch said...

also remember that the greensboro landlord association pac started last year and gave money to each and every sitting greensboro council member