Monday, August 15, 2016

Dunwoody Slum Lords

Slum Lords are kinda mythical. We see them in cop shows, inevitably set in New York City, with plots driven by greedy landlords who are either just ripping off tenants or more dramatically are stuck with permanent renters with equally permanent rent caps. In the former case tenants freeze, cockroaches don't and any water that flows is neither clean nor hot. This is driven by profit motive with negligence only to the point that money comes in but not so much that tenants go out. The latter case usually has some underlying big-time greed motive, usually re-development at an obscene profit. The tenants don't represent benign hosts for parasitic landlords but obstacles to progress and no one gets in the way of progress. So the landlord takes immoral, and if it is a cop show, illegal measures to drive tenants out.

This is what is set to happen right here in DaVille.

And we're not talking about the downtrodden over by PIB or the aging units at 285. Nope. This is the City itself. See, we're poised to borrow 8+ million dollars (with interest we the taxpayers pay more) to buy a cute little building at the edge of the Real City to be our new City Hall. There's only one problem. OK, there are a couple of problems. First it is a real fixer upper but HGTV has not come forth with any reality star willing to reno a town hall that never was a town hall. The other problem is that the building has tenants. That's where slum-lordin' comes in.

There are four tenants and three can be kicked to the curb at the low, low rate of under $150,000. Now you might think that is a lot, but when you compare it to the reno costs it is chump change. Then there is tenant number four, an evil medical imaging service running an MRI operation and they gotta go. But setting up an MRI operation is costly and it ain't just the machine. There is quite a bit of infrastructure involved and this is expensive. Cost is more than four times the other three combined.

So what is a tax-hiking', cash-strapped City beset with a slew of losing law suits to do? Easy Peasy, just make life untenable for the tenant. As reported in the Blue Bag Rag:
Sheats offered a solution to isolate the MRI tenant from the rest of city hall, including a possible separate entrance.

Deutsch said she would hate to spend money to keep the tenant there and suggested the city make it more inconvenient for the tenant.

"Then maybe they would want to leave," said Deutsch. "Then maybe we could reach a compromise sooner."
We can only assume "compromise" means "get out, get out now and get out cheap."

If you did not already know why Dunwoody is on the losing end of lawsuits now you do. Being a smart resident of a smart city you must smile at the City's revulsion to having City Hall in the immediate proximity of a device that lets doctors see inside a patient. After all, transparency is governments' kryptonite.