Thursday, July 12, 2012


UPDATE:  9:50 AM

A huge move that is in its initial stages of development in the State of Ohio is spending millions upon millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars tearing down dilapidated residential buildings.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has set aside $75 million from Ohio's $335 million share of a $25 billion national mortgage settlement with America's five largest mortgage companies in settlement of allegations of foreclosure abuse, fraud and improper practices.

DeWine bills his initiative as being the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant Program.

Of the $75 million, Stark County is slated to get about $2.3 million due the efforts of the Stark County Treasurer Alex Zumbar.

It could be that by the fall of this year and certainly by early into next year Alliance, Canton, Massillon and other Stark County political subdivisions will be benefiting from Ohio's initiative.

And that is all well and good.  But the financial lament of having to have taxpayers tear down private market housing that has not been kept up over many years is such that we should label tear down necessity as a crying shame.

A good part of the reason why residential housing has deteriorated to the point that the only remedy is a tear down is that villages, city's and townships have allowed property owners to milk a property for everything they get out of it and then merely abandon it and walk away from it leaving it to the taxpayers to deal with it.

And that is what DeWine's program and the local application of the recently Stark County commissioner authorized creation of the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation (a quasi-government, non-profit corporation - headed by Zumbar) is about, at least, in it initial stages.

For someone like Councilwoman Nancy Halter of Massillon (R - Ward 2) to get out in front of the problem and try "to prevent" dilapidation from occurring in the first place is laudable inasmuch as her effort is in the order of being a real, neighborhood saving cure designed to maintain serviceable residences in place.

The DeWine/LRC solution is to leave a vacant lot.

Halter's problem in getting the legislation through Massillon City Council (now on her fourth try) is that her fellow councilpersons seem determined to kill it by virtue of "a death by a thousand cuts" routine.

How convenient?  A thousand cuts and thereby how is one to be held politically accountable for having administered the fatal cut that killed an ordinance that has the potential to save Massillon neighborhoods of the future from the wrecking ball.

The SCPR is encouraged to read in Massillon Independent reporter Matt Rink's piece Halter vows to continue fight to register landlords (July 9, 2012) this quote:
“I’m going to keep this up until we pass this.  I’m just warning you. If it takes another year then so be it.”
A Stark County Political Report "tip of the hat" to Councilwoman Halter!

Conversely, her fellows on council should abandon what appears to be a "thousand cuts" campaign and take a proactive stance and help Halter find a way to make Massillon a city that gets ahead of its problems and does not sit back and wait for bad things to happen it.

"An ounce of prevention is, indeed, worth a pound of cure!"

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