July 6, 2006
ALBANY -- Buildings like this are far too common in Albany. It's a problem the city can and should solve.
Rundown, vacant homes and overgrown lots attract crooks and vagrants. They make our neighborhoods unsafe. They endanger emergency workers who respond to fires often started by drug users. And they hamper positive development and economic growth.
For too long, Albany city leaders sat by and watched these dilapidated properties spread like Kudzu. It's past time to get out the herbicide. Owners allowed to let their ramshackle buildings decay and violate city codes for as long as ten years? That's ridiculous.
We applaud city commissioners for finally passing tougher restrictions and hiring an assistant city attorney to handle these cases. We support giving owners of slum property only one court appearance. Two strikes and they should be out. We agree with speeding up the process of taking over and demolishing dangerous properties.
Now, the city must follow through on its promises.
Code enforcers, commissioners, the magistrate court, the city manager, and the city attorney need to work together. They need to give this problem the attention it deserves. They need to hold owners of these eyesores responsible. They need to invest in Albany's future by cleaning up our city today.
We'll be watching to make sure they do.
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