ViewPoint: Enforce local laws

March 29, 2007

Millions of dollars have been spent improving downtown Albany, yet there remain rundown buildings and houses, and the unsightly corner of Washington Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

That corner, referred to as the Dray Line, is where groups of men congregate in hopes that someone will come along and offer them work.

While we commend these men for wanting to work, the area where they gather is an eyesore.

And there are more legitamate ways to seek employment, such as using the Department of Labor.

This day and time, is anyone really going to pick up people from a street corner with no screening or documentation and invite them to their business or their home to work. Some would tell you, that is very dangerous, most would say you would be crazy to do so.

The city has adopted an ordinance to keep the area clean, yet it's not enforced.

Signs are posted in the area warning against camping and loitering, and day laborers are only supposed to gather there between 7AM and noon, but the signs are ignored and the city is seemingly looking the other way.

This is yet another example of the city of Albany having laws on the books that are not enforced.

It's time for the leadership of this city, the city manager and commissioners to sit up and take notice. When asked to look into this problem, City Manager Alfred Lott even defended the decision to put a portable toilet at the site, saying, "It should have been placed there a long time ago."

We recently brought to light that smoking in restaurants, and Sunday alcohol sales weren't being policed by the code enforcement office. We like to see this change.

Albany taxpayers are paying the salaries of the people who are supposed to enforce these laws.