Whole neighborhoods are falling victim to the mortgage crisis: weeds, swimming pool-swamps and squatters have picked up where defaulting American Dreamers left off. The deed-holding mega-banks, far removed from the blight caused by abandoned homes they now own, are creating a nuisance which leads to crimes of all sorts. But affected municipalities are lobbing reminders: fines of up to $1000 per day for “failure to maintain.”

ft take: Cities have long had the right to fine $1,000 daily for trashy property conditions within their jurisdiction. Every landlord renting SFRs to unruly tenants can sympathize. Also, cities best cure trashy symptoms in neighborhoods by removing the root cause—crime or disease created by neglected pools and unsupervised housing—and then billing the property owner through a tax lien which will be paid. Then again, fines bring in money way beyond the cost to cure the trashy problem.

Sarcasm seems fit for this news article. Not the writing (which is great), but the city using its ‘top gun’ to police what most cities send a low-on-the-totem “ordinance enforcement” staff member to police. They look, they see the violation of ordinance (trash, etc.), they take a photo or two, post the property, send the owner a notice giving the time to cure the violation and—the best part for the city—advise of the $1,000 daily fine for allowing the violation to remain until remedied. No sheriff, police officer, nor terrorist is greater in stature than ordinance enforcement personnel. But then the press might not have picked on the plight of the blight in Indio without the top gun himself standing grand, and bankers enjoy jail even less than bad press, a real attention getter. The fun has begun.

See first tuesday Legislative Watch regarding SB 1137

Re: Banker: ‘What’d I Do Wrong, Officer?’ Cop: ‘You’ve Got Algae in the Pool, Sir’ from the Wall Street Journal