I am pleased to see Belleville moving ahead with the discussion of occupancy requirements and a crime-free housing initiative even with the circus of an election season approaching. It tells me that the elected leaders, particularly Mayor Mark Eckert, have a sense of urgency to meet the needs of the community.
Good landlords do not need to fear these standards and neither do law-abiding citizens. I can assure people that what they do need to fear is the increasing image problem that comes with increasing crime.
Those who believe such initiatives are poorly designed or are "unAmerican" had better wake up. Belleville leaders did not invent these ideas but are wisely following the lead of other communities that have successfully battled similar problems.
For those who get all folksy with dramatic statements about what all is wrong with these ordinances, listen up. We enacted these same ordinances and more many years ago in Aurora to act upon 20-plus homicides and a rising crime rate. In 2012, Aurora (pop. 200,000) still had plenty of rental property, better landlords, an annually reducing crime rate and zero homicides. How is it going there?
I love Belleville. For those who feel the same way, get on board. Your city leaders need you because there is a lot of work to do.