For more than 12 months a committee of elected officials, landlords, residents and Realtors have all been working on a crime-free housing ordinance. Belleville has been one of the very few communities without such an ordinance for many years.
This committee has been very open to public participation and legal scrutiny. The final draft that is to be sent to the City Council should be reason for great community pride.
Our city is on the brink of giving our Police Department another tool to improve neighborhood safety. Because we have never had a crime-free housing ordinance, we have become the "place to live" if you don't want laws and regulations to impede your lifestyle.
People who don't care about safety don't want to live in Edwardsville, O'Fallon, Collinsville or Fairview Heights. In those cities they'll be forced to follow rules they don't want to follow.
Citizens and good landlords came together and spoke up o Wednesday and said collectively: Yes, we believe this will help Belleville's neighborhoods. You may hear negative comments, but the reality is these are the same people who only have negative comments about everything.
The question is now, will our elected officials be able to put neighborhoods first, or will they continue jumping on the obstructionist bandwagon? This should be a no-brainer 16-0 vote. Voting against this ordinance would send only one message: I don't care about neighborhoods.