Housing Court & City Hall's 3rd Floor...
While Buffalo City Court Judge Henry Nowak continues to embrace innovative and collaborative programs to streamline and help make Buffalo a better place to live, it seems like some people over on the the 3rd floor of City Hall haven't gotten the message about...innovation! Read more about Judge Nowak's innovative programs.
Judge Nowak
Harvey Garrett, west-side housing activist, said in today's Buffalo News...

Garrett, the housing activist, doesn't blame the clerk. He blames McGurn.

"If he's a couple of weeks behind because of a staffing issue, that's understandable," Garrett said. "But to be four months behind when he's being offered interns and volunteers is unacceptable and mind-boggling." Read the complete story.
While we need to ask these questions on the "front end" of Housing Court, and a compelling case could be made to involve interns from UB Law School to do property research we can't forget about the equally important "back end" of Housing Court.

Here, consent agreements are signed by property owners for demolition. Often payment arrangements are agreed to where by the property owner agrees to pay the City on a monthly basis. Guess what...often is the case that after a few payments are made the property owner stops payment. Go figure.

In other cases, when the property owner fails to show up for Housing Court, a warrant is issued for their arrest. Today's Buffalo News article never addressed that question. I've been told that there are hundreds perhaps close to 1000 outstanding warrants that just sit on the shelf. Thing is no one is around to serve them. There used to be a Buffalo Cop, Officer Murphy that served these warrants and more recently an Erie County Sheriffs Deputy, Captain Rozanski. But today there is no one. Go figure. Within one block of my home there are 5 warrants outstanding for owners of property similar to the "fruit belt" property described in today's Buffalo News. No enforcement.

How 'bout involving some of those interns from UB Law School and creating a "Housing Court Crime Map" showing the property's location and last known owner address. Model it after ChicagoCrime.org. Seems like another low cost and innovative solution to "enforcement." I mean if owners of derelict and neglected property know that a "Housing Court" warrant doesn't mean anything. Why show up?

Oh...and what about all that abandoned, boarded, derelict and vacant City of Buffalo owned property...ouch!
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Anonymous said...

The question that should be asked is whose interests does Ray McGurn have at heart. I'm sure somewhere in those stacks of violations are ones written against some of the City's most powerful property owners. These people have a vested interest in slowing the wheels of justice.

Anonymous said...

Why not research your story further and discover there is a Warrant Reform Project in the works utilizing this warrant backlog and the interns to assure better partnering with police delivery via accurate address verification (including DOB and SSN) and further review of properties that have been sold to assure compliance on the part of the noew owners, as well?