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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Privacy concerns

December 14, 2013

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To the editor:

The proposed rental registration ordinance currently under consideration by the City Commission requires Lawrence citizens to open their homes to code enforcement officers with digital video and audio recording equipment.

The right to privacy is a fundamental liberty. The proposed inspections will record innumerable aspects of the occupants’ private lives which would then become public record.

Here are a few, fertile grounds for abuse:

l politics and political activities, as displayed in posters, books and other materials;

l reading habits, including books, newspapers, and magazines;

l movie-viewing habits, whether political, literary or sexual;

l protected-class information, including race, national origin, creed or sexual preference;

l religious (or nonreligious) beliefs, affiliations and practices, which may be unpopular or a subject of discrimination in the locality;

l family and other intimate and non-intimate relationships, as well as the sex and identity of other occupants, as revealed in photographs and other personal effects;

l group associations, e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous;

l personal habits, hygiene preferences based on personal and or religious beliefs;

l hobbies and interests, from the ordinary to what some may find disturbing;

l intimate preferences, practices and characteristics, whether lawful or unlawful, which may conflict with the occupants’ avowed religious faith or otherwise open them to ridicule in their community;

l private, and possibly embarrassing, dietary practices.

There is bitter truth in the editors’ comments on this subject, an apparent willingness of those who are not immediately affected to look the other way as “other” people’s homes are surveilled, “other” people’s rights are violated. It is glaringly obvious — particularly to those “other” people.

Comments

Phil Minkin 7 months, 2 weeks ago

With rights comes responsibilities. There are laws governing child labor, does this infringe on the "right" to hire who ever you want. We have to undergo screening at airports for the safety of all. There are health and safety issues that some landlords have ignored for far too long making some inspection policy necessary.

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Richard Heckler 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The letter is loaded with misinformation.

How many landlords are going to disclose to new tenants all of the code violations within a structure so that a tenant can decide whether or not that rental space is a wise decision?

Do neighboring owner live in residents have any right to the best possible market value of their property?

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Richard Heckler 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Shouldn’t “neighborhood single family dwellings” converted to rental property provide enough off street parking to meet demand? We know rental units can create monster parking problems.

Shouldn't all rental properties provide the maximum number of off street parking spaces as most other business operations are required to do? What if Dillions provided only 10 parking spaces or Target only 15? Some single family rentals can attract 6-8 cars.

Lenexa,Overland Park,Leavenworth,Roeland Park, Prairie Village, Westwood, Merriam,Leawood and Kansas City have rental programs. Iowa City has had a program since 1970.

Performance Audit: Rental Housing Licensing Program – February 2012 can be procured through City Hall. A ton of information. http://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2012/02-28-12/auditor_performance_audit_rental_housign_program.pdf

Code Enforcement - some facts http://www.lawrenceks.org/pds/code_enforcement

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