Posted by MJ

LUSJ reported that the city is facing two new law suits. One from Oxford and one From Hoffman.

As for Oxford:

The operators of two addiction-recovery halfway houses are suing the City of Lockport, and a Juniper Street homeowner, for alleged discrimination.

The suit by Oxford House Inc. and local affiliates, filed last week in U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, claims the city is violating two federal laws aimed at protecting the housing rights of “disabled” individuals.

The federal Fair Housing Act counts recovering drug and alcohol addicts as handicapped by a physical or mental impairment that limits the addicts’ “life activities.” The suit also invokes provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Oxford Houses of Western New York LLC, through managing member David Johnson of Grand Island, is the property manager for two halfway houses at 29 Juniper St. and 37 Vine St. that started accepting residents last year.

Oxford House claims the city, through its building and police departments, is using fire, zoning, building, property maintenance and land use requirements to try pushing the halfway houses out of the east-end neighborhood.

Oxford has to know these will be controversial. Trying to be a good neighbor should involve more than meeting minimum codes. Going above an beyond in street cleanup/beautification etc.could go a ways to making a smoother impact

As for the codes themselves, most of the city's response does come from neighbor complaints which the article highlights and some people may not know about. If you are currently tired of looking at code violations out your window and are wondering why the city is not doing anything about it, give them a call and report it and something will be initiated.

As for Hoffman:

No one will pry ever know what the total truth is but it does seem a long way to go to just remove one person. My bigger concern is:

On Feb. 4, Hoffman was 18 days away from the five-year service mark that, under the Lockport City Managers Association’s labor contract, would have qualified him for lifetime city-paid health insurance.
Lifetime? Is anyone out there earning lifetime health insurance after being on their job for 5 years? Is it fully paid? With the exploding costs of health insurance this is an insane legacy cost to a city. As we cut actual city services to the core  the money is still flying out the door and the city continues to suffer. We can see the same in the school district where benefit costs went up $2.9 with only one year short term fund balance funding. Yet we complained about a sports complex. Also there are still state lawmakers trying to make sure we are on the hook for even more.

Cut cut cut all we want. We will still be paying large sums of money for less and less services until we attack the cost structures that are effecting us the most.


Anonymous said...

It might be silly to give lifetime health but thats what's in the contract, so blame the politicians!

But how stupid can Tucker be, if you want the guy out why didn't they abolish his job and make the law effective immediately? They are the ones who passed the law making it effective 90 days out, and I think with civil service laws you can't fire someone if their job still exists. Just plain stupid.
I also heard around the city haul that the state rejected changing the title to public works superintendent because Allen isn't a professional engineer, another bright move by our city.
Just wait till you see all the costs Tucker created, we are going to pay Hoffman, we gave a raise to Allen, we will be putting in a replacement position for Hoffman, Allens assistant engineer will get a raise as he is now doing Allen's engineering job, plus another secretary is going to have to be added to the highway dept.
What a cost to get rid of a guy Tucker didn't like because he stood up for his workers!

Anonymous said...

Screw Hoffman. You got fired. Get over it. Be a man for once in your life, and not a entitled cry-baby.

Johnny Ringo said...

a city that get's sued is a city out-of-control.

We sit around crying about our taxes and our money get's p---ed away on law suit settlements because we're reckless. This was handled very poorly by Mr. Tucker and his cowboys.

The Building department is always looking for that "low hanging fruit" rather than going after the difficult issues.

We over react in some case and don't react at all when we should. Lot's of confusion over yonder at the "City Hall". Time for a house clean'n

Anonymous said...

Who gets life-time health after 5 years?

I don't know of anyone outside of the City of Lockport that does.

we need to change that rule.

Anonymous said...

It's only for people who get screwed by the city and have their job illegally eliminated. If he had quit the job he wouldn't get health.
Blame the mayor, it's his doing!

Anonymous said...

Well well well Johnny Ringo, I'd like you to find a single munciapality that has not had to deal with a lawsuit within the past 5-10 years. Keep looking stupid, you won't find one.

Everyone knew Hoffman was only in it for the health care, and he was going to look for an out as soon as he was vetted. He hurt the rest of the city workers who care about their job.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Ringo, I have to agree with you. It's not the whole city that's out of control, just the Mayor and his rubber stamping clown council, Smith and Chapman are not included

Anonymous said...

If these people are considered disabled, Shouldn't there be ramps and other handicapped accessible options at the homes ? there is none. As far as Johnsons lawsuit, all his allegations are lies, Made up by Johnson..
They are limiting our "life activities" When these addicts are sitting on there porch using foul language. some of the women on the block are afraid to sit on there own front porch, And can't let there grandchildren play outside without hearing the vulgarity that these people use.
These homes are not supervised, they are self run. Remember just 2 years ago Renee Greco was murdered in a rehab house. And that was a supervised home, Just around the corner from the 2 Oxford houses.

Anonymous said...

I'd comment, But Mr. Johnson might try to sue me....

Anonymous said...

A few pieces of the article from the Union Sun & Journal.

"Oxford Houses claims the three-story structure is a single-family home, while building inspection declares it a two-family home."

This has been a two family home for over 25 years.

"The suit further claims the city is aiding an anti-Oxford House campaign by Yon J. Hammond, owner of 67 Juniper St. adjacent to 37 Vine. Hammond is being sued personally for his alleged, ongoing attempts to prevent residents of 37 Vine from using the driveway that goes with the property."

Mr Hammond owns part of that driveway, and has himself taken care of it for years.

"Further, it complains the police department routinely issued parking tickets on legally parked vehicles of 37 Vine St. residents, on street and in the driveway."

it is illegal to block the sidewalk, And there is no parking on either side of the road on that block of Vine st. Signs are posted.

That's just few things. I could go on and on.....

Anonymous said...

There is a time bomb ticking away in the city of Lockport.There is a right way and a wrong way of doing things. Only time will take care of it. If you like peas better then corn it's got nothing to do with discrimination. If you say addicts are disabled that are living in these houses. Then make them accessible for all disabled people. Someone in a wheel chair or blind and so on.The residents of our fine city will soon learn the truth, but it all takes time. I think we will be in for a surprise.

Johnny Ringo said...

It's the same old story. I support the "handicapped" ...but not next door to me.

I agree...city's get sue all the time..you're right, but we don't need unnecessary lawsuits brought on by bad decision making and pettiness from the Mayors office. As far as the building department is concerned, the sooner that department get's an overhaul the better.

G.I.Joe said...

the current building department is a harvester of "low hanging fruit" they ignore the worst and the obvious and go after the easy stuff. Poorly run, poorly executed, and misdirected. They get their orders from one guy..If the Mayor can't point them in the obvious direction, what hope do we have of solving any housing problems equitably? The lawsuit was brought because the Building Inspection Department does not apply the law equally throughout the city. We're getting what we deserve.

Doc Holliday said...

Look, darling, Johnny Ringo. The deadliest postoleer since Wild Bill,

"It's the same old story. I support the "handicapped" ...but not next door to me."

These people are not handicapped, They're criminals.

Johnny Ringo said...

well..Lunger...by who's definition?

Doc Holliday said...

Ok I miss spoke, only some are criminals put thereby the drug courts.

Why Johnny Ringo, you look like somebody just walked over your grave.

Johnny Ringo said...

Doc..I appreciate the fact that we both think "Tombstone" is a good movie, I also appreciate that, "halfway house" placements are less than perfect.To get back on topic...law and order in our own "Lockstone" is carelessly handed out. If the Building Inspection Department would concentrated on the REAL housing problems the City would be much better off for it. They ( the BID)brought this problem on themselves be their ignorance when it comes to equal justice.They respond to complaints from a neighbor about frivolous issues when house are crumbles around us and no one does anything about it.There is your problem..and no I'M not "your Huckleberry"

Anonymous said...

Has anybody noticed the crappy state our parks and city are in lately? Are our parks/streets workers being supervised closely enough?

I went by the concert site today, it's still all beer cans, junk and whiskey bottles two days later. It seems like last year it was perfectly cleaned up the next day. I also went through Outwater Park to watch a baseball game. Wow, what a mess! I am thinking the city's weed wackers and mowers must not be working, as it looks like no one has used them this year. Check out the fence at the bocce/horse shoe area.
Is there enough supervisors, or does the current boss just not care?
City keeps going down hill fast.

The Artful Dodger said...

maybe the current boss hires to many cronies and not enough workers. To many relatives working for the Mayor?

MJ said...

At one time parks and streets were two departments with twice as many employees. Reducing the budget does have its drawbacks once you get to a certain point. Luckily we have volunteer groups who have picked up the slack to do the plantings etc every year.

If you have not done it yet, the best thing to do is call the mayor and your alderman. The more calls the quicker something gets done. And unfortunately there is a lot to do.

Anonymous said...

Last year they were one department and the city was cleaner and the parks were maintained properly. I don't think the new guy has control of these workers.

hitler said...

actually, the best thing to do would be to help out with the plantings, etc yourself

Anonymous said...

Yes the city of Lockport is getting very out of hand. So much so my niece just graduated and is a doctor. She was looking for a hosue out of state and found one to move to. Nothing here to offer her. To follow her will be her parents and others in the family.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard about the new houses to be built very soon in the Washburn, Locust and Genesee area? Or are they being done hush hush?

Anonymous said...

I bought my house for 10,000.00 and had to gut it and redo it all it was so bad. So i put in a few flowers too and gutters and BAM!!! 70,000.00 assessment! I wont purchase any new home in Lockport again ever as this is my reward. Now because i paid a bit to fix it up to be livable i have to pay pay pay as my reward! I just do not see anyone wanting to live in Lostport. No wonder all the houses on Washburn, Locust and Genesse have boards on their windows.

Moe said...

Ladies and Gentlemen..Where can you buy a house for $10K?? In Lockport..that's where.

S0 THE PRICE OF HOUSE IS GOOD! The bad thing is that the City keeps punishing people for upgrading repairing, and improving their property..THAT'S BAD. I read somewhere (US&J ?)
That part of Jack Smith's housing initiative is to find a way to "REWARD" property owners for improving their property, rather than whacking them over the head with a higher assessment. It's been a big complaint of a lot of people for a long time. Maybe Smith can fix it???

MJ said...

Actually you can find houses at that price in almost any large city in the USA. They all have depressed neighborhoods, vacancy problems, etc. Pretending like it's only Lockport (or Buffalo, or the Falls, or....)may be make some feel like a comedian but does nothing to address the structural problems that effect all cities in relation to their metropolitan areas.

One solution would be 5->10 year assessment freezes (set at purchase price) when someone commits a certain amount of money to their structures. The long term gain will be bigger for the city while the current solution only breeds ill will and further decline. It should also be transferable to create a healthier realty market.

Moe said...

wow..someone with actual ideas! Thank you Mr. MJ
We definitely need more of that!

By the way saying that there are 10K houses here way saying that houses are more than affordable. It wasn't a comedic or negative statement.

You're getting jaded from reading so much sarcasm and negative crap.

Patti said...

Hear, hear... Great idea, MJ.
I think that some program which would put money in peoples' pockets - after they've made improvements and, then, lived in the homes for 5-10 years would be a fantastic lure for responsible people to buy some pretty beat up properties in the City. Especially if it is a historic building. Freeze their taxes for the same period of time - it's better than the nothing they're getting now - and it will be a huge step in revitalizing many neighborhoods.
I believe the City of Niagara Falls is doing something very similar right now.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Tucker blew the Hoffman case. Buff News though as usual did a much better job reporting it than the Lockport Urinal. Ottaviano admitted he blew it when he (his staff?) accidentally put the "law goes in to effect in 90 days" clause in instead of making it go in to effect immediately. So, will Tucker fire him now?
Hopefully if he does he will do it legally!!!! LOL
How the heck can a former union leader (Tucker) at Delphi be so stupid in disciplining employees now? Hoffman was tough on his employees but he also protected them from Tucker, which caused Tucker to be so mad at him. Or was it because of Tucker's son not working...?

Foster > Tucker
Hoffman > Tucker
fireman > Tucker
police dispatchers ?? Tucker
Oxford house ?? Tucker

G.I. Joe said...

Maybe he was a poor union leader at Delphi..if you lack leadership skills it shows through whether you're a civic leader or a Girl Scout Leader.

Leadership is a quality. If you happen to possess it..it's transferable..if you don't have the skill set..it shows no matter where you are.

hitler said...

will someone smack the record player? the song keeps skipping again

G.I.Joe said...

Hitler...you're so cryptic with your humor even I can't figure out what you mean...

Patti said...

LOL @ G.I.Joe. I haven't a clue of what he means now.
Is this where I get to say "I told ya so?"

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