Save Lockport Housing

Posted by MJ

Guest Post

No matter who you speak with in the City of Lockport there is a reoccurring theme when the conversation turns to housing. Everyone wants to see the blight eliminated, and the owners of the property held responsible for it’s repair or restoration.

Neglected and Nuisance housing has been put on the back burner for far too long in the City of Lockport. In 2008 an effort was made by a small group of homeowners to bring blighted and nuisance housing problems out of the shadows and expose it as the social “Black Eye” that it is. A minimal amount of progress was made in 2008-09. Some of the same properties and the same problems remain unresolved to this day.
The prime culprit continues to be multi-unit income-based housing where landlords (mostly from out of the region) continue to neglect their property and thumb their nose at the legal system. That by no means ignores the fact that there are single-family houses that are in a comparable stage of funkiness. Unfortunately along with the neglect and the blight comes the proliferation of drugs, crime and more blight, as the scourge continues to seep into the surrounding areas.

As citizen advocates we have always preferred to work along side and in chorus with Government. It has become clear however that unless pushed and prodded, the City has difficulty maintaining any momentum when it comes to dealing with nuisance housing.

Here’s what Save Lockport Housing expects to accomplish.

§  Take care of the worst Housing problems first and bring them to a final conclusion
§  One year maximum on boarded up buildings before repairs must begin
§  Reward homeowners when they improve their property with TAX incentives
§  We are requesting a 3 year moratorium on conversions from single-family into multi unit
§  Assist the elderly and disabled with a helping hand
§  “Help a Vet”  housing program for returning veterans
§  Equal application of the law to all citizens
§  Sponsor “City of Lockport Clean-Up Week” the first week in May

 In most cities the initiatives being introduced are civilian-based with assistance from government and local agencies. It’s important to realize that the government can’t do all of the work. It’s incumbent upon every citizen to do his/her part. We have many initiatives that we plan to introduce. We will be seeking Common Council sponsorship, and help from private citizens, groups and organization, to join together to Save Lockport Housing.

Save Lockport Housing believes that we can find strength in numbers, and that we will make a greater impact if our membership is large. We are looking for a wide range of skillful people who want to become PART OF THE HOUSING SOLUTION!

I urge everyone to visit or web site savelockporthousing.com. , Facebook at Save Lockport Housing, or you can email us directly at savelockporthousing@gmail.com.

We plan to hold our first meeting in November. Watch for details.




Anonymous said...

Any word on when the first meeting will take place?

Anonymous said...

The first meeting is tentatively set for
November 17th. 7pm-9PM

Location: TBA

MJ said...

thank you for the update,

Anonymous said...

Is this ran by the same Manning that's good buddies with Jack Smith, and planned on harassing private citizens with his top 50 worst houses in Lockport? Still planning on sending out "City of Lockport Eye Sore" letters?

Taxpayer said...

Heaven forbid that any housing deficiency would be pointed out publicy, unless of course you're running for office against one of the Mayor's chosen. The truth is that if you know the right people or have a good lawyer, the City will not bother you. That type of mentality hurts everyone because delapidated housing discourages investment.

Anonymous said...

sounds like this group is trying to do the job the city should have done long ago.

I went to the web site it looks like they're trying to do a lot of good things for the city. I guess it's OK to put Shirley Nicholas house in the paper but the brother of an alderman.

Funny how the poster with the most negative things to say won't put his name on it!

Time for the cowards in Lockport to step aside and let the people who give a s--t about fixing the city do their thing.

Anonymous said...

Save Lockport Housing is an organization run by it's members not by any one individual. If you have questions about their mission please go to their web site and read what SLH is all about.

Save Lockport Housing recognizes that there are some property owners who have benefited from "special treatment" in the past. We expect those people to push-back against any progress that we are attempting to make. Their motives are selfish and they don't care about the betterment of Lockport.

We are prepared for the childish name calling, and wild accusation that these law-breakers and their partners will make in an attempt to try and avoid the real issue.

The real issue is; owners of blighted and nuisance housing are breaking the law and plan on continuing to break the law unless the City accepts it's responsibility and stops them from doing so.

City government, Police, Health Department, Fire Department, they are all obligated by law to address nuisance housing. We are no longer going to allow them to ignore these buildings and their obligation without a public explanation of their action.

If you are elderly or disabled and can't help yourself we want to help.

If you are tired of looking at houses that have been boarded up for years with no attempt to improve the property,we want those issues resolved by application of current or new laws.

If you use your property as a dumping ground we expect the City to do it's job and force you to clean it up.

You have to ask yourself; who is offended or AFRAID of this type of initiative?

The answer is; Only the people responsible for it's existence. Only the people who benefit from Blight,and only the land owners who really don't care about slum property conditions being next door to YOU.

As the size of our group continues to grow we will be difficult to ignore.

The people who will object the loudest to this initiative have the most to lose. They benefit from the status-quo.

Who are these people? Why would they object so vigorously to such a positive program? What is their part in perpetrating slum conditions?

We hope to get some answers very soon.

MJ said...

It's one thing to be purely combative, say publishing a shaming newsletter with names and houses and it's another to track properties while at the same time trying to provide solutions.

This group appears to be the latter.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but they were very valid questions, considering that the first attempt to get this started imploded. Also, the previous incarnation started harassing private citizens over issues that had nothing to do with legality. It quickly became an attempt to bully people as if the group ran a city-wide HOA.

I am glad to hear that you are at least willing to help private owners improve their situation, but might I suggest you make that one of your main talking points as well, instead of just pointing your finger yelling "SHAME!"?

Joe>> maybe you need to read up on the history of Manning and the group that he was part of. Manning went around city hall with a stack of pictures complaining about a property that was 100% in compliance with the law. Numerous letter were also sent out threatening people when they had do no wrong in the eyes of the law.

Anonymous said...


I have done some research and with all do respect your information is incorrect.

Let me repeat that..your information is incorrect.

There were two un-connected letters allegedly received by two different families not "numerous letters". If I remember it was something about an abandoned car, and the car was removed by the owner shortly there after, leaving me with the impression that the complaint was in fact justified and against local ordinances. So with all do respect if you are going to accuse people of sending numerous threatening letters, you need to make sure you have facts to back up your assertion.

I was told that any pictures that were taken we're of any houses occupied or abandoned were given to James McCann, or Mayor Tucker. No one marched around city hall with a stack of photos waving them over their head and demanding anything from anybody.

Lastly, you refer to a house that was complained about but was 100% in compliance. I challenge you to produce the address of that property. I think your statement is unintentionally false, and has no basis in fact.

The previous group that you refer to was motivated by the fact that the City was not living up to it's responsibility when it came to eliminating blight.I would say the over-reaction by the press and the sensationalizing of the entire incident you referred to was good for newspaper's revenue but way over the top in speculative reporting. It was used by the City as a diversion. The problem has never been about the "people who are fighting against Blighted Housing". The problem has always been THE BLIGHTED HOUSING.But house are boring, and people are interesting so the strategy was to make it about the people.

If it wasn't for the initial effort of that "group" there would be NO City Housing Court. There would be a much smaller Building Inspection Department and there would be much less public awareness about nuisance housing rights.

Save Lockport Housing will be a much bigger organization working with local, state, and Federal agencies. U.B. Law School, and The Veterans administration, all in an effort to eliminate a problem that the city has proven time and again that they can't deal with objectively.

So if your purpose here today is to try and stop this initiative before it gets started by regurgitating misinformation, or intimidating us with wild unfounded and unsubstantiated claims it's not going to work.

I urge you or anyone else who is interested in what the Save Lockport Housing initiative is, to go to our website and read all of the pages.


Anonymous said...

The Save Lockport Housing domain name is registered to a Michael Manning of Lockport.

Anonymous said...

Very close to slander. Unsubstantiated claims that numerous threatening letters were sent out through the USPS? This should not be published unless proven.

Joe>> maybe you need to read up on the history of Manning and the group that he was part of. Manning went around city hall with a stack of pictures complaining about a property that was 100% in compliance with the law. Numerous letter were also sent out threatening people when they had do no wrong in the eyes of the law.

Anonymous said...

good glad to see he's back!

Maybe Manning can get some of this housing crap straightened out....chezbaccano?

Anonymous said...

ChezBaccano is the name of my favorite European restaurant.

MJ said...

You people are starting to lose me. Ease you grip on past "history" and give this a fair shake to present itself. All things in life are learning experiences and some hopefully used to refine things for the better.

Why every single thing in this city seems to have to turn into a Salem Witch Trial for someone is beyond me.

How would anyone here like it if every time they submitted an idea at work their co-workers brought up their entire life history and past instances of things that did not work out for the best? How do you expect things to ever change here when all the time is spent on attacking people instead of discussing actual ideas?

Anonymous said...

Save Lockport Housing will hold a meeting on November 17, 2011 at 7PM in the City of Lockport at the "Old Post Office" 1st. Floor ( look for the signs)
Everyone is encouraged to attend. We have several initiatives and we need people to help us work toward a better Lockport.

Helping Hand for Seniors and disabled
Houses for Returning Vet's project
Liaison to Housing Court
Liaison to the Mayors Office
Pro Bono Legal assistance
Liaison to Fire, Police and Health Department
Press Liaison
Liaison to the Common Council
Veteran Administration Liaison
Much more...

If your serious about being part of the solution please make plans to attend.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how an organization could rent or utilize the rooms in the Historic Post Office for meetings or who they would contact? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Kelly..the room that SLH is using is leased by another party and we are allowed to use it for non-political meetings.

So I don't know whom the direct contact is.

Anonymous said...

May I ask who the party is? I would assume they would know who to contact. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion would be to contact Heath Peck.
She's the Main Street Guru. She could give you plenty of info. I think she has an office in the PO. hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

that's Heather Peck...

Anonymous said...

It's Veterans Day.

I wanted everyone to know that part of the Save Lockport Housing initiative is to develop a program where The City of Lockport will take TWO Tax delinquent homes per year and "sell" them to a returning Veteran for $1000 dollars. The Vet will sign a contract with the City promising to bring the house up to code within 6 months or sooner and start immediate agreed upon improvements as set out by the Building Department.

This initiative has not been presented to the City and is in the planing stage. We will be looking for public support and help to bring this program to it's full potential.

Stay tuned for further details.

Anonymous said...

If you are planning on attending the meeting on Thursday at 7pm. we will be looking to accomplish the following:

Program Review and Goals

Do you want to be the Point Person for one our initiatives?

Membership drive and endorsements

Open Discussion Forum on the Law and it's application

We want your input, we want your involvement.

Please Join us......

Anonymous said...

We are also planning on introducing a program that will encourage the City to reward home owners for making exterior improvements to their property by LOWERING THEIR TAXES, rather then punishing them and discouraging them from improving their property, by increasing their assessment.

Anonymous said...

I hope this blog continues to be monitored, this sounds like a group of people with some great ideas. The negative,in depth questioning and insinuation that appears to be going on has no place in this discussion. Let Save Lockport Housing move forward. If you love Lockport then attend the meeting and help turn things around, I'm sure they could use the help. Sorry, just couldn't stand seeing all the poison some people were spewing.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that one is not allowed to say "The same people when they tried the same thing did some rather unsavory things, did they learn their lesson?" is not a valid question.

Do a search on "Manning" on the Lockport Journal website. You'll find some interesting behaviors from his old group.

The dishonesty and willful ignorance of the 'official' spokesperson of this group speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

clean it all then......

Anonymous said...

This is about Housing not personalities.

Taxpayer said...

To the above poster at 12:29 am- I believe you may have accidentally gotten on the wrong blog. I think you meant to get on the 'Niagara Times', a blog dedicated to the bashing of people wishing to get involved but doing so outside of "Club" membership. You bring nothing of value to the conversation with your post. SLH- Don't let a few misguided and/or negative people deter you from your group's mission, we all can learn from our mistakes and become better people for it.

Anonymous said...

We expect attacks, push-back, and diversionary tactics from the local special interests and people responsible for perpetrating our housing problems. This "movement" is not and never will be about one person, or about the past. It's about the present, but mostly about our future.

The "slumlords" don't want to be identified. They also don't want the housing "problems" resolved because it's not in their economic best interest.

What they do want is to continue to dot the city with their blighted properties while collecting their rent, and to hell with the rest of us.

They profit while they drive OUR property values down.

Wake-up Lockport.

Comments by people like 57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e
Should be recognized for what they are.

a distraction...

Consider the source and you can solve the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Save Lockport Housing appears to be an ever growing group of positive people trying to do good things for the city. I hope they don't take the negative comments by a few on this blog to heart. They have some great ideas, stay focused and move forward

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a good idea but I did do the research someone suggested. it isn't wrong to bring up past history, it sounds like Manning WAS a loose cannon three years ago and did some unethical things to make his point. Hopefully he has learned from this and will try and accomplish his goals using correct procedures this time.
Good luck, hope it works!

Anonymous said...

Thank you George,that's the very question I was asking, but for some odd reason, instead of talking about lessons that were learned, I was painted as a liar, a distraction, and a slum lord.So far, I'm not quite convinced that they have learned much.

"Consider the source and you can solve the puzzle."

A private individual who doesn't want to be looking over my shoulder in case someone didn't like something in my yard.

"We will post the picture here, on the SLH website. We will follow that posting with a formal complaint to the Building Inspection Department and Common Council, requesting immediate action." + " a Citizen based " Blighted Property Review Committee", that reports' nuisance properties directly to the Building Inspection Department"

Make sure not to cross the wrong person, or your property (if it's slightly shabby) will be posted online (before it's reported to the court), or be on a 'list' of 'nusance's.

So, still not convinced.

They may have 100% good intent, but their methods, tone of 'voice' and lack of transparency do not bode well for this being any better than before.

Taxpayer said...

Almost sounds like the current Administration and Building Inspection Department. Perhaps this will be a ying to their yang.

I suppose that the very existance of this group should be an indicator that there is a deficiency currently. Isn't that what usually spurs individuals and groups to take action, a deficiency of some kind?

No one on this blog can speak to a lack of transparency when anonymous accounts are being used.

Anonymous said...

I think what's important to note is that SLH is not a unique organization.

Seeing that57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e likes to "Google" so much, I suggest he Google "Nuisance Housing" What he will find is that "Nuisance Property Review Committees" and citizens gathering together to fight property blight are common in several other cities.

I think you're missing an important point in your analysis. SLH is interested in addressing the MAJOR problems first. Honestly, it seems that the Building Inspection Department is concerned about houses that are " a little shabby" or have chipped paint, and they continue to avoid the real problems. With the exception of one picture of an illegally parked ambulance, the pictures on the web site are of abandoned, boarded up, and burned-out property. Does anybody object to the resolution of these structures? The answer is yes the owner, Everyone else wants them resolved.

So we respect your concern and will be sensitive to the points that you have raised.

As another poster has put it, groups like SLH don't exist unless their is a real failure on the part of local government to live up to it's responsibility. The City can not arbitrarily and willfully ignore the enforcement of the Property Maintenance Codes of the State of New York.

57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e I have a suggestion for you.

Come to the meeting Thursday night and bring some of your own ideas about how you would solve the problem. We're open to all and any ideas, including yours.

We want the city cleaned up, and we want the process to start now.

MJ said...

Thank you for keeping the conversation on the higher side of things.

I have no problem asking questions. It takes one spark to light a fire. Instead of inciting personal attacks in a comment phrase it under the guise of actually wanting knowledge.

Things can be kept on the positive track while addressing concerns. It's all in how you phrase it. The whole question could have been asked without

Jean said...

Here's a valid question: Has Manning changed his spots? If not, I question the viability of his organization.

Anonymous said...

Not worth answering.

Sounds more like a personal attack than a meaningful contribution to the discussion.

Here are two valid questions:Are you in favor of or against resolving the housing issues that plague the City?----- or are you comfortable with leaving things the way they are.

Are you willing to help find a solution?--- or are you satisfied with the roll of criticizing people from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

SLH feels that the important issues concerning nuisance housing in Lockport goes for beyond the historic action of one person or one group. The fact remains that there are problems pertaining to how the city manages blighted and nuisances housing, and that they are either unwilling or unable to resolve the problem without some outside intervention.

Again..this program is not about one person. The program is about the blighted and nuisance housing that was never addressed and continues to just sit unresolved.

We urge you to visit the web site and study the initiatives.

Obviously we don't expect everyone to agree with us on every issue. We do feel there is a good balance to our approach, and sincerely hope the people in the City of Lockport will join with us to eliminate blighted and nuisance housing once and for all.

Jean said...

I've looked at the website and don't see much more than some pictures.
I don't want this to turn into a witch hunt where people you don't like could have there house on the computer for everyone to see.
It's a great idea. I wonder about the person and what happend the last time they tried something like this.

Anonymous said...

I would say the whole thing could have been answered better. Instead of saying that all the answers were on the website, when people had questions, answer them. Instead of ignoring what took place before and claiming the person asking the questions were a liar, answer the questions, and explain how things would be different.

It's not a personal attack if the questions were based on what specifically happened.

I'm still seeing that "goes for beyond the historic action of one person or one group". Instead of addressing the issue, it's a constant dodging of the question.We still have yet to see the official poster actually verify that yes, Manning is in the group, when to anyone who can look up who owns a website (which is anyone) can clearly see that he is.

Are you interested in addressing the concerns, or are you interested in making the false assumptions that if you disagree with the methods, you are for blight?

Anonymous said...

OK..sorry you feel that way.

I guess you'll have to remain apposed to the group.
If you change your mind attend the meeting on Thursday at 7PM at the "Old Post Office".

Maybe you can shake some hands and thank some people for trying to improve the City.

Anonymous said...

I've never witnessed a bigger bunch of cry-baby's in my entire life.

A group of people try to make a difference and just because they don't belong to your little club you harass them.

"The coward only threatens when he is safe"
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

MJ said...

Please stop the "names" and discuss the issues, etc. This is not grammar school. Thank you to those keeping it on the up and up.

It's easy to judge others etc without knowing them. Take some time and show up if your passionate about it either way. In the end its about people trying to turn things around, regardless of their views on how to do it best.

Taxpayer said...

I find that people are often subject to making mistakes when they are both passionate and frustrated about a particular issue. We are only human after all! I would suggest that we give those who have made mistakes in the past the benefit of a second chance before we automatically condemn them. I see here a chance to become involved with a group and offer an additional if not different persective on how to solve a problem which affects so many. The group is newly forming from what I gather and it seems the initiater is welcoming everyone and anyone who would like to get involved. I am sure there will be spirited debate on how to best address some of the issues to obtain a satisfactory result. As long as everyone who attends does so with an open mind, this could be the beginning of a very successful program to aid the City with it's housing problem. I won't be able to make this meeting due to a prior engagement, but I hope all goes well and look forward to an update being posted here.

Anonymous said...

Good point MJ..

It seems that your hard-line should have been taken several "posts" ago when Mr. Manning was being harassed. I'm sure you've noticed an influx of "new names" never seem before on your blog, and they aren't here to defend the cause.

They're not here to contribute either, they're here to disrupt. Outing Mr. Manning as owning the domain name, trying to find out who gave this group permission to use the room at the "old post office", these people are strangers to civil debate, but they are very familiar with tactical harassment.

Save Lockport housing is a group of private citizens volunteering their time and trying to make a difference.They want nothing more than a cleaner, safer, more attractive City. A city where people want to come to live and settle down. We have a small core of people in this city who must control everything or they're not satisfied. Every time they're challenged they send their minions out to do their dirty work for them.

Shame on them. Shame Shame Shame

Anonymous said...

It looks like we're going to have a good crowd in attendance on Thursday Night. Thanks to everyone who has responded positively.

During and following the presentation, there will be an open forum. The exchange of ideas is encouraged.

There is one rule.

If you're going to complain, or if you are against the way something is being done by the City, or if you are opposed to the way a NEW idea is being presented, you must have an alternate suggestion or an idea about how you think it should be done. Complaining for complaining sake is a waist of everyone's time.

Hope to see you there.

Anonymous said...

Why should I waist my time going to the meeting?I've asked very valid questions just to have my non-existant name smeared.

"you must have an alternate suggestion or an idea about how you think it should be done"

Ok, here's an idea. Don't post pictures on your website as the first step. Don't try to publicly shame someone, or threaten someone as the first step.Not doing something that is wrong is the only suggestion that someone should need.
"Outting" Manning? First, if someone wants to hide their involvement with a 'civic' group, how can you trust anyone involved? Second, are you aware that domain ownership is as public of a record as a phone book? I'm not sure how using the resources that were deemed required to have a functioning internet consists of "outting" someone. But I do see that you are insisting that mentioning things that were publicly reported in the newspaper as "harassment".
"It's easy to judge others etc without knowing them." Fair enough, but my questions were with regards to specific events as reported. I did not make anything up as the official spokesman claims.


"By Tuesday, a picture of the house had been shot and e-mailed, or hand-delivered, to city officials including McCann, Mayor Michael Tucker, City Attorney John Ottaviano, City Court Judge Tom DiMillo and Common Council members Pat Schrader, Amanda Alexander and Joe Kibler.

The message included with the e-mailed photo from Michael Manning of Concerned Citizens was brief and pointed:
“I think you'll agree this needs immediate attention. If necessary, the city should clean it up and charge the owners for the cost incurred plus a $1,000 fine. There’s no excuse for this ... none. Please help.”
Junk piled on the porch is not, in and of itself, a code violation, according to Ottaviano, and the porch is private property not to be crossed by city employees."


"One of his neighbors, Catherine Stover, said there have been unlicensed vehicles parked at his property from time to time, but they haven’t bothered her. The long-vacant house across the street, and rental properties further west of them, are bigger issues, she said."
The tactics also foster an “adversarial” relationship between government and residents, Tucker charged.

“There is a process to go through, and there are limits, legally and financially, on what we can do. We’re going to do what’s best for everybody, not just one group,” he said. “How about letting our guys do their job, instead of setting up a pseudo city department and acting like a bunch of vigilantes?”


"its executive committee accepted resignations from three members: Michael Manning, Robert Kirkman and Lockport Concerned Citizens co-founder Jean Kiene

Kiene, Manning and Kirkman all left the Concerned Citizens executive committee within days of the letter becoming public."

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana

Taxpayer said...

It seems to me that mistakes may have been made by both sides. Perhaps the group could have been more sensitive in some areas, and perhaps the Mayor could have been more supportive of the group. As I've said, mistakes are made in the heat of passion, they should be learned from and forgiven.

To SLH, I offer this, do not let the small minded of the community discourage your efforts. Nothing worth doing comes easy or it would have already been done. Be persistent, be vocal, be vigilant, be passionate, be respectful.

Anonymous said...

We understand your concerns as I stated earlier.
It seems however that you don't want to help, you just want to argue and try to shame a group of people who actually are responsible for kick-starting the city's fight against blighted housing. When people in power refuse to listen, you sometimes have to raise your voice a little louder.

Your claim that people are hiding is silly. Some people want to work behind the scenes. They aren't interested in taking all the credit.

I would anticipate that Michael Manning will be at the meeting on Thursday. If you feel so passionate about him, maybe you should come out of the anonymous closet and speak to him in person. I'm sure he'd love to meet you. But I think you would prefer to hide behind your anonymity.

If you're not supportive of the group and what they're trying to accomplish then don't attend, but the reason behind your repetitive posting is becoming obvious.

The US&J didn't have to print the picture you refereed to, it was their decision.

Nuisance property is against the law. That property in the state it was in was a nuisance. The bank who owned the house cleaned up all the trash the next day. Why? not because the city cared about a trashed out house, because a group of citizens cared about it and made an issue of it's existence.

Anonymous said...

"I have done some research and with all do respect your information is incorrect.

Let me repeat that..your information is incorrect."

Whoops.So my information is correct.

"the reason behind your repetitive posting is becoming obviousthe reason behind your repetitive posting is becoming obvious"

It should have been all along.The refusal to address concerns regarding the past behavior of the same group (with a different name) that includes at least one of the original members of said group.A simple answer could have stopped this long ago, and again,as you decided to attack me, that speaks volumes.As your first step is to publish pictures,and not to try to help a homeowner remedy the situation speaks volumes.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana

MJ said...

I wouldn't blame anyone from avoiding anonymous internet confrontation. Especially when it is in an aggressive/negative manner. I agree with those who say to show up if your intentions are that noble.

If a simple question/statement was posed you probably would have received the simple answer you supposedly wanted.

For example:
"I hope this group will focus on positive interactions with those who properties are a concern. Negative interactions or creating lists which could be shameful are not constructive and may not be fair. I also believe it is why past efforts did not work out well. I'd like to see something created where everyone works together"

That would have been much different than your first post I had to delete. It most likely would have led to a positive discussion (even if not in agreement)instead of starting everything off in attack and defend mode. Maybe things would move forward around here.

The Lockport Schools should have a class in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People or some other human interaction guide.

The last group didn't get results by overly harassing property owners. Why would anyone expect results by starting things off harassing them?

Anonymous said...


Here is something meaningfull for you to review.

Keep in mind that local government can not ignore or "weaken" the State's Property Maintance Code. They are obligated by law to inanact local laws providing for the administartion and enforcement of this act.

I want to be clear on this point...these are STATE LAWS. No one has the right to ignore them including the City of Lockport.

Public Health Act Article 13: This authorizes local boards of health to ORDER nusiance conditions to be remidied.

The common law of PUBLIC NUSIANCE: which holds that each local government MAY SUMMARILY ABATE NUSIANCES

The State of New York Property Action and Proceeding Law Article 19-A: authorizes local government to take title to abandoned residential property

The Urban Renewal Law and Municipal Redvelopment Law: Given municipalities substantial power to deal with blighted areas.

All residential properties fall within the juridiction of the "Uniform Code".

I think you need to start asking the City, and the Alderman, and the City Attorney why, properties that fall within the categories of the law that were stated above have not been addressed.

I think you would serve the community in a more meaningfull way if you put your energy toward making sure the laws are obeyed, instead of obsessing about the past. I'm afraid that a lot to wish for.

Anonymous said...


The New York Conference of Mayors suggests to
"Create a Property Maintainence Task Force"
...increases the likelihood of successfully cleaning up the nuisance properties in your community.
They also suggest the following:
1. Prioritising the issues.
2. Focusing Resources
3. Increasing awareness.

They go on to say..."the creation of a taskforce increases the communities awareness of the problem, often resulting in voluntary compliance and positive press coverage"

Ok...so we have been waiting and haven't seen an ambitious undertaking by the City to form any kind of taskforce.

If anyone is aware of an initiative by the City of Lockport to essemble a taskforce made up of citizens...please let us know.

MJ said...

Removed last comment that was more "attack". Point could be made in other ways.

MJ said...

I'd rather have a civic based group than a city one. Groups are empowering of residents and help create bonds that tie people to their neighborhood/municipality. The city gov't should be our tool. We should not reply on it to be our nanny. We should make sure the tool responds to us and our needs.

As far as tracking properties. I'd be more prone to listing the block the properties are on (Say 100 block Genessee as opposed to 110 Genessee), the violations and when they are cited, and when they are resolved. This opposed to calling out people from the start and embarrassing them etc. People would get the idea of items being followed up on.

As for pictures of actual properties on the site I'd be more prone to showing before/afters to those improving their property. These could even be places that were initial cited. They could show their pride without needing to bear the initial citation. If anything "problem pictures" would be limited to properties that were chronic-long term problems with an inordinate high number of violations.

Anonymous said...

No one is calling out anyone. The intention is to submit complaints directly to the Building Inspection Department for action.

Action is the key word. Fair non-biasied application of the law. That's all anyone has ever wanted. When government ignores people or throws up road-blocks, peopole get nervous.

Anonymous said...

MJ>>> Fair comment as always. My tone was in response to the types of messages that had been coming form this group to begin with. My tone was in response to their website's first step, which would be to publish pictures on their website.

MJ said...

Understood and thank you.

It appears to be a ground work. As people join and make their voices heard hopefully a basis for a good start will emerge. Like anything else it will take time and continual improvement to meet the goals which will most likely also evolve. That's life.

As anyone who has trained a dog knows, positive reinforcement works 100X faster than negative. People are the same way.

As a visual and organization type person I like the idea of photographic documentation from those perspectives. Though I also see the trouble and friction they can cause. I can imagine how I would feel if I was down on my luck or did not agree on a "violation" only to see my house posted.

It's not an easy task that will be embarked on. There will be set backs. But I appreciate all of those who are putting in the effort.

Anonymous said...

MJ..you cut my Shirley Nicholas picture question twice !

I thought the last one was right down the middle.

Would you like to ask the question? because why you cut the last one is beyond me.

It's a fair question: why isn't this instance objectionable to Mr. Numbers?

MJ said...

Actually only once. I'll see if one went to spam. As I said above my only reason was how you were posing the question. If you reworded it, I'm not sure where it went.

Anonymous said...

Two issues this afternoon..

1. In a show of good faith we have decided to temporarily remove all pictures from the website.

2. It's important that we demand equal application of the law across the board regardless of rich, poor, down on your luck, up on your luck it doesn't matter. The Building Inspection Department should be concentrating on violations, not economic circumstances. Let's not circumvent the judicial system and become the "Street Judge". Let the court review the circumstance and determine the appropriate penalty.

Anonymous said...

Once again..
I'd like to ask 57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e

What is his position on the publishing of the Shirley Nicholas home in the US&J in attempt to embarrass, shame, and punish her.

Anonymous said...

To 57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e

Mr. Ottaviano's "opinion"

"Junk piled on the porch is not, in and of itself, a code violation, according to Ottaviano, and the porch is private property not to be crossed by city employees."

vs. the actual Law...

The common law of PUBLIC NUISANCE: which holds that each local government MAY SUMMARILY ABATE NUISANCES.

6' feet of garbage piled on someone's front porch is a PUBLIC NUISANCE.

Are you defending the right to pile garbage on your front porch without consequences?

Anonymous said...

MJ<<<<<<<<<<"As anyone who has trained a dog knows, positive reinforcement works 100X faster than negative. People are the same way." Funny you should say this,because that does not appear to be the route that this group would like to do. Instead of helping people make the housing stock better (such as groups like Habitat for Humanity), their main thrust seems to be to force people into court.

mouthpiece>>>>>>>>>>> I will go in order, as to not miss anything you posted about.It's a courtesy that I will be happy to extend to you.

1> I'm glad to hear that. MJ made some great in-depth suggestions past my initial Don't Do That.If you missed them, you may want to look for them above.

2>See my comment directly above to MJ.Dragging owners of owner-occupied housing to court won't fix anything.Banks and Holding Companies are a different case, but they should be given a chance to rectify the situation before the legal system becomes involved.

3>I'm not sure what the US&J does has anything to do with myself, your group, or the discussion at hand, but for the sake of answering a question that you have decided is very important, I will answer you.I have not read the article nor seen the picture that you are referencing, but when someone runs or holds a public office, there is a degree of privacy that they agree to lose.Tax returns, funding, employment,etc, are all things that are private until someone runs for public office.But as I have no idea what this has to do with anything, I will label this as "a distraction...".

4<So you are not denying that there were no code violations, and the house would have had to have been deemd a 'public nusance' by the court before the city had any chance to act?Or, in its then current state, it was 100% compliant with the law? To imply that I am supporting the behavior of filling up ones street facing porch with "garbage" is also "a distraction...".

Anonymous said...

This is going to be my last direct response to you. I've made every effort to address what your concerns are,imaginary and real but you seem to be unwilling to give into anything. That's why groups like SLH exist. People in positions of power and public office holders, should not go on web sites anonymously.

You still haven't made your point, you just keep questing what I'm telling you without really understanding my answers. What is it that you want? The group isn't going to go away. You can harass, embarrass, and cut& paste your way to China and back it don't going to stop us.

Our only motivation is to clean up everyone elses mess that continues to be ignored. What's yours?

No matter what the answers you're given you will continue to argue. It's a waste of time.

Let me just say this about the "Garbage House" because it disturbs me that you seem to be OK with nuisance housing for some reason, and can't understand what I said about STATE LAW.

If you're OK with nuisance housing you're never going to agree with us. The "Garbage House" was in violation of the law, the STATE LAW. What more is their to say. I really don't care what Mr. Ottaviano said to the paper. He tip-toes around the law by saying " in and of itself". As we all know he can be wrong too, and in the case of the "Garbage House" he was wrong.

Your response to the Nicholas picture was predictable, and a pretty sad commentary. Just in case you are a public office holder I want you to remember what you said about giving up your privacy.

But let's cut to the chase. What is it that you want? Just to harass everybody? I don't get the reason for the heavy handed approach. Do you want this group to disband or not exist?. Do you expect us to give up our 1st Amendment rights?

You just keep picking away at the scab, but never really get to the point.

Not that anybody really cares but why don't you just state your goal right here right now.

I fear however that we won't get a straight answer from you, just another rambling manifesto.

Good luck to you sir. With your perspective on life, you're going to need all of the luck you can get.

Thanks for the negative contribution. Unfortunately you will remain part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

People who want to circumvent the legal system should be watched very closely.

If the law is not applied fairly and equitably we run the risk of certain property owners being favored over others. That is what Mr.57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e is advocating. "but they should be given a chance to rectify the situation before the legal system becomes involved." The problem is most won't.

When is the boarded up rooming house at 55 Spaulding going to be rectified? Maybe Ann McCaffery can tell us. She's the new 2nd. ward Alderman.

Home owners are given a chance everyday to comply with the law. It's their decision. What we need is a program to teach people about the impact that their neglected property has upon the rest of the community.
Maybe Mr.57544fd8-0b43-11e1-9184-000bcdcb471e should take on that crusade.

SLH has an initiative in place to help the elderly and disabled with minor maintenance and repairs. That's much more the anyone else has ever done.

'Selective enforcement" is what we have now and have had in the past, and it doesn't work. We have had City employee with MAJOR issues given a "pass" on decays property they left for their neighbors to deal with. No fines, and no responsibility taken for their action what-so-ever.That's how neglected housing is processed by today's "Building Inspection System"

Not using the law the way it was intended to be used is a problem. Let the court decide the degree of liability. Ignoring the law is not a solution, and is never an option.

I'm sorry but that suggestion ranks as one of the most outrageous things I've ever read.

Look around....what we have today is the result of hands-off, excuse making and favoritism.

It favors the few while the rest suffer the consequences.

Anonymous said...

Meeting Scheduled for Thursday November 17th.
at 7PM

Old Post Office 1st. Floor

Be there!

Anonymous said...

(Lost account information, had to use a new name, all apologizes.)

Anonymous said...

If this is a housing thread does anyone know what contractors were hired by HV? Are they all out of town or did any of our local people benefit from this tax gift?
No one seems to know that I have asked.

Jean said...

It's not the same thing. This is fixing messed up houses - HV is building new ones.

MJ said...

Cleaned up. Please put HV comments in an HV post. Also stop "outing" people.

To a comment I removed that called the thread "disturbing"

Is the thread really "disturbing?" Really?

The comment is just fuel to a fire that was pretty much put out. The group takes some feedback about coming across as in "attack mode" and goes ahead and removes the pictures etc and it is still "disturbing"?

That type of comment is another example of trolling or overreacting. Either way it does not promote the conversation.

Liz said...

Wow. What is going on in this post. This is a GOOD THING. Cleaning up housing in this city is a GOOD THING. Holding slum lords, banks and out of town "investors" responsible for the condition of their property is a GOOD THING. I don't understand why anyone would be opposed to that. Regardless of your opinions of the person running the effort, the effort itself is commendable. If you don't like the person leading the effort, then come, take and take a leadership role.

As the abandoned shack next door to me will attest, this is a very much needed community initiative. Should the city have it under control? Absolutely. But clearly some properties have been able to skirt the process, for whatever reason. Some public pressure is a good thing. This isn't to attack anyone in office. This isn't to out anyone or embarass anyone. This is a major issue in Lockport and with some public pressure, hopefully we'll get a little more action. As a property owner who lives next to an abandoned house who got little more than a slap on the wrist in court and has had zero action since, this effort is wanted, and it is needed.

I will be there tonight to hear what the group has to say, and hope anyone who has disagreements will be there too. The only way you will make your voice heard - for or against - is to stand up and be counted. Otherwise you'll just be another anonymous voice on a msg board.

As for the pictures - I'm on the fence. I have no problem with abandoned boarded up properties being posted publically. But if it's a house that a homeowner lives in and simply can not afford to make fixes, that should not be posted. Those are the people we should help. There's a difference here. There's inaction due to negligence and there's inaction due to inability. To my knowledge it was only the first of these that had photos posted. If it's kept that way, I have no problem with photos being posted.

Anonymous said...

How did the meeting end up? Everybody was so passionate before it and then zilch after it.

Jean said...

Good question, George. I haven't heard anything about where this group is now and what happened at the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Maybe just manning and the Smiths showed up, they are the only ones signed up for duties. No shock who is watching housing courts.. lol

Taxpayer said...

Brilliant George! Keep up the positive commenting, you are providing a great service to our community! Oh, and I can see by the SLH website that your information is 100% accurate! You are to be commended for your contribution.

Liz said...

I went and there were at least 20 people there actually.

MJ said...

Removed "Pete's" comment for adding nothing but personal junk that is not desired here.

Pete said...

Thanks Liz!
I wonder what Manning and the Smiths are planning to do next.

Taxpayer said...

Yes, thanks for the info Liz! Anybody know when the next meeting is? Just like Pete, I want to see what Manning and the Smiths are planning to do next. We should all be suspicious of everyone who gets involved in their community, they always have ulterior motives, nothing good can ever come of it! Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!

MJ said...

Funny ;)You basically said what I was going to say.

Pete said...

Perhaps your comments, Gentlemen, can be attributed to the fact that you have never had an experience similar to that which I have had with Manning.
You claim to not allow any negative comments here. That should not be the case when there is a real concern regarding the principal actor in this operation.

Taxpayer said...

Try to focus on the task at hand Patti, not everyone is perfect, people tend to make mistakes. "To err is human, to forgive is divine". Perhaps, focusing a little more effort on housing in the City is worthwhile, as I'm sure you'll agree. Simply focusing on preservation of historic housing is not the total answer, why invest in your historic home if your neighbors or an out-of-town property owner isn't held accountable for theirs? Many pieces have to fit together to achieve the desired result. According to the Buffalo News, your favorite Lame Duck Alderman is proposing his nuisance abatement point system before he leaves office, are you against giving the building inspectors a valuable tool to deal with negligent property owners just because you don't like Smith? Housing needs to be brought under control or people will no longer be willing to invest in their properties, get past the people and embrace the effort!

MJ said...

I've gone over how to express your concerns without this becoming a witch hunt of sorts. You add nothing to the conversation from the negative name dropping and I guess your only aim is to "get back" in some way.

You don't appreciate when your name is dragged through the mud so why do it to others? Focus on the goal and the means.Give people an opportunity to learn and change. It's how life works. If it never changes after several attempts you may have a point in what you are trying to do. I think.

Pete said...

I screwed something up - I'll try again.
Thank you for dropping my name into this. Totally unnecessary and not appreciated.
I credit Smith for TRYING to do something about the housing blight in this City. In my opinion his "point system" violates the Federal and State Constitutions.
The laws are already on the books - all Building Inspections have to do is get up and out on the streets where they should be enforcing the laws. Why this situation has been allowed to fester for so many years is beyond me. So - I agree with you. You shouldn't be surprised by that.
The only reason I can come up with re: MJ telling me to "get over it" is he must not know the severity of that which happened. How would you feel if it was your wife or daughter?
I should not be held to a higher standard than everybody else on this blog. Seems I touched a nerve. My nerves were shattered when I learned that person was behind this group.I had every intention of becoming involved with it - until I learned of the "leader." Are you seriously telling me it's up to ME to just forget about it? I'M the bad guy? Are you leaving it up to me "fix" things? Persons like that don't change.
I am NOT trying to "get back" at anyone. If I were, there are many other ways that end could be reached.I have not even attempted to tell what happened. Mr.Smith would be a much better choice.

MJ said...

cleaned up. please stop the baiting, name guessing etc.

Anonymous said...

Mr Smith would not be a better choice!! When you are not well like its hard to get anything accomplished!!!

Pete said...

Only as compared to the other guy. No, he's not well liked but he's not the other guy.
His idea of the point system is unconstitutional. That's a tough place to start from.
It CAN'T work.

MJ said...

Or conversely, when you are trying (or actually getting) things accomplished you will most likely not be liked by a good number of people. If you are trying to please everybody and be liked you for the most part will be getting nothing of value accomplished.

Pete said...

True enough.
Three major difficulties must be overcome before any operation like this can succeed.
1. Lockport. By this I refer to the parochial nature of this place. If your great-grandparents weren't born here you start from way behind the line. Neither Smith nor the "Leader" are "from here" which puts them at a serious disadvantage.
2. Smith's design for improvement is unconstitutional. Gotta get past that first. His point system is WAY beyond anything that can be enacted into law.
3. "The Leader." Now, you tell me I'm not supposed to sully anyone's name. I'm not. The man is not as he seems. I, too, was fooled into thinking he had the improvement of the City of Lockport as his goal. I do not believe this is true. He has the improvement of HIMSELF as his goal as evidenced by his immediate run for Alderman at Large a few years back. Note he dropped out of that race without a whisper or whimper. I, personally, made that a stipulation and I will not go down without a full disclosure. I don't want to do that - but I will. Ask any high ranking Republican or Democrat in this City and you'll know why.

Taxpayer said...

MJ- If you are going to allow inuendos and threats of disclosure to be made by Patti, then maybe you should validate the source, ask about what happened in the DA's office.

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