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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Did you ever hear of a get out of Codes violations free card?

My wife and I lived in downtown Philadelphia in late 1960 and 1970. The police, fire inspector and pluming inspector would allegedly go to each landlord and ask for a $100.00 donation for each building the landlord owned, $300.00 for each building.

I learned this from my landlord, Olaf Mattson, Olaf was a Swedish immigrant who retired from Boeing. He worked with Igor Sikorsky on the first helicopter. 

Mr. Mattson had 2 buildings on Green St. between 22nd and 23rd. Mr. Mattson said that because he didn’t pay the yearly donation to the police, fire department and plumbing inspector all of our apartments were inspected and up to code. I guess the plumbing inspector and fire inspector only actually went to places that didn’t pay up.

It was different with the Philly Police.

In those days the City of Philadelphia actually had a street sweeper on Green St. The street is one way. There was no parking on the South side on Tuesday between 7am and 4pm and no parking on Thursday between 7am and 4pm. The street sweeper actually got there around 2 in the afternoon.

The Philadelphia Police Cars have numbers on the roof. Car 914 would arrive on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:40am. I watched as two Philly PD officers would get out the car and walk up and down the block writing tickets on all cars that would, in just a few minutes, be parked illegally. Mr. Mattson only owned 2 buildings on the block and there were other landlords but, I guess that didn’t matter.

Betsy and I walked everywhere or sometimes took a bus. The only time the car was used was for food shopping or a suburban trip. Most of the time we started the car to drive from one side of the street to the other on Monday and Wednesday. Sometimes I would look out the window and see that we forgot to move our car the day before and then rush down the steps. At exactly 7am the two officers would get out of car 914 and put the pre-filled out tickets on the cars. I’ll let you decide if it was because as he told us, Mr. Mattson wouldn’t donate $100 to the PD when the PD Superintendent allegedly came by.

I guess you can find some landlords anywhere who don’t want to be bothered with fixing stuff. In the Philly that I knew 40 years ago the codes officials went to the landlords and allegedly collected their “donations” up front. I guess they just never showed up to inspect buildings. I imagined inspectors as fat guys with their feet on the desk smoking cigars in City Hall.  

I think it works differently here in Chester County. We had landlords in Philly. In Chester County they are called “investors”. The people that don’t want to fix stuff like to be called “investors” also, but most people would probably call them slumlords. 

The codes inspectors here actually do their work and issue tickets for codes violations. But as you can see by going through court documents some landlords are issued a ticket for the very same violation over and over year after year. Sometimes hundreds of code violations issued to the same “investor”. The results are usually not guilty or dismissed. Being a codes officer in Chester County must be a frustrating occupation.  .

That is why I am asking, is there a “Get out of Codes Violations Free” card? Can you get it from your local Republican Committee person? Do judges give them out in person?

It’s just interesting that the same “investors” have identical codes violations for the same properties repeatedly, tickets are issued, there is a not guilty or dismissed note on the court documents and the places appear to never get fixed.

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