We received the following from one Mr. Danny Steger, email address withheld.
Dear Mr. Slanderer:
It must take a lot of courage to belittle people anonymously, who beyond their control, were subject to vandals, drug users, theft and other major problems (property may have just been acquired and financing was not available). Since you have nothing better to do, why don’t you:
1. Control the sellers of drugs, have them arrested and moved out of the community.
2. When you see people dumping, take down their information (license plates, etc.) and call the City.
3. Post on your website, the name of contracts who are capable, willing to work and whose prices are reasonable. There is a lot of work available, and they don’t have to be from the millions of people without jobs.
4. Have the City, who claims they have large sums of money available for vacant houses, pony up and really make it available.
5. The lead grants that they get and have to return unused should be made available to landlords so that they can do the things that everyone wants done.
Remember one idiom. The carrot is sweeter than the stick. In Baltimore City sticks have been used far too long and don’t work. If the above suggestions would be followed, things would get a lot better a lot quicker.
We will address Mr. Steger’s points below, as some of them are quite valid (with the exception of being called “Mr. Slanderer”, that will be addressed at the end).
1. As much as we would like to control the sellers of drugs, it’s not up to us to control what other people do. When we see illegal activity, yes, the police are called, and sometimes arrests are made.
2. See above.
3. We would love to hear from contractors who are licensed, bonded, reliable, etc. If you know any, have them contact us, and we’ll do a feature post about good contractors and how they’re being hurt by the scam artists out there. Believe it or not, Mr. Steger, we are not anti-contractor or anti-property owner. Two of our contributors in fact have spent a large portion of their careers working in the building industry, with engineers, contractors (large and small), architects, and property owners.
4. If we could control what the city does with its money, the schools would be in better shape, and this blog wouldn’t have a reason to exist. Mr. Steger, you give us way too much credit for controlling what goes on in this city.
5. We agree wholeheartedly, and will look into this point.
Your idiom, Mr. Steger, is a good one. The carrot is very much sweeter than the stick. However, we firmly believe that when it comes to derelict properties in the city, slumlords have been fed too many carrots, which is what led to us to this blog in the first place.
Also, you accuse us of belittling people. In fact, we are in no way doing that. We simply offer facts: property address, property owner and/or registered agent, the photos, and other pertinent information. In fact, we decided early on to not poke fun at people or offer a running commentary/namecalling session. In one case, we could have posted some rather unsavory information about a property owner’s girlfriend, and chose not to, even though it was a matter of public record. This blog exists only to make people aware of the fact that communities are tired of being held hostage by negligent property owners.
Ultimately, Mr. Steger, any property is the responsibility of the owner, and it’s the owner’s job to check on the property to make sure it’s not causing a health or safety hazard for the neighbors. And yes, in some cases, we have contacted the property owner to let him or her know what’s going on and what we’ve observed, and we will continue to do that. We’ve called 311. We’ve filed reports with the health department, and the department of housing. There are property owners out there who care about their properties and the surrounding neighbors, and they’ve taken a lot of time and spent a lot of money to ensure that they don’t end up on this blog or on the MDE’s roster, or any other list. Nobody wants to be “that guy”, Mr. Steger. Not us, not you, and probably not the people featured on this blog. If a property ends up on this blog, it’s after other channels have failed. Also, any property owner who found themselves here should certainly feel free to contact us once their derelict property has been cleaned up and secured or sold, and we will remove them immediately. There are many more derelict properties that we haven’t put on the blog than ones we have included here, so please don’t think that we’re attacking people or “slandering” people (actually, Mr. Steger it’s libel, not slander, that you’re referring to, and we’re not being libelous).
Thank you Mr. Steger, for your email, and we do hope that you will continue reading the blog.