Goldstein fights police proposal aimed at reducing apartment complex crime
by Hilary Butschek
June 11, 2014 04:00 AM | 3320 views | 16 16 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn surveys the area at Cinnamon Ridge Apartments, where a 12-year-old was shot and injured in May. Flynn wants the City Council to pass his proposal he says would encourage apartment complexes with high crime rates to become part of crime reduction program.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn surveys the area at Cinnamon Ridge Apartments, where a 12-year-old was shot and injured in May. Flynn wants the City Council to pass his proposal he says would encourage apartment complexes with high crime rates to become part of crime reduction program.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — At the insistence of Councilman Philip Goldstein, the Marietta City Council is leaning toward watering down a proposal meant to help police fight crimes at apartment complexes.

Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn initially proposed making it mandatory for apartment complex owners in high-crime areas to sign a criminal trespass affidavit, allowing police to search the outside of the properties and look for violations of fire, health or city regulations. Police would look at things such as lighting, fencing and landscaping and require the apartment complexes to comply with property regulations and suggestions by police to reduce crime in the area. Each complex would also have to pay a $250 fee, according to the proposal, and conduct regular crime-watch meetings.

Flynn said his proposal uses tried and true methods of eliminating crime at apartment complexes.

“We have a whole body of knowledge of how you can use lighting and fencing and trimming shrubs, and you can arrange your home in a certain way to make it less likely that a certain crime can occur,” Flynn said.

Goldstein fought the proposal, arguing the mandatory nature of the program violated search and seizure and due process rights of property owners provided by the U.S. Constitution.

Flynn said he thought his proposal was a gentler way to encourage apartment complex owners to reduce crime, rather than simply revoking their business licenses.

“We’ve always had the ability to threaten taking the license away or suspending or not renewing the overall business license,” Flynn said. “That would be a very radical move.”

In contrast with the existing method of revoking a crime-ridden business’ license, Flynn said, the new program would offer police and the apartment complex managers more ability to negotiate and work together to reduce crime.

After Flynn proposed the program May 28 and Goldstein objected, Flynn changed the proposal from mandatory to voluntary. But at Monday’s City Council meeting, Goldstein said he still found issue with the wording of the document because he said apartment complexes could be penalized by police if they agreed to be a part of the program but couldn’t complete the required tasks of the program.

“The concern I have — and expressed the other night — is that this is a very intrusive ordinance,” Goldstein said. “This is not a voluntary ordinance. There are penalties that you can sanction someone for not following (the ordinance).”

Goldstein said the city government should not play a role in regulating the day-to-day operations of a business, even if it does have a high rate of crime.

Other council members supported the ordinance because they said a solution is urgently needed to reduce the crime around the apartment complexes.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said he approved of the proposal, even though it gave the police the power to regulate business’ operations if they are a part of the program. He said there is precedence for ordinances allowing city government to encroach on individuals’ rights.

“Even in our zoning laws, we have unlawful zoning laws,” Tumlin said. “It’s a threat that we live with, but we look to the attorneys to minimize it.”

Others on the council said the threat to individuals’ rights was not as important as reducing crime.

“I’d like to give the police department something with some teeth,” Councilwoman Michelle Kelly Cooper said.

She said she approved of the changes to the document, but she was glad the police could still have some control to attempt to reduce crime.

Councilman Anthony Coleman agreed.

“I don’t want to tie the police’s hands at doing what they do,” Coleman said.

When Kelly mentioned recent violent crimes in Marietta, such as a shooting that injured a 12-year- old at Cinnamon Ridge Apartments on May 28, the other council members, except Goldstein, agreed the proposed ordinance needed to give police more power to regulate businesses.

“It gives me a little bit of pause when we are defending apartment owners that haven’t done what they need to be doing to keep our city free of crime,” Kelly said. “Let the owners fight for their defense and come forward and tell us what they’re going to do to keep the area safe, if they find this too imposing.”

Goldstein objected to her view, saying the rights provided to people in the Constitution were absolute and the council could not take them away for any cause.

“The rights don’t depend on what I like or don’t like,” Goldstein said.

A majority of council members ultimately thought the voluntary proposal was a good compromise.

They voted Monday 5-1-1, with Goldstein opposed and Councilman Grif Chalfant absent, to move the voluntary ordinance proposal forward to tonight’s meeting for final action.

Comments
(16)
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GrinchHater
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June 12, 2014
Boycott Mariettastein
Common Sense
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June 12, 2014
Others on the council said the threat to individuals’ rights was not as important as reducing crime.

“I’d like to give the police department something with some teeth,” Councilwoman Michelle Kelly Cooper said.

Wow! That is a scary statement with an extremely limited vision and a "guilty until proven innocent mentality." This type of thinking heads down the slippery slopes whereby the erosion of individual rights eventually is completely non existent. If we continue as a community, state and a nation to focus on the symptoms rather than the true problems, we will become the full nanny state that the book 1984 warns us about. If you honestly want to help families in those communities, you have to focus money on proactive approaches not reactive approaches. The going concern with a proactive approach is that it takes time, money and people with a caring common sense approach on how to help people in a community handle their problems. If an individual or entity violates the rights of others, than by all means allow the police force "teeth" to do their job to fight crime and protect the community. But if a gestapo type mentality is implemented regardless of the rights of an individual or entity, we are creating a society with future unintended consequences that might otherwise be unable to change. Be careful what we wish for...

Peter Tax
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June 11, 2014
Seig Heil!!!
Dave Z
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June 11, 2014
I'm ashamed (and a little scared) to share a city with people who have such a skewed view of the American way. Our Constitution forbids police states, regardless of its purpose or popularity. Perhaps it takes a minority view to truly appreciate the personal protection powers of the Constitution. The irony, of course, is that conservatives wrap themselves in the Constitution - until they back an ordinance like this that flies in the face of the Constitution. What a bunch of HYPOCRITES.
Proud Hornet
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June 11, 2014
This city already encroaches on the property rights of individual property owners by telling them they cannot do anything with the street-visible portions of their property except have pretty grass in the name of "improving property values" and "city standards".

This at least has a more noble goal of reducing crime.
Just Wait
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June 11, 2014
Does Goldstein secretly own Franklin Road too?
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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June 11, 2014
Here we go again!

Gold$tein, in addition to his properties, is a blight on Marietta.

Does he not realize that his horrible behavior will, forever, be a burden to his family? The shame he has brought to his name will live forever. I suspect that, after he's gone for good, there will be dancing in the streets.
Say what
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June 12, 2014
What is more horrible, a savvy business man who most people in the community envy because of his financial success and beliefs in individual rights or a council person who has a mentality of infringing on the individual rights of others through the use of "force" by allowing the government to be the "patriarch father" of all of our lives and decisions? There is only one way that type lifestyle ends...
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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June 12, 2014
@Say what: Rather than envy the only, repeat only, emotion that Philip Gold$tein elicits from me is pity.

What good does his money do if he sees the world he lives in with a warped sense of what is right and flawed vision?
Say What
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June 13, 2014
May-Retta...can you give an example or two of his flawed and warped view of things?
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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June 13, 2014
@"Say what"; Sure, that's easy...any time he opens his mouth.
yet again
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June 11, 2014
Let's get this straight: we have a well-respected Police Chief who has a plan to reduce crime but Goldstein, the Land Baron, objects. In the first place, the Council should support whatever Chief Flynn wants to do. After all, he is trying to protect the innocent and it is the Police who have to go in and risk their lives. And Goldstein should just shut up and let him do his job.
anonymous
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June 11, 2014
Uhh... that well-respected Police Chief is essentially proposing that he and his police officers be allowed to come on to others property any time they (the police)want for purposes of searching for violations of the law. Probable cause not required. Oh...of course he says it is all about keeping people "safe".

Giving up personal rights HAS NEVER resulted in a safer environment. Just ask the Jewish folks who lived in the "Jewish Ghettos" after the Nazis encircled their neighborhood with barbed wire..."to keep them safe".

Goldstein should go
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June 11, 2014
This seems to me like the police are looking for solutions. If apartment complexes are not complying with city ordinances, then you work with them. There should be a mandatory fee, otherwise lose your license. I am backing the police 100% and think Goldstein should be removed. He is nothing but a pain in the rear end.
anonymous
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June 11, 2014
You may not like Phillip Goldstein, but DO NOT be an absolute fool by backing a proposal that gives the police full access to others property to search for law breaking --- probable caused not needed.

No police chief is ever going to woo me with his promises of keeping me/mine safe.

Something about that Fourth Amendment that I personally cherish!

Wake up folks!

Clarence B
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June 11, 2014
There is already a system in place to ensure business are obeying city ordinances, It's called code enforcement.

You agree 100% that businesses should be FORCED to waive their fourth amendment rights and allow the government to intrude at will ??

First it will be apartment complexes then it will be convenient stores after that restaurants and the next thing you know it will be our private property.

Would you still agree 100% if YOU were REQUIRED to allow the government to search your property whenever they wanted ??

I sit here and think about all the men and woman who died since the founding of this county in defense of our constitution and then I see someone like you who would so quickly toss it out the window because you choose security over freedom and quite frankly I feel sick to my stomach. Shame on you

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