Editor's note: These comments were read into the minutes during a Marietta City Council meeting March 6:
"If a soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness." - Victor Hugo.
Let us end the darkness of ignorance, neglect, negligence and intimidation.
Was Tavis Smalley writing about Marietta when he said, "It is time to substitute courage for caution and face up to our responsibility to create a brighter future."
The Marietta Property Maintenance Code Enforcement is about one issue, the health and safety of those who live and visit our beautifully historic city.
Who among us could possibly think it is OK for window glass to rain down at least twice from the same building onto city sidewalks and alleys in a six-month period? Who among us could think it will make Marietta appear more business friendly by having red Xs on buildings the fire department won't enter. Who among us thinks having bricks, stone and window frames falling into pedestrian walk ways makes us tourist friendly?
It is time to end the fear mongering, intimidation and neglect of those who look to public officials to help keep them healthy and safe.
It is time to be counted for protecting the basic rights of every person to live in a safe and healthy community. It is time to tell slum and absentee landlords that their money and neglect no longer gets them a free pass. It is time that every property owner and tenant share the responsibility for making Marietta the best, safest and most healthy community it can be.
If we don't take care of our city, who will?
Responsible citizens already are volunteering to invest their valuable time and knowledge to serve on a planning committee designed to incorporate common sense, sound leadership, and a process of law for the fine tuning of Marietta's Property Maintenance Code adopted July 1, 1999, and unanimously updated by council and signed by the mayor Aug. 1, 2013.
I encourage all of you to make your actions speak louder than words. Over the next several months, be part of a community-wide process to create the best possible code enforcement system for our citizens and visitors. Help create a system that is fair, consistent and transparent.
Roger G. Kalter,
Chair of the Marietta City Council Planning Committee.