City isn’t as bad as Sedline portrays

Travis McMullen - Contributing Columnist

Travis McMullen

Contributing Columnist

I’ve been faithfully following the Sedline ever since I saw someone revived it a couple months ago (And now it looks like Facebook might have suspended the account — that’s messed up, Facebook) and it’s remarkably similar to the old Sedline in that it is full of people complaining about certain parts of the State Fair City that are dirty, trashy and unacceptable.

To hear them tell it, all hope is lost. Every house is a junkyard, rusty cars and appliances sprout from the ground like vegetables and any potential retailer should stay far away from the Sedalia market for fear of their business literally being covered in garbage in a matter of days.

But every time I go out I must be seeing a different Sedalia than most of these people. It is definitely not a perfect city full of perfect homes, but I just don’t see the serious carelessness and neglect that so many people like to talk about both anonymously and under their real names.

Yes, there are some homeowners who have so much junk in their yard that it looks like they’re having some sort of eternal garage sale, but most of the yards I see are perfectly acceptable.

It’s probably easy to assume the whole city has gone downhill, if you do live next to or in the same block as some serious junk junkies. A lot of the time it seems “Sedalia” can be safely replaced with “the property next door.”

And then these people talk about why these things are happening: maybe the owner is retired and/or disabled. Maybe they live in a drug-induced stupor, caring about the health of their property as soon as there’s a hole in the roof that’s letting the snow in and not a second sooner. Maybe those neglected properties are owned by Millennials — everybody knows they are the laziest humans to ever exist and have no idea how to solve a problem that can’t be resolved by the good people at AppleCare.

And there’s always at least one person who pops up and puts all the blame on the landlords of Sedalia. Clearly, nobody who lives in a home they own would allow it to deteriorate like that, right?

We’ve been having a discussion here in Sedalia about how often we should inspect rental properties.

Sedalia resident and rental property tenant Barbara Guffey should be applauded — not because I do or do not agree with her when it comes to the rental inspection issue, but because she is willing to stand up in front of the Sedalia City Council, state her case and even bring copies of all of the relevant paperwork for everyone on the council. You’ve got to fight for what you believe in, and I bet the handouts help, too.

And it’s always been a tricky subject. We know there are renters out there who think they are being mistreated. We know there are plenty of landlords out there who obey each law and ordinance and do exactly what they need to do. We also know there are homes out there that are in disrepair, even if we don’t know their ownership status.

A broad ordinance would punish good renters just as much as it punishes good landlords; it’s a waste of their time and an invasion of their space. If every rental property needed to be inspected frequently enough there might not be any time to enforce the rules of the city on non-rental properties.

But there are still renters here in Sedalia who aren’t being treated right, and we do need to figure out a way to make sure their landlords don’t continue to get away with it.

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

Sedalia Democrat

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

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