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Reform One Strike Ordinances in PA

$602 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 45 months
S James Franco  WILKES BARRE, PA
The city of Wilkes-Barre, along with cities throughout the state and region have been instituting "ONE STRIKE" anti crime legislation that seize the profits and sometimes property of landlords whose tenants are ACCUSED of illegal behavior.

These tenants may have passed background checks, and the landlords are never accused of complicity in the wrongdoing before such seizure.  It is done simply because they are the landlord and property owner.

This illegal and overreaching action  by cities, which does not combat crime and increases blight through creating more vacant properties, must stop!

“I will be defending my small business, and offering some common-sense solutions to the ongoing crime problem in Wilkes-Barre that hopefully City Hall will take into consideration,” said Kelly Rafuse, who along with husband Steve Franco founded GPGH Management as Good People Good Homes in 2008. The company is responsible for over 50 units in the Valley. Several had been vacant and boarded up before the couple rehabbed them for use as rentals.

“I don’t agree with the One Strike ordinance at all,” Rafuse said, “but I sort of understand why Mayor Leighton enacted it. We don’t want drugs or guns in our apartments either. Drug dealers aren’t stupid – they recruit people who will pass a background check to get into a place. It seems like Wilkes-Barre should be working with us landlords, as the eyes and ears on the street, instead of lumping us in with the criminals. The police didn’t have to kick in the door, we would have opened it with our master key! To say we looked the other way for the sake of a $500 rent check is absurd.”

We are looking to mount a campaign to stop and change these laws, draft model legislation that actually impacts the problem, and help cities large and small learn to deal with the problem and work better with the investor and landlord community.
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Update 6
Posted by S James Franco
44 months ago
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and even though I answered every point you made. ... Practically in order you made them and cannot be off topic.

, I'm done debating with you.
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Update 5
Posted by S James Franco
44 months ago
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Your facts are off. Waay off

we even presented to the appeals board a copy of the background check on both boys. Please do not accuse me of lying.
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Update 4
Posted by S James Franco
44 months ago
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To me...the fundamental question is

The accused and arrested party has the right to a trial by jury...and is innocent and not penalized officially till comnvction

But the landowner ...who committed the sin of investing in the city...is assumed guilty without accusation or proof of illegal activity?
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Update 3
Posted by S James Franco
44 months ago
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David, if you disagree with our choices and tenants, I wont entirely debate you.

Clearly, one of the boys in that apartment (the one with a clean background on move in) did something wrong, he was arrested. Not convicted as yet....though we are sentenced for the accused crime

But, no one was arrested or charged with a crime on the day of the gunshot.

We were told by police that no crime has been committed. Therefore, under our lease we had no actionable cause for eviction.

in hindsight, do I wish that I had gone to the magistrate and thrown on the mercy of the court to get the kids evicted? Yes.

However, when I did that the following month in an unrelated case where we had information from an officer the judge refused to hear the issue

So even if we had done something, it would be very likely have been nothing successful

and at the end of the day sir, I will put my 8 years and 30 units worth of experience and completely clean record with respect to inspections, following the law, and everything else, up against your accusations.

At the end, we are one of the strongest and the most visible companies in the city of Wilkes Barre.

mistakes made? Possibly. But, does that make this law something that you'd stand and be allowed to continue, no.

Are we the problem? In the words of several city officials, no.

This law does not do what it's intended to do...crime is way up

, and it takes away the rights of property owners, when mistakes may or may not have been made.

If there is evidence of property owner is in fact bad, or is can do any illegal activity, wonderful.

. Take that evidence to ... in the words of the city law...a court of competent jurisdiction, and let the judge, who is trained in the law, make that determination.

Do not sentence the land owner or the landlord on these suspicions that one of the tenants or their guests may possibly have done something wrong. Not on the assumption we had "implied prior knowledge . What defines that!??!

The city has yet to supply an answer to a request for definition

Is the accusation of a (possible personal gripe driven) neighbor enough?? An officer ? (Clearly not )

Where is the line?



and in the end, the reason we chose the crowdfunding platform, rather than saying please send money to this unmarked bank account somewhere, is because we wanted it to be completely visible how much was collected and so where that money went would be completely traceable.

In fact, since our partners have decided but they do not wish to continue with the appeal against the city, we are pledging all monies collected to a non-profit organization that is willing to take up this fight,.

It is my hope, as we continue to speak out on this topic, but we can put a war chest together. Usable by any landlord in any of the cities with a 1 strikes law, .... the purpose of this money I hope will be to take its challenge to the Court of Common Pleas and as needed to the higher courts.

the laws of themselves are misguided. The cities are not wrong in their intentions with the law, it is simply that the laws of themselves need to be changed.

As the blueprint we offered the city describes

Evict the bad people yes. Empty unit yes.

Perhaps monitor more closely the landlords choices for a year 2 years whatever.

Maybe, go so far as to say City Council must approve that landlord tenant choices.

Or, as I have asked repeatedly, have that landlord pay the city police department to run background checks.

We all know the police can run better background check when I can. The service is available to me I simply commercially available services, not law enforcement grade background searches.

Do whatever it is you want, but to leave building and unit taken and emptied for months at a time simply invites more crime... invites copper theft, invites vagrants, invite squatters, and invites landlords to file for bankruptcy and let these properties go back into a bankrupt state of foreclosed state, the exact stte that we took this building out of not a year ago.

It was vacant, it was empty, it had been for a period Of time.

and as for your question about the Secretary of State, no. I was unaware that such a registration was even possible. & I would imagine that 99 percent of the collections on most crowdfunding websites are not registered.

If you have information that we should be, please feel free to email me at Steve @ good people good homes.com, and if my lawyer agrees with your assessment, we will be more than happy to register.

We couldn't be more visible and outgoing and open about our attention.. We've been on where, you've been on WNEP, we've been in both local and regional newspapers we've been on the radio, we've been at City Council, it is very clear what our intentions are.

We believe in the city of Wilkes Barre, we've spent over a half million dollars investing in the city of Wilkes Barre. Have you?

Secondly why would I tell anyone about GoFundMe expenses? They are clearly published on the go fund me website. It is very clearly stated everywhere how much besides charge for the service they offer. It is not something I ever considered re publishing.
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David Schaar
44 months ago

Is this fund raising activity approved by the Pa Attorney General Bet not. And everything I said in my previously deleted post was true. Your former tenant plead guilty to pot possession. I will take my message to other forums ( Wilkes Barre City facebook is one) where it can not be deleted. by you. Ps you are paying GoFundMe about 7.9 of the proceeds. Why are you not telling your potential donors about the fee?

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$602 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 45 months
Created April 15, 2015
S James Franco
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KR
$200
kelly rafuse
45 months ago
SF
$132
stephen FRANCO
45 months ago
$120
Anonymous
45 months ago
$150
Anonymous
45 months ago
David Schaar
44 months ago

Is this fund raising activity approved by the Pa Attorney General Bet not. And everything I said in my previously deleted post was true. Your former tenant plead guilty to pot possession. I will take my message to other forums ( Wilkes Barre City facebook is one) where it can not be deleted. by you. Ps you are paying GoFundMe about 7.9 of the proceeds. Why are you not telling your potential donors about the fee?

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