This letter was inspired by the audacity of Jean Cunningham’s and Frank Ward’s letters (Dec. 20) in The Bee, blaming the five people who died in the boarded-up, abandoned house on North Archie Avenue and their reference to them as vagrants and transients. Name-calling the five victims. Really? Why?
The real lawbreakers are those who could have prevented this horrific fire and loss of lives. Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who has had over seven years to fix this problem via code enforcement, levying fines against these unconscionable property owners, then following through and did not. The manner our city has responded to the five deaths on North Archie Avenue is a reflection upon all of Fresno and it is extremely embarrassing.
I am requesting our city council step up and get District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp to begin holding some of these slumlords accountable. Beginning with Brian H. Rosene and Randy L. Cunningham of Denver, owners of the North Archie property, is a good start. As a city, we need to send a clear message to owners of blighted properties – sell, rent or demolish.
City leaders need to hold slumlords accountable. Otherwise, what message are we sending to those who could care less about our community?
Rebeca Rangel, Fresno