As per a vote Monday night, the City of Glen Cove will change its charter, setting up a separate department specifically targeting code infractions, with its own paid director and private investigator listed already among the new costs to taxpayers. Some question if this is the right time to spend additional money. Others argue that illegal housing hurts everyone and is a fight worth having.

Vocal opponents of illegal housing would argue that regardless of the economy, it is worth putting what the mayor calls a more "robust effort" into this fight. There seems some merit to their argument that illegal housing hurts all involved except for a few greedy landlords and a few specific businesses that are then able to hire from a base of unprotected people, who live in poor, unsupervised conditions and then work in low-paying, unregulated situations as well. They say the face of Long Island's suburbs is being drastically changed by a rash of illegal residency. It changes neighborhoods, strains resources, drives down wages and fosters off-the-books employment.

Many people feel that to not enforce code sends a message that not all laws matter; that it is OK to make extra money by illegal means; that not all people are worthy of living in safe conditions.

Time will prove whether this new department is successful, but the argument behind its creation seems to have merit.


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