Irony 101: City's new housing czar owns a ramshackle eyesore?
Interesting news out of City Hall this week. In brief, the city's new housing chief, Dr. Freed G. "Mike" Etienne has some explaining to do with regard to an eyesore of a property at 3416 E. Clay St.for which he is listed as co-owner.
William E. Harrell, the city of Richmond's chief administrative officer, announced on Monday, June 5, the appointment of Dr. Freed G. “Mike” Etienne as the city's first deputy chief administrative officer in charge of housing, land use and community development.
Departments under Etienne's purview are specifically charged with responding to complaints about blighted, vacant and abandoned properties. On the face of it, the house on East Clay appears to be left for dead.
Credit goes to the Church Hill People's News, a scrappy neighborhood advocacy blog, for being the first to get this on the radar. The blog's report and message board suggest that neighbors have watched the property go untended for some time.
In all fairness, Etienne has not had a chance to tell the full story about the property. Richmond magazine's Harry Kollatz Jr. attempted to get some comment from the city about Etienne's connection to the house, and so far has been told, in a voice mail message, that the property is in the process of being restored.
If that is the case, it probably appears to residents of that neighborhood that it's about time. --Jack Cooksey