After hearing some constructive feedback from a scrapyard operator, Warren City Council should kill its proposed enforcement ordinance and instead lobby its statehouse delegates to a less restrictive statewide law.
City Council is considering an ordinance that would require scrappers of copper pipes, wiring and aluminum siding to have permits proving they had the authority to obtain the material they are selling or Warren scrap yards would not be able to purchase it.
''We are trying to mitigate the financial reward for criminals to steal copper and aluminum siding from homes and businesses, which is causing millions of dollars worth of damage to property in our neighborhoods,'' Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, said.
The problem Colbert cited is legitimate, and the councilman should be commended for attempting to provide a remedy. But Glenda K. Brooks, an administrator with Metalico Youngstown Inc. in Warren, pointed out that scrappers would simply take their goods to scrapyards outside of the city limits. She said that would likely put Metalico out of business.
Colbert's legislation, therefore, would not serve its intended purpose since scrappers could skirt the law simply by stepping over the city line. Therefore, Colbert's next step should be to contact State Rep. Tom Letson, D-Warren, and State Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, to pursue a state law.
Colbert would likely have support from Niles Councilman Stephen Papalas, who attended the Warren meeting on the ordinance and supports the idea.
But any law would have to be less restrictive than what Colbert proposes. Honest folks, such as those who strip aluminum siding from the their own homes as part of an improvement project, should not have to pay a registration fee and jump through hoops and hurdles to scrap their material. A uniform law should target thieves without penalizing honest citizens.