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Vague Law + Vindictive Law Enforcement? Hide Your Veggies!

from the this-is-not-how-things-are-supposed-to-work dept

You may have heard the recent story about Julie Bass, a woman in Oak Park, Michigan, who was facing 93 days in jail... for daring to plant a nice vegetable garden in her front yard. Apparently, the city has a rule that says you can have "decorative planting" in your front yard, but some city officials deemed that the vegetable garden was not decorative. The specific law, of course, is vague. It says: "all unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material." The problem is in the word "suitable." Many folks, including Bass, believe vegetables are suitable. The city disagrees, and was threatening her with 93 days in jail for not removing the garden.

On Friday, the charges were apparently dismissed. While most reports suggested that officials dropped the case, Bass's own blog claims that a judge dismissed them, though the details were hazy (at best). But, here's where it gets ridiculous. First, the dismissal was "without prejudice," so the charges can be brought again. But... even more crazy is that now the city is going after her for not having licenses for her two dogs, an issue that was brought up earlier, and which she quickly fixed.

As lots of people are saying, it appears that the city is just being vindictive to Bass.

This is why broadly worded laws scare me. This is why the broadly worded definition of what counts as an "infringing site" in PROTECT IP scares me. This is why the vagueness of S.978, the felony streaming bill, scares me. They can easily be abused to put people in jail just for embedding videos. What the Julie Bass story shows is that when law enforcement feels vindictive, there's no law they won't try to twist against people. And we shouldn't be handing law enforcement more ammo by giving them vaguely worded laws that potentially make huge segments of the population into felons.

Jail time for veggie gardens is nothing if they can put you away for embedding a video on your website.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:11am

    If ewveryone's a criminal, it's just a matter of finding the key. This is what terrifies me about totalitarianism; it's easy to make everyone a criminal without them realising. Then, if they do something you don't like - BAM! Instant lockup!

     

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    Howard the Duck, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Video

    What about imbedding a video showing how to plant a vegetable garden in their front yard? Double trouble!

     

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    Brady, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    Correction -

    If the charges were dismissed "with prejudice" that means they CANNOT be brought again.

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:35am

    First, the dismissal was "with prejudice," so the charges can be brought again. But...

    If the dismissal is 'with prejudice', then the charges cannot be brought again. The original article has it listed as 'without prejudice,' meaning the charges can be brought again.

     

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  5.  
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    John William Nelson (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    Aye, it was dismissal "without prejudice," meaning they can still be brought. Bit of a typo I'm sure Mike will fix soon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    you wouldn't have to worry about broadly stated laws if you werern't such a freetarded criminal!

     

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  7.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:43am

    The solution

    to her problem is decorative vegetables

     

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  8.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:45am

    Think of the children!

    If Julie is allowed to plant veggies in her front yard, then other people will believe that it is okay for them to do the same.

    Next thing you know, lots of people will grow veggies in their front yard.

    Then children will be forced to eat more veggies.

    Think of the children!

     

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  9.  
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    Davis Freeberg, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:54am

    Is it just me or does it seem like our entire culture has become sticklers for the letter of the law over the last ten years? Maybe it's too many TV episodes where they torpedo someone through the backdoor, but it just feels like LE and regular citizens have started exploiting laws when they can't punish someone else in normal ways. While I recognize the need for a way to resolve legitimate disputes, I also don't want to live in a world where the wrong commma or "plant life" can create legal headaches. Too often, lawsuits are used to punish someone instead of remedying a broken situation. Will common sense ever return or will we have to walk on eggshells to avoid getting sued by the chicken industry.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    "First, the dismissal was "with prejudice," so the charges can be brought again."

    Mike, "with prejudice" means the charges cannot be brought again.

     

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  11.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Yeah but we still have to worry about asinine AC comments no matter what laws are passed.

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Re:

    I have the ever-growing list of crimes in Animal Farm going through my head now.

     

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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    I think we need to get to the root of this problem and stem these bad laws. If they won't leaf a woman like this alone, you can be sure they'll branch out and come for the rest of us. Lettuce pray it never reaches that point. I know I don't want the police to turnip at my door if I embed a video. Of course, against the lobbying power of MAFIAA, I doubt our efforts will be worth a hill of beans.

     

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    Joseph K (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    "Suitable"

    To appreciate the full absurdity of this you have to read the part where the city planner, Kevin Rulkowski says: "If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster's dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what's common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers"

    Of course a lot of people did look it up at Merriam-Webster's dictionary here and discovered (to no one's surprise but Rulkowski's) that "suitable" does not mean "common." And if you go there you'll see many sarcastic and critical comments about this.

     

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    MrWilson, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    You should be more original in your trolling or else you'll end up violating someone else's IP. I'm pretty sure other trolls have already patented the use of asinine, short-sighted logic like, "if you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide!"

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re: Video

    And the plants came from seeds patented by Monsanto.

     

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    snidely (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Vindictive

    The broadly worded law reminds me of the case where the woman was charged with criminal computer hacking for putting up the fake Facebook profile that led to the tragic suicide of the girl she was bullying. If the prosecutor tries hard enough, he/she can probably find something on the books to charge you with; like buying alcohol on Sundays.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re:

    Don't forget 'the law is the law'. That's the one I use. I better not see anyone else using it.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    I think we could bury the AC troll up to his neck in Julie Bass's front garden he is living and with his brain I doubt much above plant life.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:35am

    Re: Think of the children!

    Growing your own veggies is killing supermarkets

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Again, why is anyone upset about this? Almost everywhere I have ever lived has laws against putting veggie gardens in the front of a house. The front yard is suppose to be a place of grass and other "suitable" items.

    The issue of veggie gardens in the front yard is all that can come with time, from stakes to trellises, and so on. It can create quite an eye sore. Without some control as to what is in front of the home, you risk lowering property values for all. Can you imagine someone converting their front yard into a corn field, example?

    What is interesting too here is that she is playing the media like a fiddle. Her blog is taglined as "trying to make sense of oak park's war on vegetables". There is no war on veg, and she knows it. She can fill her back yard up to the guts with veg. There is no "you may not have veggies" law. She is being misleading and playing it to sites like techdirt.

    http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/oakland_county/oak-park-battles-city-over-vegetable -garden-in-their-front-yard

    The video shows her entire front yard covered with 5 full size boarded off beds. Other citizens complained. Enough said.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Vindictive City

    Talk about a vindictive city....

     

    ORDINANCE NO.062011-5

    BE IT ENACTED BY THE CITY OF GOULD AND THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF LINCOLN, STATE OF ARKANSAS, AN ORDINANCE TO BE ENTITLED:

    AN ORDINANCE TO DISALLOW THE GOULD CITIZENS ADVISORY COUNCIL FROM EXISTING WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF GOULD

    BE IT ORDAINED by the City of Gould City Council:

    SECTION 1: GOULD CITIZENS ADVSIORY COUNCILS ABILITY TO OPERATE WITHIN THE CITY OF GOULD. The Gould Citizens Advisory Council by passage of this ordinance is hereby banned from doing business in the City of Gould.

    Section 2: That the said Council is, in effect, causing confusion and discourse among the citizens of Gould and as a result is contributing to the friction not only between the Mayor and Council but also among the citizens who deserve a cooperative government. Also no new organizations shall be allowed to exist in the City of Gould without approval from a majority of the City Council.

    SECTION 3: Therefore, an emergency is hereby declared to exist and this ordinance being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety shall be in full force and effect from and after passage and approval.


     

    (Source: “Gould Council bans citizens group”, by Max Brantley, ArkansasTimes, Jul 13, 2011)


    ... Pass the veggies, please? I guess this ordinance is pretty specific.

     

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  23.  
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    Rob, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    "The issue of veggie gardens in the front yard is all that can come with time, from stakes to trellises, and so on. It can create quite an eye sore."

    Tell you what. You give up eating food and I'll give up growing food in your sight. Deal?

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Video

    Does monsanto have publicity rights on those seeds??

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    Re: Correction -

    I was thinking the same thing.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    Also, I believe this lady also asked permission first and when she didn't get the answer she wanted, she went ahead and put the gardens in anyways.

    Local ordinances like this are not necessarily a bad thing. The main purpose is to keep neighborhoods looking nice, thereby keeping property values higher which is plus for everyone.

    The vindictive part about the dogs does seem a bit out of line though.

     

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  27.  
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    A.R.M. (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Welcome to the United States of America, the land of Guilty until proven Innocent.

    What's worse is that even though the city failed, Monsanto's right behind them with their "patent-infringing" lawsuit because the corn she was growing isn't theirs.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:11am

    Re: Correction -

    If the charges were dismissed "with prejudice" that means they CANNOT be brought again.


    Yes, sorry, typo on my part. Fixed.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Cycling back to "appearances" again. The root of the issue was in fact that the garden wasn't acceptable to others in the community. They didn't "like how it looked" or represented their neighborhood. What if she had an awesome lawn but hundreds of lawn gnomes that the "community" didn't like? Or a bunch of wind-fan thingies? Where's the line between personal freedoms / choice and law / conformity these days? Where do you draw the line after all?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re:

    Rob, nobody is telling her not to grow food. Quit playing the stupid card. She can fill her back yard up all she likes.

    My neighbor turns their front yard into the mess she made her yard into, and you can bet I am calling the city for an inspection.

    You give up being an idiot, and I'll stop point out that you have been an idiot in the past, okay?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    They could all be ordered removed as being unsuitable. The line between personal freedoms and choice butts up against the choices of others in the community, and some "rights" may be limited in order to respect the rights of others.

    If she wanted to run a farm, perhaps she should have moved to the country.

     

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    Jesse (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Hard to pick.

    "Jail time for veggie gardens is nothing if they can put you away for embedding a video on your website."

    I don't know, it's hard to pick which one is more ridiculous.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re:

    Once you make an ass out of yourself to city inspectors, you can bet that your going to get a nice "inspection" of anything and everything you are doing. Thumb your nose at authorities, and they will administer you into the ground.

    She's an idiot for picking the wrong fight, and she will spend the rest of her days in her little community with a target painted on her head. You reap what you sow, you know?

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    Again, why is anyone upset about this?

    Yeah, I can't imagine why the threat of having men with guns kidnap you from your home and lock you away in an 8x10 cage for three months because you created a vegetable garden on your own property would worry anyone in a supposedly free country.

    (Especially when the law in question is vague enough as to be decided at the whim of an unelected bureaucrat with obvious power issues. Is bermuda grass "suitable", or only St. Augustine? Roll the dice to find out if you end up with either a nice lawn or a cell mate who wants to dance with you!)

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    As usual, Mike, weird wind up to a plain story:

    "This is why broadly worded laws scare me. This is why the broadly worded definition of what counts as an "infringing site" in PROTECT IP scares me. This is why the vagueness of S.978, the felony streaming bill, scares me. They can easily be abused to put people in jail just for embedding videos."

    With ya so far though you're WAY onto another topic...

    "What the Julie Bass story shows is that when law enforcement feels vindictive, there's no law they won't try to twist against people."

    THUD. Your Pollyanna view again. "Law enforcement" -- who are supposed to be Public Servants -- are ALWAYS flat out vindictive and hostile to the public. Prosecutors keep score by conviction rate, that's all they care about: "justice" is irrelevant. You clearly don't grasp the nature of gov't.

    "And we shouldn't be handing law enforcement more ammo by giving them vaguely worded laws that potentially make huge segments of the population into felons."

    THUD. WE aren't handing them that, Mike, they're TAKING it with guns drawn.

    "Jail time for veggie gardens is nothing if they can put you away for embedding a video on your website."

    THUD. Lousily phrased at best, and one of your worst twists trying to tie this to your copyright mania.

     

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  36.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, yes. She should have licked the boots of authority like you and all the rest. How dare she not bow down to her betters! What kind of country does she think this is, anyway??

     

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    Greyface Citizen, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Criminal Gardning

    Here in good old Utah, where SLC is awash in law stuff/toys (many, many "Crime Scene" vans (with logos), helicopters, Segways with cops (etc.), a woman was locked up for a few days by a "private" (kangaroo, as authorized by state & county laws) for selling flowers grown in her garden. Her crime: Although the selling of the flowers was ok (which she produced), she sold them in a vase, which she did not produce (i.e., manufacture). How was she detected? A surveillance stakeout team of a few days at her home.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re:

    If she wanted to run a farm, perhaps she should have moved to the country.


    Well, you're right about one thing: Trying to grow corn in an inner suburb of Detroit just ain't suitable, no-how, no-way.

    Corn ain't suitable in Detroit—no more than watermelons.

    In Detroit, you always got to be growing automobiles.

     

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  39.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re:

    The line between personal freedoms and choice butts up against the choices of others in the community, and some "rights" may be limited in order to respect the rights of others.

    Others don't have a right to my property, so there's no "rights of others" being violated.

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re:

    I think we could bury the AC troll up to his neck in Julie Bass's front garden he is living and with his brain I doubt much above plant life.


    But would the AC's brain be considered 'suitable' plant life?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    Offtopic

    Offtopic, but what is it with USA people and front yards? Around where I live, you can grow anything you like in your house's front yard and no one will care.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    Re: As usual, Mike, weird wind up to a plain story:

    The point ->.













    You <>

     

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  43.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I hardly describe her front yard as a 'mess.' It's well-groomed and well-maintained, and only one neighbor complained. ONE. Everyone else loves it, so please you are the one being an idiot. Nothing she's growing is an eyesore. I've grown all those out in the front, myself (considering my yard, both front and back is the size of a postage stamp). It's people like you that refuse to be 'neighborly' that are the real issue, these days.

     

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    A.R.M. (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: As usual, Mike, weird wind up to a plain story:

    Point? That's a decimal, silly. I'd say it was a period, but it's not red.






    Yeah, I know, gross, but why not, eh? >:P

     

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    Atkray (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Think of the children!

    and all you can eat Salad Bars.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: Hard to pick.

    You pick vegetables you watch videos.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Coleslaw is the coleslaw.

     

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    HothMonster, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Offtopic

    a lot of people consider it a status symbol.

    And a lot of close minded small penised people, like the AC who started this thread, see the lawns around them as a reflection of there status too and complain if they are not to their liking.

    This also leads to morons in AZ trying to grow fucking grass in the desert and eating up local aquifers because they have to show how important they are, and need to impress the small penised jackasses around them.

     

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  49.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    what about their right to be controlling pricks?

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Video

    That's what I'm thinking.

     

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  51.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Think of the children!

    why would you devalue your salad by giving it away at such a low package price?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nice green grass lawns are important! Just look at Las Vegas. Water shortages? Pfft. They should just grow nice green grass lawns, screw any water shortages.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re: Offtopic

    It's because here in the US we have the sacred rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (read: money).

    Seriously, almost every town has some laws like this that say what you can and can't do with your own property because it might effect the property value of your neighbors, as if it were enshrined in our constitution.

     

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    haiku, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re: "Suitable"

    To be fair, at no time did Kevin Rulkowski say that he had actually looked at the Webster's definition himself ... 8)

    Unlikely as it probably is, if Mr. Rulkowski had looked at the dictionary himself he might well have chanced across the term "potager" - a garden comprised of vegetable plants.

    And very appropriate to these times of rapidly rising international food prices ...

     

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  55.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well said.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    She should have licked the boots of authority like you and all the rest.

    Don't know about that Chris, but, one thing to remember, I can guarantee that this ordinance was in place before she moved in to her house.

    There are plenty of places where the restrictions are much, much more stringent then this one. In Historical Districts you have to have the exterior color of you house approved and you have any landscaping approved, etc. Condo communities put restrictions on almost anything outside. My city doesn't allow any fencing past the front of the house.

    If all of these restrictions are in place prior to you purchasing your property then it's no one else's responsibility but your own to make yourself aware of them before you purchase.

     

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  57.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Others don't have a right to my property, so there's no "rights of others" being violated.

    Even though it's your property, it's still subject to zoning ordinances.

    If you buy a piece of land in an area zoned residential, you can't put up a sheet metal factory.

     

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  58.  
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    Boost (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I copyrighted all of your usual comments. You owe me $50,000 per use. Pay up or I'll take you to court.

     

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  59.  
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    Boost (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    A well groomed garden is not an eye sore. a poorly groomed garden? Yes. I've seen peoeple get away with some truely aweful things in their front yards. I would take this woman's vegitable garden any day. Hell, I'd probably talk it up as a selling point if I were selling my house in her neighborhood.

     

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  60.  
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    Rob, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I see your point.

    Food -- like industrial goods, fuel and power, to name a few -- should not be produced where a person of means must see it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    Boost (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Vindictive City

    Nice...I guess they have read the Constitution of the United States?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How does any of that make a bad law a good one?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you claiming that she was violating zoning ordinances for putting vegetables in her front yard instead of her back yard?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    get off my lawn.

    seriously.

    mind your side of the fence, not mine. i'm sorry you don't like the look of a vegtable garden. personally i cannot stand the sight of a empty grass field.

    if it is maintained and cared for, then who are you to say what i do about my yard. i paid for my yard, you did not.

    btw, i called the city about those purple flowers you have, they clash against the color of your shutters and are really an eyesore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (I feel this needs more discussion)

    Zoning laws are ostensibly about preventing the use of your property from actually impacting the use of mine. If you turn your house into a pig slaughterhouse, it isn't simply about some (completely imagined) right of your neighbors to have their property values always increase. A slaughterhouse will be noisy and smelly, supply trucks will impede the use of the roadway, etc.

    If you try to use zoning laws to beat people over the head because of aesthetics ("Your house color is too bright", "Your grass is the wrong species", "you have woodchips for a lawn instead of grass") then you're not protecting property rights, you're violating them by being an authoritarian prick.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I can guarantee that this ordinance was in place before she moved in to her house."

    - ...And all laws in place are good and just laws.
    - What is the basis of your assertion? I didn't happen to notice in the article any mention of how long she's lived there vs. how long the law has been in place, so obviously you've done research I haven't. (I'm not saying you're wrong; I'm just wondering how you know this.)
    - What ordinance are you referring to? The only one I've seen quoted does not, in fact, prohibit growing vegetables in one's front yard.

    "There are plenty of places where the restrictions are much, much more stringent [than] this one."

    Ah, the old "somebody else has it worse, so you shouldn't whine" argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How does any of that make a bad law a good one?

    I just disagree that this is a "bad" law, a bit vague, perhaps, but not so bad in my view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Jeremy7600 (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    Here in Rochester, NY, in my neighborhood, we have front yards that are full on veggie gardens. They are all over the place. Up and down one street me and my GF walked, there were 2, maybe 3 on that street. And its only 3 blocks long or so (and that was only one side of the street.)

    I am part of a community victory garden. Its on a lot formerly occupied by a house that the city razed. The entire property, from front to back, is covered with 34 of these boxes, they are all 4x8 plots.

    They are working on adding another garden because the first one is so popular. Again, it will be on the entire property of an empty lot.

    I don't know anyone that has complained about the victory garden I'm in. Half the plots have an 8 foot trellis on them, many have stakes, lots have metal baskets for tomatoes. This is supposed to be an "eye sore?" I'm sorry but no one in or around our community (whether they are members of the garden or not) thinks this is an eye sore.

    So what if the video shows her front yard covered with 5 or 10 or 50 full size beds? They are neat and well maintained. So how many neighbors does she have, in her street, etc. How many people complained? They have to use all those resources at the behest of a handful of disgruntled neighbors? If there are 50 homes on the street at 1 or 2 complained, how do they justify trying to make 2-4% of the residents on that street happy when none of the rest complained?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    - ...And all laws in place are good and just laws.

    Never said that. It's just that I feel that ordinances that restrict what many might consider an eyesore are not necessarily bad. I really do not want my neighbors keeping 5 old dead cars on their front lawn and as such, laws like this have their place.

    - What is the basis of your assertion? I didn't happen to notice in the article any mention of how long she's lived there vs. how long the law has been in place, so obviously you've done research I haven't. (I'm not saying you're wrong; I'm just wondering how you know this.)

    Your right. I don't actually know. Should have put an "almost" in front of guarantee. But, the village of Oak Park has been around since 1927 and I would bet that the ordinance has been around for a long while.

    "There are plenty of places where the restrictions are much, much more stringent [than] this one."

    Ah, the old "somebody else has it worse, so you shouldn't whine" argument.


    Nope. Wasn't my point at all. Even though you own your property, there are still restrictions on what you can and can't do with it. Always has been.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Just like the patriot act was ONLY going to be used against terrorists, but now is used to justify all sorts of searches and other questionable practices against everyday citizens. Time to wake up before we lose even more of our rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Just like the patriot act was ONLY going to be used against terrorists, but now is used to justify all sorts of searches and other questionable practices against everyday citizens. Time to wake up before we lose even more of our rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree that zoning laws and aesthetics laws have similar, but different purposes.

    But, aesthetics laws are not necessarily bad. I am in the sign business and every city, village and township in my area has different laws concerning size, quantity, color, etc. of what signage a property owner can erect. There is even one township in my area that doesn't allow any color other than black & gold, regardless of what your business logo looks like. These things are not necessarily bad, it's the community deciding what they want and what they do not want.

    It's like I stated in an above thread, such laws do have their place - I really do not want my neighbors front lawn to look like a car junkyard. It would reduce the investment I have in my house.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I really do not want my neighbors keeping 5 old dead cars on their front lawn


    No. You want your neighbors to have five brand-new shiny cars to keep on their front lawn! And for that to happen, those neighbors need jobs. Good jobs! Honest jobs! High-paying jobs! Which is why the neighborhood needs this sheet-metal plant!

    So everyone can go to sleep —day or night— with that clear, sweet sound ringing out across the land, the sound of liberty:
         Ka-Ching!




    Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    clickwhistle, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Externalities

    The appearance of her front yard is an externality. Some may see her vegetable garden as a positive externality ("attractive"), others may see it as a negative externality ("eyesore"). The matter is entirely subjective. It is also irrelevant. The question is who owns the rights to this usage of the property? The government claims the right, but is it legitimate? If the right belonged to the property owner before the law was enacted and no compensation was provided for the taking, doesn't this fall afoul of eminent domain?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Gardens

    > The front yard is suppose to be a place of
    > grass and other "suitable" items.

    Says who?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    > The video shows her entire front yard covered
    > with 5 full size boarded off beds. Other
    > citizens complained. Enough said.

    My freedom to use my own property as I wish is not rightly limited merely by another citizen's complaint.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > She's an idiot for picking the wrong fight,
    > and she will spend the rest of her days in
    > her little community with a target painted
    > on her head. You reap what you sow, you know?

    Yes, it's much better to be cowed by authority and lick the boots of any government official who demands obeisance. "Shut up and do as your told" should become the new motto of America. "Land of the free" is so quaint and anachronistic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > If all of these restrictions are in place
    > prior to you purchasing your property then
    > it's no one else's responsibility but your
    > own to make yourself aware of them before you
    > purchase.

    Yeah, there are still some places that have restrictions on whather blacks and Jews can live in certain neighborhoods, too.

    Gotta do whatever the law says, though, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But, aesthetics laws are not necessarily bad.

    Only if everyone to be held to the rules agrees to them and signs a contract (think HOA). Then you can be sure that everyone is on the same page. Rules imposed on homeowners by bureaucrats and busybodies who have no claim to that property are immoral.

    I really do not want my neighbors front lawn to look like a car junkyard. It would reduce the investment I have in my house.

    In that case, I want someone to reimburse me for all the "value" that my stocks lost during the recession. Of course, that's ridiculous, because no one has the right to the value of an object, only to the object itself.

    Why do you assume that the mere value of your property trumps the actual property rights of others?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Externalities

    Nothing runs afoul of eminent domain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Rules imposed on homeowners by bureaucrats and busybodies who have no claim to that property are immoral.

    Ok. I get what your point is on this and I will respectively disagree.

    Real property ownership doesn't give you sovereign nation status. There will always be restrictions on what you can or cannot do or build on that property (at least where I live).

    Perhaps some of these laws have become antiquated, or were poorly written or stretched where they shouldn't be, but that doesn't mean that the original intent is wrong, especially since such laws were usually put in place because property owners in the area wanted them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Gotta do whatever the law says, though, right?

    Nope. Never argued that. Obviously, this ordinance was poorly written and appears to be being stretched a bit. I am arguing (perhaps not so well) that I feel that aesthetic ordinances written by local governments (about the closest thing the a real democracy left anymore) are not necessarily bad things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    icon
    clickwhistle (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Externalities

    Hmm ... I wonder why they haven't used eminent domain to claim copyright on TechDirt? You know, to save the children.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Couple of other points:

    In that case, I want someone to reimburse me for all the "value" that my stocks lost during the recession. Of course, that's ridiculous, because no one has the right to the value of an object, only to the object itself.

    While that is true, why would I not want the value of my property to increase? I would venture a guess that you intended for your stocks to increase in value.

    Why do you assume that the mere value of your property trumps the actual property rights of others?

    I don't assume that. I guess my question is this - if a law prohibits you from doing something with your property prior to you acquiring it, how is that a right? You never had it in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you claiming that she was violating zoning ordinances for putting vegetables in her front yard instead of her back yard?

    No. I was pointing out that local ordinances can and do limit what you can do with your property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do you assume that the mere value of your property trumps the actual property rights of others?

    Your repeated use of the phrase "property rights" made me decide to look it up. I found this informative site:

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html

    A small excerpt states:

    A property right is the exclusive authority to determine how a resource is used, whether that resource is owned by government or by individuals. Society approves the uses selected by the holder of the property right with governmental administered force and with social ostracism.

    That sentence "Society approves the uses selected by the holder of the property right..." says a lot. Local ordinances concerning real property uses are exactly that, society approving (or disapproving as the case may be) how your property may be used.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    thedigitari, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    why not the back yard?

    Point of order, she tried her back yard (ya know the place where the illegal dogs are, that is if any of you read ALL the articles)and said dogs dug up/destroyed them in short order.

    Property values in Michigan?? for real and near Detroit??

    if you want property values to increase anywhere near Detroit just build a Mosque. I moved AWAY from Michigan 5 years ago, Because it's become so petty and such; like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oof....respectively disagree should be respectfully disagree

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re:

    I think it's better handled with neighborhood covenants. That way if you don't like one neighborhood's covenants, maybe another's will suit you. City ordinances are overkill, especially since the vegetable garden in front of the house across town has no effect on the value of my property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Offtopic

    Including laws in some places that say you must have grass in your yard. Want to save the water that takes to grow it? Tough. :-(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    youwiz, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I just disagree that this is a "bad" law, a bit vague, perhaps, but not so bad in my view.


    It's precisely because the law is a bit vague that makes it a bad law. Vague laws make criminals of everybody, including you, somewhere sometime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    icon
    Brian Schroth (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    If you think her yard is an eyesore and want to control what is done with it, you have an option: Buy the property. Then you can control it however you'd like!

    Until then, she owns it and should have control over what is done with it. If you don't own the property, it should be filed under "Things I don't control but wish I did", right alongside Natalie Portmans' sexual desires.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    icon
    Michael (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Could she just put some concrete down under all the garden boxes? I know it would be a waste of time and money to do so, but would that count as "paved?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    icon
    Mel (profile), Aug 6th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Think of the children!

    What it would do to Mikki D's.
    Not selling enough fat-burgers would mean they need a government bailout...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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