By on September 23, 2011

“We just got cited Steve.” My wife had called me and sounded as confused as could be.

“What?”

“Something about Code 2009… I can’t read this… hold on…”

“Honey? What the hell does that mean?”

It turns out that I had been cited for a truly heinous and despicable act. Parking my own car on my own driveway. Some misguided jackass (we’ll just call her Jacqueline) had decided to inform me that my car, the Barnacle Bitch, was now a flagrant violator of the county’s brand new law.

Here is what it stated:

Cobb county code. 2009-01643 Section (134-272 (5) b & c

Parking
Vehicles may not be parked in the grass or unimproved surface between the roadway and the home’s front setback. In the R-30, R-20, R-15, R-12, RD, RA-4, RA-5 zoned districts, parking allows only one vehicle, one boat, and one recreational vehicle (or any combination of such totaling three) in the rear or side yard on a hardened surface. In the R-40, R-80, RR zoned districts, any combination of boats and recreational vehicles exceeding three must be screened from public roadways via a buffer (approved by the Cobb County Landscape Architect) or fencing. No materials, equipment or business vehicles may be stored or parked on the premises, except for one business vehicle used exclusively by the resident. A business vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight greater than 12,500 pounds are not allowed to be parked on residential property.

What it boiled down to was this. I could now park my car on the street, in a garage, or even at the rear or side of my yard on a ‘hardened surface’. But a driveway? A paved surface specifically designed for parking cars? No! Nein! Nyet! Not in this county, buster!

But wait… wasn’t this a ‘violation’ for two business vehicles? There had been only one there.

I called code enforcement. No response. Just an eternal hold followed by a voice mail. After three days of unreturned messages and interminal holds, I decided to get a bit more serious.

I drove to their office. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Two brand new ‘Code Enforcement’ cruisers were parked in front. Thick glass partitioned the ‘county resident’ from the ‘county official’ and surprisingly, no one was there. Or so it seemed.

I knocked on the glass. Not a sound. Not a peep. After about five minutes of waiting I opened the exit door and closed it. Not leaving. Just waiting for the obvious. Within five seconds two heads popped up.

I laughed. VERY Loud! So loud that the two hopeless drones couldn’t help but look in my direction. After a brief discussion of seniority, one rolled her eyes and went towards the front counter.

“Can I help you?’

“Yes, what does THIS mean?” I gave her the citation.

“I don’t know. Ms. Jacqueline is the one who issued it. You may want to call and leave a message.”

“I did that. You ignored it.”

“I did not ignore it!”

“Exactly who picks up those messages then?”

“Della Carver. She is in charge of this department.”

“Well, I guess I need to speak to her then.”

(another rolling of the eyes) “Hold on!”

I wait 5 minutes… 10 minutes… 15 minutes..

“Helllo!!! Wakee Wakee! THUD! THUD! THUD! I need to pick up a dead parrot before 6:00 P.M. today so would you KINDLY inform the queen of my presence!”

No response…

“OK. Then if you chose not to respond I have no choice but to sing!”

“Oh say can you see! By-y-yai-yai the dawns early light! What so PROOOUUUUD-leee…”

“Sir! She will be right with you!”

“Tell that to my dead parrot!”

A few minutes later… a new person comes to greet me.

“Hi. How can I help you.?”

“Hi there. I have just been cited for parking my own car on my own driveway.” I give her the citation.

“Oh. Hmmm… yes it is against the law to park more than one business vehicle at your property.”

But I only had one vehicle? It’s a Mercedes. It can’t be that bad! Didn’t we win the war?”

“I’m sorry?”

“The code clearly states that one business vehicle can be parked on my property. I had only one vehicle there.”

“You will need to talk to the judge about that?”

“Come again?”

“You will get a letter in the mail stating the date of your hearing.”

“That’s insane! You’re actually criminalizing me for parking my own car on my own driveway?”

It didn’t get better from there. After dealing with a “Who’s on first?” styled debate for fifteen minutes about what the law meant, I was done.

Unfortunately ‘they’ weren’t. First on the agenda? Screwing around with the evidence of course!

 

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76 Comments on “Hammer Time: Fascism on Four Wheels...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Yikes again! Not good! (Though I love the ‘singing’ strategy. I’ll have to try that if I ever need to–which I hope I don’t).

  • avatar
    EyeMWing

    These things generally indicate it’s time to move.

    • 0 avatar
      eldard

      In the UK it’s the appearance of CCTVs, in the US it’s the fast becoming rampant abuse by LEOs and traffic enforcers.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        The root problem isn’t the LEOs and traffic enforcers here, it’s (presumably) over-zealous home owner’s associations (or even sometimes grossly over-reaching city ordinances) combined with busy-body neighbors.

    • 0 avatar

      Where to?
      Shakespeare called it “insolence of office”, and it’s endemic, worldwide.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Eminent Domain! I have a 20″ Jet Fuel line that runs 20-feet below my desert property in addition to the 24″ Natural Gas line and the 18″ Water pipe that carries water from the wells to the water plant.

        What worries me even more is the 4″ Diesel Fuel line and 4″ Gasoline line that are also under there somewhere, but I don’t know where, and no one wants to tell me….

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        @highdesertcat

        Yikes! Can Digsafe tell you? Just call them and say you’re going to put in an underground bunker or an outbuilding with a basement, something. Scary as all getout.

        All else fails, do what turbosaab did and move to New Hampshire. Most towns west of I-93/US3 only have water and sewer lines under them. Some don’t even have that.

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        I say that “Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come
        in her presence.”

        Get out of town while you still can.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mazder3, the pipes and lines are located under my property which runs along the highway and is several miles away from my house. There are plenty of stakes along the lines that read “DO NOT DIG!” but effectively I have lost a strip of my property.

        The point is that if the ‘government’ needs more land for the pipelines or railroad tracks they would simply take it, just like they did when they widened the highway from a two-lane to a four-lane. I was on the East side of the tracks so that did not affect me.

        So, if a bunch of people get together and decide they don’t want certain vehicles parked on personal property and enact legislation in the name of the ‘government’, they can get away with that, as Steve Lang found out.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      If that is Cobb County, Georgia, it is time to move. They have been overrun by fascists who want to control everyone lives. But, they want to get rid of all regulation – except for those that they like.

      Think Tea Party Gone Wild!

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Cretins, kindergardeners with badges… Oy!

    It’s things like this which might help absorb the country’s glut of under-employed attorneys and lame-o-clerks (in the most asinine Itchy-Scratchy-Show kinda way.)

    Too bad that eye-rolling against a citizen isn’t a slappable offense enforced at the citizen’s discretion.

    Do you have comm tags on your Merc, signage, or have it regitered to your company?

    BTW, according to the Barnicle Bit*h article from 2009, you couldn’t wait to sell the car … yet it’s 2011, what’s up with that?

  • avatar
    car_guy2010

    Cobb County, GA?

    If so, forgive my ignorance of the South. Wouldn’t this mean MORE government? Don’t folks in those states prefer LESS government?

    What kind of place doesn’t allow people to park in their own driveways? I don’t want to live in a place that doesn’t allow me to park in my own driveway!

    • 0 avatar

      It’s selective governance — keep the government’s nose out of everything except the things I want government to have its nose in. In this case, it appears the entire county is trying to become its own HOA.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        Selective governance, indeed.

        It should be pointed out that Cobb County is the ‘Orange County’ of the South, a place where “small-government conservatism” ostensibly puts a lot of daylight between the citizens and capricious nanny-state laws. Where the rubber meets the road, as it were. Nothing exposes this myth more than Cobb or Gwinnett. Provincial conservatives have a tendency to be more “all up in your business” than the worst neighborhood commissar in Havana.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        cackalacka: Provincial conservatives have a tendency to be more “all up in your business” than the worst neighborhood commissar in Havana.

        They still aren’t as bad as the entire state of New Jersey, where the professional busybodies won’t let you pump your own gas, and several dimwitted residents and officials were nealy hysterical at the thought of raising the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike to 65 mph.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        Yes, there are nanny-state conservatives, Castro’s commissars, and then the governance of the Garden State, not necessarily in that order.

        I wouldn’t wish the latter on my worst enemy. That said, at least in NJ’s case, they don’t appear to be paying lip service to either principles of lassaiz-faire or decent governance.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        cackalacka: That said, at least in NJ’s case, they don’t appear to be paying lip service to either principles of lassaiz-faire or decent governance.

        True…at least you know what you are in for when you move to or visit the Garden State.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Government loving busy bodies infect every strata of our once great society, even in the good ‘ole south. They are like cockroaches, but at least the cockroaches let you run your own life, and you can kill some of them with pesticide.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoTone Loser

      HAHAHAHA! Cobb county has 28 cars per person! In the areas where the McMansions aren’t, where the houses date back to the 70′s and 80′s, cars cover the driveways and side yards. Along with boats, RV’s, landscape trailers, stacks of motorcycles, golf carts, and anything else too heavy throw out that might be “worth some money.”

      They’ll be busy with that law for years.

      The folks there are mostly transplants, but as far as their collective agendas, the divide is still pretty big. Those not on welfare want less government, and those on welfare think its just fine the way it is.

      I chalk this law up to the impossibly retarded Georgia DOT, not its constituents. Just one of the reasons I escaped Cobb County.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      ” Wouldn’t this mean MORE government? Don’t folks in those states prefer LESS government?”

      That’s what they SAY, but not what they MEAN.

      Less government means “fewer government services to people we don’t like but more for us”, but it means more government regulation of people they don’t like. Also, they’re fine using the government to regulate other people’s most intimate relationships and bedroom behavior, as well as making other attempts to use government as a machine to foist their idea morality on the rest of us.

      Also, there is more than one kind of conservative. The Tea Party shows that the fiscal conservatives were being neglected while the social conservatives ran the show. (The mainstream libertarians (another faction) were kicked out long ago, so their freedom-rhetoric is empty, though some gun-rights advocates remain.) The social and fiscal conservatives groups have some things in common, but when the Republican leadership spent a decade neglecting the fiscal conservatives — and so there’s a split.

      Alas, the thing that has been neglected in this whole thing is a focus on sanity and reasonableness…

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        Luke42 “Less government means “fewer government services to people we don’t like but more for us”, but it means more government regulation of people they don’t like.”

        The really depressing thing is that there’s probably a lot of truth in this.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Civil Servants: Too many bottom-feeders (not necessarily their fault). That’s one reason I left U.S. Civil Service in 1980!

    At least the almost-unemployable are kept busy and earning a paycheck. Trouble is, there were too many that felt they were “entitled” to something and were protected. I’m not singling out any group of people, racial or otherwise – there were plenty of all sorts, so that’s not a judgmental statement, just my observations and experiences. On the other hand, many civil servants really do care about their responsibilities and do their best.

    I felt I had to clarify and edit what I wrote previously.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Zack..glad you clarified in the last sentence of the second paragraph…I was about to come to (my own) defense. Yeah, I’m seeing a fair amount of people that really need to understand what a full day’s work means around here, and that pains me. I’m a Dept. Army engineer and I took this role specifically because it was in direct support of the military (having been medically DQ’d to serve active-duty, this is as close to wearing a uniform as I can get…having actually worn one as a DA civilian in Afghanistan this past spring). I’d prefer to see a house cleaning myself to reduce the deadweight of folks that feel they can take two hour lunches and leave before the day is done…but then again, I’ve seen that in industry, as well…
      As for the neighborhood Gestapo…just makes me more and more convinced that I have no business ever living in an HOA-controlled area again. Having people patrol the neighborhood checking to see if the portable basketball hoop is less than 2 inches from the curb or that the trash can is picked up exactly 30 minutes after emptying simply drives me ape nuts!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @threer:

        Thanks! Yeah, I wanted to be sure my comment was not taken as a snide or mean-spirited remark – I am a veteran (4 yrs. in the air force, Vietnam era) and a Civil Servant for almost 5 years. Believe-it-or-not, the hardest, most intense job I have ever worked at in my life was for the government as a graphic artist for my first two years with an agency in the mid-70′s. I’ll never forget that experience! I credit anyone who is in Civil Service and is conscientious about their duty.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Mr. Lang, I used to live in Alpharetta. If it had been Alfa-Retta, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Once upon a time, before Alpharetta became overrun with tract mansions, it was pretty common for yard vee-hickles to outnumber the residents. Then everybody got all uppity and decided enough was enough.

    I’m willing to bet one of the situations I’m about to describe is your situation:

    - One of your neighbors has figured out that you’re in the car business. Because you bring different cars home, and the sales of cars is your business, he or she figures you are selling cars out of your home. That’s running a business out of home without a license, from their perception. They can’t prove that you are or aren’t, but they think you are, and they’re tired of all the cars in your driveway. Perception vs. reality my friend, and perception usually wins.

    - There’s a house or six on your street that is for sale. One of the people involved in the sale of said home or homes believes that the number of veeee-hickles in your driveway hinders the curb appeal of the home or homes for sale. Hence, the call to code enforcement.

    Sometimes it’s not the infraction itself, as it is the pain in the asp factor that will reduce the number of vee-hickles in the driveway.

    I used to be the guy in my neighborhood homeowners association who volunteered to uphold the bylaws in my homeowners association. This is one of those situations that gets outsiders all twisted up, but what outsiders have to realize is that when you buy a home, and it has a homeowners association, that means that you agree to abide by the homeowners assocation rules. If not, then the HOA bylaws usually explain the situation. In fact, there are entire law practices out there that deal with HOA issues.

    Now, if you’d lived in my old ‘hood when I was there, I would have gone to great lengths to talk to you. I’d have called, left messages, and even stopped at your house to say “hi” and explain the neighbors’ concerns. But your neighbors may not have done that.

    So my suggestion is that if someone has contacted you about this, other than Code Enforcement, then you should return their calls. This is really a relationship kind of situation that you can explain logically to someone.

    The fact remains this … Cobb County has a LOT of roads and a lot of deadend subdivisions. The code enforcement folks don’t have the time to drive around and write tickets. They don’t have photographic memories of which cars are in which driveways 24/7, or 9 to 5, or just visiting. Someone called them.

    Good luck.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Bureaucracies are almost invariably stupid. Not necessarily the people in them but the institutions themselves. But there is only one way to deal with them, and that is to treat them as a force of nature. I can guarantee that you will get the best possible result by acting (and I do mean “acting”) respectful. I understand that your account is probably hyperbole (and by “understand” I mean “hope”) but being a butt to butts is not productive, no matter how big the butt and how stupid the regulation you’re dealing with. Follow the rules and show them that you are following the rules. That’s the best way to handle it. And then come here and vent. After all, isn’t it the ultimate outcome you’re interested in, even if it means acting like the rules and the people who enforce them are actually reasonable?

  • avatar
    skor

    Something similar happen in my town a few years ago. As the rug was pulled out from under the former middle class (long before 2008), lots of people around here are dealing with “failure to launch” and “boomerang” kids. Lots of home “owners” are doubling up with other relatives and even roommates. As a result, where two cars per house were the norm, it’s now 5 or 6 cars/house. Since most of the houses around here were built in the 50′s, the driveways were built to accommodate two cars. Packing 5 cars onto a driveway built for two cars….overnight street parking is illegal here….meant that cars were blocking the sidewalks or even protruding into the street. Long story short, some councilman decided that this offended his sense of aesthetics, so he ordered the PD to go on a ticket blitz. In one night the PD wrote hundreds of tickets.

    What resulted was a classic uprising of the peasantry. Hundreds of people packed the monthly town council meeting….it was near riot with people screaming threats and obscenities. You could see fear in the eyes of the council as well as the chief of police. That night the council decided (wisely) to forget the entire thing.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover – usually referred to as “the father of the nuclear Navy.”

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    “I knocked on the glass. Not a sound. Not a peep. After about five minutes of waiting I opened the exit door and closed it. Not leaving. Just waiting for the obvious. Within five seconds two heads popped up.”

    this is absolutely priceless!

    good luck with your quest. more fun that trapping these two birds is to challenge them on constitutional grounds, only to see their overstressed attorney overstressing more.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Maybe UPS or Fedex was making a delivery at the time the code enforcement people came by? A delivery van under the law you posted would be a business vehicle not used exclusively by the owner. If you were having plumbing work done at the same time, you’d have been in big trouble. ;^) I’m kidding, but depending on the intellectual capacity of the enforcement officers, you never know. More than one tradesman on the property at the same time could possibly trigger a violation.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Welcome to why I live in the country. Where my yard is 500 square meters of grass and 10 acres of woods. Where you can’t see the house until you’re 800 meters inside the property line and well within range of my 9mm Browning from the front porch.

    When I was house hunting, my instructions to my real estate agent were, “I want a place where I can f*** in the front yard at high noon, and if the lady gets noisy in the process, nobody will come around to find out what’s going on.” Once we found the place, we tried it out. It worked. I married the agent two years later.

    No way in hell will I live anywhere where a neighborhood committee, county ordinance, etc. tells me how I can live.

    You just got the hint. It’s time to move.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      You got electricity out there in the “country”? How about paved roads? Phone service? What is it that you are doing out in the “country” to earn your way? Farming? Mining? Logging? Because that’s what real “country” people do. Wanna know who built your infrastructure? It wasn’t “country” people. Think the local county was going to lay out 15 miles of asphalt for you and a half dozen other “country” dwellers? You live where you do because people back East paid for it. Did you know that the state of New Jersey only gets back 65 cents on every dollar it pays in federal taxes? The lowest return on the tax dollar in the US of A. Know where the rest of the money goes? It goes to support welfare cases in the “country”. And are these “country” people grateful? Nope, they take the money and sneer smugly and self righteously about how they live a fantastic life out in the “country”.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        I suppose if you are from new jersey, I can understand why you might carry on so. I also live in the country and I am not a deadbeat. I am aware that there are probably more redneck meth labs in the country than in your slums but for the most part we are commuters. Sounds a lot like generalization. I understand. Jealousy does that to a person. Privacy is hard to come by.

        Unless you actually know the people involved, you are just spewing verbal diarrhea.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        @wstarvingteacher. You live down South? How about the desert Southwest? Because if you do, your state is a welfare queen that takes more from Washington than it pays in federal taxes. After your state cashes its welfare check, you and the other “country” dwellers get in our faces about how you are “free and independent” and how much you hate those East coast “socialists”, blah, blah, blah. There’s nothing you hate worse than an East coast socialist. And if those East Coast socialists stopped paying your bills, you’ll go back to living Jed Clampett style…..before he struck oil.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        “your state is a welfare queen” and so forth

        Well, this is an unprompted and entirely unwarranted rant. The man likes living in the country and not having nosy neighbors all up in his business. What’s wrong with that? What relevance does the way Washington does/does not work have on where someone chooses to live?

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      “I want a place where I can f*** in the front yard at high noon, and if the lady gets noisy in the process, nobody will come around to find out what’s going on.” Once we found the place, we tried it out. ”

      Jack B may have the keys to my heart, but you sir just unlocked something completely different. Wish we had a COTD here ;)

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      I live in Texas and am unsure where we stand in cents back on the dollar. Haven’t noticed the public sector debacle that I read about elsewhere. Can tell you though, that you are very quick on the trigger in badmouthing the commenter above. As a career sailor I was up and down both coasts and didn’t see much to get excited about. Personally, if I had to give the nation an enema I would start with whichever state you call home. Is that NJ?

      OTOH, if you would like to stop badmouthing us rednecks (who may be no redder than you), I will be happy to go back to minding my own business. I sort of felt like you were minding it for me when you discussed the traits of us country folks. Lots of us work for a living and pay taxes. Actually, you can reply or not. Don’t really care where you are from. Think I will make a career out of ignoring you.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        The problem you’re having is that “rednecks” is a non-descript term for exurban/suburban/rural whites who don’t live in an urban sprawl but enjoy the benefits of an urbanized infrastructure and proudly declare how awesome living in the vast openness is compared to the rest. When somebody proudly tells you they own what sounds like 10-20 acres of land and if you drive up you’re in range of their firearm before greeting them you have to question them as both a sound citizen and a worthwhile human being.

        On top of it all this discussion is really more so about rural and suburban living with HOAs and the rugged individualism that people think they have when in reality it’s just egotism. The man clearly didn’t pave the road leading to his property or pay the proportionate amount in government value to give him the convenience to live there. Some people get upset about that kind of thing but most people get upset when the attitude he takes is one of indignation towards law and order while benefiting vastly from the same thing.

        Or to put it bluntly, people don’t want to hear him be proud of living in the middle of nowhere and how self-sufficient he is because everybody else is footing the bill for creating that place.

  • avatar
    NLB

    “Vehicles may not be parked **in the grass or unimproved surface** between the roadway and the home’s front setback”

    I obviously don’t know what your driveway looks like, but it seems unlikely that any formal driveway would fall within the scope of the regulation in any event. So I would think you have multiple grounds on which to seek dismissal of the citation.

  • avatar
    daviel

    build a garage.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      I’m sure Cobb has just the zoning ordnance to stop that solution, as well.

      The easiest solution for all parties involved is to leave metro Atlanta. I can speak from experience this solution pays immediate dividends.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    I remember looking at a house in a HOA neighborhood one time, and while the neighborhood was outwardly very neat and tidy, it also felt a little sterile. The thing that turned me off the most was that you weren’t allowed to hang clothes outside on a line. I still don’t understand that one, but that was enough for me. We like to hang clothes on the line when we can, and I have great memories of seeing clothes blowing in the wind as a child. But that’s something you don’t see much these days.

    A lot of people as well seem to be driven by a very odd aesthetic that they’ve adopted uncritically from the old aristocracy and noble classes (like the golf green lawn thing). I mean grass is nice and all, but so are other forms of ground cover. Still, many people will wage biological and chemical warfare against any other ground cover that might want to mingle in with their grass (e.g. ‘ground ivy’ or ‘creeping charlie’), even though the other ground covers might be just as beautiful in their own way, if not more so.

    Too many people nowadays seem to treat their houses more as equity than as homes, and while equity is obviously important, so too is the need to put your own stamp on your place as an expression of your own preferences and tastes (and not merely of the tastes of others).

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      A lot of HOA rules comes from the idea that to appear ‘working class’ (someone who actually works for a living, even horror, with their hands) will kill property values and is highly undesirable in the neighborhood. Alongside the ‘no clothes lines’ rule, I’ve often run across a ‘no pickup trucks or large work trucks in the driveway’ rule. All the while, a body on frame SUV is quite legal, however. Well, of course. Ownership of an SUV doesn’t automatically make you a tradesman, therefore unfit for the neighborhood standards.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        This is an astute observation. There is an amazing level of unapologetic status seeking here. I once lived in an older subdivision on the outskirts of a small midwestern city and parked my school-bus conversion RV and attached flatbed tandem axle trailer in front of the house. The neghborhood was barely outside the city limits and the bus was therefore legally parked on a county road. The neighbors were having meetings the main purpose of which was to figure a way to get rid of my bus. I asked a nice older lady across the street what the big deal was. The response: “It makes the neighborhood look poor.” That floored me. Haven’t we yet learned that their is nothing ignoble about poverty or noble about wealth, espcially given the goings on in our financial sector in the last several years?

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        Objecting to a work truck is one thing but come one man, a frankenstein schoolbus with huge trailer? I can see why most people would object to having that in their neighborhood – I don’t think you can consider that classism. “Poor” might not have been a good adjective to use but “junky” seems completely appropriate.

        Regardless of home price or socio-economic class neighborhoods seem to atract like-minded people. I live near a neighborhood with very nice houses (mostly occupied by retirees) and nearly every house has an RV, boat, or multiple project cars in the side yard or next to the drive way. If you enjoy having those kinds of things why not save yourself and neighbors the heatburn and move to a neighborhood full of like-minded people?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadFlorist

        I was happy to (and did) flee the area, and I am all for living in a neighborhood based on shared interests. This is all, however, beside the larger point of the self-appointed beige police attempting to stifle out every upshot of creativity or uniquness as a threat to their own bland aesthetic, dicated as it is by nothing more than the desire to fit into a certain status-based cadre. This is what makes me weep for humanity.

        Also, it’s not as though if someone moved into my neighborhood with a big ass Infiniti SUV or some other Trixie tractor, I would start insiting that they not park in front of the house because it offends my aesthetic with it’s bloated blingy blanditude (which it would). Unfortunately, the status-seeking busybodies are much more sensitive on the issue.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        I agree with you on the bling mobiles – they are only marginally less offensive than rotting carcasses. I’d gladly take 15 of your monster schoolbusses over a single Escalade or Infinity with 75 lb chrome rims, lucky for me most of those people live on the other side of town.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, I wouldn’t call this fascism, but it is certainly dumb.

  • avatar

    Funny, none of the folks who usually defend big government are commenting on this thread. Government overreach is often worst at the local level.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      Just because many of us believe there’s a role for government, doesn’t mean we believe there’s no such thing as over-reach. All things in moderation…

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Government overreach is a pain at all levels, but at least at a local level you can call someone working in the same time zone or show up in person. The farther west you live, the more inconvenient is becomes to deal with someone in Washington, DC.

      My neighbors and I used to get away with lots of code violations back when Plano, TX was growing fast. I suspect that they have just as many inspectors on the payroll, but almost no new construction to inspect. So far they just harass me with warnings about tree limbs too low and other minor issues and haven’t progressed to the revenue generating fines.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, Ronnie, I’m sure that when stories get printed about how people suffer and die because the government didn’t have the resources to do anything about it, the small government devotees don’t comment either.

      Difference is, though, that a government that takes an active role in helping people (or fails to, with often tragic consequences) and a government that just does stupid things like this are two very different things…wouldn’t you agree?

      • 0 avatar

        At this point, government is suffocating economic growth. I think that more people are suffering because of too much government than because of too little government – at least in the US. There are plenty of places in the world that could do with a bit more civil society and rule of law.

        Of course rule of law and big government are not the same thing, Elizabeth Warren’s silly little rant notwithstanding.

        As for your question, no, I don’t agree that they are two different things. That’s because regardless of how effective or ineffective government is, there is no accountability – certainly not at the public employee bureaucratic level.

        When has a single government agency ever gone out of business? At least Rupert Murdoch shut down a newspaper when its employees’ scandalous behavior was hurting his larger enterprise. When was the last time you heard of an agency head admitting failure?

  • avatar

    Wait a sec…you said you were getting rid of this car two years ago. Failed?

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      According to the Hammer Time article linked in the story, he sold it for $4000 below rough wholesale. I thought the same thing initially until I noticed “Cobb county code. 2009-01643″ and that the car was in violation of the brand new law. So I went digging :).

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/10/hammer-time-barnacle-bitch/#comment-1558640

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        Nope. Not quite. The incident took place in late 2008. The Barnacle Bitch was with me for 2 long years (and 10k miles) before finally being sold during tax season 2010.

        I still made a good profit on it. Just wish it had taken plae two years earlier.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    my neighbor has a 56 Windsor rusting away in the driveway, no tags, doesn’t run. Sigh.

    He’s convinced it’s worth thousands. Maybe in parts on Ebay to the right sellers, but not in present form.

    They tagged my buddy up the street for having a 2002 Volvo without a tag, nothing on the Windsor. I didn’t realize a car in your driveway has to be tagged, registration fees paid, and worst yet on the insurance costing money.

    This is why I don’t do old cars any longer. I like the old motorbikes, they fit in the garage, the shed, or backyard nicely.

    And are not victims of selective code enforcements.

  • avatar
    Samir

    This Big Boss Man warned you a long time ago.

    If you ever take a trip down to Cobb County, Georgia.
    You better read the signs
    Respect the law and order.
    You’ll serve hard times.
    You’ll be serving hard times.
    You know the Big Boss Man will make you walk the line.
    You better watch out boy or you’ll be serving hard time.
    He carries a big stick, a ball and chain too.

    Apparently that theme song was not kidding.

  • avatar
    Jerith

    Would hanging a flower pot out of the window make it a yard feature? HOA’s rage at this but would it pass zoning?

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    Thank you for reminding me why I joined the Free State Project and moved to New Hampshire.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    Having had the ugly experience of being an HOA president for a small development in VA, I can relate to both sides. Everyone wants an HOA and its rules when they buy but wants the rules abolished when they move in. “What do mean I can’t put an 8 foot statue of my late husband in the front yard! Fascist!”

  • avatar
    mikey

    It took my wife and I a lifetime to afford a nice house on a nice street. I understand the currrent economic times demand re thinking the rules that have worked in the past.

    Many of out neighbors have have older kids living at home, so we have cars on the street. I could care less,it slows the hot rodders down.

    A couple of neighbors have thier own buisness with a comercial truck in the driveway. One guy is a friend of mine, he is afraid to leave his truck at the shop because of vandals. We also got two higher ranking police officers. Both of them have kids that park on the street. On many occasions I see marked, and unmarked police cruisers on our street.

    None of it bothers me. What does bother me is the 28 foot sailboat that hasn’t moved in five years. Oh then theres the 1975 model 5th wheel 30 footer. Next street over we got a 1950 Chevy truck slowly rotting into the ground.

    I could never understand why people that insist on keeping this stuff,can’t find a place to store it.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadFlorist

      They have found a place to store it. Unfortunately, not one you approve of.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @DeadFlorist….Your right I don’t approve of it. I’m sorry if I offend anybody. If you have your heart set on restoring a 62 year old truck..do it. Don’t leave the rusty old bucket sitting in your driveway.

        A 30 year old 5th wheeler is scrap with lots of aluminum, and copper, take it to a junk yard. Thier paying top dollar.

        If you can afford a sail boat you can afford to store it at a Marina.

        If it looks like junk, and the majority of your neighbors hate it. Deal with it,or move out to the country.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      @mikey: You’re doing just fine, my friend!

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Crikey! You have faaaarrr more patience than I, Mr Lang. I’d have done at least one of the following:
    1) Whip out my cell and call the local media to have them bring in their investigative reporter to do an expose.
    2) Call the police to report some missing persons.
    3) Strap hot dogs around my chest and yell out “I have a bomb. If I don’t see anyone in the next 20 seconds I will set it off. 19…”

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I agree with you on the bling mobiles – they are only marginally less offensive than rotting carcasses. I’d gladly take 15 of your monster schoolbusses over a single Escalade or Infinity with 75 lb chrome rims, lucky for me most of those people live on the other side of town.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Speaking of governments, I make it a point not to support my own. How? By supporting foreign companies, brands and goods. The more that my nation becomes impoverished, the more people will leave. I love it!!!

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    It isn’t hickville vs the city (and it’s not fascism either). It was an act of desperation. A plea for help.

    In 2008 the world was imploding on all those folks with their big fancy new houses that they really shouldn’t have spent so much on. They were faced with a real possibility of a decline in their standard of living. They try to maintain the dream, so to speak, long past when it becomes clear that they were never as wealthy as they thought they were. Make your surroundings look wealthy and nobody will notice that it’s not true, right?

    The simple truth is that people don’t care much about outside opinion when they are comfortable where they are. At least once a month we go up to the North Shore of Chicago and visit all of the garage sales. One of the wealthiest areas of the United States. The garage sales are fantastic! You see plenty of contractor trucks and beater cars (lots of hired help) and everybody goes about their business. The people that live there are comfortable with their wealth and aren’t worried about the house next door – there are plenty of old people living out their days and deferring maintenance. The contractor will be hired after the estate sale. About the only thing that gets people riled up is the local school system.

    One of the things that bothers me is the trend of the last decade or so in country music. It is now a celebration of being a “redneck” and “hey look at me, I’m not a hoity toity democrat”. The songs were so much better when they sang about their lives and experiences as if there was no other society that might look down on them. But I suppose this is a time of upheaval for much of America and few people are comfortable where they are.

    Change can be good or bad, but while it is happening people just don’t leave their neighbors be.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    This kind of thing is why you never, ever by a condo, or a house in a place that has some sort of “homeowner’s association”, or a town that has a “zoning enforcement” division. My mother had to go through an amazing amount of nonsense to put up a split rail fence in our backyard, even though the neighbors on two of the three sides had the same fence we were planning on putting up! Actually, we were only adding one run on the side of the house, and another in the front, building up to the neighbor’s fences, so we are talking about 70 feet of it, total. We had to have a drawing made, and a blueprint made up, and then wait, and wait for a month to get “permission”. Insanity.

    A kid who lived next door to me when I was in high school, he was about 10 years younger than me, is now the head “nazi” (He’s called that in email after email)of his local enforcement board, whatever they call it. A mutual friend says he and his wife’s cars and their house has been vandalized several times, and one night he was punched in the back and knocked down, and told, “Hey little Hitler, you better just leave, you aren’t wanted here!”. So far, he hasn’t taken the hint, and has cameras all over the outside of his house, for “security”. He always was a weasel.


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