Hammer Time: Fascism on Four Wheels

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

“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!

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Chicago Dude Chicago Dude on Sep 23, 2011

    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.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Sep 24, 2011

    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.

  • ToolGuy Tungsten trim? I am holding out for the Depleted Uranium trim.
  • Proud2BUnion Mr. Allen Wrench needs tungsten to live!
  • Lorenzo All the efforts made over decades to reduce/eliminate NVH in ICE cars, and now they're putting noise and vibration into electric cars. It reminds me of efforts to make veggie burgers taste like meat. Vegetarians don't want the taste of meat, and meat eaters will want meat, not veggie burgers.
  • Jalop1991 A true golf cart.Sure, it's a penalty box inside. But you're not in it for more than a few minutes at a time during commutes and in between charging stops.Ergo, it's the perfect...golf cart.
  • Zipper69 I'm sure it will sell just fine at all trim levels.I'd only note that IMHO the dashboard is a bit of a busy mess.
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