cartoon - council

Oookkkkkaaaayyyyyy – I promised to relay the new strategies for the fun Code Enforcement Game that the city is fond of playing with selected citizens. So here we go.

If you have been following my posts so far, you know that my husband was railroaded into pleading No Contest to a charge of non-permitted outside storage. We had decided beforehand to demand a jury trial, and I had asked for that, but Mr. Metcalf decided that Mr. Holmes, against his doctor’s orders, was capable of making a legal decision hours after going through invasive surgery. So, as we all know, No Contest really means Guilty, but the city, in their generosity,  will let you go if you promise to get no more citations for 180 days. Well, as I told you at the time if the city wants to give you citations they will find a reason, so you really have little control over that. And I was right. Duh

On Friday, the mail brought me a new invitation to play Code Enforcement. Oh Boy.

Now, let me point out something right away. In The Code the statement is made that we dirty nasty violators have 7 days to clean up our act. Well, they mean 7 days after the CE has noticed it, NOT seven days after you are notified. Who do you think you are, anyway? It takes 2 days for my invitation to show up in my mailbox, so if I am away from home or the mail is misdirected (it happens a lot more than you think) it doesn’t matter – the clock is ticking away whether you know about it or not.

Back to my invitation. The notices (there were actually 2 of them) were obviously from things that Gabe had spied back on September 1st when I caught him walking down the easement, and in my neighbor’s back yard, with his camera. By the way – I had told you all in an earlier post that when I saw Gabe I immediately emailed Jim Olk and requested copies of the pictures. I never got a response to that. How surprising.

But anyway – this morning Gabe called me and asked when I expect to have my violations corrected. I told him that I needed more information and reminded him about the earlier photo request. Now Gabe tells me that if I want pictures or descriptions of what they deem code violations I will have to file an Open Records Request. Hmmmmm – so I have to file an Open Records Request in order to find out exactly what Code Enforcement is accusing me of? How weird.

He said that he is going to come re-inspect my property this afternoon. I told him to stay out of my backyard and easement, whereupon he informed me that although I pay the taxes, the easement is public property and he was allowed to walk in it. I argued that no, it is my private property and the only folks with a special use permit to access my easement were the utility companies. He responded that he had my neighbor’s permission to enter his yard and easement; so there. He didn’t say “Nyah nyah” but I could tell he was thinking it. In my mind’s eye I could even see his boss in the background  jumping up and down with glee – like the little trolls you see in the Fairy Tales.

Hmmmmm – so I went over and talked to my neighbor. He said he was discussing a tree trimming and some other violation notice earlier that morning, and Gabe said that he would come over and might have to enter his yard and/or easement, and asked if that was okay. My neighbor thought this was a little strange for a tree in his front yard, but answered “Well, yeah, I guess”. Ah.  When I explained the situation he said that he would call and tell Gabe that he had changed his mind, and to stay off his property. He also told me he might not be successful because the Code Enforcement guys aren’t real good about returning phone calls. I already knew that.

Side to the Community Surveillance Department  – you sly devils – you didn’t need to see my neighbor’s back yard, did you – you wanted to see mine! I hope my neighbor didn’t get his violation notice just because you needed to go into his yard to spy on me, because that would be deceitful and underhanded. Oh – excuse me: I guess the new term for that is ProActive and Innovative. Is that what the city got the Innovation Award for? No one at City Hall will give details. Seems a shame to be so proud of getting an award, but so secretive about how you “earned” it.

Sure enough, before my neighbor could try to call here comes not one but two Code Enforcement trucks! WOW! The neighbor wasn’t home, so Gabe and the other guy got right to work, walking down the easement and straight to the site of my dreadful non-permitted storage. They spent a lot of time there, and I took a lot of pictures. I hope I get a list of things, they spent so much time taking inventory. If it wasn’t so doggoned muddy back there I could have pulled everything out and let them see and record it. But it is really, really muddy. So muddy that when I had been cleaning that area over a month ago I couldn’t get a wheelbarrow there to haul off stuff. So there it is, waiting for Code Enforcement to itemize it. Our tax dollars at work.

What is really silly is that had they bothered to turn their heads even a fraction of an inch to either side, or look behind them, they would have found things far worse than my neatly stacked building materials; but in other people’s yards. But no, they were on a mission. And, as I told you before, they are professionals.

Seriously: I’m telling you all this so that you can get a really good idea of what our City will stoop to in the name of our Health, Safety, and Welfare. If you dare to object, or even question, you too will be targeted. If you want to be a good sheepizen and roll over at their every whim that’s your business. But I’m not that kind of person.

Here’s something for each and every person in the “Land of the Free” to think about: if the Farmer’s Branch Code Enforcement guys want to target you, what stops them from tricking your neighbors into getting access to their back yards, borrow their ladder and peer into your private property so they can write you up for Code Violations?    Not a damned thing.     And the codes are written so that it really doesn’t matter if anyone but you can see the non-permitted items. Actually, the codes are written so that they can interpret anything they want as a violation. I know from experience.

Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid.