Oh boy – I was all ready to write about something else entirely but an observant reader alerted me to the following:

As a special treat (or dire warning) for the citizens, you can see all the Code Violation Notices that were written – by month starting in December of 2009, and those written for the entire year of 2009. Yes, you can: in the form of Reports that are posted on the city website. There’s even a special one for the dreaded “Driveways with Grass and/or Weeds in the Cracks”.  I’m warning you right now, though – the lists are very long, and when you open one your computer will labor for a little while. But don’t give up – if you are patient you will be able to view all our “dirty underwear” – hanging out for everyone to see.

You can view the report here:

https://mygov.us/ce/citizen/report_center.php?citiesID=261&modulesID=1&view=reports

If the link doesn’t work you can access the report by going to the city
website  http://www.ci.farmers-branch.tx.us/     and selecting “report a code violation”, then “Visit the complaint center”.

You’ll get to a City of Farmers Branch information page. Under the “Code
Enforcement” heading select “Report & Subscription Center”.

WOW! Judging by the numbering system, our 4 Code Enforcement Officers have discovered almost 8,000 occasions to write correction notices in our little city of, what, 8,000 homes? If I recall, an earlier article in the Texas Monthly stated that 8,000 notices were also written in the year 2008 or 2007, or both. So it looks like our dear Community Surveillance Team is in the groove. December must have been a really slow month. I guess because there wasn’t enough grass and weed growing they only managed to eke out 379 violations. But don’t worry, during the summer they can make up for lost numbers.

If you want to see where your tax dollars are going read one of the reports. For extra fun pick a favorite violation. My personal favorite so far (and I haven’t been able to read them all yet) is the one where someone was cited for having a newspaper in the street.

This made me so curious:  

  • Did Community Surveillance discover this horrible violation all by themselves, or did someone enter a complaint?
  • How did Code Enforcement know who that particular newspaper belonged to?
  • Did the notice go to the correct party: i.e., did the news carrier throw it into the street or did the homeowner pick it up from his front porch or yard and throw it into the street?
  • Why would he do that?

So many questions. I think I’ll go talk to the law-breaker and find out what happened.

In the meantime, I started thinking: the City in the Park has a lot of churches, therefore a lot of churchgoers. I remember at one time that there was a bracelet that was popular among Christians: it had the letters WWJD? That stood for “What Would Jesus Do?” and was the modern equivalent of the Golden Rule I learned as a child. So, I got to wondering: what would Jesus do if His neighbor’s newspaper was in the street? Somehow I don’t think He would call Code Enforcement. No, I think He would tell His disciples something like this:

“If thy neighbor’s newspaper offends thee, pick it up and throw it onto his front porch.”

And you know what – He’s right: You’ll all feel better; you won’t have your feathers ruffled by that offending paper in the street, your neighbor will stop thinking that you are a whiny jerk, and Code Enforcement can spend more time sneaking into people’s back yards to document their serious code violations – like empty flower pots and such.

Just Remember:

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