As you all know, my husband has been ill. He has his good days and his bad days, but our City must go on being Beautiful and Desirable and Park-Like, in spite of  the old, infirm, widowed, aged, poor, disabled, and  incapacitated residents. For that is what makes a City truly Community-Minded: and did I say Desirable? Like a small-town, comfortable, “isn’t it great to be home” atmosphere.

Anyway, if you read my older posts, The City loves to enforce Codes and Ordinances. They love to drive slowly down the streets and count decorative items and check out non-permitted storage etc. etc. etc. You all know this, so I won’t go on. If you do want to see how much they love to do this you can look at the reports on The City Website.

So … hubby had two citations: one for our poor cracked driveway and another for the dreaded Non-Permitted Storage. This is the storage that’s way in the back of our property, and cannot be spied unless you are really really looking hard. I’m talking about parking in the middle of a busy street and looking through my neighbor’s fence, across his entire back yard, past his play fort, across the easement, and into my back yard. Whew – that’s a lot of looking, but our Code Enforcement folks are up to the challenge as they are ProActive, Innovative, and Professional. They actually had to get out of their comfy trucks and walk in ankle-deep mud to see it properly. But they persevered, all for the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the fine citizens of The City in the Park.

So … two citations. As hubby is sick he signed Power of Attorney to me so that I could handle our legal and financial  issues. So I went to the courthouse on the day I thought our court date was. Here’s what I discovered:

  1. Wrong Day – blast it. There were actually two court dates, one for each citation. The nice ladies at the Customer Service desk couldn’t tell me any more, as I was not him.
  2. But they did let me know that there was a WARRANT for him …. for violating the terms of his “parole” from the earlier non-permitted storage offense ….
  • the one where Code Enforcement and I disagreed on whether mesquite and vinyl furniture was meant for outdoor use or not.
  • The one where they drug Hubby, straight out of surgery, up before the judge and talked him into a sweet deal where he promised to “Go and Sin No More”. And “Sin” was defined by Code Enforcement alone!  That deal. Read about it in my posts “Advanced Code Enforcement”, “My Day in Court”, “Our Day in Court”, and  “New Low in the Code Enforcement Game”, among others.

Who didn’t see that one coming.

When I presented the signed PofA they took it to the judge, who decided that it was “The Wrong Power of Attorney”. I asked what the Right Power of Attorney is, but that was “Legal Advice” and thus they could not say.

  • Yes – I argued that telling me what was wrong is also Legal Advice, but they didn’t see the humor in that argument. And
  • Yes, I asked to speak to the judge but he already saw my PofA and didn’t want to talk with me.

So – now what could I do? My Hubby was now a CRIMINAL – as I was informed that to have non-permitted storage is a CRIMINAL OFFENSE. Oh dear –  now was I guilty of harboring a criminal. Oh dear, I selfishly looked out for my own interests, and turned him in. Yes I did: I told them that if it was that big of a deal they could always send the SWAT team to arrest him – since he’s been ill they could find him in bed, in our master bedroom. They didn’t see the humor in that either.

They couldn’t tell me any more because it had already been established that I was not him, and he was THE CRIMINAL. They suggested I speak to his lawyer. Hey – if we could afford a lawyer we would fix the driveway. But that’s not THEIR CONCERN.

As I walked out of the courthouse in frustration a catchy tune kept playing in the back of my mind. A neighbor came over later, and as I told him of the day’s activities he started singing – The Same Tune That I Was Thinking! Wow: here are the catch words:

“You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant…..”

Oh – remember that song?  In a nutshell, Arlo Guthrie and his friends tried to help a neighbor clean her property while she cooked a wonderful Thanksgiving meal for the group. That good gesture went bad when they discovered that the city dump was closed and ultimately ended in Arlo and Company’s arrest for city code violation. This arrest made him a bona-fide criminal and provided an interesting experience when he registered for the draft. If you want to revisit the ’60’s, and hear the whole story, here’s a link to the lyrics:

http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/alices.shtml

Just remember – Violating The Code is a Criminal Offense. As applies to The City in the Park:  and to quote Yogi Berra; “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Unfortunately, I cannot sing like Arlo, but Arlo didn’t have a personal computer either, so I express my astonishment through blogging.

So: there are an awful lot of Criminals in Farmer’s Branch, with new ones being created every single day. Is that Upscale and Desirable? Is that really what The Citizens want? Before you answer, be forwarned:

I can drive down any street in Farmers Branch, look at any home, and find a Code Violation. Yes I can: and I’m not a professional Code Enforcer. It’s easy – The Codes are written that way. We can all be criminals, or we can all insist on sensible, realistic, and well-defined codes. Codes that really are for the good of all the people.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:

One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.

Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

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