I like senior citizens. In fact, I fully intend to be one some day – some day soon. So, I was very interested in the City Council’s constant assertions that they want to provide affordable housing for senior citizens. Well, isn’t that so very sweet and ProActive and Innovative. But Wait – that got me to thinking: there a quite a few senior citizens in The City in the Park, and most of them already live in affordable housing – their own homes which they paid for through the years. Homes that they planned to grow old in. Homes they raised their families in, are comfortable in, and just what they want.

Well, I said “affordable housing”, and it would be except for one thing: Constant Community Surveillance. Yeah – I was looking over the last few month’s Code Violation Cases, and there are an awful lot of violations for decorative items, outdoor storage that The Enforcers don’t think are right for outdoors, grass where they think it shouldn’t be, etc. etc. Normal everyday living stuff. And I got to thinking: how does a Senior Citizen on a fixed income, for instance, trim trees that are growing over the street? Or fix their driveway to The City’s satisfaction? Or paint their own homes. Or a million and one other offenses that are an integral part of living in an aging community, but will make them CRIMINALS in the eyes of Farmers Branch City Council?

Me – right now I’m agile enough to do a lot of work on my own – and I have kids and in-laws  and siblings and friends nearby who will help with the more difficult projects. I’m lucky. But what if I was on a fixed income, and I had a spot of paint peeling on one shutter, or my window screen had a small hole, or a miniblind was missing a slat, or I had grass in my crack, or a tree that was encroaching on the Green Grabber’s territory? And I didn’t have kids and in-laws and siblings close by to help me? And The City, in their unrelenting support of Upscale and Desirable, decided that I was now A CRIMINAL because my home wasn’t up to snuff? What would I do?

I’d freak.

Yes I would.

I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t do – I wouldn’t purchase another home in Farmer’s Branch – even if it was “affordable”.

  • Because I can’t afford to live under constant surveillance.
  • I can’t afford to have some kid young enough to be my son or grandkid tell me what I can and cannot have in my back yard.
  • I can’t afford to be A CRIMINAL just because my home and I are growing old together.

So what to do? Hey – you know me – I’m not about to throw a problem out without presenting a solution.

There are so many  youth groups that are looking for community service projects. I’ll bet every single church has one, as does Brookhaven College, as do the courts, for that matter. In addition, there are also older people who are willing to help their neighbors, and even strangers. That’s what happens in a small-town community. That’s what happens in a decent, caring community.

Old Lady Crashed

What if we matched people who need help with people who want to help? What if, instead of CRIMINALIZING people we HELPED people? I even know of some contractors: painters, cement layers, fence builders, etc. who are looking for work and will make a deal for quantity. We could gather up everyone who needs work done and get a huge price break for doing it all at the same time.

As for the 14′ tree limbs – that’s one of my pet peeves. It seems that the City Council purchased a Shiny New Bigger More Powerful Green Grabber which needs 14′ clearance instead of the 12′ that the old one needed. So, our City Council changed the rules. Sneakily. And no one knew about it until they got their violation notices. So when you get your Violation Notice you have 7 days to rectify the situation. That’s 7 days after they noticed it – NOT after you are made aware. Now, I don’t know many older folks who can shinny up a big tree, chain saw in hand, and trim branches. I used to be able to do it, but not anymore, as I’m older and wiser and am concerned about my own Health and Safety and Welfare more than that of the Green Grabber.

To me, blaming the tree owner for the Green Grabber’s problem is the same as a neighbor who builds a swimming pool under your pecan tree, then sues you because pecans fall into their pool. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that the neighbor has a right to trim the parts of the tree over his pool – he does not have the right to insist that you do it. Shouldn’t the city have the same restrictions? The electric company trims trees that are interfering with their power lines. While I’m not advocating that we get our trees trimmed by Oncor (I’ve seen their work), shouldn’t the city help with this?

I’m just saying………..

Old People Dont Care