Whew – what a lot of information; and misinformation; has come out in the past few days. Let’s take a moment to discuss.

Although BJ – in my earlier post “PROPERTY RIGHTS in Farmers Branch” – is a fictional character composed of ideas from various emails and comments, the person who judges others by her own strict and unreasonable standards is very real here in The City in the Park. As I described BJ:

 BJ is the conscience of The City in the Park. BJ will tell you what is nice and what is naughty. BJ can legislate through the telephone and email. BJ has the City Manager’s number on speed dial. If BJ doesn’t like it – Thou Shalt Not have it.

And therein lies our problem. One person decided that this character hit very close to home – and took offense, and retaliated by spewing nonsense. I could have deleted her comments, but the whole point of this blog is to demonstrate what is really going on in this nice little “Small Town Community”.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, I do not delete any comment unless it is Spam, and my Spam filter does that for me. I don’t edit anything; I encourage free and open discussion. And that’s the point – this is not an avenue for sanitized propaganda. I sincerely believe that most of the residents of Farmers Branch do not fully realize what has been happening for the past few years. Many people are fortunate enough to have escaped scrutiny by the Enforcers – so far.

Remember the old saying – that “to make an omelet you have to break some eggs”? Well,  broken eggs are everywhere now. And maybe the citizens, and the voters, and the decent folks in Farmers Branch, will see and heed.

So – let’s discuss the situation.

The woman who objected to my post probably feels violated. And rightly so. So did I when I found that Code Enforcement was judging my own private space. Judging by their own biased and narrow standards. Interpreting the law by opinion and personal preference. Litigating from the truck. And there was not a darned thing you can do about it. That is why, when she bragged about her pristine home, I just had to go and demonstrate how, as nice as it looks while driving by – it will not pass our ProActive and Innovative Code Enforcement scrutiny. No one’s home can …. no one’s. And, were any of her violations detrimental to the Health, Safety, or Welfare of the citizens of Farmers Branch? Oh my no. Few are. In fact, the City is less interested in your Health and Safety than they are about appearances. Appearances judged by others.

Because that is the whole point of the Farmers Branch Code Enforcement’s Pro Active and Innovative initiative. As I stated time and time again: I am not opposed to City Standards. We all have to live close to each other, we all want to be proud to live in our neighborhood. There have to be some standards for everyone to get along by. But when those standards are created for the sole purpose of targeting and harassing selected residents, when they are enforced by people who trespass on your private property so that they can nit-pick your private business to pieces because they don’t want you around – then I have a problem with that. And every single citizen of this great country should too. Our United States Constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And our right to privacy.

When a reader declared on this site that her home was pristine, and that anyone who could not keep their homes in the same pristine condition did not deserve to own a home, well, I wondered if that person had any idea what she was talking about. For if you read the Farmers Branch Code of Ordinances you know that there is no home – NOT ONE – that could possibly comply. The Codes are written that way and they are enforced that way. Anyone who doesn’t believe that the Codes are used as a weapon against selected individuals is naive.

The reader mentioned the 20 Code Violation Notices that Brenda Brodrick recently received on her 17 rental properties. Well now, isn’t the timing of these violation notices interesting? Am I the only one who wonders why, after years of owning rental properties, she got TWENTY violations just days before an election where she was running for City Council? Coincidence? Yeah – right. Whoever believes that, please raise your hand.

All you others who think your own home is “pristine”, and that only criminal elements are decreasing your property values – I want you to do something. Walk outside; look around.

  • Is there a tree stump in your yard? There are many in Brookhaven – I know where most of them are. That is a code violation.
  • Is there a shovel in your yard? That is a code violation.
  • Do you have an empty flower-pot anywhere outside …. anywhere? That is a code violation.
  • Do you have a little edged area in your yard, perhaps around a tree, with ivy growing in it? Does the ivy spill over the edge of the little area? That is a code violation.
  • Do you recycle – is your recycling container outside? Do you have a rain barrel? Those are code violations.
  • Are there more than 5 decorative items in your front yard? That is a code violation.
  • Is there a broom or mop on your front porch? That is a code violation.
  • Is there a rug drying outside on anything other than a clothesline? That is a code violation.
  • Is one of your fence posts taller than the others? That is a code violation.
  • Does your gate match the rest of your fence – in appearance as well as construction? There are many of those in Farmers Branch, especially Brookhaven. That is a code violation.
  • Does your front door have a screen? No? … well that is a code violation.

And don’t think that just because the offending items are not visible from the street that you are off the hook. That’s what I thought. If a Code Enforcement goon can see it from a neighbor’s yard, from the alley, from a rooftop, from the sky – it is a Code Violation. And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

But hey – it’s not all oppressive. Do you know what is NOT a Code Violation? You can skin a deer, duck, or bunny rabbit in Farmers Branch, as long as you do it behind the bushes, for The Code says:

“The cleaning, skinning and processing of game shall be screened from view from public streets and all resulting waste shall be disposed of in a sanitary manner.”

When you get through being hauled into court and fined for all your mops and decorative items you will need to know this. And don’t think it won’t happen to you. It will …. as soon as the City gets rid of the other undesirables.

They’ll get to you eventually.