Friday, April 22, 2011

Local tyranny is also the most intense

Local zoning laws, local code enforcement, and local property rights issues are the areas where the government’s tyranny is both the most petty and most oppressive. Petty neighbors will unleash the power of government against those with whom they have a personal dislike.

Such is the case with a man from Littlerock, CA. In a case of selective enforcement, where many properties are undoubtedly in some code violation, the county has chosen to ignore neighbors with those violations and concentrate only on him.

He has the County of Los Angeles threatening him with criminal charges for two reasons. The first is that he collects classic cars. Many of them do not operate, and apparently it is against county code to maintain inoperable vehicles on ones property. It is not a matter of whether or not these cars are properly registered, it is only a matter of these cars being inoperable.

The second is a public service he has been performing for the desert communities in the eastern side of northern Los Angeles County. He collected trash that people dump in the along the sides of the road and sorts through it to separate the recyclables from the trash. There is nothing in county code against doing that, so he thought it was allowed. According to representatives from the county, there is nothing in county code allowing that, so they say it is forbidden.

One would think that cleaning up the illegal dumping would be a valuable public service in the eyes of the county. To add further insult, he has been cited with violation of existing code provisions for home based occupations (022.070.035, which permits home based occupations).

When he first aroused the wrath of the county they merely suggested he put up a privacy fence so that his collection would not be an eyesore. He did that, and thought his ordeal was over. But merely following the advice of county code enforcement was not enough, and they determined that he was engaged in an illegal use of his property.

In a negotiation with representatives of the county, he was given 45 days to remove all inoperable vehicles. His lawyer protested that he would need 90 days. The county threatened him with criminal charges unless he agreed with the 45 day time frame. If he does not complete the removal in 45 days the county will likely press forward with the criminal charges.

Moreover he was threatened with being declared incompetent or a "hoarder," and threatened with having a "receiver" assigned to him at his own expense. This receiver would have the county come in with a crew of workers and trucks to clean everything off the property. To pay for this a special tax would be assessed against him that would try to pay this bill off in three years, and if he is unable to pay the expense then the county would place a lien against his property for unpaid taxes that would authorize the county to sell his property at auction.

There seems to be a definite trend with the county harassing elderly property owners with sanctions that ultimately result in seizing their land. They seek those who have the least resources to fight back and harasses them to the point where they are unable to resist any further, breaking them physically, mentally, and financially.

This fight has drained the meager resources of this man from Littlerock, and he has discovered that there is precious little separation of powers in Los Angeles County. There is little in the way of accountability or appeal. This is local tyranny at its finest and worst.


Catherine Brooks said...

Yes,It's perfect writing for the local tyranny.I agree with this blog.
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Kent McManigal said...

I am particularly disgusted by "code enforcement". In fact I think the blog post linked above may have caused the local "code enforcement officer" to target me for "special attention", even though he lied and claimed people were complaining about me "getting away with" something. If it is the case that "people were complaining" I offer a pledge to my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Your blog in defense of David might glean sympathy if he was a true victim of the County. I’m not sure if you have ever been a guest in his home but to any typical visitor, one’s initial reaction is with wide eyes and gaping mouth. In order to navigate through the entry, one must practically dislocate his shoulders to get from point A to point B.

The reality is David is a stage 4 hoarder. How is going around the desert to indulge his psychiatric condition a benefit to the community?

Furthermore, if you have been to his abode, I’m sure you have first-hand knowledge of his "classic car" collection. Out of the 15+ cars on his property, there are about 2-3 worth more than sellable rusty parts.

Since he is unwilling to tend to his serious problems in a more meaningful way, the big, bad County monsters have been unleashed. It’s more scary than a shame.

Anonymous said...

I have been to the castle (dracula)and it was necessary to get immunization shots b4 entering. Upon arriving I was advised that the term recycle has been skewed a bit and that once trash lands on the property, it is forever ensconced in the rare treasures archive including the petrified/ossified pelt of an unidentified animal which graces the patio. Check out Craig Currier's article dated july 7,2009 AV Press

Anonymous said...

Kent McManigal said...

Anonymous- Why is any of this anyone else's business? Everyone does something that offends someone.

Ayn R. Key said...

Very curious anonymous. I'm intrigued how you found out about this blog posting.

I did not use David's name. You mentioned it, I didn't.

The subject of this article is reviewing this article for corrections and omissions. So this story isn't even complete at the time you responded.

So, Anonymous, who are you and what is your interest?

Anonymous said...

While comments are fun and entertaining (especially at the expense of another) there exists a limit as to how hurtful/helpful they may appear. The county of LA is dead serious that no resident is safe from their scrutiny an oppression. Recently they cut down wind break tamarisk trees, calling them a noxious weed, but the real intent is that now they have cited homeowners after peering into yards once hidden from view. So much for the concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In fact a deputy district attorney was overheard saying "there are no civil rights in the Antelope Valley" When and how do we rid ourselves of these bureaucrats?

Kristi said...

Am confused. Codes for Home bases business in la county: 22.20.020 Home-based occupations--Regulations.

22.20.021 Large family child care homes--Regulations.

22.20.025 Keeping or parking of vehicles--Prohibited when.

22.20.030 Keeping hogs prohibited.

22.20.040 Wild animals prohibited--Exceptions.

22.20.050 Dogs.

22.20.060 Density conversion table for residential zones.

22.20.065 Sale of personal property.


I am most definitely a believer in one doing what they want with their own property, I also believe that the property owners are responsible for following the law until we the people get those laws (codes) changed. I do not believe in 'anonymous complaints'.

I was in attendance at the Littlerock meeting in which some of the people stood up and stated that they too were being 'picked on' by code enforcement. While oppresive maybe, I did not hear about one case in which the property owner was not in violation of the county code. That begs me to question, other than the CSD's for Littlerock, what are the homeowners doing to get the codes changed? And, with what I read in their CSD's, the antique car section will not correct the code against this gentlemans autos. Until the people stand up against the government, the gov't. will continue to grow and infringe. And to anonymous, since you clearly have been in the house, you are either part of the group that went in with code enforcement, or you were invited in, too bad you wouldn't use your name so the owner would know whether or not you were friend or foe.

Anonymous said...

You might be fine with having a hoarder for a neighbor but I'm not. There are many problems with it besides being unsightly and causes the rest of the neighbor home values to diminish. There are dead and living animals on his premise and obvious health and fire concerns too.

Ayn R. Key said...

Kristi, I will double check on the code reference, I think you are right.

Ayn R. Key said...

Kristi, it appears it was 022 instead of 020.