Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Toledo Pride vs Taken for a Ride

Toledo Pride: Going over to an elderly member of your church's home, building a wood rack, and restacking the wood to keep them from an expensive ticket. Kudos to those who helped out, you are defining the true meaning of neighbor.

Taken for a Ride: Having an inspector issue the citation in the first place, without explanation.

It seems to me that in an attempt to reconcile the city budget with the lack of city income, the Emperor has decided to increase the number of "tickets" handed out, not by the police, but by roving city inspectors. It also appears that only the districts of the city that are wealthy enough to pay said tickets are being targeted. Everything from sidewalks to early trash placement is available for revenue raising.

The Emperor calls this a part of raising "Toledo Pride" (as everyone driving up I-75 is reminded of). The program should be "Take 'em for a Ride." City inspectors are apparently entering the property of residents of the city (although I'm not sure if this particular one was given permission to enter), issuing citations for everything they can find, and leaving. Disagree with the citation, and of course you're able to appeal, for only $50. But, it's before someone paid by the city, and if they find you in the wrong, expect to get slapped with additional costs for their time as well as the original fine. Not exactly a petition for a redress of your wrongs, is it? Where else does the same entity (the City of Toledo) act as the police detective, prosecutor, judge, and jury (excepting the IRS, of course).

I suspect that this spring, I'll wake to find an inspector out measuring the length of my lawn, trying desperately to find a blade of grass 1mm over the limit. When it happens (or should any inspector be upon my soil, of which my taxes are dutifully paid on), expect the following to happen.
  • Ask the inspector to leave my property at once, while filming his/her reactions.
  • If the inspector refuses, demand to see warant for search of my home.
  • Lawsuit in state court, demanding that "probable cause" be shown prior to admitting any evidence of supposed "ordnance violation." Suit to include damages, legal fees, and compensation for mental anguish suffered that made it impossible for me to get a restful sleep.

If the city has problems making it's budget, perhaps its time to take a look at what we're spending on (tree lights, bike paths, etc), and not institute more hidden taxes. That's all those fines are, so let's use the "T" word for a change. And, while we're at it, how about removing another "T" word that is still applied to a money scheme ... the "Temporary" 3/4% Income Tax.

Margaritas ante Porcos,

Right Wing Toledo

5 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

RWT,

You make some very valid points.

As for inspectors visiting my property unannounced, I have trouble telling if they are on official business or are merely a prowling thief, so they may fully expect a buckshot welcome befitting a thief.

Announced, they may expect something befitting a fleeing felon.

Until they take my castle away from me, i am still the king (and the sheriff too)...

;-)

Lisa Renee said...

I think the over zealousness of the enforcement is going to continue to be a huge problem. I'm glad in that someone took the time to help the poor woman avoid the fine, it appears that is one way we can fight this. I remember Sepp posting a story on his blog about how his girlfriend quickly moved a garbage can that their neighbors had left out, thus saving them from being cited. I can't help thinking that there are so many real problem areas where the inspectors attention would be much better served....

Right Wing Toledo said...

Lisa,

The city seems to be thinking of this as a revenue solution, not an enforcment problem. Based on reports I've been getting, the inspectors are targeting those areas that favor middle to upper class homes - in other words, with those people able to pay the fines. Strict enforcement of the codes amounts to another tax, one that can't be rejected at the ballot box.

Look for a crackdown on the building codes as well. I would not recommend that ANYONE begin a home-improvement project without pulling a permit, even when you can legally do so (self-perform work, I believe, can exempt a permit pull in some instances.) I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find city inspectors prowling the neighborhood looking for new decks and pools. And, look for permit fees to be raised again soon - then have the administration wonder why no one is building here...

Neighborhood Concerns said...

The situations I have posted are part and parcel of the problem, people cannot clean up after themselves, or is the type of situation okay and never mind the inspections?

Highlighting the trash problems in Toledo

Hooda Thunkit said...

RWT,

"The city seems to be thinking of this as a revenue solution, not an enforcment problem. Based on reports I've been getting, the inspectors are targeting those areas that favor middle to upper class homes - in other words, with those people able to pay the fines. Strict enforcement of the codes amounts to another tax, one that can't be rejected at the ballot box." --RWT

You must understand that "The Charlatan" has PLANS for Toledo, despite the ~ $12 Mil. hole He finds ourselves in and He needs money to make HIS plans happen; the budget be damned...

I'd like to say that this was just some sarcastic speculation on my part, but I can't.