Thursday, October 01, 2015

Neighbors and Local Ordinances

I've mentioned before the Nextdoor Neighborhood e-mail list. It's a relatively easy way to communicate with the rest of those in your neighborhood, although the neighborhood boundaries can be quite large. Most seem to use it for neighborhood watch activities.

I had my doubts about it when signing up with it again earlier this year. Could it be used by neighbors to snipe at each other? Yes, and it has been, at least once. Had a incident a couple months ago where one neighbor complained- perhaps falsely- that her neighbor was engaged in criminal behavior. That led to him posting about her and creating a rather difficult situation I got involved in which almost resulted in a physical fight on my front porch with one of them.

I thought maybe this sort of thing wasn't for me. It still might not be, but that died down. Today,  someone in the Eureka High Neighborhood posted something a bit different. She suggested the City of Eureka be more proactive in enforcing local ordinances. Here's just part of it:

"I don't agree with the laissez faire attitude the city seems to have. We live in an incorporated city, you can't just do whatever you want, otherwise, what is the point of municipal codes? I don't accept the excuse that it's this way because we live in Humboldt Co. That excuse has kept us from having nice things long enough. If a person wants to live outside of the municipal codes, then maybe some other unincorporated part of the county would be more to their liking. I pay property taxes, and I expect the city to enforce the codes that were passed for the benefit of its citizens.
These are just basic codes I'm talking about that are part of any modern community. And that's my point, neighbors wouldn't have to meddle if the city enforced its own codes."

That was in response to my reply to her where I suggested nothing wrong with complaint driven enforcement, but part of what I liked about the area since I moved here over 40 years ago was the live and live attitude of most people. We also don't need The City going around hassling everyone as a matter of course. Complaint driven enforcement should be the rule. 

This gal would have none of that. I can't help but wonder how long she's lived up here? Seems like someone that moved up here from the big city wanting to bring the big city mentality with her. To be fair, though, probably more than enough natives up here with that mindset.

Regardless, my main point in posting was the the Nextdoor Neighborhood list and the resulting block party held at Carson Park in August. Get to know your neighbors! What's to not like about it?

It might be a plus that you get to know your neighbors. On the other hand, you may find you don't like them. I can think of at least two I've found I don't.
On a related note, years ago when the late Tish Wilburn ran for Eureka City Council, she called me up- or did I call her(?)- wondering if the Libertarian Party of Humboldt County would endorse her candidacy. Her main campaign issue? Enforcing local ordinances.

I had to tell her that isn't the sort of issue I would think most libertarians would rally around, much less as an organization. She didn't understand that no matter how much I tried to explain it. Oh, well, at least she took it well.


At 3:50 PM, Blogger Amber Patzlaff said...

Tish was an amazing person. She never failed to bring a smile.

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous TimK said...

I'm in agreement that Eureka doesn't do enough to enforce the most basic of codes. In my opinion it's symptomatic of the City's approach to traffic enforcement and crime as well. I guess I proscribe to the broken windows approach to law enforcement/code enforcement. If people are allowed to do whatever people stop caring about improving their neighborhood and the losers of the world win. I've also been wondering if local police lived in town their efforts at enforcement of violations minor and serious would be a bit more vigorous.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"...If people are allowed to do whatever people stop caring about improving their neighborhood and the losers of the world win."

People being "allowed to do whatever" is highly subjective. We have more than enough ordinances in this city, although they might not be enforced as much as some would like.

Just wait. If you had your way, you'll have The City going after you next. If it's complaint driven, then hopefully someone will have the guts to stand by their complaint.

I don't think that's necessary as it stands. Yes, I had a complaint made over my property years ago: some vegetation I'd trimmed that I left on the sidewalk. Fair enough. It should have been cleaned up, but I hadn't got to it. No hard feelings.

Not sure who complained, but I'm pretty sure I have a good idea, although it's not who I first suspected. In fact, my suspect ended up coming over and helping me clean up some of the mess.

I don't have a problem with The City reacting to people's complaints, although you can be sure it will get worse, as per the Nextdoor gal's post. I do have a problem with The City going around trying to find problems on its own.

I do have to wonder if the gal that Nextdoor post ever made a complaint? Has there been a problem on her block that she didn't have the guts to say anything about, so wants The City to take care of it for her so she can keep her hands clean- you know, I don't want the neighbors coming after me? Chickenshit.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"Tish was an amazing person."

I didn't know her that well but heard of her from some other libertarian. "You have to meet Tish", she said. She was fun, but I did have to wonder about her "enforce local ordinances" stance. Not really libertarian- big or small L- but she was a registered Libertarian voter, which led to me meeting her.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Complaint driven enforcement allows neighborhood cranks to harass, control, payback, and hurt neighbors and use the tax payers to pay for it.

There are no limits to it, inspectors apologize about it, and say they 'have to' and the amount of complaints from my neighborhood crank drives them nuts..

I have seen the process actually kill people, often harassing poor elderly who have died from the stress it causes them, all from some idiot complaint about hedges, parking complaints, grass, paint and other trivial issues. People with money can handle the complaint process way better than some elderly poor or middle aged poor for that matter, this is bullying, plain and simple.
And you and I , the tax payers are paying for it.

Little known fact: public records laws allow people to see who made the complaint after the file is 'closed'.

Another factoid, these bullies then learn they can use neighborhood groups and community service officers or public committees to file the complaint for them to shield them from the afflicted.

It is systematic bullying as it is now.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Except complaints are going to be the case regardless of whether The City is proactive in searching out violations. There's always complainers. I can think of at least two or three of them, perhaps the late Tish Wilburn as a fourth?

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous TimK said...

Not sure where you got the point that I thought code enforcement should be complaint driven? I said the City had not been meeting its obligations to enforce building and condition codes as a matter of business. Your view that if you have a problem with the condition of a person's property men's you should automatically step up and confront the person is fine to a point but reality says many people are afraid to step up to others (elderly woman living next door to angry drunk) and lack of code enforcement leads to blight where essentially no one cares. I would also say equating what "you would do" is not the point here, it's what others would do.

Sorry for trying to start a civil conversation on this topic, your response is exactly why I and many others are avoiding these comment sections as it almost immediately becomes vitriolic.


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