Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pay the Piper How Much?!

A disturbing dream haunts my fractured sleep. A group of demons straight out of C. S. Lewis' book, The Screwtape Letters, are gathered in a ring surrounding a large, complicated rat maze topped with glass. Their faces light up in glee each time the rat takes a different path, though they never provide the animal any assistance or direction. As the rat reaches the utmost point and casts about in confusion and anger, the demons erupt into a hysteria of guffaws and backslapping. The source of their glee is because they know EVERY path is a dead end.

My deadlines for the city manager to respond to my September 2nd letter passed with no response, not even the slightest glimmer of acknowledgement, meaning... they lived up to my expectations. Our city officers have every power and obligation, right now, to enforce the ordinances on the books, and a taxpayer-provided city attorney to help them get it right. Yet, even with a clear understanding of my case, they willfully and stubbornly refuse to perform their duties - and the taxpayer-provided city attorney is party to it.

I tried to lighten up my public comment in a city council meeting, while maintaining the deadly serious nature of my intent, by reading stanzas 4-7 of the following ditty:

Code Enforcement: Proactive, by Complaint, or Highest Bid?

'Twas three hours after midnight and all through the house,
Every creature was sleeping, but the neighboring mouse,
When outside my window there arose such a clatter
I was forced from my bed to take care of the matter.

I slammed shut my windows and yanked down the blinds,
But the assault continued 'til three fifty-nine.
The ice into buckets repeatedly poured
And I thought it would never stop - more, more, and more...

We live in a town, you see, ruled by committee,
Who's idea of action is to preen and look pretty.
Their minions - no better - can spin many words,
But their twittering sounds just like so many birds.

Just three days ago, one man called to say
He’d worked out an armistice. Did I want to play?
I looked at the calendar and shook my head. Why?
Why am I in October and your deal from July?

The Three Beaches business is still running anon
Although the zone’s ordinance says they are wrong.
We’re far beyond icemaker - I’m way down the tracks
Where Crystal and Oroweat and Hostess attacks.

Do you really expect me to give up my rights
To a quiet R-1 neighborhood and e’en quieter nights?
It appears city minions are shirking their duties
When they ignore the scofflaws and don't kick their booties.

I've given you evidence from the beginning of time,
Which shows unmistakably damn near a crime.
You can read it all now, or you will look at it later
When fines pile up because TLC tries to Cater.

Please stop the dawdling and self-serving maneuvers
And become this town's straight-shootin’ shakers and movers.
In just four short weeks, voters will have their 'druthers -
So, farewell to some and hello to the others.

(apologies to Clement Moore and Dr. Theodor Geisel [Dr. Seuss])

I consulted with my attorney a third time on October 20th. He tells me my case looks sound, but I still have no public forum in which to argue it. My choices appear to be 1) fork over $8,000 to $10,000 for his legal assistance in county court, or 2) lobby each (and possibly every) council member for one to sponsor a public hearing item on a city council meeting agenda, in order to consider the matter and give direction to city staff to do the job they already have an obligation to do. (Hint: that obligation is usually called a job description, and most people who can't, won't, or don't do their job get fired.)

I'm following this city council election very, very closely.

No comments: