Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brassey Wakes Up (Finally)

Jeez, you would have thought I killed Teresa Brassey's firstborn, lastborn, and all the ones in between. Apparently her consanguinity with dogs runs deep.

During last year's dust up with Manteca's finest minds, I logged several city code complaints on
Manteca's state-of-the-art, Internet-based, tell-us-your-problem-you-whiner system, with full knowledge that the reports would be tagged as "Closed" before I even hit the "Submit" button. True to form, the K.M.A. officers * proffered only half-baked, erroneous, and/or conflicting reasons for closure. But I digress... My purpose was to have the items "on file", regardless of their summary administrative dismissal, in order to establish my neighbors' pattern of cavalier disregard for any lawful regulation of their illegal operation and activities. Allen & Brassey (and some of their associates) are truly not good citizens and definitely not good neighbors. With no fear of overstating, they are the archetype Neighbors From Hell (NFH). **

My teaching moment for Ms. Allen, utilizing her snaggle-tooth fence as the object lesson, brought me face to face with her three junk yard dogs, canine guardians of all things illegal at 810 Fishback Street. (To tell the truth, they were a lot quieter and more amenable than the two yappy house dogs or their owners.) It reminded me of something I was investigating many months ago - the City's zoning ordinance regarding animals.

Manteca Municipal Code, 17.07.030, The keeping of animals. In any district on a lot with a principal permitted use, no more than six small animals may be kept, provided none are kept for commercial use. Not more than three of such animals may be dogs or cats over ten weeks of age and not more than two may be pot belly pigs.

I am not quixotic enough to believe that Manteca minions will enforce this ordinance any more than any other ordinance, but I needed this item to be "on file." I started by asking Animal Control for info on owners, dogs and licenses. No such luck. Animal Control: "We don't have everything on this computer. Finance Dept. has it on the big computer." I drive over to City Hall. Finance Dept: "All we can say is, there are licensed dogs at that address." "How many?" "We can't [won't] say. If you have a complaint, you have to go to Animal Control."

[rant] Do you know the saying, You can't fight City Hall? The mental impression of a City Hall conjures up soaring Doric columns, expansive marble steps, and a giant statue of The Mayor, (Willie Weatherford ala Abraham Lincoln), sitting on his giant golden throne dispensing God-like wisdom and justice for all... except it ain't true. Everyone - elected, appointed, employed, contracted - everyone is a schmuck, just like me and you. If any heat or discomfort comes their way, they squiggle, they squirm, they crawl under their desks, and they point their fingers down the hallway or, better yet, across town to some other department, never a person, saying, Go try there. Every schmuck at city hall is busily engaged in staying disengaged from citizens who would like them to do their jobs. This is as good as administration-by-unaccountable-committee gets. [/rant]

So, I drove back over to Animal Control and verbally delivered my complaint that there are at least five dogs on the the neighboring property. (I realize now that was a mistake - not the number of dogs - but I should have used the technologically advanced, Internet-based, go-ahead-suckah-try-complaining system furnished to Manteca residents by their ever-lovin' City Hall.) What's so bad about five dogs, you ask? Only that the ordinance allows three dogs and/or cats per residential property. My neighbors' five dogs (more?), plus a cat or two, clearly exceeds the allowance.

Drove home, changed clothes, dug out lawn mower, and started mowing edges in preparation for straight lines. An Animal Services truck pulled up. (Whoa! I never before experienced this level of timely service in my prodding Manteca code enforcement.) The uniformed officer from the kennel rapped on the door next door. Brassey came out front and they chatted further over on the other driveway. By this time the mower bag needed emptying, during which break the officer hopped in her truck, pulled a U-turn, and drove away.

I must have missed the part where the Animal Control officer actually counted canine heads.

Reattached bag, fired up mower and started toward the property line. Brassey appeared suddenly, looking like a cartoonish, apoplectic bulldog barrelling down on me. Pausing, dipping, she picked up a garden hose, spun the faucet wide open, and continued the charge.

Visualize: Train Wreck. Judging from her eyes, expression and body language - and the fact she is spraying the water in an upward arch right at me as she approaches - I was positive the irate woman was going to hose me down in my own front yard.

Visualize: Train Wreck Chicken. She's now at the property line. Her water arch is tinkling on my mower. She spins 70 degrees left. Water begins landing on a brown patch at the edge of the grass. (I had sprayed it with Roundup two weeks prior.) Given the pit bull set of her jaw and her stance, she was nonverbally daring me to push my mower into the spray. Ten feet from her, I made two 90-degree turns to the right and mowed a line away from her, then turned back. This went on a half-dozen times until I finished all but the 10 by 10 patch of wet grass being overwatered by Brassey, while she yakked on her cell phone with the Alpha Female.

I proceeded with mowing my side yard, leaving her to pour more water on some dead grass for as long as she didn't feel foolish. Sure enough, another bag change and she was gone. Sheesh, that was a much closer call than Allen's photographic foray. Brassey was on the brink of turning this one into a felony assault.

What got her juices boiling? Did she think I was "attacking" her dogs? Perhaps it was because Brassey had to face the inquisition alone while Allen was out buying more inventory for their illegal commissary? Or because I had "unscrewed" their dip-see-do fencing folly that morning? (see previous post). Am I attacking their livelihood? (How do I know if moving and setting TLC Catering up like a legal company is economically infeasible?)

- - - - -

* Kiss My A...

** archetype (noun) - the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype. [ed., Hopefully, that mold was broken...]

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