Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Proposed Stipulated Judgment

Hey, batta', batta'... here's the wind-up... there's the pitch!...

Let's see now... how hard can this be?

Instead of moving TLC Catering elsewhere, Lynda and Theresa have already chosen to close down the illegally operating business. I'm guessing it was too much bother (or too costly) to run their business legally. It doesn't matter to me which option they chose. Either way, YEAH! But there's still more paperwork to do...

They quit running their trucks and the icemaker a month or two ago, but they continue to run their mouths and the yard radio. That will change under this stipulation (above).

Was it really the bad economy that forced their decision, or did my pretty little lawsuit have a cumulative hand in it, tipping the balance? Maybe they could get jobs running this operation.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Through the Looking-Glass - "T'weren't Legal..."

It's too bad Lewis Carroll didn't have an additional given name, something like Timothy or Thaddeus, because then his initials would be T.L.C.

As it is, many of my earliest post titles (Chasing the Rabbit Down the Hole, Curiouser and Curiouser, and Into the King's Court) were references to Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (actually, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872.)

Perhaps this subconcious phenomenon was in recognition of my precipitous slide toward the surreal and twisted world just over the fence,
  • where laws mean the opposite of what they say;
  • where actresses parrot lines from an ancient script, the origin of which was nearly lost in antiquity;
  • where these caricatures* publicly display broad Cheshire Cat smiles, which suddenly appear and more quickly disappear as their ocassion or audience changes;
  • (no appearance of magic mushrooms yet).
Therefore. . . with apologies to Lewis Carroll. . . and credit for his understanding and inspiration in bringing his magical creatures to life. . . I offer a minor re-write of Jabberwocky.


T'weren't legal... yet the cater cysts
Did gambol long on Fishback Road:
All misty were their origins
And the O. Rex outgrowed.

"Swear off the roach coach food, my son!
The mobile home! The stinky grease!
Forestall the Crystal truck, and shun
The frumious Scotsman's ice!"

He took his legal pen in hand;
Long time the noisesome prats he sought--
So rested he by the dum-dums' tree
And stood in restless thought.

And, as in sleepless muse he slumped,
The T-L-Wocks - six eyes aflame! -
Came gnashing 'cross their mangy dump
And burbled as they came!

One - Nine - Eight - Six! ... until today!
The research sword went snicker-snack!
He left them stunned, and with their buns
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain M-F P-U's?"
"Yes, sir, they all are on the block!"
"Oh, frabjuous day! Calloo, callay!"
We all cheered 'til we croaked.

T'weren't legal... yet the cater cysts
Did gambol long on Fishback Road:
All misty were their origins
And the O. Rex outgrowed.

- - - - - - - - - -
* caricature (n) imitation, impersonation, parody, lampoon, spoof, sendup, mockery, takeoff, burlesque, travesty, charade, pasquinade, put-on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Deal or No Deal?

My guess was confirmed by my attorney.

Last Friday's quiet, no-radio morning and the all-day absence by T & L had me guessing they made yet another jaunt to Sacramento, where their insurance company-provided lawyer is stabled. Sure enough, they met to craft an offer in settlement.

Opposing counsel pitched the idea of a settlement conference to my attorney. But if the offer is anything like their pre-suit offer (merely move the icemaker!), there is no chance of a new offer being acceptable based on the same logic as spelled out here for declining the pre-suit offer.

My aims have always been crystal clear and I have spelled them out repeatedly. If opposing counsel has any questions about my aims, I suggest he re-read the two-page Executive Summary found in the research book entitled, Allen & Brassey: TLC on Fishback Street, delivered to the Manteca City Council on February 17, 2009.

To prove I have been consistent, below is one paragraph from a 2008 letter to the City of Manteca (before I even knew TLC Catering was NOT grandfathered!)

April 4, 2008
. . .
My aims are threefold. (1) The immediate need is nighttime noise cessation. (2) The next goal, in the short term, is to have the City of Manteca spell out for me and my neighbors the legal responsibilities (and necessary formal variances!) this business has in a residential neighborhood. (3) My long term goal (and the Planning Department’s goal?) is to have the business assets and operations removed from the property (perhaps to a commercial zone?)
. . .
(full letter here)

It took almost TWO YEARS to accomplish aim #1! It took a full year of my time battling the City clowns and doing the research myself (aim#2) plus another year and a lawsuit and a screwy economy to accomplish aim #1!

Aim #3, as explained in the Executive Summary, page 2:
. . .
"In order to effect a comprehensive rehabilitation of this residential property to its business-free state, an awful lot of shit has to be shoveled. With no grandfather protection and no home occupation permit, every piece of currently used (and previously used but now abandoned) business equipment is on the property illegally, and the TLC Catering and Commissary business operation is an illegal land use.

"The same jeopardy applies - twice over - to the mobile home abandoned by a former property owner. The unpermitted structure should not be there at all and Allen & Brassey are utilizing it as part of their unlawful business use. It must be removed from the property."
. . .

In light of my "shit to be shoveled" commentary, if the offer is, not shovels full, but a mere teaspoon of excrement along the lines of, "We're going out of business anyway, so we promise not to start it up again," well... you can guess my reaction.

As Karen Carpenter sung, "We've only just begun...." I haven't even started on the deal-breaker demands for a COMPLETE, IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL EXTINGUISHMENT of Lynda's deceitful assertion of legal nonconforming use status of the property, and on the recovery of my costs to expose what she has fraudulently and illegally built up over twenty-three years.

If she thinks she can "skate" over a quarter-century of lawless livelihood without consequence, she's stupider than I give her credit for.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cleaning Up Some of TLC's Environmental Waste

Just to make sure the general public in Tracy and Manteca are protected from the lawless bent of my neighbors, I sent this letter to my helpful contacts at the Health Department to give them a heads up.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

San Joaquin County, Environmental Health Department
Attn: Jeff Carruesco, Program Coordinator
600 E. Main Street
Stockton, CA 95202

March 18, 2010

Re: Superior Court Case # 3-2009-00212085-CU-OR-STK,
Behling v. Allen, Brassey, TLC Catering and Commissary

Dear Mr. Carruesco,

The enclosed picture shows that Lynda Allen and Theresa Brassey, owners and operators of TLC Catering, have elected to cease business operations on their residential property located at 810 Fishback Street in Manteca and not move their operation elsewhere. If they have already contacted you with that decision, please provide me and my attorney with copies of all correspondence between the parties and the health permit cancellations for TLC Catering's MFPU's and the private commissary.

If they have not yet contacted you, please flag their account and provide the documents requested above as they become available.
. . .

Your department's files were extremely helpful to me in reconstructing the scope and duration of Allen's and Brassey's illegal operation. I only wish your department had been more diligent to verify their lack of property rights for this operation twenty-three years ago. Nevertheless, I am pleased that 1) the current poor economic climate, 2) my lawsuit against them for their lack of land use permits and causing a noise nuisance, and 3) their lack of business insurance have all combined to present this single option to the owners of TLC Catering and Commissary.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bumpy Times at Manteca City Hall

My short list of (known) totally useless city employees was recently pared by one-third.

Mark Nelson is out!

This was the man who held the title of Director of Community Development, a department head.

This was the man who, in a city council meeting, indignantly spluttered, "It is NOT my job to fix all the [planning] problems of the past!" (Gee, not even the ones that require no effort on your part?)

This was the man who, in the Manteca Municipal Code, Title 17, was given full and exclusive authority to review illegal land uses and summarily stop them until compliance with the code is achieved.

This was the man who, during the City Council meeting of March 3, 2009, sat by for forty minutes without uttering a single word regarding my fully documented illegal land use complaint. Instead he deferred to Rex (The Icepick) Osborn's smear campaign and John Brinton's CYA legal elucidations or obsfucations (I couldn't tell which. Oh, right. That makes it an obsfucation...)

Even with all three of those mentioned, combined, bumps on logs are more useful.

Falling Off the Predictability Wagon

Interesting days these days.

As punctual as an alarm clock going off at 7:00 a.m. every morning, Lynda pops out her door in robe and slippers and shuffles quickly over to the outbuilding to turn on the yard radio. Loud, but not too loud. On her way back, a glance over her right shoulder to ensure the speaker is pointed my direction. When it's not, she's barely tall enough to reach up high with both hands and reposition it according to her purpose. Then she retreats back indoors, leaving the Mega 100.1 FM (KQOD, Stockton) morning show blaring for my enjoyment.

When I leave for work, she turns it down. When I come home for lunch, she turns it up. When I return to work, she turns it down. When I come home, she turns it up. When I leave for City Council meeting, she turns it down. When they go to bed (about 9:00 p.m. now), she turns it off. Just another 14-hour day of Mega 100...

But today was different. In the glimmering dawn before 6:30, Lynda and Theresa (the current two defendants) took off in their big-ass black pickup truck and the yard radio did not come on at 7:00 a.m.!

Blessed, peaceful, quiet, pink dawn. Birds chirping. The distant freeway humming. The occasional clang or odd bang, blocks away, as people and their machinery start to move in normal life cycles. Cars drive by delivering students to the high school.

A restless malcontent until she imposes her selfish self on someone - anyone - I envision Lynda calling Corky on her cell phone and asking, "Did you remember to turn on the radio this morning?" (Lynda still thinks 7:00 a.m. is somehow legal, although that time is nowhere to be found in Manteca's ordinances.) Her question is actually an order because she is the Alpha fowl next door.

Poor Corky - the other potential defendant - the hen left to defend the henhouse against foxes. Damn! She hadn't set her alarm clock for 7:00. Hurriedly she skitters outside to crank up the boom box at 7:24. She doesn't have quite the finesse with the volume knob as the Alpha female. And she dares not turn the speaker away. Her sad regret is that it's not her car that goes off to work any more at 6:30. No, she's still parked (stuck) here at 8:00 most days.

Life has gotten really unpredictable since the economy took a dump, especially on TLC Catering's customers, and since their dirty little secret was discovered and exposed to the public both at the City of Manteca and now in the San Joaquin County Superior Court. Their friends told them to cry, "Foul! Times are tough." But that doesn't save them from their own risky decisions decades ago - the hard facts of their illegal use. They cry, "Times are tough. We can't afford the expense of moving our business elsewhere." With no work, they run around like chickens with their heads cut off. {shrug} Bright business people at least try to follow the law... and they get business insurance, not merely homeowners insurance.

Lynda's and Theresa's lack of business acumen pared their options to one:

(BTW: This prints up great as an 8x10 suitable for framing. It looks beautiful in my office.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Clear and Convincing Evidence of Malicious Intent

O.K., they missed Concept #2 also.

Something really stirred up the hornets over the weekend because promptly at 7:00 a.m. this morning - and I mean on the dot at 0700 hrs - the magic rock once again reoriented itself in my direction and began spewing its louder-than-usual and always-obnoxious klaxon. (It's a wonder their dogs don't go deaf. hmmm... I wonder if this qualifies as animal abuse?) Anyway, the pic below was taken at 0810 hrs, just prior to heading off to work.

This next pic was taken, same day, from the same location as the one above, at 1333 hrs during lunchtime. Note the speaker has been turned about 90 degrees opposite its morning position.

I find it extraordinary that their Farmers Insurance homeowners insurance company defense attorney ( Thing #2 or Thing #1 ) must have told Hip & Hop, "Go ahead and really, REALLY irritate the guy who's suing you for noise nuisance and maybe - just maybe - he'll succumb to our paltry offers at settlement." If he did, he's the dumbest lawyer ever. That's like giving sugar candy to a child just before bedtime and expecting him to drift quietly off to sleep.

But then again, this legal beagle on the Farmers leash could be the sharpest lawyer ever. If that's the case, then he and his employer have the absolutely dumbest policyholders/clients ever. We all know, given their modus operandi* over months and years, that these ancient hash-slingers are truly the sharpest cookies in the cutlery drawer... yes sir, razor sharp brownies... sugary cutting edges...

"G'night, John Boy."
"G'night, Greene."
"G'night, Super Freak."

{humming... Super Freak, She's a very kinky girl, The kind you don't take home to mother.}

- - - - - - - - -
* Modus operandi of T,L&C - noisy midnight operations, illegal business operations, illegal mobile home, don't know what a law is, practiced liars, redneck humor (sorry for the redundancy), can't count dogs, cats and chickens, drive big, greasy, smelly catering trucks, collect and abandon obsolete business equipment, put icemaker on neighbor's fenceline, put radio speaker on neighbor's fenceline in same place as icemaker, devoid of social skills, etc.

(taken from http://www.answers.com/topic/modus-operandi) [Latin, Method of working.] A term used by law enforcement authorities to describe the particular manner in which a crime is committed.

The term modus operandi is most commonly used in criminal cases. It is sometimes referred to by its initials, M.O. The prosecution in a criminal case does not have to prove modus operandi in any crime. However, identifying and proving the modus operandi of a crime can help the prosecution prove that it was the defendant who committed the crime charged.

Modus operandi evidence is helpful to the prosecution if the prosecution has evidence of crimes committed by the defendant that are similar to the crime charged. The crimes need not be identical, but the prosecution must make a strong and persuasive showing of similarity between the crime charged and the other crimes. The prosecution may introduce evidence from prior or subsequent crimes to prove modus operandi only if the other crimes share peculiar and distinctive features with the crime charged. The features must be uncommon and rarely seen in other crimes, and they must be so distinct that they can be recognized as the handiwork of the same person.

For example, assume that a defendant is on trial for armed robbery. In the robbery the defendant is alleged to have brandished a pistol and ordered the victim to relinquish cash and valuables. Assume further that the defendant has committed armed robbery in the past by brandishing a pistol and demanding cash and valuables. A prosecutor might be able to introduce the evidence into trial to show the defendant's motive, intent, or state of mind, or to identify the weapon used in the crime. However, the prosecutor could not argue to the judge or jury that the robberies were so similar as to demonstrate that it was the defendant who committed that particular robbery, because it is not unusual for a robber to brandish a pistol and demand cash and valuables in the course of an armed robbery.

Now assume that a defendant is charged with robbing a movie theater that was showing the movie Showgirls and that the defendant was wearing a glittering, flamboyant Las Vegas-style cabaret costume during the robbery. Assume further that the prosecution has evidence that the defendant, while dressed as a Las Vegas dancer, has robbed other movie theaters showing the movie Showgirls. The prosecution could introduce this evidence into trial to prove modus operandi and show that it was the defendant who committed the crime, because the method of armed robbery used in the crimes was both similar and distinctive.

When offering evidence to prove modus operandi, the prosecution does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other crimes occurred. Rather, the prosecution simply must present sufficient evidence to show that the act took place and was committed by the defendant.

(p.s. I soooo love the mental image of T,L&C dressed in "glittering, flamboyant Las Vegas-style cabaret costume" while cooking in their MFPU and peddling their schlock to the masses! Of course, the pictured women are the right age, twice as tall, and have the faces and other attributes necessary for employment in the showgirl industry. ed.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Alladin's Genie - "[S]he CAN Be Taught!"

0800 HOURS

I've always suspected that TLC (Theresa, Lynda, and Corky) were smart, capable women. They just needed Robin Williams' voice in Disney's movie, Alladin, to teach them the concepts to... hmmm, "get along" is too strong... perhaps "not annoy" is sufficient for now.

Concept #1 - Thou shalt not maintain an illegal nonconforming use on a residential property.

It has taken a lawsuit to finally penetrate their insular* half-acre world with that loud and clear concept. They have always claimed that TLC Catering and Commissary was a legally grandfathered business, but the facts prove otherwise. Their dismissive, contemptuous conduct against neighbors' interests since 1987, and their deceits** foisted on city and county officials since at least 1993, cannot be turned to truth merely through constant repetition.

"A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if no one believes it."

Concept #2 - Laws and ordinances represent MINIMUM standards of behavior.

Laws have to be written because some people simply cannot figure these things out for themselves. Laws train people to understand and adhere to principles of behavior, which eventually allows them to govern themselves, giving offense to no one.

Something... someone... somehow... finally penetrated their insular* half-acre world with the teensiest message that 8:00 a.m. is the earliest time that (wo)man-generated or machine-generated noise is allowed in a residential district - and even then only for reasonable periods and purposes. Imagine that! ...and for all these years they have claimed immunity from any regulation they deemed contrary to the illegal operation of their business, including their supposed "right" to make noise at all hours of the night and day with the commercial deliveries, the Ice Bucket Brigade, and now the yard radio.

Concept #3 - Your "right" to make noise STOPS at the fence line.

(OK, they still haven't internalized this concept.)

In other words, noise STOPS at the fence line. It is NOT your "right" to dump your noise pollution garbage onto my property and into my house.

Good neighbors completely understand that noisy activities, which normally occur on residential properties, such as mowing the lawn, using other powered equipment from time to time, children having a party or splashing around in a pool, or any number of other natural sounds - such things are rarely a bother. (Indeed, they are disturbing if missing.)

Problems arise between neighbors when industrial, commercial, and other nonresidential activities create nuisances - lights, dust, noise, vibration, smoke, etc. And the biggest problems arise when the offense runs one-way.

Good neighbors also completely understand and apply another rule:

Good neighbors keep their noise to themselves.

Concept #4 - By their fruits ye shall know them.

Gospel of Matthew, Ch. 7, v. 17, "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."

- - - - - - - -
* insular (adj.) 1. of, relating to, or constituting an island; living or located on an island. 2. Suggestive of the isolated life on an island: "She is an exceedingly insular woman, so deeply private as to seem inaccessible to the scrutiny of another." 3. Circumscribed and detached in outlook and experience; narrow or provincial.

** deceit (n.) 1. the act of representing as true what is known to be false; a deceiving or lying. 2. a dishonest action or trick; fraud or lie. 3. the quality of being deceitful.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just Trying To Be (Fictitiously) Helpful

San Joaquin County Recorder's Office has downloadable forms (.pdf format) to use when giving up or abandoning a Fictitious Business Name. (In my experience, nothing could be more fictitious than attaching the common acronym TLC to anything associated with these women.)

It's pretty simple. After all, you've been filing Fictitious Business Name Statements every five years. Right?... What do you mean 1989 was your first and only FBN? (Oopsie...)

Anyway, all you have to do is 1) fill out the form and file it with the Recorder's Office, 2) publish the statement weekly in the Manteca Bulletin for four consecutive weeks, and 3) file an affidavit of publication with the Recorder's Office.

Poof! TLC Catering evaporates! (What a beautiful dream... hmmm...)

Signs of Spring, or, Pushing up Daisies

Recent events:

Ice machine servicing and discontinuance of use

Since mid-January, the icemaker has not emitted a peep (unlike its owners.) The machine was opened up for servicing or repair and remains disassembled to this day. A little oddity appeared on the machine's electronic controller unit - the date 02-03-10 - stenciled in what looks like gold metallic fingernail polish.

One possibility is that the machine has been rehabilitated for use in 2010.

> > >  Or, is it being made ready for sale?  < < <

This could be the first acknowledgment that this nonconforming nonresidential use does not belong on the property.

Substitution of Attorney

My attorney informed me that Defendants Allen and Brassey filed a Substitution of Attorney with the court on February 9, 2010. That generally signals a change in direction on the case.

My interpretation is that it moves the Defendants off their stubbornly non-responsive position, ie., any change is good.

Catering takes a powder

February 15th was a banner day. That was the first day, two and one-half weeks ago, that the catering truck no longer leave the property for the Defendants' normal retail sales route (which route the Defendants refused to divulge in discovery.) This is the second acknowledgment that this nonconforming nonresidential use does not belong on the property.

MFPU For Sale

Circle Tuesday, March 2, 2010 on the calendar for a true sign of Spring! After two weeks of chain-smoking, ass-sitting, continuous-radio-music-accompanied inactivity by the Defendants, a For Sale sign appeared in the windshield of the one operational Mobile Food Preparation Unit (MFPU).

Please forgive me for being skeptical or cycnical, but the other MFPU (on the right) was decommissioned in 2006 and used to have a For Sale sign in its window. Of course, the sign was sun-faded to illegibility, slumped down on the dashboard to obscurity, and so far from the road and behind a fence that a telescope was needed to read the illegible and obscured sign. Mere window dressing! Two years ago, Manteca Code Enforcement officers parroted the Defendants' claim the MFPU was on their property only while being held for sale (you know, blow off those stupid inspectors.)


Taken together, this progression of signs seems to indicate that TLC Catering will soon be pushing up daisies. Theories abound as to the Defendants avoiding money judgments by engaging in legal or illegal maneuvers involving sympathic juries, bankruptcies, property transfers, or whatever. By now these scofflaws should understand that their relentless violations of law and decency have solidified my relentless pursuit of remedy. As they will see soon, my view of equitable resolution is not compromise, but compliance - full and total compliance with law and decency.

Given their track record, though, who knows if they are capable?...

I have often been accused of trying "to put them [my neighbors] out of business," but that is not true. My very first correspondence with the City of Manteca indicated my intentions to get them to MOVE their business operations elsewhere. If they close down their business, that choice is entirely their own.

However, I will admit the following sentiments:

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." Mark Twain

Pushing Back Against Retaliation

I delivered this memo to my attorney last week.
- - - - - - - - - - -

Date: February 25, 2010
To: _____________, Attorney
From: Richard Behling
Re: Case # 39-2009-00212085-CU-OR-STK

Please serve the Defendants, on my behalf, a letter demanding cessation of their retaliatory noise measure employed against me. Shortly after filing the private nuisance lawsuit against them, the Defendants mounted an outdoor radio speaker high on the on the wall of the outbuilding just over the fence and play the radio all day, every day.

The facts that support Defendants’ actions being deliberate retaliation are these:

1. There was no radio speaker in this corner of their yard on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. (picture #1)

2. Lawsuit was served on Defendants on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2009 (proof of service).

3. On Thursday, June 4, 2009, the Defendants’ yard radio was played at 3:00 a.m. loudly enough to wake me. The speaker was located somewhere in the middle of their yard. A 27-second digital video/audio clip of that disturbance is included in Plaintiff’s Response to Demand for Production. (Digital Media\Yard Pics\MVI_1204_04Jun_3am music)

4. On or before June 30, 2009, the outdoor speaker appeared in the corner yard sitting atop plastic milk crates and pointed my direction. (picture #2, included in Plaintiff’s Response to Demand for Production. (Digital Media\Yard Pics\IMG_1298_TURN UP THE RADIO)

5. On or before July 24, 2009, the speaker was mounted high on the outbuilding wall and most often rotated to point my direction. (picture #3 and picture #4)

6. The radio is on all day, every day forward, generally beginning around 7:00 a.m. in contravention of the 8:00 a.m. limit imposed in the Manteca Municipal Code, Residential Noise Ordinance. (MMC, Chapter 9.52.030 and 9.52.040)

7. Major retaliation occurred on Saturday and Sunday, February 6th and 7th, 2010, when the radio was turned on loudly before 6:00 a.m. each day. (Manteca Police Department incident report # 2010-3600)

8. The next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, February 13th and 14th, the radio was turned on around 7:00 a.m. (Manteca Police Department incident report # 2010- 4288, printed copy of noise ordinance supplied to responding officer)

9. The next Sunday, February 21st, the radio was turned on very loudly around 8:00 a.m. to protest the previous two Sunday police calls. (picture #5)

10. Defendants’ return to 7:00 a.m. radio startups beginning Monday, February 22nd.

In truth, this retaliation is a replication of the noise nuisance caused by the icemaker. The speaker is mounted in virtually the same noise corridor as the icemaker [ed., see icemaker's condenser in upper left corner of picture #4] and for months served to ADD to the noise. Whenever the icemaker does not function, the radio serves to keep the noise going.

In light of this replacement nuisance purpose of the Defendants, I am seeking removal of the entire outdoor radio system on the grounds that it’s use is “so prolonged or unnatural or unusual in [its] use, time or place as to cause or contribute to the unnecessary and unreasonable discomfort of any persons within the neighborhood from which said noises emanate or which interfere with the peace and comfort of residents or their guests, … or which may detrimentally or adversely affect such residences….” (MMC 9.52.030 Prohibited Noises - General Standard)

I want this letter served on the Defendants and their attorney of record under the referenced case number.

Pictures #1 - #5
Manteca PD Incident Report #2010-3600
MMC 9.52

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Super Freak!

Back in my naive days (three years ago), my very first request to the City of Manteca was for a fence variance in order to put up a freeway-style sound wall fifteen feet high and one hundred eighty feet long. Besides being denied that straightforward remedy against my neighbors' noise, what I wound up with instead is a ramshakle, piecemeal, mish-mash of fencing hammered up on the whims of the three "architectural" geniuses next door. This includes the lattice fence toppers.

But fencing shortcomings paled into insignificance with the discovery that the noisy nuisance known as TLC Catering next door was an illegal nonconforming use of property and correcting the bigger problem became the "prime directive." All other considerations backed up behind the Monstrous Pink TLC Elephant - fence, noise, lack of sleep, yard improvements, home upgrades and maintenance... everything. Life was put on hold in order to pursue and dislodge the intransigent* neighbors' illegal business use.

Even so, there are times when the clucking of hens provides humorous relief. Such occurred last weekend while I was in my back yard, sitting under my grape arbor, studying some maps, awaiting the arrival of a riding partner. Flickers of movement behind the lattice atop the fence caught my attention. Sure enough, a pin head was bobbing and weaving, scanning my yard, trying to locate me or a telltale clue of my whereabouts. Target acquired, movement stopped.

We each tried to analyze the sight before us. After many long seconds I began to think perhaps their chicken found a roosting spot there. (Not too far off, actually!)

Suddenly a cuntrified voice elsewhere keened out, "Lynda! Where ya' at?"

The lattice-camouflaged shape quickly disappeared and a high, thin screech answered, "I'm over here... watchin' the Freak!"

{shrug} I've been called worse by better people... But it's always nice to know what your neighbors think of you, right?

The brief soliloquy** brought to mind a few lyrics from the song SuperFreak by Rick James:
She's a super freak, super freak
She's super-freaky, yow
Three's not a crowd to her, she says
It's such a freaky scene

- - - - - - - - - -
* Intransigent - (adj.) impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, reason; not willing to compromise; obstinately maintaining an attitude. (Don'cha LOVE the sausages in the caterer's ears? Of course, that could be just ONE sausage... passing through! ... just sayin'...)

** Soliloquy - (n. etymology: Late Latin soliloquium, from Latin solus alone + loqui to speak) A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to herself or reveals her thoughts without addressing a listener.

One freak livin' next to a... Super Freak, super-freaky!