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Have you ever stopped to think about those little-known ordinances that could get you in trouble with the law if actually enforced? What violation of a silly regulation might result in a hit to your pocketbook with a fine or possibly even land you in jail?
Let’s take a look at some of the ridiculous laws that are on the books in cities around our great country.
Maybe the most common local legal issue with which we are all familiar is the far-reaching sign ordinance. How many times do you drive down the street and see a vacant trailer, van, or panel truck parked in parking lot? The owner is obviously advertising a business and, rather than conform to the city sign ordinances, the “eyesore” vehicle is parked in plain sight for the public to view. Should this unwelcome visual distraction be banned from our city’s parking areas, or is this just a creative way to create publicity?
One Midwestern city has an ordinance in place that authorizes law enforcement to issue tickets to anyone who is deemed “annoying.” This annoyance could be performed by mouth, sign, or motion. Talk about a violation of free speech.
A city in one of our Western states requires that homeowners have front lawns covered with flat, green grass. This guideline was fine until an extended drought hit the area. Many home dwellers violated the ordinance by not watering their grass or simply replacing it with rocks or shrubs.
In a small town in Florida, any broken window must be boarded up by a window covering that matches the exterior color of the building. And, after the board is in place, the clock starts running. The window must be replaced within thirty days after the initial damage.
Several municipalities in southern California instituted a ban against cutting down oak trees in an attempt to curb development. Even the simple pruning of such a tree by a homeowner is against the law.
The code enforcement officers in one South Florida town are hard at work ticketing those property owners who haven’t taken down seasonal holiday decorations by January 10. I guess their holiday spirit disappears pretty quickly!
In various towns around the country, the list of silly laws continues. Did you know that somewhere in the United States it is illegal to …
* Operate a moving vehicle while blindfolded
* Stop a child from jumping over a puddle of water
* Cross a street on your hands
* Fall asleep under a hair dryer, but only if you are a female
* Sing in public in bathing suit attire
* Give a lighted cigar to a domesticated pet
* Attend a theater within four hours of eating garlic
* Kiss for more than five minutes
* Carry an ice cream cone in your pocket
* Shoot a teller with a water pistol while robbing a bank
Isn’t it about time that we finally get tired of the politicians and the senseless rhetoric that comes from their legislation? Don’t you think that the local guys are just as intrusive as the politicians in Washington?
In his new novel, Tuey’s Course, James Ross shares the story of a man who has reached his breaking point with city government and the members who enjoy wielding their power over those who cannot fight back. As with Ross’ two previous novels, Lifetime Loser and Finish Line, this new novel provides social commentary on race and class in our country. And, as always, the author uses the backdrop of St. Louis and the fictional Prairie Winds Golf Course to develop his story.
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