Brad Harrington

City Code Enforcers Get Torched! <Big Smile>

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In the last issue of Liberty's Torch, we ran an investigative expose of unevenly-enforced Cheyenne City Zone Codes... And published pictures of one of the zone code enforcer's similar violations on his OWN property. <huge grin, article below, and accompanying editorial below that>

It didn't take long for our phone to start ringing with residents ready to point out other city zone enforcer property violations as well. But, shucks, by the time we got out there with the cameras, all the violations had been cleared up. INCLUDING the original buffoon's property whom we made a fool out of in the first place. <Pictures can be viewed here: Zone Enforcer Violations> I'll bet our dear old Mayor was spitting sparks when that order went out.

Tough rocks, and cry me a river. Isn't it just too bad that now the enforcers are getting held to the same standards as the rest of us mere peonic property owners?? So, who says you can't make a difference? The zone laws in this city are still an absolute joke, but I'll bet it'll be a cold day in Hell before any of these bozos decide to let THEIR weeds grow three feet high in the future, while they're measuring everybody else's weed lengths with a ruler. <hoot>

This is a free public service on our parts, by the way - and you can certainly count on the Torch to hold these dopes' feet in the fire in the future. Live Free Or DIE!!

CITY ZONE LAWS UNEVENLY ENFORCED IN SOUTH NEIGHBORHOODS

One City Zone Code Employee Also Exempts Self As Well

By Bradley Harrington

CHEYENNE, WYO. - Arlen Scarborough, Cheyenne resident on Seymour Avenue, Southside, has been engaged in a lot of controversy over coding standards with the City lately - and while investigation reveals that some of the City’s actions are justified, it also reveals issues of duplicity and double-standards; not only regarding the unequal manner in which City codes are being enforced, but also with violations on the part of one of the code enforcers, City Zoning Officer Casey Palma, as well.

This reporter was initially contacted by Scarborough several weeks ago, and subsequently interviewed Scarborough on these issues on Oct. 1.

For Scarborough, it began when he started providing shelter for homeless individuals, whom he occasionally housed in a trailer parked on the street. At one point, within the last year, Scarborough also built a shed in his back yard and was housing homeless people there as well.

Some neighbors complained of noise, inappropriate language and homeless people getting dressed inside the shed with the door open, so the City responded. Cheyenne Police Dept. Code Enforcement Officer Emmet Lusher was given the case for investigation, and, according to Scarborough, that’s when things started getting a little dicey.

One homeless man, Phil Leavy, the occupant of the backyard shed at the time of this reporter’s interview, requires oxygen support - so Scarborough ran an electric extension cord out from his house to the shed to provide the needed power. “The guy’s on a lung transplant list,” Scarborough said. “He had no place else to go; Comea House wouldn’t take him because of his medical issues, so I offered to help him out.” And Scarborough readily admitted that he had also run power cords out to trailers on the street when needed by homeless occupants as well.

All such uses of electric power, however, violate City zoning code for an MR1 Zoning District, as did the unlicensed RV Scarborough had in his front yard, and the piles of wood left over from the shed construction he had in his back yard. “I knew I was illegal,” Scarborough said. “I guess I care more about reaching out a helping hand than I do about letting someone tell me what I can do on my own property.”

And while Scarborough admits that some of the neighbors’ complaints had merit, he also stated that Code Enforcement went too far in their zeal to catch him violating City code. According to Scarborough, Officer Lusher told him at one point regarding Leavy’s presence in the shed: “I don’t care if he is terminal, you’ve got to get rid of him now” - and that it was not unusual to have Code Enforcement hiding in bushes to clandestinely observe Scarborough’s and the homeless people’s activities. “At one point,” Scarborough said, “Lusher told me: ‘We’ll be watching you as long as you have unsavory people at your address.’”

The woodpile, insulation and other materials in his yard, additionally, were recently forcibly picked up by the City through the actions of Palma and Lusher, and when Scarborough complained that the materials were not trash, Lusher told him, “Don’t give me that, it’s garbage.”

At the time of this reporter’s original interview with Scarborough, Lusher had issued Scarborough a “Courtesy Letter” dated Sept. 19 - which Scarborough provided - that demanded he rectify (“abate”) the following Code violations: 8.60.050 (“Weeds/Grass”); 8.60.060 (“Junk/Trash”); 8.60.070 (“Appliances”); 8.60.030 (“Shrubs/branches encroaching onto sidewalk and/or alley”); 8.60.080 (“Junk Vehicles”); 8.60.080 (“Attractive Nuisance”); and 12.040.010 (“Obstruction on street/sidewalk”).

The letter ordered Scarborough to engage in the following “Abatement” actions: “Cut weeds/grass below 6 in. in height; Remove all trash/junk; Remove obstruction from street/sidewalk; Cut shrubs/branches back to edge of sidewalk and/or 8ft above surface; Remove appliances; Remove junk Vehicles/license operable Vehicles; and Cut shrubs/branches back to edge of alley and 14f above surface.”

“Yes, I know that I need to take care of some of this stuff,” Scarborough said. “But a lot of this is ridiculous. I guess private property just isn’t what it used to be any longer.”

When contacted by this reporter, Code Enforcement Officer Lusher denied that he had told Scarborough, “I don’t care if he is terminal, you’ve got to get rid of him now.”

“What I told him,” Lusher said, “is that if you have a person with serious medical issues, get him some help through the state or the Dept. of Family Services. Or that you have to have him living in your house, not the backyard shed.”

Lusher did admit, however, that he had told Scarborough that he would be watching him. “We’ve got a history with this guy,” Lusher said. “I’ll be watching him regardless of who he has at his address. This is an ongoing thing with Mr. Scarborough… We’ve dealt with him before at other property. When neighbors start complaining, it’s time to comply with the law, and ordinance grants me the right to enter private property to perform my duties.”

Most of the rest of the laundry list, said Lusher, was being handled by Palma of Zoning.

Palma, in his turn, was frank in providing the various zoning code violation numbers of which he said Scarborough was guilty. “We’ve got all kinds of stuff here,” Palma said. “Non-conforming sheds, no permits for the shed, travel trailers being used as a dwelling, power cords running out to the shed and out to the street, trash, and so on. When we get nuisance reports from neighbors, that have been ongoing for some time, we’ve got to do something about this.”

And, again, Scarborough was frank in admitting that things had gotten out of hand in regard to some of those zoning issues. “What bothers me is that you can walk up and down this neighborhood and find the same types of violations all over the place. How come these people are not being harassed to the extent that I am?” He pointed to a VW parked in the yard across the street from his house that did not have a license plate. “There’s a violation, right there, just for starters,” Scarborough said. “And you won’t have to even walk more than a few hundred feet to find plenty more.”

“Nor is that all, or even the worst of it,” Scarborough said. “Mr. Palma happens to live a mere three doors away from me, on 9th St. Do you have a few minutes for a walk?”

Upon initially walking down the alley between 9th and 10th Streets to Palma’s house, Scarborough stopped in back of the house and pointed.

“Those weeds sure look taller than six inches to me,” he said. “And how about all that trash piled up next to his garage? And how about all that wood piled up in the back of his garage, right here in the alley? All of this is in violation, and this guy’s the Zoning enforcer! And how about that trailer right there, not more than three feet away from his backyard fence, that doesn’t have a license plate on it either? And how about the truck in his driveway, front side, which has an expired license plate on it? How come none of that matters to anybody? Is that what you would call fair?”

“I’m not trying to claim I’m being persecuted here,” Scarborough said, “although it sure feels like it sometimes. What is really bothering me is that some people, people with City privilege, are not even required to abide by the same laws - the very laws they are tasked with enforcing. Is that what living in a ‘free’ country is supposed to be about?”

On the most recent interview, Scarborough said that he had taken care of all the abatements, including licensing the RV in his front yard. “It’s just easier to handle it,” he said. “I’m not expecting any real justice to happen here, and that’s why I called you.”

CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT PROVES TO BE A JOKE ON JUSTICE, RIGHTS

By Bradley Harrington

As our news story proves beyond any shadow of a doubt (“City zone code laws unevenly enforced in south neighborhoods,” Page 9), some people seem to think they are “more equal” than others - and City Zoning Officer Casey Palma certainly wins the prize for massive chutzpa in that regard.

What Mr. Palma (as well as the rest of the City’s zoning enforcement parasites slopping away at the public trough) does for a living is intrusive and meddlesome: He spends his time, and our taxpayer money, telling other people what they can do with their own private property.

Nor is saying that to be construed as approving all of Mr. Scarborough’s actions regarding his desires to help out those less fortunate than himself. Such goals are always worthy to pursue, but the pursuit of them still needs to fall within the boundaries of proper and respectful social interaction - and having homeless people on his property changing clothes in front of his neighbors doesn’t qualify.

But the idea that the only way of achieving the observance of such boundaries is through an arbitrary, labyrinthic morass of virtually unintelligible gobbledygook as what comprises current city regulations on zoning code is fallacious at best. Good tort law and a sane court system are all that is needed to implement the idea of “Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins.”

Zoning laws, by regulating the otherwise peaceful actions of a free people, destroy the very objectivity of law in that process, and merit little more than being wiped off the books. They are corrosive to justice and the proper functioning of a free society and - as our story makes clear - breed nothing more than non-objectivity and favoritism.

Being a “government of laws and not of men” does not mean that government can pass any law just because it feels like it; those laws need to protect individual rights, not lay waste to them. The most moral man on the planet cannot “properly” implement an unjust, irrational and immoral principle.

Furthermore, on top of having these ridiculous laws on the books to begin with, the fact that the City doesn’t even bother trying to enforce them equally would be enough to flunk our minions of zone-code enforcers right there. But to have Mr. Palma, an actual employee of that department, engage in such flagrant violations himself while handing out “Abate Orders” to all of us other mere mortals for identical violations is worse than inexcusable: it destroys the integrity of his office, such that it exists in the first place. City government has no place for those who consider themselves to be above the law. Mr. Palma needs to be handed a pink slip and relieved of his duties immediately, for he has proven himself to be incapable of acting in a fashion any of the rest of us would consider as conducive to the public trust.

'Nuff Said!

Brad

publisher@libertystorch.us

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It's the old "Do as I say, not as I do" rule of the men with the guns make all the rules.

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