Monday, March 9, 2015

C'mon. Is this really racism?

Did you see the story on CNN blasting Ferguson, Missouri code enforcement for "stealing" a woman's car from beside her house?

From CNN:
Loistine Hoskin cared for her old car as a sentimental possession, missing a tire while parked beside her home, until one day the city ticketed her for having a "derelict vehicle in driveway." 
A tow truck took it away in 2009.
CNN's report seems to contend the owner being cited and fined for code violations is evidence of racial targeting of African Americans by city officials in Ferguson.

But is it?

Since CNN seemed outraged about a woman's "derelict" three-wheeled car being seized from her yard in 2009 (after notice of it being a code violation) let's go west, and look at an example of a local California county's code.

How does Sacramento County, California handle an inoperable, dismantled, or wrecked vehicle on private property?
It is unlawful to park or store, or permit others to park or store, automotive vehicles and trailers without current registration or in an inoperable condition on any lot in any residential, interim-residential, interim-estate, recreation, agricultural, interim-agricultural, or agricultural-residential zone unless they are stored in a fully enclosed building. 
Sacramento County's website also says.:
What are the Sacramento County Abatement Procedures?
The procedures are as follows:  
1. A complaint is received
2. An Officer investigates the complaint
a. If there is no violation, the case is closed
b. If the vehicle is gone on arrival, the case is closed
c. If the vehicle is abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, unregistered, or appears to have been parked for more than 72 hours, the vehicle is posted with a notice of intent to abate (remove).
3. Upon re-inspection:
a. If the vehicle is brought into voluntary compliance, the case is closed
b. If the vehicle has not been brought into compliance, the vehicle may be towed and fees imposed
c. If the vehicle poses a threat to safety, the vehicle can be immediately towed. 
Sacramento County explains its rationale...
The presence, accumulation and storage of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles creates conditions likely to reduce the value of real property in the area, promote blight and deterioration, attract crime, create a fire hazard, act as harborage for rodents and insects, and is injurious to the public peace, health, safety and general welfare. 
A derelict vehicle in violation of code can also be cause for cancellation of homeowner's insurance, or for an insurer not to pay if damage or injury result from the vehicle being in non-compliance.

CNN looks exceedingly stupid for piling on Ferguson for "stealing" a lady's car, and for allowing the owner's claim that she "took it to work everyday" to go unchallenged. Yes, this is the same car that CNN also reports was missing a tire.

Meanwhile, if the Department of Justice is making a big deal over code enforcement over things like derelict vehicles, or  fallen trees on a residential property, how long before code enforcement in nearly every other community in America come under DOJ scrutiny?

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