A recent post over on Mark Maynard's Blog really has me hopping mad.
You know. I am not so sure I want to continue living in the City of Ypsilanti anymore and the reason I am not sure I want to live here is because of the City government. I am really tired of the sleazy way they deal with their lawn ordinance. Basically, they just show up and start mowing with no notice and then they send out a HUGE bill for their services. Well maybe that isn’t fair as they probably published a public notice buried in small print of a local paper. But that isn’t much of a notice. They aren’t very good about publishing public notices on their web page although I am not sure a public notice is really enough notice anyways.
It just seems so sleazy to publish a notice in a place you know hardly anyone looks before mowing peoples’ lawns for them and charging them 3-4 times the going rate for lawn services. It makes me very angry when this happens. It makes me angry when it happens to me and it makes me angry when it happens to my fellow city residents. It especially makes me angry because this apparently happens when people aren’t really in violation of the city’s 10” ordinance. It also makes me angry because the ordinance is very unfairly applied. I know of several city lots owned by prominent people who have “wildflowers” and “ground cover” in their extensively landscaped yards that surely are at least as much of a refuge for vermin as the slightly tall grass over at Casa Fremont or Chez Maynard. You see, that “refuge for vermin” line in the ordinance is really probably just there to make the ordinance seem objective. But really it is an ordinance about aesthetics because if it weren’t, there would be whole fields of blackeyed susans, tiger lilies, forsythia, violets, and myrtle mowed down every year since those kinds of plants provide habitat for wildlife just as much as other plants.
I guess when I really examine my beliefs about that, I find that when it comes to lawn care, I am pretty libertarian. Yeah, it might bug me if my neighbor has an ugly yard but I don’t see it as my right to actually do anything about it just because I don’t like it. Well, I suppose I have a right to put a privacy fence up to block my neighbor’s yard from my view and I certainly have a right to stand around in my yard tut-tutting about their inferior yard care, but I don’t think I should have a right to go over there and demand that they stop having such an ugly yard. (not that I think any of my neighbor’s have ugly yards, mind you..)
Oh, I'll probably end up deciding that it isnt enough of a reason to move and I'll probably stop being so mad about this soon enough and then I'll remember why I like Ypsilanti and why I generally do really like living here and stuff.
Maybe this year I'll take my lawn mower over some city owned property somewhere that has tall grass. It wont be too hard to find as there are lots of city owned parcels of land that dont seem to be maintained well. Then I can mow it and have a friend take some photos of me mowing it. I could present the city council with a bill for $135 and copies of the pictures during the public portion of the city council meeting. That probably wouldnt accomplish any change but it sure would make me feel better.