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August 29, 2014
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editorial

To secure these rights


Next Wednesday, we celebrate the 236th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The document reminds us that the reason we institute governments and elect public officials in the first place is to secure our rights. At a minimum, we ought to be able to expect our representatives to be concerned with those rights—like the right to life and health—even if they may not agree with us as to the best way to go about it.

It also reminds us that when government starts forgetting its obligations in this respect, “it is our right, it is our duty,” to do something about it.

Getting government off our backs

The above kind and reasonable defense of zoning laws as a necessary
guide to life in a civilized society is applauded by every one of us who ever had to sit with a headache and listen to a neighbors incessantly barking dog. It overlooks, as do many of the persons who promulgate such laws, and especially many of those who enforce them, the fact that whether you call something a code, a law, or a stricture, they all fall under the domain of the Constitution, and its amendments. It is when, as in the case of the Town of Tusten, the ongoing creation of such an ordinance becomes a permanent fixture of town governance (re-write committee) that their real and insidious nature becomes manifest. There is a line in the constitution prohibiting "secret laws", and what is apparently happening here is a clique of acquaintances have been empowered to meet regularly and make whatever particular pet peeve upsets them that week into a law that will affect all of us. It is now illegal to hang out freshly washed laundry? or cover an item with a BLUE tarpaulin? How about an ORANGE one? I am sure the adepts who promulgate this monstrosity would direct me to READ it in its entirety. I did, and found the fact that people who could even contemplate interfering in this way with the minutiae of their neighbors lives proved to be a strong emetic. Especially when one considers that all of the elect who will lower themselves to do so, are EXEMPT from any and all these strictures by application to THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS, made up of many of the same people involved in writing the codes. How wonderfully convenient.
The true menace, and the one so frequently appealed to in this town, and probably many others, and so reminicent of Nazi Germany, is at the heart and soul of this entire enterprise, The Denunciation. The secret (in violation of the fourth amendment guaranteeing being confronted by witnesses against) The august and omnipotent (due primarily to no true delineation of powers being published anywhere) office of Code Inforcement Officer, becomes the all-purpose threat to be wielded by those who are "IN" against those who are not. In keeping with the unspoken but very real disinclination of town government to place anything IN WRITING lest it be produced at a later date in court to be used as evidence , the affairs of this all purpose bogey-man remain sketchy at best. In virtually every instance of the holder of this office engaging a citizen of this town in my 15 years here, it has been after annoyance and expense, held to be either bogus or specious, and a result of petty vendetta. It is time that ALL instances of the use of this aspect of town government be bought under rule of law, and preceded by registered mail notification. No more illegal alien candidates sneaking up on the porch and peeking in the window. A THOROUGH vetting of candidates as to construction experience might also be helpful, as well as educational attainment, as insanely, the holder of this offices opinions outrank that of structural engineers and attorneys at law.