Good morning and a happy July 4 to all. Among the surpises, San Angelo is not the national hot spot. Not even close, and God willing, we might get rain today. The heat and rainfall we can only pray for and hope. By the way, saw my first Cardinal of this year this morning, and I mean the red bird, not the Catholic in the funny hat. Not being disrespectful, one of my aunts is a nun, but the bird really caught my eye
On to matters we can control, let's begin with City Council and the parking ordinance. As approved last time, with some amendments, parking vehicles on unimproved surfaces would be prohibited. Last meeting of Council we saw some changes, I'm not sure anyone has specific language yet. Is the street 36 feet or 32 feet, is the parking area 90 degrees (perpindicular to, though some time was spent defining perpindicular, do we teach geometry anymore?) from the street, how many cars, etc.
Just for fun, I am including some snapshots of my block in Northeast Angelo. When I moved here twenty years ago this block had myself, a widow, one self- employed fellow, a retiree, and two dope dealers. The widow died, the retired guy sold his house to a good family, and at least one of the drug-peddlers got busted. Folks, it's a really nice neighborhood, I don't lose sleep if I forget to lock the truck.
Now look at the snapshots. The nice family is multi-generational, when everyone is home at the same time, they have 7 cars. OK, the block in general looks like a used car lot.
On my block, having a parking problem is a sign of prospertity, something to be celebrated, "Hey Carlos, I see the kid I used to buy school candy from worked hard enough to buy a car". Sometimes we do well not to park in one another's driveway or block the mailman. Yes, Neanderthals that we are, we have on street mailboxes and 50 foot frontage. One vehicle or nasty notes from the mailman. We deal with this without help from Council.
As I understand what is coming up for second reading, MY driveway will be illegal. Same drive that was here twenty years before I moved in and the twenty years since, but a 12 foot single car curb cut, Jan or I will have to decide who rides the bus, and who sells the car. Ain't gonna happen. Jan isn't giving up her car, and I'm not walking to work! Paul I'm not putting you down, but don't ignore us. We don't have the choices available to you.
One of my closing comments last time was "If this passes, maybe we can hope it is as aggresively enforced as doggie limits or garage sales, in which case it will actually bother no one". That wisecrack BTW, really pissed some folk in the room.
We have I think 8,000+ open warrants, Sheriff deputies, Warrant officers, SAPD, they are not ignorant of this but Jeez Louise, we have so many people and so much time; which side of the pile you want us to start on, and feel free to grab a shovel. Oh and do we put the current domestic abuse call on hold while we chase down a three year old open warrant?
Here is my problem with this "Cars-on-the-Lawn" ordinance. It is an open door to selective enforcement. Does it cover the boat and trailer; how about the RV one might see parked by a home? A lot of people have limited space for their "stuff". Yes, my Libertarian instinct reacts negatively to any cheese-eating ordinance we can live without. You want a good "nuisance ordinance" I want one forbidding lazy people from pulling up and honking the horn instead of getting off their duff and knocking on the door.
Here we are talking property rights, the "home as a castle" rights, and I am reluctant to give any of that power to anyone. Am I allowed to tell my neighbor "Hey, you have too much furniture on the front porch, it looks tacky and might diminish my property value if I choose to sell. Which I'm not, but I'd like to control your property, just in case". If that sounds like an improbable stretch of logic it is probably because it is. What if I choose to paint my house the color of Pepto-Bismol, or Irish green? Does City Council own my house or do I?