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Community Comment

Thu., March 18, 2010, 11:17 a.m.

Poor Pitiful City Wants MORE of your Money!

In this morning's paper, there is a little article entitled, "City fees jump for trash, other code violations," by Jonathan Brunt.  It can also be found at 


City Council, Monday night, passed a series of ordinances that essentially impede on your privacy and on your constitutional rights.  All car hobbiest take note!  The City is going to play on your hobby so they can make money.

Another change will force owners of cars the city labels as “junk vehicles” to pay $200 if they want to appeal the city’s decision. The new code also allows the city to issue a $513 ticket for owners who do not abide by junk car rulings, something it couldn’t do before.


Currently, appeals of junk car violations with the city’s hearing examiner are automatic and free.


“We would be holding a lot of hearings that nobody showed up to,” Mallahan said.


It is illegal to store cars outside enclosed structures when most of the following conditions exist: they are inoperable, more than 3 years old, substantially damaged or have a value equal to or less than its scrap value.

 The fees?  $200 if you want to appeal.  $513 if you do not "abide."


I know several car buffs that have two or three cars they are working on - and usually two of those cars are parts for the third.  And they might all be "damaged" and surely are older than three years, and a couple of them might be missing a motor, which now resides in the third.


This activity is usually done in the back yard and/or garage.  It is private property.  It is fenced in.  It is not viewable from the street.  It is neither a hazard nor a nuisance, nor is it debris.


Other ordinances were passed Monday night that will cost you!  Say you are a poor law student, studying all your waking hours at the library, and you leave a couple bags of your garbage out for a while and even though you've got Uncle Teddy volunteering to drive up and help you take it to the dump - o no!!!  The city won't let you do that.  They will come in and haul it off for you and charge you for the cost.  $284.


It's all about money.  "The increased charges are expected to generate about $100,000 for the city this year, about double what the city otherwise would have collected." (from Brunt article)

This will have a huge impact on low income families, on the elderly, on renters (AND their landlords).  It is an invasion of our personal rights to live on our property and have possessions that we value.  Pretty soon, that 60-year old rusted out Schwinn bike you are using as an art decoration is going to be “defined by City Code” as unsightly debris.   It boils down to whose definition of “junk” are we going to use.   

Even though Bob Apple made several very pertinent and to the point objections to these ordinances and said he wanted no part of it, the ordinances were passed without a blink by the other four members present.  It’s all about money.

Think Big Brother isn’t watching you?  Think again.  The Gestapo-disguised city employees will be having cameras around their necks, ready to climb the neighbor fence in order to capture your “debris” in your fenced in back yard.  


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.