Donald Allison

I had a pretty eye-opening conversation with Mayor Don Larson on Monday regarding the City of Seaside’s proposed private property upkeep ordinance. After reading the ordinance, it seemed very heavy handed to me, especially the part where it would give the city the power to demolish someone’s home if the homeowner fails to cooperate with the city regarding its new upkeep law.

In my conversation with the Mayor, I asked him what he has been hearing around town regarding the ordinance, and he said there is a “misconception” in the community that the city is going to demolish homes because the city isn’t going to do that. When I asked him why then did city officials write in the ordinance that the city would have the power to demolish someone’s home, Larson responded, “Because we might.”

Some misconception. It reminds me of how Americans were fooled into starting a war with Iraq by the Bush Administration some years ago. My group of friends and I all knew the Iraq “war,” – or illegal invasion and occupation as I like to call it – was completely bogus from the onset because of three simple words: Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). MAD basically means that other countries don’t mess with us because we have the largest nuclear weapon arsenal in the world and we could wipe out their entire population with the push of a few buttons.

Larson’s words raise the same red flags for me, and as I’ve been researching the ordinance, I’ve come to find that it is pretty ridiculous. My Dad is on the CC&R board of directors in the community he lives in down in Las Vegas, and he said they only charge people in violation of private property upkeep $100 per week – and they live in a pretty affluent area. At $700 per day, the city could create some major hardships for people and probably run a few out of town.

After talking with City Manager Mark Winstanley, I do feel better about the city’s “spirit” of the law, but that “spirit” is not written in the ordinance, and as City Councilor David Moore said to me, a city council hellbent on creating an upscale beach community and driving out all the poor people could wreck havoc with such a law. Regardless of Winstanley’s comments and the city’s “spirit,” it’s my job to call it like I see it, and I don’t like what I see. We don’t need anymore government intervention in our lives, and like I said last week, the new upkeep ordinance is the “canary in the coal mine” because I guarantee you once the community of Seaside has accepted this law another one just as oppressive will be coming up for council approval. Have you noticed that the government – whether city, county or federal – only gets bigger, never smaller?

One thing I’ve heard Larson repeat is that the ordinance is not CC&Rs, but to me the ordinance is much worse; at least with CC&Rs you are agreeing to them when you buy your home, whereas people who have owned their homes for generations or only one year were not aware an upkeep ordinance would one day become law. Another thing I keep hearing is, “We can always amend the ordinance.” I’ve got a better idea. How about the city fixes its potholes, figures out why half its drinking fountains work when they shut them off for the winter, fixes its sewer outfall problem, and puts some streets and sidewalks in before it tells us how to upkeep our private property.

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