Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Griswold Family Christmas Ordinance

Authorities in Aurora, Illinois have finally stepped in with a cure to a problem that has plagued residential neighborhoods across the country for years: people who leave their Christams lights up too long. Lazy men everywhere recoil at this development, which stipulates that decorations for any holiday must not be up more than 60 days before or after the big date, or residents will face a $50 fine.

While it's easy to laugh about another stupid law being passed, let's go through the process that actually causes this to occur.
- first, some nosy neighbor has to take it upon themselves to complain to city officials about someone's Xmas lights being up too long, because it looks "trashy" (who are these people?)
- then, a city councillor has to think "yes, this is a real problem that we need to do something about" (thank you, democracy)
- legislation must be written up and the proposal must be brought to city council for discussion, at which not one person seriously questions whether this is really the government's business (for the record, I think the "property values" argument is complete bunk)
- a majority of aldermen (in this case, the vote went 9 to 2) must support the legislation, again giving no thought to either the merits of using the time and money to worry about this when other, more serious problems are at hand or to the rationale for government involvement

Now imagine that some line of reasoning applying to something else that some person finds objectionable about what you do on your property ...and our slide down the slippery slope towards government regulation of everything continues.


At 8:30 AM, Blogger Molly said...

Now if only they'd do something about unmowed lawns and untrimmed hedges. Those are a real menace to my property value, too.

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Scott McC said...

Oh, they do - I'm pretty sure that lots of cities have bylaws about the upkeep of front yards, etc, including the length of the grass. When I worked in Waskesieu in Prince Albert National Park, one of the best things I saw was when one of the wardens was called out by one of the administrators for having grass longer than the specified 75mm (I think that's what it was) at his house (which was, to be fair, owned by Parks Canada). Well, his response was priceless: he mowed a big "75" into the lawn.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Molly said...

I have been stunned into silence.


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