By Karen Miller
Banner of Truth
On Sept. 14th 2011 it was reported in The Daily Times that in Alcoa, TN, a $500 fine for not mowing the lawn could become a law. This can take place because in 2006 the city of Alcoa adopted into the International Property Maintenance Code – City Codes Enforcement Officer. This is an example from the International Code Council. In 1994 the not-for-profit International Code Council was created. More information about ICC is available here: www.iccsafe.org
These codes can impose draconian restrictions on individual freedom. Many communities have extensive code enforcement departments. In Birmingham, Mobile, and Atlanta, these code enforcement officers are called Environmental Police.
Rondal Keith Jervis failed to mow his grass the way the code enforcement officer in Corbin, Kentucky thought it should be mowed. Jervis was fined $100. A dispute arose between Jervis and the enforcement officer, and Jervis’ fine rose to $2,250 for high grass and debris on the Jervis property. A phone call to the code enforcement office resulted in a shouting match, and Jervis was charged with “third-degree terrorist threatening.”
The 106th TN. General Assembly SB3428 by L. Finney under Municipal Government–As enacted, authorizes municipal governments to create an office of administrative hearing officer to hear building and property maintenance code violations. On May 13th, 2010, the Senate adopted Amendments #1 and #2 and passed Senate Bill 3428, as amended.
AMENDMENT #1 adds administrative law judges to the list of persons who may be administrative hearing officers. This amendment also requires input on the curricula for initial training from the administrative procedures division of the office of secretary of state instead of the department of commerce and insurance. This amendment specifies that any fine levied by a hearing officer must be reasonable based upon the totality of the circumstances.
AMENDMENT #2 requires that hearing officers be appointed for four-year terms with eligibility for reappointment instead of “indefinite” terms.
On June 4,2010, the House substituted Senate Bill 3428 for House Bill 3659 ,adopted amendment #2, and passed Senate Bill 3428, as amended.
AMENDMENT #2 specifies that fines issued by hearing officers under the bill would be up to $500 ”per violation” for violations occurring upon residential property and up to $500 “per violation per day” for violations occurring upon non-residential property. This amendment specifies that administrative law judges serving as hearing officers would not be subject to the training and continuing education requirements of the bill, as described in the above summary.
Anyone who reads Chapter 7 of United Nations’ Agenda 21, and then reads their local comprehensive land use plan will immediately recognize that most of the provisions of the local land use plan come directly from Agenda 21. More often than not, the elected officials who adopt these plans never read Agenda 21, and many have never even heard of the U.N. document, signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Comprehensive plans are developed by planning professionals committed to transforming local communities into social structures described in Agenda 21 documents. The procedure to achieve this goal is deliberately designed to bypass local elected officials during the development process, while giving the public impression of engaging a broad spectrum of the community’s citizens. Only after the plan is essentially developed is the governing body called upon to give it the force of law by a formal vote.
A comprehensive land use plan adopted by government gives the government, not the owner, the superior right to decide how the land may be used. This reality gives government the benefit of land ownership while leaving the responsibility of ownership with the owner. The owner must ask the government for permission to use his own land, but is required to pay tax on the land and maintain the land in whatever way might be dictated by the comprehensive plan. In King County Washington, for example, rural land owners are required to leave 65 percent of their land in its rural condition, while paying tax on the 100 percent of the land.
This process varies slightly from community to community, but every community has undergone, or soon will undergo a similar process. The goals of sustainable development amount to a complete transformation of American society. Sustainable development embraces education, economics, and social justice, as well as environmental issues. Once the new collaborative decision process has been established, it can be used to develop policy in all these issue areas. Whenever public policy is developed by government-funded advocacy groups, administrators, or bureaucrats, there can be no accountability to the people. Private property rights are eroded and individual freedom evaporates.
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
These are the opinions of Karen Miller