Ferguson Doubles Down on Municipal Piracy

Ferguson plans more municipal piracy: to increase revenue by increasing police ticketing. As I wrote about awhile back, much of the anger at police in Ferguson was arguably not driven by stories of police brutality or excessive force. The anger was driven by a patchwork of small towns that generate revenue by repeatedly fining people who don’t have means to pay. The result is an inordinate number of people with arrest warrants in various towns who have not committed serious crimes, and occasionally Read more […]

Government’s Not the Solution to the Poverty Problem

Government can’t solve it, but it can make the poverty problem worse. Here is an article I think is quite interesting: “Why Poor People Stay Poor.” An excerpt: It’s amazing what things that are absolute crises for me are simple annoyances for people with money. Anything can make you lose your apartment, because any unexpected problem that pops up, like they do, can set off that Rube Goldberg device. One time I lost an apartment because my roommate got a horrible flu that we suspected Read more […]

Homeowners Ordered to Build Fake Historic Shed

They didn’t do what they were told, so now we find homeowners ordered to turn back time. When you defy a city ordinance, beware! The people you have offended believe they must save face and teach you a lesson. The lengths to which they will go can be frighteningly stupid. In the case of Boulder, Colorado, we have a city council that didn’t understand irony and was frustrated by recalcitrant homeowners. According to the Boulder News, “Boulder orders homeowners to rebuild historic Read more […]

The Real Problem Behind Ferguson: Municipal Pirates

People claim the real problem behind Ferguson is racism. Stereotypes naturally feed into a problem that allows people to have arbitrary power over others. But that is not the same thing as racism. The problem is a patchwork of municipal zones of power and revenue acquisition. No one will necessarily agree with everything in Radley Balko’s amazing Washington Post story. Some of the critics of the system call other critics “zealots,” so readers are expected to read with some discernment. But I Read more […]

Orlando Man Fights City Again To Keep His Garden From Being Destroyed

A couple months ago, an Orlando family made national news when city officials told them they could no longer have a 25 by 25 foot vegetable garden in their front yard. There seemed to be some respite after thousands of people even from around the world e-mailed city officials blasting them for threatening the Helvenston family with fines unless they tore out their garden. Jason Helvenston, the homeowner who violated the city’s property codes by not having the aesthetically-pleasing dead lawn Read more […]

Minnesota Store Cited For Selling Candy “Cigarettes”

The St. Paul, Minnesota city council unanimously voted in 2009 to outlaw cartoon character lighters and candy that resembled cigarettes. Unfortunately, a small shop in St. Paul didn’t get the memo and had candy “cigarettes” in stock as well as gum shaped like cigars and chewing tobacco. The candy cigarettes were their biggest sellers. The Star Tribune reported that a city official visited the store a little over a week ago and instructed them to get rid of all the candy that looked like tobacco Read more […]

Man Fights City That Mandated He Destroy His Own Garden

“Sustainable development” sounds like it has to do with conserving the natural resources at your disposal to maximize your self-sufficiency. It sounds like it has to do with growing your own garden, raising your own animals and drawing your own water so that you don’t have to depend on the government to provide those for you. But that’s not really what they mean by “sustainable development.” It is government speak for complete government control over the environment. And it seems to be Read more […]