Thursday, November 17, 2011

This Grass Won't Grow

            Glendale, California has banned the use of artificial turf for lawns in front of private residences.  City officials say they are concerned about the plastics and chemicals used to make the turf.  In a leap of logic known only to these officials, it is still permitted in the back yards of homes.  Making this ban even stranger is the water shortage in that part of the Country. 
Right thinking people might conclude it is better to use artificial turf in place of real grass that requires precious water.  They might also think if turf is toxic in the front yard, it will be toxic in the back yard.  One might also conclude that there are undisclosed money or control issues behind this ban.
While it may seem strange that Glendale would enact this ordinance, the truth is that similar actions are enacted frequently in communities all across the U.S.  For years, local ordinances in the form of building permits and zoning have been used to restrict the free use of private property, and this noose around the neck of freedom is getting tighter with the passing of time, as demonstrated in Glendale. 
The common denominator in the plethora of local building and zoning ordinances is not public safety, for things that are acceptable in one locale are illegal in another.  The common denominator in building and zoning codes is the economic advantage and/or control they give to someone.  Even the mighty Wal-Mart Corporation must bow to these demands.  For example, when local businesses fear the competition, these laws are used to keep Wal-Mart out of the community. 
Simply put, most restrictions on property rights are about power and money.  The façade, behind which those who make the rules hide, is public safety.  A real travesty is this system often becomes a training ground for career politicians.  Given some thought, it is obvious that most legislation at all levels affords someone an economic advantage, frequently at the expense of private property rights.  This “experience” is not needed in any level of government.  Another good reason for “ZERO INCUMBENTS.” 

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