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January 11th, 2000

As John Stossel would say…

On 20/20 each week, John Stossel has a short piece titled “Give Me a Break!” Despite the lame title, last week Stossel showcased one of the most ridiculous adherence-to-laws-in-the-face-of-common-sense I’d heard about in recent years. He talked about a New Jersey woman that saved almost a hundred of the town’s pets during a flood and kept them at her home until their owners could come and get them. Shelters in the area did not permit pets, so owners were forced to leave their homes and their pets behind (something I can’t imagine the pain of doing). Needless to say, the residents were very happy that this kind woman saved their animals — but she’s being fined $1000 for operating a “temporary animal shelter” on her property, which violates zoing laws. Huh? Apparently, her neighbors (who own a dog, incidentally) complained about the noise during the brief period she housed the pets at her place. Absolutely unreal.

So, today, I have my own “Give Me a Break” that would make Nell Carter and Joey Lawrence proud. Oddly, it also has to do with zoning laws, this time in Florida. A man, whose 6-year-old boy has leukemia, built a treehouse for his son. The treehouse is therapy for the boy, allowing him a place to escape his disease. But the neighborhood civic association says the treehouse violates those dreaded “zoning laws” and is six feet too high, so it has to be destroyed.

Excuse me?

It’s pretty sad (and scary) to see the way these wanna-be politicians wield their pseudo-power. I’m pretty sure members of the voting community won’t forget the total lack of compassion their elected officials showed for the little boy with cancer.

My favorite quote: “This association recognizes the extenuating circumstances in this case and the element of compassion has not been overlooked.” OK. Sure. And you’ll be re-elected next term. -ram

(Addendum, Jan. 12, 2000: Apparently, the civic association has given in. Thank goodness.)

Posted in Miscellaneous

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