No, this isn't a post about Pachino Hill.
I've noticed quite a trend lately in both of our local papers. There have been a number of stories of people essentially complaining that they were punished for breaking the rules, laws, or ordinances of the community they live in.
Example #1. The uproar over the red light and speed cameras.
Mostly people's anger about these comes down to the feeling that its not "sporting" for the police to have automated enforcement. I'd like to point out that we don't have some inherent right to get away with breaking the laws just because there aren't police around. Don't speed or run red lights, or loan your vehicles to those that do, and you will never get an automated enforcement ticket.
Example #2. Snow removal policies bother many residents -QCTimes
This article features a landlord who hadn't shoveled his walks for 4 days after a snowstorm, and complains that the city charges him too much when they have to do something that is his responsibility. While I believe, as mentioned in the previous post, that the 10 hour rule is a bit too strict, the rule has been in place for years. It didn't just go into effect this year, and if the guy wanted to avoid the city bill he could have just shoveled his walks, as is required as part of owning a house.
Example #3. Parking headaches cause clashes in downtown Davenport -QCOnline
The guy featured in this article moved his business out of downtown after his car was towed away from the front door of his business. The reason? He had 10 unpaid parking tickets! He felt that, despite the laws, it was his right to be able to park in front of his business without paying the meter. Many people disagree with the fact that we have parking meters, but that doesn't change the fact that we have them. If he didn't want his car towed he should have followed the rules.
Example #4. Lack of notice irritates residents -QCTimes
This guy stores his junk outside and then gets upset when the city enforces their ordinances. A lot of people have been wanting the city to crack down on this kind of stuff for years, and now the paper is going to make him out to be the victim. Most of the article bemoans the fact that he didn't get the letter (since he isn't the property owner) warning him about it. If he'd kept his yard clean he wouldn't have had to worry about any letters.
The moral of these stories to me is that if people want to avoid trouble with the city they should follow the laws! Who would have thought? As I said in one of the article comment sections, from all the threats of people to leave the city over this stuff, Davenport will probably become an even better place to live.
If you feel that a certain rule is unjust, you don't need to break it to make an example of yourself. Call your alderman, run for council, or otherwise participate in the democratic process. Not shoveling your walks doesn't make you the Ghandi of city ordinances, it just makes you a jerky neighbor.