Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Pay Taxes So Men Can Measure Grass With Rulers And Remind Me To Cut My Lawn

One day this spring, I came home to find a little piece of paper curled up in the handle of my front door.  It was a notice that if I didn't mow my lawn in three days then I would be fined by my city.

That was a tad irritating since I had planned on mowing the lawn that night anyway.  I didn't need a reminder from the city.

Naturally, I complained.  I had a nice chat with the mayor and the city inspector who left the warning.  The conversations were interesting.  Apparently, some neighbors get so obsessed with their lawns that they get infuriated when the lawns of neighbors don't match their specifications.  The city officials seem to be just responding to what we the citizens want.

And apparently what most people want is a tiny golf course outside the houses of everyone.

I found this hard to relate to.  You could have a jungle next door to me, and I wouldn't care.

Some people disagree.

Unfortunately, they got their way, and the city has a law that grass must be no more than eight inches tall or the resident will be fined.

The law's a bit odd.  It doesn't specify if it's just one blade of grass eight inches tall or on average.

But it turns out that was just the beginning of problems with these laws, as they are often poorly designed and written.  They're called "weed laws" and seem to be as common across the country as, well, weeds.

The implementation is even worse.  My city actually pays people to go around and measure grass with rulers and then leave warnings if the grass is over eight inches tall.

"You should hear the calls I get," the inspector moaned.

"People get a little fussy around Mother's Day," the mayor told me.

I could sympathize with their plights, but worrying about the length of grass seemed daft to me.

I searched for some sanity and found Wild Ones.

More tomorrow.


  1. Did you ask them if you could have a goat?

  2. I did not discuss the goat with the mayor or the inspector. The city hasn't legalized chickens yet, so it's probably best to start with them. We'll work our way up to goats eventually perhaps!


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