The Deep State Is Sprouting Like Weeds in Local Communities

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Fred in Skirts
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The Deep State Is Sprouting Like Weeds in Local Communities

Post by Fred in Skirts »

Coming soon to your town!

The Deep State Is Sprouting Like Weeds in Local Communities
After this man’s mother died, his hometown fined him $30,000 for this horrifying reason.

And now the small city of Dunedin, Florida is foreclosing on his home.

Because the Deep State is sprouting up like weeds in local communities.

The city of Dunedin, Florida has a history of excessive fines for minor infractions. Their code enforcement division is one of the most aggressive in Florida.

But now, according to a recent lawsuit, Dunedin might have taken it too far, and gone after the wrong man.

According to the lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice, Dunedin resident Jim Ficken routinely spent weeks at a time away from his property to aid his dying mother in South Carolina.

In 2015, while Ficken was in South Carolina, Dunedin cited him for having grass that was too tall. According to a little-known section of the code’s enforcement policy, any subsequent violation of city code in the next five years would make Ficken a repeat offender.

In the summer of 2016, Mr. Ficken’s mother, Marinelle Ficken, passed away and Jim was left in charge of her estate. In July of 2018 Ficken had to go to South Carolina for a few weeks to manage her estate. During his time away from Dunedin, Russ Kellum, the man who mowed his lawn, died suddenly.

According to the lawsuit, when Ficken finally got back home to Dunedin and tried to mow his overgrown lawn himself, his mower broke.

And that’s where the Deep State bureaucrats took control.

Dunedin had been fining Ficken $500 a day, with absolutely no notice that it was doing so. The fines were so hefty because Ficken was a “repeat offender.”

It was nearly two months before Ficken even had a clue he already owed the city tens of thousands of dollars.

On August 20, a code enforcement official making his daily rounds saw Ficken and informed him he should expect “a big bill from the city,” the lawsuit said.

That day, Ficken, scared by the ominous tone of the enforcement officer, bought a new mower, though he could barely afford it.

The next day, Aug. 21, he mowed his admittedly overgrown lawn. Also that day he received a notice from the city that he was to appear at a hearing with the Code Enforcement Board on September 4th.

Ficken couldn’t make that hearing, as he was back in South Carolina to manage another issue with his mother’s estate. The board met without him and ruled his outrageous fine would stand. The board also approved another, separate fine, alleging that his grass had grown too long again starting Aug. 31.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Ficken had no notice of this fine either.

Between the two fines, it turned out Mr. Ficken owed Dunedin a whopping $29,833.50 — on a house with barely a $125,000 market value.

Last week, according to the Tampa Bay Times the city of Dunedin’s Code Enforcement Board voted to foreclose on Mr. Ficken’s home because he failed to pay the nearly $30,000 in fines he unknowingly had accrued.

Mr. Ficken freely admits he let his grass grow too long. He just doesn’t think he should lose his house over it.

So, the very same day the city moved to foreclose, Mr. Ficken filed a lawsuit against Dunedin and the members of its Code Enforcement Board.

He’s seeking $1 in damages, attorney’s fees and injunctions that would relieve him of the fines.

According to the Tampa Bay Times story:

“The suit also hopes to end Dunedin’s alleged practice of fining people ‘without considering a homeowner’s ability to pay.’

‘It’s an excessive fine, and everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s outrageous,’ Ficken, a retiree on a fixed income, said.

Dunedin mayor Julie Ward Bujalski defended the Code Enforcement Board. It’s a citizen-driven body that reacts to complaints from other Dunedin residents, Bujalski said. Ficken’s property was the subject of complaints from his neighbors, so the board took action. (Ficken’s attorneys said they haven’t seen any evidence neighbors complained.)”

Ficken is receiving legal help from the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice.

This is the same organization that won a landmark case in 2019, Timbs v. Indiana. In this case, all nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States agreed that states and local governments are not allowed to levy excessive fines.

So, after looking at Mr. Ficken’s case the Institute eagerly agreed to take it on pro bono. “Nobody should lose their house for having tall grass,” lead attorney Ari Bargil said.

Mr. Ficken’s case is not the only one; in recent years Dunedin has severely cracked down on all code violations, no matter how small. According to Ficken’s lawsuit, the city collected almost $1.3 million in code enforcement violations in 2018 — up from just $34,000 in 2007.

This trend is gaining steam around the country as the Deep State’s roots take hold.
Fred :kiltdance:

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"It is better to be hated for what you are than be loved for what you are not" Andre Gide: 1869 - 1951

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Re: The Deep State Is Sprouting Like Weeds in Local Communit

Post by dillon »

I had that happen in N.C. the city of Charlotte wrote a threatening letter to my 87 year old father because of “weeds and grass” that was not being mowed on family farmland. My brother and I called the woman who wrote the letter and made her visit the site. We first pointed out that her complaint was about weeds on the state right of way, and not on my Dad’s property, and that the state, city or county was responsible for that mowing. We distinctly educated her in the fact that my Dad, of his own volition, had been mowing that right of way free of charge for many years, and would still be doing so had he not become weakened by cancer. Then we informed her that the larger tract she was bitching about in fact did not belong to my Dad, but to my brother...and he informed her that hell would freeze over before he mowed unused farmland, and defied her to go to court over it. And we both informed her that when farms get subdivided the lines are not clear, but she had access to all those plats and could have easily verified ownership before threatening the wrong person. Then we pointed out several tracts owned by wealthy speculators that weren’t being mowed either. We later wrote all this to the senior administrator in her office, but didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.

From the discussion, I left pretty sure that the lady had never actually seen our land before, and was simply being a political tool for some connected developer to pressure my Dad to sell out and leave. He never did.

BTW, like to know who the mayor of Charlotte was at the time? It was Pat McCrory, a former Duke Energy executive, and a Republican who went on to get elected governor of N.C., and was then defeated four years later. He was under consideration for a Cabinet Appointment in the Trump Administration. So I am not interested in Deep State BS unless you mean to include the corrupt current GOP Deep State.
As a matter of fact, the sun DOES shine out of my ...

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