If there’s one thing that unnerves me, ok, angers me, more than anything else it is the arrogance of government.
I especially become enraged when common sense evades those bestowed with the “powers of government” and they become dispatchers of tyranny. And so it was today that absurdity came to my doorstep, literally. I had a great time today with the men and women of the Commercial Metals Company mini steel mill plant in Durant, Oklahoma. I’ve never witnessed the process by which steel is made, specifically in this case rebar, which is necessary to reinforce concrete. So I returned to my home here in Dallas truly enlightened and encouraged to see manufacturing growing right here locally. I was catching up on emails and doing some house chores before I went out to do a dry cleaning run and get a calzone at my favorite Italian place, Carmine’s Pizza on Spring Valley Rd. As I approached my front door to exit, I noticed something had been taped to it…figured it was a package pickup receipt.
Oh no, to my surprise it was something far more troubling, egregious, and disdainful. You see, I had received a City of Dallas Administrative Civil Citation. Uh-huh, just sitting in my house minding my own business, and I received Citation Number H17-059635-01 from someone whose name I cannot even read. But what I did read was that I had violated — get this — City Code 18-4 (c) (2). Basically, I had four bags of leaves on the sidewalk in front of my home. You know, the home I pay a mortgage on, and property taxes.
I was incredulous, because this city code “inspector,” whose badge number I cannot read, hadn’t bothered to just ring the doorbell, since my Jeep Wrangler was in the driveway, and face me as my accuser. And then I squinted my eyes to determine that the penalty was for having my raked leaves in black bags, tied, in front of my own home: $220.00, with a $36.00 DTF/AWF Fee (whatever the hell that is), and somehow this common core math graduate listed my total mail-in penalty as $261.00. Let me be very clear to the city of Dallas, I am not paying this. Guess what, I simply took the bags of leaves and placed them in my driveway next to my garbage cans.
Now, I’ve lived here for three years, and never have I had a fine, a penalty, written against me for having my own bags of raked leaves in front of my own house. I am absolutely upset that someone is empowered to walk around and issue out fines to me, a law-abiding citizen, for a municipal statute that I’ve never heard of. So where is my little Dallas city rule book? Here is what torques me off the most. I stood before a Dallas City Council that took a vote to have a statue of General Robert E. Lee removed. That removal costs nearly $500,000. I will not surrender any of my hard-earned money to a city that cannot manage its first responder pension fund, provide proper body armor plates to our police, and wastes funds on ideological folly like removing a doggone statue.
As a matter of fact, I demand an apology from whomever this “Inspector” is that cannot legibly write their name or badge number. This person obviously doesn’t understand what it means to be a civil servant. They could have simply left me a kind note instructing me to please place my bags of leaves back into the driveway. I see this simply as someone being way too into their own perceived power, and that’s what liberty-loving people despise most about government.
Let me reiterate, I will not be paying this PENALTY, so save your envelope and stamp to mail anything out to me. I do not think the city of Dallas wishes to be highly embarrassed by a 22-year US Army combat veteran and former Member of Congress. I do not take this action for myself, but do so as a voice for those who do not feel empowered to do so.
We the people will not stand for such blatant disrespect and disregard as citizens of this city. And I am more than happy to go before the Dallas city council, or whomever it takes to articulate all that is wrong about penalizing, rather shaking down, a citizen. This must end…and in the meantime, y’all please have a Merry Christmas.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]