Letter To The Editor: Nuisance Ordinance

By STEVEN SCHRAMM
Los Alamos

“Sometimes, ordinances and regulations are passed with the support of the majority of folks in a community…” (LA Daily Post, Vol. III, No. 21) (link).

And sometimes they’re not. They are passed because the only ones who showed up are the ones who supported the proposal. What happened to those who might have opposed the ordinance? It could have been apathy, it could have been personal situations, which prevented an appearance, or a host of other reasons. Or it could have been as simple as an honest belief that no one would consider such an obvious attempt to establish a nanny-state and that the proposal had no chance of success.

And sometimes ordinances need to be rescinded – like Chapter 18 of the Municipal Code. It became painfully obvious upon reading the recent article (link) that the Nuisance Ordinance has (like most government actions) grown into something unforeseen and undesirable.

Instead of a neighborhood where people bond together to create the environment they want, or where individuality can be expressed, this ordinance is pitting neighbor against neighbor. It has resulted in the ability for anyone to walk around town and anonymously turn in complaints against people they may or may not know, simply because they perceivea code violation.

We are now paying for, not one, but two enforcementofficers whose job it appears to be to visit my neighborhood with a ruler to measure the plants in my yard, to see if the harsh New Mexico sun has caused a portion of my paint to flake, or to cast some judgement on the condition of my fence. And how are they to know if the vehicle parked on my personal, private property is truly inoperable, is undergoing repairs, or has simply not been driven for an extended period of time? And why is that their business (or my neighbor’s, for that matter)?

If you want sameness and compliance, please select a home in an HOA. If that isn’t immediately feasible, please talk (yes, personally and face-to-face) with your neighbors and work to resolve the issue, understanding that not everyone may see things your way. Don’t abdicate such a simple social custom as this, which would require an even larger government presence to resolve our squabbles.

Or simply lead. As Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And accept the fact that not everyone will follow.

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