When Not Watering Your Lawn Is a Crime...

...only outlaws will not water--oh forget it.

Reader Dennis Long sends along the Case of the Lawn-Watering Refusenik Grandmom of Orem, Utah:

A widow and grandma spent the morning in jail, arrested for refusing to give a policeman her name when he tried writing her a ticket for failing to water her yard. The woman hasn't watered her lawn in more than a year, and the condition of her yard violates an Orem zoning ordinance.

Tonight, the woman says she is traumatized and shocked that she was hauled to jail, just because she says she can't afford to water her lawn.

Betty Perry says, "I never thought they would ever do anything like that to a person that is 70 years old. I've never bothered anybody, I've never hurt anybody."

Sure, granny. You've been working that scam for years, we're sure. Would all the communitarians reading Hit & Run please explain to her exactly why she should go along to get along?

The story does have a happy ending. Especially for the cop who put her in the hoosegow, who got sent home and put on a paid administrative leave. Perry did get released from jail, too, but then returned to her house with that godawful lawn.

More here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    After being arrested, Perry is now scared of the police. She says, "Don't ever say no when the police tell you do to something. You better do what they tell you no matter what, even if you don't have anybody to help you. You've got to do what they tell you or they will hurt you."

    Sounds like she learned the most valuable lesson of all: don't fuck with the pigs.

  • ||

    OK joe, tell us all about how the condition of this woman's lawn makes it the business of the local authorities. Or does that only happen when there's some private interest kicking back to the city planner?

  • Jennifer||

    I think it goes something like this: "What about my right to live in a neighborhood free of ugly lawns, huh? What about my right to high property values, huh? What about my right to see green rather than brown when I look at homes in this desert community where I live? If I try to sell my house and it's next door to an ugly lawn, I will lose money. My neighbor (that selfish old bitch) thus has a moral and legal obligation to make sure I make as much money as possible!"

  • Highway||

    I'd better set up a watch for the cops to show up. There's no way I'm watering my lawn. I fight nature enough just to HAVE a lawn, instead of a meadow, although some might argue that point in the case of my lawn. I'm not gonna forcibly water it in the middle of a record setting heat wave just so my neighbors can drive up my property tax rates some more.

    Plus, if I watered it, it would just grow more, and then I'd have to mow it, blah.

  • Timothy||

    Dead grass is better than living grass. Dead grass doesn't pollinate. WAY TO GO GRANDMA!

  • ||

    Zoning ordinance? Are you kidding me? I've heard of ordinances for not cutting your lawn (grass too high), but neglect cuz it's brown? What happens in the winter? Is everyone in violation for "neglect"?

  • ||

    Warren: I think you're a bit off base. Utah is a wing-nut haven. This city ordinance is about protecting the value of private property and making the town law-and-orderly. Somehow I don't think Joe is going to defend crazy Utah. BTW, isn't Orem where the Osmond's disassociated son lives? He's partially deaf (and hence untalented musically), so he became the local drunk or something. Utah is the Florida of the west.

  • ||

    OK joe, tell us all about how the condition of this woman's lawn makes it the business of the local authorities. Or does that only happen when there's some private interest kicking back to the city planner?

    I'll take a stab.

    So I would assume that the ordinance is there to force people to maintain their property and protect her neighbors property value.

    One could argue that the state is doing this to protect all other homeowners from being adversely effected by this lady and in effect enforcing the property rights of her neighbors.

    I dunno if I buy it, but that would be the argument put forth.

    What is the standard libertarian position on things like this? Do your neighbors have a right to demand that homeowners in the neighborhood don't allow their properties to deteriorate? Is it improper for them to petition their local government to codify this?

  • ||

    I sure wish I could get something like paid administrative leave. I'll bet it would give me more time to go on long bike rides without falling behind on the bills.

    P.S. That is one ugly lawn.

  • ||

    Cool. In MY town, I go to jail if I DO water my lawn. Funny that.

    How can we blame this on Bush?

    CB

  • VM||

    c'mon.

    she obviously uses the grass in her wig.

    or has an unlicensed merkin farm going there.

    (probably itches, but that's part of the appeal, of course - thus explaining "JEFF" from yesterday)

  • ||

    Chicago Tom,

    I think the argument you present is in line with John Locke on the issue.

    But only if you squint reeealll hard.

  • ||

    Do your neighbors have a right to demand that homeowners in the neighborhood don't allow their properties to deteriorate?

    Not without a contractual agreement (unless the deterioration of the neighbor's property is causing some actual harm to their property, ie, rat infestation, mosquito breeding, etc).

    Is it improper for them to petition their local government to codify this?

    Yes, and it would be improper for the govt to comply.

  • ||

    I wouldn't try to paint joe as a stereotypical liberal. I don't always (ever?) agree with him, but he is usually pretty good at defending his beliefs. Certainly much better than the wingnut "conservatives" that stop by every once in a while to call us terrorist sympathizers.

  • Abdul||

    She should have argued that it's a Zen gravel garden, and watering it would violate her first amendment rights.

  • ||

    This reminds me of the prairie dog rancher story from a while back.

    Seems to me the woman is making the responsible choice given where she lives. She should have native grasses that don't need watering (they will be brown most of the year).

  • ||

    the chances of joe defending her arrest: ridiculous. that "Would all the communitarians reading Hit & Run please explain to her exactly why she should go along to get along?" is red-meat for the conservatarians here.

    i think it's more likely that some internets tuff-guy type will criticize her for selling out for saying this:

    After being arrested, Perry is now scared of the police. She says, "Don't ever say no when the police tell you do to something. You better do what they tell you no matter what, even if you don't have anybody to help you. You've got to do what they tell you or they will hurt you."

    fight the power, and all that. i decided when i was getting a tooth drilled that i would never sell out my country to the persians. etc.

  • ||

    What is the standard libertarian position on things like this? Do your neighbors have a right to demand that homeowners in the neighborhood don't allow their properties to deteriorate? Is it improper for them to petition their local government to codify this?

    It's a tort issue. However, you'd have to be able to prove that there were damages, such as you could only sell your house at a 20% discount to market value because of the actions of your neighbors.

    Otherwise, suck it up.

  • ||

    Couldn't she just put a few rocks and a rake in the yard and claim it's a zen garden?

  • ||

    What is the standard libertarian position on things like this? Do your neighbors have a right to demand that homeowners in the neighborhood don't allow their properties to deteriorate? Is it improper for them to petition their local government to codify this?


    The standard libertarian position is that if you own the property, you, not the neighbors, determine its utilization. If the neighbors don't like it, they can buy you out or shut up.

  • ||

    She should plant a cactus or 4 in her yard. Make it a desert landscape. Call it a "sustainable lawn".

    My neighbors would prefer me to water my lawn. I live in a housing association. The kicker is that I watch some neighbors water on the city schedule and their grass still goes brown. Not me. Brown grass is just dormant. I don't mow as often during the summer months and I save money and resources.

  • Jennifer||

    If I were that woman, I'd buy several cans of waterproof spray-paint, and paint my lawn green. Just to annoy the purists.

  • ||

    Do your neighbors have a right to demand that homeowners in the neighborhood don't allow their properties to deteriorate? Is it improper for them to petition their local government to codify this?



    No and yes.

    My interest in my neighbor's property extends only so far as their neglect threatens or damages my property (rotting tree on their property that's likely to fall on my house, for example).

    If I can see a pretty, wooded chunk of land from my house, and the owner of said land decides to build an unattractive McMansion there, that's my problem. I knew that pretty land wasn't mine when I bought the house. My property rights end at the edge of my property.

    If you want your surroundings to be attractive, buy them and make them attractive. Or come to some agreement with the property owner in question... maybe Perry wouldn't mind if you ran your hose from next door and watered her lawn for her. Then she doesn't have to pay the water bill, and you get to have a nice green lawn to look at.

    Going to the government to demand a law to force someone to do what you want them to is the sort of thing that makes people like me want to punch you in the nose.

    (I am, by the way, using the generic 'you', not the 'you' that means 'ChicagoTom'.)

  • Chucklehead||

    Not without a contractual agreement...

    SOSHULLL CONTRAAAAKT!

    [/DanT.]

  • :-||

    I thought the standard libertarian position was that you have a right to give up your rights because signing a piece of extortion isn't really extortion because you signed it voluntarily and no one is forcing you to surrender your property rights and your neighbors can keep you out if they have a big enough gang.

  • ||

    Like BD said, brown grass is dormant. Utah must not have any bermuda grass (except perhaps on golf courses) or else many people would be violation.

  • ||

    :-,

    *blink* *blink*

  • ||

    I think one underlying problem here is that people in arid states don't want to come to terms with the fact that they live in an arid state. Hence you have the competing interests of conserving water (i.e. the high cost for watering your lawn that the elderly lady couldn't afford) and keeping your grass green (i.e. the zoning ordinance). It's like the homeowners' associations in Phoenix where you have to have x square feet of lawn on your property. If you want a lush green lawn, DON'T MOVE TO ARIZONA!

  • Chucklehead||

    If I were that woman, I'd buy several cans of waterproof spray-paint, and paint my lawn green. Just to annoy the purists.

    About a block from where I used to live was a house that had plastic flowers in front of their house. Planted in the ground. All year long.

  • ||

    OK, Warren, tell us why invading Iraq is a good idea.

    What's that? Believing that some exercise in government power is good doesn't commit you to defending every use of that power?

    Gee, you don't say.

    Do you even think before you post these comments addressed to me?

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    Oregon is so progressive. Around here in So Cal we jail people for watering their lawns.

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    Oops. Heck, Utah, Oregon, same same.

  • ||

    :- | August 9, 2007, 11:34am | #

    Your run-on sentence is decreasing the value of all the posts on this thread by at least 25%. You can expect a police visit shortly.

  • ||

    I wonder if the lawn watering ordinance coincided with an increase in water rates? Surely one of the younger wives could afford the bill.

  • ||

    Heck, she should sue her neighbors for depleting water reserves in an area that needs all the water it can get.

  • ||

    I feel sorry for this lady struggling to afford her water bill. The answer is free Socialized Water. Fortunately the govt. already owns the water utility. All they need to do is start giving it away.

  • brian||

    My uncle recently tried to sell his house, but his relatively new neighbor had 3-foot tall grass, several broken down cars on blocks, and more ugly stuff in front of his house. While my uncle's property was much nicer, his neighbor really drove down the value of his house.

    So he went over to his neighbor's and offered to help him clean up his house, mow his lawn, etc. The neighbor refused, and I'm pretty sure my uncle lost money on the house because of it.

  • ||

    "Fortunately the govt. already owns the water utility."

    That's probably why the water is so expensive in the first place.

  • ||

    i'm sure there are other explanations of why water in freakin' UTAH is expensive.

    if i lived there, i wouldn't water my lawn either.

  • ||

    My interest in my neighbor's property extends only so far as their neglect threatens or damages my property (rotting tree on their property that's likely to fall on my house, for example).



    And unfortunately, thanks to the Internet, you'll have someone who insists on calling themselves a libertarian making the following argument right up until the instant the tree collapses:

    "Has the tree fallen yet? No? Then you haven't suffered any harm, so STFU. Don't give me this 'potential harm' crap, that's the same bullshit behind DUI laws. For all you know, he's nursing the tree back to health as you type.

    "And anyway, nobody forced you to build your house that close to a rotting tree. It's called 'due diligence,' and you'll get no sympathy from me for failing to do it."

  • ||

    One of the consequences of the reduced localism that occured during the 20th century and the rise of a national mass culture was the imposition of a single national model for how to, for example, build a house instead of numerous local models that are more attuned to local conditions.

    The Scotts company, for example, sells the same grass seed in Maine, Utah, Nebraska and Carolina, based on the grass they have the most success with in the midwest.

  • ||

    what joe! what you say!

    the market has spoken! people WANT housing models and landscaping that's ill-suited to the land they're on. that's most efficient, you know.

    there could never be a $100 bill sitting on the sidewalk, or else someone would have picked it up already!

  • ||

    Corn, grandma! Plant some corn in your yard and taxpayers will foot the bill for your water through subsidies.

  • ||

    "I'm sure there are other explanations of why water in freakin' UTAH is expensive."

    I assume you're refering to Utah's semi-arid climate. That alone wouldn't put water out of reach, if water were more efficiently run. As it stands, Orem charges a uniform rate (which is so 1950) whereas most utilities charge an increasing block rate. Ogden, for example, charges 1/2 the rate for the first 3,000 gallons, then double the rate for gallons 3,000 to 10,000 (Ogden is also publicly-owned). What this usually means is that the old lady probably could have afforded her water bill under a modern rate structure.

    In regions with little water, the problem becomes the expense of getting water. I have yet to see a public utility do this as efficiently as a private utility, assuming it is a legitimate utility and not one of those utility companies bought for the purpose of storing debt.

  • ||

  • ||

    One of the consequences of the reduced localism that occured during the 20th century and the rise of a national mass culture was the imposition of a single national model for how to, for example, build a house instead of numerous local models that are more attuned to local conditions.

    The Scotts company, for example, sells the same grass seed in Maine, Utah, Nebraska and Carolina, based on the grass they have the most success with in the midwest.



    And one of the consequences of people in America surrendering their property rights is that when the Scotts company uses clever marketing to convince 51% of Americans that they need lush green lawns, the other 49% are compelled to comply... thus destroying the market for regionally suitable and enviornmentally friendly alternatives to lawns.

  • ||

    joe,

    What about Iraq? I'm not sure I understand any of what you're trying to say @11:47. Do you even think before you post these comments addressed to me?

    Do you defend the arrest of this woman? If not, what distinguishes this from the regulatory restrictions you've endorsed in the past?

  • highnumber||

    I have a kick-ass prairie garden in front of my house. I never water it. I'm not entirely sure which plants are really weeds, but if it's a prairie garden, is there any difference? It's kick-ass because I don't feel the need to do much with it and black-eyed susans and purple cone flowers are neat. And switchgrass that gets taller than me is really neat, too.

    I do pull the ones that seem to spread like crazy and threaten to choke out the prettier stuff.

    Anyway, my point is that a lot people across the country don't have the traditional sodded lawn anymore. Stupid towns ought to get with it already. (Stupid property owners, too.)

  • Goldthwait||

    How much do you want to bet that if she were to start using a bunch of water to get her lawn green again, she would probably run afoul of some environmentalist nutjobs who would go after for using too much water. You can't win in a nanny state.

  • Goldthwait||

    "One of the consequences of the reduced localism that occured during the 20th century and the rise of a national mass culture was the imposition of a single national model for how to, for example, build a house instead of numerous local models that are more attuned to local conditions."

    Wow, talk about talking but not really saying anything.

  • ||

    Would it kill Granny's neighbors, the alleged victims in this case, to help her out with a little water? Oh right, every human interaction has to go through a government official now.

  • ||

    Mr. Steven Crane,

    Developers want a single model. It is much more profitable to them, owing to the efficiency, and is perceived as less risky, owing to developers being incredibly conservative (in terms of taking a marginally lower price in exchange for knowing that there is a demand for that product).

    Homebuyers typically gain their information about housing options based on what houses are in the existing market, so they don't generally clamour for something different. An inefficient system based on a problem with information.

    And one of the consequences of people in America surrendering their property rights is that when the Scotts company uses clever marketing to convince 51% of Americans that they need lush green lawns, the other 49% are compelled to comply... thus destroying the market for regionally suitable and enviornmentally friendly alternatives to lawns.

    That's a great theory, Rex. It's also vastly at odds with reality. In the real world, the standard lawn became the universal norm decades before there were regulations requiring it - regulations which are still rare across most of the country. There are no such regulations in my city, yet every house on my block has a grass lawn.

    Sometimes, you don't get to blame every problem on the particular boogeyman you've decided to slay beforehand. Maybe "how does this prove the point I want to make" shouldn't be your first question.

  • ||

    Warren,

    1. My point is obvious and clearly stated.

    2. No.

    3. The regulation I defend aren't idiotic.

  • ||

    Goldthwait,

    Sorry you can't keep up.

  • ||

    Ah well that clears that up.

  • ||

    "3. The regulation I defend aren't idiotic."

    Nice!

  • highnumber||

    joe,

    In my town, while grass lawns are still the majority, sustainable gardens are not at all unusual. Some people even tear up the sod on their parkways. You would love my town. It's oh so progressive. Seriously.

  • ||

    joe,

    Thank you for explaining to us how this lady was actually arrested by the Scotts corporation. Now it all makes sense to me.

  • ||

    I love it...little old ladies preserving property rights till the end of time.

    It would be great to go to the next city planning meeting.

    "Ah excuse me chairman, will there be time for public comment?"

    Bwahahahahaha

  • ||

    Developers want a single model. It is much more profitable to them, owing to the efficiency, and is perceived as less risky, owing to developers being incredibly conservative (in terms of taking a marginally lower price in exchange for knowing that there is a demand for that product).

    I am a land developer...and joe is full of shit.

    Yes I do want to sell a product...and if i can make higher margins by differentiating from my competition I will.

  • ||

    you realize i speak with sarcasm, right joe?

    i mean, this is me we're talking about. fan of lols, enemy of twaddleknockery.

  • f8||

    If you can haul an old lady to jail over not watering, why not take the law all the way and ban those godawful lawn trolls and fake deer? At least then "society would be better off." And, where are Gore's earthies, to defend her for saving water??

  • f8||

    And, before you all start screaming bloody murder... I am KIDDING about the troll law. Bring it on... I'll just get this:
    http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?source=family&itemId=14503
    Excuse me... it's a "gnome" not a troll.

  • ||

    This ordinance was, presumably, passed by her elected representatives. Yes, it is incredibly stupid, but we have many stupid laws. What makes this any different?
    And I don't think the police are as responsible for this as the city council members, who passed this law. Also responsible? The morons who (presumably) elected them.

  • ||

    highnumber,

    It's becoming more common.

    I live in a city where 1000 square feet is a pretty big lawn in most areas, so there just isn't the incentive to make a big change.

    joshua,

    If you know, or strongly suspect, that you can make a profit through product differentiation, you will do so. The point I made, that went over your head, is that there is only a limited space within which most developers feel they can mess around with product differentiation without risking their profits.

    How many single family suburban homes have you sold in which you substituted local vegetation for the lawn? How many, when you speculated that there would be a market, rather than having a specific buyer who ordered his home that way?

    At this point, you should have picked up on the fact that I know what the fuck I'm talking about.

  • ||

    I was just expaning on your thought, highnumber, not arguing with you.

  • highnumber||

    Cram it, joe!

    ;)

    Apologize to Mr Steven Crane.

    (I think you meant to address him at 2:30. Anyone else find it interesting to see who gets confused with whom by other commenters? I mean, I'm a hawkish, defend our borders from the invading hordes Objectivist, and Mr Steven Crane is an anti gay marriage Christian Socialist, so how we ever get confused, I can't figure out.)

  • ||

    http://www.scotts.com/index.cfm/event/ProductGuide.category/category/%2FCategories%2FProducts%2FGrass+Seed/cid/4BEB5720-65BF-F00F-1874-816748784167/tkn/45087570

    I'm just sayin'.

    CB

  • ||

    CB,

    There must be some mistake. It is not plausible that the guy at the garden center who talked me into the more-expensive seed was mistaken. He really seemed to know his stuff.

    >:-1

  • ||

    Jennifer says: "I think it goes something like this: "What about my right to live in a neighborhood free of ugly lawns, huh? What about my right to high property values, huh? What about my right to see green rather than brown . . . "

    Hey, Jenn--if you don't like the way it looks, water it yourself. It's not her job to keep you happy.

  • ||

    M, you left your sarcasm-detector off.

  • Chucklehead||

    Maybe the city should seize her property and hand it over to Scotts.

  • ||

    "Yes I do want to sell a product...and if i can make higher margins by differentiating from my competition I will."

    You're a land developer, and you're saying Joe is wrong?! ahh, ha ha ha ... wow. To a land developer, cheap blue paint "differentiates" structures from the ones with the medium cost blue paint. Seriously, that is one trend-following business. Wow. Land development is what made "cookie cutter" mean something other than a tool to cut cookies. Seriously, your experience as a land developer makes you see large differences where there is really not much difference at all.

  • Jennifer||

    Hey, Jenn--if you don't like the way it looks, water it yourself. It's not her job to keep you happy.

    Fuck that noise. What about my right to have neighbors whose job it is to keep me happy?

  • ||

    At this point, you should have picked up on the fact that I know what the fuck I'm talking about.

    joe wins the thread. That is the funniest thing that I've read all day.

  • ||

    Such strong feelings about grass seed! Why can't we just discuss a nice, safe topic like abortion?

  • ||

    joshua sez: I am a land developer...and joe is full of shit.

    joe replies: At this point, you should have picked up on the fact that I know what the fuck I'm talking about.

    Ooooooh! Ooooooh! Mr. Kotter, I know, I know! Joe is a fertilizer salesman.

  • ||

    I don't know much about Orem, Utah, but judging from the state of this lady's lawn I'm guessing they're in the middle of a drought. If so, then she's actually doing the right thing by not wasting water on watering her lawn.

  • ||

    Joe actually does know what he's talking about. I suspect Joshua Corning knows a few things, too. But to say that land developers are characteristically looking to do things differently is a stretch. I'll say it again: land developers are what made "cookie cutter" mean something other than a tool to cut cookies.

    I have yet to find a businessman that has an efficient and profitable business model and says to himself, "how can I change this?" Aside from megacorporation-sponsored vanity cities (Celebration, FL), there are very few 'concept' cities due to the risk. Am I wrong here?

  • Jennifer||

    At this point, you should have picked up on the fact that I know what the fuck I'm talking about.

    Joe, several times in the past few months, when I've used words like "fuck" in a post, you get on this semantic high horse about how you're not going to debate me when I resort to profanity and whatnot. So why are you using such language to address Joshua? I'm sure the answer has nothing to do with your being a hypocrite, but what are the other options?

  • ||

    He means fuck in the nice way?

  • ||

    I mean "f*ck"

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    If you express meaningful ideas with profanity, I'll respond to you.

    When, as usual, the profanity itself is the majority of the content of what you write, I ignore you.

  • A Musical Interlude||

    New York, London, Paris, Munich
    Everybody's talkin' 'bout POP MUSIK!


    (WOMBY VAULTAGE!!!!!!!)

  • ||

    I don't know much about Orem, Utah, but judging from the state of this lady's lawn I'm guessing they're in the middle of a drought.



    I believe Orem, Utah has been in the middle of a drought for the last sixteen thousand years or so.

  • ||

    If you express meaningful ideas with profanity, I'll respond to you.

    When, as usual, the profanity itself is the majority of the content of what you write, I ignore you.


    pedant.

  • ||

    She ought to be more creative with her excuses. For example, maybe she waters it constantly but her neighbors have been pouring gasoline on it at night, just to make it look as though she's not watering it.

  • ||

    This is another case of buying property you do not own. There's a range of petty officials who can eventually oust you from your home. Here in Colorado, most houses are in convenants where your idiot neighbors are in control.

  • highnumber||

    AUser,

    I have heard they were a problem in Colorado, but I thought that was just Christian whackos looking for attention. Are the houses really in league with witches? Scary.

    Oh, whoops. I misread that. It's just more Christian whackjobbery, though. Instead of the born-agains, it's the Catholics.

  • VM||

    high#: nah, they're nekkid in the thread above.

    *takes bite of delicious sammich

  • ||

    Highnumber,
    Is the term, "christian-socialist" redundant?

  • ||

    MP:"It's a tort issue. However, you'd have to be able to prove that there were damages, such as you could only sell your house at a 20% discount to market value because of the actions of your neighbors."

    I'd buy that line of argument if my neighbors were, likewise, forced to pay me when my home improvements made their houses sell for more money. Otherwise, it's just the usual pseudo-libertarian whining about how everyone else should take the risk while they take the profit.

  • highnumber||

    brotherben,

    No, it is not redundant.

  • VM||

    Brotherben -

    the CSU party in Germany still uses the "christian social(ist)" name, for instance.

    redundant would be "horny male" or something like that.

  • highnumber||

    Speaking of horny...oh, never mind.

  • Paul||

    Joe:

    3. The regulation I defend aren't idiotic.

    So you say.

    Oh, the post by "Paul" at 12:12 is not the Paul you all know and [love]. Just sayin'

  • ||

    I wonder how they feel about extra parking. Paving would be prohibitively expensive, but maybe some good soul could donate a couple of loads of gravel and oil it down for her.

  • ||

    If she doesn't want to water her lawn, she can just move her lawn somewhere that doesn't require watering.

  • ||

    Blue State -- go to jail if you water your desert lawn, because wasting water is selfish and unenvironmental and harms the frickin' salmon trying to spawn.

    Red State -- go to jail if you don't water your desert lawn, because you're not being a good neighbor, and everyone knows Jesus advocated criminal charges against those who selfishly don't love their neighbors like themselves.

    A pox on both their houses.

  • ||

    At this point, you should have picked up on the fact that I know what the fuck I'm talking about.

    Most of us here have come to some strong conclusions about you, joe, and most of those conclusions do include the "f-word" in it -- so we're in partial agreement here.

  • ||

    How many single family suburban homes have you sold in which you substituted local vegetation for the lawn? How many, when you speculated that there would be a market, rather than having a specific buyer who ordered his home that way?

    I am a land developer not a landscaper (or a home builder) I divide up lots and put utilities to them...what people grow in their yard is literally not my business...

    And for that matter it should not be the business of government.

  • Chavez is a thug||

    Joe, I think I am going to have to add lawn care, real estate and neighborhood planning to the list of things to which you seem to claim expertise. That brings it to about 20 by now.

  • ||

    How many single family suburban homes have you sold in which you substituted local vegetation for the lawn? How many, when you speculated that there would be a market, rather than having a specific buyer who ordered his home that way?

    How many residential zoning regs in this country require front yard, side yard and back yard set backs?...how many require min lot sizes even when there is a public sewer system?

    Do you think we like huge lawns when we could fit in more single family units?

  • ||

    I wonder how they feel about extra parking. Paving would be prohibitively expensive, but maybe some good soul could donate a couple of loads of gravel and oil it down for her.

    Jesus fucking Christ!?!?

    She is an old lady in the neighborhood...get your kid to mow it for her and pay her damn watering bill.

    I think the take away lesson here is that government intervention destroys civil society.

  • ||

    Ooooooh! Ooooooh! Mr. Kotter, I know, I know! Joe is a fertilizer salesman.

    joe was a land use planner...i hate to concede that he knows something about zoning regulations and there justification.

    But ya he knows land use planning and zoning.

    He might even tell you why it is called Euclidian zoning.

  • ||

    land developers are what made "cookie cutter" mean something other than a tool to cut cookies.

    Land use regulations severely hamper the ability of the market to differentiate the verity of product in the real estate market....this results in a defacto government mandated commodity that forces competitors to only focus on price.

  • ||

    But to say that land developers are characteristically looking to do things differently is a stretch.

    Has a culture developed around land development because of limiting land use regs?

    Sure I can concede that.

    But in a free market with no limiting factor but a perceived "culture of sameness" do you honestly believe that competitors will not try to differentiate their product?

  • Case||

    Bully with a badge.
    Bully with a badge.
    Bully with a badge.
    Bully with a badge.

  • ||

    I have yet to find a businessman that has an efficient and profitable business model and says to himself, "how can I change this?" Aside from megacorporation-sponsored vanity cities (Celebration, FL), there are very few 'concept' cities due to the risk. Am I wrong here?

    Go to a 7/11...go to where they sell cola...

    You will find Coke and Pepsi there...now look around you....and count how many juices, beers, pops, teas, coffees, energy drinks and a whole crap load of other fluids people drink...now tell me again that businessmen don't say "how can I change this?"

    note: on the west coast we call it pop...not soda.

  • ||

    After reading through the majority of the comments, I'm surprised that no one has said anything about the fact that she didn't water because she couldn't afford the excess cost on her utility bill. It appears that she didn't do it to protest her "right to rebel" or to plummet her neighbor's property values, rather, she is simply an elderly person living on a fixed income who is trying to trim corners anywhere she can. I would love to see a neighbor offer to help her, but I'm sure that's just a fantasy. Unlike previous generations, we don't offer assistance to our elderly neighbors who need it. We just bitch and moan about their inability to perform adequate lawn care and throw them in jail.

  • RH||

    She needs to put in some nice native drought-resistant plants and shrubs.

    We've turned suburbia into a green desert, and there are *laws* to keep it that way? WTF.

  • ||

    I'M surprised that no one said anything about what got the old lady thrown in the slammer was not giving her name to the cop.

  • Zack the La roya||

    I'm sending this nice old lady ,a CD and a T-shirt from Rage against the machine.
    Sing it sister:
    F* you, I wont do what they tell me!

  • ||

    Wow! She's being punished for not wasting water in an area obviously stricken by drought. Most civilised societies would applaud her inaction. Grass should never ever have to be watered. Once it rains, her lawn will be green again. Until it rains, there are better things to do with the available water.

  • ||

    I am a land developer not a landscaper (or a home builder) I divide up lots and put utilities to them...what people grow in their yard is literally not my business...

    So that would be "none." That's what I thought.

    But in a free market with no limiting factor but a perceived "culture of sameness" do you honestly believe that competitors will not try to differentiate their product?

    Probably about as much as Coke and Pepsi - in other words, in no substantively meaningful way.

    My 3-4 single family homes with large lawns and cathedral ceilinged dining rooms have a different trim on the built-ins! Gape at my iconoclastic genius!

  • highnumber||

    What about Dr Pepper?

    Hmmm?

  • ||

    My 3-4 single family homes with large lawns and cathedral ceilinged dining rooms have a different trim on the built-ins! Gape at my iconoclastic genius!

    And if you looked at the performance standards in the zoning and building regs that is exactly the only option you would get....not a market failure Joe...a government failure.

  • ||

    Were I her neighbor, knowing she was on a fixed income, I would have offered to water her lawn from "my" hose.

    Of course, I'd probably never live in a community so anal-retentive about green lawns. I believe that watering grass is a waste of water no matter where you live.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Hey, if you are an expert in botany and want to start a charitable organization that finds grasses best suited to local environments you are free to do so. In fact, it might even be a good idea. What I do NOT want is yet another government law to deal with problems caused by other government laws that were created to deal with problems caused by other government laws ad infinitum …..

  • ||

    What a crazy story. If only poor granny had some sod from Evergreen Turf in her lawn, she wouldn't have gotten hauled off by the cops!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement