Regulation

The Rasta Man vs. the State

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Joseph Diliberti—identified by the L.A. Times as a "veteran, Rastafarian, flutist and iconoclast"—is locked in a battle with the government over some weeds. No, not the kind of weed you're thinking of.

Tony Perry of the Times reports:

Come on-a my house.

What started out in 2004 as a $27,000 bill for weed abatement has ballooned—with penalties and other charges—to $69,322, far beyond the financial means of Diliberti, a former Marine who lives on a disability pension from his war injuries.

Diliberti refused to pay a bill from a contractor hired by the local fire district to remove combustible vegetation in the fire-prone region.

He was fishing in Baja California when the weed-choppers arrived. He says the plants were native chaparral and thus not a fire hazard. He won the backing of the Escondido-based California Chaparral Institute….

Because he refused to pay the weed bill, Diliberti was not allowed to pay his property taxes.

Now, the land east of El Cajon is among those properties to be sold by San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister at the annual tax auction March 18—with a minimum bid of $72,000.

Offers by McAllister to set up a payment plan for Diliberti were rebuffed.

"I don't compromise!" Diliberti shouted at the fire board in an emotional meeting last summer. "Either you get rid of that bill or you get rid of me!"

The Times notes that "it may be difficult to find a buyer for property so remote and without running water, sewage hookups or telephone service" and that McAllister "has no plans to evict Diliberti." Nonetheless,

by law, McAllister is required to collect back taxes and governmental liens from the Diliberti property. If it isn't sold, it could be put on the list for the next sale in May. And if it doesn't sell then, could Diliberti go on living there, year after year, as long as no one buys the property?

For a slideshow of Diliberti's home, which he describes as "art that's habitable," go here.

[Hat tip: Ken Basart.]

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  1. Diliberti refused to pay a bill from a contractor hired by the local fire district to remove combustible vegetation in the fire-prone region.

    So, while trespassing, agents of the state destroyed this man’s private property and then presented him with a bill for their services.

    California, you so crazy…

    1. I’d pay good money to see a media outlet actually report the story the non-bullshit way you did, SF.

    2. I was thinking the same thing. I was also pondering what in the world kind of “weed abatement” could have cost $27k. Holy crap that’s a lot of money. He’s only got 3 acres. You could have leveled the entire lot and graded it for a commercial building site for $27k.

      1. I know… think about how much the fuckers would charge if they came over and tore down my house while I was out fishing.

        1. $50/hr, $75/hr if you watch, $100/hr if you “help”.

          No, wait, that’s my mechanic…

          1. That’s my Asian Masseuse. she charges more for outcall.

        2. Well, to be fair, it IS California, so the workers need to cover the rent on their $3,000 / month studios and the taxes on everything they do everytime they twitch a muscle.

          1. this reply cost me $.32 cents sent directly to Sacramento

      2. $27k for grading; even that’s high, unless it’s one of those highly sloped properties in SoCal and they need some fill

    3. 27 large to remove vegetation?!? I’d tell them to go fuck themselves too.

      1. WTF, Man! Me and my undocumented amigos only got paid $7000!

      2. How much does a flamethrower run these days?

        1. Fire is free, ProL. Prometheus wanted it that way.

          1. I agree, but some fire-delivery systems do cost money.

            1. I’d have bid at least 50% lower for the gig, but Noooooo, I’m not in ‘the union’….

        2. “If I were the man I was five years ago…”

  2. I HOPE I’m that awesome when I get to be that age. That dude looks like a bad-ass gnome. I bet he smokes pot out of a long-stemmed wooden pipe.

    1. I think that bucket in the picture is his toilet.

      1. Which makes EVEN COOLER.

        1. ^^ Which makes him EVEN COOLER.

  3. Diliberti refused to pay a bill from a contractor hired by the local fire district…

    I just bet that Dogiberti was the contractor.

    1. groans, chuckles

      1. *yanks football away at the last second*

  4. Because he refused to pay the weed bill, Diliberti was not allowed to pay his property taxes.

    This is the money quote. “Not only are you going to bend over, we’re going to tell you when to enjoy it.”

    The Times notes that “it may be difficult to find a buyer for property so remote and without running water, sewage hookups or telephone service” and that McAllister “has no plans to evict Diliberti.”

    I see, so have you figured out that enforcing a law on someone who costs you little to nothing and wants to be left alone would be more expensive than doing nothing? Cost budget analysis, how does it work?

    1. it’s not about money, it’s about power.

    2. Forcing people to do shit they don’t want to do is the whole reason people go into government. You can’t put a price on that.

      1. You can’t put a price on that.

        Public sector unions have indicated otherwise. Which is never factored into CBA’s when negotiating Public sector contracts (and private unions, to a lesser extent, but since those are private, I won’t quibble). Yes, police unions, I’m looking at you.

    3. it may be difficult to find a buyer for property so remote and without running water, sewage hookups or telephone service

      Sounds like he actually might have a case against the state. If the brush wasn’t a fire hazard, then their entire argument for the clearing and charges is facetious.

      Those giving the order for this mess should probably be jailed.

      1. “If the brush wasn’t a fire hazard, then their entire argument for the clearing and charges is facetious.”

        Problem is, 3 acres of chaparral/manzanita probably is a fire hazard. I haven’t seen before and after pictures of his lot, and $27K to clear it is totally ridiculous—never mind the penalties, interest and other horseshit charges, but I can see the point for making him remove/abate the fire hazard. If the brush was a hazard.

        In Libertopia, how should his neighbors handle a situation like this? Coaseian bargaining?

        1. In Libertopia, how should his neighbors handle a situation like this?

          If one doesn’t like my property, you can pay me to change it. At my price. Pony up or shut up.

        2. If his neighbors properly maintain their firebreaks, it shouldn’t matter worth a damn if HE doesn’t. That’s the whole fucking point of a firebreak.

        3. Problem is manzanita is native to San diego county and protected. You can be heavily fined for having a branch of it these days. Don’t think they where clearing that. And its a natural fire buster. The leaves combust, but the trees remain.:}

          Um…and its normal for fires to burn in the fucking chaparrals.

          The lack of natural burns can create serious environmental problems…as can too many fires.

          Sounds like its allll about control.

          And they LOVE CONTROL here in SD.

  5. Diliberti says he is unfazed by government rules. “A true Rasta man doesn’t worry about those things,” he said.

    That’s sweet, Rasta man. Now get the fuck off my property before you’re communing with prison nature.

  6. Here is a guy who just wants to be left alone and live off the grid. They just can’t leave him alone – so they screw with him, destroy his property and ultimately will take all his stuff. All because he didn’t live his life on the rails CA wants.

    Notice how nobody says “It’s a free country” any more?

    1. Just like no one boasts about being the country where no one asks to see your papers.

      Thanks Kennedy, Rehnquist, O’Connor, Scalia, and Thomas. Let freedom ring.

    2. That and “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”.

      1. OMG! Intentional emotional distress! I need a lawyer!

        1. God Hates You.

          1. Tell me something I don’t already know.

            1. It’s all our fault?

      2. Violent rhetoric like can turn people into schizophrenic killers, Episiarch.

        1. I’ll fuck anything that moves, Hugh. After I have this PBR.

          1. I just want to clarify – that fuck anything that moves line is from Andy Dick, yes?

            1. Uh, I can’t tell if you are joking, so here is the reference.

              I think the Andy Dick thing you’re thinking of is when Jeffrey Ross said “Andy Dick’s mission in life is to give AIDS back to the monkeys”.

              1. I’ve seen it twice and just totally failed recognizing that line.

              2. That Shatner roast was exquisite.

                1. They are roasting Donald Trump tonight. Proof positive he really isn’t running for POTUS.

    3. So I guess if you were a bureaucrat you wouldn’t do things to justify your position? The workday is long, even in the public sector, and you have to fill your time doing something.

    4. not that the bill isn’t absurd or that he shouldn’t be left alone if they are indeed fire-resistant weeds, but in SoCal no man is an island even if he wants to be – the fires spread like a motherfucker and weeds help make that happen, so even a hermit can affect other people

      1. Then let’s destroy all the vegetation!

        1. believe it or not that’s sort of a solution – you don’t see downtown LA catch fire. Thomas Sowell has proposed that one of the contributing factors of the wildfires spreading so quickly is the vast amounts of “preserved land”

          Nature ought to be preserved, but not when it’s a fucking massive fire hazard

          1. Stop it, Edwin. Fires are only an issue because we refuse to let them burn. A century of senseless suppression and a recent failure to implement fuel reduction treatments solely in the WUI (because most homeowners are ignorant and will not allow it) have exacerbated fire dangers.

            Also, this epitomizes what I hate about Californians (and Arizonans)…They move to the desert and then insist on having green lawns, trees, ponds, and a fire-free environment. If you hate the desert so much, then why did you move there?

            1. This. Fires are a natural and beneficial thing in many types of ecosystem until people insist on living in places that can’t really support people that well and demand subsidies to protect their silly way of life.

              1. Reminds me of a little place called New Orleans.

                1. That reply was to Zeb, not to myself.

      2. so even a hermit can affect other people

        How? Are you envisioning a scenario where the old coot is smoking something, has a stroke and “Poof! Half of SoCal is charred! Japan!!!1!one!” A scenario like that is possible, but improbable. Good thing I wasn’t the voice of Iago, or else I would be out of a job.

        1. Weeds and vegetation cover affects how the fires spread, these fires get huge and burn down people’s buildings and kill people

          so if you own land (in SoCal), then your land is indeed everybody else’s business/affects everyone else.
          This is the reality of the ecosystem out there. It’s basic science. If you disagree, you’re wrong.

          1. Weeds and vegetation cover affects how the fires spread, these fires get huge and burn down people’s buildings and kill people

            Has that occured on this man’s property?

            so if you own land (in SoCal), then your land is indeed everybody else’s business/affects everyone else.

            Your property is now my business. I don’t like the way you keep your lawn and what you grow on it. Change it now, or I’ll make a local case out of it. And you will pay me for it.

            This is the reality of the ecosystem out there. It’s basic science. If you disagree, you’re wrong.

            The science of combustion was not in question; last time I checked, the Laws of Thermodynamics are sound and still in affect. I don’t see how the man’s property is your business. If you disagree, I wish to decorate your lawn however I see fit.

            1. Has that occured on this man’s property?

              I think we can strike a fair bargain, here — anyone who doesn’t want to clear their land is free to do so, provided they carry $1 billion in fire insurance.

              That’s the problem with the the “it hasn’t happened on MY land yet” mindset — no individual is capable of making fair restitution in the event that their irresponsibility causes wildfires to spread.

              This guy is placing a bet that he can’t actually make good on.

              1. I think we can strike a fair bargain, here — anyone who doesn’t want to clear their land is free to do so, provided they carry $1 billion in fire insurance.

                I demand you carry a billion dollar policy, regardless if you clear your land or not. Your land is my business; it affects me. Pony up.

                irresponsibility

                Define irresponsibility as per the link provided by jasno downsthread. Besides “I don’t like the way he keeps his land,” that is.

                1. I demand you carry a billion dollar policy, regardless if you clear your land or not. Your land is my business; it affects me. Pony up.

                  You’re just being childish, and I’m bored with you now.

                  I’ll close with the observation that this guy purchased the land knowing the law required him to keep it clear. He can’t now whine that it is his land and he doesn’t have to clear it; if he wanted to buy land he wasn’t legally required to clear he should have bought it in Maine.

                  1. No – the ordinances date from 2002. He’s owned his land longer than that.

                    You’re just being childish, and I’m bored with you now.

                    Ass.

              2. That’s the problem with the the “it hasn’t happened on MY land yet” mindset — no individual is capable of making fair restitution in the event that their irresponsibility causes wildfires to spread.

                Actually, the fundamental climate conditions in southern California dictate periodic wildfires.

                Every last wildfire there is an act of God.

                You’re basically demanding that other property owners surrender their property rights to protect YOU from the unavoidable hazard you assumed by moving to southern California. The proper response is to tell you to fuck off and die.

                Owning property in its natural state and having the ground cover on it burn because it’s 100% perfectly natural for it to occasionally do that is not creating an unreasonable hazard. If you build Giant Steel Whirling Dervish Covered With Razor Blades on your property and it hurts someone, you created a nuisance and you should pay. But owning wilderness property that is left in its default state is not the positive creation of a nuisance and no liability should attach to it.

                “But we want to cram 10 million people into a tinderbox with no water!” Fuck off. Next time don’t do that.

                1. Fires are not “acts of god”. They require fuel to burn. If they don’t have fuel, they don’t burn. This is not rocket science.

          2. The reality of the ecosystem out there is that there are frequent fires. And it doesn’t sound like this guy lives in a neighborhood.

            I am just speculating here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy’s land is surrounded by open land covered in the same type of vegetation.

  7. “a slideshow of McAllister’s home”

    Do you mean Diliberti’s home?

    1. Whoops! Yes, I did. Thanks.

    2. Freudian slip. If McAllister can put it on the market, then in all reality it’s his home now.

      1. If McAllister can put it on the market, then in all reality it’s his home now.

        But, as Tony and his idol Micheal Moore are quick to remind us, it “belongs to society.”

        1. I know you’re being snarky, but that’s essentially the point here.

          Society has deemed his property to be a fire hazard. Therefore he will clean up the weeds, or society will clean them up for him. Society now wants payment for services rendered to the tune of around $70,000. And so on and so forth…

          1. Society has deemed his property to be a fire hazard.

            Mr. Diliberti didn’t ask “society’s” opinion on the subject. It’s his property and he is remote and not bothering anyone. Progressive busybodies just can’t seem to be placated any way you try: “Well, if you want your property to look a certain way, don’t do it around me.” He doesn’t. Then people like Edwin, who are admittedly trying to be reasonable, object by saying “Well, he’s a potential fire hazard, so he affects me! We must do something!” It’s not like the guy was in an HOA. I don’t mean to be obtuse, but personal property rights are fundamental in this country (or at least they were) and I get riled up about them very quickly. When government is refusing to accept money, you really know something is not passing the sniff test.

            1. That’s what I was thinking. Someone else (connected to the county) wants his land and so the claim that it may potentially not have a buyer is a bullshit ruse.

          2. Payment for Civilization?

        2. “No”, says the troll on Hit n’ Run, “it belongs to everyone.”

          1. + insect swarm

  8. And, just for the record, FUCK California.

    *sigh*

  9. Hey anyone want to go visit him and show some support?

    1. better yet, anyone in the san diego area can help this way:

      http://www.californiachaparral…..berti.html

      1. According to your link the contractor claims to have cleared 845 cubic yards of material from an area of less than half an acre on his land. Considering that an average dump truck holds about 12 cubic yards, that’s a hell of a lot of brush.

    2. If by “show some support” you mean get high with the dude, then…yeah.

  10. No idea if $72K for three completely unimproved acres wherever this is would be a bargain or ridiculous. I will laugh and laugh and laugh if the county has priced themselves right out of the market and lives there until he dies.

    [Please, God, we know you’ve got a sense of humor.]

    1. I was thinking an alternative would be for us to raise the $69,322 he needs to pay it off but FUCK MCALLISTER. He doesn’t deserve the satisfaction.

      1. Do not blame McAllister for this. He didn’t order the land cleared, he didn’t clear it, and he didn’t impose the fees on this guy.

        His job is to collect taxes. The last thing we want is a tax collector who gets to pick and choose who has to pay taxes!

  11. Goddamn mother fuckers!

  12. They usually give you a three month notice on that. They usually send more than one notice to whomever is on the title.

    Some people just throw away their mail. I don’t know if that’s what happened here, but usually if you just call them up, they let you slide if you just call them.

    There’s a lot of land out there that’s essentially abandoned–especially in San Diego County after the real estate development market cratered. Most of that new development was on the periphery.

    And the problem–especially in East Count San Diego–is that it’s an extreme fire hazard.

    Eastern San Diego County went up in flames in 2007. 1,500 homes were destroyed, and over 1 million residents of San Diego County had to be evacuated…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O….._wildfires

    …and there are excellent arguments to be made that the scope of that tragedy was in no small part due to a lack of vigilance on weed abatement.

    The right to own property (like the right to own a gun) has a flip-side responsibility that requires us to use it responsibly so that it doesn’t threaten the property (rights) of other people…

    If this guy got caught up in that over something that wasn’t really a problem, then I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope they solve his problem.

    When I hear that local government is trying to do something about weed abatement in San Diego county though? The first thing that comes to my mind isn’t that they’re just trying to be mean.

    1. Here is a record of just how often the weed abatement company has been sued for misconduct.

      http://www.californiachaparral…..rd_FPS.pdf

      “According to reports, FPS claims that 845 cubic yards of material were “remediated” on less than a half acre. That’s 169 average dump truck loads or a mountain of material about 20 feet across and nearly 70 feet tall – all from less than a half acre?”

      1. Yeah, I agree with Ken that local municipalities may step in where your land poses a legitimate hazard to others but it sounds like this is stretching things to say the least. And if your local municipality is going to take on such a role, the burden should be on them to establish both that action truly needed to be taken and that the fees sought are reasonable. Sounds like neither happened in this situation.

        1. Yeah, I’m not in favor of abuse or absurdity.

      2. Chapparal is a dense shrub that grows several feet in height.

        Half an acre (21780 square feet) completely covered in 3′ chapparal would yield 2420 cubic yards of plant material, uncompressed. 875 cubic yards isn’t unthinkable, especially if the area hasn’t burned in a long time.

        This guy’s claim that the chapparal isn’t a fire hazard because it is “native” is downright silly, though. Chapparal is highly flamable; catching on fire is part of its natural lifecycle, in fact.

        1. Chapparal is not necessarily ‘highly flammable’. Non-native eucalyptus and grasses are much, much, much more flammable.

          Also, while catching on fire is natural and has been going on for thousands of years, fire frequency has increased dramatically thanks to man in the backcountry.

    2. +1000 for reasonability AND knowledge applied.

    3. The fires need to burn…it’s a natural process. If you don’t want to deal with it, then don’t live in San Diego county. Everyone in SoCal or any other fire-prone area knows that the best thing you can do to protect your home is to establish a vegetation-free zone immediately around your home…in the chaparral I believe they recommend like 50 ft or something. Then it doesn’t matter what burns around you, you’ll be safe. There’s no need to force someone else to eradicate their fire-resistant shrubs.

      1. Like I said, I’m not in favor of making people solve vegetation that’s a non-problem.

        “The fires need to burn…it’s a natural process. If you don’t want to deal with it, then don’t live in San Diego county.”

        Sorting out people’s overlapping rights is probably the most legitimate function of government.

        1. “Sorting out people’s overlapping rights is probably the most legitimate function of government.”

          It’s a legitimate function of government anyway.

          Adam Smith had a lot to say about this, and I think he had it right.

        2. Sorting out people’s overlapping rights is probably the most legitimate function of government.

          I absolutely agree, but veg buffers on your own property are all the protection you need from fire… I don’t see how this affects anyone else.

          1. 50′ was the standard tract home street frontage back in the ’70s, which means that even back when pads were huge, it was less than 50′ from house wall to house wall.

            In the homes built since 2001? …when planners started really pushing developers to increase density per acre? The homes are a lot closer than that now.

            There must be a million homes in San Diego County where the houses from wall to wall are less than 50′ apart.

            Also, if you go to your local city planning department, you can ask to see the fire map. Fire engineers make maps for the high risk fire areas of your city. …because of the way winds and topography work together–those maps work much like FEMA maps do with flood maps.

            If you’re in a high risk fire lane, it doesn’t matter if there’s anybody within 50′ of you. If you let your weeds grow and you’re in one of those high risk fire lanes, you’re a huge risk to everyone downwind.

            1. It’s more like 10′ in most suburban developments in San Diego(enough for 2 garbage cans – and that’s in my 70’s era suburb)… but we’re talking about the backcountry here.

      2. Tom, chapparal is called a “fire-resistant plant” because it *survives* fires, not because it is resistant to catching on fire. It burns very easily.

        Also, in most of San Diego the phrase “clear all vegetation within 50 feet of your house” is just another way of saying “clear all vegetation from your entire lot, and from parts of your neighbors’ lots, too”. If you have 50′ of property on all sides of your house you’re either rich or living in the boonies.

        1. Dan, if you can’t afford enough property for that 50 ft. buffer, then don’t buy the home.

          1. Thanks for your opinion. I’ll promptly ignore it.

          2. Again, there are hundreds of thousands of homes in San Diego County where the homes aren’t 50′ away from each other.

            The lots weren’t that big in ’60s and ’70s.

            50′ of street frontage was considered a standard lot back then. If you put a house in the middle of each lot, there isn’t 50′ between them.

            And the lots have gotten smaller–much smaller–since then. Telling the 800,000 people who live in those homes to move out so that somebody can irresponsibly grow their weeds as high as they like is absurd.

            I’m not saying that’s what this guy was doing; I’m saying telling people that if they don’t want their houses to burn down, then they should just move out of town is ridiculous.

        2. By the way, I never said that chaparral does not catch fire. The point was that the plants are adapted to cope with fires–some of them even need it to reproduce–so it’s silly and pointless to keep them from burning.

          And if you’re going to challenge my knowledge of fire ecology, you may not want to embarrass yourself by implying that chaparral is a particular taxon.

          1. I didn’t imply that chaparral is a particular taxon.

            And no, “the point” is most certainly NOT that the plants have adapted to cope with fires. The point is to keep people’s houses from burning down every couple of years.

            1. Structural damage has a lot more to do with the intelligence and foresight of the property owner and landscaper, not the vegetation.

              1. Look, I could give a shit if Diliberti’s own house burns down/bakes because he can’t keep his weeds down. If he’s out in the boonies, and his plot isn’t more choked up with vegetation than the undeveloped land around him, who cares what he does? But if he has close neighbors, and his plot has enough fuel to constitute a hazard to his neighbors—something I can’t tell one way or another from the linked slideshow, then I don’t have a problem with the county telling him to clean up. Just as I don’t have a problem with them telling him to clean up if his property constitutes rodent harbor-age.

                Agree with Dan that Diliberti doesn’t have the means to make everyone he harms whole, if his landscaping choices end up exacerbating other peoples’ damages. And yeah it would be hard to prove how much more likely, if at all, his overgrown lot makes it that his neighbor will suffer increased fire damage. I’d prefer over the county getting involved, that the enforcement mechanism be that his neighbor take him to court, and then prove that Diliberti’s harming him/her in some way. No proof, no pay or cleanup. And if no neighbors are being bothered, he must not be that much of a menace, right?

                I used to live in Central CA. Which is one reason I’m boggled to learn up above that manzanita is evidently now a protected shrub in San Diego; it grows all over the place in the Big Sur and Santa Barbara area. And while not as flammable as a tan grassy hillside—took me moving to Texas to learn that wild grasses could be green—it will burn nicely once lit, see Montecito Tea Fire, Indians Fire of 2008, hell, Marble Cone fire if we want to go back that far. Agreed, the leaves burn off, leaving a black branchy outline that rebuds, but in the process the fire grows and propagates. And unfortunately, 50 feet defensible space is not failsafe. Neither are foam tanks and water tanks, but they certainly improve your structure’s chances in a fire. (Still surprised those monks saved the Tassajara Monastery)

              2. Assuming a 1200 square foot house house, you would need a lot of approximately 130’x140′ to be able to clear 50′ feet on a side.

                Lots that big don’t exist in most neighborhoods here. San Diego housing is very dense in most areas, with undeveloped canyons/mountainsides interspersed.

    4. So he has a duty to destroy native vegetation on his land?

      Native vegetation has been burning for tens of thousands of years and will continue to do so regardless of who wants to live in it. Go out into the chaparral and you might notice that native areas are fairly clean. It’s the invasive species(grasses for instance… fuck you Ron Bailey) which make the most rapid fires.

      Also, stripping land of vegetation around here usually results in the next storm stripping the land away. Not a good idea.

      1. Now you get it. Fine him for not clearing the vegetation during fire season, then fine him for clearing the weeds during mud slide season.

        The rest of the year they can fine him for building code violations.

    5. I’ll bet he doesn’t ignore his mail if his “disability” check is in there. Or is he willing to engage deeply enough with society to have direct deposit for that?

  13. “I don’t compromise!” Diliberti shouted at the fire board in an emotional meeting last summer. “Either you get rid of that bill or you get rid of me!”

    That’s a fantastically easy choice.

  14. weed control regulations are reasonable considering SoCal’s fire problem, but of course this bill is way too high (how much does it cost to spray some glyphosate?), and fire-resistant plants (that stay moist year round) should be exempted

    in the same vein, ice plant should be legalized, to the point where homeowners can deliberately plant it to create a fire buffer

    1. in the same vein, ice plant should be legalized, to the point where homeowners can deliberately plant it to create a fire buffer

      It’s not on the approved eco-theology list of solutions. We have to maintain the ecosystem in its pristine state so as not to upset the precarious balance of nature.

      Wait…what?

      1. Indeed the very idea and the goals of environemntal start to get vague and confusing once you start seriously considering all the different ways that humans affect the ecosystem. For example, horses are protected in Wyoming, but they aren’t even a natural part of the ecosystem, they were introduced by humans. So what is it they want to preserve, nature, or the horses? That question can be asked for a lot of different species/areas.

        1. Horses and burros are actually protected federally, via the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which, by the way, is probably one of the stupidest federal laws on the books.

      2. Anyway, realistically one can indeed do this – unless you’re so unlucky that some dick is recording you with a video camera right when you do it, which seems extremely unlikely

        which is part of the point of laws – they don’t HAVE to be enforced – there is discretion on the part of the public and the prosecutor. It’s off-topic, but it’s a subtle distinction that libertarians don’t seem to understand

        1. Oh, so prosecutors (and cops) can arbitrarily decide which laws to enforce and to whom they apply. I’m pretty sure most libertarians understand that quite well. We’re just not okay with it.

          1. Really? That’s funny, because libertarians, even on this magazine, frequently make calls for prosecutors to use their discretion and not apply certain laws against people depending on the circumstances, especially if the law is accidentally too broadly written. Like for example when kids texting pictures of themselves in bathing suits made them “child pornographers” under the law when any idiot would know that that was not the legislature’s intention.

            discretion used reasonably is something everyone can get on board with, not just libertarians. I’d say there’s a limit if the cops/prosecutors start injecting their own politics into it, but otherwise they have rightfully (and unavoidably) have discretion.

    2. Iceplant is illegal? What? It may be banned by your HOA, but there aren’t too many people in HOAs in the backcountry.

      Also, iceplant is shit for stabilizing slopes. Native vegetation is damn near a requirement for stabilizing San Diego soil(again, fuck you Ron Bailey). Iceplant holds water(is heavy) and has shallow roots, meaning whole sheets can slide during a storm. Natives can(or so I’ve heard from the excellent http://www.laspilitas.com site) be pretty fireproof if you sprinkle a bit of water on them before the fire.

      Either way though, you need an integrated defense against fire if you want to live in our backcountry(or suburbs – ok, maybe an HOA or two here – as the folks in Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo found out). Keep the trees 25′ or so from your house, and invest in foam sprayers or get a pool with a gas-powered pump.

      1. How about a water-filled moat?

  15. http://www.startribune.com/local/117805398.html

    Remember the other day we were talking about the theoretical wargaming of resistance actions and how the WORST thing you could do is take action against an official with whom you have a personal dispute – because you’d instantly be caught?

    Well, maybe this could be a “Throw Momma From The Train” type situation where the blogger in this story can frag the San Diego officials on a day when Diliberti has an iron-clad alibi, and then later Diliberti can go waste the plaintiff, judge and jurors in the attached case.

    IN THEORY [and again, I’m just discussing this because I’m interested in it as a theoretical question] that would dramatically lower everyone’s chances of getting caught.

    Or does the creation of a conspiracy create so many new risks that the benefit you gain from not directly confronting the officials you’re pissed off at is cancelled out?

    It’s an interesting question. Anyone with any counterinsurgency expertise who knows the answer? Somebody must have studied this question somewhere.

    1. The conspiracy will drive the officials into a frenzy. They will actually become more concerned than if it had been direct, because now they don’t know who is hunting them. Never underestimate the lengths that power-hungry scum will go to to root out any opposition. Just look at any dictator, for starters.

    2. Guy live just a couple of blocks from my house. His blog is pretty good:

      http://adventuresofjohnnynorthside.blogspot.com/

    3. I know who I’m emailing when I have an intractable problem with my local authoritarian busybodies.

  16. “Because he refused to pay the weed bill, Diliberti was not allowed to pay his property taxes.”

    Shit, the only thing that happens when I refuse to pay the weed bill is that I have to drink beer that weekend.

  17. Let us also reflect on how a charge by a private contractor to a private citizen was made into civil fine and attached to his property taxes.

    1. Were this a Federal case, the fooking Commerce Clause would have something to do with justifying it.

      1. I think this might be the ultimate form of rent-seeking… a private compnay contracted by the state to do work without the property owner’s permission, and then when the guy refuses to pay, the state becomes the company’s collection agency. Even to the point of taking that property away to pay the contractors and a finder’s fee for themselves. It’s genius.

        1. Yeah, it’s right out of the Dukes of Hazzard.

        2. I suspect the contracter is some county commissioner’s brother-in-law or something like that. Someone’s likely getting a kick-back off the initial $27,000.

          1. Well, his sister did marry the dumbass after all. If he doesn’t give him work, who will?

  18. Let us also reflect on how a charge by a private contractor to a private citizen was made into civil fine and attached to his property taxes.

    “But George, it’s not a tax…”

  19. If they pay $27,ooo for weed control on three acres what do they pay the fire board to make dumb ass evil decisions?

  20. diliberti needs a belt-fed, crew-serviced automatic weapon, say a 12.7mm…for self defence. whoops – that would be a fire hazard…never mind.

  21. I’d pay good money to see a media outlet actually report the story the non-bullshit way you did, SF.

    Quick- somebody call NPR. They’re all over that “Not-mainstream-market-based-news” business model.

    1. If only I had a voice for radio. I sound like a cracked-out gay muppet in real life.

      1. Sound like? Look like too. When are you and Ernie going to get hitched?

        1. What did you say? I couldn’t make it out through your Jersey Shore accent.

          1. I don’t have a Jersey accent. I switch between a hybrid North Jersey/Brooklyn amalgamation, and the voice of Thurston Howell/Judge Whitey (from Futurama).

            “I have a ham and mayonnaise dinner waiting for me back at my mansion.”

            1. I sound like if Allen Ginsburg and Miss Hathaway had a giant, bearded baby.

              1. Miss Hathaway was XX?

              2. Miss Hathaway

                Anne or Jane?

                1. Jane. I’m snooty, yet unconvincing.

            2. I’d tune in to hear that. Mostly just to see what the hell you’re talking about, since I can’t seem to imagine it. I just sound like Patrick Warburton.

      2. you sound like that in my head too

  22. After the botched SWAT raid and Diliberti’s untimely death they’ll claim they found drugs.

    1. Not that it would make it right, but I’ll bet a case of beer that there would be no need to plant drugs on him.

      1. The accidental fire will destroy the scene anyway.

    2. I didn’t see a dog in that slideshow, so they’d have to plant one on him in order to shoot it.

      1. The SWAT team was attacked by his vicious dog and was forced to put it diwn. Fearing more dogs they fired tear gas into the structure, where, tragically the canisters that burn at 1500 degrees ignited his hemp curtains and flames engulfed the treehouse/bunker within seconds.

  23. Or does the creation of a conspiracy create so many new risks that the benefit you gain from not directly confronting the officials you’re pissed off at is cancelled out?

    That’s pretty much what I would say.

    And besides (speaking from a purely theoretical perspective); if you want a job done right, do it yourself.

  24. Oh Duuuuunphyyyyyyyy…

    Ex DeKalb cop admits trading sex for no arrest

    A former DeKalb County Police officer has pleaded guilty to forcing two women to perform oral sex on him in exchange for his agreeing not to arrest them, the DeKalb District Attorney’s Office said.

    Javier Garces was sentenced to three years of which 30 days are to be spent in jail and the rest on probation. “Garces’ actions were inexcusable and unacceptable for a sworn officer charged with keeping peace and justice. Instead of upholding his oath of office, he preyed on the very people he was tasked to protect,” District Attorney Robert James said.”

    Only 30 fucking days in jail? WTGF?????

    1. Is he getting his pension?

      1. Right after we get him his job back and he takes early retirement. Hey, it was just a couple of light-hearted blow-jobs and both women wanted it.

    2. Sounds like rape to me. And he was armed at the time, so don’t tell me it wasn’t forcible rape (per the applicable legal definitions).

      But, he is member, however lowly, of the Master Class, so he gets slap on the wrist to go with his wink and nod.

      1. Be fair: It’s not like he charged them $27,000 to trim their bushes…

      2. It’s not “rape”, just sex coerced using the threat of violence.

        1. Thank you, Republican.

    3. What if the crime the two women themselves were going to be arrested for was coercing sex out of others? And what if they were also law enforcement officers? And what if they were coercing sex with each other and they were busty? And what if the whole thing was filmed for late night Cinemax viewing?

      Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, things may be more complex or sexy with the whole story.

  25. And can I just say that the contractors who showed up at this Marine’s property uninvited are probably walking around today only because he was out of the country?

    1. Yeah, if he had been home they’d still be suffering from a vicious case of couchlock.

  26. Speaking of expressions which have fallen out of common parlance:

    Harmless Eccentric

    1. proportional response.

      Whenever some idiotic, despotic measure is in the news the damn fools always say that they have to uphold the law.

      1. … and the fact of the matter is they don’t. It’s called prosecutorial discretion…

  27. Sounds like the county is hoping that someone buys the property — then it will be the new owner’s responsibility (and PR problem) to evict Diliberti.

    1. This guy has probably been a nuisance for them for years if not decades, this time they think they’ve finally got him.

  28. Anne or Jane?

    I guess I’m old, but it never occurred to wonder.

    I just knew.

    1. I, too, knew. I knew, too. Too, knew I.

      1. Eats Shoots and Leaves.

    2. I guess I’m old, but it never occurred to wonder.

      Sometimes I wonder about people who are overly self-deprecating. It’s entirely possible Mr. Free is a raging hottie. It’s the converse of people on the Teh Intertwebz who proclaim an exceptional sex life and ?ber hawtness.

      1. On the other hand, my cock is fantastic. Not all that long, but thick. Think: soup can.

        1. You have a choad? Your mistress must be so…dissatisfied.

          1. I’m not afflicted with micropenis, unlike a friend of mine in high school…

          2. (3) Pubic hair. This definition seems to originate from New Jersey.

            Of course New Jersey would confuse penis and public hair. Or is their not a difference in The Garden State? Is their public hair just a squiggling mass of hair-thin penises, like a rancid sea anemone?

            1. *there* GOD HATES HOMONYMS!

              Kudos to whoever said that the other day…

              1. God hates horses?

  29. Anybody else bothered by the LA Time sentence that says “…a former Marine…”? I think you can call servicement from other branches former army, or former air force, but none of the old Corps guys I know would put up with former Marine. Unless maybe the guy was dishonorably discharged, and it seems like they’d mention it if he was.

    1. Not like I’m giving any of those pussy order takers a choice but to put up with it.

      Here is my order, corporal. A double bacon and cheese with a side order of ‘fuck you’ on behalf of your countrymen who pay for your misadventures overseas.

  30. What can you expect in the land of fruits and nuts? What exactly does that Rastafarian do? I saw one on WifeSwap that played a little music and claimed “Jah will provide” while his kids shared a bed.

    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com/

    1. You are an absolute, certified, grade A nimrod. Just thought I’d put that out there.

    2. Every day, I get up and pray to Jah…

    3. Yes, Greg, the same land which gave us the great communist, Ronald Reagan.

    4. And as long as that lifestyle made him happy, and didn’t infringe on anyone else, so the fuck what?

  31. Sean, there are no “former Marines,” there are “active” and “inactive” Marines. FYI.

    1. If you want to piss one off, call him an ex-Marine to his face.

      Have one of your buddies video it for you. YouTube hit, baby!

      1. call him an ex-Marine to his face.

        Or hers. One of my girlfriends waded into the donnybrooks when another discharged servicewoman (Army) called her “Ex-Marine” pajoratively. It was not pleasant for the army girl (who was NCO when discharged; she should have know better).

      2. I just remind them they’re really part of the Navy by asking who the Secretary of the Marine Corps is.

        And I like to ask them the age-old question: why do they have Marines on Navy ships?

        1. What the fuck is so special about being a bought and paid for thug of the state? LOSERS.

        2. Because sheep would be too obvious.

        3. someone has to protect the sissies sailors

      3. Shouldn’t you just call ’em “seagoin’ bellhops” and be done with it?

  32. http://www.sdrfire.org/pdf/WEED_ORDINANCE.pdf

    “2.Improved properties shall maintain one hundred feet (100′) of clearance from all
    structures clear of native vegetation weeds and brush.”

    “Clearance of properties shall be accomplished by methods that will not disturb native
    soil or rootstock.”

    What?

    “Land owners who have been notified of the existence of a rare, threatened, or
    endangered plant on the property to be cleared must notify the Department of Fish and
    Game at least 10 days in advance of undertaking the vegetation clearance.”

    I wonder if he’s got gnatcatchers or other endangered plants… seems the feds could intervene and fine FPS if he does.

    1. “”Clearance of properties shall be accomplished by methods that will not disturb native
      soil or rootstock.”

      What?”

      You’ve got me confused too as to what they mean there. Is the ground-clearing to be done by hovering fairies/druids with bronze sickles?

  33. So they charged him $27,000 to clear an area of 100 feet around his house? That’s (roughly) $270/square foot. That’s about three times the square footage rate for actually building a house.

    1. Think 100 feet back from the actual structure, not 100 square feet. An absolute minimum of 31,400 square feet.

  34. Last marine who tangled with me got his face burned off. I didn’t do it though I put a hurting on him months before that when he got pissy after finding out I had a thing with his girlfriend before they even met. He was trying to impress her but got a couple of teeth knocked out instead. No, what happened, like a typical dumbass jarhead, he was trying to burn down some gas with gasoline when he caught his face on fire.

    1. Stupidity knows no branch of service. I was in an Army hospital with some moron who tried to fill up a running space heater with Jet A1. That worked out extremely poorly for him.

      1. Damn. I sure hope he at least got a Darwin out of it.

        Two things I learned from that experience.

        1) When you are the one to break things off with a vindictive crazy bitch, expect her to do something like start a relationship with some Billy Baddass for the sole purpose of getting back at you.

        2) In a fight, cocaine is your friend. I had done a few lines in the back with the owner of the bar, came out and started to the bar where my party was at. I get a shove on the back of my shoulder, turn around, and the guy lays a punch to my cheek. I didn’t feel it. Realizing I was pretty numbed up, I laid into his mouth with a head butt. Knocked his ass cold with his canine dislodged. Owner came out and dragged the fucker out the back.

  35. to burn down some gas

    burn down some grass

  36. Actually, the overall comments on this thread are why I hate people from the west.

    You fuckers always have some reason why standard property rights shouldn’t apply, whether it’s declaring that the water that falls on my fucking roof belongs to someone 1000 miles away, or some ridiculous shit like that, or things like this story.

    You know what? Fuck you.

    If we undid the water rights rules that contradict normal property rights, and the property control rules like this one that contradict normal property rights, yeah, it would suck for the west. Who gives a shit? I don’t care about anyone else who whines that actually having property rights exist create an intolerable situation for them. Why should you be different? Because you built your entire society around bad rules to try to enable more people to live in the southwest than should actually live there? Sorry, not good enough. Just tear it all down and start over, and build at the density that can be supported by a free society. Problem solved.

    1. This is why property rights in the West shouldn’t be voted on by people in New York City or Florida.

      Regardless, there’s a word for freedom without responsibility–it’s called “crime”.

      Our rights and freedoms depend on us embracing our responsibilities. We’re responsible for everything we own. We’re responsible for everything we’re free to do. We’re free to do everything we can be held responsible for. Responsibility is inescapable in a free society–that’s what makes it a free society.

      Your rights end where mine begin, and when our rights overlap?

      That’s one of the few legitimate reasons for government.

      1. I’m trying to imagine a free society where freedom means everyone is free to infringe on each other’s rights…

        Does not compute.

        1. It computes very easily, if you don’t expect or demand the unearned.

          Because you assholes think you have the right to live in fucking deserts and steal other people’s water, you have rules saying that if water falls on my fucking roof, I can’t collect it in a barrel.

          The rain. That fell. On. My. Fucking. Roof.

          This situation exists because people moved to the west and said, “Well, shit. If we actually use SENSIBLE AND FAIR property rights, we won’t be able to develop to the density we want. Because for us to build on our property, we have to be able to count on being able to continue to steal other people’s water. So we’ll make up something fucking stupid and unjust and absurd, like “The water belongs to the first person who builds and if you come later and want to use the water on YOUR property for YOUR property, you can’t. ‘Cause that water is ours, now, even though we live hundreds of miles away.”

          The west would look completely different now if that decision had not been made, because it would only have been safe to build to a density you could support using local water resources. And you know what? That lower density would have been the proper market outcome, which also would make it the just outcome.

          These brush-clearance rules are similar. If they didn’t exist, it would not have been safe to develop southern California to the density it now currently has. But so what? Why is it my “responsibility” to care about that? You have imposed a false, non-market [and therefore unjust] development pattern on southern California, and now you want to come whining to me to tell me about your fucking problems. Talk to the hand, babe.

        2. Ken, sometimes I really have no idea what you are talking about. It does seem frankly absurd to say that if a man has property, and things that naturally grow on that property are growing there, then that means he is somehow violating your property rights or failing to be “responsible”.

          1. A million people had to be evacuated out of that city a few years ago–and lax weed abatement was one of the big reasons why.

            You have a right to own a gun so long as you use it responsibly and don’t use it to threaten other people and their rights. Why would land ownership be any different? You have a right to own land so long as you use it responsibly and don’t use it to threaten other people and their rights too.

            This guy’s weeds may not have been a threat to anyone or their rights–and if that’s the case, then what they’re doing to him is ludicrous.

            Doesn’t change the freedom as the reciprocal of responsibility equation one bit though.

            We should be free to do everything we can be held responsible for, and we should be responsible for everything we choose to do–that’s libertarianism in a nutshell. If there is no freedom apart from responsibility, then encouraging people to shirk their responsibilities is undermining the libertarian cause.

            I’m not saying this guy was shirking his responsibilities. But people’s rights can and do overlap. …and libertarians have been on both sides of these issues since Adam Smith–at least.

        3. This is why property rights in the West shouldn’t be voted on by people in New York City or Florida.

          Also, I object to this in its entirety.

          Only one model of ownership and control of land or objects can properly be called “property”. All other models are properly called “tyranny”. So we either all vote on ONE model – and pick the right one – or we don’t. There can’t be one model for New York and one model for California.

          And no, before you ask, “property” doesn’t exist anywhere in the US right now, so there’s no existing model I can give you as the right one. But it sure as hell ain’t the one they’ve got right now west of the Rockies.

          1. Only one model of ownership and control of land or objects can properly be called “property”. All other models are properly called “tyranny”.

            So if Tokyo Electric Power Company wants to build a new reactor on property it owns right next to a fault line, is that “property” or “tyranny”?

            ’cause I think their neighbors might think your definition is “tyranny”.

  37. Although, in his defense, Fluffy, here in the East we have rules like “mowing your lawn” for fear of rats and other such meadow critters taking over the suburbs.

  38. What is his address?

    Let’s Google Earth it and see what is next to him. [Not that it matters]

  39. Funny part is, most young hippies are *statists*… precisely because they DONT OWN ANYTHING…. its only when they have title to their own Mud Hut & Craft Farm and suddenly start getting hit with senseless charges by the Taxman that they break out the age-old, “hey man, that’s not cool…”

    Some additional detail here…

    http://vetspeakblog.blogspot.c…..n-joe.html

    This clearing was to be done based on anonymous “complaints.” The outfit, Fire Prevention Services, determined what was to be cut, where, and how much to charge. They were fired for cause soon after trashing Joseph’s green piece of canyon bottom, AFTER the surrounding area, full of weeds, burned.

    The County paid FPS $25,000 with no documentation of what was cut, how much, and where. The San Diego Rural Fire Protection District, under whom this no bid, no oversight contract was awarded, has let out at various times that the work was performed by 1 truck and two people; or 4 people; and for 1, 2, or 3 days – depending on what day it is

    And then of course you add the government interest rates… which in the private sector are technically *illegal* (he owes 150% of the principal now. I have some similar experience with this, where an oversight on my taxes ended up costing 3x what they originally said were owed)

    I find the fact that ex-vietnam marines from Brooklyn end up mud-sculpting hippies in california semi-unsurprising.

    Ken Babbs, driver of the bus Furthur in Wolfe’s Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, was a marine officer who was trained by and worked with my father (slightly more senior to Babbs, who was still a second lieutenant) while @ Quantico, I think… Babbs eventually served as a helicopter pilot in Nam… my dad recounted a funny story about how Babbs once confronted him with how he thought Nam was maybe a bad idea, and pops had sat up with him drinking all night to make sure he stayed in the corps and did his duty (the option was jail, i think)… the punchline was how he was so surprised to learn years later that this Gung Ho, All-American Quarterback type had gone Uberhippy after the fact. He was apparently very impressed with Babbs, and was like, “Why would such a smart guy with such great potential become a drugged out hippy?”

    My dad never developed much of a broad-worldview, to put it mildly. He thought the DI in Full Metal Jacket was a pussy, and that we should have nuked the North. I would like to imagine him deciding to return to Nature and living in a treehouse making clay sculpture…. but no, playing golf, drinking bourbon, watching bill o’reilly, and hating ‘kids these days’ is really more his thing.

    Oh, and it turns out Babbs has a website, and also wrote a book about ‘Nam.

    http://www.skypilotclub.com/

    Do I wish he was my dad? …. ehhh. Hippies are almost worse than grumpy old right wing marines. You’re kinda fucked either way.

    1. Some of the back to nature, self-sufficiency, live off the land, people I’ve known have been bible thumpers. …and some of ’em have been hippies.

      It’s kinda funny that when I see people who live off the land, you’re never really sure who you’re looking at. Self-sufficiency people tend to be real sticklers for responsibility…whether they’re bible thumping survivalists or environmentalist hippies.

      It’s like slacker American kids going to live that “easy life” with the Rastafarians in Jamaica. …only to find that the Rastas grow their own food and make their own clothes, and they’re probably even more hostile to slackers than we are!

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