City routinely breaks own laws, but no exceptions for homeless

The City That Doesn’t Care (aka Marietta, Georgia) routinely breaks or does not enforce many of its own laws.  Laws that have often been highly publicized but still selectively enforced, if enforced at all.   Homelessness is not one of them.  That crime is enforced.  

I grew up in this city.  I’ve lived here since 1945.  I’ve always loved it here.  Presently I live in the county outside, but own property within the city.   My wife graduated with the Mayor, one of the councilmen once worked for me at Lockheed, I’ve known others for decades.  My children and grandchildren went to school with some of theirs. 

I respect them all, but Marietta, we have a problem.  This was once a city that cared, it was once a city of respect, it was once a “gem” city.  Now it is a disgrace on many fronts.   Particularly with regards to the homeless.  Also with regards to enforcing the laws on themselves.  I know the city has won many awards.  I also know what the city did not tell the award committees.  Will you tell them about the death of Dominic?

Lets take the present homeless situation.  The city says the law must be enforced (“cannot not be enforced”), but the city has yet to clearly state which of the several provisions of trespass might be invoked to evict them.   O.C.G.A. 16-7-21 lists 5 different ways the state declairs a tresspass and 4 of them involve direct action by the owner.  Which of these are used to evict the homeless from private property and which from public property?   Entering for an unlawful purpose?   Which unlawful purpose? 

Camping is only prohibited in streets, the public square, and parks.   Loitering only applies to children in liquer stores, cemeterys, and for for purposes of selling drugs.  A charge of littering requires first that the person doing so receive written notice to desist.  That has not happened in this case.  

I did not find any law agains homelessness.  Perhaps being desperately poor is a crime, but still  the Mayor says…   

The laws must be enforced for the homeless.

What about examples of other laws the city has on the books but does not enforce?

For example the city has a law restricting rental properties to having minimum living space for each occupant but cannot enforce it.

The law was enacted in response to an influx of Hispanics that often have large families, which is, in fact, against federal law regarding discrimination and also against the Fair Housing Act.  I was an observer in many of the meetings and know that is a true statement. 

At first the law was so restrictive that it made it illegal for a family of 3 living in a duplex to have another child and continuing to live there.  Two bedrooms but only 3 people.   To the Mayor’s credit, he had the law “adjusted” to allow 4 people to the side when I brought the Fair Housing Act problem to his office.  It is still illegal for someone in many studio apartments to have a companion, which is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.   The City says it can’t enforce that law, but still says…

The laws must be enforced for the homeless.

The City That Doesn’t Care also has a law that new power wiring, cable, telephone, etc. can’t be strung overhead.  It must be underground.  The city routinely enforces it for businesses  that want additional lines to their property, but routinely allows its proxy agent, Marietta Power to go overhead.   Selective enforcement.

We benefited some from this conundrum of who  pays for what.  We needed a new security light in between two buildings and the city said: “underground and you can have it”.  When they realized we would be leasing the light and pole for a monthly fee from them,  they decided to put in a new pole and ran it overhead, side-skirting the law.   Yet the City Council says…

The laws must be enforced for the homeless.

The city has a lot of laws on the books that cannot be enforced but remain there, possibly for selecive enforcement purposes only.  One applies to licencing rental property. Another to graffiti.  Another to handbills.     The city does not enforce these, but just the same the Mayor says that …

The laws must be enforced for the homeless.

There is a law on the books that is routinely enforced for rental properties in “target areas” against grass higher than 24 inches.  Just enough to go to seed.  But the city often lets its own right of ways overgrow, thus breaking the law.   Certainly no citation, and no compliance until forced by complaints.   However the City Council says…

The laws must be enforced for the homeless.

There is a law in the city code that requires the city to charge residents for backyard pickup of garbage.  The idea was to get the cans off the street to make the city beautiful. Every resident, rich or poor, that has garbage service by the city must pay an additional fee, now rolled into the total fee, for backyard service.   However only the well-to-do citizens, the rich neighborhoods, receive such service without asking.   Those in poor neighborhoods that ask are treated badly by the garbage men and their request ignored. 

This program by the city to penalize the poor is unethical and amounts to a form of fraudulant behaviour, even stealing from the poor.  On the other hand our entire city govenment says…

The laws must be enforced for the homeless.

So the poor homeless have been selected for extinction by the city and despite the weather they are going to be put out.  Where they go is not the city’s problem.  Someone may die **.  Someone may lose a toe or perhaps a child will lose an ear.  The city provides no service to the homeless other than law enforcement “outreach” through eviction and/or arrest.   They must go.  The good Mayor has no choice.  After all, a law on the books “cannot not be enforced”.   Unless it is to the city’s advantage to not enforce it! 

 What say you, City That Doesn’t Care?


**Dominic did die, frozen to death.  He fled because the next day the city was coming to arrest him and destroy his camp.  He was found huddled behind a business, apparently seeking refuge away from his “home” in Marietta.

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