Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Somebody Stop Her!

So the City of Oak Park – a municipality in which I spent time as a young child and never thought much of – rips up a woman’s front lawn to repair sewers, then tickets and harasses her for deciding to plant vegetables in the dirt instead of grass.

Julie Bass has been charged with a misdemeanor and faces up to 93 days in jail for violating the city code, which states that “all unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass, groundcover, shrubbery or other suitable live plant material.”

Bass, a mother of six, apparently believes the fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables growing in five large, well-constructed planter boxes qualify as “suitable.”

As one neighbor pointed out, it’s odd that a city which had to cancel its fireworks show and move from a five-day work week to four is incurring the expense of a jury trial over a renegade veggie gardener.

This crazy story’s been covered by AOL, Fox News, WXYZ-TV, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Raw Story, Gawker, Democratic Underground, and a number of blogs. Bass is also featured on YouTube and started her own blog, Oak Park Hates Veggies, where she’s “trying to make sense of Oak Park’s war on vegetables.”

I agree that harassing a woman for growing vegetables on her property is an inappropriate use of public funds. I also think whoever called the city on Bass in the first place is a sad, sorry little piece of sh*t for serving as the neighborhood’s Gladys Kravitz and making life miserable for those unlucky enough to live near him or her.

Kevin Rulkowski heads the department that enforces city codes. His phone number is 248-691-7450; his e-mail address is krulkowski@ci.oak-park.mi.us.

Bass is scheduled to appear in Oak Park’s 45-B District Court on July 26.

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