Two-edged sword

Dear Editor:

Commissioner Lucero described the “Nuisance Ordinance” as a two-edged sword. It’s destructive no matter which way it is swung.

In Aspen Springs there are many lots that need cleaning up. I agree. Many are the result of Americans trying to live the American way of life, owning their own piece of land, and their own home, in the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, this often fails and they leave behind an unfinished project. It often becomes an eye sore and should be cleaned up. The reason the owners left is because they haven’t the money to clean it up. A vigilante brings a nuisance complaint against them, and gets nowhere. It means that the county is stuck funding a clean up.

This is one side of the sword.

The other side is where there are people still living there. Once again the vigilantes strike. The owners don’t have the funds to clean it up despite the county order to do so. They lose their search for happiness. Once again, the County is stuck with land they really don’t want; the Martins for example.

This is the other edge of the sword.

Tempers are flaring over this in Aspen Springs because quite often the Nuisance Ordinance is used to punish those that don’t “toe the line” by those that are supporting the vigilantes. It’s being used as a threat. There are many in the district that despite their property being a mess have not had this ordinance brought against them because they sided with the wants of the ruling minority. There are those that defy them and immediately get a nuisance complaint and are driven out, leaving property that can be bought up cheaply with a tax lien, and then sold for a profit later.

Over and over we see where landowners are threatened with a nuisance complaint simply because they defy the others. I see a lot of landowners looking forward to having this happen to them because they chose to vote contrary to the powers that continue to be in the recent election.

The worst of this is that the person who is brought up on this is not allowed to confront their accuser, because the ordinance makes it so the county is the accuser. This is like the Salem witch trials. Anybody can bring a complaint and despite it not being true, will bring the landowner grief from the county, with no consequences for their false accusation.

Yes, it’s a two-edged sword. It strikes at those who refuse to clean up their land, and it strikes against those that will not bend to the will of those in power. If it was one neighbor against another, it would be acceptable, but when it is a vigilante patrol of a minority, traveling our roads, taking pictures, harassing those that are only trying to live the American promise? It is wrong.

This is why tempers are flaring.

Doug Roberts

This story was posted on May 15, 2014.