|Does this messy yard mean the homeowner|
should go to jail? A Tennessee city thinks so.
My evidence? A woman in Lenoir City, Tennessee was jailed because she did not keep up with her yardwork, says television station WVLT in Knoxville.
Karen Holloway was initially sentenced to five days in jail but a judge "generously" reduced it to six hours.
She'd been cited by Lenoir City officials who first gave her a warning, but then, when the lawn wasn't cleaned up to their satisfaction, sentenced her to jail.
WVLT quotes Holloway:
"'With my husband going to school and working full time, me with my job, with one vehicle, we were trying our best,' she said.
Holloway, who has two kids still at homes, says she'll be the first to admit this yard needed some attention. But she feels the city has gone too far by imposing jail time."
Ya think? Sure, it's a bit annoying to see your neighbors bushes and trees overgrown, as Holloway admits. You want the neighborhood to look nice, but jeez, is putting a person in jail for a sloppy yard the best use of resources in the fine community of Lenoir City?
Apparently, Judge Terry Vann thought so, but he's not talking to the press to elaborate on that point. Code enforcement and police aren't talking about this either.
Maybe they're embarrassed?
Holloway has a reasonable question: "Why would you put me in jail with child molesters, and people who've done real crimes, because I haven't maintained my yard?"
"I feel like I'm being bullied."
I'm a gardener, and judging from the photos taken when Holloway was cited, this property didn't seem like a total disaster to me. It was indeed messy. The lawn needed mowing, a lot of vines needed to be removed from the house and the shrubs needed tons of trimming and shaping, but I've frequently seen much worse, and I've cleaned up much worse.
I bet I could have gotten the property in fine shape in one afternoon.
If the city was that worried about how messy the Holloway yard was, they could have saved a lot of money and angst by hiring some teenager to clean up the property. True, Holloway could have done the same, but still, jail time? She could have spent the time in jail doing her landscaping.
As is often the case with these lawn care crises, Holloway says she didn't really get due process. She said she was never read her rights nor told she could have a lawyer with her.
Holloway offered to do five days of community service, but the judge was insistent on jail. Six hours it was. "This opens a floodgate to everybody in Lenoir city being put in jail for silly things," she said.
There have been a surprising number of people who reacted hysterically to perceived violations of what Were Supposed To Do with our property.
Last year, the idiotic city of Miami Shores, Fla. made homeowners remove a meticulously maintained vegetable garden from their front lawn because apparently bland expanses of lawn is much more interesting, useful and beautiful than gardens.
Two years ago, a homeowner's association in Denver went ballistic because a three year old girl drew pictures with chalk on a sidewalk. Because people had to put up with the artwork until the next rainstorm, which probably arrived the next day. Oh, the suffering!
And on and on it goes.