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Archive for Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lawrence residents receive tickets for not clearing sidewalks

January 9, 2013, 11:11 a.m. Updated January 11, 2013, 9:38 a.m.

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Last Thursday after 8 a.m., 24 Lawrence homes were ticketed for not shoveling their sidewalks 48 hours after the snowfall.

The citations given out were for $80 each: $20 for the fine and $60 for court costs. Those who were ticketed have the right to challenge the ticket in court, said Brian Jimenez, the code enforcement manager for the city’s planning and development services.

Last winter, which was unusually warm and lacking in snow, no tickets were issued. In previous winters, more than a hundred tickets have been issued.

According to city ordinance, residents have 48 hours after a snowfall to clear their sidewalks. For older residents who may have trouble shoveling snow, Douglas County Senior Services offers a Safe Winter Walkways program. The program finds volunteers to shovel sidewalks. However, the deadline to apply for the 2013 program has passed.

“We pride Lawrence on being a walkable city,” Jimenez said. “It goes down to the basic property owner responsibility, which is that sidewalks, wherever they may be, are designed to promote pedestrian travel. It can potentially become hazardous as the snow melts and refreezes.”

An earlier version of this story did not include information that the application deadline for the Safe Winter Walkways program has passed.

Comments

LadyJ 1 year, 3 months ago

This is from the LJW Jan.18 1912 "The Journal-World is still receiving many complaints about the sidewalks not being cleared off. In West Lawrence some residents say that the walks are in a bad condition." That would of course be Old West Lawrence. 101 yrs later, it is still being debated.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

oh, did I interrupt Kat and Gandalf having a pissing match? sorry.

I see without prompting Kat is using the fake "war on womyn" lies as some kinda strawman, or in this case, strawwoman, lol.

indeed.

carry on you two, don't let me distract you.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

^^biggunz wrote: Before that, someone actualy feels the need to break down what someone said to complain about their bad Enlgish.

Gotta love it.

---yes I did, because we're paying for this city official and ours is a university community. also, you can't actually understand his meaning. we're paying for that.

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

Are you always this obtuse? A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, footway, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. wiki. . Additionally, you don't understand what an easement or a right of way is. The quote you pulled from the city site doesn't include your last sentence "In short the owners property does not start until the right of way ends." Please don't be dishonest and add things to a quote that does not exist.

Survey pins are the legal boundry markers of personal property. Those markers may not be set in public right of ways. Who's being dishones?

tI posted the relevant part of involuntary servitude. "Two essential elements of involuntary servitude are involuntariness, which is compulsion to act against one's will, and servitude, which is some form of labor for another. Imprisonment without forced labor is not involuntary servitude, nor is unpleasant labor when the only direct penalty for not performing it is the withholding of money or the loss of a job."

You want to persist in limiting the definetion of involuntary servitude? A court is required to evaluate all legal definitions

A fine is not considered to met the definition of involuntary servitude. You have a choice. You can clear the sidewalk on your property of snow or you can just pay the fine for not doing so"

You can also refuse to pay the fine and go to jail. If that is not a threat or coercion, I don't know what is.

Heck, conservatives would probably be glad to add women to the work gangs. After all you obtuse argueing, I would too! :O)~

You can also be sentenaced to jail for not paying a fine. "

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

“You'll have to cite the code that makes sidewalks under the same code as streets and bridges.” No problem! LOL

The mission of the Department of Public Works is to provide quality service to the residents of Lawrence. The DPW provides clean, safe, potable drinking water, maintenance of infrastructure with upgrades to roadways, SIDEWALKS, park maintenance and upkeep of the water and sewer system. http://www.cityoflawrence.com/public-works.aspx

“And just because it doesn't fall under public works doesn't make the ordinance unconstitutional“

Now that I have proved you wrong, please cite YOUR authority that shows it is constitutional.

“You must have missed this part in my comment about equal protection under the law. " In other words, the laws of a state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. " “

Nope, you just cited the part that seems to prove your point.

be treated equally by the law and courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law

There is nothing equal in forcing homeowners to provide free public works service for the benefit of others.

“We treat homeowners differently in all sorts of ways and it is not unconstitutional to do so”

Have to agree with that. But please give an example that requires involuntary servitude to benefit others. And don’t come back with lawn mowing. The city can and will send a crew to mow the lawn and bill the homeowner. But not require a fine or court appearance.

“I am glad that you agree property ownership is voluntary. It also means that if you choose to purchase a property with certain features”

And for those people whose purchased a home with no sidewalk. And were mandated to have it installed and paid for thru special assessments? Do they have the right, or any homeowner to remove the sidewalk? Nor do homeowner’s own the land the sidewalk sits on. The city owns the easement not the homeowner.

Tell me what would do if the county required you to labor on roads or bridges for 10 hours a day for six days a year. They currently do have that authority. Would you submit gracefully or claim your rights were being violated? Do you think the SCOTUS would rule the same today as did they in 1916?

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

“That is similar to saying because you are fined for speeding, cars lose their value”

Hardly an apt analogy. If the city required you to speed, and fined you if didn’t would be closer.

“The case law you cite applies to public works (streets and bridges). Sidewalk maintenance is not part of a public works program”

I’m glad you agree the ordinance is unconstitutional. The case law I sited was the only one that would allow the city to require involuntary servitude without due process. But unfortunately you are wrong, sidewalks DO fall under public works by Lawrence city code.

You are also wrong about equal protection of the law. Requiring one class of citizens, to be responsible for all snow removal on public works sidewalks would be a classic example.

equal protection of the law n. the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts, and to be treated equally by the law and courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law. It is akin to the right to due process of law, but in particular applies to equal treatment as an element of fundamental fairness. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/equal+protection+of+the+law

Nope I haven’t obtained legal counsel. But the first step is getting legal standing, in order to do that I have to get a ticket and be fined. I was going to let this last snow stay on the sidewalk past the deadline and turn myself in. But my wife got the grandkids to do it before I got up. Really PO’d me!

Certainly home ownership is voluntary, at least for those who can afford it. People could also move to countries that have no rights as well. I would prefer our country to follow our constitution. Wouldn’t you?

What I do find depressing is that 39% of the people (by the LJW poll) of Lawrence would choose to ignore the constitution.

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Katara 1 year, 3 months ago

It is strange to see people complain about this. Sidewalk snow removal ordinances are pretty common in cities that get snow in the U.S. This isn't something that Lawrence just made up on a whim.

http://tinyurl.com/b4ly9y4

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shanep 1 year, 3 months ago

If I have to shovel it in the winter, I should be able to drink beer on it during football season!

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

Surely some landscape maintenance operators would love to clean walks for their customers.

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Michele Dillon 1 year, 3 months ago

The safe walkways program is very short of volunteers. Perhaps some of you that are always complaining can volunteer to help some seniors so they don't get tickets. Better yet, you can just laugh when they attempt to shovel their own walks and then fall and break a hip or have a heart attack.

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

I can already hear the cries of rage from eride, college students and rural folk, if they were conscripted to come to Lawrence to shovel sidewalks.

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Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

I was trying to stay out of this, but I just can’t do it. The cities snow ordinance violates both the involuntary servitude and due process amendments.

The legal basis for their claim is a ruling from SCOTUS in 1916. In short SCOTUS upheld a ruling that counties had the right to conscript unpaid labor to work on public roads and bridges.

'See. 10. Every able-bodied male person over the age of twenty-one years, and under the age of forty-five years, residing in said county for thirty days or more continuously next prior to the date of making of the list by the board of county commissioners, or the date of the summons or notice to work, shall be subject, liable and required to work on the roads and bridges of the several counties for six days of not less than ten hours each in each year when summoned so to do, as herein provided; that such persons so subject to road duty may perform such services by an able- bodied substitute over the age of eighteen years, or in lieu thereof may pay to the road overseer on or before the day he is called upon to render such service the sum of $3, and such overseer shall turn into the county treasury of his county any and all moneys so paid to him, the same to be placed to the [240 U.S. 328, 330] credit of the road and bridge fund and subject to the order of the board of county commissioners for road and bridge purposes; . . . 'Sec. 12. Any person or persons not exempt as aforesaid who shall fail to work on public roads of the several counties when required to do so, or to provide a substitute as herein provided, and shall neglect or refuse to make payment for the same, as hereinbefore provided, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $ 50 or imprisoned in the county jail for not longer than thirty days.'

There are serious flaws in the cities position. The ruling did not include city governments. It did not apply only to property owner’s nor was it enforced on a complaint basis. It specified able bodied men between 21 and 45. And gave specific lengths of servitude.

At a minimum the city would have to conscript workers from all available citizens, not just homeowners. I’m sure everyone in Lawrence would be overjoyed to be conscripted to go shovel someone’s else’s sidewalk right?

Does anyone really think that the SCOTUS would rule the same way today, if it made it way back into their court? BUTLER v. PERRY, 240 U.S. 328 (1916) 240 U.S. 328 JAKE BUTLER, Plff. in Err., v. J. W. PERRY, as Sheriff of Columbia County, Florida. No. 182. Submitted January 14, 1916. Decided February 21, 1916. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=CASE&court=US&vol=240&page=328

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bugbuster 1 year, 3 months ago

i like the comment about the smoking on who passes out the tickets,,it was my understanding at the city meeting that the fire department passes out the tickets,,so now the fire department wants to be cops to,, this is a confused city,, glad i dont live in lawrence ,, i suppose next the sanitation department wil be arresting you for not using their trash cans,,hum,maybe iam on to something,, give city hall time

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bugbuster 1 year, 3 months ago

Have we reduced our police force to a bunch of want ta be cops going around busting home owners ,, maybe if there only needed during the snowing season the city should consider firing a few of them ,, obvious the drug and home less problem is not a concern ,, busting home owners is like shooting fish in a barrel ,, we got ya you cant run heres your ticket ,, i'am sure we could get the pinkerton wanta be cops for a whole lot less then what the city is spending

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FlintlockRifle 1 year, 3 months ago

Why is there a court cost??, why not just the $20.00 fee like a downtown parking ticket??

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 3 months ago

Does Jimenez really believe Lawrene is a walkable city? Come on now , get real!

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Karl_Hungus 1 year, 3 months ago

Starting to feel like I should just have my paycheck direct deposited into the City of Lawrenc's and the Fed Govt.'s accounts....

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biggunz 1 year, 3 months ago

$60 for court costs?!?!

BTW, I love the internet grammar police. Someone writes this long paragraph, blah, blah, blah, and the response is "Nice grammar and spelling".

Before that, someone actualy feels the need to break down what someone said to complain about their bad Enlgish.

Gotta love it.

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Liberal 1 year, 3 months ago

If the City wants their sidewalks shoveled in their right of way they should shovel it themselves. Oh wait I have called and complained numerous times when city property sidewalks are not cleared. hmmmm, can they ticket themselves?

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catfishturkeyhunter 1 year, 3 months ago

Pretty lame they wrote tickets for what equated to less than an inch of snow especially when they can't keep the streets clear and as someone else mentioned the side walks at the parks and other city owned facilities cleared. If you can't figure out how to safely navigate a couple inches of snow, you probably shouldn't be walking on a normal day let alone a snow day and should be catching a ride or taking the bus. Theres no reason an elderly person or physically impaired person should be out in that kind of weather any how. I will shovel my walk once during a snow storm and thats just because I feel like going out to enjoy the snow, not because the city is threatening me. My neighbor and I actually take turns shoveling each others side walks. Just seems like a pretty stupid rule. As for a walkable city, have you seen some of the clowns walking around this town? What about all the pedestrians and cyclist getting smoked by cars? Last thing I am worried about is someone slipping and falling. As Dennis Leary would say "Life sucks, get a helmet."

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swampyankee 1 year, 3 months ago

If I had a sidewalk I would clear it but why are the parking lots at Lyons park plowed before North 5th St. ???

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greenworld 1 year, 3 months ago

Chances are out of the 24 people I would have to guess that over half or more are seniors that just cant do it. Pretty pitiful if you ask me. Also im sure hundreds or even thousands in lawrence didnt shovel their snow. Im call BS!!! I think its impartial to randomly select 24 people or wait for complaints. Im sure probly no call in's just random ones that the city knew had previous yr lawsuits for people falling down on them. Also one other thing the 80.00 is pretty high, This is a money maker and it should definately only be in the 10-30.00 range for the fine. Seat belt fines are only 10.00 and that is suppose to save your life. I would shovel it for these people for half the amount of the fine, thats whats really sad. They should issue a warning on all these and right them a warning ticket that gives them 3 days to get it done and then if its not then issue the fine. The current ticket system is BS to the fullest.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

“We pride Lawrence on being a walkable city,” Jimenez said. “It goes down to the basic property owner responsibility, which is that sidewalks, wherever they may be, are designed to promote pedestrian travel. It can potentially become hazardous as the snow melts and refreezes.”

---we also pride lawrence in good English.

“We pride Lawrence on being a walkable city,” Jimenez said. “It goes down to the basic property owner responsibility, which is that sidewalks, wherever they may be, are designed to promote pedestrian travel. It [it = what?] can potentially become hazardous as the snow melts and refreezes.”

---besides sloppy speaking, this statement embodies another problem: the assumption that cleared sidewalks are always going to be safe sidewalks. sadly it is frequently the case that you clear the sidewalks only to provide a nice flat surface for very dangerous ice, when leaving the snow would actually be the safer alternative.

enforcing a hard and fast rule doesn't make sense across the entire city, IMHO.

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matahari 1 year, 3 months ago

so I wonder just how much the ticket may cost for streets not being cleared

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gatekeeper 1 year, 3 months ago

I have no problem with the law, IF the city gets out and clears all the sidewalks they are responsible for. They didn't clear sidewalks at the park near my house (they never have, even though they are responsible). B.S. if they give anyone a ticket when they can't follow the law themselves.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 3 months ago

Don't buy property with a sidewalk. Dogs poop in your yard, people toss litter in your yard and the City gives you tickets when you don't clear the snow fast enough. You'd have to pay me to get me to live in a house with a sidewalk.

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akt2 1 year, 3 months ago

You could probably save yourself about $60 by finding a junior high or high school kid to shovel. My brother shoveled snow when we were kids. He knew everyone in the neighborhood and they always gave him hot chocolate and snacks when he shoveled. Plus he always had a pocket full of money every time it snowed. Then in the summer they figured if he could shovel snow, he could probably mow.

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budtugly 1 year, 3 months ago

There needs to be a thumbs down rating of comments on the LJW blog sites, not just a thumbs up. Oh I guess that would be too negative.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

If I received one of these tickets, I would fight it on Constitutional Equal Protection and Due Process grounds. By not enforcing the code except when a complaint is made, its application becomes arbitrary and capricious, depending on the motivation of the fink and the fortuity of being finked on--nothing to do with pubic safety.

This is a no brainer. One does not have to be a constitutional scholar to understand that the application of this law is about as arbitrary as it gets.

All 24 of them ought to pitch in and hire one attorney. The citations are public information so they should be able to organize each other.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

Have no idea whether it is true, but I heard that someone overheard a table of college kids laughing about turning the "bourgeoisie" against itself by turning in homeowners in the upscale neighborhoods for failing to shovel their sidewalks. Apparently the college kids were quite proud of themselves.

Wonder if this is what is known as "class warfare?"

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 3 months ago

So apparently some people don't obey the law. Ummm... I wonder if this will happen with the new restrictive gun laws soon to be enacted by Obama and the Democrats?

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Old_Oread_Phart 1 year, 3 months ago

I wonder where Eride's run was this year.

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OonlyBonly 1 year, 3 months ago

Good! I'm tired of trying to walk on snow and ice covered sidewalks.

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George_Braziller 1 year, 3 months ago

What's the definition the city uses for "cleared"? I have 100 year old brick sidewalks which are impossible to get completely clean.

And, when does the clock start if the snow is blowing? There have been times when wind-blown snow has re-covered the sidewalk after shoveling and after it has stopped snowing.

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Lynn731 1 year, 3 months ago

I wouldn't live in Lawrence for all the money in the world. What a bunch of idiots! Go on, keep trying to attract retirees to your liberal dump.

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koman 1 year, 3 months ago

For people who need sidewalks to get around - whether with a walker, cane or scooter/wheelchair - or even, gasp, people who exercise by running or walking outside - having clear sidewalks is more than a convenience - it may determine if they can get around at all.

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patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

the police only issue tickets when someone complains, so it depends which side has the most whiners.

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sunny 1 year, 3 months ago

so the poor should be off the hook?

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catfishturkeyhunter 1 year, 3 months ago

the best part is those tickets were probably handed out in the poorest neighborhoods in lawrence.

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catfishturkeyhunter 1 year, 3 months ago

let that be a leasson for all you godless heathens who wont shovel the sidewalks

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patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

While our ancestors, climbed mountains and forded rivers To discover the west , todays citizens of Lawrence Have evolved to a race of people that are unable to Walk on uneven surfaces. So our government has to Protect them from cradle to grave .That is sad

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