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A federal court has affirmed a Florida city’s decision to fine a homeowner $30,000 for uncut grass, and now the Foundation for Economic Education explains an appeal is likely.
Article by Bob Unruh from WND.
The Institute for Justice is defending Jim Ficken against the decision by officials in Dunedin to impose the draconian fine.
FEE explained, “The defendant, Jim Ficken, was fined $500 a day over code violations on his Dunedin home. Ficken’s first ‘violation’ came when he left Florida to care for his dying mother in South Carolina. Following the death of his mother, Ficken arranged to have a man cut his lawn, but the man died while Ficken was in South Carolina attending to his mother’s estate.”
And Ficken didn’t know.
“Ficken says he had no idea he was racking up the fines until he returned home from South Carolina,” the FEE report said. “A city inspector walked past his house and notified him he’d soon be receiving a ‘big bill from the city,’ at which point he purchased a lawnmower and cut his grass.”
The IJ argued the Constitution protects homeowners from fines that are “excessive” or “grossly disproportional” to an office.
IJ lawyer Andrew Ward said, “If $30,000 for tall grass in Florida is not excessive, it is hard to imagine what is. Yesterday’s ruling is wrong on the law, and we will be appealing.”
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He said, “This ruling emboldens code enforcement departments across the state to impose crippling financial penalties and it empowers them to do so without first notifying a property owner that they are potentially going to be fined.”
The grass got long during a two-month period in 2018 when Ficken was dealing with the aftermath of his mother’s death.
“While Jim was out of town, the man he had hired to tend to his lawn passed away unexpectedly and the grass was left to grow unabated. Jim eventually cut the grass himself after he returned home, but by then it was already too late. Dunedin had been fining Jim $500 per day for months, starting when he was out of the state,” the institute explained.
“Dunedin made regular visits to Jim’s property to check for noncompliance, but never once tried to tell Jim that he was under investigation or that he was racking up violations,” Ward said. “But the government is supposed to provide reasonable notice. The city’s treatment of Jim violated his right to due process, and we look forward to showing just that in court.”
When the homeowner told city officials he did not have $30,000 to pay the fines, the city foreclosed on the home.
“Losing your home because you inadvertently let your grass get too long is the very definition of an excessive fine,” said Ari Bargil, an attorney for the Institute for Justice. “No one should face crippling fines, let alone foreclosure, for trivial code violations. Dunedin’s Code Enforcement Board operates like a nightmarish homeowners association, but as a public board, it cannot rule with an iron fist. Rather, it must abide by state laws, as well as the state and federal constitutions.”
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
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The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are pacing to be short by about $3700 per month in order to maintain operations.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. We had 5,657,724 sessions on our website from November, 2020, through February, 2021. Our intention is to elevate that to higher levels this year by focusing on a strategy that relies on free speech rather than being beholden to progressive Big Tech companies.
During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going.
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Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
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I would even be willing to entertain investments and partnerships at this stage. I’ve turned them down in the past because editorial purity is extremely important. I’ll turn them down again if anyone wants us to start supporting RINOs or avoid “taboo” topics like voter fraud, vaccines, or transgender supremacy. But I’d talk to fellow America First patriots who want to help any (or all) of our 10 news sites. Hit me up at jdrucker (at) substack (dot) com if you’re interested.
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