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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Character assassination

The back yard of Hermine Rickets and her husband, Tom Carroll, doesn't get enough sunlight, so for the past 17 years, they've grown a vegetable garden in the front yard. Then along comes a new zoning ordinance:

A new zoning ordinance designed to “protect the distinctive character of the Miami Shores Village,” was enacted and specifically prohibited vegetables – not fruit, trees or even plastic flamingos – from appearing in front yards.

Shortly after, the couple received a visit from their local code enforcement officer. They were given two choices: Uproot the garden or pay a $50 per day fine to keep it.

After twice appearing before the Miami Shores Code Enforcement Board and being denied an exemption, the couple decided to dig up the garden rather than fork over $1,500 a month to the city.

Ah, those pointy headed little bureucratic thugs, you gotta love 'em. What the hell is "distinctive character" and how many people can it feed? And if nude dancing while smeared with chocolate is a First Amendment right, why couldn't growing a garden be covered by freedom of expression? Just askin.'