Garden-Variety Crime: California City Criminalizes Artificial Turf

In Ireland, “grass” is a term for a criminal informant. In Gendale, California, it is a crime itself if it is a fake. The city has added its name to the growing list of cities criminalizing trivial acts — part of a pattern of the criminalization of America discussed in past columns and blogs.

Geneva Dotson had to pay crews $3,000 to rip up her brand new front yard after receiving a notice that artificial turf is a crime. I certainly understand the concern over the use of artificial grass in terms of chemicals etc. However, there is also the benefit in terms of reducing water consumption in states like California with periodic drought problems.

In my view, this is another case where civil enforcement is an option and the city can always prohibit companies from installing artificial grass or even selling artificial grass if they have a basis for it. I am not aware of such a basis but the issue is the means of enforcement.

We are turning millions of people into criminal felons or misdemeanants. Politicians now refuse to accept that their pet project is any less important than other new crimes.
Source: CBS

17 thoughts on “Garden-Variety Crime: California City Criminalizes Artificial Turf

  1. There’s also a fine attached to watering one’s yard in that part of California, outside of strictly defined limits. It’s also illegal in some parts of the county to allow one’s lawn to die, or to rip out one’s lawn to replace it with drought-tolerant native plants.

    There was also a case a few years ago, in which a family had their trees trimmed, in response to a letter from the city requiring them to trim their trees. They were socked with a fine, in excess of $20K, for trimming their trees without a permit. They were able to reverse the fine in court, but it took time and money to fight it.

    In California, since raising taxes is prohibitively difficult, municipalities exercise great creativity in finding ways to squeeze money out of their residents. Don’t get me started on the $134 seat belt fine I had to pay a few years ago, in spite of having worn a seat belt at the time.

  2. We are turning millions of people into criminal felons or misdemeanants. Politicians now refuse to accept that their pet project is any less important than other new crimes.
    all the better to eat you with…..(said the wolf to lil red…)

  3. Police have surrounded the park and have locked people in. They will not let anyone in or out. People have asked to leave and have been refused. They will not say why they have done this. A huge police force is present. Other officers this morning and NYPD jackets without identification. This is illegal. Police have netting on the way. See this on Michael Moore.

    The sound cannon is there and people have been beaten, press arrested.

  4. Mass arrest with batons, paddy wagons, unmarked cars, everyone locked in the park. 1 to 1 presence in the park. This is a police raid against American citizens.

    There are other violent police actions happening in other cities. This is what a police state is.

  5. Thankfully, the police have backed off for now. Press feeds had been cut but have returned. I’m guessing this would have looked embarrassing with so many cameras from around the world trained on them. They’ll have to wait for nightfall again, then move on the protesters.

  6. Sooo, nobody told the city to “Sod Off!” ???

    Which is a British slang term. From Wiktionary:

    to sod off (third-person singular simple present sods off, present participle sodding off, simple past and past participle sodded off)

    1. (UK, idiomatic, vulgar, colloquial, dismissal) Go away.

    Why don’t you just sod off and leave me alone?
    He was here a minute ago but now he’s sodded off.

    [edit] Synonyms

    * (similar register): bugger off
    * (standard): be off, depart, go, go away, leave, take off, take one’s leave
    * (colloquial): clear off
    * (taboo slang): fuck off, piss off
    * See also Wikisaurus:go away

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. This question has occurred to me also: Where is all the money coming from. I thought we didn’t have any. Here’s a great article with excellent video at the blog: naked capitalism: ” Are You Happy That Your Tax Dollars are Going to Crush #OWS and Other Occupations?

    Jon Walker at FireDogLake teases out an issue that has probably occurred to many of you: how exactly have these big, and now coordinated, crackdowns on OWS been paid for? In cash-strapped Oakland, for instance, the first big raid, the one in which Iraq war veteran

    Scott Olsen was critically injured, the city called in forces from 17 different operations. In New York, as the Grey Lady reported in loving detail, the police engaged in extensive, secret rehearsals before going live. This wasn’t policing. It was a military operation.

    As Walker writes:

    In these bad economic times, cities and other local jurisdictions have been struggling hard to find funds to pay for even the most basic public services, including police. They have been forced to make extremely painful cuts at every level to stay within budget. They simply don’t have large pools of funds to spare.

    Either cities like Oakland have decided using massive police force to break up peaceful demonstrations is worth wasting money that could have gone to fund needed city services like schools, public transit and infrastructure repair, or the cities are getting federal money from agencies like the Department of Homeland Security to pay for these military style crackdowns.

    It’s even worse than Walker suggests. As we’ve discussed at length, austerity policies backfire economically, by slowing economic growth, which means GDP falls faster than the debt burden does, making debt to GDP ratios worse. Recessions typically hit the lower orders much harder than the rich. And while these crackdowns were nominally about getting rid of the OWS as a eyesore and alleged threat to public safety, it is not hard to see this as an effort to quash a developing mass organization that could stand up to bank/creditor friendly austerian policies.

    Look at this video, courtesy Lambert Strether. The number of police involved is stunning, something that has not been adequately conveyed in print media reports. This for a group of maybe 2000 people at 1 AM? There were clearly other considerations at work besides simply clearing the park. A big one, as we have stressed, was keeping the media and anyone with a camera well away from any police manhandling. Another is the “resistance is futile” message, that those who oppose authority will lose when it is roused to show force.” go to the blog to see the video,, its’ revelatory.

  8. Maybe by passing a bunch of ridiculous laws that get people in the habit of second-guessing themselves (Is this legal?) even for acts that should not be illegal, conditions people to broadly reinforce the notion of a all-powerful state with every opportunity to make a choice. It would be a good tactic for conditioning the population if a state were so inclined to do so. I’m not saying California is interested in doing that, just saying that passing a lit of whimsical laws that are ever more controlling on a micro level is a great tool for suppression.

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