The Perils of Going Green in Orange: California Couple Charged for Planting Environmentally Friendly Yard Without Grass

While Christopher Sheehan is being prosecuted in Florida in a case involving his iron garden, here, Quan and Angelina Ha are being prosecuted in California for their wood chip garden. The Has sought to conserve water in the drought-plagued City of Orange by replacing their lawn with eco-friendly plants and chips. They have now been charged with a misdemeanor and told that they must have a water-consuming lawn.

Two years ago, the couple decided to go green by pulling up the lawn that was consuming tens of thousands of gallons of water a year and replace it with wood chips and lavender, rosemary, horsetail and pittosporum.

The city insisted that 40 percent of their yard must have grass or live plants.

By making the change, the couple reduced their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009.

This is not the first environmentally friendly grass felon, here.

They are now criminally charged. This is yet another example, in my view, of the criminalization of America, here. Even if the city has good reason to insist on ground cover, there remains the question of why such matters must result in misdemeanor charges.

For the full story, click here

20 thoughts on “The Perils of Going Green in Orange: California Couple Charged for Planting Environmentally Friendly Yard Without Grass”

  1. 50 Ships Stuck in Sea Ice 1000’s Trapped‏

    This is incredible.
    As arctic sea ice melted to record levels, panic set in for many. But then, as the sea ice rebounded and froze again quickly in the 2007/2008 winter, making up for that record loss and reaching heights not seen for several years, many exclaimed that even though the ice areal extent had recovered, this new ice was “thin” and would likely melt again quickly. There were also many news stories about how the Northwest Passage was ice free for the first time “ever”. For example, Backpacker Magazine ran a story saying “The ice is so low that the photos clearly show a viable northwest passage sea route along the coasts of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.”

    Cashing in on the panic that has set in with the help of some climate alarmists, tour operators like Quark Expeditions of Norwalk Connecticut are offering polar expeditions catering to that “see it before it’s gone” travel worry. One of them is in fact a trip though the Northwest Passage on a former Soviet Icebreaker called the Kapitan Khlebnikov which is a massive 24,000 horsepower Polar Class icebreaker capable of carrying 108 passengers in relative luxury through the arctic wilderness. Here is some background on this icebreaker:

    Kapitan Khlebnikov – The Kapitan Khlebnikov was built in Finland in 1981 and is one of three vessels of this class. Not simply an ice-reinforced ship, the Kapitan Khlebnikov is a powerful polar class icebreaker, which has sailed to extremely remote corners of the globe with adventurous travelers since 1992. It was the first ship ever to circumnavigate Antarctica with passengers in 1996-97. See more on this vessel at Wikipedia

    I am on the bridge of the massive Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, and the tension is palpable. We have hit ice – thick ice.
    We are travelling from the northeastern corner of Russia, across the Bering Sea and the top of Canada to Resolute Bay in Nunavut. At least that’s the plan. We haven’t even reached Canadian waters and we are already in trouble.
    The ice master studies the mountains of white packed around the ship while the 24,000-horsepower diesel engines work at full throttle to open a path. The ship rises slowly onto the barrier of ice, crushes it and tosses aside blocks the size of small cars as if they were ice cubes in a glass. It creeps ahead a few metres, then comes to a halt, its bow firmly wedged in the ice. After doing this for two days, the ship can go no farther.

    The ice master confers with the captain, who makes a call to the engine room. The engines are shut down. He turns to those of us watching the drama unfold, and we are shocked by his words: “Now, only nature can help this ship.” We are doomed to drift.
    What irony. I am a passenger on one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world, travelling through the Northwest Passage – which is supposed to become almost ice-free in a time of global warming, the next shipping route across the top of the world – and here we are, stuck in the ice, engines shut down, bridge deserted. Only time and tide can free us.

    Read more here:

    and here

  2. Bdaman:

    It is pretty simple math, when you subsidize one sector the money has to come from somewhere. It also distracts the public into putting investment dollars into “hyped” companies.

    When a small wind turbine costs about 100k to put in your yard something doesn’t add up. I looked into it, the government will give you a tax break but what average person can afford that kind of money to put one in their back yard.

    That money could have gone to some viable energy concern. Very troubling and completely predictable.

  3. WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will announce its plans for coastal oil and gas drilling leases by the end of March, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday.

    Salazar told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that he was preparing two plans to govern leases on the outer continental shelf — one with court-mandated changes that would apply through June 30, 2012, and another completely new blueprint for leasing from July 1, 2012, until 2017.

    The revised plan could indicate whether the administration will go forward with a planned lease sale off Virginia, despite questions about the extent of seismic research that has been conducted in the Atlantic.

  4. Last March, Spanish economics professor Gabriel Calzada published an academic analysis that showed for every green job created in Spain, 2.2 jobs were lost as an opportunity cost. This finding contradicted the Obama Administration’s claim that massive subsidies for wind and solar energy would create jobs.-… The Administration’s response? Huddle with big wind lobbyists and other special-interest groups to collaborate on a taxpayer-funded “rebuttal” to Calzada’s work -Despite calls for increased transparency and openness, recent U.S. Energy Department documents obtained through FOIA requests and reported by The Chicago Tribune show significant collusion among Energy Department officials and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), as well as other third party special-interest groups, including the left-of-center Center for American Progress….Assistant secretary of energy Cathy Zoi, who has held top positions at Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, is charged with crafting renewable energy policy for the Obama Administration. According to FOIA-obtained emails, Zoi and her team worked hand-in-hand with big wind’s lobby – AWEA – and other special-interest groups to rebut and discredit a groundbreaking study published by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, of Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University, that examined Span’s experience with renewable energy mandates and so-called “green jobs.”

  5. Pinandpuller:

    he probably was, aren’t they all? They may not kill you but they sure as hell torture you and suck the life out of you.

  6. I’ve heard of people getting in trouble for planting prarie grasses and letting them grow to their natural height.

    Also in Colorado you can’t have rain barrels because all rainwater belongs to the state and to whatever watershed you live in.

    Wasn’t the BTK killer a code enforcer?

  7. Impervious surfaces are a must. Most states have codes on the books as to not impede the ground to naturally disperse the rain water.

  8. There is actually a good reason to want a yard with vegetation, storm water run off. A bare yard has about the same properties as concrete or asphalt in that almost all of the water runs off. A yard with grass has about 30% of the water that falls on it run off.

    As you can well imagine if you let every home owner do this it would overload the sewer system on a rainy day. Although if the other plants were closely spaced they may even decrease run-off more than grass. It would be an easy calculation to do.

  9. MYFOXNY.COM – Police told a Rahway, New Jersey family to cover their nude snow woman after an anonymous complaint.

    Maria Conneran’s family sculpted Venus de Milo in last week’s snow outside their home on Colonia Boulevard.

    Gonzalez says Sgt. Dominick Sforza was apologetic when he went to the house and asked the family to dress the snow woman.

    The family added a green bikini top and a blue sarong bottom.

    The snow woman melted as the temperatures warmed up this week.

  10. You know, the Scientology compound in Riverside CA has sprinklers that are positioned to spray the road and 2 feet of the easement at the edge of the road. It makes me so angry that good people like the Has are harassed trying to do the right thing to preserve precious resources, yet this obnoxious cult is never questioned for their blatant waste (and I assume, violation of conservation laws). May the laws requiring ground cover be rewritten as a result of this flap.

  11. Push back on this. Contact the city of Orange attorney’s office to tell them how foolish they are. Ph: 714-744-5580, Fax: 714-538-7157

  12. My favorite line from the linked article:

    “Compliance, that’s all we’ve ever wanted,” said Senior Assistant City Atty. Wayne Winthers.

  13. I want to grow cash crops in my front yard and raise the sheep in the rear. What are you going to do about it, huh, huh?

    Are you going to sign me an ewelogy?

  14. I would suggest the good fathers of Orange take a tour of Phoenix (or any other city in AZ). At least the Has are not planting cacti.

    Sounds like another “unintended consequence” of trying to make a law that had good intentions but over-regulated in addressing a problem.

  15. Gingerbaker,

    I would call it a farming, agriculture use ie a cash crop and then they would have more zoning issues to deal with.

  16. IANAL

    Could the couple replant their lawn with hemp and claim to have sstisfied the regulation’s demand that “40 percent of their yard must have grass or live plants”? 😀

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