When City Laws Mandate Uniformity –
of People


by Susan
Looks like we’ll never run out of local laws to rant about.  The wealthy Miami suburb of Coral Gables outlaws thePinktruck parking of pick-up trucks on its streets from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.  No matter that some trucks are smaller than some passenger vehicles.  (A hint that it’s not really about size.)  City officials say trucks are "out of character" and that they’re merely protecting "community appearances."  But a resident who uses a pick-up for hauling his sailboat was issued a $50 parking ticket and is fighting it.  "This has to do with a certain class of people they don’t want in the city -people they see as being inferior – the blue-collar guy, the laborer – those people."  This sailer happens to have a lawyer for a brother and is starting law school himself, so he filed a lawsuit time and wound up with two appeals court judges who agreed with him, calling the city’s reasoning "frightening."

Not surprisingly, Dave Barry nails it:  "Coral Gables has a legendary group of code-enforcement personnel who, for strict adherence to The Rules, make the Nazi party look like a Grateful Dead tour."  Well, turns out he knows up-close-and-personal because he lives there himself and one of the many items in the local code is "Make Dave Barry’s street beautiful."  So Dave, no more special treatment, I guess. 

Here’s the story.

Now I know this has nothing to do with gardening but it gives me another chance to ask for your ideas about changes the Community Association Institute might propose for its members’ landscaping rules.  You know, mandatory mowing, turfgrass-only, no veggies, etc.  Here’s my pitch for help, and if you have any more ideas, just send ’em along today or tomorrow.  Our "white paper" goes to Project Laundry List Monday.  Thanks!

Photo credit.

P.S. Every time I turn around there’s another story like this one, and here’s another one via Stuart.


  1. Well, I could do without Dave Barry’s egregious reference to the Nazis.

    Message to Dave: look up Godwin’s Law in wikipedia. It refers to online discussions but could be applied to the overuse of this analogy in ordinary discourse.

  2. LOVE that photo – makes me almost want to go out and paint then plant up the bed of a truck myself. And I’m allowed to on my covenant-free, so called “working class” street.
    That Coral Gables ordinance is very old-school: you can have a pick-up — you just have to keep it parked off the street after 7pm. I’m not sure I can get too heated up about that rule – in further reading elsewhere I see it is all “comercial vehicles” that are under this rule – that would be work vans, forklifts, off-duty cabs, etc. I can see their intent and hyper-protiveness of their property valueness. My big question is why he moved knowingly into a community with such a covenant and strict enforcers?

  3. I gasped a little when I saw that truck in front of the Bougainvillea. It looks just like my old neighborhood on Maui. So of course I had to follow the credit and find out it was on the Big Island.

    That color on a truck or a house would be hideous to most people. Plant a whole hillside of it in a thorny shrub and they think it is fabulous. Go figure.

    Last summer visiting a friend who lived in an association in Gainesville Florida I heard the sad saga of the no trucks allowed after a certain time. They even towed the $60,000 fancy fake truck of the mom of a star football player. We were very bad and BBQ’d on the tailgate of their truck right out front in plain view on the driveway. The next morning I found that my rental car had been pelted with rotten oranges when we had gone back in to eat. Breaking the rules is a serious offense.

  4. Imagine how much better our world could be if the property snobs and hyper-enforcers practiced a little reasonable tolerance and directed their energy and resources toward solving real problems.

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