Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tacky tacks-a-lot

Do I even need to comment on this? It appears that there is a yard in Howard County that neighbors upset because the lawn decorations are ultra tacky. The neighbors tried to speak with the property owner, but were rebuffed. There is no homeowner association and the lawn is not in Columbia, so the neighbors are taking their complaints to Ken Ulman.

Ulman, who has visited the site twice since neighbors complained at the forum, said he could hardly believe his eyes.

"I was stunned that someone could treat their neighborhood that way," he said.

Ulman said he is considering whether a change in county law could help force a cleanup. But attempting to craft a law to solve one unusual problem can be a "slippery slope of how much government should be involved," he said.

County communications director Kevin Enright said the county is researching whether state nuisance laws might provide a solution. But it is not clear yet if the state standard - "a condition that is dangerous to health or safety" - would apply.

You cannot legislate being a good neighbor. Although many neighbors find these decorations tacky or even offensive (there is a plastic middle finger in the yard), the property owner has every right to decorate their yard as they choose- even if that means making the yard look tackier than Liberace's wardrobe. It is a matter of personal taste, and that is what makes America so great.

Update: The Baltimore Sun has several pictures of the property. The decorations are really bizarre. But the funny part is that there is one of those green "Choose Civility" bumper magnets on the mailbox!


Elvis said...

Hey, what was wrong with Liberace's wardrobe?

Maybe you wouldn't wear it to do yardwork, but it was good if you were going out for the night.

Freemarket said...

I take the exact opposite point of view. I think it is fine for yardwork, but I would not wear it out.

Anonymous said...

This is quite unsettling - neighbors forcing neighbors to make each yard look the way they look. Who's yard is the model, and how do you get that status?

Very unsettling, and particularly since the county executive is involved in this dispute involving two parties who've both done things to the other.

What's next, someone's going to tell me what type of grass seed I'm allowed to plant?

Seriously, a policeman once told me that a man called the police on his neighbor because the lawn next door had dandelions.

elvis said...

F.M. no one has ever accused you of having good taste in clothing, have they?

anon, I guess your going to tell us "YOU DID NOT GET THE GRASS SEED MEMO"

You both have violated H.C. codes

Code 17.123, required dress code for out door work in H.C. and
Code 83.556, instructions for specific grass seeds.

Sham, sham, sham.

Freemarket said...

Elvis- a stranger once approached me and said "that is a nice shirt, but you should take the time to iron it." I got a kick out of that.

PZGURU said...

This is government intrusion at its WORST! I mean, Ken Ulman has no business whatsoever to even get involved. The fact that he is inserting himself into the matter is very telling about his socialistic philosophy. You would think as a lawyer, Ken would know what property rights means and mind his own business. There are certainly bigger problems in HC that he should be trying to take care of instead of this.

As for the plastic finger, there are so many possibilities for this but I will refrain from taking a potshot at ken. But, so tempting.

Freemarket said...

PZ- I agree with you, but I doubt that Ulman has any intention of doing anything other than posturing. That way it looks like cares, but he takes no political risk of introducing legislation.

Anonymous said...


We can only hope Ulman doesn't really get involved, though I question the intelligence of this 'posturing' as it's startling for those of us who heard the question asked and thought his response would be to calm the aggressors.

This situation is so completely and obviously a power struggle between neighbors.

PZGURU said...

I just read an article in the paper about this and how the neighbors have called the police, firefighters, and other public agencies and officials. How much time and resources have been taken up by this silliness? I think the neighbors should have to reimburse the County taxpayers for this nonsensical waste of emergency personnel's time.