Expect More of this in the Future: The Mercenary Municipality
I'll keep it simple. The Federal Gov't collects lots of taxes, and spends them on lots of programs. Some of those programs used to be non-military domestic ones that kept American taxdollars in America, thereby supporting local economies when local monies couldn't do the job all alone. By cutting taxes for the wealthiest and continuing to throw away billions daily in Iraq, money for Little People at the Local Level had dried up, and it's of note that even big financial winners in the Bush economy are still not happy with the gravytrain- Intel will build a multi-billion dollar factory in China instead of SC or TX, and Halliburton is moving to Dubai. Money is rushing out of this country and not much is coming back in.
So you can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing as those wacky folks down at the local gov't committees have to come up with new ways to keep their paychecks signed:
Florida: City to Seize Homes Over a $5 Parking Ticket
Brooksville, Florida proposes to foreclose homes and seize cars over less than $20 in parking tickets.
The city council in Brooksville, Florida voted this week to advance a proposal granting city officials the authority to place liens and foreclose on the homes of motorists accused of failing to pay a single $5 parking ticket. Non-homeowners face having their vehicles seized if accused of not paying three parking offenses.
According to the proposed ordinance, a vehicle owner must pay a parking fine within 72 hours if a meter maid claims his automobile was improperly parked, incurring tickets worth between $5 and $250. Failure to pay this amount results in the assessment of a fifty-percent "late fee." After seven days, the city will place a lien on the car owner's home for the amount of the ticket plus late fees, attorney fees and an extra $15 fine. The fees quickly turn a $5 ticket into a debt worth several hundred dollars, growing at a one-percent per month interest rate. The ordinance does not require the city to provide notice to the homeowner at any point so that after ninety days elapse, the city will foreclose. If the motorist does not own a home, it will seize his vehicle after the failure to pay three parking tickets.
Any motorist who believes a parking ticket may have been improperly issued must first pay a $250 "appeal fee" within seven days to have the case heard by a contract employee of the city. This employee will determine whether the city should keep the appeal fee, plus the cost of the ticket and late fees, or find the motorist not guilty. Council members postponed a decision on whether to reduce this appeal fee until final adoption of the measure which is expected in the first week of April.
There's this hilarious sci-fi short story, I forget the exact details now, but the jist of it is that in some future society, the only thing that the Little People have left of value is their bodies. The rich need organs for expensive medical procedures that keep them alive unnaturally long lives, and have sucked up all the wealth with their extra life in which they can manipulate the political system.
So the story is about this guy, who has to walk very, very carefully about his day. Because the penalty for any infraction of the law, like jaywalking, is instant incarcertation, which is "paid for" by the removal of whatever organ is needed most by some rich person.
This story has the same ring to it.